The Strange Death of the Earl of Essex

Did he fall... or was he pushed? Michael MacDonald investigates the cause celebre of Arthur Capel, Earl of Essex, found with his throat cut in the Tower of London and sheds light on attitudes to suicide and the political and religious strife of Restoration England.

The 1st Earl of Essex, in a painting commemorating his appointment as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1672.On the morning of July 13th, 1683, Paul Bromeny, a servant of Arthur Capel, the Earl of Essex, looked for him in his rooms in the Tower of London. Essex had been arrested three weeks earlier and charged with high treason, accused of conspiring to assassinate King Charles II and the Duke of York in the Rye House Plot. The trial of his alleged co-conspirator, William Lord Russell, had just begun; his own was imminent.

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