In 1605 an English Catholic man named Guy ("Guido") Fawkes joined 12 other Catholics in an attempt to to blow up the Houses of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder. Fawkes was caught red handed in the cellar of the Parliament. He was tortured an executed. Here's how his signature appeared, before and after torture.
In those days, England didn't take kindly to Catholics, especially ones who tried to kill Queens and members of Parliament. I recently read Simon Singh's excellent The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography which has a chapter about Mary Queen of Scotts who, while under house arrest in the late 1500s, sent encrypted messages to a group of Catholic men conspiring to assassinate Queen Elizabeth and put Mary on the throne. The men were captured and gruesomely executed in front of a crowd of gawkers. As Elizabethan historian William Camden wrote, the conspirators were "cut down, their privities were cut off, bowelled alive and seeing, and quartered." Mary, being a Queen, was merely beheaded.