20 April 1534 – The Hanging of Elizabeth Barton, The Nun of Kent

Elizabeth Barton Holy Maid of Kent
The Imposture of the Holy Maid of Kent

On this day in 1534 the English Catholic nun, Elizabeth Barton, known as “The Nun of Kent” or “Holy Maid of Kent”, was hanged at Tyburn for treason along with Father Edward Bocking (a monk and Barton’s spiritual adviser), Barton’s parish priest Richard Masters, Richard Risby (warden of the Observant Friary at Canterbury) and Hugh Rich (warden of the Observant Friary at Richmond).

Why would a nun and four priests be hanged for treason?

Because they were a threat to Henry VIII and his plans.

You can find out more about Elizabeth Barton’s story in my article “Elizabeth Barton, The Nun of Kent”. It is a sad story which also involves Bishop John Fisher and Sir Thomas More.

Also on this day in 1534, prominent citizens of London were required to swear the oath of the Act of Succession (thanks Nasim for reminding me of that one!).

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