November 15th, 2009 Headsman
Pleaseth it your lordship to be advertised, that … the same 15th day [of November] the late abbot of Glastonbury went from Wells to Glastonbury, and there was drawn through the town upon a hurdle to the hill called the Torre, where he was put to execution; at which time he asked God mercy and the king for his great offences towards his highness, and also desired my servants then being there present to see the execution done, that they would be meane [communicate] to my lord president and to me that we should desire the king’s highness of his merciful goodness and in the way of charity to forgive him his great offences by him committed and done against his grace, and thereupon took his death very patiently, and his head and body bestowed in like manner as I certified your lordship in my last letter. And likewise the other two monks [John Thorne and Roger James, executed with Richard Whiting] desired like forgiveness, and took their death very patiently, whose souls God pardon.
And whereas I at my last being with your lordship at London moved your lordship for my brother Paulett, desiring your lordship to be a mean that he might have the surveyorship of Glastonbury, which I doubt not but he will use and exercise the said office to the king’s most profit and advantage, and your lordship’s goodness herein to him to be shown he shall recompense to his little power, I assure your lordship he hath been very diligent, and divers others by his means, to serve the king at this time, according to his duty and right…
the late abbot of Glastonbury, afore his execution, was examined upon divers articles and interrogatories to him ministered by me, but he could accuse no man but himself of any offence against the king’s highness, nor he would confess no more gold nor silver nor any other thing more than he did before your lordship in the Tower …
From Wells, the 16th day of November.
Your assured to command,
Once one of the greatest religious houses in England (and the legendary burial place of King Arthur), Glastonbury Abbey today is a picturesque ruin. Cornell University has published some 19th century photos of the abbey’s remains in a less manicured, more gorgeously overgrown situation.
Pollard had just a few weeks before exonerated the monastery of any profligacy, and the abbot seems perhaps not to have even been properly charged or attainted … but as one can discern in Pollard’s cloying appeal to keep the surveying position in the family, the practical henchman had no qualms as events unfolded about taking a commercial position on the end of the Abbot of Glastonbury.
* Pollard had been in the thick of the destruction of Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter just the year before.
Also on this date
- 1591: Barnabe Brisson, at the hands of the Sixteen
- 2011: Reginald Brooks, flipping the bird
- 2011: Oba Chandler
- 1781: Tupac Katari
- 1808: Sultan Mustafa IV, by his brother
- 1924: Daisuke Namba, for the Toranomon Incident
- 1949: Nathuram Godse, Gandhi's assassin
Entry Filed under: 16th Century,20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Death Penalty,Drawn and Quartered,England,Execution,God,Gruesome Methods,Hanged,History,Martyrs,Murder,Notable Participants,Pelf,Power,Public Executions,Religious Figures,Treason,Wrongful Executions
Tags: 1530s, 1539, abbot of glastonbury, catholics, corruption, dissolution of the monasteries, francis aidan gasquet, glastonbury, glastonbury tor, henry courtenay, john thorne, king arthur, november 15, Protestant Reformation, richard pollard, richard whiting, roger james, rychard pollard, somerset, tudor england