20 April1483 – Burial of Edward IV in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
1523 – Death of Henry Clifford, 10th Baron Clifford, magnate. At around the age of sixty, Clifford led a force at the Battle of Flodden in 1513 against the Scots.
1534 – Prominent citizens of London were required to swear the “Oath of the Act of Succession”.
1534 - Elizabeth Barton, known as “the Nun of Kent” or “the Holy Maid of Kent”, was hanged at Tyburn with her spiritual adviser, Father Edward Bocking; Richard Risby, Warden of the Observant Friary at Canterbury; and Hugh Rich, Warden of the Observant Friary at Richmond. See Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent for more information.
1578 – Death of Lady Mary Keys (née Grey), sister of Lady Jane Grey and wife of Thomas Keys, Sergeant Porter to Elizabeth I. Mary married Keys in secret in 1565, angering Elizabeth I. As a result, Keys was thrown into Fleet Prison and Mary was put into the care of Sir William Hawtrey at Chequers. Mary was later moved to the home of Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk and her stepgrandmother, and then on to that of Sir Thomas Gresham. In 1568, Keys was released from prison, but he died in 1571 without ever being reconciled with Mary. Mary stayed with Gresham, voluntarily because she had nowhere else to go, until moving to her stepfather's house in 1573 and setting up her own home in London. She died at her home in London.
1584 – Execution of sixty year-old James Bell, Catholic priest and martyr, at Lancaster. Bell had been found guilty of being a Catholic recusant and celebrating the mass, and sentenced to death for high treason.
1587 - Burial of John Foxe, martyrologist, in St Giles, Cripplegate. He died 18th April at his home in Grub Street, in the same parish.
21 April1509 - Death of Henry VII at Richmond Palace. He had known that he was dying for some time, and had retired to Richmond at the end of February to spend his last days there. He passed the throne on to his second son Henry, who became Henry VIII. Click here to read more about this day in history.
1566 (20th or 21st) – Death of Sir John Mason, member of Parliament, diplomat in the reigns of four Tudor monarchs, Privy Councillor in Edward VI's reign and Treasurer of the Chamber in Elizabeth I's reign. He was buried in St Paul's Cathedral, in the north choir.
1566 – Death of Sir Richard Sackville, member of Parliament and administrator, in London. He served Henry VIII as Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer, Chancellor of the Court of Augmentations and Escheator of Surrey and Sussex, Edward VI as Custos Rotulorum of Sussex (a post held until his death) and Lord Lieutenant of Sussex, and Elizabeth I as Privy Councillor and Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was buried at Withyham in Sussex.
1580 – Death of philanthropist William Lambe. He was buried at St Faith under St Paul's. Lambe was a Gentleman of the Royal Chapel in Henry VIII's reign, but is known for his philanthropy in Elizabeth I's reign. For example, he funded the building of almshouses and a grammar school in Sutton Valance, Kent, also the building of Holborn conduit.
1581 – Burial of Thomas Charnock, alchemist, at Otterhampton in Somerset after dying at his home in Combwich. In his “Booke dedicated vnto the queenes maiestie” he offered Elizabeth I the health and wealth that the philosopher's stone could bring if she would finance his work.
1520 – Death of Sir John Ernley, lawyer and Attorney-General in the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII. He was made Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in January 1519, and was knighted that year. He was buried at Sidlesham, near Chichester.
1542 – Death of Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland. He supported Henry VIII during the Pilgrimage of Grace, when he was Warden of the West Marches, by leading a force in Northumberland. His reward for his loyalty was to be elected to the Order of the Garter in 1537. Cumberland was buried at Skipton Parish Church.
1598 – Death of Francis Beaumont, member of Parliament, Serjeant-at-Law and Justice of the Common Pleas in the reign of Elizabeth I. He died from gaol fever at his home in Grace Dieu, Leicestershire and was buried in Belton Church. His colleague Serjeant Drew also died of the fever, which they picked up on the Lent circuit in Lancaster.
23 April1500 – Birth of Alexander Ales (Alesius, Aless), Scottish theologian and reformer, at Edinburgh. His mother was Christina Bigholm, and his actual surname seems to have been Alan or Allane. He changed his name when he went into exile, choosing “Alesius”, meaning “bird”, or in this case, “exile”.
1512 – Birth of Henry Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel, son of William Fitzalan, 11th Earl of Arundel, and Anne (née Percy), daughter of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland. At his baptism, Henry VIII stood as his godfather. He served Henry VIII as Deputy of Calais, Privy Councillor and Lord Chamberlain.
1536 – Sir Nicholas Carew was elected to the Order of the Garter at the annual chapter meeting at Greenwich, rather than George Boleyn, brother of Queen Anne Boleyn.
1564 - Traditional birthdate of William Shakespeare, the Bard. It is not known on what date Shakespeare was actually born but he was baptised at Stratford-upon-Avon on 26th April 1564, and baptism usually took place around three days after birth.
William Shakespeare also died on this day in 1616. He was buried at the Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, in the chancel. See www.elizabethfiles.com/william-shakespeare/3816/ for a bio of Shakespeare.
1536 – Commissions of oyer and terminer set up by Thomas Audley, Lord Chancellor. These particular commissions were for offences committed in the counties of Middlesex and Kent, and covered the crimes of misprision, treason, rebellion, felonies, murder, homicide, rioting, plotting, insurrection, extortion, oppression, contempt, concealment, ignorance, negligence, falsities, deception, conspiracy and being an accessory to these crimes. It is not known whether they were set up specifically to try the men who would later be charged with committing adultery with Queen Anne Boleyn.
1545 – Baptism of Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton, at St Andrews, Holborn. He was the son of Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton and 1st Baron Wriothesley, Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor.
1549 – Death of Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of Westmorland, English peer, soldier and Privy Councillor. He was buried at Staindrop in County Durham. Neville was one of the peers who sat in judgement on Anne Boleyn in May 1536 and served Henry VIII as a soldier in the North of England and borders, and Edward VI in Scotland.
1551 – Execution of Dutchman George van Parris, surgeon and religious radical at Smithfield. He was burned at the stake for Arianism (denying the divinity of Christ).
1555 – Burning of George Marsh, Protestant martyr, former curate at All Hallows Church, London and a preacher in Lancashire, at Spital Boughton outside the walls of Chester. He had refused the offer of a royal pardon if he would recant his Protestant faith. His ashes were buried in the St Giles cemetery.
1558 - Mary, Queen of Scots married Francis, the Dauphin of France, at Notre Dame in Paris. Mary was fifteen, and Francis was fourteen.
25 April1509 – Birth of Thomas Vaux, 2nd Baron Vaux, poet associated with Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey.
1513 – Death of Sir Edward Howard, naval commander, by drowning, in an attack on the French fleet. Edward was the second son of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk.
1526 – Death of Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester, illegitimate son of Henry Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, and his mistress Joan Hill. He was buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor.
1544 – Publication of Queen Catherine Parr's English translation of John Fisher's "Psalms or Prayers". It was published anonymously.
1551 – Death of Alice More, Lady More, second wife of Sir Thomas More. Her exact date of death is not known, but it was around 25th April 1551. She was buried at Chelsea.
1557 – “A Masque of Almains, Pilgrims and Irishmen” was performed in front of Queen Mary I and Philip of Spain.
1557 - Thomas Stafford, son of Henry Stafford, 10th Baron Stafford, and Ursula Pole, seized Scarborough Castle, declared himself “The Lord Thomas Stafford, son to the Lord Henry, rightful Duke of Bokingham” then proclaimed himself “Protector of the Realm”. He also denounced Mary's marriage to Philip and warned the people that they would be made slaves by the Spaniards, thus inciting rebellion. He was executed on 28th May 1557.
1599 – Birth of Oliver Cromwell, future Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.
1603 – Burial of Katherine Howard, Countess of Nottingham, eldest daughter of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, at All Saints, Chelsea. Elizabeth I was said to be very distressed at her friend's death.
26 April1536 - Queen Anne Boleyn met with her chaplain, thirty-two year-old Matthew Parker. Parker recorded later that Anne had asked him to watch over her daughter, the two year-old Princess Elizabeth, if anything happened to her.
1540 – Marriage of Francis Knollys and Catherine Carey, daughter of Mary Boleyn and William Carey, or, as some historians believe, Henry VIII.
1546 – Death of Sir Ralph Ellerker, soldier, in a French ambush while serving as Marshal of Boulogne for Henry VIII. He was buried in St Mary's Church in the town.
1564 – Baptism of William Shakespeare at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare was the third son of John Shakespeare, a glover and whittawer, and Mary Arden, who lived in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.
1589 – Death of Andrew Perne, Dean of Ely and Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, at Lambeth while visiting his friend, Archbishop John Whitgift. He was buried at Lambeth Parish Church.
1596 – Burial of Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon, at St Helen's Church, Ashby-de-la-Zouch.