The Tudor Society
  • December 1 – Priest Alexander Briant is executed

    Alexander Briant by Matthaus Greuter (Greuther), or by Paul Maupin (Maupain) line engraving, National Portrait Gallery.

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st December 1581, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Alexander Briant was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn, along with Ralph Sherwin and Edmund Campion.

    The twenty-five-year-old Roman Catholic priest had been imprisoned, and had suffered being starved, racked and tortured in other awful ways, but claimed that he felt no pain due to God’s help. He also refused to give his interrogators the information they wanted. Briant was tried for treason and suffered a full traitor’s death.

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  • November 26 – Things get scary for Catholics in Elizabethan England

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

    Taylor and Bowes were the first Catholics executed under the new law. Elizabeth I’s 1585 statute made it treason to be a Jesuit or seminary priest in England or to harbour such a priest.

    In 1987, Pope John Paul II beatified Taylor and Bowes 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…

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  • September 24 – The executions of priest William Spenser and the man who harboured him

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

    In 1987, the two men were beatified as two of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England and Wales.

    Find out more about William Spenser and Robert Hardesty, and how they came to their awful ends…

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