- NAME: Saint John Fisher
- OCCUPATION: Cardinal, Saint
- BIRTH DATE: 1469
- DEATH DATE: June 22, 1535
- Did You Know?: Saint John Fisher's sentence of death was communted from hanging and being drawn and quartered to simply beheading.
- EDUCATION: University of Cambridge
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Beverley, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
- PLACE OF DEATH: London, England, United Kingdom
- AKA: John of Rochester
- AKA: St. John Fisher
- AKA: John Fisher
Best Known For
Saint John Fisher was a Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal who was martyred when he resisted King Henry VIII's encroachments on the Church.
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Fisher refused to acknowledge the succession and was sent to the Tower of London on April 26, 1534, where he remained for more than a year, under severe conditions.
In May 1535, newly elected Pope Paul III named John Fisher cardinal priest of San Vitale in hopes of inducing Henry to ease on Fisher's treatment. The act had just the opposite effect: Henry refused the appointment,
and Fisher was sent to trial for treason for denying that the king was the supreme head of the Church of England. He was found guilty and condemned to death by beheading, which occurred on June 22, 1535.
John Fisher's calm demeanor in the hours before his death profoundly impressed those present. The execution and subsequent desecration of his body elevated his stature even further, despite the efforts of the Crown to further denigrate his character. Fisher has been universally esteemed for centuries, and on May 19, 1935, he was canonized by Pope Pius XI.
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Whether by sword, axe or guillotine, death by beheading was historically considered the most humane form of death sentence—as long as the executioner was swift, strong and good at hitting his mark. While the practice was never legally supported in the United States, we do give the method a nod in this country whenever we use the term "capital punishment"; the word "capital" is derived from the Latin "capitalis," which translates to "of the head." Here are some of the most famous victims of this gruesome form of execution.
Beheaded 14 people in this group
Famous Saints 36 people in this group
Famous People Named John 228 people in this group