The Tudor dynasty, which reigned for nearly 120 exciting years, gave rise to five monarchs who are among the most infamous and provocative sovereigns in history. The Tudors’ century of prosperity, hardships, intrigue, and war was unavoidably riddled with death—most notably at the hands of the ruthless King Henry VIII.
According to historians, Henry VIII allegedly executed between 57,000 and 72,000 people. Although these numbers may be an exaggeration, his three children—Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I—also had the blood of many victims on their hands. Some notable women lost their lives due to their politics, their beliefs, and their hearts.
10 Margaret Ward
The early life of Margaret Ward was always a mystery because there is little information about her upbringing. It is known, however, that she was born in Congleton, Cheshire, and later lived in the service of a lady named Whitall in London.
It had come to Margaret’s attention that a priest named Richard Watson was held captive, starved, and mistreated at Bridewell Prison, a repurposed palace used to punish the unruly and to house homeless children in London.
After Watson was moved to a bigger cell, Margaret devised a plan to help him escape. She arranged for a boat to transport the priest to safety and then smuggled a rope to him so that he could safely lower himself from the prison to the ground.
When the plan was foiled, Margaret was arrested and questioned under torture. During her trial eight days later, Margaret bravely said on the record that she never regretted “delivering that innocent man from the hands of those bloody wolves.”
A devout Catholic, Margaret was given the choice to attend services at an Anglican church and beg Queen Elizabeth I to pardon her of her crimes or hang by the neck. She refused to beg and was executed on August 30, 1588.
Considered a martyr, Margaret Ward was honored and canonized on October 25, 1970. Thereafter, she was called Saint Margaret Ward.