Friday, August 14, 2009

On This Day in Tudor History:

On August 14, 1473, Lady Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury was born - the last legitimate member of the House of Plantagenet.
Lady Salisbury was Godmother and sponsor to King Henry VIII's daughter with Katherine of Aragon, Princess Mary, later Queen Mary I. She was also appointed Mary's Governess until Henry had Mary declared illegitimate and placed in Princess Elizabeth's household.
After Margaret's son, Reginald Cardinal Pole, published a treatise critical of Henry for leaving Katherine and marrying Anne Boleyn, the King systematically dismantled and executed the Poles while Reginald stayed safe over seas.
On My 28th, 1541, Lady Salisbury was executed on the Tower Green.
According to some accounts, Lady Salisbury, who was 67 years old, frail and ill, was dragged to the block, but refused to lay her head on it, having to be forced down. As she struggled, the inexperienced executioner's first blow made a gash in her shoulder rather than her neck. Ten additional blows were required to complete the execution. A less reputable account states that she leapt from the block after the first clumsy blow and ran, pursued by the executioner, being struck eleven times before she died. She was buried at the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula and beatified a martyr by the Catholic Church.

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