On this day in 1543 – Henry VIII married Katherine Parr

On 12th July 1543 King Henry VIII married his sixth and final wife, Katherine Parr at Hampton Court Palace. The ceremony was a private matter that took place in the Queen’s Closet within the Chapel Royal.

As a private ceremony approximately 20 people attended this included the King’s daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, Margaret Douglas, Henry niece, the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk, Viscountess Lisle, Countess of Hertford as well as Katherine’s sister and her husband, Anne and William Herbert.

The ceremony was presided over by Bishop Stephen Gardiner and following the ceremony was a lavish breakfast where Katherine was proclaimed Queen, the first of Henry’s wives to be proclaimed Queen on her wedding day unlike Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn who had coronations to proclaim their right to be called Queen.

Henry’s principle clerk of a court, Richard Watkins, recorded an official record of the marriage and wrote;

“Notarial instrument witnessing that, on 12 July 1543, 35 Hen. VIII., in an upper oratory called “the Quynes Pruevey closet” within the honour of Hampton Court, Westm. dioc., in presence of the noble and gentle persons named at the foot of this instrument and of me, Ric. Watkins, the King’s prothonotary, the King and lady Katharine Latymer alias Parr being met there for the purpose of solemnising matrimony between them, Stephen bp. Of Winchester proclaimed in English that they were met to join in marriage the said King and Lady Katharine, and if anyone knew any impediment thereto he should declare it. The licence for the marriage without publication of banns, sealed by Thos. abp. Of Canterbury and dated 10 July 1543, being then brought in, and none opposing but all applauding the marriage, the said bp. of Winchester put the questions to which the King, hilari vult, replied “Yea” and the lady Katharine also replied that it was her wish; and then the King taking her right hand, repeated after the Bishop the words, “I, Henry, take thee, Katharine to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us depart, and thereto I plight thee my troth.” Then, releasing and again clasping hands, the lady Katharine likewise said “I, Katharine, take thee Henry to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to be bonayr and buxome in bed and at board, till death us depart, and thereto I plight unto thee my troth.” The putting on of the wedding ring and proffer of gold and silver followed; and the Bishop, after prayer, pronounced a benediction. The King then commanded the prothonotary to make a public instrument of the premises.

Present: John lord Russell, K.G., keeper of the Privy Seal, Sir Ant. Browne, K.G., captain of the King’s pensioners, and Thos. Henage, Edw Seymer, Hen. Knyvet, Ric. Long, Thos. Darcy, Edw. Beynton, and Thos. Speke, knights, and Ant. Denny and Wm. Herbert, esquires, also the ladies Mary and Elizabeth the King’s children, Margaret Douglas his niece, Katharine duchess of Suffolk, Anne countess of Hertford, and Joan lady Dudley and Anne Herbert.”

The week after their wedding the newly married couple set off on their first summer Progress and husband and wife.

Henry and KatherineKing Henry VIII and Katherine Parr

On this day in 1564 – the plague arrived in Stratford upon Avon

On 11th July 1564 the plague arrived in Stratford upon Avon, over 200 were buried by the end of the year which equated to around 1/5th of the town’s population.

Accusations were made against the town clerk, Richard Symonds for spreading the disease across the town by allowing his servant to run errands whilst sick, although this was never proven.

In the town records for baptisms and burials alongside the record Oliver Gunne are the words ‘hic incepit pestis’ translated to ‘Here begins the plague’. The telltale signs of the plague were noted on Gunne’s body including the black and purplish spots that were associated with the disease. Few families survived the plague intact but one family that did was the Shakespeare’s which was surprising in itself as John and Mary Shakespeare had a newborn son in the home who escaped the plague untouched, the baby would go on to be William Shakespeare.

The Shakespeare’s lived in the centre of Stratford upon Avon in Henley Street and just a few houses away their neighbours would lose four of their children to the plague. Many tried to protect their homes in order to ward of the disease by keeping their windows and doors sealed, burning dried Rosemary in a chafing dish and scattering peeled onions on the floor.

The cause of the plague is often attributed to the fleas that were carried on rodents and could strike without warning. The first sign of the plague was a swelling in the groin or armpit before spreading across the body where black and purple spots would break out before attacking the rest of the body before the victim succumbed to the disease after a few days.

As Tudor medicine was not as advanced as today’s modern medicine there was no known cure for the plague and many towns had to simply wait for the disease to pass at the toll of many deaths.

144The Parish records in Stratford upon Avon documenting the begining of the plague in 1564

On this day in 1553 – Lady Jane Grey is taken to the Tower of London

After being named as King Edward VI’s successor Lady Jane Grey was taken to the Tower of London on 10th July 1553 in order to be proclaimed Queen.

Lady Jane Grey arrived by barge and was accompanied by her husband, her parents and her husband’s mother. They had travelled from Syon and were greeted by Jane’s father in law, the Duke of Northumberland and councillors who escorted them into the Tower.

According to ‘The Chronicle of Queen Jane and of Two Years of Queen Mary’;

“The 10 of July, in the afternoone, about 3 of the clocke, lady Jane was convayed by water to the Tower of London, and there received as queene. After five of the clocke, the same afternoone, was proclamation made of the death of king Edward the sixt, and how hee had ordained by his letters patent bearing sate the 21. Of June last past that the lady Jane should be heire to the Crowne of England, and the heire males of her body.”

As Jane and her husband, Guildford, walked under the a canopy and upon reaching the Tower trumpets and a gun salute were used to silence the crowd and then two heralds proclaimed that Jane was the new Queen of England. Anyone disagreeing with this was found and punished as was noted by Henry Machyn who wrote in his diary what happened to one boy who supported Mary;

The xj day of July, at viij of the cloke in the mornyng, the yonge man for spkyng was sett on the pelere, and boyth ys heres (ears) cutt off; for ther was a Harold, and a trumpeter blohyn; and contenent he was taken downe.”

Upon arrival at the Tower it is believed that Jane felt faint trying on the crown as well as argued with her husband and his mother after she declared that she would not make him joint monarch but instead the Duke of Clarence. It was later in the evening that the letter from Mary arrived addressed to the Council declaring herself as Queen.

Just a few short days later Mary would be proclaimed the rightful Queen.

Lady Jane Grey signatureLady Jane Grey’s signature as Queen

On this day in 1575 – Queen Elizabeth I began a 19 day stay at Kenilworth Castle

The 9th July 1575 saw a royal visit like no other when Queen Elizabeth I arrived at Kenilworth Castle, home of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and the Queen’s favourite. Elizabeth would stay here for the next 19 days, the longest she stayed anywhere during her progresses. The relationship between Elizabeth and Dudley went back to their childhood and remained throughout.

With the visit of the Queen ahead of him Robert Dudley spared no expense in renovating his home in order to impress the Queen, some rumours at the time also claimed that it was Dudley’s last chance to try and win Elizabeth’s hand in marriage.

Elizabeth arrived with four hundred staff, 31 barons and on a daily basis at least 20 horseman arrived and left delivering messages to the court.

Leicesters buildingLeicester’s Building – a series of state rooms specifically built for Elizabeth’s visit

According to records at the time Dudley did the following to his home;

  • A new tower block called Leicester’s Building that was built that would provide state accommodation to the Queen and her staff, it was originally built for Elizabeth’s visit in 1572 but Dudley improved it further for the 1575 visit.
  • A grand entrance to the castle was created in 1572 called Leicester’s Gatehouse
  • The castle’s landscape was vastly improved with new flowers and trees planted as well a bridge that was built to connect the gatehouse with the chase
  • A privy garden was created for the Queen’s personal use

Robert Langham, a member of Dudley’s staff wrote about the privy garden he said;

“a garden so appointed to feel the pleasant whisking wind above, or delectable coolness of the fountain-spring beneath; to taste of delicious strawberries, cherries and other fruits, even from their stalks, to smell such fragrancy of sweet odours, breathing from the plants, herbs and flowers; to hear such natural melodious music and tunes of birds.”

Alongside the renovations to the castle Dudley put on a wide range of entertainment including;

  • A magnificent firework display
  • Many plays one of which included Triton riding on an 18 foot mermaid in a lake alongside the Lady of the Lake and her nymphs. This play was said to inspire a scene in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • Dudley ensured his grounds were well stocked for daily hunts
  • A masque was written but cancelled due to bad weather that was called ‘Zabeta’.

Robert Langham also wrote;

In the centre, as it were, of this goodly garden, was there placed a very fair fountain, cast into an eight-square, reared four feet high; from the midst whereof, a column upright, in the shape of two Athlants, joined together a back half; the one looking east, the other west, with their hands upholding a fair-formed boll of three feet over; from whence sun-dry fine pipes did lively distil continual streams into the reservoir of the fountain, maintained still two feet deep by the same fresh falling water; wherein pleasantly playing to and fro, and round about, carp, tench, bream, and for variety, pearch and eel, fish fair-liking all, and large: In the top, the ragged staff; which, with the bowl, the pillar, and eight sides beneath, were all hewn out of rich and hard white marble. One one side, Neptune with his tridental fuskin triumphing in his throne, trailed into the deep by his marine horses. On another, Thetis in her chariot drawn by her dolphins. Then Triton by his fishes. Here Proteus herding his sea-bulls. There Doris and her daughters solacing on sea and sands. The waves surging with froth and foam, intermingled in place, with whales, whirlpools, sturgeons, tunneys, conches, and wealks, all engraven by exquisite device and skill, so as I may think this not much inferior unti Phoebus’ gates, which Ovid says, and per-adventure a pattern to this, that Vulcan himself did cut: whereof such was the excellency of art, that the work in value surmounted the stuff, and yet were the gates all of clean massy silver.”

Elizabethan gardenThe current Elizabethan Garden

During her time at Kenilworth Castle the Queen also continued to work and knighted five men, including Thomas Cecil and she also received nine people who were ill so she could touch them as it was believed that one touch from the monarch could cure any illness.

Elizabeth’s stay cost Dudley a rumoured £1000 a day, which he suffered the effects of for the rest of his life.

How Kenilworth would have looked in 1575How Kenilworth Castle looked in 1575

On this day in 1540 – the marriage between King Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves was declared annulled.

On 9th July 1540 King Henry VIII’s fourth marriage to Anne of Cleves was declared null and void. The marriage never got off to the best of starts when Henry first met Anne she did not recognise him and as a result Henry took it as an insult, things got no better from there and the despite going through with the marriage Henry never consummated the union, he was under the belief that Anne was not a virgin and therefore could not be his wife.

Shortly after their marriage Anne was sent to live at Richmond Palace where she was out of the way. During this time Bishop Gardiner had begun investigating the possibility of a pre-contract being in place between Anne and the Marquis of Lorraine. On 6th July 1540 a court messenger was sent to Anne to inform her that her new husband was having trouble believing that their marriage was legitimate and wished for her consent for a church investigation. Anne agreed to the investigation, after all she had heard what had happened to Anne Boleyn and she did not want to end up in the Tower of London.

On 7th July a convocation of the clergy was held and they agreed that the marriage was in fact invalid and they put forward three reasons for it the first was the alleged pre-contract between Anne and the Marquis of Lorraine, the second that Henry did not consent to the marriage in the first place and finally the union was not consummated.

With this news Anne was approached by messengers, acting on behalf of the convocation and the King, for her agreement for the marriage to be annulled. It was reported that Anne was so overcome with fright at the outcome that she fainted, after coming around Anne agreed to the annulment and signed herself no longer as Anne the Queen but Anne the daughter of Cleves.

Henry rewarded Anne for her cooperation in the annulment and along with addressing her as his ‘beloved sister’ he also awarded her £4000 per year, along with homes at Richmond and Bletchingley. She also received jewels, furniture and hangings alongside a house in Lewes and Hever Castle, the former home of Anne Boleyn.

Anne and Henry would go on to have a good relationship with Henry taking time to visit and invite Anne to court, which is more that can be said about Thomas Cromwell who lost his head for his part in the marriage negotiations.

Anne_of_Cleves,_by_Hans_Holbein_the_YoungerAnne of Cleves painted by Hans Holbein the Younger.

On this day in 1553 – Lady Mary Tudor declared herself Queen

After King Edward VI’s death the country was left unsure of its future, the young King had declared just days before his death that he wished his cousin Lady Jane Grey to succeed to the throne upon his death, however, this contradicted his fathers, King Henry VIII, Third Act of Succession which declared if Edward died with no children then the throne would go to the Lady Mary, Henry’s daughter with Katherine of Aragon.

Mary had been informed of her half brother’s death on 7th July 1553 at Euston Hall, Thetford where she was staying with Lady Burgh. Mary travelled to her home at Kenninghall, Norfolk and declared to her household that the King had died and therefore “the right to the crown of England had therefore descended to her by divine and by human law.” Her household proclaimed Mary Queen of England, unaware of what Edward had done to alter the line of succession.

With the belief that Mary was the rightful Queen she wrote to the Privy Council informing them that she was to be recognised as Queen and to “casue our right and title to the crown and government of this realm to be proclaimed in our city of London and other places as your wisdom shall seem good.”

Little did Mary know that she would have to fight for her crown over the coming days.

Mary IQueen Mary I

On this day in 1607 – Penelope Rich died

Penelope Devereux was born in January 1563 at Chartley Castle, Staffordshire to Walter Deverux and Lettice Knollys, the granddaughter of Mary Boleyn. In 1572 when Penelope was nine, her father was created Earl of Essex by Queen Elizabeth I.

Just a couple of years later, in 1575, saw the Queen visit Lady Essex as she returned from her stay at Kenilworth where she was entertained by Robert Dudley. The Queen was escorted by Sir Philip Sidney who met the 14 year old Penelope before her father died. The Earl of Essex died within a year of this visit and it is believed that he sent word to Sidney that upon his death he wished for Sidney to marry Penelope. With the death of her father Penelope and two of her siblings were sent to Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon, who would now act as their guardian.

However, the match was broken two years later when Penelope’s mother married Robert Dudley, the Queen’s favourite, without permission of the Queen. This led to the family being banished from court and with it Penelope’s marriage agreement.

In January 1581, Penelope travelled to court with the Countess of Huntingdon and just two months later a new marriage match was arranged for her with Robert Rich, 3rd Baron Rich. Despite Penelope’s protests the couple were married and went on to have five children.

Although Penelope’s original marriage betrothal with Sir Philip Sidney never transpired into marriage it is widely believed that Penelope was the inspiration behind Sidney’s sonnet sequence Astrophel and Stella. Penelope was considered to be one of the beauties of the Elizabethan court with gold hair and dark eyes, not too dissimilar to Elizabeth considering they were distant cousins. Sidney was only the first to use Penelope as a muse as in 1594 an anonymous poem was published, later to be attributed to Richard Barnfield, entitled The Affectionate Shepherd was dedicated to her and also the future King James I was sent a portrait that had been painted by the Queen’s miniaturist, Nicholas Hilliard.

By 1595 Penelope had begun an affair with Charles Blount, Baron Mountjoy as she had become so unhappy in her marriage to Lord Rich.

In the Essex rebellion of 1601 Penelope was caught up in her brother’s plot with Rich denouncing her as a traitor along with Mountjoy and their children. Despite this the Queen did not take action against either and Penelope was free to have a public relationship with Mountjoy.

Upon the accession of King James I, Penelope was appointed as one of the ladies to escort Anne of Denmark as she entered London in 1603 and later served as Lady of the Bedchamber.

In 1605 Rich finally applied for a divorce to which Penelope publicly admitted adultery with Mountjoy. She had hoped that with the divorce she would be granted permission to marry Mountjoy and legitimise their children. Despite having no permission the couple went ahead and married in a private ceremony held by William Laud on 26th December 1605 at Wanstead House, London. They would be banished from court for this defiance of the King’s wishes.

Mountjoy would die just a few months later; his will would be contested after many arguments regarding his new wife and their children. Penelope was brought before the Star Chamber on charges of fraud and accusations of adultery. The charges were refuted but before a settlement could be reached on 7th July 1607 Penelope died of unknown causes and was buried in an unmarked grave in a London church.

250px-Nicholas_Hilliard_called_Penelope_Lady_RichPenelope Rich painted by Nicholas Hilliard

On this day in 1533 – King Edward VI died.

On 6th July 1553 the 15 year old King Edward VI died at Greenwich Palace. Edward had fallen ill at the beginning of 1553 from a fever and cough. The Imperial Ambassador, Jehan Scheyfve, wrote about Edward’s early illness in a letter to the the Bishop of Arras;

the King of England is still confined to his chamber, and seems to be sensitive to the slightest indisposition or change, partly at any rate because his right shoulder is lower than his left and he suffers a good deal when the fever is upon him, especially from a difficulty in drawing his breath, which is due to the compression of the organs on the right side. It is an important matter for consideration, especially as the illness is increasing from day to day, and the doctors have now openly declared to the Council, for their own discharge of responsibility, that the King’s life is threatened, and if any serious malady were to supervene he would not be able to hold out long against it. Some make light of the imperfection, saying that the depression in the right shoulder is hereditary in the house of Seymour, and that the late Duke of Somerset had his good share of it among the rest. But he only suffered inconvenience as far as it affected his appearance and his shoulder never troubled him in any other way. It is said that about a year ago the King overstrained himself while hunting, and that the defect was increased. No good will he ever do with the lance. I opine that this is a visitiation and sign from God. “

This illness came just months after he had suffered from measles and smallpox so his immune system was already in a weakened condition. Edward had improved slightly but by June it was looking likely that the young King would not survive.

Edward VI 1546King Edward VI, aged 9.

On 30th May Scheyfve wrote again regarding Edward’s condition;

The King of England is wasting away daily, and there is no sign or likelihood of any improvement. Some are of opinion that he may last two months more, but he cannot possibly live beyond that time. He cannot rest except by means of medicines and external applications; and his body has begun to swell, especially his head and feet. His hair is to be shaved off and plasters are going to be put on his head. The illness is judged to be the same as that which killed the late Earl of Richmond.”

King Edward’s illness would come in stages and in April, Edward was seen walking through the park at Westminster before moving to his palace at Greenwich but by the end of April he was again weak and suffering. However, just days later on 7th May his doctors were expecting a recovery and Edward sat in a window overlooking the Thames watching the ships sail past the palace. Edward’s recovery was not long lived and on 11th June 1533 Edward relapsed.

With this the seriousness of Edward’s condition had become apparent and the likelihood of him surviving his illness was slim. Edward was soon bedbound after his legs began swelling and he was unable to stand up any longer.

With this news his council sought to change his father, King Henry VIII, will so that Mary would not inherit the throne and return England to Catholicism. Edward did not want to see the country returned to the old religion but also he felt that Mary and Elizabeth were both illegitimate and therefore illegible to take the throne. A document was drawn up entitled ‘My devise for the succession’ in which Edward overruled his father’s wishes in the Third Act of Succession and named Lady Jane Grey, Edward’s cousin, as his successor.

On 15th June Edward summoned his high rank judges to his sickbed and demanded their allegiance. He then called upon his lawyers and councillors to sign a bond that would ask them to perform his will faithfully. This would also see that Lady Jane Grey was placed upon the throne even if they believed the throne should pass to Mary. On 21st June the ‘Devise for Succession’ was passed to and signed by hundreds of councillors, peers, sheriffs, bishops and archbishops who all agreed to follow Edward’s wishes. Many would later claim that they had been bullied by John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland and father in law to Lady Jane.

King Edward VI’s final appearance to his subjects was on 1st July 1533 when he appeared at a window at Greenwich Palace and it was noted how thin he looked. Crowds continued to gather in hope of seeing their king but after two days the crowds were told that the weather was too cold for Edward to appear.

On 6th July at 8pm King Edward VI died, the cause of Edward’s death has been debated ever since with suggestions of tuberculosis, bronchopneumonia and even poisoning. However, it is likely that tuberculosis was the most likely cause of death for the 15 year old King.

Historian Chris Skidmore documents that Edward prayers included;

“Lord God, deliver me out of this miserable and wretched life, and take me among thy chosen: howbeit not my will, but thy will be done. Lord I commit my spirit to thee. O Lord! Thou knowest how happy it were for me to be with thee: yet, for thy chosen’s sake, send me life and health, that I may truly serve thee. O my Lord God, bless thy people, and save thine inheritance! O Lord God save thy chosen people of England! O my Lord God. defend this realm from papistry, and maintain thy true religion; that I and my people may praise thy holy name, for thy Son Jesus Christ’s sake!”

Edward was buried at Westminster Abbey in the Henry VII Lady Chapel on 8th August with the ceremony presided over by Archbishop Cranmer.

Edward’s death would send England into division over the new rightful monarch.

Edward VI tombKing Edward VI tomb at Westminster Abbey

On this day in 1535 – Sir Thomas More sent his final letter from the Tower of London

Sir Thomas More was sentenced to be executed on 6th July 1535 after being found guilty of treason. On his last day he wrote one final letter to his daughter, Margaret Roper from the Tower of London. It was written in charcoal onto cloth after he had previously had all writing instruments taken away from him.

Our Lord bless you good daughter and your good husband and your little boy and all yours and all my children and all my godchildren and all our friends. Recommend me when you may to my good daughter Cecilye, whom I beseech our Lord to comfort, and I send her my blessing and to all her children and pray her to pray for me. I send her an handekercher and God comfort my good son her husband. My good daughter Daunce hath the picture in parchment that you delivered me from my Lady Coniers; her name is on the back side. Show her that I heartily pray her that you may send it in my name again for a token from me to pray for me.

 

I like special well Dorothy Coly, I pray you be good unto her. I would wit whether this be she that you wrote me of. If not I pray you be good to the other as you may in her affliction and to my good daughter Joan Aleyn to give her I pray you some kind answer, for she sued hither to me this day to pray you be good to her.

 

I cumber you good Margaret much, but I would be sorry, if it should be any longer than tomorrow, for it is Saint Thomas even, and the Vtas of Saint Peter and therefore tomorrow long I to go to God, it were a day very meet and convenient for me. I never liked your manner toward me better than when you kissed me last for I love when daughterly love and dear charity hath no leisure to look to worldly courtesy.

 

Fare well my dear child and pray for me, and I shall for you and all your friends that we may merrily meet in heaven. I thank you for your great cost.

 

I send now unto my good daughter Clement her algorism stone and I send her and my good son and all hers God’s blessing and mine.

 

I pray you at time convenient recommend me to my good son John More. I liked him well his natural fashion. Our Lord bless him and his good wife my loving daughter, to whom I pray him to be good, as he hath great cause, and that if the land of mine come to his hand, he break not my will concerning his sister Daunce. And our Lord bless Thomas and Austen and all that they shall have.”

Thomas More's last letterThe last letter of Sir Thomas More

On this day in 1533 – John Frith was burned at the stake for heresy

John Frith was born in 1503 in Westerham, Kent to Richard Frith, innkeeper of the White Horse Inn. Frith was educated at Sevenoaks Grammar School before transferring to Eton College and later Queen’s College, Cambridge, although Frith received his BA from King’s College.

Whilst at Cambridge he studied under Stephen Gardiner and read Latin, Greek and Mathematics. It was also here that he met Thomas Bilney and they began discussing the Reformation, it was during these meetings that Frith met William Tyndale for the first time. Upon graduation Frith became a junior canon at Thomas Wolsey’s Cardinal College, Oxford however, this did not last long Frith along with nine others were accused by the University of possessing heretical books and were imprisoned in a cellar for six months. Upon his release Frith left England to travel to Antwerp to join up with William Tyndale.

Frith spent many years in Europe and during this time he translated a number of works including, ‘A Pistle to the Christian Reader: The Revelation of the Anti-Christ’; ‘An Antithesis between Christ and Pope’. He also published his own works in response to Thomas More, Bishop Fisher and John Rastell entitled ‘A Disputacion of Purgatorye’. Unpon reading Frith’s work Rastell converted to the Protestant ways.

In ‘A Disputacion of Purgatorye’ Frith put forward the argument that there were two purgatories. He wrote “God hath left us two purgatories; one to purge the heart and cleanse it from the filth which we have partly received of Adam…and partly added thereto by consenting unto our natural infirmity. This purgatory is the word of God, as Christ saith.” Frith continued to say that the second purgatory was Christ’s cross and said; “I mean not his material cross that he himself died on, but a spiritual cross, which is adversity, tribulation, worldly depression etc.”

In 1532, Frith returned to England and was quickly arrested in Reading where he was mistaken for a vagabond with the help of Leonard Coxe, a local schoolmaster, he was released. Sir Thomas More, when he learnt that Frith had returned to England issued arrest warrants for Frith’s capture on the charges of heresy. Frith was eventually arrested when trying to board a ship back to Antwerp.

Frith was sent to the Tower of London where he continued to preach and write about the Lutheran ways and in particular the ritual of Communion, knowing that his work would be used against him as evidence. Whilst Frith was imprisoned Sir Thomas More resigned as Lord Chancellor after disagreeing with the King’s views on religion and a short time later following the death of William Warham, Thomas Cranmer was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury.

Also Cranmer himself leaned towards the Lutheran way he met with Frith at both Lambeth and Croydon for discussion in which Cranmer attempted to persuade Frith to change his stance regarding the Eucharist to be more in line with that of the King. Cranmer was trying to save Frith’s life but Frith was unwilling to change his belief.

Frith was eventually moved to Newgate Prison where he continued writing; he received letters from William Tyndale who attempted to keep Frith’s spirits up. However, Thomas Audley was given the office of Lord Chancellor and he sentenced Frith to stand trial.

Frith was placed before a jury of examiners and bishops and here he submitted his own writings as evidence of his personal views that were considered to be heresy. Frith was offered a pardon if he answered positively to two questions the first was ‘Do you believe in purgatory?’ the second was ‘Do you believe in transubstantiation?’ Frith replied that neither could be proven and with that he was condemned as a heretic and sentenced to death by burning on 4th July 1533.

Frith’s views would continue to live on and after the death of King Henry VIII, Cranmer subscribed to the same views as Frith regarding purgatory and the Eucharist and these were implemented into the Protestant reforms during King Edward VI’s reign.

John FrithJohn Frith being led to his death.