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England 1678

Description: Medal by George Bower, commemorating the murder by strangulation of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey by Papists in 1678.
Obverse: Bust of Godfrey right with long hair and two hands strangling him with his cravat, "MORIENDO • RESTITVIT • REM • E • GODFREY", Godfrey, by his death, re-established the State.
Reverse: Green strangling Godfrey in the presence of the Pope who is blessing him, "TANTVM • RELLIGIO • POTVIT", Such could Religion do. Edge : "CERVICE • FRACTA • FIDEM • SVSVLIT • ATLAS • SXN • 1678", The Christian Atlas sustained the Faith with a broken neck.
Statistics: Silver 38.6 mm 27.5gm
Reference: MI i 577/247


Sir Edmondbury Godfrey - or more correctly Edmund Berry Godfrey was a magistrate who was very active in 'revealing' the schemes of the Pope in British politics and a bitter persecutor of Catholics - for which activity he was allegedly 'done away with' on the orders of the Pope at the instigation of the devil!

Supposedly, on the 12th of October 1678 Godfrey, who was walking near Somerset House, was requested to come and break up an argument between two men. It was a lure and once at the back of Watergate the men turned on him and one by the name of Green threw a knotted cravat around his neck and strangled him.

Wondering what to do with the body they eventually decided to carry it out of London and leave it a field stabbed, with money intact so that it might look like suicide! So, some four days later they loaded the corpse into a sedan chair and proceeded through Soho, at which point they then held him (as though drunk) on a horse and continued on to Primrose Hill where they ran him through with a sword and left him propped up in a ditch.

The word soon went around that this was a murder committed by Roman Catholics at the instigation of the Pope and much anti-Catholic feeling was stirred up and one of the results was the manufacture of this medal. Godfrey is compared to Atlas - for as the giant sustained the world with his vigour and strength, so to did Godfrey sustain the 'True Faith' with a broken neck!

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