1501 - Catherine of Aragon married Arthur, Prince of Wales at St Paul’s Cathedral.
1531 – Birth of Richard Topcliffe, member of Parliament, priest-hunter, interrogator and torturer, in Lincolnshire. During the reign of Elizabeth I, Topcliffe was issued with warrants allowing him to use torture when examining imprisoned Catholic recusants and priests. His famous victims included Robert Southwell, John Gerard and Henry Garnet.
1532 - On this day in 1532, according to the chronicler Edward Hall, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn secretly married: “The kyng, after his returne [from Calais] maried priuily[privily] the lady Anne Bulleyn on sainet Erkenwaldes daie, whiche mariage was kept so secrete, that very fewe knewe it, til she was greate with child, at Easter after.”
1539 – Hanging of Hugh Cook (Faringdon), Abbot of Reading, for treason, for upholding papal supremacy. He was born Hugh Cook, but took the name Faringdon when he took Benedictine orders.
1541 – An inventory was taken “of the goods and chattels, lands and fees of Thos. Culpeper, the younger”, the alleged lover of Queen Catherine Howard.
1559 – Death of Thomas Brydges, landowner, member of Parliament and administrator. He was buried at Chadlington in Oxfordshire. Brydges had been present at the execution of Lady Jane Grey while serving as Deputy Lieutenant of the Tower of London.
1581 – Death of Richard Bristow, Roman Catholic priest and scholar, while in prison for his faith. He died of consumption. Bristow is known for being one of the men responsible for the translation of the Douay-Rheims Bible.
1527 – Death of Katherine, Countess of Devon (also known as Katherine of York) at Tiverton Castle, She was aged forty-nine. She was buried at St Peter's Church, Tiverton, in funeral ceremonies on 2nd and 3rd December. Katherine had taken a vow of chastity after the death of her husband William Courtenay, Earl of Devon, in 1511. Katherine was the sixth daughter and ninth child of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. Her sister, Elizabeth of York, had married Henry VII, so Katherine was aunt to Henry VIII.
1555 – Death of Robert Holgate, former Bishop of Llandaff and then Archbishop of York, in London. He was buried at St Sepulchre. Holgate was imprisoned for a time during the reign of Mary I for being married, but was released when he renounced his marriage in his “Apology”.
1592 – Burial of Sir Thomas Cokayne, soldier, huntsman and author of “A Short Treatise of Hunting” (1591), at Ashbourne church in Derbyshire. Cokayne attended Mary, Queen of Scots on her journey to Fotheringhay in 1587, and helped found Ashbourne Grammar School.
1597 – Death of Robert Bowes, member of Parliament and Elizabeth I's English Ambassador in Scotland, at Berwick. He was buried at Berwick on the 16th November.
1531 – Death of John Batmanson, prior of the London Charterhouse, at the Charterhouse. He was buried in the cemetery there. Batmanson is said to have written treatises against the works of Martin Luther and Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples, and he also criticised Erasmus.
1585 – Death of Gerald Fitzgerald, 11th Earl of Kildare and an Irish peer, in London. His body was taken to Kildare and buried there in February 1586. Fitzgerald was created Earl of Kildare and Baron of Offaly after helping put down Wyatt's Rebellion in 1554. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London twice for treason (1575 and 1582), but was cleared both times.
1596 – Death of Sir Francis Willoughby, industrialist and coalowner, in London. He was buried at St Giles Cripplegate. Willoughby is known for building Wollaton Hall in Nottinghamshire, developing coal mines on the estate, growing and processing woad there and in Ireland, and establishing two blast furnaces, for iron, at Middleton and Oakamoor, in Staffordshire, and buying one at Codnor in Derbyshire.
1601 – Death of Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland, nobleman and rebel, at Nieuwpoort in Flanders, while in exile. With the Percy family, the Nevilles had led the Rising of the North, a plot to release Mary, Queen of Scots and overthrow Elizabeth I. When the plot failed, Neville fled to Scotland and then on to Flanders. He was also involved in the Ridolfi Plot against Elizabeth.
1612 – Death of William Stafford, conspirator. Stafford was the son of William Stafford, widower of Mary Boleyn, and his second wife, Dorothy. Stafford was imprisoned in the Tower of London after being implicated in the plot of Baron de Châteauneuf, the French ambassador, to kill Elizabeth I. It is speculated that the plot was actually orchestrated by Walsingham and Cecil to show Elizabeth I that her life was in danger, and to persuade her to act against Mary, Queen of Scots. No charges were brought against Stafford, and he was released in 1588.
1493 – Birth of John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer. He was the eldest son of Richard Neville, 2nd Baron Latimer, and his wife, Anne (née Stafford), and he was the brother of the poet William Neville. Latimer was married three times: Dorothy de Vere, sister of John de Vere, 14th Earl of Oxford; Elizabeth Musgrave, daughter of Sir Edward Musgrave; and Catherine Parr (the future Queen Catherine Parr), daughter of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal and the widow of Edward Borough. Latimer died in March 1543 and his widow, Catherine Parr, married Henry VIII in July 1543.
1525 – Death of Sir John Fyneux, Judge and Chief Justice of the King's Bench. He was appointed Chief Justice in 1495, and was also an executor of Henry VII's will.
1551 – Death of Richard Fermor, wool merchant, at Easton Neston. He was buried at the parish church there. Fermor was one of the jurors at the trial of Sir Richard Empson, and purchased the manor of Easton Neston from Empson's family. He was imprisoned at Marshalsea prison in May 1540 for misprision of treason, for supporting his Catholic chaplain who was vocal in his support of the Pope as head of the Church, but was released in August 1540 and pardoned in 1541.
1558 - Death of Mary I and accession of her half-sister Elizabeth I. The anniversary of her accession was celebrated annually in Elizabeth I's reign - click here to read more.
1558 – Death of Cardinal Reginald Pole, Mary I's Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth Palace in London. He had been ill since September 1558 and died after hearing news of Mary I's death. He lay in state at the palace for forty days before being buried at Becket's Corona in Canterbury Cathedral.
1571 – Death of Sir Thomas Leigh, Lord Mayor of London. He was buried in the Mercer's Chapel. As Lord Mayor at the time of Elizabeth I's accession and coronation, he led Elizabeth's coronation procession.
1584 – Death of William Ayloffe, Justice of the Queen's Bench.
1589 – Death of Valentine Dale, member of Parliament, civil lawyer and diplomat, in the parish of St Gregory by Paul's in London. He was buried in the parish church there. Dale was sent on embassies to Flanders in 1563 and to Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, in 1588. He was on the commission which indicted Anthony Babington, and was also present at the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots. After Mary's trial, he wrote a memorandum justifying Mary's execution, at the behest of William Cecil, Lord Burghley.
1531 – Birth of Roberto di Ridolfi, merchant, banker and conspirator, in Florence, Italy. In the 1570s, Ridolfi, who was a papal agent, acted as a go-between for the Spanish and the Duke of Norfolk, and was the man responsible for funding the rebellion which aimed to have a Northern Catholic rebellion and an invasion by Spanish forces under Philip of Spain. The plot became known as the Ridolfi Plot, and was uncovered before it was put into action.
1559 – Death of Ralph Baynes, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, during his imprisonment at the London home of Edmund Grindal, Bishop of London. He was buried in the church of St Dunstan-in-the-West, London. Baynes had been deprived of his bishopric and put into the care of Grindal in June 1559, due to his opposition to Elizabeth I's religious legislation.
1559 - Eighty-five year-old Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of Durham, died in prison at Lambeth Palace. He had had an amazing career, which spanned the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I, but fell from grace in Elizabeth I’s reign after he refused to take the Oath of Supremacy and refused to participate in the consecration of Matthew Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury.
1600 – Death of William Hughes, Bishop of St Asaph and former chaplain to Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, at Diserth. He was buried in the cathedral choir. Hughes acted as patron to the Welsh poets William Cynwal, William Llŷn, and Siôn Tudur.
1563 - Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester, courtier, patron of the arts and poet, was born at Penshurst in Kent. Sidney was the second son of Sir Henry Sidney and his wife, Mary (née Dudley), daughter of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. It was discovered that Robert was a poet, like his more famous brother Philip, when his notebook came to light in the library of Warwick Castle in the 1960s. The notebook contained a collection of over sixty sonnets, pastorals, songs and shorter pieces written in the 1590s.
1564 – Death of Lord John Grey, youngest son of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquis of Dorset and courtier. Grey was arrested with his brothers, Thomas and Henry (Duke of Suffolk and father of Lady Jane Grey), in 1554 for their involvement in Wyatt's Rebellion. Thomas and Henry were executed, and although John was condemned to death, he was released and pardoned due to the intercession of his wife, Mary, sister of Anthony Browne, Viscount Montagu.
1566 – Death of Reynold Corbet, member of Parliament and judge. He was buried at Stoke upon Tern in Shropshire. Corbet's offices included recorder of Shrewsbury, Justice of the Peace for Shropshire, a member of the Council in the Marches and Puisne Justice of the Queen's Bench.
1584 – Death of William Bendlowes, member of Parliament, Serjeant-at-Law and Law Reporter. He was buried at Great Bardfield in Essex, where his monumental brass can still be seen today. Bendlowes reported on court cases from the period 1534-1579.
1587 – Death of Henry Vaux, poet, Catholic recusant and priest harbourer, of consumption at Great Ashby, the home of his sister, Eleanor Brooksby. Vaux was sent to Marshalsea prison after being arrested in November 1586 for offering accommodation and assistance to Catholic priests. He was released in May 1587 due to ill health.
1590 – Death of Thomas Godwin, physician and Bishop of Bath and Wells, at Wokingham in Berkshire, his birthplace. He had retired there due to ill health, and was buried in the local church. Elizabeth I chose Godwin as one of her Lent preachers, and he served in that post for eighteen years.
1604 – Death of Richard Edes, Dean of Worcester, royal chaplain and court preacher, at Worcester. He was buried in Worcester Cathedral. Edes was a royal chaplain to Elizabeth I and James I, and had just been appointed to work on a new version of the English Bible when he died.
1515 – Birth of Mary of Guise (Marie de Guise), Queen of Scots, consort of James V, regent of Scotland and mother of Mary, Queen of Scots, at the castle of Bar-le-Duc in Lorraine. She was the eldest daughter of Claude of Lorraine, Duke of Guise, and Antoinette de Bourbon, daughter of Francis, Count of Vendome, and Marie de Luxembourg. Mary was Queen Consort of Scotland from 1538-1542, and regent from 1554 until her death in 1560.
1518 – Death of Sir Marmaduke Constable, soldier and administrator. He served in France with Edward IV and Henry VII, and although he fought on the side of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, he managed to gain Henry's trust. He commanded the left wing of the forces under Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, at the 1513 Battle of Flodden, and this service led to him receiving a letter of thanks from King Henry VIII.
1556 – Death of Sir John Godsalve, member of Parliament, landowner and administrator, at Norwich. He was buried in St Stephen's Church, Norwich, in the Lady Chapel. Godsalve's offices included Constable of Norwich Castle, Keeper of the Gaol there, commissioner for chantries in Norfolk and Suffolk, Justice of the Peace for Norfolk and Comptroller of the Tower of London Mint.
1558 – Death of Maurice Griffin, Bishop of Rochester, probably at the Bishop's Palace in Southwark. He was buried at the church of St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge. Griffin was Welsh and he left provision in his will for the setting up of Friars School in Bangor, with the support of William Glyn, Bishop of Bangor, and Jeffrey Glyn.
1591 - Sir Christopher Hatton, Elizabeth I’s Lord Chancellor and favourite, died aged fifty-one. He died at Ely Palace in London. He had been ill for some time and Elizabeth I had visited him on the 11th November. He was given a state funeral on 16th December at the old St Paul’s Cathedral, and a monument was erected at the high altar. The old St Paul’s Cathedral was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.
1600 – Burial of Robert Wilson, actor and playwright, at St Giles Cripplegate in London. Wilson acted in the companies Leicester's Men and the Queen's Men, and is known for his plays which include “The Three Ladies of London” (1581), “The Three Lords and Three Ladies of London” (1590), “The Cobbler's Prophecy” (1594) and “The Pedlar's Prophecy” (1595). He was also one of Philip Henslowe’s writers, writing plays for the Rose Theatre.
1612 – Death of Sir John Harington, courtier, author and inventor of the flush toilet. He was buried at the family estate of Kelston, near Bath.