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I. The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings, XII (1871-73), 285-287

The manner & order of the execution of the late Queene of Scottes, with the wordes which she spake at her Deathe, truely sett downe by Doctor Fletcher Deane of Peterborowe

On Wednesday the viii of February in 1586 there assembled at the Castle of Fordringham the Earles of Shrewsbuty & Kent, with divers Knightes & gentlemen Justices of the peace of the yeare in those Countries. About viii of the clocke, the Earles & Sherifes of the Shire went upp to the Scottish Queene, whom they fownde prayinge on hir knees, with hir gentlewomen & men. And the Sherifes rememberinge hir that the time was at hand, she answered & sayde she was readie. Then she was ledde by the armes from hir chamber into the chamber of presence, where with many exhortacions to hir people to feare God, & to live in obedience, kissinge hir women, she gave hir hande to hir men to kisse: prayinge them all not to sorowe, but rejoice & pray for hir. She was brought downe the stayers by two Souldiers: Then beinge belowe she stayed, & lookinge backe she sayed she was evill attended, & desired the Lordes she might for woman hoodes sake, have two of hir women to wayte uppon hir. Then they sayde, they were onely withholden for that it was feared, by their passionate cryinge they would disquiet hir Spirit, & disturbe the execution. She sayde, I will promise for them that they shall not doe so. Then two of them whom she willed were brought unto hir. Then she spake muche unto Welbin hir man, & charged him as he woulde answere before God, to deliver hir Speache & message to hir Sonne in suche sorte as she did speake them, all which tended onely to will him to governe wisely, in the feare of God, & to take heede to whom he betooke his chiefest trust; & not to geve an occasion to be evill thought of by the Queene of Inglande, hir good sister, to certefie him she dyed a true Skotte, a true Frenche, & a true Catholique. About X of the clocke she was brought downe into the greate hall, where in the middest of the howse, & agaynste the chimnie (wherein was a greate fire) was a skaffolde sett upp of twoe foote height, & xii foote broade, havinge two steppes to come upp; about the scaffold went a rayle halfe a yarde highte rownde covered with black cotten: So was hir stoole, the Lordes forme, the blocke, & a pillowe for hir to kneele uppon. There did sitt uppon the skaffolde the two Earles, the Sheriff stoode there, & the two executioners. When they were sett, Mr. Beale, Clerke of the Councell did reade hir Majesties Commission for hir execution, under the broade Seale, after which the Deane of Peterborowe beinge directed by the Lordes to speake unto hir, for the better preparation to dye a penitent Christian, in the true faythe of Christ, began at the motion of the Earle of Shrewsbury his exhortation, which as sone as he had begonne, she sayde with a lowd voice, peace Mr Deane, I will not heare you. I say nothinge sayde he, but that I will justifie before the majestie of the most highest. So proceedinge, she cryed alowde agayne, peace Mr Deane, I will not heare you, you have nothinge to doe with me, nor I wyth you. Then was he willed to silence, for any further molestinge hir mynde. She sayed, so it is best, for I am fully setled & resolved to dye in the Catholique Romishe faythe. Which when the Lordes hearde; the Earle of Kent sayde, albeit Madam, you refuse the offered mercies of the most highest, yet we will offer our prayrs to God for you; hopinge he will heare us. And if it might stande with his good will, he would vouchsafe to open your eies, & to lighten your hearte, with the true knowldege of his will, & to dye therin. She sayd, doe, & I will pray. Then the Deane pronounced a prayer, which the standers by folowed; all which while she havinge a crucifixe betwene hir handes prayed much lowder in latin. The prayer being done, she kneeled downe, & prayed to this effect: for Christ his afflicted Churche, & for an ende of their troubles, for hir Sonne that he might rule uprightly, & be converted to the Catholique Romishe Churche. She prayed that the Queenes Majestie might longe reigne peaceably, might prosper, & serve God. She confessed she hoped to be saved onely by the bloude of Christe, at the foote of whose picture presented on the crucifixe she would willingly shedd hir bloude. She prayed to all the Sayntes of heaven to pray for hir, & that the God of heaven woulde of his goodnes averte his plagues from this silly Ilande, & that God would geve hir life, & forgeve hir sinnes, & that he woulde receave hir Soule into his heavenly handes. And then she rose upp, & was by two of hir women, & the two executioners disrobed into hir peticoote. Then she sayed, she was not wont to be undressed before such a number, nor by such gromes. Then she kissed hir women, & one of them began to crye, to whom she sayd, peace, cry not, I have promised the contrarie: Crye not for me, but rejoice, & lifted upp hir handes & blessed them, & likewise hir men not farre of. Then sodenly she kneeled downe most resolutly, & with the least token of any feare of deathe that might be. And after that one of hir women had knitte a kertcher about hir eyes, she spake alowde this psalme in latin – In te Domine confido, ne confundar in aetrnum. Then lay she downe very quietly stretchinge out hir body, & layinge hir necke over the blocke, cryed, in manus tuas Domine, &c. One of the executioners helde downe hir two handes: & the other did at two strokes with an axe cutt of hir head, which fallinge out of hir atyre appeared very graye, & neare powlde. So houlding it upp, the people sayed, God save the Queene, & so perishe all hir enemies, & the enemies of the gospell. All thinges about hir, & belonginge to hir, were taken from the executioners, & they were not sufferd so much as to have their aprons before them till they were washed. The bloudy clothes, the blocke, & whatsoever els bloudy, was brent in the chymny fire. The body was caryed up into the chamber, hir boweles taken out, embawmed, seared, & resteth to the buriall.

Then follows in a different style of chirography, though by the same hand:

She was first roiallie buried in the Cathedrall Churche of Peterborroughe. But afterwardes shee was brought from thence to Westminster, & buried in Kinge Henry the Seventhes chapple, where a princely tombe was made over her, by the Kinges majestie her Sonne in the blank yere of his reigne of Great Britayne, &c.

The saide Queene of Scotts was the daughter & sole heire of James the 5. Kinge of Scotts, & was borne the 8 daye of December, 1542, beinge but 5 daies olde when her father died. She was first maried to Francys the eldest sonne of Henry the Seconde, Kinge of France, who reigned 2 yeres after his father, by whom shee had no issue. Then shee retourned into Scotlande, & maried Henry the lorde Darly, the eldest sonne unto Mathewe, Erle of Lenox, by whom shee had issue the Kinges majestie James the 6 who was but a yere olde when his father was slayne, & his mother fled into Englande, where shee remained prisoner till she died, which was the 8 daie of February, 1586, in the 44 yere of her age, & in the 29 yere of the reigne of Queene Elizabethe.

Also in the Commonplace Book, according to Robert C. Winthrop, was a copy of a letter from Queen Elizabeth to Sir Amias Paulet, one of those who transported Mary from Chartley Manor to Fotheringay Castle. R. C. Winthrop points out that along with Paulet one of the other keepers was Sir Drue Drury. Drury was well known to Adam Wintrhop and he could have provided the letter which Adam Winthrop copied.

A copie of the Q. Majesties Letter to Sir Amias Pawlett


II. The Execution of Sir Walter Raleigh

Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings, XIII (1873-75), 94-98

The Confession and Execution of Sir Walter Raleighe

Uppon Wedensdaie beinge the 28th of October, 1618, the Lieutenant of the Tower, accordinge to a warrant to him directed, brought Sir Walter Raleigh from the tower to the Kinges benche barre at Westminster, where the records of his arraignment at Winchester were opened, and he was demanded why execution shyoulde not be done uppon him; accordinge to Judgement therein pronounced against him; To which he began by waie of answere to justifie himselfe in his proceedinges in the last voiage. But the L chiefe justice silenced him, sainge there was no other matter in question, but concerninge the Judgement of Death which had formallye beene given against him. And it was the Kinges pleasure (uppon some occasion beste knowen to himselfe) nowe to have the same executed, unles he coulde shewe good cause to the contrary. Unto which Sir Walter R. saide, that he was tolde by his Counsell, that in regarde his Majestie, since the saide Judgement, had bin pleased to imploie him in his service (as by Commission he had done) it made voide the saide Judgement, and was vivification unto him. But the Lorde chiefe Justice toulde him, he was therin deceived; and that the opinion of the Courte was to the contrary. Wherewith he rested satisfied, and desired that some reasonable time might be allowed him, to prepare himselfe for deathe. But it was answered him, that the time of deathe appointed to him was to-morrowe: and that it was not to be doubted, but that he had prepared himselfe for deathe longe since. And I am glad, saide the L. Chiefe Justice, that you have given the worlde so good satisfaction of your Religion: as by some bookes published by you, you have done. And so Mr. Attorneye generall required in the Kinges behalfe, that execution might be done uppon the prisoner, accordinge to the saide Judgement. Then the Shrifes of Middlesex were comanded to take him into their custodie, who presently caried him to the gate house in Westminster, from whence the next morninge he shoulde goe betwene the saide Shrives to the olde palace of Westminster; where a large scaffolde was erected for his execution. Whereuppon when he came with a cheerefull countenance he saluted the Lordes, knightes and gentlemen there present. After which a proclamation beinge made for silence, he addressed himsmelfe to speake in this manner: I desire to be borne with all, for this is the thirde daye of my fevere, and if I shall shewe my weakenes, I beseeche you to attribute it to my maladie, for this is the houre it was wonte to come. Then pausing awhile, he sett and directed himselfe to a windowe, where satt the Earles of Arundel, Northampton and Doncaster, with some other Lordes and knightes, and spake as followeth: I thanke God of his infinite goodnes that he hathe sent mee to die in the light, and not in the darkenes; but because the place where the Lordes satt was farre distant from the scaffolde, that he perceived they coulde not heare him well, therefore he saide, I will straine my voice, for I woulde willinglie have your honors heare mee. But the L. Of Arundel said nay, but wee will rather come downe to the scaffolde to heare thee, which he and some others did. Whither beinge come, he saluted theme generallie, and so began to speake as followeth: As I said before, so nowe I saie againe, I thancke God &c., but not in the darke prison of the Tower, where I have sufered a great deale of adversitie and cruell sickenes. And I thancke God that the fevere hath not taken me at this time, and I pray God I may not. There are so many pointes of supition that his Majestie hath conceived against mee, and wherein he canot be satisfied, which I desire to cleere and to resolve your Lords of. One is that his Majestie hath bin informed that I have ofte had plotts with France, and his Majestie had good reason to induce him thereunto: The first was, that when I came back from Guyana, beinge come to Plymouth, I indevored to have gone in a Barke to Rochel, which was because I woulde have made my peace before I came to Englande. The 2 was that uppon my flight, I did intende to flye into France for the savinge of my life, that had some terror from above.

A thirde was that the French agent came to mee; besides it was reported, that I had a Commission from the Fenche Kinge at my goinge forthe. These are the reasons that caused the Kinge to suspecte mee. Now for man to call God to witnesse a falsehoode, were a grevous synne: for what comfort can we then hope for at the daie of Judgement, before God's tribunal seate: But to call Godde to witnesse a false thinge at the houre of deathe, is a facte more grevous and fearefull, seeing suche a one havinge no tyme of repentance, cannot hope to be saved at all. Then what can I expecte, that at this instant am goinge to render my accompte. I doe therefore call the Lorde to witnes (as I hope to bee saved, and to see him in his kingdome, which I trust I shall, within this quarter of an houre) that I never had any Commission from the Frenche Kinge: neither did I ever see the Frenche Kinges handwritinge, nor his seale, in all my life. Nor yet did I knowe that there was an Agent heere, nor what he was, till I mette him in the galery of my lodginge, unlooked for. If I speake not true, then O Lorde let me not come into thy kingedome. The 2 suspicion was that his Majestie had bin informed, that I shoulde speake dishonorably, and disloiallie of him my sovereigne: But my accuser was a base frenchman, a runnagate, and one that had no dwellinge, and a kinde of chimicall fellowe. One that I knewe to bee perfidious. For being drawne in the accion of scarringe myself at Winchester, (into which I confesse my shame that my hande was at all) beinge sworne to secrecie one night, he revealed it the next morninge. But (let me speake) what have I nowe to doe with rogues? I have nothinge to doe with them, neither doe I feare them; for I have onlie to doe with my God, in whose presence I stand: therfore for me to tell a lie, therby to gaine the Kinges favoure, were in vaine. But as I hope in the Lorde to be saved at the last daie, I denye that I ever spake dishonourably, disloiallie or dishonestlie of the Kinge, neither to that frencheman, nor to any other. No I protest I never had a thought of ill, of his Majestie, in all my life. And therfore I cannot but thincke it strange, that the slaunderer beinge so base and meane a fellowe, should bee so farre credited as he hateh beene. And so muche of my double resolution to the Kinges double suspicion. I confesse I did attempte to escape; yea I cannot excuse that, but it was onlie to save my life. And I likewise confesse, I did faine myselfe to bee ill disposed at Salisbury; but I hope it was no syn; for the prophet David did make himselfe a foole, and suffer spittle to fall on his bearde, to escape the hands of his enemies, and it was not imputed to him. So in what I did I intended no ill, but to gaine and prolonge time till his Majestie came, hopinge of some commiseration from him. But I forgive this frencheman and Sir Lewes Stukeley also with all my harte. I have received the Sacrament this morninge of Mr. Deane, and I have forgiven all the worlde. But that they are perfidious, I am bounde in charitie to speake, that all men may take heede of them. Sir Lewes Stuckeley my keeper and kinsman hath affirmed, that I shoulde tell him, that my L. Carewe and my lorde of Doncaster there, did advize me to escape; but I protest before God I never tolde him any suche thinge, neither is it likely I should tell him any suche matter of the two privie counsellors. Neither had I any reason to tell him; for tis well knowne, that hee lefte me IX or X times alone to goe whether I woulde, whilst he ridde aboute the country. He farther accuseth mee, that I shoulde tell him that these two lordes would meete me in France, which I never spake nor thought. Thirdlie, that I shoulde proferre him a letter, wherby I did signifie unto him, that I woulde give him a thousand pound for my escape. But Lord cast my soule into everlastinge fire, if I ever made any suche proferre of a 1000 li or a 100 li. But indeed I shewed him a letter, that if he woulde goe with me, there should bee order taken for a payment of his detts, when he was gone: neither had I 1000 li, and if I had, I coulde have made my peace with it otherwise. Lastlie, when I came to Sir Edward Pelhhams, who had bin a follower of myne, and given me good intertainement, he gave out speaches that I had received some Drame of poison, when I asssured him that I feared no suche thinge, for I was well assured of them in the house; and therfore I wished him to have no suche thought. Nowe God forgive him, for I doe. And I desire God to forgive him, even as I desire to bee fforgiven. Then lookinge on his note of remembrance, well, saide hee, thus farre I am gone nowe; a little more, and I shall have done. It was toulde the Kinge, that I was brougth into Englande per force; and that I did not intendee to come againe; but Sir Charles Parks, Mr Tatsham, and Mr Leete knowe howe I was delte withall by the common soldiours, which were 150 in number; who sent for mee to come into the guard roome unto them, for they woulde not come to me; and there was I inforced to take an oathe, that I woulde not goe into Englande till they woulde have mee. I heare likewise that there was a reporte, that I went not purposelye to goe into Guiana at all, and that I knewe not of any myne, nor intended any suche matter; but only to gett my libertie (which I had not the witte to keepe), but I protest it was my full intent, to seeke the mine of gould for the benefite of myselfe and his Majestie and those that adventured with mee and the rest of my countrymen that went with mee. But he that knewe the head of the mine woulde not discover it, when he sawe my sonne was slaine, but made himselfe awaie. And then turninge to the Earl of Arundell, he saide as followeth: Being in the gallerie of my shippe at my departure, I remember your honor tooke me by the hande, and said you woulde request one thinge of mee, that whether I made a good voiage or a bad, I would not faile to returne againe into Englande: which I promised you, and gave you my faith that I woulde, and so I did. To which my Lorde then present answered, it is true, I well remember it, they were the last woordes I spake unto you. Another opinion was helde of mee, that I carried to sea 1600 peeces, and that I was desirous (for all the voiage that I intended) only to get mony into my handes, and that I had made my voiage before; whereas I protest at my goinge to sea, I had but a C peeces in all, whereof I gave 25 to my wife, and the rest I tooke with mee, and the remainder I brought backe with me into Englande. Another scandall was charged on me that I woulde have gone awaie from my companie, and left them at Guiana; but there are a great many woorthy men, which accompanied me alwaies and knowe my intent was nothinge so. All these are the material pointes whcih I thought good to speake of.


And after a proclamation made, that all should departe from of the scaffolde, he prepared himselfe to die, givinge awaie his bever hatte, and wrought night cap, with some mony to see to some of his acquaintance that stoode neere him: and then tooke his leave of the Lordes, knightes, and gentlemen. Hee desired the Erle of Arundell, that he woulde informe his Majestie of that which he spoke; and to intreat him, that there might bee no scandalous pamphletts or wrightings published to defame him after his deathe. And so puttinge of his gowne and dublet, he made a longe prayer upon his knees, the Deane of Westminster kneelinge by him, and praying with him all the while; which being ended, he called to the Executioner to fetch the fatal instrument (as he called it) which being denied him, he saide, I pray you let mee see it; thincke you, I am afraide of it? Whereupon it was shewed him; and he felte the edge with his thumbe, and with a smilinge countenance he saide to the Sheriff – This is a sharpe medicine, but a phisitian that will cure all diseases. Then going to eche side of the scaffolde, he intreated the people to praye for him, that God would assist him, and give him strengthe. Then being asked which waie he would lie, towardes the windowe, where the Lordes stoode, or no, he went aboute the blocke, and laide his hed from the Lordes, and said, So bee it the harte bee stronge, it is no matter where the hed lieth; and then prayinge, havinge forgiven the Executioner, and givinge him a signe when he soulde doe his office (as he laye prayinge and callinge upon God) at twoe strookes he tooke of his head.

In the same mss volume was a copy of thre lines said to have been found in Ralegh's Bible after this death, with some variations from the commonly received version:

Even so dooth tyme take up withe truste, Our youthe, and joies and al wee have; And paies us but with age and duste, In darkenes, silence and the grave. So havinge wandred all our waies, Shuttes up the story of our daies. – From darknes, silence, age and duste, The Lorde shal raise me up I truste. Qth. Wa: Raleygh

Note: one possible source of the account of Realegh's execution coming to Adam Winthrop or John Winthrop could have been Sir Robert Naunton

III. Letters of Olympia Morata
Massachusetts Historical Soceity Proceedings, XV (1876-77), 245-249

Note: Olympia Morata was born in Ferrara in 1526. From her youth she displayed an aptitude for classical languages and in her teens composed poetry in Greek and Latin. She was chosen as a special companion for the eldest daughter of the Duke of Ferrara. She was attracted to the ideas of Luther and as a Protestant was forced to flee from Ferrara. She married Andre Grunthler, a physician, and went to Augsburg and then to Schweinfurt. They escaped from the siege of that town and settled in Heidleburg. She died a victim of the plague in 1555. The young and precocious female scholar received testimonials from Beza and other reformers and was something of a legend in her time. Her writings were bequeathed to Celio Secundo Curio, professor of Roman Eloquence at the University of Basle, who published them in Basle in 1558; a second edition, in 1562, was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth. Of her printed letters one was in Greek, two in Italian, and the remaining forty-five in Latin. Adam Winthrop copied English translations of some of the letters in his commonplace book. It is a possibility that he may have been drawn to her story by his brother William, who was an elder of the Italian congregation in London.

The arguments and contentes of the Epistle of Olimpia Morata, to her sister Victoria


IV. The death of the Lady Mary
Winthrop Papers mss, Massachusetts Historical Society

Of the manner of the death of the Lady Marye the Kinges Majeties youngest daughter


This noble lady lyved 3 y & monehtes and died the blank Day of Septe 1607 and was buryed in King Henry the 7 chappel the 23 of the same monethe.

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