The Tudor Society
  • Monday Martyr – Durham martyr John Boste

    An illustration of John Boste from "The Life and Times of Saint John Boste: Catholic Martyr of Durham 1544 - 1594" by Simon Webb

    Today is the anniversary of the execution of Durham martyr John Boste in 1594, so I thought I’d share more details on Boste’s life and how he came to be martyred in Elizabeth I’s reign.

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  • April 19 – Bookseller James Duckett is hanged

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th April 1601, in the reign of Elizabeth I, bookseller James Duckett was hanged at Tyburn after being found guilty of felony for dealing in Catholic books. He was executed alongside the man who had informed on him, bookbinder Peter Bullock.

    Duckett came from Westmorland and although he was named after his godfather James Leybourn, who was hanged, drawn and quartered at Lancaster in 1588 for denying Queen Elizabeth I’s supremacy, Duckette was brought up as a Protestant. However, he converted to Catholicism during his apprenticeship in London, when a man named Peter Mason gave him a copy of “The Foundation of the Catholic Religion”. His newfound zeal for Catholicism led to him being questioned and imprisoned for not attending Protestant services.

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  • January 25 – St Edmund Campion, Catholic Martyr

    Engraving of St Edmund Campion with a knife in his chest

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th January 1540, St Edmund Campion, Jesuit and martyr, was born in London.

    Campion was hanged, drawn and quartered on 1st December 1581 for treasonable conspiracy.  He was beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII and canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

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  • Blessed Thomas Woodhouse – the first priest to be executed in Elizabeth I’s reign

    On this day in history, 19th July 1573, Blessed Thomas Woodhouse, former rector of a parish in Lincolnshire and private tutor, was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.

    Woodhouse was apprehended on 14th May 1561 and taken to the Fleet Prison. He was received into the Society of Jesus, the Roman Catholic order of religious men founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola and known as Jesuits, while he was in prison.

    On 19th November 1572, his twelfth year of imprisonment, Woodhouse wrote a letter to William Cecil, Lord Burghley, a letter which is said to have led to his martyrdom. Here is the text of the letter:

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