Beheading, as a mode of punishment, had an early origin. Amongst the Romans it was regarded as a most honourable death. It is asserted that it was introduced into England from Normandy by William the Conqueror, and intended for the putting to death of criminals belonging to the higher grades of society. The first person to suffer beheading was Waltheof, Earl of Huntingdon, Northhampton, and Northumberland, in 1076.
Charles I is perhaps the most famous of kings that have been beheaded. On January 30th, 1649, on a scaffold raised before the Banqueting House at Whitehall, he was executed. Within the Banqueting Hall of the Castle of Fotheringay, on February 8th, 1587, the executioner from the Tower, after three blows from an axe, severed the hear from the body of Mary, Queen of Scots. Her Earlier years opended in the gay court of France, and was full of sunshine, but shadows gathered, and she was – “ A sad prisoner, passing weary years, In many castles, till at Fotheringay, The joyless life was ended.”
Sir Thomas More was executed on July 6th, 1535. Like his friend Fisher, he refused submission to the Statute of Succession and to the King’s Supremacy. The devotion of Margaret Roper to her father, Sir Thomas More, forms an attractive feature in the life story of this truly great man. After execution his head was spiked on London Bridge, and she bribed a man to move and drop it in to a boat where she sat. She kept the sacred relic for many years, and at her death it was buried with her in a vault under St. Dunstan’s Church, Canterbury.
Sir Walter Raleigh was a many sided man, the discoverer of North Carolina, the defender of his country, an author, a court favourite, and a man of undaunted courage. In the Tower he was long a prisoner, and there wrote some notable books, and the following hymn: –
“Rise, O my soul, with thy desires to heav’n, And with divinest contemplations use
Thy time, where time’s eternity is given, and let vain thoughts no more they mind abuse; But down in darkness let them lie’
So live thy better, let they worse thoughts die.
“And thou, my soul, inspired with holy flame View and review, with most regardful eye, That holy cross, whence they salvation came, On which they Saviour and thy sin did die
For in that sacred object is much pleasure And in that Saviour, is my life, my treasure. “To Thee, O Jesus, I direct my eye;
To Thee my hands, to Thee my humble knees, To Thee my heart shall offer sacrifice,-
To Thee my thoughts, who my thoughts only sees;
To Thee myself, myself and all, I give; To Thee I dies, to Thee I only live.”
On October 29th, 1618, Sir Walter Raleigh was executed at Whitehall under a sentence which had hung over his head for 15 years.
720: This is the same Walter Raleigh that received charter for the founding of the state of North Carolina.
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. I
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New York Daily News: Nothing short of ‘torture’: Minnesota corrections officer resigns after video shows him assaulting inmate.