Archive for Religion

10 January 1645 – William Laud

Posted in Beheaded with tags , , , on January 10 by Last Writes

William LaudFormer Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud lost his head today in 1645 for passionately spreading the Lord’s word.

He was beheaded for treason for his unflinchingly single-minded work in trying to achieve church unity. But it appears he was truly misunderstood and a bit precious by all accounts. Laud had a dream – of uniting the church under one denomination: Anglicanism. But he didn’t take kindly to opposition. His methods provoked Puritans into thinking he was pro-Catholic. He also managed to incense the Scottish who tended to be more Presbyterian. And the Catholics? Well they didn’t even get a look in by the sounds of things. But all viewed his activity as sinister purely because he was overzealous in his defence of the church.

Laud alive

He bagged quite a few enemies along the way too. Laud had a renowned doctor of divinity’s ears lopped off after they’d branded him and whipped him. Why? Because he’d called bishops ‘tools of the Antichrist’. Laud also tried to standardise public worship, for example wearing of the surplice, which harked back to the days of Catholicism. And in doing so, he only succeeded in making people really wary that this was some Popish plot, when really all he wanted was to inject some kind of formality in to proceedings. Laud also wanted the Church to get back some of its land, which of course threatened the new landowners.

But the last straw came in 1637 when he tried to impose the ‘Book of Common Prayer’ on Scotland. Bad move. They wouldn’t even entertain the thought of it and they let him know in no uncertain Scottish terms. Riots, pledges to uphold Protestantism, you name it, they did it to try to maintain their stance on religion. They even went as far as to vote off every bishop in Scotland.

Dead loss

Of course, England didn’t just sit back and ignore their friends over the border. The unrest spread over the next three years until Laud was slung in jail for treason in 1640. They tried him and failed to reach a verdict so Parliament stepped in and sentenced him to death. He was held at the Tower of London until 1645, when he was beheaded at the age of 71.

Also on this day

Yemelyan Ivanovich Pugachov
James Terry Roach

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

26 December c34-35 – Saint Stephen

Posted in Death penalty, Stoned with tags , , , , on December 26 by Old Sparky

Saint Stephen

Saint Stephen

Saint Stephen was canonised after he was stoned to death for allegedly blaspheming against Moses and God circa 34 to 35AD.

He was tried for speaking out against the Law of the Jerusalem.

Feast of Stephen

One of the saint’s two feast days falls on 26 December, which led to his immortalisation in the lyrics of the Christmas carol ‘Good King Wenceleslas’. His other feast day falls on 20 January.

Also on this day

26 December 1900 – James Bergin

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

5 December 1612 – Saint John Almond

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged, drawn & quartered with tags , , , , , on December 5 by Old Sparky

Saint John Almond was one of 40 Martyrs of England and Wales.

He was hanged, drawn and quartered aged 35, in Tyburn, London, for the crime of being a priest. He riled the anti-Catholics, rife at the time, with his effective arguments.

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

24 November 311 – St Peter of Alexandria

Posted in Beheaded, Death penalty with tags , , , , , , on November 24 by Old Sparky

St Peter of Alexandria

St Peter of Alexandria

St Peter of Alexandria was beheaded in Eygpt in 311 for being too lenient.

During his 11 years as Pope of Alexandria, Peter had drawn up guidance on readmitting people back into the arms of the Catholic church after they’d strayed from the path of righteousness.

Of course, purists were unhappy believing that life shouldn’t be that easy, so his head was cut off when the Romans finally caught up with him.

According to, he is called the ‘seal and complement of martyrs’ as he was the last Christian killed by Roman authorities. He was canonised by the Catholics and today remains his feast day.

Also on this day

24 November 1881 – Alfred Gough
24 November 1910 – William Broome

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

22 November 1780 – Mary Gardner

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , , , , on November 22 by Old Sparky

Mary Gardner obviously didn’t know her own strength after she was hanged alongside eight men for literally bringing a house down during the Gordon riots of 1780.

Gardner was hanged at Tyburn for helping to level a house during a four-day riot in opposition to the controversial Catholic Relief Act of 1778. The Act allowed Roman Catholics in the UK to own property, inherit land, and join the army.

Needless to say, there was a backlash in the mainly Protestant nation to what was view suspiciously as the growth of Papism provoked unremarkably by a person named Gordon – Lord George Gordon to be exact. He encouraged his activists to rise up and challenge the Act as the Scots had the year before.

Sadly the riots killed around 850 people. And of those, 285 were rioters killed by the army. There were many arrests too and roughly 20 to 30 were executed, of whom Mary Gardner was one.

Unbelievably Gordon was also arrested and charged with high treason, but found not guilty.

Also on this day

22 November 1910 – Johan Alfred Andersson Ander

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

14 November 1226 – Count Frederick of Isenberg

Posted in Breaking wheel, Catherine Wheel, Death penalty with tags , , , , , on November 14 by Old Sparky

Count Frederick of Isenberg (Friedrich von Isenberg) was literally broken to death for murdering the Archbishop of Cologne in Medieval Germany.

Recent research suggests the archbishop was just caught up in the action and his death was an accident. Nevertheless, the Medieval German aristocrat was stripped of all assets and titles and excommunicated. One his way back from Rome, having had the excommunication lifted, the German noble was captured and handed over to Cologne Cathedral. 

He was slowly tortured to death outside the Severin Gate. His arms and legs were systematically pulverised, then he was placed on a breaking (or Catherine) wheel. And he was slowly stretched until his remaining bones shattered. He took a day to die. He was then strung up on a pillar for all to see.

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

8 October 1586 – John Adams

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged, drawn & quartered with tags , , , , on October 8 by Old Sparky

John Adams, a Catholic priest, became a martyr when he was executed in 1586.

He was around 40 years of age when he was hanged, drawn and quartered alongside two fellow priests, John Lowe and Robert Dibdale at Tyburn for their faith.

Keeping the faith

This all took place during the English Reformation and consequently at a time when it was deemed a criminal offence to be a Catholic minister.

But all was not lost. The three men were canonised for sticking with the Catholic faith to the torturous end. John Paul II completed their sainthood on November 22, 1987.

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon