Torture & treason: London Luminaries online talk

This online talk given by community archaeologist Alexis Haslam is part of the latest London Luminaries Conspiracy & Betrayal online lecture series.

About the talk

This lecture will focus on the religious turbulence of the 16th century and the impact this had upon the Church and the Bishops of London. It was during this period that King Henry VIII split from Rome. Dissatisfied with the Catholic Church in his attempts to divorce Katherine of Aragon, the nation witnessed a shift towards anti-clericalism with the perceived corruption of the Church eventually leading to the dissolution of the monasteries.

Pope Clement VII had made the mistake of appointing Thomas Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury who annulled Henry’s marriage to Katherine. Henry was succeeded by his son, Edward VI whose support of Protestantism led to widescale changes within the Church. The resident Bishop of London, Edmund Bonner, was a dogmatic Catholic although he had not raised concerns about Henry’s split from Rome. Edward wanted new Bishops to preach the new faith, yet Bonner’s refusal to bow to Edmund and Protestantism resulted in his imprisonment within the Marshalsea. Edward chose Nicolas Ridley as the new Bishop of London, a keen and somewhat fierce Protestant. However, Ridley kept in contact with Bonner’s family and regularly invited them to dine at Fulham Palace.

Unfortunately for Ridley, following the death of Edward, Mary came to the throne bringing with her the return of Catholicism, the eventual execution of Ridley (who was burnt at the stake as one of the ‘Oxford Martyrs’) and the return of Bonner. The Marian persecutions soon began and Bonner was more than happy to play his part. The final twist in the saga followed the death of Mary and the coronation of the more religiously tolerant Elizabeth. This would mark the return of Bonner to jail and the appointment of the Protestant Edmund Grindal to the see of London.

About the London Luminaries

London Luminaries is a partnership of historic properties in South West London sharing history and heritage through online talks for everyone to enjoy.

London was the epicentre of commerce and wealth in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, thanks to the River Thames which attracted royalty, aristocrats, artists, writers and wealthy property owners. A legacy of these luminaries is an area west of London exceptionally rich in heritage buildings, gardens and landscapes. Since 2020, our partnership has been delivering online talks with the aim of bringing this area to life and encouraging you to explore it virtually and in person.

The London Luminaries now comprises fifteen partners, ranging from the very small (Pope’s Grotto, Garrick’s Temple), to the very large. Some of these larger properties are privately owned (Syon House), while others are maintained by trusts and charities (Turner’s House, Strawberry Hill House). Some are National Trust and English Heritage properties (Ham House, Marble Hill House, Chiswick House), and some are managed by local authorities or by partnerships between Trusts, Community Interest Companies and Local Authorities (Boston Manor House, Fulham Palace, Gunnersbury Museum and Park, Hogarth’s House, Orleans House Gallery, Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery).

About the speaker

Alexis Haslam, community archaeologist, joined Fulham Palace Trust in May 2017. He holds a BA in History and is a Member of the Institute for Archaeologists. He began working in archaeology upon graduating in 2000, working his way up from a field technician to a project officer. He has directed and published numerous archaeological excavations including his most recent work ‘Tales from the Vaults and other Newington Horror Stories’. After 16 years he left Pre-Construct Archaeology to join Fulham Palace Trust and is currently working on writing up the Palace’s long and complex history for a monograph due to be published in 2024.

This event is in partnership with the London Luminaries.