Crime and Punishment, Justice, Life in Tudor times, persecution, Strange Tudor beliefs, William Shakespeare

The persecution of witches: The King who believed in werewolves and influenced Shakespeare

In 1597 a Royal pamphlet was published about werewolves, the classification of demons, witches and black magic. It explained and endorsed the reasons for persecuting witches in a Christian society under the rule of  law. It included methods of discovering witches and told the ‘misinformed populace’ of the practices, the implications and dangers of sorcery.

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Crime and Punishment, Justice, Life in Tudor times, persecution

Being made a laughing stock could be deadly…

The earliest recorded mention of the stocks being used as a form of punishment was 4700 years ago. ‘He puts my feet in the stocks.’ Job 33:11.

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Justice, Mary Queen of Scots, Scotland, Stuart women

The life of Mary Stuart: Queen of Scotland

As King James V of Scotland lay on his sick-bed at his Palace in Fife in 1542, his French queen consort was giving birth to their daughter at Linlithgow Palace. James had just suffered a bitter loss to Henry VIII’s troops at the battle of Solway Moss and aged just 30 he was a broken man.

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Anne Boleyn, Crime and Punishment, Henry VIII, Justice, Original Letters, Places to visit, Tudor women

Anne Boleyn’s letter from the Tower, May 6th 1536.

It is alleged that a copy of this letter was found amongst Thomas Cromwell’s possessions after his execution. Its authenticity is doubted because Anne was closely guarded and it would have been difficult to conceal such a letter. However the letter does have a ring of authenticity:

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Anne Boleyn, Crime and Punishment, Henry VIII, Justice, Tudor London, Tudor women

19th May 1536: Queen of England executed for treason…

Before her execution Anne Boleyn heard Mass and took Holy Communion for the last time. She declared her innocence before and after taking the Eucharist before witnesses. This is important because She believed, like all sixteenth century people, that if she lied on the Eucharist that she would be condemned to hell.

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Crime and Punishment, Death, Justice

Bloody and brutal, Tudor Punishments

Pressing

This was a very cruel way to die and it was used to convince a prisoner who refused to give a plea of innocent or guilty to change their mind. If no plea was given then a trial could not take place. Pressing took place inside prisons like Newgate or the fleet. The accused was laid on a table and had another table put on top of them. Then lead, rocks and weights were put on until they either decided to plea or were crushed to death.

The prison guards or ‘Keepers’ fed the victim with ‘Three morsels of barley bread without drink for the first day and as much filthy water as they like if they survived to the next day.

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Anne Boleyn, Crime and Punishment, Death, Henry VIII, Justice, Reformation, Tudor women

Why did Anne Boleyn REALLY have to die?..

In the aftermath of the queen’s arrest, the King exhibited the behaviour of a man, who at the very least, wanted to believe his wife was guilty. He spent time being rowed up and down the river Thames on his Royal barge with loud music playing and surrounded by many court ladies. He grew a manly beard shortly Anne’s arrest and was never seen without it again. The full faced, larger than life and intimidating portraits of Henry with his legs outstretched and eyes staring at the viewer were all painted after Anne was dead.

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