How did Thomas Blood try to steal the Crown Jewels in 1671?
After the execution of Charles I in 1649 many of the Crown Jewels were sold or destroyed. Oliver Cromwell ordered that the orb and sceptres should be broken as they stood for the 'detestable rule of kings'. All the gemstones were removed and sold and the precious metal was used to make coins.
When the monarchy was restored in 1660, two new sceptres and an orb costing £12,185 were made for the coronation of Charles II in 1661. Can you spot any of these items in the picture on the right?
During the ceremony, the new King held the Sceptre with the Cross in his right hand and the Sceptre with the Dove in his left. The sceptre was a rod or staff which represents royal power and the dove refers to the Holy Spirit. The King was crowned with St Edward's Crown. At some point the King also held the orb, a hollow golden sphere decorated with a band of jewels and a jewelled cross on top. The orb refers to the King's role as protector of the church.
Charles II allowed the Crown Jewels to be shown to members of the public for a viewing fee paid to a custodian (keeper) who looked after the jewels in the Martin Tower at the Tower of London. In 1671 Thomas Blood was the first and only man who attempted to steal them!
After that, the Crown Jewels were kept under armed guard in a part of the Tower known as the Jewel House.
Read these sources to find out more about Thomas Blood's life of crime and his dramatic attempt to steal the Crown Jewels!
- According to this proclamation, what was Thomas Blood commonly called?
- What did Thomas Blood and others do?
- What does the proclamation tell us about Stuart methods for capturing criminals or solving crimes?
- Do you think these methods may or may not have been effective? Give your reasons.
1. This is a Proclamation by Charles II made in 1667.
- How many men were involved in these events?
- Who was Mr. Edwards?
- Who surprised the men during the robbery?
- What happened in the end?
2. These are extracts from a newsletter to Mr. Kirke 9th May 1671.
- Why do think that Thomas Blood was described as 'the father of Treasons'?
- What were the terms of Thomas Blood's pardon?
- Why was Thomas Blood pardoned? Give your own reasons.
3. This is Thomas Blood's pardon as listed in the records of Lord Arlington, Secretary of State, August 1st 1671.
- Can you find the error in this source?
- Can you find any differences in the terms of Blood's pardon in this source?
- Can you explain why source 3 and source 4 give different versions of the pardon?