Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Question from Ann - First female execution

I am doing research for a book I am writing. In it, a woman is sentanced to execution, and I would like to know in what year in King Henry VIII reign the first woman was executed, as I need to get facts right. Thanks


Anonymous said...

i'm going to take an educated guess, and say it was Anne Boleyn, May 19th, 1536, in Tower Green in the Tower of london. Buried in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula (st. peter in chains)

Anonymous said...

I can tell you that the first female execution during the reign of King Henryviii was a woman called Elizabeth Barton she was executed in 1534.Elizabeth was a servant who was a mystic she beleived that she could predict and see what would happen in the future.The king's future. she predicted that the marriage would not take place between Henry and Anne.Her prediction was wrong,now this is what got her tried for treason and put in the Tower and then executed. I Hope that answered your question.

Foose said...

I imagine lower-class women were sentenced fairly regularly to hang for theft and various other offenses. For upper-class female executions, Stow's chronicle says:

Ye xv. yere of Henrie ye viij, Tomas Baldry beyng mayre, was ye lady Hungarford and hir man hangyd at Tyburne.

That's about 1524. Tudorplace has more info:

"[Walter Hungerford's] father's second wife was Agnes, widow of John Cotell. She had (it afterwards appeared) strangled her first husband at Farleigh Castle on 26 Jul 1518, with the aid of William Mathewe and William Inges, yeomen of Heytesbury, Wiltshire, and seems to have married Sir Edward almost immediately after burning the body. Not until Sir Edward's death were proceedings taken against her and her accomplices for the murder. She and Mathewe were then convicted and were hanged at Tyburn on 20 Feb 1523/4."

The Hungerfords were a particularly creepy family, with more incidents of their murders, treasons and incest enlivening period chronicles over the course of the 16th century.

Brian Wainwright said...

I think I am right in saying that Henry VIII was the first to execute a noblewoman, and the first to execute noblewomen for political reasons, but the execution of *ordinary* women for run of the mill crimes was par for the course long before his time.

Anonymous said...

Yes Brian is correct, apparently there were many unnamed women executed prior to both Elizbeth Barton and Anne Boleyn.

William Kingston (Anne Boleyn`s jailer) mentioned that he had seen many men AND women expressing sorrow before their executions, but Anne Boleyn did not. Thus, there were women executed before her.

Anonymous said...

That is correct their probably was more women executed long before Elizabeth Barton but unnamed and where there is no record of it.The record is probably lost.
The only ones to have been executed pre 1536 are lady Hungerford ex 1524 and Elizabeth Barton 1534.