1521 - Death of Pope Leo X, or Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, from malaria.
1530 – Death of Margaret of Austria at Mechelen. She was buried alongside her second husband, Philibert II, Duke of Savoy, in their mausoleum at Bourg-en-Bresse.
1539 – Execution of Thomas Marshall, Abbot of Colchester, at Colchester. Marshall was hanged, drawn and quartered for treason for his opposition to the dissolution of the monasteries, his refusal to accept Henry VIII as the Supreme Head of the Church in England and his belief that those carrying out the King's wishes regarding religion and the monasteries were heretics.
1541 - Thomas Culpepper and Francis Dereham convicted of treason. Culpeper and Dereham were arraigned at Guildhall for treason and sentenced to a traitor's death.
1551 - Trial of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, at Westminster for treason – He was tried by his peers at a trial presided over by William Paulet, Marquess of Winchester, and was acquitted of treason, after he skilfully defended himself, but was found guilty of felony because he incited men to riot. Somerset was executed on 22nd January 1552 on Tower Hill.
1581 - Roman Catholic priests Alexander Briant, Ralph Sherwin and Edmund Campion were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn for allegedly plotting against Queen Elizabeth I. All three men were canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.
1546 - Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, eldest son of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, and the renowned Tudor poet, was arrested and charged with improper heraldry after using the arms of his ancestor Edward the Confessor, something which only the King was entitled to do.
1560 – Death of Charles de Marillac, French diplomat and Archbishop of Vienne, at Melun in France. Marillac was a resident ambassador at the court of Henry VIII from 1538 to 1543 and described Henry VIII as having three vices, which he described as “plagues”: “the first is that he is so covetous that all the riches of the world would not satisfy him. Thence proceeds the second, distrust and fear. This King, knowing how many changes he has made, and what tragedies and scandals he has created, would fain keep in favour with everybody, but does not trust a single man, expecting to see them all offended, and he will not cease to dip his hand in blood as long as he doubts his people. The third vice lightness and inconstancy.”
Marillac was banished from the French court in 1560 after opposing the policies put forward by the Guises at the Assembly of Notables at Fontainebleau.
1586 – Parliament met on the 2nd December following their request for Elizabeth I to sanction the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the commissioners' meeting in the Star Chamber where they condemned her to death. A draft proclamation of sentence, written by Elizabeth and William Cecil, Lord Burghley, was published at the Parliament, and this was followed by the drafting of an execution warrant by Sir Francis Walsingham.
1615 – Burial of Edward Wright, mathematician and cartographer, at St Dionis Backchurch, London. He died in late November 1615, while working on his book “A Description of the Admirable Table of Logarithmes”. Wright is known for his work on the mathematics of navigation and his 1599 treatise “Certaine Errors of Navigation”, which explained and developed the Mercator projection.
1536 - A proclamation was made to the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace offering them a pardon. The rebellion dispersed, but was followed by another rebellion, Bigod's Rebellion, in early 1537.
1577 – Death or burial of William Downham, Bishop of Chester and former
Chaplain of Elizabeth I before her accession. He was buried in the choir of Chester Cathedral.
1600 – Death of Roger North, 2nd Baron North, peer and politician in Elizabeth I's reign, at his London home in Charterhouse Square. He was given a funeral service at St Paul's, followed by a burial at Kirtling in Cambridgeshire. North was a friend of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and served Elizabeth I as Privy Councillor and Treasurer of the Household.
1506 – Birth of Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy of Chiche, courtier and administrator. He was the son of Roger Darcy, Esquire of the Body to Henry VII, and his wife, Elizabeth (née Wentworth). Darcy served as a Privy Councillor in Edward VI's reign, and also Captain of the Yeoman of the Guard and Lord Chamberlain of the Household. He was arrested for supporting the Duke of Northumberland's bid to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne, but was pardoned in November 1553.
1514 – Death of Richard Hunne, merchant tailor and leading member of the Lollard community in London. He had been arrested for heresy, and imprisoned in “Lollards' Tower” in St Paul's Cathedral on 14th October after the discovery of a Wycliffite Bible at his home, and his body was discovered hanging in his cell from a silk girdle. It was claimed that he had committed suicide, but a coroner's jury ruled that the hanging had been faked, and that he had been murdered.
1531 – Execution of Rhys ap Gruffudd for treason. He was beheaded after being accused of plotting against the King, although his biographer, R.A. Griffiths, points out that his trial was a “show trial” consisting of contrived testimonies and coached witnesses.
1555 - Papal sentence was passed on Thomas Cranmer in Rome, depriving him of his archbishopric "and of all ecclesiastical dignities". Permission was also given for the secular authorities to decide on his fate.
1557 – Death of Robert King, Abbot of Thame and Bishop of Oxford. He was buried in Oxford Cathedral. King was one of the judges who sat in judgement at the trial of Thomas Cranmer in 1555.
1585 – Death of John Willock, physician and Scottish reformer, at Loughborough in Leicestershire. He was buried at his church, All Saints, in Loughborough. Willock became the Chaplain of Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset, and father of Lady Jane Grey, in the 1540s.
1595 – Death of William Whitaker, theologian and Master of St. John's College, Cambridge, at the master's lodge after going to bed with a hot “ague”. He was buried at St John's. His works included Liber precum publicarum (1569), Ad rationes decem Edmundi Campiani jesuitæ responsio (1581), responses to Nicholas Sander and Edmund Campion, Disputatio ad sacra scriptura and Adversus Thomae Stapletoni (1594).
1609 – Death of Alexander Hume, Scottish poet and writer. He is known for his 1599 “Hymnes, or Sacred Songs”, which includes his great poem “Of the Day Estivall” which describes a summer's day, from dawn until dusk.
1556 – Birth of Anne de Vere (née Cecil), Countess of Oxford, daughter of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, and his second wife, Mildred (née Cooke), and wife of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. The marriage was not the happiest of matches, with de Vere refusing to acknowledge their daughter Elizabeth as his. The couple were eventually reconciled.
1558 – Death of Gabriel Dunne (Donne), Abbot of Buckfast and 'keeper of the spiritualities', in the diocese of London. He was buried at St Paul's, before the high altar.
1560 – Death of King Francis II of France and King Consort of Scotland as husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. Francis was aged just fifteen when he died from some type of ear infection. He was succeeded as King of France by his brother, Charles, who became Charles IX. Francis was buried at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis on 23rd December.
1562 – Death of Sir Humphrey Browne, judge. He was buried at St Martin Orgar. London. Browne had served Henry VIII as a Sergeant-at-Law, but lost the office when he was imprisoned for hunting in Waltham Forest and for, allegedly, advising criminals on how to avoid having their possessions forfeited.
1593 – Death of Sir Rowland Hayward (Heyward), merchant adventurer, President of St Bartholomew's Hospital and member of Parliament, in London. He was buried at St Alfege, London Wall.
1549 – Death of John Wakeman (born Wiche), Abbot of Tewkesbury and Bishop of Gloucester, in Forthampton, Gloucestershire. He took the name Wakeman when he surrendered his monastery to the commissioners in 1540.
1555 – Death of Thomas Cottisford, clergyman, translator and reformer, at Frankfurt while in exile in Mary I's reign. In Edward VI's reign, Cottisford published a translation of Zwingli's confession of faith.
1573 – Death of Sir Hugh Paulet, soldier and administrator, at Hinton St George in Somerset. He was buried in the parish church there. Paulet was one of Henry VIII's executors and served Edward VI as Captain of Jersey and Governor of Mont Orgueil Castle. In Mary I's reign, he was made Vice-President of the Welsh marches, and in Elizabeth I's reign he served as a special adviser to Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, at Le Havre.
6th December was the Feast of St Nicholas. Tudor people would often celebrate the Boy Bishop, a tradition which had been going on since the 10th century. This tradition would usually consist of a boy from the choir being chosen on St Nicholas's Day to lead the community, and do everything apart from leading the mass from Vespers on the 27th December until the 28th December.
1545 - Traditional date given for the birth of Henry Stewart (Stuart), Duke of Albany and Lord Darnley, at Temple Newsam, Yorkshire,. Darnley was the son of Matthew Stewart, 13th or 4th Earl of Lennox, and Lady Margaret Douglas, and the grandson of Margaret Tudor and her second husband Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. He is known for being the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.
1549 – Hanging of Robert Kett, leader of Kett's Rebellion in Norfolk. Kett was hanged from the walls of Norwich Castle after being found guilty of treason by a commission of oyer and terminer. He had been captured the day after the Battle of Dussindale, which ended the rebellion. His brother, William, was also hanged on the same day, but at Wymondham Abbey.
1573 – Death of John Thorne, Master of the Choristers and Organist of York Minster, composer and poet, in York. He was buried in York Minster.
1613 – Death of Thomas Hesketh, botanist and physician, at Clitheroe Castle. John Gerard used Hesketh as a source for his “Herball” and was known for supplying gardens and nurseries with seeds and plants, including wild flowers.
1626 – Death of Sir John Davies, lawyer, politician, Attorney-General for Ireland and poet. Davies was found dead on the morning of the 8th December, the day that he was going to be installed as Chief Justice of the King's Bench. He was buried at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, and John Donne preached at his funeral service. Davies sat in the House of Commons in the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, and was a favourite of Elizabeth I. His work included the 1599 “Hymns of Astraea”, which he addressed to the queen, and “Orchestra” (1595).