The Tudor Society
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 16 March

    A portrait of John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th March, soldier, translator and diplomat John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners, died; priests Robert Dalby and John Amias were executed at York as traitors; and actor Richard Burbage was buried…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 27 February

    An engraving of Catholic martyr Roger Filcock and a statue of St Anne Line

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th February, English forces were defeated by the Scots at the Battle of Ancrum Moor, diarist and clergyman Richard Madox died at sea, and two priests and the woman who harboured them were executed…

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  • Monday Martyr – The Dryburn Martyrs

    This week's Monday Martyr is actually a group of martyrs, the Dryburn Martyrs.

    Roman Catholic priests Richard Hill, Richard Holiday, John Hogg and Edmund Duke were hanged, drawn and quartered on 27th May 1590, in Elizabeth I’s reign, at Dryburn in County Durham.

    Hill, Hogg and Holiday came from Yorkshire and Duke was from Kent, but they had all studied for the priesthood at the English College at Reims. Duke arrived in Reims in March 1583, Holiday in September 1584, Hill in May 1587 and Hogg in October 1587. They were ordained as priests in September 1589, Duke at Rome and the others at Laon.

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  • Monday Martyr – William Peterson and William Richardson, Catholic martyrs

    Map of the Pale of Calais in the 15th century

    On 10th April 1540, priest Sir William Peterson, former commissary of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Calais, and William Richardson, priest of St Mary’s in Calais, were hanged, drawn and quartered in the marketplace at Calais for denying Henry VIII’s supremacy.

    In his article “Martyrdoms at Calais in 1540?”, Rev. L.E. Whatmore writes of how from 1525, Sir William Peterson was “the most important priest in Calais” because of his “double capacity” as “the Archbishop’s and the Cardinal’s representative” in Calais. 1532 saw the death of William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was replaced by Thomas Cranmer. Peterson continued in his office under Cranmer and in September of that year was also appointed rector of Bonynges in the Calais Marches.

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  • August 15 – The examinations of the Oaten Hill Martyrs

    On his day in Tudor history, 15th August 1588, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Robert Wilcox, Edward Campion, Christopher Buxton and Robert Widmerpool were examined while imprisoned in the Marshalsea prison in Southwark, London.

    These Catholic men ended up being executed, three of them for being Catholic priests and one for giving aid to priests. All four died with courage. They were beatified in 1929.

    Who were these men and how did they come to be executed?

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  • 13 August – Irish friars come to a sad end and a proxy wedding for Mary Tudor

    Mary Tudor, Queen of France, detail from a portrait of her and her second husband, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th August 1579, Roman Catholics Friar Conn, or Connatius, O’Rourke and Patrick O’Healy, Bishop of Mayo, were hanged just outside Kilmallock, co. Limerick.

    So desperate was Sir William Drury, Lord President of Munster, to get rid of these two Catholics, that he used martial law to find them guilty of treason, rather than giving them a trial.

    Find out why, what Drury did to poor Bishop O’Healey, and what happened to their remains afterwards, in this video…

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  • 10 December – A priest caught by a priestfinder and torturer

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th December 1591, Roman Catholic priest Edmund Gennings and Catholic were executed on a scaffold set up outside Wells’ house at Holborn.

    Gennings had been caught celebrating mass at Wells’ home by the famous Elizabethan priestfinder and torturer, Richard Topcliffe, who punished him by throwing him into the Little Ease.

    Find out more about St Edmund Gennings and St Swithin Wells, and their sad ends, in today’s talk.

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  • 26 November – The first men executed under Elizabeth I’s new law

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th November 1585, Catholic priest Hugh Taylor and his friend Marmaduke Bowes were hanged at York.

    They were the first men executed under Elizabeth I’s 1585 statute which made it treason to be a Jesuit or seminary priest in England or to harbour such a priest.

    These two Catholics were beatified in 1987 by Pope John Paul II as two of the 85 Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales.

    Find out more about these men and what this 1585 legislation was all about in today’s talk.

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  • 24 September – The executions of a Roman priest and the man who sheltered him

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th September 1589, Roman Catholic priest, William Spenser, and layman Robert Hardesty were executed at York. Spenser was executed for being a priest, and Hardesty for sheltering Spenser.

    The two men were beatified in 1987 as two of the Eight-five Martyrs of England and Wales.

    Find out more about William Spenser and Robert Hardesty, and how they came to their awful ends, in today’s talk.

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  • 27 February – The ends of 3 Catholics at Tyburn

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th February 1601, Benedictine monk Mark Barkworth (also known by the alias Lambert), Jesuit Roger Filcock, and widow Anne Line were executed at Tyburn.

    Barkworth and Filcock had been found guilty of treason for being priests and were given the full traitor’s death, i.e. they were hanged, drawn and quartered. Anne Line was sentenced to death for harbouring a priest and was hanged.

    Find out more about these Catholics, who were victims of Queen Elizabeth I’s legislation against Jesuits, in today’s talk.

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  • 30 July – Reformers and Catholics executed on the same day!

    What a confusing day it must have been for the citizens of London on 30th July 1540! For it was on this day in history, in the reign of King Henry VIII, that both Catholics and men of the reformed faith were executed in London. Crazy times indeed!

    Find out more about why Thomas Abell, Edward Powell and Richard Fetherston, and Robert Barnes, William Jerome and Thomas Garrard, were executed in today’s talk.

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  • 27 February 1601 – The martyrdoms of Mark Barkworth, Roger Filcock and Anne Line

    On this day in history, 27th February 1601, Mark Barkworth (also known by the alias Lambert), a Benedictine monk, was hanged, drawn and quartered, dressed in the habit of the Benedictine order, at Tyburn. Two others died that day: Roger Filcock, Jesuit, and Anne Line, a widow who had harboured priests. Barkworth was beatified in 1929, Line was canonised in 1970 and Filcock was beatified in 1987.

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  • 12 February 1584 – The execution of five Catholic priests

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th February 1584, five Catholic priests, including James Fenn, were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn. Fenn was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929.

    Richard Challoner, the 18th century bishop, gives details of the life of priest James Fenn in his book Memoirs of Missionary Priests: And Other Catholics of Both Sexes, that have suffered death in England on religious accounts, from the year 1577, to 1684. Fenn was from Montacute in Somerset and was educated at New College, Oxford, and then Corpus Christi College, from which he was expelled after refusing to take the oath of supremacy. He acted as a tutor to students of Gloucester Hall before he took up a tutoring post in his home county of Somerset.

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