Spencer Perceval is not one of Britain’s better known prime ministers. In fact, he’s really only notable for one reason: the poor man holds the dubious distinction of being the only British prime minister to have been assassinated. He was shot by John Belingham, a failed businessman who was found guilty of the crime and hanged on May 18, 1812. Bellingham, as you might imagine, … Continue reading Lesson Learned: Just Let it Go!
You may love wine, but do you love it enough to die by it? Apparently George, Duke of Clarence, did: he allegedly chose to be executed by being drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine at the Tower of London on February 18, 1478. Your mileage may vary as to whether this is the greatest or the worst way to die, but the thing is, … Continue reading Serious Wino
I personally complain a lot about 24-hour news cycles and the overabundance of technology in the world today, but every now and then I read a story that makes me think: Wow, thank God for Facebook! (This doesn’t happen terribly often). I’m sure Thomas FitzGerald, the 10th Earl of Kildare, would have loved to have some fast, fairly reliable means of communication, because if he … Continue reading If Only He’d Had Twitter…
On October 29, 1618 the adventures officially ended for Sir Walter Raleigh, who was executed for allegedly plotting against King James I. After a murky beginning, Raleigh first started his rise to prominence when he took part in the suppression of the Desmond Rebellions in Ireland. He was awarded with estates that made him one of the principal landowners in Munster, where he made the … Continue reading The Adventure Ends
Since we’re spending so much time in World War I land with Downton Abbey, I thought it might be fitting to mention this: On October 12, 1915 the Allies got themselves a brand new martyr when British nurse Edith Cavell was executed by the Germans for treason. Cavell trained as a nurse in London before becoming the matron of a new nursing school in Belgium … Continue reading The Allied Martyr
On May 23, 1701, Captain William Kidd was hanged after being convicted of murder and piracy during a sensational trial before the Admiralty. Although he’s gone down in history as a notorious pirate, it’s more likely Kidd was a privateer who wound up being the victim of really bad circumstances. Kidd was born in Scotland but spent most of his life in New York, where … Continue reading Character Assassination