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Lord Thomas Darcy

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Lord Thomas Darcy

Lord Thomas Darcy, Baron de Darcy was a nobleman who joined the Northern Catholic rebellion known as the "Pilgrimage of Grace" that occurred in Season Three of The Tudors.  He is played by Irish actor Colm Wilkinson.  When the rebellion is crushed, Darcy is executed along with all its' leaders.

Season ThreeEdit

In episode 3.02, Darcy is initially ordered by the King to hold Pontifract Castle against the Pilgrimage rebels in Lincoln, but Darcy knows such a stand is impossible against such massive numbers- he only has a small garrison and little ammunition.  When his pleas for reinforcements are ignored, he resolves- against the advice of a Protestant archbishop- to negotiate with the rebels.  Their main captain, the charismatic lawyer Robert Aske, is respectful towards Darcy and explains they only want to petition Henry to have their monasteries- which have mostly been dissolved by Thomas Cromwell- restored, and that they do not wish to shed any blood but will fight back if attacked.  Unable to stop them anyway and feeling sympathy for his fellow Northerners (since he hates the common-born, ambitious Cromwell as much as they do), Darcy lets the rebels use Pontifract as their headquarters.  This action infuriates King Henry, who orders Darcy arrested along with the other leaders.

Later in the episode, Darcy- alongside the rebel leaders Aske, John Constable and Sir Ralph Ellerker, confront the much-smaller Royal Army under Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk.  Suffolk speaks privately to Darcy, urging him to re-gain the king's favor and his own safety by turning over Aske to the Royal forces; Darcy firmly refuses, unwilling to betray his word to Aske.  He remains at Pontifract while the rebels are negotiating, but grows uneasy with Constable's hot-headedness in episode 3.03.  When Aske returns from London, Darcy apologetically informs him that rumors among the rebels have caused them to take up arms again, jeopardizing the fragile progress Aske has made in making peace with the King.

After a second uprising by John Constable is crushed, Darcy and Aske are summoned to London by Brandon (ignoring Darcy's protest of being elderly and ill) to explain it, despite the fact that Constable acted completely without their consent.  Both are promptly placed in the Tower of London and questioned by their arch-enemy, Cromwell.  Cromwell attempts to insinuate that Darcy remained loyal to the rebellion after negotiations were in progress (based on letters to his fellow gentrymen) and is therefore still a traitor to the Crown.  Darcy, refusing to be intimidated even in defeat, defiantly tells Cromwell that his attempts to do away with the old order will come in vain, for "even if you could strike off the heads of all the nobility, I daresay there would be one left who would strike off yours!"   At the end of the episode, Darcy's head is shown on a spike on the Tower wall, alongside those of Constable and Charlie (Constable's bodyguard).

Ultimately, however, Darcy's prophecy of Cromwell's downfall came true.  Cromwell made scores of enemies among the nobility, and at the close of Season Three they banded together, accused him of treason, and had him sentenced to death; the episode closed with Cromwell's beheading.

Season FourEdit

Darcy is briefly seen in episode 4 of Season Four; he appears as a ghost to Charles Brandon when Brandon joins the King on a progress of the North.  At Pontifract, Brandon confesses his guilt over betraying the Pilgrimage to Henry and the reprisals he was forced to take against the Northern civilians.  Weeping, he begs forgiveness of Darcy's ghost- calling Darcy by his nickname, "Old Tom"- but Darcy, also weeping, bitterly refuses, saying that the living are so self-absorbed and leave the dead in continual sufferance.  He dissapears, leaving Charles as guilt-wracked as before.

QuotesEdit

  • "It is you, Cromwell, who are the chief cause of all this mischief and rebellion... even if you could strike off the heads of all the nobility... I daresay there would be one left, who could strike off yours!"

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