Henry VIII was threatened by Elizabeth Barton

10 influential women who were executed during the reign of the Tudors

The Tudor dynasty, which ruled for nearly 120 exciting years, resulted in five monarchs who are among the most notorious and provocative rulers in history. The century of Tudor prosperity, hardship, intrigue and war was inevitably riddled with death - especially the ruthless King Henry VIII.

According to historians, Henry VIII is believed to have executed between 57,000 and 72,000 people. While these numbers may be an exaggeration, his three children - Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I - also had the blood of many victims on their hands. Some notable women have died because of their politics, their beliefs, and their hearts.

10 Margaret Ward

Photo credit: John Salmon

Margaret Ward's early life has always been a mystery because there is little information about her upbringing. However, it is known that she was born in Congleton, Cheshire and later lived in London in the service of a lady named Whitall.

Margaret had noticed that a priest by the name of Richard Watson was being held, starved and mistreated in Bridewell Prison, a newly assigned palace that sheltered the punished and homeless children of London.

After Watson was moved to a larger cell, Margaret devised a plan to help him escape. She arranged a boat to take the priest to safety and smuggled a rope to allow him to get safely from the prison to the ground.

When the plan was thwarted, Margaret was arrested and interrogated under torture. During her trial eight days later, Margaret bravely said she never regretted "rescuing this innocent man from the hands of those bloody wolves."

As a devout Catholic, Margaret was given the choice of attending services in an Anglican church and asking Queen Elizabeth I to excuse her or hang on her neck for her crimes. She refused to beg and was executed on August 30, 1588.

Margaret Ward was considered a martyr and honored and canonized on October 25, 1970. After that she was called Saint Margaret Ward.

9 Elizabeth Barton

Photo credit: Thomas Holloway

Elizabeth Barton was born in 1506 and suffered from epilepsy as a young girl. As a teenager lived as a servant in the home of Thomas Cobb (Overseer of the Archbishop's Estate of Canterbury), Elizabeth was struck by an illness that caused hysteria. Her seizures or "trances", which sometimes lasted for days, led to delusions that were interpreted as divine prophecies. As a result, their popularity grew.

After she recovered from her illness, the pilgrims flocked to Elizabeth. She used her popularity to develop further prophecies and even said she had a direct connection with the Virgin Mary. The archbishop became suspicious and opened an investigation.

The prophecy that sealed Elizabeth's fate was about Henry VIII. It supposedly said that if he were to separate himself from his current wife, Catherine of Aragon, he "should no longer be king of this realm ... and die the death of a villain" would get divorced.

During interrogation, Elizabeth confessed to treason and was later sentenced to death. She and her allies were executed on the Tyburn gallows on April 20, 1534.

8 Lady Jane Gray

Photo credit: Paul Delaroche

At the tender age of 10, Jane Gray entered the household of Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII. There she was raised strongly Protestant and became more spiritual with age.

Jane's life in court didn't begin until her father was made Duke of Suffolk in 1551. There the Duke of Northumberland took over the reign of Henry's son Edward VI, who was unable to govern due to his young age.

When Edward died of tuberculosis, Northumberland tried to deny the throne to Henry's daughters, Catholic Mary I and Edward's half-sister Elizabeth I, and position Jane as the next royal heir.

Northumberland suggested the king to illegitimate his sisters, and upon his death Jane was proclaimed queen. The new queen's succession, however, was incredibly short-lived when Mary moved to Jane's throne. After Jane relinquished her sovereignty in just nine days, Mary was crowned queen because of popular support.

Queen Mary was ruthless and imprisoned Jane, her husband and father in the Tower of London in 1553 for treason. The following year, Jane and her husband were both beheaded.

7 Jane Boleyn

In 1524, the well-groomed and wealthy Jane Parker married the Boleyn family, one of the most notorious families of the Tudor dynasty. It is widely believed that her association with George Boleyn crumbled soon after her wedding due to his promiscuity and alleged gay movements.

To make matters worse, Jane was reportedly jealous of George's sister Anne Boleyn. Jane played an important role in the downfall of her husband and the future Queen Anne.

Although Jane had previously taken those in court, she waited eleven years to attack her husband. She testified that George and Queen Anne were in an incestuous relationship and implied that George had fathered a baby that Anne had failed.

Years later, Jane found herself in the middle of another broken marriage. This time it was King Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves. Their marriage was annulled in part because of Jane's statement that the marriage had never been consummated.

Jane's death came after she was involved in organizing secret meetings between Queen Catherine Howard and her sweetheart Thomas Culpepper. For this, Jane was imprisoned and interrogated for months. She suffered a nervous breakdown before she was declared insane. With a single blow of the ax, Jane was beheaded in the Tower of London on February 13, 1542.

6 Anne Askew

Anne Askew was a rebel with one thing who refused to change her last name when she was forced to marry at the age of 15. Anne was also an avid reader of the Bible - an act King Henry VIII made illegal for women and low-ranking men. Anne ignored criticism from her church and other naysayers, followed her own course and converted to Protestantism.

After Anne divorced her husband, who protested her rebellious spirit, she traveled to London, where she had high-ranking friends and suspicious enemies. Lord Chancellor Thomas Wriothesley, keeping a close eye on Anne's movements, was one of those enemies.

Anne began to openly preach the teachings of the Bible. Her escapades, however, were cut short when she was arrested in 1545 and charged with heresy. She was later released because she had no testimony against her. The following year she was arrested again for heresy and imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Anne was tortured there despite confessing to her crimes. Anne remained true to herself but refused to name other Protestants and was sentenced to execution on July 16, 1546. As a result of her torture, Anne was unable to walk and was taken to Smithfield on a chair and tied to a stake. When she refused to publicly give up her belief, Anne was burned alive.

5 Margaret Pole

Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery

Margaret Pole was born in 1473 to George, Duke of Clarence, and the niece of Edward IV and Richard III. Born. During this time the War of the Roses was raging in England. Margaret's family was embroiled in the power struggle, and her father was third in line.

At the end of the war, the victorious Henry Tudor was declared King Henry VII. But with Margaret and her brother in the mix, the king felt that a threat loomed. To neutralize the situation, the King executed Margaret's younger brother and married her to Sir Richard Pole at the age of 14.

After both the king and her husband died, Margaret was offered jobs in the home of Henry VIII's daughter Mary. Margaret, now Countess of Salisbury, had bought land and money with her title. After Henry VIII divorced Catherine, Margaret's close companion, everything began to turn for her. Even after King Anne married Boleyn and removed all of Margaret's followers, she refused to leave.

Margaret's son Reginald lived in exile because of an almost violent confrontation with the king. After the Pope made him cardinal, Reginald returned to England and raised an army against the king. Reginald wanted to invade England on behalf of the Catholic Church. The king who accused Margaret of being involved locked her in the Tower of London until she was 67 years old.

On the morning of her execution in 1541, the novice executioner brandished an ax to decapitate her, but punched her neck several times. Instead, he slapped her shoulder and head. Eventually Margaret Pole - the oldest woman executed in the Tower of London - was beheaded.

Over 300 years later, Margaret was made a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

4 Catherine Howard

Photo via Wikimedia

Before his marriage to Anne of Cleves was dissolved, King Henry VIII fell in love with Mrs. Catherine Howard's young, lively and attractive lady. Heinrich married Catherine 16 days after his marriage to Anne was annulled.

Although Henry was 50 and Catherine was only 19, he needed his young wife's diversion because he was living with painful ulcers from a tournament injury. After a year of happiness, Catherine was surrounded by allegations of promiscuity as she began seeking the company of other men.

It wasn't long before the king got the word. At first he did not want to believe the allegations. However, evidence of his wife's infidelity continued to emerge.

Aside from hiring her former lover as a personal secretary, Catherine had an affair with Thomas Culpepper in 1541. Her indiscretions eventually caught up with her and Catherine was charged with high treason. On February 13, 1542, Catherine was beheaded in the Tower of London at the age of 21.

3 Margaret Clitherow

Photo via Wikimedia

Margaret Clitherow grew up in a Protestant home in Yorkshire, England. However, after a few years of marriage, she converted to Catholicism. Margaret was incredibly devoted to the faith. She secretly held mass in her home and worked to bring back those who had deviated from the faith.

Under Queen Elizabeth's reign, laws were passed that suppressed the Catholic faith in England. Although Margaret did not obey, an 1855 law prohibited priests from living in England and sentenced to death anyone who had a priest.

After it was discovered that Margaret had illegally sent her son to France for a Catholic education, authorities ransacked her home. They found out that a mass had been held there and that priests were also hiding there.

As a result, Margaret was arrested. She never filed an appeal and didn't want a trial. Under English law, this meant that Margaret "should be pressed to death."

On March 25, 1586 Margaret was placed on a rock with a door on it. Weights were piled on the door until her back was broken and she was crushed to death. She was only 30 years old.

Margaret was canonized in 1970 and has been called Saint Margaret Clitherow since then.

2 Mary, Queen of Scots

Photo credit: Francois Clouet

Mary Stuart was the daughter of King James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise. The king's reign ended just six days after the birth of his daughter in 1542, who made her Queen of Scots when she was a child. Since she was too young to rule, her mother ruled as regent in her place.

King Henry VIII, looking to Scotland, had arranged for his son to marry the young Mary. But after Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn broke ties with the Catholic Church, Scottish Catholics rejected the idea of ​​a union. Instead, Mary was sent to France to live at the French court, where she later married Franz, heir to the French throne.

When Elizabeth became queen, her crown was threatened by Roman Catholic claims that she was incapable of governing and that her parents' marriage was invalid. It was then that Mary's claim to the throne was laid.

After Francis died of an ear infection in 1559, Mary returned to Protestant Scotland despite religious tensions. She later married Elizabeth's cousin Henry Stewart, who turned out to be cold and ruthless.

Mary no longer wanted to have anything to do with her husband and it is alleged that she killed him. Hurting the injury even more, she married the man who was the prime suspect in Stewart's death. That scandal was the nail in her coffin. Her new husband was banished and she was imprisoned.

After Mary's escape, she and her cousin Elizabeth sought refuge in England. But the Queen of England showed no mercy and held Mary captive for 18 years. When it was discovered that Mary was involved in an assassination attempt against the queen, she was charged with high treason and sentenced to death. Mary Stuart was beheaded on February 8, 1587.

1 Anne Boleyn

Photo via Wikimedia

Anne Boleyn was born around 1501 and was initially sent to France. Then she returned to England and served Catherine of Aragon, the future queen, as lady-in-waiting.

While she was in court, Anne enchanted King Henry VIII, who wrote in a letter to her: “If you ... give up on yourself, heart, body and soul ... I will take you for my only mistress and reject all thoughts and affection of others save you to serve only you. "

At that time, Anne refused to be the king's mistress. Henry desperately campaigned for his marriage to Catherine to be annulled, because her marriage was an abomination in the eyes of God, because she was the widow of Henry's brother and could not bear a son.

During the six-year conflict between Heinrich and the Catholic Church, Anne became pregnant by him. In 1533 she and Henry married without the Pope's blessing. Anne was crowned Queen of England the following year, to the great dismay. Anne had a daughter, Elizabeth, during her marriage to the king. However, two consecutive deliveries resulted in stillborn babies.

Now he was married to the woman he wanted, and Henry dropped out of the Catholic Church in 1534 to start the Church of England. Shortly thereafter, however, the marriage collapsed because of Henry's infidelity and Anne's furious jealousy.

When Anne gave birth to another stillborn, Henry decided to replace Anne with Jane Seymour, one of his lovers. As a result, Anne was jailed on false charges, including adultery and incest. She was sentenced to death on May 19, 1536 and beheaded with a single blow with the sword.