Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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19 2                  Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
Dacre, at the head of which was Henry, Marquis of Dorset, and on which also sat the Earl of Sussex, the Earl of Derby, the Earl of Rutland, Lord John Russell (High Admiral of England), and others of the highest nobles of England. Before these Peers, on the 27th June, the hapless young Noble, brought from the Tower (the Constable of which was his Sussex neighbour, Sir John Gage, of Firle) for the pur­pose, was arraigned on a charge of murder. To this he at first pleaded " Not Guilty," as not being the actual murderer, and put himself upon his Peers; but "sufficient and probable evidence" having been adduced, he reversed his plea to " Guilty," and put himself upon the King's mercy. The judgment of the Court was that " he was to be hanged "— neither time nor place, however, being named; and this judgment was carried out, at the instance, it is said, of certain Courtiers, "who gaped after his estate"—not an improbable thing, though there is no proof of its truth.
The execution took place two days after the judgment—on St. Peter's Day, the 29th day of June—so quick a despatch of justice that the King could, indeed, have had little inclination for " mercy." Was he not the 8th Harry, who " spared no man in his wrath and no woman in his lust ? " There was something terribly painful as well as ignominious in Lord Dacre's death; for to the last, it would seem, he was tantalised with a hope of escape. In the words of the old chronicler, Holingshed, " And afterward, the nine and twentith of June, being St. Peter's daie, at eleuen of the clocke in the forenoon, the shiriffs of London, accordinglie as they were appointed, were ready at the Tower to have receiued the said prisoner, and him to haue led to execution on the Tower hill; but, as the prisoner should come forth of the Tower, one Heire, a gentleman of the Lord Chancellor's house, came, and in the King's name commanded to staie the execution till two of the clocke in the afternoone, which caused manie to thinke that the King would have granted his pardon. But neuer-theless, at three of the clocke in the same afternoone, he was
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