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Traitor's heads
August 22, 2011
11:14 pm
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Catalina
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I was reading about Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham on a Tudors wiki and it was stated that their heads were still on display in 1546. So given that they were executed in 1541, were the heads preserved in some way? I wouldn't have thought there would have been much left to display 5 years later.

'If honour were profitable, everybody would be honourable'  Thomas More

August 23, 2011
9:10 am
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Sophie1536
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Interesting Question! I really have no idea though, lol!

I would have thought that after a while nobody could tell who's heads who so how they came to this I really don't know as wouldn't the elements have taken there toll and birds?

That brings me to a question- Were the heads of traitors not allowed after a little while taken back by their families? Or was it law that traitors heads were just left to rot until they no longer existed?

Really great question Catalina Wink

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August 23, 2011
9:31 am
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Anyanka
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Is it possible for you to add a link to the wiki article?

It's always bunnies.

August 23, 2011
9:42 am
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Catalina
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http://www.thetudorswiki.com/p…..al+Profile

About halfway down the page :

'Thomas Culpepper was also executed that day, though he suffered a more merciful
beheading; this was ordered by the king, perhaps because of Culpepper's
higher rank and personal service in his household. Their heads were
fixed on spears atop London Bridge and remained there as late as 1546'

'If honour were profitable, everybody would be honourable'  Thomas More

August 23, 2011
10:10 am
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Sharon
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The severed heads of traitors were placed on pikes, dipped in tar to preserve them, and hung on the bridge for all to see.

August 23, 2011
10:11 am
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Catalina
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From http://www.privatetoursuk.com/…..ridge.html

 

'At the Southwark end, however, the bridge's Gatehouse displayed the
tar-preserved severed heads of traitors, a grisly spectacle which
counted William Wallace and Thomas More among the unfortunate victims.'

 

So it seems the heads were preserved in tar. Hmm, if thats the case then the heads surely would have been unrecognisable anyway?

'If honour were profitable, everybody would be honourable'  Thomas More

August 23, 2011
10:13 am
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Catalina
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Posted at the same time lol!

'If honour were profitable, everybody would be honourable'  Thomas More

August 23, 2011
10:21 am
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Sharon
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Great minds! 

I just finished a book about William Wallace.  He was the first to be displayed in this manner in 1305. 

August 23, 2011
12:01 pm
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Anyanka
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Thanks for the links.

It's always bunnies.

August 25, 2011
8:40 pm
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Impish_Impulse
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I had thought the heads were parboiled. Maybe they left the 'important' ones up longer. As for giving them back to the families, I don't think that was commonly done since Thomas More's daughter had to bribe someone to give the head to her instead of simply tossing it in the river after a period of time, which was apparently the custom.

                        survivor ribbon                             

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          Ring the bell and run. He hates that."    

August 25, 2011
11:04 pm
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Catalina
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It must have been quite a sight to enter London and see all these heads fixed on spikes. I can't even begin to imagine how horrific that must have looked.

'If honour were profitable, everybody would be honourable'  Thomas More

August 26, 2011
2:22 am
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Sophie1536
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How awful for the families to see their loved ones heads displayed like that, I know this was the times they lived in but still it must have been truly dreadful.

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August 26, 2011
8:09 am
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Anyanka
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Catalina said:

It must have been quite a sight to enter London and see all these heads fixed on spikes. I can't even begin to imagine how horrific that must have looked.


It wasn't just London though. IIRC, Richard of York's head and that of one of his son's were displayed over the gates at York.

It's always bunnies.

August 26, 2011
3:35 pm
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Bella44
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Sophie1536 said:

How awful for the families to see their loved ones heads displayed like that, I know this was the times they lived in but still it must have been truly dreadful.


Thomas Mores' daughter Margaret was able to bribe a guard to get her fathers' head back before it was displayed.

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