The Murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey (1621-1678), silver medal, 1678, by George Bower, bust of Godfrey right, two hands strangling him with his cravat, rev., the Pope watches as Godfrey is murdered by Robert Green, TANTVM RELLIGIO POTVIT, dated on lettered edge, edge inscribed CERVICE FRACTA FIDEM. SVSTVLIT ATLAS XNS 1678, 39mm (MI 577/247; Eim. 257).
Extremely fine and lightly toned.
The murder of Godfrey, supposedly instigated by the Roman Catholics, remains something of a mystery. In December 1678 one Miles Prance, was arrested for conspiracy and confessed that he had taken part in the murder which was committed in the courtyard of Somerset House. Godfrey, he stated, was strangled in the presence of three priests, by Robert Green, Lawrence Hill and Henry Berry and the body was taken to Hampstead. Green, Hill and Berry were arrested and in February 1679 they were hanged. This and the following medals depict various aspects of the story. The reverse legend on this medal is extracted from Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura, part of the famous observation on the evil deeds inspired by religious zeal.
Provenance: Baldwin List, 2005 (no. 17).
The Christopher Foley, F.S.A., Collection Of Early English Medals Ref.492