A Mystery in the Court of Henry VIII

King Henry VIII

On April 5, 1531, hardened London spectators of public punishment gathered at Smithfield, joined by others who were too curious to stay away. An execution had been announced of a type that none had witnessed in their lifetimes, nor ever heard of. The condemned man, Richard Roose, was to be boiled alive.

Roose was not the sort of criminal that usually met his end at Smithfield, located just beyond the…