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A Fateful Convergence – two men with complex loyalties who faced the same place of execution

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122 Plaque for Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham

I recently visited Salisbury in Wiltshire and stood by the plaque which commemorates the execution on 2nd November 1483 of Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham on the site of the Blue Boar Inn. His ghost is said to haunt Debenhams which stands on the ground where he was publicly beheaded for treason against his King on that chilly Sunday so long ago and yet so near to those of us who live some portion of our lives in the C15th. I spent a few moments trying to clear away the traffic furniture and buses and clinically decorated perfume aisles through the plate glass and imagining what it was like to stand in that market square with a sense of dreadful anticipation, waiting to see a peer of the realm be brought out and meet his fate. There are a few medieval buildings around the…

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9 thoughts on “A Fateful Convergence – two men with complex loyalties who faced the same place of execution

  1. Kalina on said:

    Was Henry Buckingham hung, drawn and quartered as a traitor or only behaeded? As I see Richard used to order a few executions without a trial but also pardoned many peoples, between them Thomas Stanley and Walter Hungerford, who thanked him perfectly. I wonder if Thomas Hungerford had any trial…

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    • hoodedman1 on said:

      Beheaded, Kalina. The coffee shop in Debenham’s tries to tell you his head and arm was sent away to be put on Traitor’s Gate in London, but um no, it wasn’t known as that in Richard’s day, and it wasn’t. They also try to tell you a skeleton found in the old inn floor was Buckingham, but that is just silliness. Buckingham was buried locally, probably as stated in the now-destroyed Salisbury Greyfriars. His tomb may have been moved after the Dissolution to Britford church by his daughter, whose husband owned the manor there (the tomb has one of the Staffords’ coats of arms on it, though was probably re-used, witha 15thc marble lid added)

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    • I believe that high-ranking nobles were usually beheaded. Hanging, drawing and quartering seemed to be reserved for those of a less noble birth.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. hoodedman1 on said:

    I know Farleigh very well also and have met some of the present day Hungerford family (don’t tell them I’m on the other side, haha!) Looking back at Thomas’s execution (hung, drawn and quartered in Edward IV’s reign) you can see how this would set the scene for further rebellion by Walter Hungerford in Richard’s tenure. The Hungerford association with the House of Tudor did not fare so well, as it turned out, however…a younger Walter Hungerford was executed by Henry VIII, at the same time as Thomas Cromwell.

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    • Kalina on said:

      You know Farleigh Hungerford, many peoples, whom I know, know their family tree since XV, XVII c…. I love England:)))

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  3. giaconda on said:

    Indeed the Hungerford family continued to have ups and downs as did the Staffords! Buckingham was given a proper burial and his wife was well-provided for by Richard so I don’t think there was any suggestion that she was implicated in his plotting despite being a Woodville. As far as I am aware the only execution that may have been ordered without a full trial was that of Hastings and this is still being debated by historians. Although the fate of Lord Rivers, Grey and Vaughan was pretty much a foregone conclusion (like many many other executions through the medieval period and beyond) they were tried and found guilty. William Collingbourne was hung, drawn and quartered on Richard’s orders for treason. It is often presented that he was given this ultimate punishment for writing seditious verses against Richard as king but he was also writing to Henry Tudor and encouraging him to invade which tends to be given less coverage by some commentators – I can’t think why! I think that the Hungerfords were pretty consistently Lancastrian in their sentiments and that the accommodation with the House of York was only ever an expedient measure which broke down after a few years. It always suprises me what people would risk for a cause even if their motivation was a complex web of loyalty, family duty and self-interest.

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    • Kalina on said:

      Indeed, I am surprised very much too. But we have to take cognizance of such medieval mentality. Loyalty bind me! I like it and I cannot break:)) As well as I hate every treason

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know that it was significant, but Buckingham was executed on Edward V’s birthday, which was also All Soul’s Day.

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  5. giaconda on said:

    It struck me that he was executed on a Sunday but I hadn’t noticed the date. I wonder whether there was any significance to this or not. It would certainly have been a form of less than divine retribution if Buckingham had been involved with the disappearance of the princes without Richards knowledge but then I don’t see why he wouldn’t have laid the crime at his door unless he was holding out to keep Tudor guessing as to their whereabouts. So many questions remind unanswered.

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