An English Catholic nun correctly prophesied that King Henry VIII of England would marry Anne Boleyn.
For doing so, she became the only woman in history to suffer the dishonor of having her head displayed on a spike at the London Bridge.
Little is known about the early life of Elizabeth Barton, who was known first as “The Holy Maid of the London” and later “The Mad Maid of Kent.”
She was born to a poor family in a town about 12 miles from Canterbury. On Easter of 1525 at the age of 19, she suffered from a severe illness and claimed to have received divine visions predicting the need for pleas for people for remain in the Church.
Thousands believed in her prophecies and responded to her call for prayer to the Virgin Mary and to go on pilgrimages. She became a Benedictine nun shortly thereafter and in the following years had various visions and revelations.
In 1528, she first met Henry VIII and maintained a cordial relationship with the king, who was pleased with her prophecies against heresy and rebellion.
However, when Henry VIII began the process of annulling his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, she began prophesying that if Henry VIII remarried, he would die within a few months and that she had even seen the place in Hell he would go.
A year later, she was arrested by the Crown and forced to confess she had fabricated her prophesy.
She was declared guilty of treason and hanged on April 20th 1534 at the age of 28. Her head was put on a spike at the London Bridge and her body buried at the Greyfriars monastery in London.
Today, the Church of St Augustine of Canterbury in Kent continues to venerate Elizabeth Barton.
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