Catherine Howard was the fifth wife of King Henry VIII of England. According to Henry VII Catherine was his very jewel of womanhood. Henry VII highly thought of Catherine, he brought her gifts all the time, he did favors for her, and he spoiled her. Catherine married the King on July 28, 1540. In 1541 Catherine selected her previous lover to work to be her private secretary. In September of 1541 people were gossiping about the situation. In November of 1541 after the Kings return to Hampton Court enough proof fro Catherine's misbehavior. archbishop Cranmer felt he must notify the King about Catherine's behavior.
The King's instant reply was of total doubt. However, he ordered an examination. King Henry found out by his examination that Catherine had been flirting behind his back and it was also assumed that Catherine had been dishonest and had a reputation of having numerous boyfriends while she was still married to King Henry VII. Catherine was following the road of her cousin Anne Boleyn. On February 13, 1542 Catherine Howard was beheaded at the Tower, Catherine was beheaded with another lady by the name of Jane Lady Rochford.
Nicholas Owen was born in Oxfordshire; he died March 2, 1606 in the Tower of London. Nicholas was often called Little John because of his very small physique. Nicholas was normally called John Owen in mistake. Nicholas was the son of Oxfordshire carpenter. Henry More referred to Nicholas as one of the first English lay brothers.
In 1588 Owen returned to England with a man by the name of John Gerard, landing in the Norfolk coast of England. Around this time Nicholas began his job, which was building hiding places, secret cupboards and passages in the houses of rich Catholics. These secret hiding places, cupboards and passages were used so Jesuit priests could hide from King James's men. Even though Nicholas had saved many lives of priests he was caught and thrown in the Tower. There are conflicting reports on how Nicholas Owen died. One report states that he committed suicide with a dull knife, and another report states that he was tortured with such cruel rage that his stomach burst open and his intestines poured out.
William Penn was born on October 14, 1644. He died on July 30, 1718 of a stroke. Penn is buried near Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire. William spent most of his life living in England. When Penn was 16 years old, his father sent him to Oxford University. Penn was expelled from Oxford for religious disagreement. When Penn returned to England his father sent him to a Protestant college, which is located in France. There he achieved his studies. When Penn's father died in 1670 Penn became a 26 year-old man. Penn also became a very wealthy man.
William Penn was one of the few prisoners that were held in the London Tower whose sentences were voided. Even though Penn's sentence was supposed to be life in prison for his crime against the Crown and Christianity. Penn was just released with just serving a few months in prison. His time spent in the Tower was from December 12, 1668 to July of 1669.
Thomas Seymour was the younger brother of Edward Seymour who was also Lord Seymour of Sudeley. Edward Seymour married Henry VII's widow who was Catherine Parr. Thomas Seymour was killed in the Tower of London in 1549.
In 1465, King Henry VI was imprisoned in the London Tower. His throne was taken over by Edward VI. In 1470, he was given a position as a puppet monarch. It was in the same year that his only child , Edward was killed. Henry died only 18 days later in the tower.
Anne Boleyn was Henry VIII second wife. She was imprisoned in the Tower in 1536 on a charge of adultery. Before she was crowned, she took residence in a building in the Tower called the 'Queens House'. Anne returned here when she was imprisoned. Her trial took place in the Medieval Great Hall, which has since been demolished. At her trial she was sentenced to be burned at the stake or beheaded, as the king see fit. Anne Boleyn was beheaded in front of the Chapel of St. Peter Vincula. Her remains were buried inside the chapel.
John Fisher was the Bishop of Rochester. He was imprisoned in the Tower with Sir Thomas More in 1534. He was imprisoned because he refused to take the oath that was recognizing King Henry as the head of the English Church. More had also refused to take the oath. He was kept in the Bell Tower. John Fisher was the first to be killed. He was killed first because king Henry had heard that the pope had plans on making Fisher a cardinal. Upon hearing this, Henry vowed that if a hat was sent to the Tower there should be no head for it. He was executed on Tower Hill in 1535. Both Fisher and More were canonized in 1935.
Sir Thomas More
Sir Thomas More was a statesman and scholar. More served Henry VIII until the break with Rome. Sir Thomas More was imprisoned in the tower in 1535. He was imprisoned because he refused to take an oath acknowledging Henry VIII as the head of the English Church. He stuck to his decision when the kings subjects were required to take the take the oath. More had also protested against the divorce of Catherine of Aragon. His wife visited him regularly and every time she would ask him why he was happy to remain 'in this close, filthy prison, shut up amongst mice and rats'. Every time his wife would ask him this he would simply reply 'Is not this house as nigh heaven as my own?'
Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh was an famous explorer. He was most famous for his travels and for allegedly bringing tabacco and the potato from the Americas to the British Isles. Raleigh was a favorite of Elizabeth I however, he soon fell out of favor when he was accused of plotting against King James I. He spent 12 years in the Tower for this reason. He spent his pass time writing and transforming a little hen house into a real house. He was released in 1616 however he returned to the Tower in 1618 after a failed expedition to Guinea. The second time he was kept in the Tower he was held in one of the most cold and dreadful dungeons. He was beheaded six weeks later. In his speech from the scaffold he thanked God for allowing him to die in the light instead of the dark prison.
Table of Famous Prisoners