The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Seven – Historical Tidbit

Our Historical Tidbit for today focuses on one of the saddest moments in The Prince and the Pauper. Two women in the story suffer a tragic fate because of their religion. Today’s Historical Tidbit is about…


Keep reading or watch the video below to learn more.

While Edward is serving time in prison, he meets a number of different prisoners and finds himself moved by their stories. Among the prisoners he meets are two women.

He asked them why they were in prison, and when they said they were Baptists, he smiled, and inquired—

‘Is that a crime to be shut up for in a prison?  Now I grieve, for I shall lose ye—they will not keep ye long for such a little thing.’

They did not answer; and something in their faces made him uneasy. He said, eagerly—

‘You do not speak; be good to me, and tell me—there will be no other punishment?  Prithee tell me there is no fear of that.’

In the centre of the court stood two women, chained to posts.  A glance showed the King that these were his good friends.”  (p. 166-167) 

Heresy in Tudor England

  • Heresy – belief contrary to a particular religion
  • In Tudor England, the official religion changed often
  • Those who did not follow the current religion were charged with both heresy and treason

How the Tudors dealt with Heresy

  • Henry VIII (Catholic > Protestant) – Many were executed for heresy/treason during Henry VIII’s reign
  • Edward VI (Protestant) – There were only two executions for heresy
  • Mary I (Catholic) – 283 people were burned at the stake for heresy
  • Elizabeth I (Protestant) – 4 Catholics put to death as heretics; 250 Catholics executed for treason

Punishments for Heresy Over Time

  • Pilgrimage
  • Whipping
  • Being burned at the stake
  • Torture
  • Others

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