|Tower of London|
Geoffrey had been born around the time his father, Richard Pole, died. Since the exact dates of Richard's death and Geoffrey's birth are not known, it is impossible to know if the father ever held his youngest child. Was it this lack of a father that caused Geoffrey to grow to be weaker in spirit and character than his mother and older brothers? I cannot say, but I do know that Henry VIII knew just who to target when he looked toward putting his cousin's family back in their place, which was the same as everyone else's: beneath him.
Geoffrey's older brother, Henry Lord Montague, had been arrested and released over a decade earlier in connection with charges against Edward Stafford Duke of Buckingham. He was another royal cousin who fell due to the fact that he made one too many remarks comparing his own bloodline to that of the Tudor king. Henry Pole, however, was released at that time and continued to serve the king in a variety of roles free of scandal. Until his brother's arrest.
It was not until October 1538 that Geoffrey was questioned and quite likely underwent some form of torture. Already the weakest branch of the Pole family tree, weeks of fear, hunger, and neglect left him ripe for giving Henry VIII the ammunition he needed to move forward against the entire family.
It was no secret that the Pole family had been supporters of Katherine of Aragon and the Catholic Church. Margaret and Henry were politically savvy and managed to balance these loyalties with that to their cousin and king, Henry VIII. As the king aged and became more temperamental and suspicious, his wrath fell upon this family that he had once raised to the earldom of Salisbury and barony of Montegue. Following the Pilgrimage of Grace and amid rumors that Margaret still held hope that her son, Reginald, would marry and rule at the side of Princess Mary, the king determined that the Poles had become too much of a threat to his supremacy.
|Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury|
Upon the arrest of his family members, Geoffrey Pole attempted suicide. This was another blow to his mother who would have believed this to be a mortal sin. He was unsuccessful. His punishment continued when he was released while his testimony was used to press charges against others. Several were executed in what has become known as the Exeter Conspiracy, including Geoffrey's oldest brother, Henry.
|Modern monument at Tower of London|
Geoffrey did not return to England until Reginald did during the reign of Queen Mary I. All three, Geoffrey, Reginald, and Mary, died in 1558 of natural causes.