The Tudor Society

March 7 – Germaine Gardiner and John Larke are executed

The Tyburn Tree, the gallows at Tyburn

The Tyburn Tree, the gallows

On this day in Tudor history, 7th March 1544, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Germaine (or German) Gardiner and priest John Larke were executed for denying the royal supremacy. Germaine, who was the nephew of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, was also accused of contact with Cardinal Reginald Pole, who had incurred the king’s wrath after his opposition to his great matter.

Germaine and Larke were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn. Writer John Heywood had also been condemned but he saved himself by recanting.

Germaine had been in trouble in 1543 when he was implicated in the Prebendaries' Plot against Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. In his biography of Thomas Cranmer, Diarmaid MacCulloch explains that the guilt of Cranmer’s enemies “was diverted to two scapegoats in the second rank”, Dr John London, who died while imprisoned in the Fleet accused of perjury, and Germain, whose uncle was one of those who had tried to being the archbishop down. Bishop Gardiner was devastated by the death of his nephew and secretary.

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March 7 – Germaine Gardiner and John Larke are executed