Apparently it took three ax strokes by the executioner to complete the beheading of Lord Essex. It was also the last execution ever held in the famous Tower of London.
On this day one of the most famous ax executions in the history took place. Namely, the head of the famous courtier of the English Queen Elizabeth I – Lord Essex – was cut off. It was also the last execution ever held in the famous Tower of London (the royal castle next to which the famous Tower Bridge is situated).
Lord Essex was one of the most respected people in England. His born name was Robert Devereux, and he inherited the title of Earl of Essex from his father. In everyday spoken communication in England the count, baron, viscount and marquis are usually called simply “lords”, and so the Earl of Essex is commonly referred to as “Lord Essex”. Indeed, for lords it suffices to state only the estate after which they are named (for example “Essex”), and they sign themselves the same way.
Queen Elizabeth I was never married, but had a number of suitors and favorites. One of the Queen’s most favorite was precisely Lord Essex, who was in fact her cousin (she was the daughter of Anne Boleyn, and he a descendant of the “other Boleyn sister”, i.e. Mary Boleyn). The Queen granted him a high honor by appointing him Master of the Horse. However, Essex and the Queen later had a falling out. He was accused of conspiracy and sentenced to death.
On this day Essex was executed by the famous executioner Thomas Derrick, who allegedly executed about 3,000 people is in his career. It is ironic that it was actually Essex that hired Derrick as the executioner. Apparently it took Derrick three ax strokes to complete the beheading of Lord Essex.