On 9 March 1554 a Leicester man called Kettle was executed for treason against Queen Mary I. Kettle was involved in Wyatt’s Rebellion, which involved Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk. The aim was to dethrone Mary and replace her with her half-sister Elizabeth.
Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon (acting as the Queen’s Witness), attended the trial at Leicester spring azzies and Kettle was to be prosecuted by the Queen’s own Solicitor, the name sadly lost to history. The court sentenced Kettle to be hanged, drawn and quartered. The town accounts reveal how two men were stationed in the steeple of St Martin’s church to announce the arrival of the Earl of Huntingdon. Leicester was heavily secured, the four gates strengthened and guards issued with armour. The gallows were erected at the High Cross, just outside the town walls. The accounts show that the undersheriff, a Mr Berridge, supervised the matter. He was paid 10s for ‘such things as was done about the execution of Kettle and setting up his head and quarters’. The quarters were set over each of the town gates, while Kettle’s head was probably fitted to the High Cross itself.