4 August 1540 – The Execution of Blessed William Horne, Carthusian Martyr

Posted By on August 4, 2011

Carthusian monksOn this day in history, 4th August 1540, Brother William Horne, laybrother of the London Charterhouse was hanged, disembowelled and quartered at Tyburn. He was the last of the Carthusian martyrs to be killed after 18 members of the Carthusian order of monks based at the London Charterhouse were condemned to death in 1535 for refusing to accept King Henry VIII as the Supreme Head of the Church.

Horne was executed at Tyburn with Edmund Brindholme, an English Catholic priest and chaplain to Lord Lisle in Calais, and Clement Philpot, a servant of Lord Lisle. Brindholme and Philpot had both been attainted for betraying England by offering assistance to Cardinal Reginald Pole.

According to the Chronicler Raphael Holinshed, at Tyburn on the 4th August “six persons were there hanged and quartered, and had beene atteinted of treason by parlement”1, including “Giles Heron gentleman”, and adds that a gentleman named Charles Carew was also hanged that day “for robbing of the ladie Carew”. Holinshed also writes:-

“The fourth of August, Thomas Empson sometime a moonke of Westminster, which had beene in prison for treason in Newgate now for the space of three yeares and more, came before the justices of gaole deliuerie at Newgate, and for that he would not aske the king’s pardon, nor be sworne to be true to him, his moonks garment was plucked from his backe, and he repriued, till the king were informed of his malicious obstinacie: and this was the last moonke that was seene in his clothing in England till queene Maries daies.”

How sad!

Trivia: Giles Heron, one of the men mentioned as being executed on this day in 1540, was the son-in-law of Sir Thomas More, and foreman of the Grand Jury of Middlesex in May 1536. He was the man who announced that the jury had decided that there was sufficient evidence to suggest that Anne Boleyn and the five men were guilty of the alleged crimes carried out at Hampton Court Palace and Whitehall, and that they should be indicted and sent to trial before a jury.

You can read more about the Carthusian Martyrs in my article “19 June 1535 – 3 Carthusian Monks Hanged, Drawn and Quartered”.

Notes and Sources

  1. Holinshed’s Chronicles of Engand, Scotland and Ireland, Volume III, Raphael Holinshed, p819
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