No more questions for the prisoner

The Privy Council was anxious to discover who had incited him to commit the murder [of the Duke of Buckingham], suspecting the ‘Puritans’, but Felton insisted that he had acted alone and had not told anyone of his intentions. In the face of this insistence William Laud, then Bishop of London and emerging as an influential anti-Puritan, threatened him with the rack. But Felton was clearly made of stern stuff, and even though he was a ‘person of little stature’ he had ‘a stout and revengeful spirit’. In these tense moments he demonstrated considerable sang froid, replying that if he were put to the rack:

he could not tell whom he might nominate in the extremity of torture, and if what he should say then must go for truth, he could not tell whether his Lordship (meaning the Bishop of London) or which of their Lordships he might name, for torture might draw unexpected things from him.

After this there were no more questions for the prisoner.

– Michael Braddick, God’s Fury, England’s Fire

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