13 November 1553 – The trial of an archbishop and a queen

Posted By on November 13, 2016

lady-jane-grey-and-cranmerOn this day in history, 13th November 1553, Lady Jane Grey (or Queen Jane as I think of her) was tried for treason in a public trial at Guildhall, London, along with her husband Guildford Dudley, his brothers Ambrose and Henry, and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.

They were all found guilty and condemned to death, the men being sentenced to being hanged, drawn and quartered, and Jane to be burned alive, or beheaded.

Click here to read more about the trial.

2 thoughts on “13 November 1553 – The trial of an archbishop and a queen”

  1. There’s a very good new book by historian Nicola Tallis -‘Crown of Blood : the deadly inheritance of Lady Jane Grey’ – highly recommended.

  2. Banditqueen says:

    Wow,, some trial…. What else was Mary to do with a dangerous rival whose family were rebelling again having been pardoned? It seems to me that Mary acted fairly in the circumstances. This was how Tudor and other monarchs dealt with treason. Jane was not some innocent victim or a military Joan of Arc, she was reluctant at first, but once in there she gave commands to destroy Mary and her following, signed herself Jane the Quene and the main ringleaders were executed. It was also with some insight no doubt that the younger Dudleys were released. Although Thomas Cranmer was tried here for treason, he would of course, sadly burn as a leader responsible for all the heresies of the previous reign, the others being beheaded. The law condemned a female traitor to death by burning, because ironically it was deemed less painful and it preserved dignity as felons were hung naked, but records show that most female traitors, being of high birth were indeed beheaded. There is a notable exception, the cousin of the Duke of Norfolk was burned during the second rising of the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1537. John Rodgers condemned a woman to death and scoffed that it was a gentle death. A historian recently cruelly commented that he did not find it gentle at his own death a few years later. It was not a merciful death, it was a horrific death, especially if it went wrong. These so called more merciful deaths were hardly that as reconstructions have shown, even beheading could go wrong if the axeman was inexperienced or the low block used, hanging took 20 minutes or longer to die and hanging, drawing and quartered, the usual male punishment for treason, speaks for itself. The monarchy may have intended to show mercy with the quicker death of beheading, but it was not always, sadly the end result. Execution was intended to put fear in those who watched, rebellion seen as a henious and ungrateful action against the annointed of the Lord. In almost every case, some ringleaders were executed. A subject who had been pardoned stood no chance. As the focus of that rebellion and a candidate to replace Mary, Jane either had to become less dangerous or her life could not be spared. To be fair, Mary would continue to try and save her young cousin for several months, but in the end, she had no choice, Jane had to die.

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