On December 10, 1541, Thomas Culpeper was executed. He was beheaded for treason against King Henry VIII, and his head displayed at London Bridge.
Thomas Culpeper was born in 1514 the son of a gentleman farmer and had grown up in Kent, but that’s about all we know of his early life.
He first appears on record in 1537 when he became a member of King Henry VIII’s Privy Chamber, an elite group who were always close to the king and had access to him at all times. He was one of the king’s favorites and described as “a beautiful youth”.
Culpeper soon caught the eye of Catherine Howard, the young and beautiful fifth wife of Henry VIII. Catherine was rumored to have been unfaithful to her husband, and Catherine had been visited on several occasions by Culpeper late at night.
In late 1541, information reached the king that Catherine was having an affair with Culpeper. Henry had her arrested and brought to the tower, where she was eventually executed in February 1542. Thomas Cranmer led the investigation into Catherine’s infidelity.
Culpeper himself was arrested and charged with treason for his part in the affair. Culpeper was accused of having criminal intercourse with the Queen on 29th August 1541 at Pontefract, and at other times, before and after that date.
He denied any involvement, but there was overwhelming evidence against him. He went to trial on 1st December 1541 and eventually pleaded guilty. Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, sentenced Culpeper to be hung, drawn, quartered, and beheaded.
On December 10, 1541, he was executed at Tyburn along with Dereham another of Catherine’s lovers, their heads were displayed at London Bridge. His body was buried at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate church in London.
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Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "Thomas Culpeper" https://englishhistory.net/tudor/citizens/thomas-culpeper/, February 7, 2022