Elizabeth Barton (c. 1506 – 20 April 1534), also known as the “Nun of Kent”, was an English Catholic nun and visionary. She became a focus of political and religious unrest in England in the 1520s and 1530s.
Barton was born in Aldington, Kent, England, around 1506. She was the daughter of a farmer. In 1525, she began to experience visions and trances. In these visions, she claimed to have received messages from God. She said that God was angry with King Henry VIII for his divorce from Catherine of Aragon and his marriage to Anne Boleyn. She also predicted that Henry would die within a year and that the kingdom would be given to his brother, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond.
Barton’s visions quickly gained a following. People from all over England came to hear her prophecies. She was supported by several members of the clergy, including Edward Bocking, the Bishop of Rochester.
In 1533, Barton was arrested for treason. She was accused of conspiring with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, to overthrow Henry VIII. She was tried and found guilty. She was executed at Tyburn on 20 April 1534.
Barton‘s execution was a major blow to the Catholic Church in England. It also helped to pave the way for the English Reformation.
Barton is remembered as a complex and controversial figure. She was a sincere believer in her visions, but she was also used by others for their own political ends. Her story is a reminder of the power of religious belief and the dangers of fanaticism.