Charles II, Murder of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey Medal, 1678Sir Edmundbury Godfey (1621-1678) was an English magistrate whose mysterious death caused anti-Catholic uproar in England. Godfrey was found dead in a ditch on Primrose Hill, he was lying face down and had been impaled on his own sword. On further investigation the sword wound had been inflicted after his death, his body had lain in the ditch for days, further investigation revealed that he had been strangled and his neck was broken as depicted on the obverse of this medal.

A now discredited confession led to the execution of Robert Green, Henry Berry and Lawrence Hill, they were hanged at Primrose Hill. They were said to have killed Sir Godfrey near Somerset House in the presence of three priests, the body was then taken to Hampstead.

The mysterious death was pinned at the time on the Catholics. Godfrey was linked to groups that wanted to replace the king with a republic in response to the Secret Treaty of Dover. The treaty was between England and France in which Charles II would convert himself and his country to Roman Catholicism to join forces with France against the Dutch Republic. This medal and pamphlets issued at the time were in favour of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey’s cause showing a papal figure blessing the scene of a murder and were influential over the publics understanding of a case that was never concluded.