Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Question from Marilyn R - Remains of those burned at the stake

Today, 16th July, in 1546 Anne Askew, John Lascelles, John Adams and Nicholas Belenian were burned at the stake at Smithfield for heresy.

What happened to what few remains there would be after execution by burning? Would there be any sort of burial? Would the flames have been intense enough to destroy bone and teeth?


tudor princess said...

In the book, Haunted London by Peter Underwood, he states that: "In 1849 the exact site of the burnings was discovered during some excavations whilst a sewer was being laid. Three feet below the surface were found unhewn stones, covered with ashes and charred human bones. At the same time, strong oak posts were discovered in a fire-blackened condition, together with a staple and ring".

I am not too sure whether this is truth or not; however I find the church of St Bart's very atmospheric!

shtove said...

Looks like John Bale made a point of the disappearance of the ashes of Askew and her companions - it doesn't matter because she wasn't a superstitious Papist.


It was common for Catholics to soak up the blood of executed martyrs with napkins and cloth as a kind of relic.

Otherwise not sure if ashes would have been buried, or where. Maybe they were just swept into the gutter - although I guess the executing authorities could have charged money for delivery of the remains to the relatives.