The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • 11 April – The end of rebel Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th April 1554, in the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger, son of poet and diplomat Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, was beheaded on Tower Hill after being found guilty of high treason.

    Wyatt had led a rebellion which sought to depose the queen and to replace her with her half-sister Elizabeth, but he refused to implicate Elizabeth in the plot. He went to his death asserting her innocence.

    Find out more about what happened and hear his final speech in today’s video.

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  • 26 January

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history”, we go back to 1554, where trouble was brewing for both Mary I and her half-sister, Elizabeth.

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  • 11 April 1554 – Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger is executed

    On this day in history, 11th April 1554, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger was beheaded and then his body quartered for treason, for leading Wyatt’s Rebellion against Queen Mary I.

    Wyatt had already shown his opposition to Mary when he supported Lady Jane Grey’s claim to the throne after the death of Edward VI – he escaped punishment that time – but he felt compelled to act when he found out about Mary I’s plans to marry King Philip II of Spain.

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  • 30 January 1554 – Wyatt and his rebels besiege Cooling Castle

    On the 30th January 1554, Thomas Wyatt the Younger, son of poet and diplomat Sir Thomas Wyatt, and his fellow rebels besieged Cooling Castle, near Rochester in Kent.

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  • 18 October 1555 – Elizabeth is free to go to Hatfield

    hatfieldhouseoldpalaceOn this day in history, the 18th October 1555, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, finally received permission from her half-sister, Mary I, to leave court and travel to her own estate at Hatfield, rather than return to house arrest in Woodstock.

    Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth I, had been treated with suspicion by Mary and her council since Wyatt's Revolt in early 1554. David Starkey says of the Revolt: "The rebellion of 1554 - known from the leader of its most important sector as Wyatt's Revolt - brought Elizabeth to her nadir. It led to the most dangerous and difficult time of her life when she feared imminent execution or murder. She even expressed a preference as to how she should die: like her mother, by the sword, rather than by the axe."1
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  • 11 April 1554 – The Execution of Thomas Wyatt the Younger

    On the 11th April 1554, Sir Thomas Wyatt the younger was beheaded and then his body quartered for treason, for leading Wyatt’s Rebellion against Queen Mary I.

    Wyatt had already shown his opposition to Mary when he supported Lady Jane Grey’s claim to the throne after the death of Edward VI – he escaped punishment that time – but he felt compelled to act when he found out about Mary I’s plans to marry King Philip II of Spain.
    The plan was to have a series of uprisings in the South, Southwest, Welsh Marches and Midlands, and then a march on London to overthrow the government, block the Spanish marriage, dethrone Mary and replace her with her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth, who would marry Edward Courtenay. Unfortunately for Wyatt, other rebel leaders like the Duke of Suffolk (Lady Jane Grey’s father) and the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey (who had nothing to do with the revolt), the plan failed.

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  • 1 February 1554 – Mary I rallies London against Wyatt’s Rebellion

    On this day in 1554, Queen Mary I gave a rousing speech at the Guildhall to rally Londoners to her cause and to oppose Wyatt’s rebellion. Contemporary John Proctor recorded that Mary “did wonderfullye inamour the heartes of the hearers as it was a world to heare with what shoutes they exalted the honour and magnanimitie of Quene Mary”.

    Mary denounced Thomas Wyatt the Youngerand his rebels, but said that she had sent two of her privy council to “the traitour Wyat, desirous rather to quiete thys tumulte by mercie, then by iustice [justice] of the sworde to vanquishe.” She defended her plan to marry Philip of Spain as being beneficial to England, and affirmed:

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  • Wyatt’s Rebellion 1554

    On 22nd January 1554, Thomas Wyatt the Younger met with fellow conspirators at his home of Allington Castle in Kent to make final plans for their uprising against Mary I and her decision to marry Philip of Spain. This rebellion would become known as Wyatt’s Rebellion.

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