On this day, Smeaton, Norris, Weston, and Brereton were escorted by barge from the Tower to Westminster, and there they were publicly charged with "violating the Queen, each by himself at separate times, and that they had conspired the King's death with her." (3) Once the indictments were read, the men were asked if they would plead guilty or not guilty. Mark Smeaton was the only one who pleaded guilty - admitting that he had known the Queen carnally three times. On one hand, this could make us scratch our heads and wonder why Smeaton would confess something so exact if it weren't true, but we must remember that he had already been tortured into a confession a few weeks ago, and was most likely only sticking to the story he had originally told. To take back his confession now may have only added more torture later on. In any case, Mark Smeaton's name was erased from the list of prisoners going to their trials. Since he had confessed, there was no need for him to have an official trial.
The other three men pleaded not guilty, but it did not matter in this case. Despite the witnesses brought into court to testify for the men, all four of them were convicted of their crimes and sentenced to die a traitor's death - to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Of course, this meant that they would be hanged until nearly dead, cut down to have their genitals cut off and burnt before them, their heads cut off and their bodies quartered. (This was not a pretty way to go...)
After the trials, an official report came from Lord Lisle:
"This day Mr. Norris, Weston, Brereton, and Mark hath been arraigned and are judged to be drawn, hanged, and quartered. I pray God have mercy on them. They shall die tomorrow, or Monday at the furthest. Anne the Queen and her brother shall be arraigned in the Tower; some think tomorrow, but on Monday at the furthest. And some doth verily think they shall there even so suffer within the Tower, undelayedly, for divers considerations which are not yet known." (4)
Once this news traveled to court, people were filled with shock and pity for the men - especially Weston, who had been especially liked at court. His family tried furiously to save him from the Tower - petitioning the King and sending letters, but to no avail. At this time, it is safe to assume that ordinary people could only speculate when these men would be executed, but we know it would happen in only five days.
- "The Lady in the Tower" by Alison Weir - (1) pg. 208, (2) pg. 207, (3) pg.