20 April 1534 – Execution of Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent

The Imposture of the Holy Maid of Kent
The Imposture of the Holy Maid of Kent

On 20th April 1534 Elizabeth Barton, a Benedictine nun who became known as “the Nun of Kent” or “the Holy Maid of Kent”, was hanged for treason at the gallows at Tyburn along with Father Edward Bocking (a monk and Barton’s spiritual adviser), Richard Masters (her parish priest), Richard Risby (warden of the Observant Friary at Canterbury) and Hugh Rich (warden of the Observant Friary at Richmond).

They had all been attainted of high treason in January 1534 after Barton had prophesied that if Henry proceeded with his divorce from Catherine of Aragon and married Anne Boleyn, then he would lose his kingdom within a month and “should die a villain’s death”.

You can read the full story of the nun’s prophecies and how Thomas More became implicated in the whole affair in my article Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent.

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2 thoughts on “20 April 1534 – Execution of Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent”
  1. I agree with what you say in your article Claire, it does seem likely the poor lady may have suffered from a mental illness/medical condition, to carry on in the way she did, when it was deadly to say anything but good about Henry.
    She could have been manipulated and encouraged to carry on ‘phophesying’ too, by those who wouldn’t dare speak out against Henry’s changes. It is a very sad story.

    1. I agree with you guys as well. I don’t know if this is the perfect place to put this post, but during the anniversary of The Anne Boleyn Files. While Claire graciously let us download her books for free, her and her husband Tim, walked me through getting the Kindle app in my iPhone. I am in the middle of “The Anne Boleyn Collection “book by Claire and it us a MUST READ, MUST HAVE BOOK! All of the books are fabulous and detailed, but I just had to take a moment and give credit where credit is due. These books are amazing. And I’m do glad I got them, even though they might not be free at this time, I tell you they are worth the money. Informative, factual and entertaining. I am completely hooked.
      Lady Brooke

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