Chidiock Tichborne was part of the Babington plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I. When the Protestant Elizabeth came to the throne, Catholics such as Tichborne had a degree of freedom to practise their faith. However, when Elizabeth was excommunicated by the pope in 1570, she retaliated by ending her tolerance of Catholicism in England. Records suggest that Tichborne and his father were questioned on several occasions about their ‘popish practices’.

Fatally for Tichborne, he agreed to take part in the Babington Plot . The conspiracy was exposed by a double agent and Tichborne and his fellow conspirators were executed in a particularly gruesome fashion, on 20 September 1586. The day before his death Tichborne wrote the Elegy for which he is now remembered. The poem was included in a letter he wrote to his wife.

Recording commissioned by the Poetry Archive, reproduced here by kind permission of the reader.

Poems by Chidiock Tichborne

Tichborne’s Elegy

Read by Jean Sprackland
Tichborne’s Elegy - Chidiock Tichborne - Read by Jean Sprackland