Saturday, 18 July 2015

Catherine Cauche

Last night Chris and I joined a crowd of locals and visitors to watch a group of actors bring to life a very sad and turbulent period of our history. The reformation.
Warned its not a nice story.

It was in 1556 that Catherine Cauche and her daughters Guillemine Guilbert and Perotine Massey were charged with handling stolen goods, they were let off this charge but during the investigation it came to the authorities attention that they had not been attending catholic Mass on Sundays.
At this point I must say Perotine was pregnant.

This was not good, Queen Mary was on the throne and had re introduced the Catholic faith after her father Henry VIII has made the country Protestant.
The authorities here were very keen to show their loyalty to the new Queen, and so came down very hard on this family for not being good Catholics

They were sentenced to be hung and then burnt at the stake.
So they should have been dead by the time they fell into the flames,
 but tragically this did not happen.
The shock of the flames induced labour and the baby boy was born, the surgeon at the castle rescued the child, but for some reason we will never understand the child was thrown back into the flames.
It was a fascinating piece of street theatre, but with that story I cant say enjoyable.
We finished up at the top of Cornet Street roughly were this all happened,
 and there is now a plaque at the top of Tower Steps in memory of these Martyrs.
 The play will happen again on the 27th July, this is because on the original parchment no one can decide if it is a 1 or a 2, so this happens every year (for the last 10 years) on the 17th and 27th July.
In 1563 with Elizabeth now on the throne and the country being Protestant again,  
Foxes Book of Martyrs was published.
 I am think I am right in saying that it was the first book published in England that was not a bible?  This book listed and described some of the worst atrocities that happened during Queen Mary's time on the throne and unsurprisingly the case in Guernsey appears. 
The authorities responsible were arrested and charged with murder once Queen Elizabeth was in power, but for some reason after 18 months they were pardoned.......

This tragedy also appears in the Tapestries
But as we have a lot of children visit, the full horror of the story is not delved into on the audio guide.

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