December 27th, 2015 Headsman
Though it is not certain, it is thought that December 27, 1539 might have been the execution date of Catholic martyr St. John Stone in England.
An Augustinian whose friary was closed in 1538 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Stone at his expulsion “rudely and traitorously” refused to endorse Henry VIII’s authority over the church. He maintained his obstinacy even under the personal interrogation of Thomas Cromwell.
Somehow a year passed before Stone was brought to trial at Canterbury as a traitor. The execution of the inevitable sentence might then have been held up to coincide with the arrival to Canterbury of Anne of Cleves, the German Protestant princess who was (ever so briefly) Henry VIII’s fourth wife. Welcome to England, honey! It’s a great scene to imagine, but obviously the story — and hence this date — smacks of propaganda.
Whatever the true date of execution was, what we do have for certain is the butcher’s bill — itemizing the operation of tearing apart a religious dissident into rigorous accounting straight from your corporate expense report.
Paid for half a ton of timber to make a pair of gallows to hang Friar Stone, 2s. 6d.; to a labourer that digged the holes, 3d.; to four men that helped set up the gallows for drink to them, for carriage of the timber from Stablegate to Dongeon, 1s.; for a hurdle, 6d.; for a load of wood and for a horse to draw him to the Dongeon, 2s. 3d.; paid two men that set the kettle and parboiled him, 1s.; to two men that carried his quarters to the gates and set them up, 1s.; for halters to hang him and Sandwich cord and for straw, 1s.; to a woman that scoured the kettle, 2d.; to him that did the execution, 3s. 8d.
On this day..
- 1864: Richard Hale, but not Cecilia Baker - 2016
- 1821: Ketaukah and Kewahiskin, the first hangings in the Michigan Territory - 2014
- 1504: Ivan Volk Kuritsyn, Ivan Maksimov and Dmitry Konoplev, Judaizers - 2013
- Themed Set: Heresy - 2013
- 2001: Kojiro Asakura, frustrated realtor - 2012
- 1666: Nine Covenanters in Ayr and Edinburgh - 2011
- 1944: Not Sim Kessel, Jewish boxer - 2010
- 1899: Hilda Blake, poorhouse orphan - 2009
- 1979: Hafizullah Amin - 2008
- 1739: Penelope Kenny and Sarah Simpson - 2007