December 1: The anniversary of the execution of
Edmund Campion

Thank you for joining us in our celebration of Advent with our annual Anne Boleyn Files Advent Calendar. We have some wonderful treats lined up for you!

I will be sharing some exciting news about an Anne Boleyn-themed event taking place in early 2022 with my Anne Boleyn Files mailing list the week beginning 13th December, so please do make sure you’ve signed up – – you get lots of Anne Boleyn treats too as a thank you. If you have any problems signing up, contact me at and I’ll be happy to help.

Loretta Goldberg, award-winning author of The Reversible Mask, a novel set in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, is our first Anne Boleyn Files Advent Calendar Contributor. Thank you, Loretta!

Loretta is marking the anniversary of the execution of Edmund Campion, on 1st December 1581, with a ballad she wrote for her novel.

Loretta explains:

“I adapted the refrain and the scansion of a poem by Chidiok Tichborne (1582), but all the words are mine. It is sung in France from the Catholic Point of View, as part of The Reversible Mask. Campion’s execution, along with five other missionary priests, accelerated Catholic hostilityto Elizabeth I within and outside England, although my view is more sympathetic to the real challenge Campion posed to the government, given a Spanish incursion into Ireland at the same time.”

Loretta has included a map she made showing the conjunction of the Spanish incursion and Campion’s fate, and explians, “My linking of the two events is a fresh perspective I have not read in academic histories.”

A map of the Spanish incusion and Campions fate


Behold kind Campion, and mark his doleful end
In heathen England, by a cruel Queen’s hand.
He hangs from gallows as great bells chase the hour,
The crowd sighs tears as his youthful sap doth sour.
Birds still their song, rough clouds paint out the sun,
And thus he lived, and thus his life be done.

Behold sweet Campion, and bless his learning&s power;
He walked that land, and faith came yet to flower.
Though heathen prelates rose, and brought him to dispute,
His perfect arguments did strike them all stark mute.
He opened God’s truths, NOWELL’s sureties he stung!
And thus he sang, and thus his life be sung.

Behold brave Campion, a traitor&s death he dies.
Cut down while trussed and limp, they hold his racked
frame high;
Then drag his entrails out, his manhood scythe away,
And quarter him in course, his poor sweet face display.
A dew mist of his blood baptises souls new sprung,
And thus he wrought, thus England be undone.

The Reversible Mask: An Elizabethan Spy Novel

For fans of Philippa Gregory, John le Carré, Alison Weir, and C. J. Sansom

Summer 1566. A glittering royal progress approaches Oxford. A golden age of prosperity, scientific advances, exploration and artistic magnificence. Elizabeth I’s Protestant government has much to celebrate.

But one young Catholic courtier isn’t cheering.

Conflicting passions–patriotism and religion–wage war in his heart. On this day, religion wins. Sir Edward Latham throws away his title, kin, and country to serve Catholic monarchs abroad.

But his wandering doesn’t quiet his soul, and when Europe’s religious wars threaten his beloved England and his family, patriotism prevails. Latham switches sides and becomes a double agent for Queen Elizabeth. Life turns complicated and dangerous as he balances protecting country and queen, while entreating both sides for peace.

Intrigue, lust, and war combine in this thrilling debut historical novel from Loretta Goldberg.

You can discover more about Loretta from her website and connect on Facebook at: