Amazing True Stories of Execution Blunde by Geoffrey Abbott, G. (Geoffrey) Abbott, Jeremy Beadle

By Geoffrey Abbott, G. (Geoffrey) Abbott, Jeremy Beadle

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The deputy, entering into the spirit of it, said that he couldn’t alter the cart’s route, but if they were stopped by the innkeeper, he, the deputy, would certainly go bail for Thomas.

Elizabeth, despite her feelings towards him, realised the danger he posed and reluctantly issued the final order for his execution. On 25 February 1601, the 34-year-old Earl, wearing ‘a gown of wrought velvet, a black sattin suit, a felt hat blacke, with a little ruff about his neck,’ was escorted by sixteen yeoman warders from his prison in the Develin Tower (now known, appropriately enough, as the Devereux Tower) on to Tower Green. Such was his popularity with the Londoners that the authorities decided to perform the execution within the walls rather than risk a riot by the protesting public if it was carried out, as custom demanded, on Tower Hill.

In her cell she vainly tried once more to commit suicide by choking herself with a corner of her bed sheet. But her imprisonment lasted, not for life, as sentenced by the court, but for a brief ten months, for with the help of a sentry whom she bribed, she escaped to England disguised as a man and joined her husband in London, where she lived until her death in 1791. In 1581, having penned seditious writings against Queen Elizabeth’s proposed wedding plans, John Stubbs was sentenced to have the offending hand amputated.

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