England’s 5 Bloodiest Royal Executions

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STEWART KING lists his Top 5 Royal Executions

Here are my top five royal executions. I’m sure you have some of your own favourites.

Tower of London - the site of a Ripper suspect identity parade
Tower of London – the site of a Ripper suspect identity parade

Royal Executions

5. Mervyn Tuchet, Second Earl of Castlehaven

Executed 14th May 1631

Mervyn Tuchet
Mervyn Tuchet

First up is the man who initially appears to be a victim of severely unenlightened times but was actually something of a bounder. ‘Aiding buggery’ was the charge. King Charles mercifully granted a postponement of execution for the Earl to repent for the crimes of sodomy, rape (of his wife) and being a papist. That’s ‘papist.’ The charges contained such rhetoric as: ‘seduced by the instigation of the devil, he wickedly, devilishly, feloniously committed that detestable abominable sin.’ He was beheaded on Tower Hill.

4. Anne Boleyn

Executed 19th May 1536

Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn

For charges of adultery, incest and treason King Henry VIII gave Anne the dubious honour of being beheaded by a sword. Her ladies removed her headdress and necklaces and then tied a blindfold over her eyes. The executioner, Rombaud, was so taken with her beauty that he tried to distract her by saying ‘Where’s my sword?’ before delivering the deadly stroke. The sort of misdirection you employ when feeding a baby only slightly messier…

3. Margaret Pole, The Countess Of Salisbury

Executed 27th May 1541

Margaret Pole
Margaret Pole

For making the mistake of siding with Katherine of Aragon against King Henry VIII this unfortunate sixty-eight year old woman was taken to a private area within the Tower of London but attempted to retain her dignity by refusing to lay her head on the block. Because of this ten blows were required to behead her, the first only opening up a gaping gash in her shoulder. That’s gotta smart.

2. Guy Fawkes

Executed 31 January 1606

Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes

King James I watched the trial of the gunpowder plotters and them being dragged from the Tower to the Old Palace Yard at Westminster, opposite the building they had attempted to blow up. Fawkes, although weakened by protracted torture, managed to jump from the gallows, breaking his neck in the fall and thus avoiding the agony of the latter part of his execution His lifeless body was still quartered and distributed to ‘the four corners of the kingdom,’ to be displayed as a warning to other would-be traitors. To this day UK residents celebrate by burning their lips on baked potatoes.

1. William Wallace

Executed 23rd August 1305

William Wallace
William Wallace

No such luck for Bill. For high treason and crimes against English civilians King Edward I had him stripped naked and dragged through the city by a horse to the Elms at Smithfield. He was hanged but released still alive. After that he was castrated, eviscerated and had his bowels burnt before him before he was beheaded and cut into four parts. His head was dipped in tar to preserve it and then placed on a pike over London Bridge. His limbs were displayed in Newcastle upon Tyne, Berwick-upon- Tweed, Stirling and Perth. At that point, they were sure he was dead. How does it feel like to be a winner, Bill?

What do you think of these Royal Executions? Tell us in the comments section below!


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