The Tudor Society

4 August 1540 – Executions and more executions

On 4th August 1540, Brother William Horne, laybrother of the London Charterhouse, was executed. He was hanged, disembowelled and quartered at Tyburn and was the last of the Carthusian Martyrs to be killed. Between May 1535 and August 1540, eighteen members of the Carthusian order were put to death for refusing to accept King Henry VIII as the Supreme Head of the Church.

You can read more about the Carthusian Martyrs in my article Henry VIII and the Carthusian Monks.

Horne wasn't the only one to be executed that day. Chronicler Charles Wriothesley records:

"This yeare, the fowerth daie of Awgust, were drawen from the Tower of London to Tiburne, Giles Heron, gentleman, Clement Philpott, gentleman, late of Callis, and servant to the Lord Lile, Darbie Gynning, Edmonde Bryndholme, priest, William Horn, late a lay brother of the Charter Howse of London, and another, with six persons more, were there hanged drawen, and quartered, and one Charles Carow, gentleman, was that daie hanged for robbing of my Ladie Carowe, all which persons were attaynted by the whole Parliament for treason."

Giles Heron had been a ward of the late Sir Thomas More and had married More's daughter Cecily. He had served King Henry VIII as an Esquire of the body and had been a member of Parliament for Thetford. In 1536, Heron served as foreman of the Grand Jury of Middlesex which drew up the indictments against Queen Anne Boleyn and the five men accused with her. It appears that Heron's downfall was due to a dispute with his tenant, a man named Lyons who Heron had evicted from his farm. Lyons took revenge by telling Thomas Cromwell that Heron was a traitor. Heron was attainted in May 1540 and condemned to death.

Clement Philpott was a servant of Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle and Deputy of Calais. Lisle, who opposed Thomas Cromwell in 1540, had been arrested in May 1540, accused of treasonable communications with Cardinal Pole. Lisle was imprisoned in the Tower and remained there until his death on 3rd March 1542 when he suffered a heart attack after hearing the news that he was going to be released. Philpott was also accused of being involved with Cardinal Pole.

I'm not sure who "Darbie Gynning" was but Raphael Holinshed's chronicle describes Edmund Brindholme as a priest and chaplain to Lord Lisle. Like Philpott, he had been accused of being involved with Cardinal Pole.

Charles Carew was the illegitimate son of courtier Sir Nicholas Carew. Nicholas had been executed in 1539 for his alleged involvement in the Exeter Conspiracy. Those involved in this conspiracy were said to want to depose the king and to replace him with Cardinal Reginald Pole, son of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, and grandson of George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence. Charles Carew was rector of Beddington and was accused of plotting to rob his grandmother, Malyn Oxenbridge, Lady Carew.

It was a busy day for the executioners in London!

Also on this day in history...

  • 4 August 1549 - The Battle of Woodbury Common, part of the Prayer Book Rebellion. Click here to read more.
  • 4 August 1598 - William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, died at his home in London aged seventy-six. Click here to read more about him.

Notes and Sources

  • Wriothesley, Charles. A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, from A.D. 1485 to 1559, Volume 1, p. 121.
  • Grummitt, David. “Plantagenet, Arthur, Viscount Lisle (b. before 1472, d. 1542).” David Grummitt In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004.
  • HERON, Giles (by 1504-40), of Hackney, Mdx. Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982, and online at
  • Holinshed, Raphael. Holinshed's Chronicles: England, Scotland and Ireland, Volume 1
  • MALYN OXENBRIDGE (1475-October 3, 1544), A Who’s Who of Tudor Women: O, compiled by Kathy Lynn Emerson,
  • Brayley, Edward Wedlake. A topographical history of Surrey, Volume IV, p. 59, note about Charles Carew.
  • Lehmberg, Stanford. “Carew, Sir Nicholas (b. in or before 1496, d. 1539).” Stanford Lehmberg In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004.

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4 August 1540 – Executions and more executions