Blessed Margaret Pole:
Margaret Pole was the Countess of Salisbury born at Castle Farley near Bath in 1473 and martyred at East Smithfield Green, Tower Green 27 May, 1541 for the Catholic Faith in England. She was the daughter of George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, and Isabel, elder daughter of the Earl of Warwick (the king-maker), as well as the sister of Edmund of Warwick who, under Henry VII, paid with his life the penalty of being the last male representative of the Yorkist line.
In the year 1491 King Henry VII gave Margaret in marriage to Sir Richard Pole, whose mother was the half-sister of the king's mother, Margaret Beaufort. At her husband's death in 1505 Margaret was left with five children. Her son Reginald was to become Cardinal and the last catholic Archbishop of Canterbury
King Henry VIII, on his accession, created Margaret Countess of Salisbury and an Act of Restitution was passed by which she came into possession of her ancestral domains. The king considered her the saintliest woman in England, and, after the birth of the Princess Mary, Margaret of Salisbury became her sponsor in baptism and confirmation and was afterwards appointed governess of the princess and her household.
There were plans to marry the princess and the countess's son Reginald, who was still a layman at the time. But when the matter of the king's divorce began to be talked of Reginald Pole boldly spoke out his mind in the affair and shortly afterwards withdrew from England. In November, 1538, two of Margaret Pole’s sons and others of their family were arrested on a charge of treason, committed to the Tower of London, and in January, with the exception of Geoffrey Pole, they were executed.
Ten days after the apprehension of her sons Margaret Pole was arrested and examined by Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton, and Goodrich, Bishop of Ely. In Southampton's custody she was committed to Cowdray Park, near Midhurst, and there subjected to all manner of indignity.
In May, Thomas Cromwell introduced against Margaret Pole a Bill of Attainder and produced a white silk tunic found in one of her coffers, which was embroidered on the back with the Five Wounds, and for this, which was held to connect her with the Northern Uprising, she was "attainted to die by act of Parliament".
After the passage of the Act she was removed to the Tower and there, for nearly two years, she was "tormented by the severity of the weather and insufficient clothing". On the morning of 28 May she walked calmly from her cell to East Smithfield Green where a low wooden block had been prepared, and there, by a clumsy novice, she was beheaded.
Margaret Pole is a Blessed and a Marty of the Catholic Church. In this 2009 film from Mary’s Dowry Productions she tells her story with visuals filmed on location at Cowdray House ruins.
Length and Format:
The film runs for 30 minutes and is available worldwide on Region Free DVD.
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