The Tudor Society
  • 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

    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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