19 December – A conspirator found dead in his cell and a clash with a mob causes the death of an abbess

On this day in Tudor history, 19th December 1583, twenty-three-year-old convicted conspirator, John Somerville, was found dead in his cell at Newgate Prison. His death was said to be suicide, due to his poor mental health, but some Catholics believed that he had been killed.

Somerville had been found guilty of conspiring to assassinate the queen, but did he really mean to? Was he mentally ill? Was he manipulated by others?

Find out more about John Somerville in this talk…

Also on this day in Tudor history, 19th December 1576, Katherine Palmer, Abbess of Syon, died in Belgium.

Her death came just over a month after she had confronted a mob that had broken into her monastery.

Find out more about Abbess Katherine Palmer, how her order had ended up settling in Belgium, and how her order is the only surviving pre-Reformation religious community in England today, in this video…

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