Countess of Salisbury
Margaret Pole, mother of Reginald, Henry and Geoffrey

On this day in history…

1530 – William (some say Walter) Walsh and Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, arrived at Cawood Castle and arrested Cardinal Thomas Wolsey for high treason.

1538 – Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu, was arrested for treason along with his brother-in-law, Sir Edward Neville, and Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter, and his family (wife Gertrude Blount and son Edward Courtenay). The three men were accused of conspiring against the King, seeking to deprive the King of his title of supreme head of the church and plotting with Cardinal Reginald Pole, the exiled brother of Montagu. Montagu’s brother, Geoffrey Pole, had been imprisoned in the Tower of London at the end of August 1539 and had implicated Henry Pole during his interrogation on the 26th October.

Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury and mother of Reginald, Henry and Geoffrey, was interrogated on the 12th November by William Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton, and Thomas Goodrich, Bishop of Ely.

What happened to these people?

Neville was beheaded on the 9th December 1538, Geoffrey Pole was pardoned on the 2nd January 1539, after having attempted suicide several times, Montagu and Exeter were beheaded on Tower Hill on the 9th January 1539, and Margaret Pole was eventually executed on the 27th May 1541. Exeter’s wife was released in 1540 and his son in 1553. Cardinal Pole escaped the wrath of Henry VIII as he was in exile. He was attainted for treason in 1539 ‘in absentia’ but this was reversed by Mary I in 1554 and he became her Archbishop of Canterbury, serving in that office until his death in 1558.

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