An Execution Delayed

Jane Grey Victorian Portrait

On Friday, the ninth of February 1554, both Guildford and his wife, Jane Dudley nee Grey, were sentenced to die. However the sentence was delayed after Mary I had been convinced by her personal chaplain John Feckenham, that if Jane were to accept the Catholic Mass she would no longer be a threat. Mary, to the Spanish ambassadors’ view, had been deliberating on this matter for far too long, and she needed to act now if she wanted to remain on the throne. But Mary was indecisive. She finally agreed to her chaplain’s request. Feckenham arrived to the Tower and tried to convince Jane to accept the Mass and recognize Mary’s authority. She claimed as she had done before, that she and her parents had been nothing but tools in others’ schemes (aka John Dudley who had been abandoned by his friends as soon as the going got tougher); and that she recognized Mary as Queen, but she would not submit to her authority as long as she kept the Mass. Feckenahm and her disagreed over many other things but Mary’s chaplain recognized a great thinker in Jane and was sad to see hear of her death three days later.

Jane Grey HBC1

One of the many prayers that Jane had written down and probably said before Feckenham visited her, to give her courage, not to relinquish her beliefs: “Lord, though God and father of my life be merciful unto me lest I being brought too low should despair and blaspheme thee arm me, I beseech thee, with thy armor, that I may stand fast.” She told Feckenham that she welcomed her execution, because she gladly welcomed martyrdom and it was an opportunity to repent from her sins. And told Feckenham that she would be received into Heaven while he, although a great company, would go to hell unless he changed his opinions, but that nevertheless she prayed for him so that God “in the bowed of his mercy to send you his Holy Spirit for he has given you his great gift of utterance, if it pleased him also to open the eyes of your heart.”
Sources:
  • Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery by Eric Ives
  • Tudor by Leanda de Lisle
  • Sisters Who Would be Queen by Leanda de Lisle
  • On this day in Tudor History by Claire Ridgway
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