The charges against Culpeper and Dereham were grave – accusations of treasonous affairs with the queen that threatened the very foundation of the Tudor monarchy. The evidence, combined with the political expediency of eliminating potential threats to the crown, led to their convictions for treason on 1 December.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and, despite being declared illegitimate following the annulment of her parents’ marriage, came to the throne as the next in line behind her Catholic half-sister under the terms of the Third Act of Succession.

The Pope granted the Latin title Fidei defensor to Henry after he published a book in which he defended Catholic doctrine against the criticisms levelled at it by Martin Luther in his Ninety-five Theses during the early stages of the Protestant Reformation.

Although found unanimously guilty by a jury of 27 peers, the evidence against Anne was questionable. Only the Flemish musician Mark Smeaton admitted to having an affair with her, and this confession is reputed to have been extracted under torture.

Abbot Robert Fuller surrendered the abbey and its property on 23 March 1540, and within just a few years all the buildings except for the parish nave had been demolished or had collapsed due to neglect.

On the 10th July 1553, Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed queen of England after her first cousin once removed, the 15-year-old King Edward VI, died of an unknown respiratory problem.

On the 11th October 1521, Pope Leo X granted the title “Defender of the Faith” to King Henry VIII of England.