Tudor Bastard:

Henry VIII's son Henry Fitzroy,
Duke of Richmond and Somerset

© - copyright: Heather Hobden, The Cosmic Elk, cosmicelk.net


Histories and stories about Henry VIII tend to concentrate on his relationships with his wives in his desperate quest for sons, and above all with his revenge on on Katherine, and then Anne, when they failed to give him the son he wanted.

Yet Henry VIII already had a son, who was aged 17 when he was ordered by his father to witness Anne beheaded. With his father-in-law, the Duke of Norfolk and others ordered to be present as witnesses, on horseback and wearing masks, near the scaffold, while his father was getting ready for his wedding to Jane Seymour.

This is the story, from the birth of Henry Fitzroy whose mother was Elizabeth Blount, a young maid of honour to Queen Katherine. And the mystery of his sudden death, just as an act had been passed in Parliament enabling his father to nominate him the heir to the throne.


Elizabeth Blount (later to be known as "mother of the king's son") to be a maid of honour to Queen Katherine

With five daughters and another baby on the way, 31 year old Katherine Blount must have been pleased to have her two eldest daughters settled. The eldest, Anne (or Agnes), was to be married to Richard Lacon, heir to a nearby estate, Willey, in Shropshire. Elizabeth, the second daughter, was to become one of Queen Katherine's maids of honour from May 1512, for which she was to be paid 100 shillings a year. (five pounds). Elizabeth, was forward, pretty and very lively. She was destined to attract the King himself and give him his first, and at the time, his only, acknowledged son. Elizabeth would become known as "the mother of the King's son".

Katherine, Elizabeth's mother, had been Katherine Pershall, until her marriage to John Blount of Kinlet, in August 1491. Katherine was then about ten years old, and John, born in 1484, was only seven. His parents, Sir Thomas Blount, and Anne (formerly Croft) were to have twenty children, and John was the eldest.

Katherine's father, had been Sir Hugh Pershall, who had died in 1488. Her mother, had been Isobel Stanley. She had re-married.

Katherine had two younger sisters, Joyce and Isabella, but no brothers, so was heiress of the family estate of Knightley Hall in Staffordshire, (post code: ST20 0JS). But until she was 21 and could take over her inheritance, she was expected to live with the Blounts, her young husband, and increasing numbers of his little brothers and sisters at Kinlet Hall, near Bewdley, (post code: DY12 3AY).

Back to 1501

Catalina the Spanish Princess is married to Arthur Prince of Wales

Katherine Blount will be one of her ladies-in-waiting.

In October 1501, Prince Arthur, eldest son of King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth, was married to the Princess Catalina (later known in England as Katherine of Aragon). She was one of the daughters of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, of Spain. They had been betrothed since Catalina was 3 and Arthur was 2. And when they were older wrote to each other in Latin.

Although Arthur's parents were determined on the match, Ferdinand and Isabella the joint rulers of Aragon and Castile and conquerors of Granada, were not personally the sort many people would want as inlaws. The Inquisition was notorious, but in 1478 Ferdinand and Isabella, had applied to Pope Sixtius IV for an Inquisition in Spain to be directly under their control. They then set to harrass their population to such an extent that in 1482 even the Pope complained:

"The Inquisition has for some time been moved not by zeal for the faith and the salvation of souls, but by lust for wealth."

The Catholic Monarchs continued their profitable inquisition. Thousands of wealthy citizens were tortured, burnt alive, their property mostly finding its way to Ferdinand and Isabella, with some siphoned off to Torquemada and other Inquisitors doing their dirty work. As one of the Inquisitors was to state: "...the main purpose of the trial and executions is not to save the soul of the accused but to put fear into others". It continued in Spain and Spanish colonies into the 19th century.

The young prince Arthur and princess Catalina, had been writing to each other in Latin since they were young children, but met for the first time when Catalina arrived in England, early November 1501.

They were married in St. Pauls Cathedral, London, picture left shows what St.Paul's looked like then. The route was lined with pageants, to celebrate the event and entertain the crowds, all at the expense - not of the royal family, but of the citizens of London. Printer Richard Pynson published a souvenir booklet. The royal wedding was followed by a tournament and more ceremonies at Westminster Palace, and a performance produced by William Cornish.

The young couple's first official night together was carefully orchestrated by Henry VII's mother. Arthur was led in a procession into his bride's bedroom. Arthur's comments to his mates when he was dressed in the morning, were remembered years later when the validity of the marriage was at stake. He said he "had spent the night in Spain" and "it was thirsty work" - when he demanded a drink. They were now really married.

After a week at Westminster the whole court shifted down the Thames to Richmond Palace originally called Sheen. This was the main home of Henry VII's mother. She had it completely rebuilt in the latest architectural style with the latest modern plumbing with water on tap. Again there was more entertainment. Henry VII wanted to impress the many members of the Spanish Court who had accompanied the Princess and will report back to her parents.

Arthur's grandmother, Henry VII's mother, was born Margaret Beaufort. Married four times. First married in 1450, when 6 years old. Her husband, John de la Pole was 7. They each remained with their own mothers. When aged about 10, John de la Pole's parents found a new bride for him, and they were divorced in 1453. Margaret's first and only child was from her second marriage in 1455, at 12 years old, to Edmund Tudor. After making sure his bride was pregnant (a child would have entitled him to his wife's estates) Edmund left her to rejoin the wars, was captured, released, and died of the plague three months later.

Margaret's third husband (from 1458 to 1471) was Henry Stafford. When he died, Edmund Tudor's brother, Jasper Tudor, became his nephew's guardian. Margaret's 4th husband (and his second wife) was Thomas, Lord Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, and King of Mann (the island). He was a Yorkist, which helped Margaret ingratiate herself with the Yorkists then in power, and plot with the former Queen Elizabeth, widow of Edward IV, to marry her daughter to Margaret's son.

Since Margaret's husband had access to the Tower of London, as he was now Lord High Constable of England, it is possible Margaret may have had something to do with the mysterious disappearance of the two sons of Edward IV, although as the eldest, Edward, was being treated for an abscess in his jaw, it is likely he would have died soon anyway.

Margaret's main ambition was to make her son (who had been living with his uncle Jasper and the army they had collected, in Brittany) the next King of England. When it happened, (thanks to Richard III's brave but fatal charge at Bosworth), and her son claimed the throne, Margaret now signed herself Margaret Richmond then Margaret R..

Margaret R. made sure her son had a child by the surviving hereditary heir to the throne, Elizabeth of York. Her brothers were last seen in the Tower of London and Margaret appears to have known they would not be seen again. Margaret kept Elizabeth at Sheen under her control, where her son Henry, could easily visit.

Henry - now King Henry VII - married Elizabeth of York on 18th January, 1486, and their first child, Arthur, was born on 20th July 1486. Arthur was a big, healthy, full term baby. Some historians think they must have made a mistake and it should have been 20 September. It is more probable that Margaret made sure she was likely to become a grandmother before organising the wedding.

Arthur was now grown up and had his own castle to take his new wife home to. The new Prince and Princess of Wales, were to live in Ludlow Castle, in Shropshire (picture left), near the Welsh border, which had been Arthur's home since he was about six years old. Before they arrived there they stopped off for Christmas celebrations in Bewdley by the River Severn at the Royal Manor of Tickenhill which had been newly renovated and enlarged into a palace suitable for them.

Katherine Blount now aged 20, was appointed to be one of the new English Ladies in Waiting to Princess Catalina. Katherine Blount's father-in-law, Sir Thomas Blount was Steward of the Royal Park and Manor of Bewdley which included the newly extended and rebuilt palace of Tickenhill. Katherine may have travelled with him from Kinlet to attend the new Princess of Wales. (Childe Pemberton, p.40. He also says it is 3 hours journey from Kinlet - probably much the same time in the 16th century as the 19th century since road transport had changed little). And as the Blounts had a house in Bewdley they probably stopped there first.

For Katherine Blount life at the court of the Prince and Princess of Wales at Tickenhill and then Ludlow Castle, must have been a welcome escape from the crowded Blount nursery at Kinlet. Although the Blounts had a house in Bewdley and Ludlow is not very far from Kinlet, the court of the Prince and Princess of Wales must have seemed very exotic and interesting to Katherine Blount and the other English girls now in attendance on the Princess of Wales.

The princess's entourage with their strange foreign language, and different fashions and customs would have made life at Tickenhill House and Ludlow Castle an interesting experience for the young English ladies in waiting. Since the Princess Catalina's home had mainly been in Granada newly conquered and forcibly converted, by her parents, a number of her entourage were "Moors". (A term then used for Africans and/or Moslem). There were many people of North African origin in Granada, and in the entourage of Princess Catalina (now called Catherine). Such as her Lady of the Bedchamber and one of her closest friends Catalina de Cardones, whose husband was also a Moor. Most of the inhabitants of southern Spain had been Moslem or Shephardi Jewish, now forced to convert to the Spanish Catholic religion, and mosques and synagogues vandalised or converted to Catholic churches.

The mainly young court at Ludlow Castle, had great fun even after the Christmas and New Year holidays with all the entertainments and games continuing into the new year and spring. The English women copied the Spanish fashions with their hooped underskirt which came to be called a farthingale. This fashion has lasted on and off up until the 1950s.

In charge at Ludlow Castle was Sir Richard Pole, Arthur's Chamberlain, with his wife Margaret, Countess of Salisbury. Margaret always wore a bracelet with a little wine barrel charm in memory of her father the Duke of Clarence who had been executed by his brother Edward IV by drowning in a butt of malmsey wine. Margaret's brother was the Earl of Warwick, who had been imprisoned, apparently in isolation, in the Tower of London for many years (the 3rd Prince in the Tower) then secretly executed on orders of Henry VII. Margaret's husband, Richard Pole, was a nephew of Henry VII's mother Margaret R., who had arranged the match to keep Margaret under her control.

(In 1541, Margaret, by then an aged grandmother, was imprisoned along with two very young grandsons, in the Tower of London. She was suddenly and secretly beheaded there, by order of Henry VIII. One grandson survived but remained imprisoned there until released temporarily by Queen Mary).

At Ludlow Castle, Princess Catalina - now Princess Catherine - could now enjoy her new married life with her husband free from her duenna, Elvira Manuel, who had been appointed by Ferdinand and Isabella, not just to take care of their young daughter but as a spy to control their daughter according to her parents' orders.

In Ludlow Castle, the newly weds were also freed by distance from the rules imposed by Arthur's grandmother Margaret R., who had rules for everything, even dictating when Arthur could visit his bride in her bedroom. Once a week and in a formal procession with his retinue!

Since one week in four had to be skipped, this only amounted to seven times the couple had been able to sleep together officially. If the rules had been followed. These written rules and regulations were to come in useful some 25 years later when it was to Katherine's advantage to be able to claim that her first marriage had not been consummated.

This was because life for the young people at the court of Prince and Princess of Wales, was soon to come to a tragic end. In April 1502 there was an epidemic of "the Sweating Sickness", a highly infectious illness with severe flu-like symptoms, which tended to attack the lungs. The cause and nature of this disease which was first known in England in 1485, and only spread to Northern Europe in what was to be the final epidemic of 1551, is still debated. Nearly everyone at the court of the Prince and Princess of Wales was affected.

(More information on "The Sweat" in the notes on Tudor Health and the Doctors.)

Victorian accounts tend to have Arthur as a sickly weedy child. This is because many young people in the 19th century died from Pulmonary Tuberculosis which was epidemic then. Not in the 16th century, although other things could kill a young person off. There is no evidence from the contemporary reports and letters, that Prince Arthur was frail, sickly etc. until he was carried off (along with many others) by the Sweat. If he had been he would not have been married either.

Princess Catalina (now called Katherine, or Kateryn, or Catherine in England) recovered, but Prince Arthur died.

An impressive cortege took Arthur's body (except his heart, left at Ludlow) for the main funeral and his tomb in Worcester Cathedral. His widow, Katherine, was left stranded at Ludlow.

Only the Queen, despite her own grief, remembered her daughter-in-law and sent men with a litter somberly draped in black to convey her with her ladies, back to London.

Litters may have wheels or be slung between two horses or mules - one in front and one at the back. Although less bumpy than wheels on the rough roads, the litter swayed sickenly as the animals trotted along. They were used mainly for children, the elderly and pregnant women. Katherine's mother-in-law was obviously hoping for the consolation of a grandchild.

It hadn't happened. So many years later, Katherine was able to contest the claim by Henry VIII that their marriage of more than 20 years was invalid as she had been married to his brother, on the grounds that her previous marriage had not been consummated. In fact Henry VII had obtained a dispensation from Pope Alexander VI on the grounds that the marriage to Arthur had been consummated, to enable her to be re-married to his younger son Henry.

More on this later.

Katherine Blount goes back to her own home of Knightley

Katherine Blount, one of those left by the sudden abandonment of the court at Ludlow, did not have to be part of the entourage that accompaned the widowed princess back to her in-laws. She did not have to return to her own in-laws at Kinlet either. She was 21 in May, and entitled to move into her own home which she had inherited, of Knightley, with her 18 year old husband.

They were to have eight children. Anne (or Agnes), then Elizabeth, Rose, Albora, Isabella, George (born 1513, the only birthdate recorded), Henry and William.

The reason we can only guess at Elizabeth Blount's date of birth is that until 1538, there was no legal obligation to record a birth. Before then, only sons (because of inheritance) were likely to have had the date of their birth recorded. And not always then. So only George, the Blount's first son, gets his birthdate recorded. 1513. Which means we must calculate at least 5 births between 1503 and 1512. Which fits. And gives us a possible date for Elizabeth's birth of between 1504 and 1507. More likely to have been not later than 1505, since she went to court as a maid of honour in 1512 and danced with the King in 1514.

She may have been named in memory of Queen Elizabeth, who died in February 1503, and who had been highly regarded by the people for her kindness and good works - for which she was called "the Queen of Hearts" (and appears as such on the playing cards). This made Elizabeth a very popular girl's name at that time.

The forgotten princess and a shortage of Tudor heirs.

part of a painting thought to show Henry and his sisters just after their mother had died After the early sudden death of her husband in 1502, life had been difficult for Catalina, now called Katherine. Her mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth, had been the only royal lady with any consideration for her, and she died on the 11th February 1503, soon after giving birth to a daughter. The pregnancy was an attempt to try and compensate for the loss of their eldest son, but the new baby also died.

This left King Henry VII with 3 legitimate children, 2 daughters and one son. Picture left thought to be his children after the death of their mother.

Actually he had another son, not by his wife but by a girlfriend he had long before he was married, when he lived in Brittanny. Their son was Roland de Velville. He was knighted by his father, married a Welsh girl, Agnes ferch Gwilvym Fychan, had children, and lived in Wales as Constable of Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey.

Henry VII's eldest daughter, Princess Margaret, born in 1489, left for Scotland when she was 13 to be married to King James IV. Her wedding was on the 8th August, 1503.

As the young women who had accompanied Katherine to England married and left for their own homes, there was few left at the court in England who could be a companion to the widowed Spanish Princess. Prince Henry, born 1491, the only surviving son of Henry VII, and now heir to the throne, was eleven, and the King's youngest surviving daughter, Princess Mary, born 1496, was still a little girl.

Katherine was left to an uncertain existence on the fringes of the English court. She did not even remain Dowager Princess of Wales since Arthur's brother Henry was now Prince of Wales. And having heard that King Henry VII might be interested in marrying Katherine himself, the dodgy duenna was re-instated by her parents.

Katherine's mother Queen Isabella, died on the 26th November, 1504. Henry VII still demanded the rest of Katherine's dowry, but her father Ferdinand was not going to pay it. Since his son-in-law had died, he wanted a refund and return of the daughter to use again in another match.

Ferdinand was even more nasty to his oldest daughter, Juana, who had suceeded her mother, as Queen of Castile.

On the 7th January,1506, Juana, now Queen of Spain with the death of her mother, was on her way to Spain from Burgundy, with her husband Philip of Burgundy, (who was the son of the Emperor Maximilian and brother of Margaret of Austria, but treated his wife badly, being unfaithful and abusive). Their five children had been left with Philip's sister. Juana was expecting her sixth child. She was destined never to see her older children again. With an entourage of around 3,000 people, the royal couple set off from Zealand for Spain.

part of 16thc mapThis copy of part of a 16th century map gives some idea of where they thought they were going. That boot-like shape is England, Wales and Scotland. They were caught in a storm in the Channel, the ships were scattered and some were lost. On the 16th January their ship found shelter at Melcombe Regis, Weymouth, Dorset - much further west than they had intended.

Henry VII invited both of them to the court.

Philip went off ahead (although called "Philip the Handsome" Philip was an abusive and philandering husband). Juana, determined to see her sister, now Katherine, Princess of Wales, had to make her own arrangements.

Henry VII, was impressed by the beautiful and spirited Juana.

Later in 1506 not long after his arrival back in Spain, Philip died suddenly (said to be from something he ate, when dining with his father-in-law). Henry VII put the now widowed Juana onto his list of potential brides.

It would have saved Juana if her father had agreed to marry her to Henry VII. Instead, Ferdinand had his pregnant daughter locked up with a horrible couple in charge who stole her clothes and jewelry. Her father claimed she was mad, but he just wanted to keep her out of his way as the rightful Queen of Castile.

Juana gave birth to a daughter, who remained with her. When she was about 12, her daughter managed to get a letter to her brother, now Charles V (and from 1519, Holy Roman Emperor). Finding out he had another sister now of marriageable age she was rescued. However, Charles V left his mother imprisoned in grim conditions for the rest of her life. It was given out that she was driven mad by the loss of her husband. As he had been abusive and unfaithful, and they had frequent arguments, that was an unlikely excuse. Her children were brought up in what is now Belgium, by her sister-in-law, the Regent Margaret of Austria and Duchess of Savoy. Her son Charles V, was to be elected in 1519 to succeed his grandfather Maximilian I as Holy Roman Emperor and was ruler of an empire which was expanding to include most of continental Europe and a large part of the American continent and some tropical islands and bits of Asia. But he does not seem to have taken much interest in his mother's welfare. An uprising which aimed at re-installing Juana as Queen of Spain failed and Juana was imprisoned more securely and even more isolated. At the end she was found to have been left abandoned, dying, in a filthy bed.


The stranded princess

Henry VII did not want to lose Katherine's dowry and kept her in England. Her father Ferdinand, refused to pay the remainder of her dowry or send anything for her keep. Katherine had never had to live on a budget before and had no concept of keeping accounts. She was very generous with presents to those about her, some taking advantage of her. In consequence she soon ran out of money to support and feed herself, and her ladies in waiting. And her Confessor, with whom she had developed a rather too close and dependent relationship, Friar Diego Fernandez - who had a reputation as a womanizer. Her staff dwindled as they had to find new employment and many of her maids of honour who were also her friends, married men they had met at the English court. Katherine complained she did not have enough for their dowries.

It did not help that Elvira Manuel and her husband, were re-installed by Ferdinand, to control Katherine and report back to her father.

Ferdinand of Aragon did not have to pay the remainder of his daughter's dowry, if the marriage had not been consummated. So he did not pay up, as Katherine had not become pregnant which would have proved her marriage had been consummated.

Ferdinand sent only excuses: (translation)"...God knows how much I feel it in my heart that you do not enjoy that tranquillity and contentment which I desire for you. Certainly I love you more than ever a father loved his daughter; and to tell you the truth, if the most serene King Don Philip, my son-in-law, God forgive him, had not always been such an enemy of yours as he was, your dower would have been paid before I left Spain. As, however, the money wherewith to pay, and the jewelry which was to be sold, were deposited in Castile, he had it in his power to prevent your dower from being sent. And not only in this, but in all other things which concerned me or my daughters, he was always an enemy, although I rendered him more services than a father. Since his death the most serene Queen of Castile, my daughter and your sister, in consequence of her retirement, does not occupy herself with affairs of state, and I am absent, and this business cannot be despatched whilst I am not there. This is the reason why your dower has not been sent." (Translation from http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/spain/supp/vols1-2/pp85-90).

Having locked up and isolated his eldest daughter, now Queen of Spain and about to give birth, but deprived of her liberty, her jewrellry and other possessions, Ferdinand was unlikely to do much to help a younger daughter. In fact Katherine was safer remaining in England.

Henry VII had already taken precautions. Very soon after Prince Arthur's death, Henry VII obtained a Papal Dispensation, on the grounds that the marriage to Arthur had been consummated. Having this dispensation would enable him to marry his daughter-in-law Katherine to his son Henry, when Henry reached the age of 14. The Pope at the time was Alexander VI, Rodrigo Borgia. Famous for his parties. Alexander VI died very soon after in August 1503, so changing or cancelling the dispensation was not an option.

Despite this dispensation, and the official betrothal ceremony of Katherine to her young brother-in-law Henry, in London at The Bishop of Salisbury's Inn, (not a pub, a small castle on Fleet Street), the wedding was postponed even after Henry had reached 14.

Ferdinand never did pay the rest of the dowry. Neither was his daughter Juana, despite at least one uprising in her favour, ever free to take up her position as Queen of Spain, or even free from imprisonment.

The issue on whether or not Arthur and Katherine's marriage was valid, was to re-emerge more than 20 years later.

Meanwhile, Henry VII was considering a new bride for himself. Two princesses on his own list were Margaret of Austria and Savoy (aunt and now guardian to Juana's children), and his daughter-in-law, Katherine of Aragon.

Katherine (though she did not appreciate that at first) was able to get practical advice from the Spanish envoy to England, Dr. Rodrigo Gonzalez de Puebla, who had arrived in London in 1495 to negotiate the marriage details of Katherine and Arthur, and had remained since then. One of the first permanent envoys or ambassadors, before that envoys had usually been sent abroad for a particular purpose then returned home.

De Puebla was one of the few people that cared about Katherine and looked after her interests in England. And he was worried that Katherine was making herself ill. She was not eating properly. At that time doctors thought that removing some blood would help revive a tired and unhappy princess. Katherine was having herself "bled" so frequently that it was no longer "working", though of course it was only making her anaemic and she was even more thin and wan, and poorly. This was affecting her periods - in the future she would often miss a month or more - so it could potentially have affected her chances of having children when she re-married. She did have six pregnancies but only one child (Mary) survived to grow up, the others miscarried or died not long after birth. Today she might be diagnosed and treated as anorexic. (See also Giles Tremlett's book Catherine of Aragon and other links in notes.)

One of Katherine's problems was her duenna Elvira, and Elvira's husband Pedro Manuel. They dominated the household, were very disruptive, and argued not only with each other but with other staff at Katherine's current home at Durham House. They also hated De Puebla, the only person who was really helping Katherine. This was because De Puebla was orginally Jewish - one of the many who were forced to convert by Ferdinand and Isabella's Inquisition. He had a daughter himself that he was worried about. She had been arrested by the Inquisition and De Puebla's pleas to Queen Isabella had been ignored. But it accounts for his fatherly interest in helping Katherine.

De Puebla discovered that King Ferdinand was using Elvira to spy for him in England. And was using his daughter Katherine to work for him, and his own interests. De Puebla reported the situation to Katherine, who now at last took action to make her own life more efficient and independent as the English Princess she now was. As can be seen in her letters to her father.

Elvira had a problem with her eyes. Katherine insisted she must go to a physician in Flanders for medical treatment for her eyes, he had treated Katherine's sister for a similar problem. Katherine insisted Elvira travelled to Flanders with her husband for her expensive but paid for treatment. Katherine also dismissed other Spanish attendants of dodgy loyalties and interests, including the venal Friar Fernandez. Katherine was starting to make her own decisions.

Meanwhile Katherine's brother-in-law and future husband, Prince Henry, was kept to a strict regime imposed by his grandmother Margaret R., to make sure he did not stray after any girls and any other fun activities usual for teenage boys. She had planned his education to prepare him for a career in the church and this had changed little now he was the heir to the throne. Henry did get additional part-time tutors and met more (carefully vetted) people.

As well as those young men his grandmother considered suitable companions for hunting, practice tournaments etc., Henry also had the chance to meet a number of men famous for their contribution to the "new" learning. They included John Skelton better known for satirical verse, Thomas More, (who Henry will have executed later on), and Desiderius Erasmus, from Rotterdam, who was introduced by Thomas More to the English court.


Henry VIII Now Rules

portraitofKatherineofAragonasMadonnabySittow When Henry VII died on 21st April, 1509, his son Henry was now King but at 17, still under the age (18) to rule. His grandmother Margaret R., was now Regent. She had already arranged for a Council of her own choosing. But Henry was now a hunk about 185 or 186 cm.(over 6 ft) tall, and had enough of being treated as a child and having his life controlled by his Gran. By now he had his made his own plans and they included marrying his sister-in-law Katherine.

Katherine was petite and pretty, with reddish blonde curly hair and blue eyes. Why she is always portrayed on film and tv as tall, dark, and plain, is a mystery, since her portraits and descriptions all indicate she was short and fair haired. And pretty enough for the Estonian artist Michael Sittow, who had been commissioned to paint her portrait, just before she left Spain, to recycle her image in other works as the Madonna and Mary Magdalene.

Katherine had also been very well educated and was fluent not only in her native Spanish, but in French and Latin, and had now learned to speak and write in English. Henry had liked her since she arrived as his elder brother's bride, this marriage had been in his mind since his brother had died, regardless of the actions and opinions of his father and grandmother.

The Royal Wedding took place on the 11th June, and they were crowned King and Queen together in Westminster Abbey, on the 24th June 1509.

As the King's Grandmother and Regent, Margaret R. was invited to the banquet that followed in Westminster Hall. She took the precaution of bringing her favourite young protegèe Henry Parker (Baron Morley) as her cupbearer, and her own carver as well to attend her. And had separate dishes to the other guests. Despite these precautions she became extremely ill immediately after. A cygnet (baby swan) she ate was blamed. (p.213 "Margaret Beaufort" by Elizabeth Norton).

Cygnets were laid out on the plate, dismembered, but with all its parts including head and feet. Swans and cygnets were a dish reserved with official exceptions, for members of the Royal Family. Which is probably why Margaret chose them. At the time of the coronation, the fluffy little cygnets were newly hatched, so plenty of fresh ones would be available. It does not seem that anyone else at the banquet was taken ill with food poisoning, so it could have been the cygnets only Margaret ate that made her ill.

Two days after the coronation, while his grandmother lay in her sick-bed in Westminster Palace, Henry VIII ordered the arrest of two of his father's and grandmother's favourite ministers, Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley, on a charge of treason. They were executed the following year. This was a popular move, with no shortage of people to testify against them, since they had aided Henry VII in his obsession of gaining wealth, and screwing it out of his people, by any means. And keeping accounts of it all. Henry VII left pages and pages of accounts, his executors kept finding more, he could have been called "Henry the Accountant".

On the 29th June 1509, Henry VIII's grandmother Margaret, died. It was the day after Henry VIII's 18th birthday, he was free to rule as he liked. Spend his father's hoard of money. Take a heroic part in tournaments. Lead armies to conquer other countries. Build a navy to protect his own. Have sex with any young woman he fancied. The privileged young men who gathered round him were going to help.

London 1510

Court of the young King and Queen

The picture shows London in 1510 as shown in Richard Pynson's "Chronycle of Englande". Pynson was the King's printer. He had introduced the Roman-style typeface we still use, from France to England. As well as the new ideas of souvenir booklets, instruction booklets, and other sorts of useful books and manuals we still have today. In the picture, the view is from the city of Westminster which is west of the city of London, the spire is of St. Pauls. The Tower of London can be seen at the far end. They are both on top of hills so prominent. And you can see part of the Thames, which just had one bridge, with houses along it and turreted gateways each end, one with a drawbridge, so a sailing boat could get through.

Westminster with the palace and cathedral had been the centre of the court and government of England since Saxon times. Westminster palace was to suffer from a fire in 1512, and Henry VIII abandoned it as a residence. The surviving buildings remained as the permanent houses of Parliament. It had another fire in 1834, so very little of the original buildings are left. Westminster Hall survived so the new buildings were given a medieval look to match. (More on this in this article on Big Ben). It is still the home of Parliament and still undergoing more restoration and re-building.

The King's court did not remain in London but travelled around the country especially during the summer months to avoid epidemics such as the Plague. This also allowed for the palaces, castles, houses, etc. to be cleaned up while they were unoccupied.

Henry VIII loved dancing, singing, music, astronomy, had his own observing instruments made for him; medicine (made up his own potions); hunting, where he and his friends tried to kill as much edible wild-life as possible, and other sports, including jousting, forbidden by his grandmother in case he was killed. (He did have some injuries which may have contributed to his poor health later).

Everyone at the court had to be prepared to take part in the lavish entertainments which were arranged for impressing important visitors, and for seasonal events like Christmas and New Year. For this extravagant costumes and scenery were provided. Some of the manuscripts survive describing the entertainments and who was taking part.

We think of armour, whether for jousting or fighting, as shiny silver, but this is a Victorian error. They had all that black armour kept in the Tower, and other places, "polished" to get rid of the black. Tudor armour was black with gold decorations. And equivalent in cost to a fully armoured tank today. (Some of Henry VIII's and other contemporary armour and weapons can be seen in the Armouries in Leeds).

Soon the Royal Couple were expecting their first child, but on the 31st January, Queen Katherine miscarried. The translation of the report into English (L&P Vol I, and Cal.Span.) said that she had no warning except for a pain in her knee the night before. Strange. Not my experience or that of other women. The original shows the Victorian translator had delicately translated the Spanish word as "knee" instead of its other meaning. This is just one example of how historians might be easily misled by interpretations of writing and events.

Katherine did not write to her father about the miscarriage for some months. Her husband had been angry, but actually he was on the defensive, as it was his affair with Lady Anne Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, and sister to Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, that had upset Katherine and may have led to the miscarriage.

Henry VIII's close friend, and "Groom of the Stool", (a job which meant great intimacy with the King since he was the one who looked after the King when he was on the toilet and wiped his bottom for him), Sir William Compton, who was a few years older than Henry, helped arrange for him to meet his new mistress at his own house in Thames Street, London. Henry VIII's wife the Queen was not the only one furious at this affair, so was Anne's brother and her new (2nd) husband, George Hastings, married to each other for less than a year. George Hastings dumped his new wife in a convent (which was a way of getting divorced then), but they were eventually to have 8 children together, although she also had an affair with William Compton.


Birth and death of a prince.

Henry VIII must have managed a reconciliation with his wife as she soon became pregnant again, and on New Years Day (1st January 1511) gave birth to a boy at Richmond Palace.

Once the Queen had been delivered of her baby, the new tiny prince was whisked away by staff to be fed, washed, changed and rocked to sleep in its grand carved cradle in its nursery in another palace. And the new mother was washed, padded with soft sanitary pads of folded linen, her breasts bound with the finest Dutch linen breast cloths (sort of primitive bras) edged with lace and embroidery, dressed in a pretty nightgown of finest soft linen edged with gold embroidery and lace. And expected to stay in the same specially prepared apartment until back to normal and ready to start the next pregnancy. She did not even have to be at her baby's grand christening when he was named Henry, and was also made Duke of Cornwall. Babies were christened within a few days of their birth then.

The happy parents celebrated the arrival of their heir with a spectacular tournament which lasted days. Henry took part in the jousts, Katherine watched from a decorated stand, and gave prizes. Their only other concerns were about such things as the colour and fashion of the livery of the many different officials in the new baby's household.

Katherine's emblem or "logo" was a pomegranate cut to show the seeds. It had been the emblem of Granada, Katherine's home as a girl, and was now seen everywhere on the royal residences, official buildings, on Henry's personal belongings like his dagger and his armour along with his Tudor Rose and their initials HK, and the pomegranate also appeared in the names of ships. The seeds of the promegranate represented fertility.

While his parents celebrated their son's birth, the new little prince, left swaddled in his grand cradle, in the care of staff not yet fully organised, died. His newly appointed staff were now issued with a new black livery and the funeral arranged. Prince Henry, Duke of Cornwall, was buried on 27th February at Westminster Abbey.


Elizabeth goes to Court as a Maid of Honour, her father John Blount is one of the King's Spears.

Now we are in 1512. Katherine Blount's oldest daughter Anne (or Agnes) was to be married, her second daughter Elizabeth was going into service with the Queen, her husband was also going to the court in service with the King as one of his guards or "Spears". Elizabeth may have travelled to London with her father and at least three of his men, and two or three other women, certainly she could not have travelled on her own. Their journey would have taken several days, since they had to stop and rest each night. They could not have travelled in the dark anyway, no lights to see where you were going then, especially outside a town. They would have adjusted their route to stop over night at a priory or abbey since religious establishments also provided hotel accomodation. Or at the homes of people they knew on the way, not just to visit them but because it was safer than an inn. Inns profited from providing information about any wealthy travellers. The men were all armed and well trained to fight, so they protected Elizabeth, the women with her, and their possessions, on the journey.

Elizabeth may have been as young as seven or eight years old when in May 1512, she left home for service to the Queen as a Maid of Honour. In "the King's Year-book" dated: from the Court at Greenwich, Sunday, May 8, 1513, it states that a hundred shillings is due to Elizabeth Blount "upon a warrant signed for hir last yeare's wages ended at thasuncacon (the Annunciation) "of Our Lady last passed". This was a good salary then. Elizabeth also was given a bed in a room with other maids of honour (may have had to share), and was fed and provided with the clothes needed for special occasions. And given a formal education in classes with the other maids of honour.

The palace of Greenwich was the main royal residence near London at that time as Westminster palace had burnt down in 1512. Henry VII had it built along the river Thames. Behind it on top of the hill was the earlier castle, which was still in use as a lodge for entertaining and to accomodate visitors. And Henry VIII's mistresses, such as Mary Boleyn. This is where the Royal Observatory was built in the 17th century. Nothing much now remains of the Tudor palace which was rebuilt in later centuries. The Maritime Museum is on that site now.

John Blount, had been appointed one of the "King's Spears" or Royal Guard on a wage of £60, 16s. 8d. a year. This was a new royal bodyguard, established by Henry VIII when he came to the throne.

They were all selected from more upper class and wealthier families than the Yeomen of the Guard founded by his father. They had to be handsome and well-born. And they had to be rich, as they had to provide their own horses, armour and weapons as well as be gorgeously dressed for official occasions and perform well at the court jousts.

The full kit including the suit of armour cost the equivalent of a modern tank with all the latest equipment. They and their horses (also with armour) were apparelled in cloth of gold, silver and goldsmith's work, and also their servants. As well as providing their own servants and horses, and all the lavish dress and other gear themselves, they also had to maintain in their entourage an Archer, a Demilaunce (with a short spear), and a Custrell which was an armour bearer (a custrell was also a short sword or big knife).

The spears they carried on parade were big, tall and impressive. In the photo (left) taken at the Leeds Armouries, you can see an original ceremonial spear once used by the Kings Spears which my husband could not hold straight up because the ceiling was not high enough. So they must have looked really impressive in processions, marching together in their black shiny polished armour with gold decorations, to the beat of the drums.

Picture right shows one of the Blount heraldic designs used for the Blount shield and other things calling for the Blount ensignia.

Henry VIII's personally signed orders were: For a retinue of spears "called men of arms" to be chosen from men of noble blood, considering that there are many young men of noble blood in England unexercised in the feat of arms, and in the handling and running of spears.

1. Each gentleman shall have his harness (armour) complete, with two double horses at least for himself and his page, and his "coustrell" with a javelin or demi-lance, well armed and horsed.

2. They shall make their abode in places appointed by the King.

3. They shall always carry with them their habiliments of war and horses, on pain of losing six days' wages.

4. None to depart without licence.

5. Each to bring two good archers well horsed and harnessed, to muster before the King at a month's notice, whenever they are commanded.

6. Each spear to receive for himself, his custrel, page, and two archers, 3s. 4d. a day, from the treasurer of the King's chamber.

7. The lieutenant to have for himself, his custrel, page, and six archers, 6s. a day.

8. The said captain or lieutenant, with other persons whom the King shall appoint, are every quarter to see them mustered.

9. The spears to observe the King's laws, and pay for their victuals in ready money.

10. None to take any lodging except what the harbingers appoint.

11. No spear to retain in wages another spear's archers without his consent.

12. The oath: "To be true to Henry VIII. and his heirs, kings of England, be retained to no person without his special licence, reveal anything hurtful to the royal person, especially treason, not lay to pledge or put away horse or harness with which he has now mustered before the King or allow any of his company to do so, not to be absent from Court without licence for four days."

An entry in the King's accounts: " 23 July 6, Henry VIII. Sonday at Eltham. Item to John Blount one of the Kinges Speres of honour open a warrant for his wages at iij. s.iiij. d. (3s. 4d.) the day for two hole yeres whiche the King hathe avaunced unto him beforehand that is to say from the first day of this present monethe of July unto the iid of ij. (2) yeres next & immediatly ensuying cxxi li. xiij. s. iiij. d. (£121. 13s. 4d.) whereof deducted c. s. (100s.) for the moneth of Marche anno iiij (year 4 of Henry VIII's reign ie 1514) to which he received duble at that tyme more than he shuld have dun. cxvi. li. xiij. s. iii. d. (£116. 14s. 3d.)"

At the end of 1515, the Spears were disbanded, because there had been so many complaints from the men about the heavy expense to themselves. So the accounts for their wages and extras were made up at that time. This left John Blount's daughter Elizabeth without anyone close to her responsible or caring enough and most important with the authority, at the court who she could turn to when she needed help or advice.

Elizabeth would not have been totally alone. She might have had at least one woman brought with her from home, to help her dress and do her washing. The girls and women in court service were allowed to bring their own attendants to be covered by expenses and allowances, the number allowed was according to their rank. So Elizabeth would have been allowed to take with her from Knightley, at least one maid, since she would need help getting dressed for court occasions. She may have also had a laundress for washing and mending her clothes, and young girls, as she was then, might be accompanied by the nurse who had cared for them since they were born.

The Queen's younger Maids of Honour were at the court to be educated - it was like a very exclusive upper class girls school. They were the equivalent of the King's Henchmen or Pages.

Although Elizabeth Blount was to become famous as the King's mistress and the "mother of the King's son", we do not really know what she actually looked like. No one at the time described her physical appearance and there are no clearly and positively identified portraits surviving. We do not even know from any accounts, if she was dark, fair, or ginger, tall or petite.

Since her father had to be tall, well-built, and good-looking as well as rich and well connected, to get a position as one of the "King's Spears", his daughter is likely to have grown up as tall, good looking and well developed. She was dancing partner to the King in 1514, when she may have been no more than 10, perhaps nearly 11, so it looks like she matured early and well, and would have looked almost grown up by then. Henry VIII was a tall, hefty man, they would not have been paired up for a public dancing display at a court festivity, if they did not look good together.

However nearly all the women associated with Henry VIII in his life were petite. Being tall, and increasingly bulky, he may have thought he looked more even more impressive next to a petite young woman. Elizabeth would certainly have not have been fully grown up when Henry VIII was first attracted to her.

From the evidence we have, it does look like Elizabeth grew up to be very attractive, well built with a good figure. She was still good looking enough when widowed, after four children, to get Anne Boleyn worried and plotting against a perceived rival.

Henry is known to have usually preferred the company of intelligent, witty, women - and Elizabeth is described as eloquent and lively. Elizabeth was certainly very bright, had a sharp sense of humour and irony, and was a popular student. She remained in contact years after her school days with her former tutors and took an active interest in her own children's education.

Elizabeth was still a school girl herself when Henry VIII took an interest in her that went beyond that which should be expected of an employer or educator.

What they wore

Although we do not know much for certain about what Elizabeth Blount would have looked like, we do know something about the sort of clothes she would have worn. There are descriptions of the costumes worn at the court entertainments. And portraits, sketches and accounts.

What the girls and women in attendance on the Queen wore was strictly laid down, according to their position and rank, and Elizabeth's mother would have been sent a list. It was not unlike starting a new school which for Elizabeth it actually was. The most exclusive girls school in the country.

It was usual then, to have your children educated by sending them away to stay in another family. If Elizabeth had not had the opportunity - thanks possibly to the connections her mother had made at the time she was in attendance on Princess Katherine, now Queen, of being part of the Queen's court, she would have been sent to another upper class household, or had an arranged marriage as part of that deal as had happened with her mother, and then her elder sister.

When not in costume performing in a masque or play, or off duty, ladies in attendance at the court of Queen Katherine, were usually expected to wear the formal and complicated, triple layered and wired "Queen of Hearts" pointed gabled hood, which concealed all the hair, and was fixed with wire springs and hair pins. The back of this hood formed a diamond shaped box over which a long black scarf was draped hanging down equally both sides, and often with one side flung back over the head to look a bit more trendy. As you can see in many portraits at the time. Otherwise they could wear the less formal and more becoming round style of formal bonnet which showed the hair in front and a scarf or veil at the back. This was a - then - less formal, continental fashion called a "French Hood" which even Queen Katherine preferred when she had the choice. In winter a lady might wear a cosy "Lettice Bonnet" of white weasel's fur. One or two portraits survive, of ladies wearing this furry hood. When not dressed for formal occasions, women usually wore a linen bonnet decorated with embroidery and lace. For going out they might put on a casual and attractive (would be still wearable today but without the ostrich feather) floppy soft hat similar in style to that worn by men. The Duchess of Richmond's portrait by Holbein shows her in such a hat.

As a young girl, Elizabeth could wear her hair loose if she wished. Older girls and women wore their hair loose only on special occasions like their wedding, or court performances, otherwise it was plaited and tied or pinned into coils or pinned up, and was cut to shoulder length, since usually, you washed your hair and bathed once a month just after your period. Clothes were protected from the not always very clean body by the linen shift worn under everything.

The court dresses, of pieces of very expensive fabric (sometimes given by the King or Queen as gifts), were not sewn up, but pinned or tacked, so the parts could be re-cycled to make different outfits. Three layers, dress, underdress and shift were arranged so embroidered edges and panels were revealed. Outer sleeves were very wide to show off the puffed and decorated undersleeves. And the overskirt may be split down the front to display the front panel of the underskirt of expensive brocade or embroidery - while the hidden rest of the underskirt was plain cheaper stuff. The foundation garment was worn on top of the linen shift and was stiffened with metal or wood strips, for shape and support and laced (like we still have for boots and trainers) up the sides or up the front (or back if you had a maid) to fit tightly. When you were pregnant or just got fatter, you let out the laces.

Skirts were made to stand out with a waist slip stiffened with wood or wire or padding. The cage-like waist-slip, called a farthingale, was introduced by Katherine and her Spanish ladies when Katherine came to England to marry Arthur. The fashion began as a hooped skirt around 1470, then became an underskirt by the time Katherine was wearing it. Worn by Katherine and her ladies-in-waiting, it soon became a standard part of English fashion lasting, though changing shape and size, into the 20th century, the last hooped petticoats (at least as a must have fashion) seem to have been in the 1950s.

The separate bodice of the dress, was fastened by laces either down the sides, back or front. Most women who did not have a maid to help them dress, wore bodices laced up the front. The low wide neckline which showed off a pushed up bosom and a necklace, could be filled in more modestly or warmly, with a "chest piece" giving the appearance of a blouse worn underneath.

The skirts were tied on to the bodice with laces. Round the waist, they wore belts or chains, with decorative pomanders (perfume containers, handy in the public loos or in the mucky streets), small books encased in decorative covers, or watches - (a new invention, and a very expensive accessory which came more into use in the 1530s), hanging from them. Women also carried their keys, a small mirror (polished metal then), a knife, and other odds and ends they needed (such as flints to start a fire or light a lamp or candles) this way, often linked together by chains, linked to a belt. They might carry a bag to hold their purse and all the things they needed with them but more usually they had separate pockets or bags which were tied round the waist often under the outer skirt, which was a safer way to stow your money (and your watch). These bags or pockets were accessed through a split in front or at the side of the skirt.

Stockings, looked like long socks and they were kept up by garters tied round the legs above the knees. The stockings were cut and sewn from fabric usually matching the dress. Knitted silk stockings were already known on the continent and became mass produced on knitting machines in England from the 1550s.

All sorts of shoes and boots were needed at court, for indoors and outdoors, for sporting occasions and riding, for dancing and for dressing up in masked performances. There were boots, shoes for different occasions, slippers, buskins (a bit like modern uggs they were also for casual wear). And if it was mucky outdoors, (as it usually was even in the streets of cities like London) they tied clogs called patterns over their shoes to raise them above the mud, rubbish and the excrement from dogs, horses and humans, that covered the streets and courtyards.

In addition the girls needed hats, gloves, coats, riding outfits, and nightgowns. Nightgowns were not just worn in bed but for casual wear indoors.

And underneath it all a sort of bra and pants. The soft bras they wore which were tied in place, were called "breast-cloths", or "brassieres". They were worn under the nightgown. By day they were supplemented by the stiffened and laced up "bodice" which kept the boobs pushed up and in their right place.

Another essential were the rolls of soft fabric for making sanitary towels - (which had to be washed and reused). Most women used rags. The sanitary padding was tied in place by pants which were tied up at each side, or just by a piece of rag tied round. Of course the fabric would be soaked through. Women could wear leather bras and pants as they did in Roman times, and probably very much earlier. Leather pants are moisture-proof and were still used until recently in some parts of the world, stuffed with moss, for sanitary protection.

If an encounter with Henry VIII or one of his friends left you sore underneath, you could obtain or make a pessary, with soothing herbs in a small mesh bag tied with cord or ribbon which hang down so you could pull it out again. This was not a tampon to catch a period, although they made those too from rolled up cloth tied with cord. Useful when in a scanty costume at a court performance on the wrong time of the month.

Knickers - which looked like shorts but in two parts joined by the ribbon threaded through the waist band - (gussets did not get in European knickers until the 19th century) were considered a rather indecent new Italian fashion - useful though in case of riding mishaps, or when dancing with the King.

Riding a horse when wearing a collection of full skirts propped up around with a farthingale was a problem. For processions etc. when ladies had to be wearing full court dress, the solution was a side saddle. The side saddles at this time only enabled the rider to sit sideways on her horse. She would not be able to do much to control it by herself, and had to be accompanied by a groom. At the wedding procession of Katherine and Arthur the English ladies and the Spanish ladies were lined up side by side but the way their saddles fitted meant the Spanish faced one way and the English faced the opposite way. They ended up back to back.

Ladies that wanted to join in the deer hunting fully, not just get to the place where the picnic and barbeque would be after the hunt, needed something to give them more freedom to control their horse. A side saddle that enabled women riders to do this, with a specially designed skirt, did emerge in the 19th century, but by this time, most women riders in the "colonies" were wearing trousers for riding, and this was soon adopted in the form of jodphurs, originally worn by men in India. In the 16th century, ladies wishing to join hunting parties fully would use the same saddle as a man and wore long trousers of some kind (they all had separate legs with no gusset then), sometimes under a split skirt. This was used on the continent, for example Diane de Poitiers (more on her later), rode astride her horse using a man's type of saddle, on hunting expeditions. And this method of riding when hunting certainly appears to be adopted by Anne Boleyn since she was noted for galloping away and keeping up with the King when hunting with him. References to this (with concealed meanings) appear in Wyatt's poems.

(I am grateful to Briony Bell, who owns a horse and rides side saddle in competitions, for giving me essential information on saddles for women and their history as I have never been on a horse).

The court dress code was strictly enforced. It is unlikely that all Elizabeth's costs would have been covered by her salary, she must have relied on money sent by her parents.

As a junior maid of honour, she would have to share not only a room, but a bed with other girls. As the court moved every few weeks to another palace, everything would have to be kept in a locked chest identified with her name.

Men at this time wore a flat floppy hat with a brim all round, on their head, wool for ordinary use and velvet for special occasions and at court. (Modern caps have evolved from this popular headware.) They wore at least two layers of coats over their shirt. They had very long stockings, with linings of linen. The linings would help conceal hairy legs and were strategically padded to improve spindly legs. Both stockings and linings were tied up to the waist with "points", with metal ends to the tape or ribbon. (They survive in men's clothes today mainly as shoe laces). To show that you were rich and stylish the metal ends could be gold and decorative. Also tied by points was the bit to fill the gap in front between the stockings, (where modern men's trousers have a zip), called the cod-piece. This was padded and decorated with embroidery, to look more impressive and some men had huge amounts of padding, shaping and embroidery, in that place. In Henry VIII's iconic portrait by Holbein you really cannot miss it! It was also used by some men as a handy pocket for their purse, hanky, snacks, etc. Some courtiers liked to amuse the ladies by taking out sweets for them from there.

Men showed off their bums with slashed shorts on top of their hose which were called the upper hose. Other parts of their clothes were also covered with slashes to reveal what appeared to be a rich embroidered undergarment, but may have been faked with panels on more ordinary cloth to give the impression without the expense.

Men also had casual trousers, which were then called slops and like those worn by working men at that time. They were worn by the upper classes for casual wear at home, and could be smart-casual or sloppy-casual. The hard-wearing fabrics for them at this time came from Italy and France. That appears to make these work trousers an ancestor of jeans.

As one of the King's Spears, John Blount was ordered to be turned out as required and at his own expense, and also kit out his servants, and horses. The cost of his own full suit of ceremonial armour was equivalent to the price of a fully equipped modern tank today. And that doesn't include the cost of the horses and their harnesses and protective armour, and kitting out, and paying wages to, the men who were employed by him and had to accompany him in tournaments and in battle. And their accomodation. And medical expenses.

Even when the King's Spears disbanded in 1515, John Blount was still expected, because of his rank, to be fully equipped with weapons and armour ready to be called upon for parades or war. At his own expense.

Henry VIII orginally bought his own armour from the workshops in Innsbruck who had supplied the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian. Then he set up his own workshops at Greenwich, with imported craftsmen from the continent. His own armour was embellished with gold H-K 's in decorative bands. "Henry and Katherine". Examples in Leeds Armouries.

The Greenwich workshops were already being equipped in 1511, with machinery and tools. As well as supplies of wine for the craftsmen. Under John Blewbury, Yeoman of the King's Armoury in 1511 were armourers from Milan. Other skilled men were employed from the Netherlands, and what is now Austria and Germany. The picture right which is part of a copy of a picture of the armoury in Innsbruck gives an idea what the armouries would have looked like.


"England Be Glad"

Englond, be glad! Pluk up thy lusty hart!
Help now thi kyng, thi kyng, and take his part!

Ageynst the Frenchmen in the feld to fyght
In the quarel of the Church and in the ryght,
With spers and shedys on goodly horsys lyght,
Bowys and arows to put them all to Flyght:
Help now thi king
- and take his part!

Soon after the loss of his first son, Henry VIII joined Katherine's father, Ferdinand of Spain, in a "Holy League" formed by Pope Julius II, with Venice, the Swiss Cantons, and the Emperor Maxmillian I, to drive the French King Louis out of Northern Italy.

Elizabeth Blount's father was one of those called on to fight on the continent. So Elizabeth would have been left on her own at the Queen's court. But she soon made friends with some of the other girls there about her age. And there was plenty of excitment for the girls and women to deal with at home. While the men and their officers battled to get their ships across the channel, then formed into an army and also dealt with all the home comforts that Henry VIII expected as he "led the battle".

While hundreds of men shivered in muddy tents, (if they were lucky to find one to share), searched for anything to eat and drink, and got fired on, many hundreds of other men in the army had to guard the king and carry and put up his portable palace complete with his own "portaloo", his toilet tent housing his own royal thunder-box covered in soft leather, finished off with velvet and silk ribbons, in its own carrying case. And they had to drive and unpack all the wagons, with at least five wagons just for containing the King's food and drink. (More details in Henry VIII and the Invasion of France, by Charles Cruickshank).

Henry VIII liked to see himself as a war-lord, but actually was not very good at organising wars. He made sure he was safe and comfortable, but the remaining funds did not stretch down adequately to most of the men in his armies. These were not regular soldiers but mustered. That is all men aged between 16 and 60 could be called up to serve whenever the King wanted to have a war. They were paid, but half as much as Henry VII had paid them, which because of the financial inflation, meant even less in real terms. Since this also had to cover their equipment, weapons, the food and drink they needed, and their accomodation. If they were lucky enough to get any sort of shelter and bed for the night. Many of them, later at night, when it was dark and quiet, dossed down in the canvas corridors of Henry VIII's portable palace.

Most men who were mustered suffered a great deal. The musters were called by local officials and land-owners who were given that task, usually for training once or twice a year. Most of the men had only woollen padded jackets for protection - often old and worn passed down from their fathers and mended by their mothers. These jackets offered little protection from attack and became wet and soggy in rain.

one of their descendentsTheir main weapon was the bill-hook - a spiky thing fixed to a pole which doubled as a useful agricultural instrument for cutting shrubs and harvesting etc. Picture left shows a ballock dagger, worn by most men (you can see how it got its name) and the top of a billhook. Picture right shows Merv holding a bill-hook so you can what it was like.

Since hand guns were expensive, the army still had archers armed with a bow and arrows. Which had little effect if they faced professional soldiers or mercenaries armed with the latest in guns. Archers were still a significent part of Henry VIII's fighting force. Becoming gradually obsolete as hand guns improved. But not soon enough. And not without protests from sticklers for the old ways.

The Muster in London financed by city guilds could go on parade in smart colourful uniforms which looked great in processions. In other parts of England, only those wealthy enough, or supported by local guilds or landowners, had armour, horses, modern guns, as well as swords, etc. and could afford to stop over in reasonably comfortable inns, or local houses, rather than camp out and forage for something to cook over a fire.

Henry VIII did realise that to get an army to France (and back again) he needed more modern ships built for cannon that could sink the French ships before they sank his. He chose two sites for new dockyards for ship building, further down the river from his palace at Greenwich.

The first, founded in 1512 was Woolwich Dockyard. And here they started building the "Henry Grace à Dieu" usually called the "Great Harry" (picture left) the 1500 ton flagship. Launched in 1514.

The most famous warship launched there, is the Mary Rose (picture right as it looked originally, before its fatal last refit). Began in 1510 in Portsmouth, and towed round the coast to be finished in Woolwich in 1512. Famous because it sunk in 1545, probably because a major refit left it unstable. When it turned to be ready to engage the French ships, it rapidly sank, in full view of the King and many hundreds of others, including the French. The Mary Rose is famous not just because it turned over and sank drowning nearly everyone including the dog on board, but because it has been excavated. (Not without danger, one of the divers lost her life). The restored remains of the Mary Rose and its contents, that could be saved and restored, or reconstructed, is now on exhibition in Portsmouth's historic dockyard, giving a fantastic insight into the guns and other weapons, and the everyday possessions and life of the many unfortunate men and the dog, trapped on board when it sank.

The Deptford Dockyard was began in 1513. It would have been possible to see the new dockyards as well as London in the other direction from the top of one of the palace towers at Greenwich which fronted the river. Henry VIII had a library housed in one of those towers.


On 30 June 1513, Henry invaded France. First though, Henry VIII crossed the channel to Calais with thousands of other men, including the 579 who were there just to wait on Henry personally, his wardrobe (49), the wardrobe of beds (15), his own chapel (115), and many others including the five who looked after him in the loo. Good news for Calais which had been getting a bit neglected.

His troops defeated a French army at the "Battle of the Spurs". Much illustrated for propaganda later. Soon after, the English took Thérouanne (another subject for propaganda illustrations) and handed it over to Maximillian. Then they helped take Tournai. This all benefitted Henry's father-in-law, as Ferdinand had planned. It did not benefit England, Henry VIII had spent recklessly on his expedition and most of the expense was on himself and his comforts and display.

Elizabeth Blount at the Queen's Court

Elizabeth Blount had joined the Queen's service in time to take part with the other ladies and maids-of-honour embroidering banners and badges for the King's forces at war.

They also learnt how to do Spanish style cut out embroidery. Queen Katherine founded a school and industry to do this type of embroidery near her residences in Northamptonshire. The intention was provide employment to help women earn a living. It was so successful, this style of embroidery became extremely fashionable and called "Broderie Anglaise".

The Queen used to give her husband shirts she had made and embroidered with this sort of edging around the neck and wrists. Which made it a fashion you can see on many contemporary portraits. The cut-outs were usually edged with contrasting thread.

Based at Richmond Palace at this time, Elizabeth would have also learnt to play golf. The Queen was keen on the game and (as she told Wolsey) found it helped to distract her from her worries about her husband's safety in the war. (Benger Ch.2). It was less organised and more fun then, having evolved in the Netherlands during the 15th century, from a game played in the winter snow.

Elizabeth would have arrived at the Queen's court at about the same time as Mary Boleyn. Elizabeth's best friend appears to have been Elizabeth Carew who was also about the same age. (More on these girls later).

1513: Katherine of Aragon saves England from becoming a part of Scotland.


There was rather more to Queen Katherine than sitting around doing embroidery or playing golf with her ladies in the grounds around the palace. She was to be a role model to the English girls in her service, in how women could take control and have power. She was in frequent correspondence to Wolsey, on both domestic and political matters. She made a point to Wolsey in writing that until she saw his letter, she was troubled to hear how near the King was to the siege of Therouanne "but now I thank God ye make me sure of the good heed that the King taketh of himself to avoid all manner of dangers." (BM Caligula D VI 29). Clearly Katherine expected to be kept informed and up-to-date as Regent in England, even though she expressed it politically in her concern for her husband. Who was anyway keeping clear of any trouble.

Henry VIII had left his wife to act as his Regent in England either knowing she would have to deal with an expected invasion from the Scots or stupidly forgetting that James IV would take the opportunity while Henry and his army were in France.

Led by their King, James IV, husband of Henry VIII's sister Margaret, the Scots were not going to miss the opportunity of invading England from the North while the King and his army and navy were all fully occupied in fighting the French on the other side of the country and the Channel.

As the daughter of Isabella, Queen of Castile, Katherine was brought up to learning how to run military campaigns. As a young girl she had gone with her mother to live in the newly conquered Granada. Her husband should have known this, as he had the opportunity to know Katherine well during the seven years she was his sister-in-law, and was confident leaving her as his Regent. Either that, or he had forgotten that with all his attention across the sea to the south, the King of Scotland was likely to take the opportunity to invade England from the north. Either way Katherine had to cope with saving her husband's country.

All the English ships were down south in the Channel. So Katherine sent an army north, overland against James IV's army, put together and led by the aged and experienced Earl of Surrey (who had supported Richard III so had to work his way up again). And his son Thomas Howard.

The Scots were beaten at Flodden on 9th September 1513, King James IV was amongst those killed.

His baby son, now King James V, born on 10th April, 1512, was not only King of Scotland but potential heir to the English throne. Queen Katherine had to send condolences to her sister-in-law, Queen Margaret, now widowed, and Regent of Scotland. She had a lot to cope with in the coming years.

At the same time, Queen Katherine was triumphant. She had organised a war herself and won. On 16th September she wrote to her husband, asking what to do with James IV's body, and also sent bits of the blood-stained coat James IV had been wearing when killed, to her husband in France.

With all the funds going on Henry VIII's campaign, there had been little left to defend England or even to supply food, clothing and transport. The English soldiers who had been mustered for the Battle of Flodden, were left to find their own way home, foraging and begging for food and shelter on the way.

If Katherine of Aragon had not been able to quickly organize a war, (and one in which James IV was killed), then very likely England would have become part of Scotland, and Scotland, not England, would have dominated the British Isles.


Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy, Governor and Regent of the Netherlands

and the Boleyn girls who would be rivals to Elizabeth Blount.

During his campaign Henry VIII, accompanied with, amongst others, Thomas Boleyn and Charles Brandon, visited Margaret of Austria, Governor of the Netherlands.

Born 1480, daughter to the Emperor Maxmillian, sister to Philip the Handsome. Margaret had been brought up in France as she was to marry the son of Louis XI. That did not happen, and in 1497, Margaret was married to Juan - only son of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, thus making her Princess of Asturias and Katherine of Aragon's sister-in-law. Unfortunately Juan died after a few months of marriage, Margaret was pregnant, but her daughter did not live long. Her next husband was Philibert II Duke of Savoy, (so she was now also Duchess of Savoy), but he died in 1504, three years after they married. Margaret, although now still childless, had enough of marriage, and did not need it. Life as a widow gave her independence. She turned down many marriage proposals, including those from King Ferdinand of Spain, and Henry VII.

In 1507 Margaret was appointed Governor of the Netherlands (what is now Holland and Belgium) and also guardian of her young nephew Charles, King of Spain (as although his mother Juana was still alive, she was kept locked up). Margaret was his Regent while he was underage. Charles was to become the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, after Maxmillian died, and continued to appoint his aunt as Regent and Governor of the Netherlands. Margaret was the most powerful woman in Europe. And also one of the most intellectual. Her court based at Mechelen, welcomed notable humanists and scholars like Erasmus, her library was well stocked and her palace contained collections of works of art, illuminated manuscripts, and music.

In 1513, Charles Brandon, who had been brought up at the English court and was a close friend of Henry VIII although seven years older, accompanied the King and Thomas Boleyn (who spoke fluent French and was already useful as an envoy) on the visit to Margaret, Regent and Governor of the Netherlands. Brandon had flirted with her the previous year, to the extent that rumours went about that they were to be married. Henry VIII had to make a formal apology, although he had in reality no problems with Brandon's advances to the Regent, it was his advances to his sister Princess Mary he didn't like.

Charles Brandon asked if the Regent would take his seven year old daughter Anne (mother was Anne Browne, more on Brandon's multiple marriages later) to be educated as one of the young ladies at her court. The Regent accepted Anne Brandon as one of the children in her care and she was educated there for at least two years.

Thomas Boleyn also asked the Regent if she would accept his daughter Anne to be placed in her care to be brought up and educated with her other wards and learn to be fluent in French. The Regent agreed and Thomas Boleyn arranged for his daughter to be escorted from her home at Hever in Kent, by Claude Bouton. He was to be author of "Le Mirouer des Dames" and agent for the Regent, and for her ward Charles V. Anne was placed under his care when travelling from one of the Boleyn family homes, Hever in Kent, to the court based at Mechelin.

Anne arrived safely. Margaret wrote to Anne's parents: "I have received your letter by the Esquire Bouton who has presented your daughter to me, who is very welcome, and I am confident of being able to deal with her in a way which will give you satisfaction, so that on your return the two of us will need no intermediary than she. I find her so bright and pleasant for her young age that I am more beholden to you for sending her to me than you are to me".

Anne joined Margaret's other "filles d'honneur" and was assigned a tutor she called Symonnet in letters home, to teach her French. Symonnet was an elderly Abbé - Messire Boniface Symonnet, Abbé of the Moustier (Monastery) de Corne. He wrote a book on the "Persecution of the Church". And was employed by the Regent to teach her younger wards. (See notes in References, under "teachers".)

In one of Anne's letters in French to her father written in 1514, she says:..." I beg you to excuse me if my letter is badly written, for I assure you that the spelling is from my own understanding alone, whereas the others were only written by my hand, and Symmonet tells me the letter will wait unless I do it myself...".

Many historians have had the impression that Anne was educated at the French court of Queen Claude, for which there is no contemporary evidence. Just authors finding mention of Boleyn, and making the assumption that is Anne. It was Anne's sister. This mention of Symonnet apart from all the other evidence from letters etc. shows that Anne Boleyn become one of the Regent's wards, along with the Duke of Suffolk's daughter and many other privileged girls. She learned to speak, read and write in French in what is now Belgium and had been part of Burgundy. Not in France.

There is some dispute amongst historians as to Anne Boleyn's age. As mentioned, until 1538 there was no legal requirement to record children's births. This was mostly only done when an inheritance was likely, as with sons, and with the heirs to the throne. So as with Elizabeth Blount and her sisters, it is not entirely clear, despite the amount of interest in the Boleyn girls, which of the two Boleyn sisters, Mary or Anne was the eldest or their exact age. Their parents were married in 1499, and said they had five children in as many years. And they should know! Two boys died young. George was the youngest of the Boleyn children, so he was born about 1504-5. Anne already had a marriage pre-arranged to a relative of her father, James Butler, Earl of Ormond, so she is likely to have been the oldest of the two girls. So born in 1500. (Elizabeth's Blount's eldest sister Anne or Agnes, also had a marriage already arranged for her). So Anne is likely to have been about 12 or 13 when she was placed with the Regent. It seems that her parents were anxious about her behaviour at home, she had already been too friendly from her parents point of view with two members of the staff at Hever. It is also clear from the mature handwriting in her letters home that Anne was over 12.

It is not recorded where the Boleyn girls were born, but it is likely to have been Rochford Hall, Essex, now not far from Southend Airport, (which would have made them "Essex Girls"). Rochford Hall, then a large manor house with turrets, moat and great hall, was inherited by Thomas Boleyn's mother, Margaret, daughter of Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond. Years later, Anne's sister Mary was to live there with her second husband William Stafford and children, eventually inheriting it herself, so it passed on to her children. Hever in Kent, was to become the main residence for Thomas Boleyn's family.

Anne had began the letter mentioned above: I understand by your letter that you wish that I shall be of all virtuous repute when I come to Court and you inform me that the Queen will take the trouble to converse with me, which rejoices me greatly to think of talking with a person so wise and virtuous. Some historians thought this a reference to Queen Claude of France, but by "the Queen" Anne most probably meant her queen, Queen Katherine. Anne was expecting to become a member of Queen Katherine's court when she returned to England. Which did eventually happen. Queen Katherine was fluent in French, as well as Spanish, Latin, and English, she was well educated and well informed. She needed maids of honour who could write, read and answer letters for her and communicate with and entertain, envoys from other countries.

Anne's sister, Mary Boleyn, was to follow Elizabeth Blount as Henry VIII's mistress. But it was Anne Boleyn, educated under the Regent, who would push the competition including Queen Katherine, out of the way to become Queen of England herself. And would become Elizabeth's most dangerous rival and enemy, plotting to drive her from the King and court.


Henry VIII comes home from France in bad mood and poor health.

According to Elizabeth Benger (1728-1827) in her book "Memoirs of the life of Anne Boleyn": "It is easy to imagine how much the recollections and the trophies of this glorious victory must have heightened the satisfaction with which Katherine welcomed back her lord and sovereign. Happily for her peace, she knew not with what ardent admiration he had beheld the beautiful wife of Sir Gilbert Tailboys (governor of Calais) the first acknowledged rival in her husband's affections."
It is not clear where she found that information. Gilbert Tailboys' father George Tailboys was in this campaign in France but not as far as we know, Governor of Calais, or with his wife. Gilbert Tailboys destined to become Elizabeth Blount's first husband, was no more than about 11 to, at most, 13 years old, and probably still at home with his mother and younger brothers and sisters at South Kyme. He was made a ward of Cardinal Wolsey when his father became mentally ill and officially insane, in March 1517.

Elizabeth Blount was unlikely to have even heard of Gilbert in 1513, neither had she yet attracted the lecherous attentions of the King, which was just as well since she was only about 9 or 10, she was just one of the young girls being educated at Queen Katherine's court. Miss Benger was not the only 18th/19th century writer who thought Henry VIII's affair with Elizabeth Blount was when she was Gilbert Tailboys' wife or his widow. Since she mentions Elizabeth Blount later on, she might have got mixed up. In fact Elizabeth Blount actually did become Henry VIII's mistress again for the second time, when she was the widowed Lady Tailboys and the mother of the King's only publicly acknowledged son. Much to the fury of Anne Boleyn who in 1534 conspired to get rid of her.

Henry VIII may well have had his leg over one or more women, when in France, since he was not in a good mood, and not very well, when he returned home. Despite his victories, especially at Therouanne - the "Battle of Spurs", (part of this on right) and having a rather pampered time as war lord compared with that of his officers and men - a large number of whom did not return home, he had become ill.

Symptoms then and later on in his life, indicate he may have caught syphilis (not yet named as such, but was treated with new medicines containing mercury) which was then rife amongst the armies of Europe, and their camp followers. And also was to infect a number of 16th century European Kings, including his opponent, François I of France, and later on in the 16th century, Tsar Ivan IV of Muscovy ("Ivan the Terrible"). Henry certainly appears to have had the right symptoms. And might have had other infections caught the same way too. It was thought to have influenced men's fashions, especially the codpiece, to hide the ravages of the disease. Henry VIII was one of the men who sported huge showy codpieces. In his later portraits especially, his codpiece is so prominent and lavishly decorated, you cannot miss it.

Henry VIII's medicines many of which he made up himself, included a number of such remedies as: "oyntement to dry excoriations and comforte the membre". And the "King's Grace's oyntement" was invented at St James's, "to coole and dry and comfort the Member". As well as many to heal ulcers and reduce swelling. A handwritten list now in the British Museum, has a collection of 114 of Henry VIII's favourite recipes for plasters and "cataplasmes" (poultices), for balms, waters, lotions and other decoctions. 32 of the 114 were noted as being of "the Kinges Maties devise" so they were made up by Henry VIII himself (with the help of his apothecaries, and his books and notes.) His other main concern seems to have been painful swelling of his legs and ankles, and he had many remedies to treat ulcers, and inflammation.

None of Henry VIII's children who survived infancy seem to have had any congenital symptoms resulting from veneral infections in their parents, and none of his sexual partners seem to have acquired the symptoms. But that is not definite evidence since we do not have enough information.

Syphilis, though it had moved on from a spotty childhood tropical disease, (origins still disputed), to a veneral disease in Europe by the late Middle Ages, was still in the 16th century not quite as as deadly and widespread as it would become by the 18th century. Many of Henry's children did miscarry or die soon after birth. Henry may have had a guilty conscience each time his wife Katherine, and his second wife Anne miscarried. Or perhaps not, he just blamed his wife. It is known that he had something spotty when he returned from France at this time and grew his beard to hide the spots on his face. Coming out in spots is one of the early symptoms of Syphilis.

Whatever had made Henry ill, when he seemed to have recovered, he discovered that Ferdinand (King of Spain) and the other allies had made a peace treaty with Louis XII (King of France) without him.

Henry VIII was hopping mad. To get even with Ferdinand, he considered divorcing his daughter.

Henry was well versed in the Scriptures, wrote some religious tracts himself, and in 1521 the Pope was to award him the title of "Defender of the Faith". Henry knew that Leviticus Chapter 18, verse 16, and Chapter 20, verse 21, warn not to lay with your brother's wife, the liaison would be sterile. Chapter 21, verse 14, forbids marriage to a widow or any but a virgin. However: Deuteronomy Chapter 25, verses 5 to 10, tells you it is a man's duty to marry his brother's widow, and the penalties if he refuses. (She throws a shoe at him).

Although there had been a papal dispensation to enable Katherine to marry her husband's younger brother Henry, on the grounds that the marriage had been consummated (his father, Henry VII, had not wanted to lose her massive dowry), perhaps the marriage could still be declared null and void. In fact Henry VII had tried that tactic after they were betrothed, when he saw Ferdinand was still making excuses not to sent the rest of the money. He started making enquiries about other princesses like the much widowed Margaret of Austria who he also proposed to for himself.

However, Henry was still very fond of his wife at that time, and she had defeated the Scots, while he was in France and the Netherlands. He shaved off the beard he had grown to hide the (now faded) spots, as Katherine did not like it. Soon she was pregnant again. The divorce scheme was filed away.

Henry did cancel the betrothal of his younger sister Mary to Ferdinand's grandson, Katherine's sister Juana's son, Charles. (Who was destined to become Charles V, King of Burgundy and Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, thus ruler of a large part of Europe, a large part of the American continent, some of southern Asia etc. and so would have been a good catch, but wasn't much to look at having inherited the outsized "Hapsburg Jaw".)


The Maids of Honour

Queen Katherine's maids of honour were given lessons in French and Latin, so they could read letters and books, and converse with overseas envoys even when they did not get a chance to travel. French was then the international language for diplomacy used on trade routes across the world. Latin was the international language used - not just for the literature of the Roman Catholic church, prayer books and bible, but for books on astronomy, medicine and other academic subjects.

(French and Latin were still compulsory at the high school founded in 1527 by George Monoux, that I was at in Walthamstow in the 1950s. Separate girls school from 1890, schools in 16th century mixed but mostly for boys.)

Queen Katherine's maids of honour, were taught French and Latin by John Palsgrave, who was to be the author of the first English-French textbook. Palsgrave was a priest, who had studied at Cambridge and then Paris. In 1513, he became tutor in French to Princess Mary, the King's sister and also to the maids of honour at the court.

The maids of honour also had lessons in riding, music, singing and dancing, so they could play their part in the court entertainments, indoors and outdoor. The ones who were best at French especially, were chosen by Princess Mary to accompany her to France. Their tutor in French, Palsgrave, was also to accompany the Princess.

Elizabeth Blount, who was later to support the choice of Palsgrave as tutor to her eldest son and remained in contact with him, was not one of the girls chosen to go with Princess Mary.

The girls and women who were selected to escort Princess Mary, would all be under the control of Joan Guildford, who Mary referred to as "Mother Guildford".

Who did go with Princess Mary to France - who remained with Queen Katherine and who stayed at home:

One of the young maids of honour who is said to have accompanied Princess Mary to France was Jane Seymour, but as she would have been only 6 or 7 that is unlikely. (Some historians have Jane born around 1500 so she would have been old enough - but then she would have been as old as or older than Anne Boleyn in which case Henry VIII, since he wanted more children, would not have been interested in replacing Anne with her). In fact Jane is not on any of the lists of those in attendance at court. The historians who have thought that probably confused her with her brother Edward Seymour who was on the list - he was then about 14 and served Princess Mary as a page.

A young maid of honour who did accompany Princess Mary in October 1514, was Mary Boleyn, who was to become Henry VIII's mistress after Elizabeth Blount. Mary Boleyn was already fluent in French, having learnt it at home. The Boleyn family had French roots and still had relatives in the north of France.

Thomas Boleyn, having seen an opportunity for both his girls, obtained Princess Mary's permission to add his other daughter to her retinue, and on 14th August, 1514, wrote to the Regent to ask if Anne could join her sister. (The original letter was donated to Lincoln Cathedral Library by opera singer Jane Eaglen). The Regent refused to let Anne go.

It could be this letter that confused some historians, they may have assumed, that Anne had left for France at this time. She stayed with the Regent.

Despite the evidence (and probably due to reliance on the often sloppy accounts in books written in the 18th and 19th centuries) there has been confusion amongst historians as to which sister, Anne or Mary was placed with the Regent Margaret, and which one went to France with the King's sister Mary. It was Anne who was at the Regent's court, and she was not at the "Field of Cloth of Gold" in the lists of guests, although her parents, sister, and other relatives were. Mary Boleyn did go to France with Mary Tudor for her wedding, Anne did not. Mary is on Louis XII's pay list for October to December 1514 as Marie Boulonne. There is no Anne Boleyn on that list or on the lists of the next Queen of France, in any spelling.

So when historians go on about Anne Boleyn's "French Style" etc. Whatever that is supposed to be, it was actually acquired in what is now Belgium. And is mainly an attempt by authors to understand why Henry VIII was attracted to such an apparently plain and spiteful woman.

Most of those who did go to France with Princess Mary, found they were not staying long. King Louis XII found the large entourage of his new wife - and the control of "Mother Guildford" (Joan Guildford) the lady in charge of them, unacceptable and intrusive, and sent them all, including Joan Guildford, back to England. This upset Mary very much and she protested to her brother and Wolsey about it, but they were unable or unwilling, to help. Mary was now Queen of France, wife of Louis XII, and had to live with it.

Queen Mary complained she was left with just a few useless young girls to attend her. Mary Boleyn is on that list as "Madamoyselle Boleyne".

The rejected staff, may not have been facing the return boat trip home happily since they had a really bad time getting to France. The sea was rough and departure had to be delayed while the King and Queen, Princess, and most of their courtiers and servants waited at Dover. Very early on the 2nd October the wind and weather and waves calmed down, and at four in the morning, the future Queen of France boarded her ship, one of fourteen including some of Henry VIII's great warships. Several of which were loaded with chests containing her clothes, accessories, jewels, and her large retinue and their luggage, horses for transport on the other side etc. By the time they were out of sight of Dover, the wind and waves had risen. The ships lost sight of each other. Some driven east managed to reach ports in the Netherlands safely. Some reached Calais. But one of Henry VIII's largest ships, the Lubeck was wrecked on the French coast and nearly 600 of those on board drowned. The ship carrying Princess Mary headed for Boulogne, but could not get into the harbour and was run ashore after unloading the Princess and some of her companions onto a small boat. (Details in Rutland Papers p.41 and other sources). Pale and shaky in her dress of cloth of gold and crimson, with her matching and now bedraggled wet floppy hat falling over her left eye, Mary was picked up and carried ashore by Sir Christopher Garnyshe (who used to wow the women by producing sweets for them from his codpiece).

According to some authors it was Charles Brandon, now Duke of Suffolk, who carried Mary ashore, but actually he turned up at Calais on the 20th October, with two friends all disguised in grey hoodies. They were heading for Paris to take part in the jousting as part of the celebrations on 5th November, of Princess Mary's coronation as Queen of France. (Details in Turpyn: Chronicle of Calais). The reason they landed incognito was because Brandon having just fought against the French was not likely to get a friendly welcome by King Louis XII, and it was convenient for Henry VIII to have a close friend undercover there.

In a letter written to Henry VIII after his arrival in France, Charles Brandon added: "I bysce your grace to tell mysstres Blount and mysstres Carru the next tyme yt I wreth un to them or send them tokones they schall odar wreth to me or send me tokones agayen".

This is possibly the earliest evidence we have that Henry VIII was interested in Elizabeth Blount.

It looks like Brandon was leching after both young girls, and it has been said that Henry VIII used Brandon to "break in" the young girls he fancied. But Brandon must have looked like an old dad to these two pre-teens.

Elizabeth Carew, the girl mentioned with Elizabeth Blount, who appears to have been one of her best friends, was called "the young wife" as she was only twelve when she was married. Before her marriage Elizabeth Carew was Elizabeth Bryan and the sister of one of Henry VIII's closest friends, at that time anyway, Francis Bryan, (who was to lose an eye in a Royal tournament at Greenwich in 1526). Elizabeth was given a husband, Nicholas Carew, who was created "Esquire to the Body", which meant he was in personal attendance on the King in his bedroom. This was a convenient arrangement.

Henry VIII's Privy Accounts show he gave Elizabeth Carew, "the Young Wife", a diamond necklace, a mink fur coat and many other expensive gifts when she gave birth to a son. And the King gave her mother, Margaret Bryan, a gift of £500 cash. These gifts are all recorded in Henry VIII's Privy Accounts signed by him.

Margaret Bryan was later to oversee the nurseries of the King's two youngest children and keep an eye on their organisation. She was one of the few people who could speak bluntly to the King. And survive.


Elizabeth dances with the King

At Christmas, 1514, Elizabeth Blount took part in the celebrations at court. According to Hall, writing his history a few years later: "this damosell in syngynge, daunsyng, and in all goodly pastymes, exceeded all other, by the whiche goodly pastymes, she wan the Kynges harte."

Elizabeth was chosen to partner the King in the "mummery" organised by Nicolas Carew, husband of Elizabeth Carew, nèe Bryan, the King's ex-mistress and one of the masked dancers, she was still being referred to as "the young wife". Another dancer was Charles Brandon, back from France to take part in the Christmas celebrations. Soon to return to France, immediately, on hearing of the death of Louis XII on 1st January.

The dancers were dressed in blue, white and yellow. The ladies all wore dresses of white satin lined with blue with mantles of blue velvet, bonnets of blue velvet, with coifs of damask piped with gold and fillets of damask gold (the three-tiered headress). The men were also in blue and white but lined with yellow satin.

It was not a great Christmas for the Queen who was recovering from the birth, soon followed by the death a few days later, of her new baby daughter, and was still resting in bed. She would have missed all the entertainment, but her husband arranged a special additional performance to cheer her up, in her bedroom. When they had finished and thrown off their masks, laughing, Katherine kissed her husband and thanked him for "her goodly pastime". He then left her to carry on partying.

Elizabeth's father was promoted to "Esquire of the Body". This meant he was in personal attendance on the King in his bedroom.

The King and Queen had separate suites or apartments wherever they were staying. If the King wanted to visit his wife he was accompanied with at least one of his Esquires of the Body since he did not dress and undress himself or wash himself, and also needed his "Groom of the Stool" to help him in the loo. He had his own velvet covered toilets with padded seats, and a cistern at the back for flushing. But they were just portable thunder boxes that were carried with other furniture each time the King was on the move to another place. The Groom of the Stool had to wipe the royal bottom with a cloth, and clean up the toilet. It was though a very prestigious job, the Groom of the Stool being in such an intimate position with the King, was seen to have great influence and therefore got rich on bribes etc.

The job of the Esquire of the Body was " - to array the King and unarray him, and no man else was was to set hand upon the King. The Yeomen of the Robes were to take from the Esquires of the Body all the King's stuff, and an Esquire of the Body had to take charge of the cupboard at night." (The cupboard contained snacks and other things the King might need after he had gone to bed). The Esquires of the Body took precedence over all the other Esquires and Gentlemen at the Court and ranked above the Knights Bachelors.

The National Archives website has an account based on the Ordinances of 1526 - (when Wolsey re-organised the court to remove a number of abuses, and hangers-on with no real job) on how Henry VIII was to be attended when he was made ready for bed, and when he got up in the morning.

The King's involvement with such young girls as Elizabeth Carew and Elizabeth Blount was criticized by some of his friends, including (ironically for those of us who know what happened next) Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn. Meanwhile Elizabeth's father received a number of gifts and benefits from the King at this time.

However, the King may have taken notice of the critics. He replaced Elizabeth with a more mature and experienced French mistress. At the repeat of the same masque on Twelfth Night at Eltham Palace, Elizabeth Blount's place as the King's partner was taken by 25 year old Jeanne (called Jane in England) Popincourt. She had been at the English court since 1509 and was a friend of the King's sister Mary, helping her with her French, but King Louis XII had struck her name off Mary's list of attendants to accompany her to France because of her "evil reputation". Jeanne Popincourt was currently also mistress to the duc de Longueville, who had been taken as prisoner of war in 1513, but was now being used as a French ambassador. Jeanne was also working for Henry VIII as a secret agent.


The English Queen of France

Over in France, the day after her coronation on November 5th, Mary, was dismayed when her husband ordered all her retinue back to England. As she reported back to her brother hoping he would intervene, "My chambirlayn, with all other men servants, were discharged, and in lyke wise my mother Guldeford (which is what she called Lady Guildford) with other my women and mydyns, except such as never had experiens nor knowlych how to advertiyse of gyfe me counsell in any yme of nede".

To Louis XII and his court it must have felt like another kind of English invasion. Mary knew that if she had a son by her 52 year old husband, she could get her friends and officers and other staff back and would remain Queen of France and Regent ruling France, long after her husband was dead.

Louis XII's daughter, Claude, aged 14, was married to her cousin, 20 year old François. A brother for Claude was just what her husband, his doting mother, Louise of Savoy, and sister Marguerite, all with big noses like vultures' beaks, did not want. They were not pleased to see Louis XII rejuvenated by his young bride and boasting of his night-time achievements.

At the tournaments in her honour, the new Queen had admired the hunky winner, Charles Brandon. He was though, not an ideal match for any teenage girl. Apart from his reputation as a womaniser from whom even the Regent was not safe. He was 34 years old, had been married three times so far, and was already a grandfather (his daughter was only 12 when married and had a baby). He had married Margaret Neville, formerly Margaret Mortimer, (a wealthy widow with a daughter) in 1506, then in 1508, he married Margaret's niece, Anne Browne (daughter of Anthony Browne, Governor of Calais,) and they had two daughters, Anne and Mary. However the eldest daughter Anne, had been born when he was married to Margaret - he had ditched her in favour of her rich widowed aunt. Anne Browne's family took legal action, the marriage to Anne was declared valid. But then Anne Browne died in 1512, hence her daughter being taken to be cared for by the Regent as he then married Elizabeth Grey, 5th Baroness Lisle. This enabled him to be created Viscount Lisle. His new bride was born in 1505, so was only 7 years old when married in 1512. Elizabeth Grey divorced Brandon as soon as she was legally able, at age 12. Which left Brandon still legally married to Margaret Mortimer.

As Brandon was in France unofficially, taking part in the jousts to celebrate the wedding, he stayed on when most of her entourage had to leave, and was a comfort for Mary, as one of her brother's close friends, he could pass on her letters to him.

Louis XII found keeping up with his teenage wife, attempting to produce an heir to the throne, and enjoy the seasonal festivities, was too much for him. He become ill, and told his young wife he was to give her her best Christmas present yet, his death. This came on New Year's Day.

Mary, now Queen Dowager, was locked up in a white room, dressed entirely in white with white bed linen, to avoid any fraud, if she claimed to be pregnant. This was a French tradition and it made easier to reveal any tell-tale period stains. If she had a son, he would be the next King of France. On 25th January, Mary was able to tell François and his mother Louise, she was not pregnant with an heir to the throne, so François, husband of Louis XII's daughter Claude, was now King of France.

Mary stayed on in France as Queen Dowager, still wearing the traditional white mourning clothes, so she was called "The White Queen". Now Louis XII was out of the way Mary was joined by her friend, Jeanne Popincourt who left England with a gift of £100 from a grateful Henry VIII. Charles Brandon, who had been back to England for the New Year celebrations, had also returned to France and moved in with Mary. The new King François and his mother, had no problem with that. It took care of the former Queen of France for them.


Founder of the Royal Mail

In 1516 Henry VIII founded the Royal Mail. Henry had already founded a Postmaster General in 1510. The first "Master of the Kings Post" was Brian Tuke. (More on him later).

Royal Mothers and Babies

Henry VIII at last had "new baby" letters to send. Queen Katherine had miscarried early in 1515, but on the 18th February 1516, she gave birth to a daughter who was called Mary. Henry was delighted with his pretty little daughter even though it was not the boy he longed for: "The Queen and I are both young, (he said) and if it is a girl this time, boys will follow".

The Queen was not the only new Royal mum that year. The King's older sister Margaret, had fled from Scotland, with her second husband, Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. And their daughter Margaret, born in September 1515. Baby Margaret was to be left in England, while her mother returned to Scotland to sort out her problems there and reclaim the Regency of her son King James V.

Margaret Douglas, who was potentially in line to the English throne, after Henry VIII's daughter Mary, and Margaret's older half-brother, James V of Scotland, was treated by her uncle Henry much like his own daughter. Which turned out not to be such a good thing.

And now, the King's younger sister Mary, expecting her first child, was also back in England with Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

Mary, now called the Duchess of Suffolk, gave birth to their son, Henry on the 11th March 1516, - so he was just a few weeks younger than Princess Mary.

The King's sister Mary had a problem, she was married, although actually not legally and without her brother's permission, to Charles Brandon and had a son who was potentially heir to the English throne. Marrying a royal princess without permission, was an Act of Treason, punishable with death. So Mary persuaded her brother that she was the one who had insisted on the marriage, and reminded him (as might not remember saying it) that he had promised her that if she married the King of France, she could marry anyone she wanted next time.

As revenge (for his sister was now out of the Princess marriage market and of no use in future negociations and alliances with foreign states) Henry VIII made the couple pay for all the costs of Mary's wedding to Louis XII, and all the dowry he had sent to France.

This was to leave the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk, permanently in financial difficulties. The following year 16th July 1517, Mary had her second child, a daughter Frances, (to be the mother of Lady Jane Grey) and later they had another daughter, Eleanor and another son called Henry (the earlier Henry had died).

The financial problems of the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk were not helped by Suffolk's continuing matrimonial mix ups. Charles Brandon's wife Anne Browne had died in 1512, his contract with Elizabeth Grey was cancelled by her when she was 12, and he could no longer help himself to her money and her title. That disposed of two of Brandon's wives, but he was still legally married to Margaret Neville formerly Margaret Mortimer. This was not sorted out until 1528 by a Papal Bull from Pope Clement VII, which assured the legitimacy of his daughters by Anne Browne and his children by Mary, dowager queen of France. (see notes). The children Brandon had by his wife Mary were now in the line up in the succession to the throne.

Which is how their grand-daughter Jane, became Queen in 1553, although Mary as Henry VIII's daughter had a better claim to to the throne, and Jane's reign lasted less than 2 weeks.

(More on this in Lady Jane Grey's Clocks which followed the earlier article by Heather Hobden in Clocks magazine.)

Wolsey helps out

By this time Henry VIII had become dependent on Thomas Wolsey to fix everything for him, from foreign policy to his girlfriends.

Wolsey's father, Robert Wolsey had been killed at the battle of Bosworth. Wolsey was educated at the local Ipswich School, having been helped by an endowment by an Ipswich merchant, Richard Felaw, who bequeathed his house to the school and endowed it with lands to fund the fees of children whose parents could not afford them.

Wolsey then was able to go to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he got his BA at only 15 and later was ordained as a priest. He became tutor to the sons of Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset, half-brother to Queen Elizabeth, (Henry VIII's mother). This brought him important connections. In 1507, Henry VII appointed him as his chaplain, and in 1509 the new king Henry VIII appointed Wolsey as his Almoner and in 1511, a member of the Privy Council.

As Wolsey had been ordained he could not legally marry, but he did fall in love with Joan Larke and they were to have two children, Thomas (born 1510) and Dorothy (born 1512). His children were brought up in separate foster homes, so given different surnames. Thomas Winter was given a scholarship by Henry VIII to study abroad and later became Archdeacon of Cornwall. Dorothy adopted by John Clancey, was placed in Shaftesbury nunnery under his name but Wolsey's instructions. And left there until 1535 when it was closed down. Leaving Dorothy at 24, stranded without a home, possessions and income. Clancey appealed to Cromwell on her behalf and she was awarded a pension. (More fortunate than most of the nuns).

Wolsey had arranged a marriage for Joan Larke in 1519, to George Legh and a new house for them in Cheshunt. Joan had 4 more children when married to George Legh, and when he died in 1529, married George Paulet.

By the time he made new arrangements for his mistress, Wolsey had already acquired a number of appointments and was was becoming Henry VIII's right hand man. In 1514 he had been made Bishop of Lincoln, and Archbishop of York, and in 1515, Pope Leo X made him a cardinal.

Wolsey rebuilt and updated the residences he acquired which came along with his appointments. They were to have the latest modern amenities and impressive modern architecture. They included Hampton Court (rented from the owners, the Knights of St.John), and York Place (his residence near London as Archbishop of York) which was later called Whitehall. He imported Italian artists and masons. Not all directly from Italy. Many of them had stopped off in England on the way home from Moscow which they had been employed on the Kremlin and other buildings, for the late Ivan III.

Wolsey employed them at Hampton Court and on his other building projects such as The More in Hertfordshire. (Excavated on Time Team, revealing the Italian style architecture and impressive long gallery).

That is why Wolsey's orginal re-build of Hampton Court with its turreted walls and towers topped with minarets looks similar to parts of the Kremlin. Some of the masons Wolsey employed had been working previously for Ivan III. It could have been one of the Russian/Italian artists who painted the portrait mentioned later.


1517, May Day Riot

Street Riots in London.

May Day was a traditional public holiday. So it was a good time for rioting and rebellion. In this case mostly directed against "foreigners" - mostly the overseas merchants who had businesses and shops in London. Gangs of workers and apprentices, were easily led by agitators like John Lincoln, a broker with a grudge who attributed his economic problems to the rival foreign merchants, craftsmen, and others who lived and worked in London. Gangs attacked shops and homes and also invaded Newgate Prison liberating some prisoners who had recently been locked up for attacking foreigners. Those who did not support their cause threw stones and bricks etc. at them as they marched through the city, but they retaliated with more violence. Shops were looted. Fires were started. The city authorities found they were powerless to stop the riots. But eventually in the early hours the rioters and looters started dispersing and heading home. By which time more than 400 had been arrested. The King ordered that they were all to be charged with high treason. Despite protests that many of them were only children.

Thirteen of them mostly boys aged only 12 or 13, were executed in public on the 4th May. John Lincoln was publicly hanged, drawn and quartered on the 7th May. The others, 400 men and 11 women were taken to Westminster Hall, with their hands tied and ropes around their necks to kneel before the King in front of a large audience of city officials, members of parliament and heads of state. Henry VIII's wife Queen Katherine, and his two sisters Margaret Queen of Scotland, and Mary, former Queen of France, were also there and theatrically intervened and asked for mercy. So the prisoners - now subdued were freed.


image of Henry's early jousting armour stored in Tower early 20th century

Henry VIII celebrates

It had been a tricky time for Henry VIII. He needed foreign support, and overseas trade in both directions, a riot against foreigners in his capital city was one of the the last things he needed. The other being a new epidemic of The Sweat, or the Plague.

In the summer of 1517, Henry VIII held a big entertainment at Greenwich for the various Ambassadors at the court. A really grand occasion. Since both his sisters happened to be there at that time there were three Queens. Katherine and her sisters-in-law, Margaret Queen of Scotland, and Mary the former Queen of France. All beautifully dressed in glittering outfits. Although Margaret's had to be supplied by her brother and sister-in-law since she had to leave Scotland this time in a hurry without any luggage.

Part of the festivities was a tournament, in which all the participants were finely dressed with lots of cloth of silver, gold, velvet etc. covered in jewels. According to Hall's Chronicle: "the King had on his head a ladies sleve full of diamonds". But he doesn't say whose sleeve it was.

The Sweat is Back

But the games and entertainments were over sooner than expected. Hall's account continues: "After this great triumphe, the king appointed his gestes for his pastyme this Sommer, but sodeinly there came a plague of sickenes, called the Swetyng sickenes, that turned all his purpose. This malady was so cruell that it killed some within three houres, some within two houres, some mery at diner and dedde at supper. Many died in the kynges Courte, the Lorde Clinton (whose son would become Elizabeth Blount's 2nd husband), the Lorde Grey of Wilton, and many knightes, Gentlemen and oficers. For this plague Michelmas term was adjourned (the autumn legal session - it meant the lawyers were laid off, and the courts and trials not held) and because that this malady continued from July to the meddes of December, the kyng kept hymself ever with a small compaignie and kept no solemne Christmas, willing to have no resort for far of infeccion: but much lamented the number of his people, for in some one town halfe the people died, and in some other tourne the thirde parte, the Sweate was so fevent and infeccious."

It was usual for the King to pick his special companions for his summer progress. In this case with "the Sweat" raging through England, as we can see in the above account, he reduced the number of people with him to a select few, enabling him to move around more easily and stay in smaller places. Henry VIII was very worried about catching any infection going, and the Sweat was often fatal.

Elizabeth Blount may have been on this select team offically still, as a Maid of Honour, in attendance on the Queen, but also because the King had been interested in her since 1514.

The "Sweat" was followed by the "Plague" which was bubonic plague Yersina Pestis (in picture on left) called after the discoverer of the bacillus Alexandre Yersin.

Although the cause of the Plague was not then known, that did not stop Henry VIII from researching a cure. He then sent the Lord Mayor of London his own remedy for the Plague. Here it is:

"Take on handfull of marygolds, a handfull of sorel, and a handfull of burnett, half a handul of fetherfew, half a handful of rew (rue), and a quantite of dragons of the top orels of the roott, and wesshe them cleyn in rynnyng water, and putt them in a pott wyth a otell of rynnyng water, and let them seyth easyly fro a potell on to a quarte of lyquor, and then sett yt bak tyll yt be almost cold, and streyn yt theyn with a fyn cloth, and drynk yt and yf yt be btter put therto Sugere. And yf it be takyn before that urpulls do apere yt wyll hele the syke person wyth Gods grace".

Summer was a dangerous time in Tudor England, and it was not just the epidemics that killed so many then. Children, especially, and at all levels of society, were at risk for all sorts of accidents while playing or helping with chores.


Henry VIII tries to make England healthier and more attractive to important overseas visitors

By the end of winter, the epidemics had cleared. But many of the King's courtiers, companions, and officials had perished, as well as much of the general population. Some towns lost nearly half their inhabitants.

On 13 January 1518, Henry VIII, concerned that risk of plagues would prevent important foreign visitors from coming over to England, ("the Sweat" was mainly confined to England) issued a Royal Proclamation to make sure something was done about those "contagious infections", "likely to continue if remedy.... was not provided". With ideas from Wolsey and Thomas More and what was already being done in Paris and other places.

In London, houses with infected occupants should now be marked by bundles of straw hung from their windows for 40 days, and those occupying an infected house must carry a white stick when they went out. The same orders were taken to Oxford by Thomas More and enforced there in April. The idea for the bundles of straw and the white sticks come from Paris which started using them in 1510. White sticks still used by those with eyesight problems.

Also in 1518, Wolsey founded the College of Physicians in an attempt to improve standards of medicine in England.

Henry VIII was going to need a clean and healthy country this year, there was little Princess Mary's betrothal, her mother, Queen Katherine was expecting again, and she was not the only one to be pregnant by the King.

The Treaty of London

The Treaty of London, called at the time: the "Treaty of Universal Peace", was a non-agression pact signed by the main countries of western Europe, against the threat from Ottoman Turkey.

Wolsey played a big part in arranging this.(BM 2 Oct. Vit. B. XX 92.)

Although it did not last more than a few years. In 1536 François I of France and Suleimen the Magnificent, who suceeded his father Selim, as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire in 1520, were to sign one of the most important political alliances of France which lasted until Napoleon invaded Egypt which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. Picture shows François and Selim to commemorate this alliance.

Princess Mary's first betrothal

As part of the Treaty of London, a husband was found for 2-year old Princess Mary. This was the Dauphin of France, François, 3rd child and first son, of François I and Queen Claude. He was born on 28th February, 1518, making him 2 years younger than Princess Mary (born 18th February, 1516). Too young to attend his betrothal to Mary or know anything about it.

French envoys were sent to view the little princess first. Then the betrothal, which was part of the treaty with France, was arranged as part of the ceremonies arranged by Cardinal Wolsey.

Queen Katherine was pregnant for what seems to have been the sixth time, and a letter (Cotton Ms. Vespasian F iii, f.73) that Henry VIII wrote to Wolsey in June 1518, shows his concern for her health - here is part of the letter:

Two things there be which be so secret that they cause me at this time to write to you myself; the one is that I trust the queen my wife be with child; the other is chief cause why I am sloth to repair to London ward, by cause about this time is partly of her dangerous times, and by cause of that, I would remove her as little as I may now. My lord, I write thus unto you, not as an ensured thing, but as a thing wherein I have great hope and likelihood, and by cause I do well know that this thing will be comfortable to you to understand; therefore, I do write it unto you at this time.

Baynard Castle and its surrounding buildings were being repaired and refurbished. The Queen was to give birth at Baynard Castle. The apartments to be used for her "confinement" were being completely furnished and equipped to be ready for the birth.

Henry VIII's concern for his wife does not seem to have kept him from playing around with other women. Elizabeth Blount was the main target of his passions at this time.

Six Courses at the Ring...

On Sunday 3rd October 1518, Elizabeth Blount took part in the magnificent display organised by Cardinal Wolsey as part of the celebrations of the treaty with France and the betrothal of two year old Princess Mary with the Dauphin of France which was to take place on the 5th October at Greenwich.

Ceremonies began with a mass held at St. Paul's Cathedral, with Cardinal Wolsey officiating. Then the King went to dine with the Bishop of London. He then returned to Durham House. A palace built by a bishop of Durham in the mid-14th century, and since then used occasionally by the King as well as the encumbant Prince-Bishop of Durham. (Wolsey was to add Prince-Bishop of Durham to his list of posts in 1523).

From there the guests followed the Cardinal back to his newly rebuilt palace of York House (later called Whitehall) and there they sat down to what the Venetian ambassador described (in translation) as: "a most sumptous supper, the like of which I fancy was never given either by Cleopatra or Caligula; the whole banqueting hall being so decorated with huge vases of gold and silver that I fancied myself in the tower of Chosroes, where that monarch caused divine honours to be paid him".

As the Queen was now well advanced in pregnancy and she had lost yet another baby the year before, she did not want to risk losing this one and was resting as much as possible. She retired to bed after the banquet with a few of her ladies, and missed the evening entertainments.

Hall describes it (p.595): "When the banquet was done in came six minstrels richly disguised and after them followed three gentlemen in wide and long gowns of crimson satin, everyone having a cup of gold in his hands. The first cup was full of angels and royals (10 shilling and 6s 4d pieces), the second had divers balls of dice and the third certain pairs of cards. These gentlemen offered to play at mumchance (a card game which had to be played without speaking), and when they had played the length of the first board, then the minstrels blew up, and then there entered into the chamber twelve ladies disguised as nymphs".

When dancing began, the first couple in the set was the King himself and the French Queen (his sister Mary). The second was the Duke of Suffolk and Lady Daubeny, then the Lord Admiral (later 3rd Duke of Norfolk) and Lady Guildford (Elizabeth Carew's sister), Sir Edward Neville and Lady St.Leger, Sir Henry Guildford and Mrs Elizabeth Walden, Captain Emery (always called "the Bastard Emery" in court records) and Mrs. Anne Carew (Nicolas Carew's sister), Sir Giles Capel and Lady Elizabeth Carew (still called "the young wife"), Nicholas Carew and Anne Brown (niece of Henry Guildford). Francis Bryan, brother of Elizabeth Carew, partnered Elizabeth Blount, followed by Henry Norris with Anne Wotten, then Francis Poyntz with Mary Fiennes (wife of Henry Norris) followed by Arthur Pole (a son of Margaret, Countess of Salisbury) partnered by Margaret Bruges.

This company was escorted by twelve knights in disguise and bearing torches. "All these 36 persons were disguised each in one suit of fine green satin covered with cloth of gold under, tied together with laces of gold and had masking hoods on their heads, the ladies had tires made of braids of damask gold with long hairs of white gold. All these maskers danced at one time - then they put off their visers".

"After which they all seated themselves apart from the tables and were served with countless dishes of confections and other delicacies. Having gratified their palates they then regaled their eyes and hands, large bowls filled with money and dice being placed on the table for such as like to gamble. Shortly after which, the supper tables being removed, dancing began and lasted till after midnight".

As part of the entertainment, after the dancing, Elizabeth Blount was to sing a special song for the King.

Costumes for these entertainments were often recycled ones imported from Italy. Venice especially was a source for costumes and cosmetics. This portrait of which the original (this is taken from a copy) is in the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main. It has been dated to about 1518, and is in egg-tempera on poplar wood.

These were materials still used at that time, by Italian and Russian artists, (artists in France, Netherlands etc. used oil paints), so it is possible it could have been painted by one of those artists employed by Wolsey, to work on his new palaces, like Hampton Court, and The More, at that time.

The portrait shows a girl about the same age, and wearing much the same costume as Elizabeth Blount had worn on this occasion, with the gold wire and damask head-dress. The nymph costumes did leave a breast bare. But a bared breast was also a symbol of motherhood. (As seen in other contemporary paintings of a similar kind).

Headresses worn for masques very similar or the same as the one in the portrait and as described in the description of this performance, are mentioned and described, in Henry VIII's inventory, made after his death: "8 coiffs of Venice gold with their perukes of hair hanging to them and long labels of coloured lawn. (no. 8659)".

This was a characteristic masque costume used at Henry VIII's court.

Not just the costume but the girl fits the story quite well. And the message conveyed in the portrait by the posy of small flowers.

The posy conveyed a secret message.
The 3 daisies: one facing, one turned away, one very small, - the daisy symbolised "loyal love". The anemone: unfading love, sincerity, expectation.
The crocus or saffron: "abuse not", happiness, "results of pleasures".

(More about this picture in the notes). While the identity of artist and sitter in this and many similar portraits of this time (eg one in the Hermitage), are still uncertain, it does gives us an idea of what Elizabeth may have looked like at the event when she danced and sang her song. It may have even been her portrait.

We also have an idea of what song she sang. A book of music and songs attributed to Henry VIII which includes songs by William Cornish and others, dates from 1518. It includes such surviving favourites as pastime with good company. And this one. It appears in a paper "Some account of an unpublished collection of songs and ballads by King Henry VIII and his contemporaries" by William Chappell, Esq. F.S.A. Read May 16th 1867. On pages 378 to 379, Chappell says: "now there is one love-song in the manuscript addressed to the King by some lady for whose sake, she tells us, the King had tilted at the ring..." And he concludes..... "there is in this a frankness discoverable on the lady's part, not warranted by the manners of the present time."

It looks like Elizabeth may have written this song herself and had asked William Cornish, to set it to music for her to sing to the King. Who was to pay Cornish £200 afterwards. (See notes for more information about the song and composer). The song refers to the sport of "running at the ring", which took place in the palace tiltyard and was more harmless and fun than a real tournament, and used to train boys. The competitors charged on horseback and aimed their lance through a hanging ring. Then they might gallantly present the ring to one of the girls or ladies watching. Henry VIII had enjoyed this game since he was a boy.

Little survives of the original background music for the song mostly only the refrain. But the clever double entendre in the words would have been clear to those who knew or could guess what had been going on. When the other performers and guests were seated at the tables with games and refreshments, Elizabeth, dressed in her glittering costume, came forward with Cornish and his players to provide the music, and sang the song she had prepared.

Elizabeth's song

Whilles lyve or breth is in my brest
My soverayne lord I shall love best.

My soverayne lord, for my poure sake,
Six courses at the ryng dyd make,
Of which four tymes he did it tak;
Wher for my hart I hym beqwest,
And, of all other, for to love best
My soverayne lorde.

Whilles lyve or breth is in my brest
My soverayne lord I shall love best.

My soverayne lorde of pursantce pure
As the chefteyne of a waryowere,
With spere and sword at the barryoure -
As hardy with the hardyest
He provith hym selfe, that I say, best
My soverayne lorde.

Whilles lyve or breth is in my brest
My soverayne lord I shall love best.

My Soverayne Lorde, in everythyng
Above all other - as a kyng -
In that he doth no comparying:
But, of a tryewth, he worthyest is
To have the prayse of all the best,
My soverayne lorde.

Whilles lyve or breth is in my brest
My soverayne lord I shall love best.

My soverayne lorde when that I mete
His cherfull continaunce doth replete
My hart with joé; that I behete,
Next God, but he: and ever prest
With hart and body to love best
My soverayne lorde.

Whilles lyve or breth is in my brest
My soverayne lord I shall love best.

So many virtuse, gevyn of grace,
Ther is none one lyve that hace -
Beholde his favor and his face,
His personage most godlyest!
A vengeance on them that loveth nott best
My soverayne lorde.

Whilles lyve or breth is in my brest
My soverayne lord I shall love best.

The soverayne Lorde that is of all
My Soverayne lorde save, principall!
He hath my hart and ever shall,
Of God I ask - for hym request -
Of all gode fortunes to send him best
My soverayne lorde.

Whilles lyve or breth is in my brest
My soverayne lord I shall love best.

This was a very clever though risky move for Elizabeth, who clearly hoped for more than a diamond necklace, or a husband, by making the King's actions public. It did not take much skill to notice the double entendre and hidden agenda. And no doubt this was all reported back to the Queen by her ladies who did not fail to notice that Bessie Blount was also plumper and blooming. And that the King had not been going to bed officially until the early morning.

On the 5th October the Court was at Greenwich for Princess Mary's betrothal to the Dauphin. Since he was too young to be there, the Lord Admiral of France, Guillaume Gouffier, stood in for the baby bridegroom. The little bride wore a dress of cloth of gold, a little black cap on her ginger curly hair, and lots of sparkly jewelry. Her mum stood just behind her. Wolsey provided the small diamond ring which the Admiral placed on her finger. Mary asked him cutely "Are you the Dauphin of France? If you are, I will kiss you."

Mary's mother had not been very enthusiastic about the French betrothal but could do little about it. Her choice as future son-in-law would have been her nephew Charles.

Following the betrothal, at Greenwich, there was another pageant on the 8th of October. The performers are not listed, so it is not known if Elizabeth Blount was taking part. Probably not.

Queen Katherine had been very upset when she found out that Elizabeth Blount was pregnant by the King. Elizabeth Blount is not mentioned as taking part in any subsequent events at the Court for some years. Even after she was married. Not until Henry VIII was planning to divorce Katherine and so no longer cared about her opinions.

On the 10th November, 1518, Katherine went into labour. The child must have been near full term. Katherine had taken care. But she had been under stress with her daughter's betrothal to the Dauphin (which she was not happy with) and finding out that Elizabeth Blount was pregnant by her husband. Something seems to have been wrong with the tiny baby girl (christened Katherine) who did not survive for long after her birth. Katherine never fully recovered her health and this turned out to have been her last pregnancy.

Elizabeth Blount removed from the court and also her family

It was now clear and public knowledge, as announced by the girl herself in her song. Elizabeth Blount must have been at least 3 to 5 months pregnant, since she would have to have missed at least 2 periods to be certain. And the King was responsible. She could no longer remain at court in the service of Queen Katherine.

Cardinal Wolsey was given the orders to take care of Elizabeth. He arranged for Elizabeth to stay at Jericho Priory, Blackmore, Essex, to have her baby. This was a small Augustinian Priory (postcode is CM4 ORN) in a small village in Essex, turning off the main old Roman road (now the A12) to Chelmsford, at Ingatestone. It is also accessible from the road turning off the M25 which leads to the Dartford Tunnel. To get there in the 16th century, from London, you would take the Roman Road going to Chelmsford and on to Colchester, and turn onto the narrow winding lanes (still there but surfaced better for traffic) through Ingatestone, past Margaretting, on to Blackmore.

photo by Heather HobdenThe priory was only a small establishment with the Prior, who when Elizabeth was there, was Thomas Goodwyn, and three canons. At the time the 14th century steeple and belfry (still there) was built, there had been 12 canons. It was one of 30 smaller religious establishments that Wolsey dissolved in 1525, with the intention of using the funds saved to establish a college at Cambridge, and endow the grammar school in Ipswich (both still there). Blackmore (or Jericho) Priory was dissolved on 10th February 1525. The Prior and canons were then transferred to other places. (A History of the County of Essex: Vol.2, 1907)

aerial view from google earthThe house where Elizabeth was accomodated adjoined the Priory, and was known as Jericho. It was surrounded by a moat (you can see the remains of it from the ground). The moat was fed by the local stream, called the Jordan. Because the Priory was called Jericho of course.

It is still possible to see many houses in Blackmore village which might have been there when Elizabeth Blount lived there.

Little remains of the house and priory as it was when Elizabeth Blount would have been accomodated there. After Henry VIII had lost patience with Wolsey for not getting his divorce through, he had taken most of Wolsey's property to add to his own collection. He then despite the protests from most of the country, closed down all the religious institutions and took the properties for himself. Then he profited by the sales. In 1540 Henry VIII sold Jericho Priory to John Smyth (or Smith), who worked in the Treasury and must have eyeballed it for himself. His plans for a new home meant that he demolished the original house and a lot of the other buildings, including much of the church, until the locals complained and protested successfully to keep the church as their local Parish church and meeting place. That is why there is a huge wall around the actual house which cuts straight across the end of the church. It has changed owners and been rebuilt and updated a few times since then so hardly anything remains of the original house that Elizabeth Blount stayed in. Some idea of what it looked like can be worked out from the surviving houses in the village which are Tudor or older in origin. And traces of the original buildings have survived and the remains of the moat which surrounded them. Enough to make Blackmore an interesting village to visit with pub and teashop.


Birth of Henry Fitzroy

  • Henry VIII gets complaints:
    from his Privy Council for going out on the town with the lads at night. It was time he behaved more responsibly, he was no longer a young lad.
    He was 28. He decides he should in future be addressed more respectfully as "Your Majesty" as well as or in the place of, "Your Grace" and "Your Highness".

  • Henry VIII plans his tomb:
    Italian sculptor Pietro Torrigiano, had been employed by Henry VIII to make a monument for his parents in Westminster Abbey. A tomb for Margaret Beaufort. And other work decorating the Abbey. He had finally just finished, and was paid £2,500. Henry then commissioned Torrigiano who required another £2,000, to design and make a tomb for himelf and Queen Katherine, larger than that of his parents, and to be situated in the chapel of St.George in Windsor Castle. Torrigiano had tried to get Benvenuto Cellini to come to England to assist him but he refused. Maybe because Torrigiano had a famous bad temper and had once punched Michelangelo in the face leaving him with a wonky nose. Torrigiano abandoned the new project in England, and left for Spain. But he was caught by the Inquisition hacking at his statue of the Virgin that had gone wrong, and died in prison in 1528.

  • Henry VIII gets a bit worried even paranoid about some of his leading peers:

    writes to Wolsey in January 1519:
    "Myne awne good Cardinall, I recommande me unto yow as hartely as hart can thynke. So it is that by cause wryttyng to me is somewhat tedius and paynefull, therfor the most part off thes bysynesses I have commyttyd to our trusty counseler thys berrer, to be declaryd to yow by mowthe, to whyche we wollde yow shulde gyff credens. Nevertheles to thys that folowith I thowght nott best to make hym pryve, nor nonother but yow and I, whyche is that I wolde yow shuld make good watche on the duke off Suffolke, on the duke of Bukyngam, on my lord off Northe Omberland, on my lord off Darby, on my lord off Wylshere (Henry Stafford, Buckingham's son), and on others whyche yow thynke suspecte, to see what they do with thes nwes. No more to yow at thys tyme, but sapienti pauca. Wryttyne with the hand off your lovyng master. Henry R."

  • Henry VIII postpones the meeting with François I in a field near Calais later known as the Field of Cloth of Gold. It was to have taken place in 1519, but Henry VIII then wanted to postpone it to 1520.

    As some sort of assurance both men vowed not to shave their beards until the event took place. But Henry soon had his shaved off again because Katherine did not like it.

    Why did Henry VIII want to postpone the meeting with François?

  • Henry VIII has a son!

    The exact day that that Elizabeth Blount gave birth to the King's son does not seem to have been recorded or at least the records have not been found. This was not unusual then. And if her baby had been a girl, perhaps mother and child would have been forgotten if the King had no further interest in Elizabeth Blount. But early in 1519, she had the son Henry VIII had yearned for. The baby was christened Henry after his father, and given the surname Fitzroy. This means "Son of the King" and was used for royal bastards. Cardinal Wolsey was the child's godfather, so he was certain this was the King's son.

    There is no evidence that Wolsey or Henry Fitzroy's father attended the christening, which was probably a small event without parents (new mums not allowed in a church) or grand-parents. The early photo of inside the priory church at Blackmore comes from Suckling's book on Essex 1845. It would have been much more decorative in 1519, although perhaps a bit shabby as the priory was due to be closed down by Wolsey soon. He was planning to sell some property to finance colleges in Oxford and Cambridge.

  • But when was Henry Fitzroy born?

    The letter Henry VIII wrote to Wolsey mentioned above was dated January 1519. What news was going to make Henry VIII worried about the reactions of the Duke of Suffolk, the Duke of Buckingham, Earls of Northumberland, Derby, Wiltshire etc. Could it have been that he had just had a son and not by the Queen. Just about possible, by October she would have been at least 5 months gone. And it ties in with Queen Katherine's pregnancy. The royal couple were taking great care not to lose this one, so Henry appears to have had Elizabeth Blount in his bed instead.

    Awards were made by Henry VIII on 11th February, 1519 to John Blount, Squire of the Body "to be keeper of Clebury Park, Shropshire. And also on the 16th for Sir Thomas (his father) and John Blount "to be stewards, of masters of the hunt, and parkers of the parks in the forest of Wyre; on surrender of patent of Hen.VII granting the same to the said Sir Thomas alone." Again that fits in with the date early in 1519.

    Henry Fitzroy was said to have been around the same age as the two eldest sons of the King of France. The eldest François was born 28th February 1518, the second, Henri was born 31st March 1519 (although his christening was postponed until June 7th because of health problems).

    Queen Katherine would have been at least 3 months pregnant when in June Henry VIII wrote to Wolsey about his concerns for her condition. It is only when you have missed at least 2 periods that you know you are definitely pregnant, especially if like Katherine you are not always regular. And three months is a time when a pregnancy is most likely to miscarry. It is what Henry VIII may have meant by "dangerous time". Henry then would have kept from sleeping with Katherine. So he is most likely to have made use of Elizabeth Blount. That gives a possible date in March 1519 for the birth of Elizabeth's son.

    Elizabeth would have had to have missed at least two periods to be sure she was pregnant and going to have a child. Then she needed to plan how to tell the King in public so he had to help her. And find the right opportunity. She would have been between three to five months pregnant when she took part in the masque and sang her song. Enough to be absolutely certain, and still (if 5 months gone) just about able to get into her costume for the performance. Which was a drapey sort of style in layers so accomodating. Any later and she would have not been able to perform in the dancing either.

    This means that Henry Fitzroy could have been born sometime between January and April 1519. And as it looks like Elizabeth was made pregnant again by the King when he was visiting frequently during the summer. She would have needed about 6 months, to recover from the birth, for this.

    June 18th (or 15th)? Both dates found in the book on Blackmore by the Rev. Alfred Suckling when he was a curate in Margaretting in 1834, with apparently no other evidence than an unsubstantiated guess that Henry Fitzroy's investiture on the 18th June 1525, was exactly six years from his date of birth. In fact the ceremonies started earlier and took place over several weeks and coincided with Henry VIII's plans to make his daughter Mary Princess of Wales. Despite this it has been much copied.

    There may also have been some confusion by historians from the reports of the christening in early June of the "King's Son Henry". Which was attended by Thomas Boleyn representing Henry VIII and Wolsey. But he was in France. It was the King of France not England, that is mentioned. The grand christening was for his second son Henri. He had been born on March 31st, but the christening had been delayed, not only because the baby had some health problems, but because of an epidemic at the time, and worries that it was not a good time for a large number of people to be crowded together.

    A summary of the letter dated 7th June 1519(Calig. D. VII. 121. B. M. Ellis, 1 Ser. I. 159 289.)written by Thomas Boleyn to Wolsey reporting on the christening of Henri, can be seen in British history online:
    here is part of this summary.
    "On Sunday last, about 10 at night, Henry, the King's young son, was christened. Presented to the Queen, in King Henry's name, the salt, the cup and the lavar of gold (wash basin), which were much praised. Francis was greatly pleased, and said whenever it should be the King's fortune to have a prince, he would be glad to do for him in like manner." (Henry VIII still hoped for a legitimate son then, Henry Fitzroy was not publicly acknowledged until he was six.)
    "The £100. sent by Wolsey has been bestowed on the nurse, four rockers, the gentlewomen of the Queen's chamber, and an offering of 20 nobles. The King's porters and others have importuned him for reward, whom he refused. Requests to have his diet money, and the surplus he has expended. Has spoken to the King respecting the merchants' matters mentioned in Wolsey's letters of the 28th May. Poissy, 7 June."

    All the references to presentation of gifts to "the Queen", to François, and the fact that Thomas Boleyn reports from France, (by now his own daughter Mary had followed Elizabeth as mistress to Henry VIII), confirms that this is a report on the christening of Henri, 2nd son of François I.

    Henry VIII's secret family at Blackmore

    Blackmore is not quite as remote as it looks even in Tudor times. On this map a copy from one published later in the 16th century by Saxton, I have marked the road from London (via Gantshill now A12) you can see Blackmore (marked with blue arrow) about halfway between Newhall (at top right with blue arrow) and Havering. Henry VIII used to go on hunting expeditions in the Forest of Essex, which more or less surrounded that area, as the forests were far more extensive than the bits that are left now. They stretched from Walthamstow (lower left), Epping, Hainault and much further, on to the north and east. There were a number of hunting lodges where the King and his guests could stop for refreshment or even overnight. Only one hunting lodge Henry VIII had built (in 1543) still remains, in Chingford, and that had open galleries upstairs, as by then he was too fat to ride so the deer were rounded up so he could shoot them as they were herded past. Like a shooting gallery but with real animals. In 1519, Henry VIII was still fit to ride after the deer, without crushing his horse and there were a number of places in the forest he could stop for a break or overnight, and kill a few deer on the way. Although parts of the forest belonged to different landlords, the King had rights to the vension, and could go hunting wherever he wanted. Henry liked hunting so much he wore out those who accompanied him. His friend, the cleric and diplomat Richard Pace commented: "He spares no pains to convert the sport of hunting into martyrdom".

    Henry VIII could and it seems did, take the opportunity to visit both his children while staying at Newhall, Boreham, near Chelmsford, (top, right on map with blue arrow) to see his daughter Princess Mary. Newhall had been sold to him in 1517, by Thomas Boleyn, who had inherited it from his grandfather, Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormonde (who had died there 2 years earlier), for £1,000, and rebuilt at a cost of £17,000. Henry VIII had the fortified manor house rebuilt into a magnificent palace. (It is now rebuilt as a school). Henry originally intended it to be used to accomodate his daughter Princess Mary and any other children he might have. Remains of the carvings which used to be over the front gateway, show the Tudor Rose, Katherine's Pomegranate, and a Pomegranate with a small Tudor Rose coming out of it - clearly referring to his child by Queen Katherine.

    The road from London (now A12) passes through Stratford, Ilford, Romford, Ingatestone (Engerston on map) and continues to Chelmsford and on to Boreham. Blackmore is just north of Ingatestone. Newhall, Boreham is further on the road from Chelmsford. This major route goes back before the Romans and continues eventually to Ipswich, but when Henry VIII's household travelled along it was not in very good condition.

    Despite all the possible claims, Elizabeth Blount's son, was the only illegitimate child that King Henry VIII was to acknowledge as his own, and was to treat equally, even at times, better than, the two daughters born to his wives 1 and 2. There is a clue in the song written and sung by Elizabeth Blount: Henry VIII could have had no doubts at all that he was the father.

    The following summer the whole court was not very far away from Jericho Priory. Queen Katherine owned the palace at Havering atte Bower, where she had invited the King, and the French hostages. Here the King with his companions went hunting and shooting and he would have had plenty of opportunities to call in to Jericho Priory to see his new son. And Elizabeth.

    In September the King was back nearby, with the Queen, and their court, at Newhall, which he had finished renovating and had renamed "Beaulieu" (beautiful place). Here they entertained with banquets and masque performances. It still would have taken up a whole day or two days to travel to Blackmore and back again from there. And even if disguised as a hunting expedition, Katherine would have found out what else her husband was getting up to, as the King did not go anywhere on his own but always had an escort to look after him.

    Beaulieu was excavated in Time Team.

    It is possible that Henry Fitzroy was not the only child Elizabeth had by Henry VIII. Her daughter, also called Elizabeth, is said to have been born in 1520 as she was said to be 43 when she died in 1563. That would tie in with his visits in summer. And also with a date of birth for Henry Fitzroy early in 1519. Giving Elizabeth at least six months to recover. And be able to be more than welcoming to Henry. It looks like Henry did more on his visits than play with his little son.

    Elizabeth's marriage to Gilbert Tailboys was not arranged until 1522, and took place in 1523, so it does look possible that Henry VIII had continued his affair with Elizabeth Blount until at least 1522. She was living with their child or as it seems, children, and he was certainly visiting very frequently. The King's frequent visits to Jericho Priory were a standing joke at court.

    Elizabeth Blount's daughter Elizabeth, was brought up as Gilbert Tailboys' daughter and eventually she was to become Baroness Tailboys in her own right after the deaths of her two Tailboys brothers (born in 1524 and 1526). So it seems that an alternative later birthdate - after her brothers, is a possibility otherwise her inheritance would have been questioned by Gilbert Tailboys' relatives. However it does seem that she could have been fathered by the King and Gilbert Tailboys had to accept her as his own. The other Tailboys family members might not have challenged her legitimacy if they believed she was the King's daughter.

    The dissolution of the "monastery of Blakamore" by John Alen, canon of Lincoln, came on the 10th February, 1524. So we know that Elizabeth Blount had left before then. The buildings would be abandoned until sold in 1540.

    The legends of Henry VIII's mistress (or mistresses) being housed in Essex, lived on: In 1776 on page 298 of a book called "A New display of the beauties of England":


    Henry VIII expanding

    Henry VIII does not seem to have abandoned Elizabeth Blount as his mistress, as by the end of 1519, he appears to have made Elizabeth pregnant again with a daughter. His next well known romantic interest was Mary Boleyn, and Elizabeth was married off to Gilbert Tallboys, but it is possible Henry VIII was also the father of Elizabeth's two younger sons. (After the death of their older brother, they remained at court in the King's service).

    The picture shows Henry VIII watching a game of football. Which seems to have had a number of casualties going by the number of players being carried off on stretchers.

    Certainly in the 1520s, Henry was looking after himself to stay attractive to women and cut an imposing figure. He used sets of weights to build up his muscles and was fond of energetic sports like tennis and football (even rougher than today as you can see in the picture). For each activity he had special sports clothes, and leather football boots for football which indicates he joined in.

    Henry's palaces were all equipped with sports facilities, tennis courts (indoors then, with hard balls and racquets making it the ancestor of both lawn tennis and squash), bowls, archery, bear baiting, cock-fighting, football (noted for its violence see picture) and in the surrounding or nearby parks and forests: for hunting and hawking.

    Despite all this exercise, Henry VIII had started to put on weight. His size can be measured by his surviving suits of armour. Armour had to be made to fit exactly. And Henry's shows that he was 6ft. 1in. (185.42 cm) tall. Between 1519 and 1520, aged from 28 to 29, he became about 2 inches (about 5 cm) wider round the chest and hips. His new suit of armour was abandoned, (can now be seen in the Leeds Armouries) although the other reason (or excuse) was that he now had to meet new French regulations for foot combat armour for the Field of Cloth of Gold event in 1520, and the new design was hastily put together.

    Another part of Henry VIII's clothing, including his armour, which became bigger and bigger - but probably in this case, not what it covered, was his codpiece. Whether as part of his armour, or as part of his clothes, this large and decorated part of his clothing is impossible to miss. Of course this was a fashion with other men too if not usually so impressive a size and so lavishly decorated as Henry VIII's. The armour mentioned above has a big round but rather plain codpiece. They were to get bigger and bigger, and more and more decorative.

    Henry did not diet, he continued to eat well, and order bigger clothes. He had his palace kitchens extended. And a "privy kitchen" separate to the main kitchens, near his own apartment, to prepare his meals anytime he wanted. He often ate between the main meals. Holbein was to sketch him sitting at the table, the only one served and eating, the others were standing around watching. A little video on this webpage shows how Henry changed between ages 17 and 40. And this article shows how Henry expanded.

    The supplies for the royal kitchens show that practically any bird that flew over England, almost any furry animal, and any thing found swimming in sea, stream or pond could go on the menu. It looks like he did not have many vegetables and fruit to go with all the meat and fish, but they were certainly used in preparing the meals for everyone including the King. Potatoes, which are so much part of the British diet today, had already been imported from the American continent and grown in Europe but looked too much like Deadly Nightshade to be accepted yet, and in fact they are related and can be poisonous. (Don't eat the ones which have turned green inside). But another American import was a favourite with Henry VIII. The sweet potato (not actually related to the potato). First discovered by the Spanish in Haiti soon after Columbus turned up there, it was imported to Spain and planted there. It is too cold to grow it in England. So it was very expensive and until recently many English people hadn't even heard of it. It not only tastes nice but is very good for you, with vitamins A and C, antioxidants, potassium, etc. But what Henry thought it was good for was as an aphrodisiac. He ate it in spicy sugared pies. In fact more recently it has been found it might help women, not men. It would only have enlarged his waistline.

    The increasing weight gain along with the increasing paranoia and other mental and physical symptoms indicate that Henry was getting health problems. These have been much speculated on - see the references under Tudor Health and the doctors in the References.

    Mary Boleyn replaces Elizabeth as mistress to Henry VIII

    Two young Maids of Honour are mentioned as mistresses of Henry VIII in 1520. One was Jane Parker, then aged 15, daughter of Lord Morley. She was to become the wife of George Boleyn, the brother of Anne and Mary Boleyn. Mary Boleyn was the King's mistress for years before her, to be much more famous, sister Anne.

    Mary Boleyn, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn, as a Maid of Honour, had accompanied the King's sister, Mary Queen of France, who was now the Duchess of Suffolk. On her return to England, Mary Boleyn was one of the ex-Queen of France's attendants who were given a new position at court.

    Mary Boleyn was married to William Carey on 4th February 1520. The King attended their wedding, and William Carey (often called "lytell Carrie" in the King's Privy Accounts) received frequent valuable gifts from the King. Especially when Mary gave birth to Katherine (in 1524) and Henry (in 1526). William Carey, who was a close friend of the King and frequently his partner at tennis, may have been chosen by the King himself as a "husband of convenience" - see notes. A set-up Mary's sister when it was her turn to attract the King, would be determined to avoid. The children of Prince William and his wife Kate can claim descent from Mary Boleyn from both their parents.

    18th century engraving from 16th century series of paintings

    Field of Cloth of Gold 7th to 24th June 1520

    The preparations for what became known as "the Field of Cloth of Gold" began at least two months earlier. In April, 1520, four of the King's armourers, Richard Pellande, Rauffe Brand, Richard Cutler and Hans Seusenhofer (who had been sent 6 years before to England with 3 suits of armour for Henry VIII from the Emperor) were sent across the Channel to get things together and set up for the event. They went across to Calais, then to Bruges, Ghent, Malines, Brussels, Nieuport, Antwerp, Oudenarde, Dunkirk, and back to Calais. They hired a large wool warehouse to use for the Armoury, another one for the King's armour and another one for stores. The mill at Greenwich was dismantled and set up at Guisnes with four forges.

    The guest list was carefully prepared, since numbers were limited. The newly wed couple, William and Mary Carey, were both on the guest list. As was Jane Parker. Her father, Henry Parker, Lord Morley, former protegèe of Margaret Beaufort had by now acquired a reputation as a scholar and was translating a number of ancient books, travelled abroad, and had his portrait done by Albrecht Dürer. Jane Parker was to marry George Boleyn, son of Thomas Boleyn, brother to Anne and Mary.

    Jane Parker, now appointed a Maid of Honour to the Queen, probably did have the attentions of Henry VIII in 1520 as her name is mentioned in that connection. And later on, at the time her husband, George Boleyn, was executed for treason, Jane was given an appointment as one of the ladies in waiting to the next Queen, Jane Seymour, and re-appointed as a senior lady to the 4th Queen, Anne, and then the 5th Queen. She did eventually had her head cut off together with Henry VIII's 5th Queen, Catherine Howard. That does seem to show the King had been interested in her personally. Jane never had any children.

    Both Jane's and George's parents were also at the Field of Cloth of Gold. Jane Parker's marriage to George Boleyn, Mary Boleyn's brother, took place in 1524.

    Elizabeth Blount was not on the list of ladies and gentlewomen invited to attend the Field of Cloth of Gold. This may be because Elizabeth may have been having her second child by the King. Although it does seem unlikely that Queen Katherine wanted her back in her entourage. But actually Katherine did not have much say if her husband wanted certain girls to be at her court.

    Elizabeth, now called "the mother of the King's son" did not return to the royal court until Henry VIII was planning to divorce his wife, and replace her with one of his subjects. So he did not have to worry too much, what either old or new wife thought about his behaviour.

    Also missing from the list of people invited to the Field of Cloth of Gold, was Mary's sister Anne Boleyn. There was no reason why she should be there. She was not part of the English court like her sister, but was either still in service with the Regent Margaret or living with distant relatives in France.

    Mary was with most of her close relatives (but not her sister) at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520 as the wife of William Carey, they had recently married and the King was one of the guests at their wedding, in fact he had arranged it, and it appears seems to have paid for it in addition to their wedding present.

    Mary Boleyn is said to have been warmly recommended to Henry VIII, by François I who called her - in words translating something like (and in suspiciously Victorian English)- "my favourite English hackney always good for a ride". He also called her "a great and infamous whore would go with anyone". So she appears to have made some impact in the very short time she was in France. But the comments were actually made later and in reference to her sister Anne, who was certainly to be referred to by many (most of the population of England in fact) as a "great whore" or "the goggle-eyed whore". The story that François I called Mary Boleyn a "Great and Infamous Whore" comes from the reports of Rodolfo Pio da Carpi, who was the Papal Nuncio at the Court of François I from 1535 to 1537, and noted on 10th March 1536, just before he was made a Cardinal. It is more likely to have been Anne Boleyn that he meant, as this was when the evidence against Anne was being collected for her trial and pre-arranged execution. By this time Mary Boleyn had remarried, and was living away from the court, with her husband as a respectable housewife.

    Mary was said by those who knew both girls to be more attractive and beautiful than her sister. She was an accomplished musican, well educated and fluent in French - and was said to be better natured as well as better looking, than her sister Anne. Queen Katherine accepted her in her entourage. Mary's daughter was named Katherine after the Queen. Proof that Mary was Henry VIII's mistress comes mainly from the fact that this relationship would have made the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn invalid. A dispensation had to be requested from the Pope. And this one was granted. Although the relationship was brought up again when Henry VIII was looking for reasons to get rid of Anne.

    What Henry VIII did not get from the Pope was a dispensation announcing that his marriage to Queen Katherine was invalid on the grounds that she had been married to his brother first. A dispensation had already allowed for Katherine's marriage to her brother-in-law.

    Mary's first husband William Carey had been made one of Henry VIII's "Esquires to the Body" so he was in daily personal contact with the King in the King's bedroom. Which would have made it easy to bring his wife to the King at night. Carey was then 24, slim and good-looking and intelligent (though "lytell") and a close friend and servant to the King. The Careys were to have two children, Katherine (born 1524) and Henry (born 4th March, 1526). They were both believed to be the King's children, although officially they were Carey's.

    Since the current heir to the throne, (after his grandfather and father), Prince George, can claim descent through both his parents from Mary Boleyn, unless there is a timely revolution she will one day become the ancestor of the Kings and Queens of England.

    The presents Carey received from his grateful monarch of manors and estates, provided an increase in income which allowed him to collect art and sponsor artists. He introduced Lucas Horenbout, famous for painting miniatures, to the King.

    Also on the guest list at the Field of Cloth of Gold, were the two monkeys Henry VIII brought with him which had been a gift from the Ottoman Sultan Selim I (known as Selim the Grim). The monkeys were specially covered with gold leaf for the occasion. They amused François I, who liked playing with them and seeing them pester other guests.

    The event at the Field of Cloth of Gold, was a great success, not least because the English side had brought along and installed a huge fountain with a continuous flow of red or white wine. This proved to be the main attraction and those who had no hope of getting into the event discovered where the outflow went. Bringing complaints of drunken louts littering the roads.

    Katherine of Aragon, not particularly keen on the French alliance, dressed less formally than she usually would do on state occasions. Her outfit was topped by a round Spanish-style hat, from which her auburn hair was arranged to flow over one shoulder. Fluent in French as well as Spanish, Latin and English, she was able to talk to Queen Claude and the French princesses, seated under canopies lined with pearls, watching their husbands and their teams competed against each other at jousting and other sports and activities. Queen Claude had brought her little son the Dauphin along expecting to meet Princess Mary, and had a miniature portrait and jewelled cross for her as gifts. But Katherine had not brought Mary with her. They were meeting her nephew Charles V after this event.

    The festival ended on the evening of 24th June, with a Mass given by Wolsey, Richard Pace read a sermon and Wolsey gave everyone an indulgence forgiving everyone's sins. But the congregation was distracted from this solemn event by an amazing blazing dragon shooting across through the sky. Someone had accidentally lit the firework display intended as a spectacular finale, too early.

    A highlight of the festival had been the wrestling match between Henry and François. It had been Henry's idea. They were close in age, Henry was a little older, but a little bigger, and had been working out with his weights. He expected to win easily. François won. By a winning Breton throw called the "flying mare". This left Henry rather grumpy.

    The French left. The English King and Queen and their entourage remained in Calais. On Tuesday 10th July Henry VIII, Wolsey, the Duke of Buckingham, the Duke of Suffolk, and about 300 others left Calais for Gravelines (now more famous for its nuclear power station), across the border in territory ruled by the Emperor Charles V, who met them halfway. They all rode into Gravelines where the Regent Margaret was waiting to greet them. Two days later, it was the turn of Henry and Katherine to welcome the young Emperor Charles V, and the Regent in Calais, which had been decorated and the tents put up again for additional accomodation.

    Charles V was Queen Katherine's nephew and the Regent was her sister-in-law as she had been married to her brother. But despite all the wonderful banquets and entertainments, things did not go as well as the meeting with the King of France. The weather had become wet and stormy, and some of the recycled pavilions blew down. And also Henry VIII refused the demands of the Emperor and Regent to ditch the Treaty of London and the planned marriage of his daughter to the Dauphin. He changed his mind later, and Princess Mary was betrothed to Charles V as her mother had wanted.

    Henry VIII gets rid of Buckingham

    After the stormy end to the expensive diplomatic revels and a rough crossing home, Henry VIII was not in a good mood. And even more irritated by his second cousin Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. He was extemely rich, well connected and powerful. His mother was the sister of Henry VIII's grandmother, Elizabeth Woodville (wife of King Edward IV). And he was directly descended from one of King Edward III's sons, with a much better claim to the throne by inheritance than Henry VIII's father Henry VII, who had become King of England only by winning his war against Richard III. Henry VIII did not only have his father's dodgy claim to the throne by conquest, he also had a more direct inheritance, through his mother Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV. But there were still so many royal claimants and hostile foreign powers as well as people in England, willing to support them, that it was enough to make Henry VIII feel paranoid.

    Buckingham's main home was Thornbury Castle, but he never had a chance to complete his plans for building the new modern extensions. When he was on his way to the Field of Cloth of Gold, he had stopped off at his property at Tonbridge. He had to sack a steward there called Charles Kynvett. Who was also his cousin. Kynvett, narked at losing his job, consulted a lawyer called Thomas Cromwell. Who also now worked for Wolsey. So Wolsey learned that Kynvett had stated that Buckingham had made treasonable remarks. And Buckingham was on the list Henry VIII had sent to Wolsey. The King already felt threatened by Buckingham, now Wolsey could give him more evidence.

    Buckingham was with the King in Calais, but as soon as they were back in England, he was arrested and in 1521, executed on Tower Hill. Henry VIII bagged all his possessions, and was to stay at Thornbury in 1533. Thornbury, (postcode BS35 1HH) is now a hotel.

    Buckingham's daughter Elizabeth Stafford was to become Henry Fitzroy's mother-in-law, when he married her daughter Mary Howard.

    Elizabeth Stafford had been married in 1513, to Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey (became Duke of Norfolk in 1524) as his 2nd wife, the first had been a princess, Anne, daughter of Edward IV and sister of Henry VIII's mother. But all their children had died young and Anne followed them.

    Elizabeth Stafford, then 15, was already betrothed to Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland, at the time Thomas Howard fancied her for his next wife, and she was not happy to be married off instead to a man who at 39 was 5 years older than her father, short and skinny, and had already worn out one wife. Worse, now her sister Catherine was to marry Ralph Neville.

    Although they never got on most of the time since Thomas Howard was both unfaithful and prone to domestic violence, they did have five children: Katherine, Charles, Thomas, Henry and Mary. Charles died young and Katherine died after giving birth to her first child. Henry Howard was to be one of Henry Fitzroy's closest companions, and Mary Howard was to become his wife.

    If she had been there Anne Boleyn would have had the opportunity to meet her family at Calais when Henry VIII and Queen Katherine followed their Field of Cloth of Gold meeting with the King and Queen of France by recycling the pavilions to entertain the Emperor Charles V and the Regent. Since the Boleyns were there too. It seems probable they would have taken their daughter home with them, since they had a marriage arranged for her. However Anne Boleyn was not on any guest list or retinue and is not mentioned as being there by anyone. She may have been in France at that time or more probably soon after, though not at the court of Queen Claude as many historians have assumed without finding any real evidence. When she left the Regent's court, Anne could have been staying with relatives at Briis-sous-Forges a castle (of which a tower remains) in Northern France. Since although not at the Field of Cloth of Gold events, she was certainly in France by 1522.

    A letter dated 9th January to Charles V (Cal.Span January 1522) says: "The French are continually plundering English ships as if there were a state of open war, they not only molest shipping, but we have heard that three days ago a party landed on English soil and carried off cattle and other spoil. Their ships are lying off the English coast, watching the harbours for departing vessels, and recently took an English merchantman of great value. Henry has ordered several armed ships to put to sea at once against them. Peace cannot last much longer." And in a letter dated 17th January 1522: they say:
    "The French ambassadors made several complaints about suspiciously unfriendly English acts. All the English students have recently withdrawn from Paris, which, they said, seemed to indicate an English intention to make war on France. Wolsey replied that the students, seeing the confusion in France, were merely consulting their own safety, and could have no idea of Henry's intentions. The ambassadors complained that Boleyn's daughter, who was in the service of the French queen, had been called home, and said this was not a sign of continued friendship. The cardinal (Wolsey was made a cardinal by Pope Leo X in 1515) said that he himself was responsible for her recall, because he intended, by her marriage, to pacify certain quarrels and litigation between Boleyn and other English nobles."

    This could not be referring to Mary Boleyn, as Mary was already married by the time of the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. It has to refer to Anne Boleyn. It was true about the arranged marriage, although it had been her sister, Mary Boleyn in service with the French Queen - Mary Tudor, not Claude who followed next. It is not from the original source but a 19th century edited summary, Anne might have still been with the Regent at that time. She is not actually on any lists of Queen Claude's ladies, and she was not listed as one of those at the Field of Cloth of Gold. Neither was she mentioned as accompanying the Regent, when if she was still in her service, one would expect she would have been given the chance to meet her relatives. But she was not there. Her sister, parents and aunt and uncle were there not Anne.

    Sylwia Zupanec gives an alternative in her book "The daring truth about Anne Boleyn". She also found no evidence that Anne Boleyn had been employed by Queen Claude. She was not on any list of the Queen Claude's attendants. What she did find was that Anne had returned home after spending few years with the Regent, and had then been involved with at least two of the men in her parents' household. She had been sent by her parents to stay out of the way (perhaps so as not to scupper their plans to marry her to James Butler) with relatives in Briis-sous-Forges in France.

    Anne may have been staying with the relatives at Briis-sous-Forges, while waiting for her passage home and arranged marriage to James Butler. At that time, the fortified house - of which just a tower remains, was owned by Philippe du Moulin, whose wife, Marie du Boulan was a distant relative of the Boleyns in England and Ireland. A place like this to stay would have been useful for Thomas Boleyn who had frequent trips to France, not always officially. It would have been convenient for stopping off on the way to Paris, or to one of the royal palaces wherever the French court was in residence. Some of the local stories claim Anne Boleyn lived there when a child. She appears have been staying there when older, though that does not rule out earlier trips. Certainly the house is associated with Anne.

    The Briis sous Forges website, has the connection with Anne Boleyn.

    That would account for Anne Boleyn not being mentioned either at the Field of Cloth of Gold, or at the following event when she might have been expected to be in attendance on the Regent, despite many members of her family being invited. It would account for an assumption she was at the French court, which was probably encouraged by her parents, who had no wish to damage the arranged marriage.

    Another explanation is that she returned home to Hever at 15, but having been discovered snogging with two members of staff (on separate occasions) was sent abroad to stay with the French relatives. This would at least partly, account for Anne's notoriety as "the goggled-eyed whore". A reputation which later needed whitewashing when her daughter Elizabeth became Queen of England, and Anne was regarded as causing the Protestant revolution in England. This led to myths from the Catholics who dredged up any abusive descriptions - some making her seem so ugly and badly behaved that it is hard to see how she attracted the King or any man in the first place. And from the Protestant side, that she remained pure and virginal until she had her secret wedding to Henry VIII. Myths not borne out by facts.

    In fact it was her sister Mary and their brother George who were really keen on the "new religion". Anne was certainly not a virgin, as by the time Henry VIII was interested in her, she had been married to Henry Percy, and had an affair which Henry VIII also knew about, with Thomas Wyatt. She would have been well educated not just in reading and writing in French but how to behave and make the best of herself and be an asset at official state ceremonies and entertainments, at the Regent's court. In 1527, Henry started looking for a woman who could bear children, especially sons, and perform as his queen, as Katherine had done, he was not particularly looking for an innocent young virgin.

    Anne had to return to England early in 1522. She was collected along with a number of English students. Probably not all actual students but it was a bland and useful label for them to escape, since Henry VIII was about to invade France. No doubt some of them, including perhaps Anne, had some useful information.

    Anne is first mentioned at the English Court as one of the women taking part in a masque on 1st March 1522. Her arranged marriage to her cousin, James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond was still not fixed. Anne's father kept negociations going, but Anne herself realised James was not interested in her, and in fact in a few years time he was to marry Joan Fitzgerald. James Butler was in the household of Cardinal Wolsey. So not that far away if he had been interested in Anne.

    Anne appears to have decided to see to her own future. And met and fell in love with someone else, about her age, in the household of Cardinal Wolsey: Henry Percy, son and heir to the Earl of Northumberland. He had just been made a member of the Council of the North. In 1523 they were married by a priest in a chapel, a quiet but legal wedding. When they found out, the parents on both sides were furious and asked both Wolsey and the King to break up the pair. Henry Percy was married off by his parents to Mary Talbot, who had no desire to marry him, and left soon after she miscarried their child. Having done her bit to satisfy the parents, she was now trying to get her marriage annulled on the valid grounds that Henry Percy was already married. Both Henry Percy and Anne Boleyn were left bitter and still in love though forcibly separated. Anne was later to have an affair with Thomas Wyatt. Wyatt lived near Hever and would visit her when her parents were away, but was not the only one. Anne also had to plead with Wolsey to allow her appointment back at court as a Maid of Honour. Her efforts eventually paid off.


    Elizabeth Blount given a husband

    Henry has special plans for his only son, but they did not include his son's mother.

    It is not clear if Elizabeth Blount was still living in Jericho Priory, or had been moved by Wolsey to Durham Place with her son and her daughter, when, in 1522 or 1523, Cardinal Wolsey arranged her marriage to Gilbert Tailboys, who was one of the young men placed with him.

    It is very likely Elizabeth was moved to Durham Place in 1523, which was when Wolsey become Prince-Bishop of Durham, and therefore had the use of the palace in London that went with the job. Since also at that time Wolsey was closing Blackmore Priory as one of the small church properties he was planning to sell to raise the money to fund the building of two new university colleges and endow his old school in Ipswich. At Durham Place Elizabeth would have the opportunity to get to know the husband Wolsey had planned for her, Gilbert Tailboys, since he had been one of Wolsey's wards and was still part of his household.


    The background of Elizabeth's husband

    Socially, Elizabeth Blount and Gilbert Tailboys were equally matched. The main difference being that their origins and families came from opposite sides of England. This means little now but was almost like different countries then.

    Many of Elizabeth's ancestors were from the mountains of Wales and the hills of the West of England. Where Welsh - a Celtic language and the original British language, spoken in Britain when it was part of the Roman Empire, was still the main language in the 16th century. And survives today in Wales with dual road signs etc. Elizabeth's most famous ancestor was Owen Glendower, in Welsh, Owain Glyndwr, the late 14th century, early 15th century, Welsh nationalist leader and freedom fighter. Until she was employed at the royal court, Elizabeth's home, whether at Knightly, Kinlet or Bewdley, was in the hills of the west country.

    And now Elizabeth was to be Lady Tailboys and her home would be on the other side of England to her former home in the hills of the west of Britain, where her mother and other family lived. She now had to find out as much as possible about her new home, relatives and neighbours in the flat fens running into (and sometimes flooded under) the North Sea. A totally different landscape, different people with different customs, and a different language. It was English, but dialects in the Fens at that time, were closer to the original Anglo-Saxon.

    About Gilbert Tailboys family and ancestors.
    South Kyme, the history of a Fenland Village, by Margaret Newton, has a lot of information on the history of South Kyme.

    The Tailboys (Talbois, Tailboys, Talbois, Talboys etc.) family, originally of Durham and Northumberland, descended from Ivo de Taillebois, who was one of those Normans invading England in 1066. He has an entry in the Domesday book

    Tallboys, Ivo - Also called 'cut-bush'. Married Lucy. In charge of siege of Hereward the Wake at Ely, 1069. Steward to William II. Holdings in Lincs. and Norfolk.

    The family had acquired its Lincolnshire estates, together with the Northumberland lordship of Redesdale and a claim to the barony of Kyme and the earldom of Angus, in the 14th century, through the marriage of the heiress, Lucy de Kyme, to Robert de Umfraville, Earl of Angus.

    Their son, Gilbert de Umfraville, Earl of Angus, rebuilt the house (post code LN4 4AP) at South Kyme into an impressive stone castle, in the latest modern style. It was surrounded by a moat, fed by the Kyme Eau, a stream off the River Slea, which was the main waterway and transport system from Sleaford to Boston - and the North sea. Four fortified towers dominated the flat fen skyline manned by guards to look out over the landscape in all directions. The winding stairs led to rooms on each floor each with fireplaces with stone carved mantelpieces and painted and decorated walls and ceilings. They were connected to the main buildings dominated by the great hall, also with painted ceiling and carved decorations and fireplaces. A trace of the original ceiling painting and carving can be seen in the last surviving tower.

    picture by Heather Hobden picture by Heather Hobden

    Pictures show the remains of the house at South Kyme, and the Priory with aerial view to show layout and traces of the buildings.

    Having improved the channel of the river allowing the easy passage of boats carrying cargo to Boston and overseas, and the other way inland, Gilbert de Umfraville acquired from King Edward III a promise "to grant until him and his heirs forever, certain customs of the merchandise passing in ships through the same". He was also to receive a Royal Charter allowing him to collect the dues he asked for from each item of cargo from each ship. And was also to obtain the right to hold an annual fair in South Kyme from 1344. Each trader had to pay a fee to Gilbert de Umfraville. A modern version of this fair is still held each year at South Kyme. Like other land-owners at that time following the devastation of the "Black Death" and consequent labour shortage, Gilbert de Umfraville found the serfs were now demanding their rights and wages for their work. He was also challenged about not keeping the Kyme Eau clear enough for navigation although he took the tolls from the shipping. South Kyme was left to his niece Eleanor who had married Henry Tailboys.

    On the aerial view can be seen the extent of the original moat and its connection with the river. Also traces of the extent of the buildings and those of the Priory. The copy of part of a 16th century map shows this part of Lincolnshire. South Kyme was on the fens and you can see the river running past the priory and the castle, down to the port of Boston and the sea, and north, past Tattershall and on up to Lincoln.

    About 1499, Gilbert Tailboys' father, Sir George Tailboys, who had been Sheriff of both Lincolnshire and Northumberland, contracted "the land evil", which affected his mind, at Berwick while Lieutenant of the East and Middle Marches (border country). Since mosquito carrying diseases were still endemic in England then, he might have had encephalitis either from malaria or something like West Nile Virus or dengue. He was badly enough deranged mentally, to be legally classified as "a lunatic", however, he appeared to recover from his illness. He was created a Knight of the Body in December 1509, when he was licensed to appoint justices in Redesdale, and he fought in the French campaign of 1513. So if Henry VIII really was getting passionate to a Lady Tailboys then, as mentioned, it would have been with Elizabeth Blount's future mother-in-law!

    A few years later, George Tailboys' condition had deteriorated, and he became increasingly uncontrollable. He had an obsession with massive entertainments with wild hunting parties and gambling and became famous locally as "the mad Lord Kyme".

    His wife, Elizabeth, alarmed that he was squandering all the family wealth, leaving nothing for her and her children, had him certified again as a lunatic. In March 1517, his property was placed under the custodianship of Cardinal Wolsey, (who was known to the Tailboys as he was Bishop of Lincoln), with Lady Tailboys in control. The custody of his person and lands was entrusted to Wolsey, and to eight of George Tailboys' Lincolnshire relatives and neighbours, including the Dymokes, several of whom had been named executors in his will of five years before. These guardians appear to have been chosen in accordance with an agreement made with the Crown at the time of George Tailboys' first illness. Wolsey also took George Tailboys' eldest son Gilbert who was then about 17, into his service.

    Gilbert's mother, Lady Elizabeth Tailboys was left to run the estates, and was proud of her successful cattle herds, and fussy about their pastures.


    Elizabeth is married

    It might seem odd that it was not until at least 1522, that Cardinal Wolsey arranged a marriage for Elizabeth with one of his wards, and a generous financial settlement for life, for Elizabeth Blount, as this was 3 years after she had given birth to the King's son. And it was Wolsey, not the King who had arranged it.

    This is probably because there was some concern by those in power, especially those of Henry VIII's cronies like William Crompton who had long-standing arguments over land boundaries with Elizabeth's father, John Blount, that Henry VIII might again consider divorcing his wife, this time to leave him free to marry the mother of his son. Which would then make John Blount, as grandfather to the King's son, one of the most powerful men at court.

    If Elizabeth was already married, this could not happen. Henry VIII was persuaded (very likely by Crompton) to find a husband for Elizabeth, which was yet another task he passed on to Wolsey.

    Gilbert Tailboys and his new wife Elizabeth were granted by royal warrant the manor and town of Rokeby in Warwickshire. Now Rugby, it had been part of the possessions of the Duke of Buckingham taken by Henry VIII when he had Buckingham executed in 1521.

    In the following year an Act of Parliament (14 Hen8 ch.34, 1523) set forth that: "Gilbert, son and heir apparent of Sir George Tailboys, Knight, had married and taken to his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Blount, Esquyer, by whch marriage, as well the said Sir George Tailboys, Knight, as the said Gilbert Tailboys, have recyved not alonely great summes of money, but also many benyfittes to their right much comforte."

    The same Act of Parliament also assured to the said Elizabeth a life interest in her new father-in-law's property in the city of Lincoln, as well as the manors of Skellingthorpe (south-west of Lincoln), Friskney, Sotby, and Faldingworth, Bamburgh or Baumber in Lincolnshire, Newton Kyme in Yorkshire - on a Roman road which connected to Lincoln with remains of Roman fort and Kyme Castle. "Kesylle" - might be Hessle which was a landing point for the ferry boats crossing the Humber and is now by the Humber Bridge, and "Yeirlton" (even more baffling) which might be Ilton, or Hilton in North Yorkshire.

    Among other offices Gilbert was to receive was: 1521, commissioner of sewers for Lincolnshire (so plans to marry him to Elizabeth may have started then or perhaps he was just getting rewarded for his services to Wolsey).

    1522, JP for Lindsey, then JP for Holland and Kesteven.

    1523, subsidy (tax collection) for Lindsey.

    and in 1524, Gilbert was knighted; a promotion definitely associated with his marriage to Elizabeth Blount mother of the King's son.

    1525, he was made bailiff and keeper of the castle, Tattershall (this was close to his own residence at South Kyme, and had been given to his step-son Henry Fitzroy).

    1526, from January to November Gilbert was made Sheriff of Lincolnshire, which meant he and his wife and family (apart from his step-son Henry Fitzroy who was in his own residences in Yorkshire), had to live back home in Lincolnshire.

    This may have been intended to separate Henry Fitzroy from his mother, so her family would not have more influence and power at court. At the same time Princess Mary had also been given her own separate council and household and moved away from her mother Queen Katherine, to be Princess of Wales.

    In 1527 everything changed:

    In 1527, Gilbert Tailboys was made a "Gentleman of the Chamber".

    Which means that he and his wife were back at the King's court, before the new Parliament.

    1527 was the year Henry VIII finally decided to divorce his wife and remarry so he no longer felt the need to keep the mother of his son out of the way.

    And in 1529, Gilbert, became Baron Tailboys, and was admitted to the House of Lords on the 1st December 1529. Picture left shows the Tailboys shield design.

    His step-son was back at court as "the King's son", the Council of the North was changed. And his household arrangements.

    Gilbert's mother's delight at her son's marriage had been subdued at first. In fact she was angry about it, and not only because her new daughter-in-law was unknown to her and was the King's discarded mistress. The marriage settlement, which not only included her son's inheritance but additional property and income, (in Lincoln, Skellingthorpe, Bamburgh, Friskney, Sotby, Faldingworth etc.) was settled to remain with her new daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, in the event of his dying before her, and therefore, would never benefit her other children.

    She wrote several letters to Cardinal Wolsey about this before and after her fears were realised when her son died.

    Gilbert, Baron Tailboys died on the 30th April 1530. He would have been only about 33 years old. (Possibly a victim of the Sweat which was epidemic then). Elizabeth was now a wealthy widow and dowager Baroness with access to the court, just at the time the King was still trying to divorce his wife. So there were expectations he would marry the mother of his son. But by then, another woman had plans to become Queen - Anne Boleyn. She was soon plotting to get Elizabeth out of her way.

    back to 1523

    The 1523 Parliament, it was a critical time for Henry VIII

    Picture is from a copy of one showing Henry VIII opening the 1523 Parliament- Thomas Wolsey - with big red hat - and the other clerics on one side, some of the members of the House of Commons, with the Speaker, Thomas More on the other side, with the Lords in front, the lawyers and the secretaries writing up the events. One of the lawyers and a member of parliament there was Thomas Cromwell.

    The Parliament of 1523, was something of a milestone in English politics.

    The main reason Henry VIII had called the Parliament in 1523, was not just to pay off the mother of his son, it was because he needed more money to continue to fight his war in France which he began in 1522. So he expected Parliament to award him more money which of course had to come from taxing everyone else. But this time he did not get what he wanted. The Commons, headed by their Speaker, Sir Thomas More, only allowed a small part of the money the King demanded to continue his war in France. Where he had wasted a large part of the previously awarded money on his own comforts while hundreds of his men had died of hunger and cold.

    The King was still awarded a considerable amount to fund his next pointless invasion of France. £800,000. Not enough for him. He was furious. Especially with Thomas More. But to get this into into context: Elizabeth Blount had been on £5 a year as a maid of honour to the Queen, and her father was on £116. 14s. 3d. as a King's Spear. Out of which he had to pay at least three other men and supply all their kit as well as his own. As well as look after his large family. It was still a lot of money going from others' pockets to the King's Treasury.

    Thomas Cromwell was one of the MPs in the Commons who opposed this grant to the King. He wrote to a close friend, John Creke, (see notes) a merchant tailor living in Bilbao: "I amongist other have indured a Parlyament which contenewid by the space of xvij hole wekes, wher we communyd of warre, pease, stryffe, contencyon, debatt, murmure, grudge, riches, poverte, penwrye, trowth, falshode, justyce, equyte, discayte, oppressyon, magnanymyte, actyvyte, force, attempraunce, treason, murder, felonye, consyle, and also how a commune welth myght be edeffyed and contenewed within our realme. Howbeyt in conclusion we have done as our predecessors have bene wont to doo, that ys to say as well as we myght, and lefte wher we began."

    Not much change then.

    See notes on more about John Creke, Thomas Cromwell and their friend Nicolas Udall who was with them in Bilbao in 1522. Bilbao was then a relatively new town, which had developed as a centre for the expanding wool trade - the local wool came from the special long-stapled woolly sheep kept in the mountains around Bilbao. Cromwell, amongst his other enterprises, was a dealer in wool - then an expanding and flourishing trade.

    A few years later, Henry VIII was to take revenge on Thomas Wolsey (who died on the way to his trial), Thomas More, (who was executed later), and Thomas Cromwell (who was executed when the King did not get on with his 4th wife).


    10th March, 1524, Henry VIII finds jousting can be dangerous.

    The medieval sport of jousting, was already obsolete as battle training. By now, to win wars you needed fast loading guns, explosives etc. And a good back-up system to feed and accomodate the soldiers and treat the injured. Wars were now to be won by skilled engineers, and well trained professional soldiers, not a few squabbling toffs backed by a collection of poorly equipped serfs. But it was hard to change tradition. There were still arguments well into the 16th century that guns could never replace bows and arrows. (eg "Bow versus Gun" by Sir John Smythe). And jousting was still popular:
    "Where else, in all history, can you see the richest, most powerful and most priviledged members of society risk injury and death for the sake of your entertainment?". Where else in all history can you find rich and powerful men paying for the priviledge of breaking their necks and goring each other in public?"
    (from "the Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England" by Ian Mortimer)

    The lances used for jousting were specially made from wood which had to splinter on impact.

    Henry VIII was hurt in a jousting accident, when he was testing his new armour. He had not fastened the front of his new helmet correctly when Charles Brandon charged at him. Henry was hit in the front of his helmet, and his helmet was full of splinters from the lance. He was lucky to avoid any permanent injury. (Francis Bryan was to lose an eye in a similar accident.)

    According to the book mentioned above: "If your opponent made contact with your helmet, the blow was something like being knocked about the head with a hammer weighing half a ton, wielded at a speed of 40 miles an hour."

    For a moment it was thought the King could have been killed.

    Fortunately Henry did not seem to have been badly hurt at the time, but for the rest of his life he was plagued by migraine headaches.

    This accident, made him start to realise that he was no longer as young and fit as he had been (comes to us all), and to plan more for the future.

    In 1524 Elizabeth gave birth to a son. And Gilbert Tailboys was made a Knight. The new baby was called George (after Gilbert's mad father). They had a second son - called Robert, a year or two later. The three children, Elizabeth, George and Robert were all brought up as Gilbert Tailboys' children. But Henry VIII now had other plans for their older brother Henry. His only acknowledged son.


    Henry Fitzroy separated from his mother

    In 1525, Wolsey sent for the, now, Sir Gilbert Tailboys, and told him he "ought to go home and see order kept, and that he should have the custody of his father and his lands."

    Elizabeth had to leave her eldest son Henry Fitzroy at Durham Place. There was no place for his son's mother in the King's plans for his son.

    It was a difficult time for Elizabeth.

    Gilbert, his wife, and her younger children, now moved up to South Kyme.

    South Kyme

    South Kyme (as can be seen in the copy of part of a 16th century map) is between Sleaford and Boston, in South Lincolnshire, on the edge of the fens which at the time that Elizabeth moved there, were still mostly marsh. They had not been drained, since the Roman drainage schemes. (It was in the 17th century that a full drainage scheme was undertaken by Dutch engineers for the fens.) Although it seemed remote, the fens were a rich resource, not only for the salt works (which had attracted the Romans) but also with duck decoys, fish and eels, and summer grazing providing year round food sources. And easily accessible by boat. Which was useful since the roads had not been improved since the Romans left. From South Kyme they could easily travel down the Slea to Boston and from Boston, by sea to London or anywhere else in the world.

    When Elizabeth first saw the castle of South Kyme, her new home, she saw an impressive large building of creamy white Ancaster limestone, but one that had seen better days.

    It had been impressive enough when finished to inspire a neighbour Lord Ralph Cromwell (Treasurer to Henry VI) to rebuild his castle at Tattershall to rival and eclipse it. Tattershall castle, (now partly restored and open to the public), was rebuilt in bricks made on site from the local clay, by a Flemish builder called Baldwin. Part of the new Tattershall castle was a new tower much bigger and taller than any of the others, six floors high compared to South Kyme's four, which is a landmark seen for miles, including from South Kyme.

    South Kyme's white Ancaster limestone castle walls surrounded a great hall with painted decoration on the walls and ceiling, stained glass windows and impressive decorated fireplaces, joined to four (some think only two) tall, four-storey, fortified towers, with spiral staircases, from which lookouts could see over the battlements, for miles. One of the towers, called the "Observatory", had a platform, where you could observe the sky at night, watch entertainments like bear baiting and jousting taking place below, or, as in 1536, watch out for invading armies on their way. The last surviving tower was used that way in World War II by the local Home Guard. It is possible that all four (or just two) towers were topped that way. With four towers - connected on the lower floors to the main building, it would have been possible to see from the top in all directions for many miles over such a flat country.

    Doors from the towers led into the great hall between them. This had large windows of stained glass with the different shields (about 18) of the family and their ancestors. The fireplace had a massive carved stone mantelpiece. This was sold when South Kyme was partly demolished in the 18th century, (but something that would have been similar can be seen at Tattershall). The doorway faced east and led into a courtyard around which were the separate buildings for the kitchen, the bake-house, the brew-house, and the other office buildings. Also stables, dovecote and other outbuildings, and additional staff accomodation. Kitchens were nearly always separate from the house then, because of the fire risk. The kitchens became very hot as a number of fires for the ovens were going at once when cooking for the main meals of the day. (The kitchens at Gainsborough Hall also in Lincolnshire, have been restored giving a good idea of what the 16th century kitchen of a big house would have been like).

    The castle and its outside buildings, kitchens and offices, stables, workshops, and housing for servants, was surrounded by a moat with a draw bridge (you can see from the view from above, how it extended further than what can be seen today). And it was a double moat too, the outside one bringing the barges from the River Slea, through a passage with gate and a building where fees were collected for further passage, through the village and onwards to Boston and the North Sea. The property also came with a deer park, a 15th and 16th century status symbol, walled in with banks and ditches, designed so deer could get in, but could not escape. Elizabeth was to find that useful when she entertained visitors.

    The Augustinian Priory is close to the Castle. This, well endowed by the Tailboys family and their predecessors, was also an extensive range of stone buildings. The Prior at the time Elizabeth lived there was Ralph Fairfax. He had been elected in 1511, and was destined to be the last Prior. There were nine canons still living there at the time of the Dissolution. Seven elderly and two younger men. The Priory and its lands were then sold. Part of the original Priory church was kept to serve the village as the parish church. This was originally very much larger, all that was left was part of the nave and south aisle. The church was largely rebuilt in 1805.

    The house was demolished in 1725. Pieces were sold off and some reclaimed to build new buildings like the farmhouse which now stands to the east of the property. All that is still standing of the original house is one of the towers - and it can be seen that the building extended from that on two of the sides. Although partly restored, only the lower floors are accessible to the public. This is the tower that was used as a look out in World War II, and also as a store for the farm. It is now open at times to the public. (as in picture above). It can now be visited when the village has its May festival there. Traces of wall and ceiling decoration give just a hint of what the building once looked like.

    The moat, now mostly silted up and partly filled in, was fed by the Kyme Eau, tributary of the River Slea. The Slea gave direct access between Sleaford and Boston, and from Boston to London, or anywhere else in the world accessible by shipping. (Pilgrim fathers were to leave for America from Boston hence the other Boston).

    Elizabeth's father knighted

    John Blount, Elizabeth's father, and Henry Fitzroy's grandfather was knighted, he was now Sir John Blount. His father Sir Thomas Blount of Kinlet died in 1524, but his will, which he made in 1523, had passed over his eldest son John, despite that having been part of the conditions of his marriage settlement to his wife Katherine, in 1491.

    One of those he had appointed to carry out the terms of his will was Sir William Compton, very close friend of Henry VIII (and called his pimp as he used to help Henry out by accomodating his mistresses) who had already gained vast wealth and property, had been appointed Sheriff of Worcestershire for life, and had an issue with John Blount who hated him. (Could Compton had something to do with the way his daughter had been treated either before or after she became pregnant by the King?). Compton was still good friends with John's younger brother Edward.

    William Compton took over Thomas Blount's post of Keeper of the Royal Parks at Bewdley and Earnewood, which had originally been guaranteed by royal warrant to his eldest son, John Blount, to have after his father died.

    John Blount, was supported by Wolsey's secretary Thomas Cromwell. And with Cromwell's assistance (helped by some payments or bribes) John Blount did get appointed as Parker of Cleobury Mortimer, (ref: Childe-Pemberton, Elizabeth Blount and Henry VIII, p. 193) another of the royal lands near Kinlet. The feud was carried on with fighting between their retainers - and between John and his younger brother Edward on Compton's side.

    The situation was resolved in the summer of 1528, when John Blount's enemy William Compton suddenly died of "the Sweat". John Blount died in February 1530, and Katherine, Elizabeth's mother, took over Kinlet and all the hassles involved in dealing with the property, land and neighbours. In this she was greatly helped by Thomas Cromwell, and she was one those who helped Cromwell in reporting all the local politics in her area.

    back to 1525

    Elizabeth now Lady Tailboys, moves to South Kyme

    Elizabeth, now Lady Tailboys, since her husband was knighted, now had to move to Lincolnshire, to live at South Kyme, Gilbert's family home. So while her son was now to be recognised as the King's son, almost equal in status to the King's legitimate daughter Princess Mary, his mother and step-father were kept away and were intended to have no further part to play in his upbringing. (Events were to change this later). In 1526 Sir Gilbert Tailboys was appointed Sheriff of Lincolnshire, for that year - which meant he had to reside in the county. This might have been to keep Elizabeth away from the court for at least the next year, since Queen Katherine did not want anything to do with her. She was very angry that Elizabeth's son had been raised into a position which, because the King recognised him as his son, was now threatening her own daughter's position as heir, even though she had been sent to Wales at the same time her half-brother was sent north to Yorkshire.

    Elizabeth's family home, her mother and the rest of her own family were on the other side of England. Elizabeth had now to establish herself as a woman of some power and authority in a place completely different with its flat marshes to what she was used to, and with people completely strange and unknown to her.

    And except for the landowning upper class, and senior clergy, the locals spoke a dialect very different to what Elizabeth had been used to hearing in her home in the west of England, and also different to the way people spoke in the Royal Palaces, around London. (Until recently the court language had not even been English, but French).

    In fact some local people out on the fens, did speak another ancient local language which had survived up to then. It would have been almost like arriving in a foreign country for Elizabeth when she first arrived in south Lincolnshire, to move into her new and totally strange home. But she seems to already have found out as much as possible and had plans.

    Gilbert's mother was already furious, that her daughter-in-law now had a life interest in the estates that had been handed over to her and Gilbert, so that she could keep everything when Gilbert died, leaving his younger brothers and sisters without anything. Now, in addition, Elizabeth was trying to gain control of the remainder of the Tailboys estates that had been left to her mother-in-law, claiming that she had mismanaged them.

    One of Elizabeth's first actions after she moved in to South Kyme, was to move her mother-in-law out. To the smaller, less imposing, but still substantial and more uptodate, red-brick manor house of Goltho, (postcode: LN8 5NF) a good distance away from South Kyme. There is a video taken from the air showing what is left. The red brick house has gone. The chapel survived as a church, but was burnt down in 2013. Some more details.

    Elizabeth's mother-in-law complained bitterly to Wolsey, that she been forced out of the home and estates, farms and cattle herds, that she had managed herself for years.

    And in addition, her son, despite all his newly acquired wealth, still had the gall to insist that "since his mother was the cause of his going to Court, she must pay for his Costs".

    Certainly she did have some cause for concern and complaint.

    Having cleared the old house of her mother-in-law, Elizabeth got in builders and decorators to turn the castle into a modern residence, and a suitable setting to accomodate huge numbers of guests and visitors to hunting parties in the restored deer park. They could arrive by road via Sleaford from the south or Lincoln from the north, or by sea from London, to Boston, then by boat up the river Slea, with direct access to the house.

    Elizabeth appears to have been a determined young woman who knew what she wanted and found ways to getting it. But in just a few years time she was to clash against a formidable, and to become more famous, opponent.

    Why Henry VIII was so worried about his succession and needed a son for his legitimate heir

    Henry VIII's dagger, which is stored in the Leeds Armouries has a Tudor rose and Katherine's pomegranate emblem engraved on the blade.

    The pair of miniatures show Henry VIII and Queen Katherine in about 1526, as Henry is 35. Katherine would be about 40 or 41. Time is catching up on them both. Henry is distinctly fatter than he used to be, his balding scalp is hidden under his hat, and it can be seen why he later wore a beard - to hide his double chin. He was still clean shaven, as when he tried to grow a beard earlier, Katherine complained. And he was still listening to her then, one copy of his portrait has a decorated frame with embroidered H.K.s - their joint initials as he used to have decorating his armour.

    Queen Katherine had not had another pregnancy, since the baby she lost soon after hearing that Elizabeth Blount was expecting her husband's child. Although her daughter would have been full-term or nearly so by then, she did not live for more than a few days. Katherine had a number of health problems since then, and in 1525, her physicians reported to her husband, that it was unlikely that she could safely bear more children.

    Henry VIII's only legitimate child was his daughter, Princess Mary, and his only acknowledged son was the illegitimate Henry Fitzroy.

    He was also looking after his sister Margaret's daughter Margaret Douglas, and his sister Margaret's son James V of Scotland was in the line up to inherit the throne of England directly after Henry's offspring. And Margaret was next after him.

    There was nothing in English law to prevent Henry VIII's only legitimate heir, his daughter, Princess Mary, succeeding her father and reigning as Queen of England. (As she was eventually to do after her half-brother Edward died.) However at this time, there was not much of a precedent for a reigning Queen of England. The only one known in English history had been the Empress Matilda, who had been usurped by her cousin Stephen - although her son eventually succeeded Stephen as King.

    The only recent example of a woman successor to the throne was Henry VIII's own mother, Elizabeth of York. Henry VII had married Elizabeth of York to re-enforce his claim to the throne and the legitimacy of his own eldest son to succeed him. But Elizabeth had no say in the choice of husband and no ruling powers, even in her family. She never had the chance to reign in her own right. It never clear (or at least made public) that her brothers, had died or been murdered in the Tower, which could have made her the heir to the throne (which is why Henry VII married her). There was also a Plantagenet cousin, Edward, Earl of Warwick, son of the Duke of Clarence, who had been nominated by Richard III as his heir, when his own son died, and had a better hereditary claim to the throne. Which is why he was imprisoned in the Tower by Henry VII. Here he stayed, until secretly executed on Henry VII's orders.

    Without legitimate sons of his own Henry VIII felt vulnerable. His father, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, had won the crown of England by defeating the existing and legitimate, King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and that was only because Richard III had been killed during the battle. The Tudors had no other real claim to the throne. (see notes) And as fast as claimants were murdered or executed, there were always others who could put in a claim to the throne as good as or better than Henry's father had.

    That was because they were all descended from King Edward III. This king had a huge number of children, both by his wife and on the side. And most of them in turn had families. John of Gaunt, 3rd son of Edward III, had three families. This as well as the tendency to arrange marriages between cousins and other suitable candidates from the same layer of society, meant that by the 16th century, a large number of people - just about the whole of the upper classes it is calculated, could claim descent from Edward III and a claim to the throne. So they were nearly all related to each other.

    And like most families they fought amongst themselves. Apart from the battles - called later "the Wars of the Roses" after the emblems of white roses (York) or red roses (Lancaster - and invented later apparently the idea of Margaret Beaufort) - these internecine struggles had little impact on the general population who were managing to remake the economy and change the political structure of the country, after the ravages of the Plague which continued to arrive in Europe in new epidemics. (Last major outbreak in Europe was in 1665).

    Improved communications from the Far East, had been made possible by the warmer, wetter climate. In central Asia the horses could grow fat and strong on grass, the nomadic tribes grew richer and more powerful, and combined to form a vast conquering Empire under Genghis Khan which stretched from the Pacific to the Adriatic. They built tree-lined roads with a caravanserai each day's journey apart across Asia into Europe, and woke Western Europe to the new trading possibilities abroad. While the aristocracy fought each other, a new wealthy middle class of merchants, now held the real power in European countries. They provided the desirable silks and swords etc. from the East, and loaned the money to buy them.

    Along these trade routes came silk, gunpowder (and how to make it and the guns using it), scientific instruments, and even more important - paper and printed books - and knowledge of how to make them in Europe. Printing opened up a whole new world, where before books were costly and rare, now the written word was widely available, and there was an information explosion. Pamphlets and posters were pinned up to church doorways and other central places and read out to those who couldn't read. But now there was stuff to read and in their own language, not just in Latin, more people were learning how to read and write. Local schools were established. And old ideas and assumptions challenged.

    New ideas, but also new diseases. The plague also travelled the trade routes from the fleas on the little furry suslik in south Siberia, to take up residence in rat fleas and knock out an estimated third of Europe's population in the mid 1400's. In England this left ploughed land untouched with grass growing over revealing the abandoned strips which can still be seen today as a stripey pattern across the fields, and many deserted villages. The abandoned farm land was ideal for sheep. The bales of raw wool were shipped from England across to the Northern Europe, to be sold for processing. The newly expanded educated and wealthy middle class, re-organised the towns, and confronted the traditional ruling elite impoverished by fighting futile battles against each other.

    Henry VIII's grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, was firmly from the traditional ruling elite. But not actually that firmly. She was descended from John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, third eldest son of Edward III. But not from John of Gaunt's first wife, Blanche, nor his second wife, Constancia (Katherine of Aragon was descended from Constancia), but from his mistress Katherine Swynford - who did eventually become John of Gaunt's third wife, but only after all their children were grown up. Including the ones born after the death of Katherine's nominal husband Hugh Swynford, who were given the surname Beaufort.

    Margaret Beaufort, born 31st May, 1443, was a great-grand-daughter of Katherine Swynford. She was first married in 1450 when she was seven years old. Three years later this marriage was dissolved, and she was married on 1st November 1455 to Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, a bastard half-brother of King Henry VI, whose father, Owen Tudor, was Welsh. Owen Tudor's father had been a supporter of Owen Glendower's uprising against England in 1400. (Elizabeth Blount was a descendant of Owen Glendower). Owen Tudor had been at the English court since he was a boy and had attracted the Queen, Catherine de Valois, widow of Henry V and mother of Henry VI. Despite opposition, Catherine de Valois had fallen in love with Owen Tudor and they had five children. They had not been allowed to marry and were later forced to separate. So Edmund Tudor the eldest son, husband of Margaret Beaufort, and father of their son Henry was illegitimate. No direct claim to the throne there anyway.

    Soon after his wedding to Margaret Beaufort, Edmund Tudor went off to war (on Lancastrian side), leaving his 12 year old wife pregnant. Was taken prisoner by the Yorkist side; and died the following November, two months before his son Henry was born which was on 28th January 1457. Edmund Tudor's brother Jasper was to be the main guardian of her son who rarely lived with his mother. Margaret was to marry again twice more, but had no more children. In January 1462, she married Henry Stafford. He died in 1471, and in June 1472 Margaret married Thomas Stanley, Lord High Constable and King of Man. (He never went to the Isle of Man, but had to pay two falcons for the title at each coronation).

    It was Stanley's second marriage. And a politically charged one. The death of Henry VI's son in 1471, had left Margaret's son Henry Tudor, potentially heir to the Lancastrian claim to the throne, a claim, though weak, (as the son of an illegitimate half-brother of Henry VI), Margaret was determined should be pursued. Her son stayed out of range of Richard III in Brittany (where they spoke a similar language to Welsh), collecting an army of mercenaries, to invade at the right time.

    There is no real evidence that Richard III had murdered his nephews, although he was responsible for having their older half-brother, Sir Richard Grey executed without trial.

    It was Stanley's wife, Henry Tudor's mother Margaret, who is one of the suspects. She had access to the Tower at the right time, as her husband had been made Constable of England by Richard III at the end of 1483, successor in that position to the Duke of Buckingham. The Constable was responsible for anyone entering or leaving the Tower. This makes Margaret or her husband on her behalf, a suspect for arranging the murder of the two princes Edward and Richard as rivals for the throne with a better claim than her own son Henry Tudor.

    Edward V was being visited frequently by the doctor as he had a diseased jaw. It would have made it difficult for him to eat, and it was likely to have been fatal, whether or not he had been murdered.

    It is possible that the younger boy Richard, was helped to escape, sponsored by his aunt (sister to Edward IV) and turned up years later as a threat to Henry VII who tried to get him identified as a pretender called Perkin Warbeck. Or as Henry VII hoped, that Perkin Warbeck was pretending to be Richard....

    Edward and Richard's cousin, Edward, Earl of Warwick, was also imprisoned in the Tower by Henry Tudor, and executed secretly some years later after trying to escape along with Richard/Perkin Warbeck who was hanged. Edward, Earl of Warwick was the son of Richard III's brother, the Duke of Clarence who was executed by drowning in a butt of malmsey wine by the orders of their brother King Edward IV who himself was of doubtful legitimacy. More on this.

    There was some dispute about whether Edward IV's children by Elizabeth Woodville were actually legitimate heirs to the throne. And not only because of the doubts of Edward IV's legitimacy. Since Henry VII married one of her daughters this was something he had to sort out with Acts of Parliament.

    The mother of Henry VII's Queen, Elizabeth Woodville, was a widow with two sons by her first husband, when she married Edward IV. But Edward IV was actually already married to Eleanor Talbot, daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury, and widow of Thomas Butler. Eleanor was still alive at the time and it was the same clergyman, Robert Stillington who had conducted both ceremonies! Eleanor might have protested but she might have suffered if she did. Eleanor had no children by either of her marriages. Edward IV did have children by another mistress, Elizabeth Wayte. One of their children was Arthur Plantagenet, who was the Lord Deputy of Calais from 1533 to 1540. (In fact there were a number of mistresses and their identities have become muddled.)

    Edward IV, himself, born in Rouen, had a dodgy claim to legitimacy, since his father, Richard Duke of York, left soon after his wedding to Cecily, to continue his military campaigns in France, leaving a hunky archer, Blaybourne, to guard his wife's bedroom door. When he returned he found his wife was pregnant, and Blaybourne had scarpered off home to Sussex just before he arrived. The baby boy was born after a pregnancy which apparently had lasted 11 months. Cecily herself was to admit her fling with Blaybourne later. This did not affect the two younger sons who were definitely legitimate. George, Duke of Clarence, (second in line after Edward IV), was executed by drowning in a butt of malmsey wine on orders from his older brother Edward IV who kindly allowed him to chose his method of death. When Edward IV died he left two young sons (and many daughters). Edward IV's youngest brother took the throne as Richard III. The two surviving sons of Edward IV remained in the Tower of London, while their mother and her daughters (she had two sons, by her first husband and ten children by Edward IV) sheltered for a time in the sanctuary of Westminster Abbey.

    When Richard III's own son Edward died, he made his nephew, Edward, Earl of Warwick, son of the Duke of Clarence, his heir which is why Henry Tudor, when he became Henry VII, had him locked up in the Tower of London. (The "3rd Prince in the Tower"). Richard III also had an illegitimate son and daughter. His son was known as John of Gloucester, his father sent him to Calais where he was appointed Captain of Calais. He lost that position after his father was killed. Henry VII kept him under survelliance with an income of 20 pounds a year.

    Henry VII aware of the problem of the uncertain legitimacy of his wife as the daughter of King Edward IV, had Acts of Parliament when he was King, to ensure his mother-in-law's children were considered legitimate. Since otherwise there would be some doubts about the legitimacy of his own sons by his wife to inherit the throne.

    Henry VII's claim to the throne of England was not by birth and inheritance, popular acclaim or automatic sucession, but by his lucky conquest over Richard III (why did he wear his crown making him such a target!) at Bosworth in 1485, with his mercenary army - who needed to be paid. Henry VII became obsessed with checking and doing his own paperwork and accounts. Raising taxes, fines etc. from citizens to pay off gangs of tough armed men living off the land (and its people), does not make you popular. Neither did the invention of the "red rose of Lancaster" to link to the "white rose of York", making this red and white flower a symbol of the new dynasty, help that much with public relations at the time.

    There were any number of people around with a claim to royal descent, who could get support from the countries that surrounded England, France, Scotland, Ireland, and other European countries, so he could be easily challenged by a rival with a better claim to the throne.

    Information on the conspiracies to raise armed forces to invade England, reached Henry VII. The plotters were to put in Henry VII's place, an alternative Earl of Warwick. As the real one was still locked up in the Tower of London. But Henry VII could display (but did not free) the real one. The imposter was a boy about 10 years old who Henry VII called "Lambert Simnel". He gave the child a place working in his kitchens, and he appears to have continued a career working in the royal palaces, eventually doing quite well.

    When Henry VII found out the conspirators planned an alternative John of Gloucester, intending as with the Earl of Warwick, the real person would take over, the real John of Gloucester "disappeared", and probably like the Earl of Warwick was eventually secretly executed.

    There was conflict at the court. The King's mother, now signing herself Margaret R. expected to rule the court and her son and his wife. This brought her into conflict with the other Queen-Mother, former Queen of England, and now the mother of the King's wife and Queen. They were very different women. They clashed when it came to organising the court and especially when it came to organising the royal births and the the upbringing of the children. Margaret expected it done her way but her regulations revealed she had no real knowledge of having and caring for children, only having one pregnancy at the age of 12 after which her son was brought up by his uncle Jasper Tudor. The Queen's mother had at least 12 pregnancies, 10 of them as the Queen of England. She was also experienced as former Queen of England in how to organise the royal court. The current Queen listened to her mother.

    12th February 1487, Henry VII had his mother-in-law shut up in Bermondsey Abbey without her possessions and without paying for her keep. The Abbey paid for her board and lodging. Henry VII kept all her things. She died there on 8th June 1492.

    Margaret had won. Once her son had become the king, she had donned a nun-like (but costly) costume as a religious order of one, to enable herself to be officially divorced and independent of her husband and receive all the honours and status she now expected just for herself personally. Entering religious orders ended a marriage. And signed herself Margaret Richmond soon shortened to the regal looking Margaret R.. She was the power behind her son's throne.

    The biggest uprising, (which began in 1491) against Henry VII was centred around the re-appearance of Richard of York, the younger prince in the tower, who Henry VII preferred to call Perkin (or Peter, or Pierre etc.) Warbeck (other spellings too) and was determined to prove he was the son of a boatman.

    Margaret of Burgundy (Edward IV's sister) recognized Perkin as her nephew Richard, (he did look a lot like Edward IV) and sponsored his cause, hoping for a return from her investment once he was King Richard IV. He was also supported amongst others by France, by James IV of Scotland who found him a wife, and by the county of Cornwall, still at the time, trying to stay independent of England and with its own language. Perkin soon had a sizable following.

    Ferdinand and Isabella refused to allow their daughter's marriage to Henry VII's son Arthur until he had sorted out the rival claimants to his throne.

    Eventually in autumn 1499, Henry VII won. On Saturday 23rd November, Perkin/Richard was hanged at Tyburn in front of a large audience, having been forced to "confess" on the gallows to not being Edward IV's son.

    The following Thursday, Edward, Earl of Warwick, was dragged out of his prison in the Tower mid afternoon and beheaded. His head and body were put into a coffin, and on the next suitable tide taken down river to a funeral and burial at Bisham Priory in Berkshire - where a number of his ancestors, including Earls of Salisbury (he was also Earl of Salisbury) had been buried.

    Perkin/Richard's Scottish wife, Lady Catherine Gordon, was given a place as a lady-in-waiting at the English court. Henry VII found her attractive and gave her many presents of fine clothes and is believed made her his mistress. However she was to re-marry three more times.

    John of Gloucester was never seen again.

    However many possible claimants were killed, there would still be others who could gather support to challenge the Tudors. Henry VII's only surviving son, Henry, was brought up with a paranoid feeling of insecurity - that his position could be challenged.

    Certainly the Emperor Charles V's envoy Eustace Chapuys was to pounce on Henry VIII's slightly wobbly claim to the throne of England, in 1533, as a good reason for Charles V to put in a claim to England for himself.

    One major Plantagenet "White Rose" challenge (against the newly invented Tudor "Red Rose"), that was to haunt Henry VIII, was to come from the sister of Edward, Earl of Warwick - Margaret Plantagenet, and her family. Margaret Plantagenet had been married off to the son of a half-sister of Henry VII's mother Margaret Beaufort, whose idea it was. Margaret's husband was Sir Reginald Pole, he became Chamberlain to Prince Arthur, and died in 1504, leaving Margaret with five children (4 boys, 1 girl) and relatively little to live on.

    When Henry VII knew his life was coming to an end, he told his son that he had been wrong to have had the Earl of Warwick executed. When Henry VIII became king, he tried to compensate the Earl of Warwick's sister, Margaret. He gave her an annuity of £100, and in 1513, he had the attainder against Warwick reversed, and created her Countess of Salisbury in her own right. Since Earl of Salisbury had been one of her brother's titles. And restored many of her Neville mother's family estates. That was on condition she did not seek revenge for her brother's execution. She did wear a bracelet with a little wine barrel charm - in memory of her father's murder by his brother Edward IV, by drowning in a butt of Malmsey wine. Margaret's eldest son was created Lord Montague, a Neville title. In 1516 Margaret was invited to be one of the godmothers to Princess Mary and appointed governess of the princess's household. Her daughter was Princess Mary's wetnurse.

    The husband of Katherine, one of Henry VIII's mother's sisters, Lord William Courtenay, now Earl of Devon, was released from the Tower. He died in 1511. His son Edward, was created Marquess of Exeter. The Marquess of Dorset, Thomas Grey, eldest half brother of his wife was also set free. His younger brother Richard had been executed by Richard III's forces, at the time. The two eldest sons of Henry VII's mother-in-law, had hoped to establish themselves as Regents to their younger half brother Edward V - the one who would have died early naturally as he was being treated for a diseased jaw.

    Yet in a few years Henry VIII was to turn against his "White Rose" cousins and they were to plot against him.

    (More information can be found in the References and notes.)

    One way Henry VIII could feel more secure on the throne was to generate huge numbers of sons of his own as his heirs. But this had not happened. Katherine had not become pregnant again, since she lost her baby in November 1518. After at least six pregnancies, she had some health problems. What is known about her symptoms indicate one of her health problems may have been fibroids, since she suffered irregular and heavy periods. In 1525, her doctors reported to her husband that it seemed unlikely that she could have another child.

    So in 1525, Henry VIII had as his close family, a legitimate daughter - Mary; an illegitimate son - Henry Fitzroy; and his niece Margaret. Also in line to the English throne was Margaret's older half-brother, Henry VIII's nephew, James V of Scotland. And after them, the children of Henry VIII's younger sister Mary.

    Henry VIII's daughter Princess Mary was a pretty girl with reddish blonde curly hair and was very bright for her age. She was being very well educated. Her mother, on the recommendation of Erasmus, engaged Juan Luis Vives a Jewish liberal humanist who had escaped from Spain where most of his family had been persecuted and murdered. Conversion did not stop persecution. He was a student at the University of Paris, and was a professor at the University of Leuven. (France and the Netherlands were comparatively more liberal than Spain). On coming to England in 1522 as Mary's tutor, Vives wrote a book on the education of girls, but his book on the education of boys became better known with many reprints.

    There was nothing in the English consitution to prevent a girl inheriting the throne as Queen in her own right (which Mary and her younger half-sister Elizabeth were each to do eventually). A number of examples of capable women rulers were still around in Europe, and Henry VIII had met some of them. The Regent Margaret was just one example of a competent woman ruler. His own wife was well educated and also more liberally minded than her parents. But there was the fate of Katherine's sister Juana as well. An example of how powerless a woman, even the rightful Queen, could be if it was in her own father and son's interests to keep her locked up out of the way, and rule in her place.

    In English law it was (and is) legally possible for a man to make an illegitimate child his heir in his will. So Henry VIII could do that. As he was the King, he had another option of having his bastard son declared his heir by an Act of Parliament. Richard III had considered making John of Gloucester his heir when his son died, but decided on his nephew Edward, Earl of Warwick. (And both "disappeared" when Henry VII in power).

    It was important that England looked strong and secure (at least to its ruler) because of the situation on the continent. The most powerful ruler in Europe was Katherine's nephew, Charles V, who in 1519, had been elected Holy Roman Emperor. His domains were scattered around the world, covering a large part of Europe, including Flanders (approximately Holland and Belgium), the German States, Austria, Spain, and in the rest of the world: the Spanish American colonies, the Philipines and other Spanish possessions in the Far East. His Empire was threatened only by conflict with the Ottoman Turkish Empire and with France, which challenged his takeover of Italy.

    On 24th February, 1525, at the Battle of Pavia, in Italy, François Ie was defeated and taken prisoner by the Imperial Forces led by the Duc de Bourbon (who it was said, had defected to the enemy to escape François's mother Louise, 14 years older than him, who wanted to marry him).

    Henry VIII wanted to take advantage of the defeat of the French King, by collaborating with Charles V. His daughter Mary had been betrothed to Charles V in 1522, when she was 6 and Charles 22. The picture of her shows her wearing a brooch with "L'Emperour" on it. But Charles V did not wait for Mary to grow up, he married his cousin Isabella of Portugal in 1526.

    "In this yere the kyng folowyng of his hauke (hawk), lept over a diche beside Hychyn (Hitchen in Herts.), with a polle and the polle brake, so that if one Edmond Mody (Moody), a foteman, had not lept into the water, and lift up his hed, whiche was fast in the clay, he had bene drouned: but God of his goodnes preserved him." (from Hall's Chronicle)

    Another narrow escape which made Henry VIII all the more aware of the need to secure his succession.

    Part 2: Henry VIII's and Wolsey's plans for the King's children

    Mary, Princess of Wales

    In August 1525 the 9-year old Princess Mary was sent to live in Ludlow Castle on the borders of Wales, as the Princess of Wales. Princess Mary was to be the nominal head of the Council for Wales. She would be separated from her mother, but was under the care of her governess, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, sister to the secretly executed Earl of Warwick "the third prince in the Tower". Her daughter Katherine had been Mary's wet nurse, and was still in her household. Margaret knew Ludlow well as her late husband Sir Richard Pole had been Chamberlain for Arthur Prince of Wales. (The book by Linda Porter, "Mary Tudor" ISBN 9780749909826, has more details on Princess Mary's life and early education).

    Since Ludlow was traditionally the residence of the (English) heir to the throne who had been invested as Prince of Wales, this recognized Princess Mary as the legitimate heir to the throne. It was still the main base of the Council for Wales, being on the border in the Welsh Marches. With most of the several hundred staff in her retinue, Mary travelled first to Thornbury, on her way to Ludlow, and the following year she was able to meet her parents again when they were touring in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

    Mary was still the heir to the throne, but right behind her now was her younger half-brother Henry Fitzroy. In August he was also travelling in a large procession but while his half-sister Mary was heading west to Ludlow as Princess of Wales, he was going north to Sheriffhutton, to be the nominal head of the Council of the North. He was to be refered to, although it was not official, as the Prince of the North or as "the Prince".


    The King's Son

    Now without his mother, who had to move to South Kyme without him, but still with his nurse, and other familar attendants and companions, the six year old, Henry Fitzroy was given his own large household suitable for a prince, and they were all temporarily housed at Durham Place in the Strand. This palatial residence was occupied by Wolsey (as Bishop of Durham amongst other titles) who had been ordered to make all the new arrangements for both the King's children, Mary and Henry. Henry Fitzroy had been living there already with his mother and step-father who had been Wolsey's ward and was still in Wolsey's service.

    Henry Fitzroy's nurse was Agnes (or Anne) Partridge. She may have been chosen by Henry VIII, since her husband and his brother were amongst his close friends. She may have originally been Henry Fitzroy's wet nurse since it was normal for all mothers who could afford it, to hire a wet nurse, to feed their baby, there being no other safe alternative for feeding infants. Elizabeth had a wet nurse herself when she was born, and so did all her brothers and sisters. Often there was more than one wet nurse - like a choice of feeding bottles and formula. The nurse would have presided over junior nurses called "rockers" who used to clean up and change the baby.

    Very young babies were wrapped up in pieces of cloth like mummies and bound to a padded board, and changed and bathed and even (in theory, the baby might not have put up with it quietly) fed, once a day. Toddlers wore dresses with no pants, (floors covered in disposable rush mats, not expensive carpets) and girls and boys were were dressed the same. Over the dress was tied a bib to stop it getting too mucky and pinned to the dress was a handkerchief (muckinder) to wipe the child's face. Children were dressed like that until they were dry. Then boys and girls were dressed much like small adults.

    Henry Fitzroy's nurse, Agnes (or Anne) Partridge had a son of her own. Who was probably born just before Henry Fitzroy, so making her available to be chosen as Henry Fitzroy's nurse. Her son (also Henry but usually called Harry) was brought up with Henry Fitzroy, and shared his lessons and playtime along with some other selected small boys about the same age. And remained in his service.

    Anne (or Agnes) Partridge was paid 50 shillings a quarter (200 shillings or £10 a year). The King also gave her other occasional generous gifts. She loved hunting (she was allocated the use of two horses from the stables) and gambling. So did her husband Hugh Partridge. They had their own family home of Amburyhill, Gloucestershire, and also a house in London. Hugh Partridge's older brother, Sir Miles Partridge was a close friend of Henry VIII and in a game of dice with the King won the bells of the Jesus Chapel in the churchyard of St. Paul's Cathedral. Which he had dismantled and the bells sold. It might have been her brother-in-law that recommended Agnes when Henry VIII needed a nurse for his son. It is possible since Harry Partridge's date of birth is not known but he must have been around the same age as Henry, that she had just given birth to him and hence was available as wet-nurse. Certainly they were brought up together. She might not have been his wet-nurse but in charge of the nursery - and a team of wet-nurses, and "rockers" and other staff.

    Definitely Anne Partridge was a mother substitute or "nanny" for Henry Fitzroy. She was to continue to remain in his household, on a salary of 50 shillings a quarter (every 3 months = £4 a year) plus a maid and two horses. Until the changing circumstances brought about by Henry VIII's plan to divorce the Queen, which meant his son, Henry Fitzroy, could be moved from Sheriffhutton, back to be with his father at court. His household was then re-organised.

    By that time Henry Fitzroy was growing up, so his nurse was retired. In 1530, Agnus Partridge received a "reward" from the King of 40s. (£2), and in May 1530, she was granted an annuity of £20. Twice as much pension as she had been paid in wages. By this time her husband had died - she is named as "widow", the grant gave her an income. She lived in a house in London, in the parish of St.Andrew by the Wardrobe. (Which was all destroyed in the 1666 fire and bombed in the Blitz). Her son Harry Partridge remained in service with Henry Fitzroy.

    Information from L&P and "A Who's Who of Tudor Women", by Kathy Emerson. And History of St.Andrew by the Wardrobe. More information and links.

    Henry Fitzroy created Duke of Richmond and Somerset, Earl of Nottingham

    Arms of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset.

    Includes the royal arms of his father Henry VIII with two harts heads each side of a castle, and of course the baton sinister indicating his birth on the wrong side of the blanket. The two creatures each side are a lion and a yale. (A yale is one of those mythical beasts which has been described and illustrated but actually never been seen). It was part of the heraldic emblems of Margaret Beaufort, Richmond's great-grandmother. He was also to inherit some of her property.

    Apart from the King and Queen, Henry Fitzroy was now given precedence over all but his half-sister Princess Mary. He was invested as Duke of Richmond and Somerset, Earl of Nottingham, and given other titles and an income which made him the richest person in the kingdom after the King.

    At the same investiture ceremony, the King's nephew, Henry Brandon, younger son of his sister Mary (the older son, also Henry, had died young), was to be made Earl of Lincoln. It was noticed that Henry VIII gave his bastard son precedence over his nephew.

    The ceremony at which the six year old Henry Fitzroy was to be made Duke of Richmond and Somerset and Earl of Nottingham, took place on Sunday 18th June 1525.

    At 9 in the morning, Henry Fitzroy was taken with a great company of knights and gentlemen, some his own servants in his new large household, and some sent by his father Henry VIII, to board the lavishly decorated barges at the quayside and go down the Thames to the King's palace of Bridewell, which was between the Temple (part still here and open for tourists) and Blackfriars. In 1553 Edward VI gave it to the City of London to use as a workhouse for the poor - one of the first, and also a hospital, a school, and a prison. Unilever building there now.

    Bridewell Palace had only just been built when it was used to accomodate Charles V in 1522 at his betrothal to Princess Mary. Henry VIII needed more palaces in and near London, as Westminster Palace had been destroyed by fire in 1512. Only the hall and some other buildings were left. They were renovated and continued to be used by Parliament.

    Henry VIII was loaned York House by Wolsey to live in which was nearby. And he had to build some more of his own palaces to house himself and his court. Bridewell replaced an old castle. It was a large complex of buildings around 3 courtyards along the west bank of the Fleet from the Thames to Fleet Street. It was the first palace in England not have have a great hall. And it was the first to have a grand processional staircase from the outer courtyard, to the 3-storey inner courtyard. Now this was to be used for Henry Fitzroy's investiture and others at the same time.

    To the crowds that were gathering to watch or participate in the ceremonies, it was obvious that Henry Fitzroy was the King's son. He was very big for his age, with reddish fair hair, and it was frequently remarked how much he looked like his father. Despite this, the patents coyly referred to Henry Fitzroy as "near in blood" to the King.

    Henry Fitzroy was taken through the Great Chamber, and through the Chamber of State, which had been decorated for the occasion with rich hangings of gold and silk and tapestries depicting the Destruction of Troy, to a gallery called the New Gallery at the other end.

    There were to be a number of investitures that day, that of Henry Fitzroy being the first and the most important. The New Gallery was used as a changing room for everyone taking part. Henry Fitzroy was given a room to himself, though, and there he was dressed in the robes of an Earl.

    When everyone had taken their places and the King was ready, the trumpets blew, and Henry Fitzroy was led in, walking between the Earl of Arundel and the Earl of Oxford, with the Early of Northumberland in front, bearing the Sword, Garter King-of-Arms with the Patent, and the other Kings-of-Arms and Heralds, all with the King's Coat of Arms emblazoned on their clothes except Somerset Herald, who wore Henry Fitzroy's Coat of Arms as he was to be made Duke of Somerset today.

    The room was filled with the invited spectators, the relatives of those being invested and other members of the Court and officials. The people filled the room on both sides leaving a narrow passage, forced clear by the gentlemen ushers down the centre, for the small procession to pass down to approach the King.

    Two people we might expect to see there were missing:

    One was the Queen. She was used to her husband having mistresses and bastards, but was naturally anxious that Henry Fitzroy's investiture was to make him almost equal in status to her daughter. The implication was clear. Her husband was thinking that he could nominate his bastard son to succeed him to the throne of England, bypassing his daughter Mary. Certainly that was what others thought he was planning.

    The other missing person was Henry Fitzroy's own mother. She had now been dispatched to Lincolnshire by Wolsey under Henry VIII's orders. By making her husband Sheriff of Lincolnshire, they had to move back to live there at South Kyme, and in addition Elizabeth was forbidden to attend her son's investiture. It appears Henry VIII now wanted his son, but not his son's mother.

    Unlike Princess Mary's ceremony, this was to be an all male event.

    The King was standing under a canopy of cloth of gold in front of a chair covered in cloth of gold. On the King's right hand side stood the almost as impressive figure of Cardinal Wolsey in his red robes. Next to him on his side were the bishops, abbots and other important church officials. On the King's left hand side stood the representatives of temporal power in England. Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, and currently Treasurer. A small, thin, dark man, he was to play a major part in Henry Fitzroy's life. Henry Fitzroy was to marry Norfolk's daughter, and learn how to lead an army from him. Next to Norfolk, stood Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, Marshall of England and the King's brother-in-law. His small son was to be made Earl of Lincoln.

    On this side of the room stood the other peers, Knights, including Henry Fitzroy's grandfather Sir John Blount (he at least was able to proudly watch his grandson), esquires and other members of the court.

    When they were in front of the King, the Earls knelt down, then stood up again, with Henry Fitzroy standing between the Earls of Arundel and Oxford, while Garter King-of-Arms presented the Patent to the King. Cardinal Wolsey took it and handed it over to Sir Thomas More to read out loud. Meanwhile, the King took the sword and placed it over his son's right shoulder then under his left arm. Then he handed him the Patent. The trumpeters who were standing by the window blew a fanfare and the Earls went back to the New Gallery.

    The new Earl of Nottingham was now dressed in the robes of a Duke, except for the mantle, and the Duke of Norfolk, and the Duke of Suffolk came in to lead him between them. This time the Marquis of Dorset carried the sword, the Earl of Arundel, the coronet, the Earl of Oxford, the rod of gold, the Earl of Northumberland, the mantle, and Garter King-of-Arms, accompanied by the other Kings-of-arms and Heralds, the Patent.

    They went in a procession as before, and knelt bfore the King. Then they rose, Henry Fitzroy standing between the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk. Garter King of Arms resented the Patent to the King who handed it to Wolsey who passed it on to Sir Thomas More to read aloud, declaring all the titles and honours the King had given.

    As More read the Patent which was in Latin (with 16th century spelling), when he came to the word investimus, the Earl of Northumberland presented the mantle to the King, who put the mantle on his son. At the words gladii cincturam, the Marquis of Dorset presented the sword to the King, who then touched his son with it on each side of his neck and hung it around him. When More came to the words cappe et circuli impositionem capite, the Earl of Arundel handed the cap with coronet to the King, who put it on his son's head. At the words traditionem virge auree the Earl of Oxford gave the gold rod to the King, who put it into his son's right hand. When More had finished reading the patent, Wolsey took it from him and handed it back to the King, who gave it to his son to hold in his right hand, while he transfered the gold rod into his left hand.

    Henry Fitzroy was now Duke of Richmond and Somerset and his part in the day's ceremonies was over, he remained standing next to his father Henry VIII, to watch the other investitures.

    The Earl of Devonshire was next, he was to be made Marquis of Exeter. He was related to the King.

    If Henry Fitzroy had seemed very small and young, then Henry Brandon, the son of the Duke of Suffolk and the King's sister Mary, was even smaller and younger. Only about two he was to be made Earl of Lincoln. As he was just a toddler, Sir John Vere was appointed to carry him in his arms between the two earls to the King. (This Henry Brandon also died young, leaving his sisters Frances and Eleanor, and their children, in the line-up to the throne).

    The other investitures that day, were: Lord Roos, who was made Earl of Rutland, Lord Clifford, was made Earl of Cumberland, Sir Robert Radcliff, Lord FitzWalter was made Viscount Fitzwater - (he was later made Earl of Sussex and supported the claims of the Duke of Richmond as potential heir to the throne). And Sir Thomas Boleyn, whose daughter Mary had greatly boosted his career and wealth, by being the King's mistress after Elizabeth Blount, was created Viscount Rochford.

    The main significance of the ceremonies on that day, lay in the status conferred on the King's bastard son, standing next to his father, seen by everyone present, for the rest of the day's ceremonies. A patent dated at the same time as the others, 18th June, 1525, gave the Duke of Richmond and Somerset, precedence over all but the King's legitimate issue. This was to be very important eleven years later.

    There was more to come for the new Duke of Richmond and Somerset. On the 7th June, 1525, he had been elected to the Order of the Garter. After the ceremony at Bridewell, he was moved down to Windsor Castle, for his installation to the Order of the Garter on 25th June. For this he wore a gown of black satin with buttons and aglettes (the ends of the laces which tied up the clothes) of gold, and sleeves furred with sable. (Which was very expensive as it came from Russia).

    This was taken off and given to the Garter King-of-Arms as was the custom, and he was dressed in the purple mantle of the Order of the Garter.

    The cost for his installation to the Order of the Garter was £33. 5s. 0d.

    His stall-plate in St.George's chapel, Windsor is missing. These small brass plates with the coat of arms on which are kept in the stall allocated to the Knight of the Garter, they are traditionally kept in place as a memorial after the Knight of the Garter dies, but that of Henry Fitzroy appears to have been removed soon after his death. The others of his contemporaries or near contemporaries,which had been removed were all from those who had been accused or executed for treason or similar. Such as Thomas Lord Darcy (involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace), and Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter. And Nicolas Carew, and Thomas Cromwell, who both had been favourites of Henry VIII who then turned against them and had them executed. And Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, who had been a close friend of Henry Fitzroy and was executed for treason just before Henry VIII died.

    On the 16th July 1525, Henry Fitzroy, now Duke of Richmond and Somerset, was made Admiral of England, Wales, Ireland, Normandy, Gascony and Aquitaine (see notes) for life, with the appointment of commissioners, lieutenants, vice-admirals, etc.

    On the 22nd July, 1525, Richmond was made Warden-General of the Marches towards Scotland, the King's Lieutenant-general North of Trent, Keeper of the City and Castle of Carlisle, Chief Justice of the Forests beyond Trent. (Forests were enclosed land under Crown regulations, not necessarily wooded, but did offer shelter to outlaws as well as as a legally used resource).

    Wolsey also appointed Richmond as High Steward of the Bishopric of Durham and of the Liberties belonging to the Archbishop of York. Wolsey was Bishop of Durham and Archbishop of York.

    To support his new titles and positions, the Duke of Richmond received, by letters patent and Acts of Parliament, a vast amount of estates, rents, honours, lordships and revenues. Amongst them:
    The sum of £20, to be received from the Sheriffs of Nottingham and Derby, as he was now Earl of Nottingham. As Duke of Richmond and Somerset, he received the sum of £40 from York, Somerset and Dorset.

    By letters patent dated 11th August, 1525, he received the estates which had belonged to the late Margaret, Countess of Richmond, the King's grandmother, one of her husbands, the Earl of Richmond, and her father, the Duke of Somerset. (So it can be seen that Henry Fitzroy was getting Royal titles). These estates were in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Southampton, Essex, Sorset, Somerset, Devon, Kent, Sussex, Gloucester, Westmoreland, Derbyshire, Rutland, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Norfolk, Pembrokeshire, Cardigan and other parts of North Wales including the Castle of Holt which was his. He was also given Durham Place in London, where he had spent most of his life so far, and later was to acquire Baynards Castle, which at present belonged to Queen Katherine. Amongst his other palaces and castles were Canford in Dorset which had originally belonged to the Earls of Salisbury, along with Corfe Castle (then still intact and splendid). Two of the palaces and castles were not far from his mother at South Kyme, one was Collyweston in Northamptonshire, one of the favourite residences of Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, his greatgrandmother. Little remains now, but at the time it was a large and splendid palace and was to become a favourite (and strategically placed) residence of the Duke of Richmond.

    The other residence, also had belonged to Margaret Beaufort, so was in the King's portfolio ready to hand out to his son, and that was Tattershall Castle, only a few miles from South Kyme. Rebuilt after the castle of South Kyme had been rebuilt, extended and updated, it looks like the owner then, Ralph Cromwell, wanted to go one better. A bigger tower, (seen from miles and now a handy landmark for RAF Coningsby where you can see the "Battle of Britain flight" with one of the last flying Lancasters, Spitfires and Hurricanes) was used mainly for receptions and guests, and linked to the original great hall, and other buildings, kitchens, offices, workshops, stables etc. surrounded by 2 moats, (in the 15th century the whole upper classes were fighting each other so security was an issue) and in the latest modern building material - brick - manufactured locally by an imported Dutch craftsman. Lord Cromwell also turned the small parish church next to the castle into a collegiate church so by the time Richmond owned Tattershall castle, the nearby church was a massive cathedral sized structure of gleaming white limestone and colourful stained glass.


    Henry Fitzroy travels to Yorkshire

    Henry Fitzroy was not only Duke of Richmond and Somerset, he was referred to as "the prince". His income now amounted to more than £4,000 a year. Equivalent to at least two million pounds today. This made him one of the richest persons in England at that time. But it soon proved inadequate.

    His half-sister Princess Mary was sent to live in the castle of Ludlow as was traditional for the Princes of Wales as she was, at least nominally, head of the Council for Wales. Henry, Duke of Richmond, on much the same terms, headed the Council for the North. And now had to go to live there.

    With a retinue of several hundred he was dispatched in a royal procession taking nearly a month for the journey, to rule the King's Council in the North, from the castle of Sheriff Hutton, a few miles from York.

    Escorted by the Duke of Norfolk, the entourage departed from William Jekyll's house in Stoke Newington on Wednesday 25th July, 1525. (There were some big houses in Tottenham and Walthamstow then). They mostly followed the old Roman road of Ermine Street.

    Wolsey had provided an elaborate horse litter to carry the Duke of Richmond. It was upholstered in black velvet garnished with cloth of silver. The horses' reins were decorated with buckles of copper and gilt, and their harnesses with gold and silk buttons.

    Richmond hated it. After only about 3 miles, he was sick over it and got his wish to ride the rest of the way on his little pony, provided by his Master of the Horse, Edward Seymour. Seymour's sister Jane was one day to become Henry VIII's 3rd wife, but at this time she was a teenager and in disgrace over her relationship with William Dormer which was broken up by his parents.

    Amoung the surviving accounts of the Duke of Richmond was a charge for Richmond's stables, of £109. 8s. 7¼d. spent on "black velvet, buckles of copper, cloth of silver and other stuffs for garnishing a horse litter, given to the Duke by my Lord Cardinal". Waste of money. The litter was left behind at Sheriffhutton in 1529 when Richmond was able to move back south to stay with his father at court.

    The next night's stop was with Lady Maud Parr, a young widow, whose 9-year old daughter Anne was a maid-of-honour to the Queen. Her brother-in-law William Parr, was in charge of Richmond's household. Her 8-year old son William to be one of Richmond's companions and share his lessons, so he joined Richmond. And Maud Parr's 11-year old daughter Katherine, was to travel with them as far as Gainsborough, where she was to be married to Lord Thomas Burgh's eldest son Edward, her first husband. (She was to have 4, the 3rd being Henry VIII).

    The Council reported back to the King that at Lady Parr's house, "his grace was marvellousely well treated." The Duke of Norfolk left them here and went back to report to the King. Richmond refused to go back into the horse litter. He got his way and travelled the rest of the way on horseback like the grown-ups.

    Thursday night was spent in Buntingford, and Friday night at Shingay, a manor house near Royston (near the A14). Saturday, they arrived in Huntingdon. They were met outside the town, and on the bridge over the river, the bailiffs presented Richmond with fish - "four great pikes and four tenches." The Abbot of Ramsey sent a present of swans, cranes and other wild fowl then considered edible, from the fens, and both the young prince and his Council were given wine.

    Richmond stayed in Huntingdon for the weekend, and continued on his way on Monday. The procession now followed the route of the Great North Road and stopped off Monday night at George Kirkham's house, Warmington, near Peterborough. Then continued on the next few miles to Stamford. Here they stayed at "David Cecil's house". The George Inn which is still there. Cecil's five-year-old grandson William was to be one of Richmond's companions at Sheriff Hutton.

    William Cecil did not stay with the Duke of Richmond for very long. His father, was to withdraw his son, from his education with a prince after a few years, and sent him to the grammar school in Stamford instead. It certainly was a good move as far as his education went, since William Cecil was to become a major statesman, and Lord Burghley. His new home, Burghley house, was built as a palace fit to accomodate and entertain Queen Elizabeth and then her successor, James I, and is still inhabited by the same family. Now open to the public.

    Richmond, now usually referred to as "the Prince" was taken hunting in the deer park, and his Council reported that he killed a buck all by himself.

    Greatly cheered by his successful kill, the Prince and entourage rode on to his palace of Collyweston.


    Collyweston had been a favourite residence of the King's grandmother, Margaret and now had been given to the Duke of Richmond by his father. It was in a prominent and convenient postion for transport since it was on the Great North Road which led from London to Lincolnshire and further north. (Mostly now the A1). Little remains of the magnificent palace there.

    Margaret Beaufort had a problem with the glaziers at Colyweston - she wanted yales in the stained glass - and complained what she got looked nothing like one, the glazier had no idea what a yale was - it is a mythical beast so no one has seen one and descriptions vary. And it now featured on the Duke of Richmond's coat of arms.

    In the early 1970s when most of the orginal research was done, Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Shelton of Manor Farm kindly showed me the remains of Collyweston which stands on their land and gave me a lot of useful information about the place. And some information about the palace and its history. They showed us a sundial which had once been in the garden there.

    Richmond was to spend the next week at Collyweston. "right merely" - "and in better case and more lusty of his body than his Grace was at his first taking of his journey" reported his Council. However, they still thought it a good idea to ask Wolsey to send a physician to the Prince. Wolsey sent Doctor William Butts, who later was to become physician to Henry VIII.

    Collyweston is about half-way on the journey between London and York so they had a break there to rest from their journey. The abbots of Peterborough and Crowland sent presents of swans, cranes and other wild fowl which were eaten then. (Surviving menus from Henry VIII's kitchen staff show just about any bird was not safe from being eaten).

    The Palace of Collyweston had been built of the local limestone and slate in the 15th century by Ralph Cromwell. It was later occupied and improved by Margaret Beaufort. When the Duke of Richmond owned it and stayed there it was a very large and fine palace. He was to later use it as one of his main residences.

    After a week spent at Collyweston, the Prince and his Council and the rest of their considerable entourage set out once more for York. Although they travelled continously during the day, it took them 10 more days to reach York, which says something for the state of the Great North Road and method of transport in the 16th century. (We can drive up to York from Lincoln for an afternoon at the Viking museum and other attractions and home again in time for dinner).

    It is possible that they detoured while in South Lincolnshire to visit Richmond's mother, or to meet up with her, so she could see her son for a short while, before they continued on the journey north.

    That would account for the delay, and it would not necessarily have been reported officially to the King and Wolsey.

    While they stayed at York, the Council was joined by John Uvedale, (or Woodhall etc.) who was to be the Duke of Richmond's secretary. He had taken two weeks to make the journey from London. And he had brought the documents giving the Council its authority, the letters patent, commissions of oyer and terminer, (enabling the Council to take all criminal cases) equerry for officers, the book of diets, check roll and instructions signed by Henry VIII contained in a paper signed by Wolsey. The Council was given police jurisdictions in all the northern counties.

    The Council sent a number of demands to Wolsey to make life comfortable at Sheriff-Hutton. This included a Chapel "because the lorde Darcy and the lord Latymer have chapelles, which things we ensure your Grace was never done by us, ner yet spoken of, ner thoughte to be convenyente as yet." Clearly having your own chapel was a status symbol. (See notes for more on Richmond's chapel).

    After ten days at York, Richmond and his Council left on 28th August 1525 for Sheriff Hutton, a few miles from York. This was to be Richmond's home and the base for the Council of the North.

    Sherrif Hutton

    Sheriff Hutton is just north of York. Built of local sandstone, it is now in ruins on a farm. Then it was a royal castle and an important administration centre of the whole of northern England. But it was also run down and needed a lot of improvements.

    In the early 1970s when I visited with my twins, Mr. and Mrs. J.K. Howarth kindly showed us Sheriff Hutton Castle which was part of their farm and was their home, there were friendly cows and calves all over it. They had written a useful booklet on the castle and pointed out interesting features to us.

    The ruins of four of the remaining towers, five stories high, loom above the landscape and the nearby village.

    John Leland who was commissioned by Henry VIII to travel and report on his kingdom, had presented the Duke of Richmond with a copybook of large and small letters, wrote in his comment on Sheriff Hutton:

    "I markid yn the fore front of the first area of the castelle self 3 great and high toures, of the which the gate house was the midle. In the secunde area ther be a 5 or 6 toures, and the stately staire up to the haul is very magnificent, and so is the haul it self, and al the residew of the house: in so much that I saw no house in the north so like a princely logginges."

    There were three wards (courtyards) one inside the other. The inner one was surrounded by the main buildings in the form of a square, with four large towers at the corners. In the front in the centre was the main gateway with the coats of arms of the Nevilles - who had owned the castle, over it.

    Outside, in the second courtyard was the stables. To the right of the gateway, the remains of a vast arch is what is left of the hall, which Leland had thought "very magnificent". The kitchen, buttery -for beer, pantry, bakehouse, and other offices were to the left. Behind them was the princes's lodgings of which little now remains, since once the castle was abandoned it was robbed out. However, some of the features of the other towers, fireplaces, windows, staircases and guarderobes (toilets where you sat over a shaft leading outside the walls to the moat) can still be seen. Also the cellars and dungeons. There is a strongly built guard room by the iron gate, which was for locking up prisoners, as for around three centuries before Richmond had arrived there, the castle had been a centre for the control of the north of England and the border with Scotland. Edward III used the castle as his base for fighting the Scots. It was well fortified and completely self-contained with a very good well for water.

    Henry Fitzroy was not the first young prince to occupy Sheriff Hutton. Richard III's son Edward, died there at the age of eleven. His tomb is in Sheriff Hutton church. When Henry Tudor invaded, Richard III kept his nieces and nephews safe here. The daughters of the late King Edward IV, and the Earl of Warwick and his sister Margaret, whose father had been murdered by Richard III's oldest brother Edward IV by drowning in the butt of wine. When Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth, August 22nd 1485, the princesses were taken to London, and the eldest Elizabeth, was married to the victorious Henry VII. The six-year old Earl of Warwick - as heir to the throne after the death of Richard III was taken to London separately and and imprisoned in the Tower, from which he was only to emerge and be seen again briefly until his secret execution at the age of seventeen.

    The Master-Builder of Sheriff Hutton Castle in the 14th century was John Lewyn of Durham, who also built Bolton Castle which is similar in plan but lasted better. Part of the reason for the ruinous condition of Sheriff Hutton Castle is the stone of which is was built. This is soft sandstone, which was quarried from Torrington, not far away, and was carried to Sheriff Hutton by means of a specially dug canal to take the barges carrying the stone.

    When the Duke of Richmond and his entourage first arrived there it was to find that the castle was already dropping to bits. A lot of work was needed. The lead on the roof and much of the stonework was badly worn. Most of the chimneys needed repair. So did the curtain walls round the courtyards - the outer walls had nearly disappeared.

    Much of the wall of the middle ward had also broken down. The outer ward, contained another bake-house, a horse-mill (worked by a horse drearily tromping round in circles), stables, barns and other offices. Most of the walls and gate had gone. Outside this were two ponds to provide water for baking and brewing, and the park.

    In this castle of Sheriff Hutton, lived the Duke of Richmond, with his companions who shared his lessons and other activities, his nurse, Mrs. Anne Partridge (and her husband and son, Harry, who was one of Richmond's companions), his physician - Dr. William Butts; his Almoner who was responsible for the distribution of left-overs to the poor and to charitable bequests; the Surveyer; Treasurer; Comptroller; Chamberlain; Vice-Chamberlain; and other members of his Council of the North, together with all their own families and servants. Then there were the chaplains, gentlemen ushers, cupbearers, carvers, stewards, gentlemen waiters, yeomen ushers, yeomen of the chamber, pages of the chamber, the Barber, Porters at the Gate, and carterers. And all the other servants in the pantry, cellars, buttery (for brewing beer), ewery - for washing hands before dinner - there were cisterns with taps called ewers, and basins and towels. And servants for the great hall, the kitchen, boiling house, poultry and scalding house (for getting the feathers off), pastery (to make pies), squiller (to store wood and coal), sausery (to make sauces), slaughter house, acatory (for storing meat), garderobe of robes and beds (where the household linen was stored), apothecary, spicery, wafery (for making wafers for puddings like we still have for ice-cream), bakehouse and brewhouse, laundry and stables.

    The kitchen was equipped with 3 large brass pots bound with iron, 6 other brass pots, 4 pans bound with iron, iron rakes (for the oven fires), a gridion, a brass mortar, and 3 standard broches, (spits) 3 rounde broches, and 12 square broches.

    The squillery was equipped with 3 chargers (serving plates), 10 dozen (120) platters, 17 dozen dishes, 10 dozen saucers (for sauce then not to go under cups), and 4 plates (metal, probably these were silver for serving). A standert (don't know what that is).

    The stables were under the Duke of Richmond's Master of the Horse, Sir Edward Seymour. Then about 25 years old, he had been knighted by the Duke of Suffolk during a campaign in France in 1523, and had been made an Esquire of the King's household the following year. He occupied a large apartment in one of the castle towers. (See notes for the horses owned by Richmond when he was 17).

    In the remains of Sheriff Hutton, it is still possible to see the remains of one or two of the shafts of the toilets on the outside walls, dropping into the moat. Tudor toilets had a seat over a pit or shaft leading into the moat or just into a midden or anywhere. There was usually a means of ventilation as well - so when you used them the main worry was to be sure not to drop your keys, purse or anything down them.

    The picture shows one of the Tudor toilets at Gainsborough. This one is famous as one of the places where Henry VIII's 5th Queen, Catherine, admitted to meeting with her lover Culpeper, on the progress with the King around the North, other places they met were Lincoln and Pontefract. There are also renovated Tudor loos on view (but not for use!) at Tattershall castle.

    Wolsey's new buildings or rebuildings, like Hampton Court, were particularly advanced. At Hampton Court the shafts from the loos drained into sewers which led into the moat which was washed out by the twice daily tides of the Thames which connected with it.

    Even there, the place soon got niffy after a few weeks of total occupation by the court, then everyone moved out somewhere else, and the Gong Farmers were called in to clean up. The Gong Farmers, who also cleaned the streets in places like London, did all right out of their disgusting work, as people tend to drop things things down the loo and they would find rings, brooches, coins etc. they could sell. They were also cleaner than many other people then at least in the evenings, as they bathed every day after work.

    Richmond and his entourage would spend some of the winter at Pontefract Castle in West Yorkshire. It is now ruins in a park with some of the surviving famous liquorice plants.

    The Council of the North

    The plan for re-establishing the Councils in Wales and the North of England under the nominal head of one of Henry VIII's children, had come from Wolsey. The plan was to get the whole of England firmly under central government. At present the north of England was virutally independent, especially on the Borders with Scotland. The Borderers were seen as anarchists living by cattle rustling and sheep stealing, and only the local landowners had any real power in the area.

    The Duke of Richmond's Council was now also the Council in the North, and nearly every member of the Council was either a cleric or a lawyer and had been employed by Wolsey.

    At the Head of the Council as Chancellor was Brian Higden, Archdeacon and Dean of York. Thomas Dalby, Archdeacon of Richmond was Dean of the Chapel and Surveyor. He died the January after their arrival at Sheriff Hutton. Thomas Magnus, Archdeacon of East Riding, was Treasurer of the Chamber and Receiver-General. The Steward of the Household was Sir William Bulmer, the Captain of Norham and Lieutenant of the East March. The Comptroller, Sir Thomas Tempest was a Serjeant-at-Law, Seneshal and Comptroller of the Bishropric of Durham.

    Members of the Council who were connected with the King's service rather than Wolsey's were Sir Geoffrey Foljamb, Sir William Parr, Richard Page and Sir George Lawson. Sir William Parr was employed at a salary of £26. 12s. 4d. a year plus the Stewardship of the Barony of Kendal. Sir George Lawson, the Cofferer, was also Treasurer of Berwick and became Mayor of York in 1530. Richard Page, the Vice-Chamberlain earned £8. 6s. 8d. a quarter (ie he was paid each 3 months). He became Recorder of York in 1527, until 1533, when the citizens of York gave him an annuity of £12 to get rid of him. In 1536 he was arrested as having been one of Anne Boleyn's lovers, but was released without charge.

    John Palsgrave, Richmond's schoolmaster (who had also taught his mother) was a member of the Council for the first year, then he was replaced on the Council by William Babthorpe, a Yorshire landowner and lawyer. The other school master who did most of the teaching for the first two years was Richard Croke who was also Nottingham Pursuivant to Richmond. The Almoner, William Tate, and Secretary, John Uvedale, were also employed by Wolsey.

    The Council members were there to manage the Duke of Richmond's household and estates and perform the public duties which were expected of the Duke of Richmond. The Council was also a Court of Requests in matters of civil and canon law. They held their first criminal court at Newcastle in September.

    All the Duke of Richmond's servants wore a livery in blue, yellow and white. This was in velvet for the gentlemen and in damask or broadchoth for the others according to their rank.

    As we shall see, there were many difficulties involved in the organisation of the huge household, the administration of the region, and at the same time the education and welfare of the King's son and his companions.

    Things had settled down into some sort of routine by October, when one of Richmond's Councillors, William Frankleyn, wrote to Wolsey:

    "I assure your grace, my lord of Richmond is a chylde of excellent wisdome and towardness; and, for his good and quyk capacities, retentyve memorie, vertuous inclination to all honor, humanitie, and goodness, I thinynk hard it wolde to fyende any creature lyving of twise his age hable to worthy to be compared to him."

    Wolsey helped the Council compile the list of official New Year's presents to be distributed in Richmond's name, for the Christmas and New Year celebrations. When the Council was able to report to Wolsey that his godson was: "In good and prosperous helthe, and as towardly a young prince as ever hathe been sene in our tyme."

    They were crawling of course, but note he was now being referred to as "the prince". This means that it was generally expected that the King's son might also be his heir. In which case his care and education was now to be extremely important.

    the education of a prince



    Although John Palsgrave had been appointed Richmond's tutor, he had other official appointments to carry out. Lessons for Richmond and his chosen companions were taken by Richard Croke, then aged 36, educated at Eton, then Kings College, Cambridge. An expert on classical Greek, which he had studied under William Crocyn and Erasmus, and then under Girolamo Aleandro in Paris. He became a renowned academic who had lectured in Paris, Louvain, Cologne and Leipzig to packed and appreciative audiences. In 1519, he was apppointed by John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, who had been Henry VIII's tutor when a boy, to be lecturer in Greek at Cambridge. At Cambridge, Croke became Public Orator, in 1522, Fellow of St. John's College in 1523, and Doctor of Divinity in 1524. Now Henry VIII had appointed him tutor to his own son, Croke was forced to teach spoilt, undisciplined little boys.

    In letters written in Latin, Croke complained to the King and Cardinal Wolsey about abuses in Richmond's household, by Sir William Parr, and by Richard Cotton, the Clerk Comptroller, who fixed the books, giving Parr, himself and his brother also in the household, many extras.

    Croke complained that the Cottons and Parr changed the hours of the lessons in the summer so the boys could play out of doors, refused to allow the boys to rise before six in the morning, would not allow Croke to see the boys outside lessons, and "admitted fools and players who sang their obscene ballads before the prince in his privy chamber". (The accounts show many payments to actors and minstrels for entertainment).

    He complained also that Richmond had been taught the secretary hand instead of the modern italic hand writing and he had to retrain him. Copy of letter shows example of Richmond's handwriting. Princess Mary, Richmond's elder half-sister had been taught to write in the "secretary hand" (also used by Henry VIII and most others at the time). Richmond, also his younger half-brother and sister, Edward and Elizabeth were taught to write in the "italic hand". Influenced by books, and printing, it was the latest style of writing, and the beginning of modern handwriting so it is not so difficult to read today as the "secretary hand".

    The other issue was the debate - (amounting to war between Latin teachers, in 1519), between the traditional Medieval church Latin, and the new "modern" Latin which was based on scholarship to make it more like the language thought to be actually spoken by the Roman conquerors rather than the corrupted version of the church. To show that their version of Latin could cope with the modern world each side produced text books called "Vulgaria" in which contemporary phrases and language were translated into their Latin versions. The "modern" Latin was still taught when I was at Walthamstow High school in the 1950s. It had been used as an international language from the 16th century for scientific works. Apian, Copernicus, Newton etc. all published in Latin. The other international language was French. That was the language of the ruling classes, government and international trade and diplomacy until well into the 19th century.

    Croke was writing his report in Latin, not the English spoken every day, so he considered it essential. He requested that more priority and less interference were given to lessons. He asked that "the prince" was not taken out for archery and other sports and games first and was then too tired for his lessons. He wanted more control over the discipline of the classes and to get rid of bullies like the son of Lord Henry Scrope, who beat up the other boys and shouted rude names at Croke whenever he or his Usher (teaching assistant) reprimanded him.

    Trouble with the management of Richmond's household.

    Croke's complaints were heeded. A Clerk of the Green Cloth - the board which controlled the King's accounts (named after the table cloth over the table where the discussion meetings were held) was sent to Sherrif Hutton to go through the accounts. He was to find that the household expenses, which had been estimated at between £3,000 and £4,000 a year came to over £5,000. Richmond's income was about £4,000 a year.

    Many of the original accounts have been lost. Of those early accounts, the ones that remain, (at the time I saw them they were mostly in the Public Records Office) a large proportion was wages to staff. Some was on spending on furnishings, and clothes for the Prince. Most of the remainder was on food and other provisions for the household, the stables and the well trained and quite famous - hunting dogs. These were the accounts which had shocked Croke and led to Wolsey's actions.

    Some of the expenses are listed in L&P Hen.8, Vol.4 (pp. 673-691). English money was in pounds, shillings and pence, written as £. s. d., which lasted until 1971 - when replaced with the current decimal system. 20 shillings made one pound and 12 pence (pennies) made up one shilling.

    The actual charges for the six months and 17 days between the 16th June 1525, and the end of December, were added up by Richard Cotton, the clerk Comptroller, to a total of £1,042. 19s. 11¾d. and the total of all the expenses, including £22. 6s. 8d., for Henry Fitzroy's installation in the Order of the Garter at Windsor, and £91. 9s. 10d., to Sir Edward Seymour, Master of the Horse, for buying horses and equipping the stables, amounted to £2,648. 6s. 5¾d. This was more than the estimate for the costs for the whole years.

    The Clerk of the Green Cloth (whose name is unknown) insisted that the total weekly expenses of the Prince's household, apart from wages, fees and liveries, should amount to not more than £25. a week. On this he clashed with Thomas Magnus, the Prince's Surveyor and General Receiver. Magnus proved that it came to above £50 a week.

    The struggle with the accounts and the conflicts it caused with the other members of staff, became too much for the (unnamed) Clerk of the Green Cloth, who collapsed and died. Thomas Magnus, Richmond's Surveyor and Receiver said that the strain of trying to put the Prince's household accounts in order had killed him.

    Correspondence with the King of Scots (Richmond's cousin)

    The 14-year old King James V (son of Henry VIII's elder sister Margaret) wrote to Magnus, asking if he could send some of the special hunting dogs, which were trained to sit on the horse behind the rider.

    He knew Magnus well since in October 1524 Thomas Magnus along with Roger Radclyff, were sent by Henry VIII to Edinburgh to take letters and gifts to his sister Margaret and her son, James V of Scotland. He also visited Margaret at Perth in March 1525 to take her letters and news. And there had been other visits.

    Magnus suspected that this was really an excuse to send a messenger to report on Richmond and his household.

    James V was first in line as male heir to the English throne (in 1603 his grandson James VI did become King of England). So James V and his mother were not happy when Henry VIII started promoting his bastard son as his potential heir. Magnus suggested that Richmond should write to his cousin himself, and the Council approved. Richmond wrote to James V, telling him he was sending ten couples of hounds, and his "yeman hunte", Nicholas Eton to stay with them for a month to train the dogs.

    James V replied to Richmond's letter, and with his letter sent a present of two brace of hounds (ie 4 dogs) for hunting deer and smaller creatures, and promising that if his cousin liked hawking he would send him at the right season, some of the best red hawks in his realm.

    James V also wrote to Magnus thanking him for "the acquentence making beetuix us and our tender (young) cousing the duk of Richemonde."


    Henry VIII not so well

    In 1527, Henry VIII started getting problems with his legs. It began with what appears to have been an open ulcer on his left leg which would not heal. Henry VIII was very interested in what we now call science. And as well as using the remedies of his doctors, and apothecaries, he made up his own. His prescription book contains many receipes for his ailments, especially ointments for the problems with his legs. And some other parts.

    The medicines and ointments contained many what is now known as potentially toxic ingredients, and as he was using the ointments and plasters on his legs frequently that could not have helped his health generally. It is possible he was beginning to get type 2 diabetes, especially considering the huge amount of sugary food he put away. At a time when sugar was imported from Indonesia so an extremely expensive luxury. Added to a diet rich in meat and animal fats, the result would be that he continued to put on weight and was to become morbidly obese.

    Descriptions of his various health problems show type 2 diabetes was likely. And the ulcers on his legs and circulation problems were one of the symptoms. There may also have been a genetic tendency to diabetes - which might have accounted for, or at least contributed to, the early deaths of his brothers and both his sons. Edward VI certainly had those symptoms.

    Amongst the remedies actually devised by Henry VIII for his own use were plasters for his legs such as one that "resolves humoures which there is swellynge in the legges", and another "to ease the payne and swelling abowt the ankles". There were also many remedies for another part of his body causing problems such as the "King's Grace's oyntement to coole and dry and comfort the Member", and another "to dry excoriations and comforte the membre". This looks like he was paying for his youthful exploits when invading France, or passing time at home. And may account for his problems in getting heirs.

    Henry VIII's interest in making his own remedies was not unusual. Most people at the time, especially women did this. However Henry could afford the attendance of the best apothecaries available, his interest was just a hobby. It was one hobby he would have in common with his third wife, Jane Seymour.

    Henry VIII's new and increasing health problems would cause him think more about his future and his heirs again. And his tomb. When the Italian sculptor Pietro Torrigiano had completed the monumental tomb for Henry's parents in Westminster Abbey, Henry had commissioned him to make an even bigger one for himself and Katherine. But Torrigiano had enough of England and left for Spain in 1519 (where he was to fall foul of the Inquisition and died in prison in 1528). Early in 1527, Henry VIII commissioned another Italian sculptor, Jacopo Sansovino for a tomb for himself and Katherine at a price of 75,000 ducats. So he was not contemplating ditching his wife at that time.


    "We have enough bastards of our own"

    Henry VIII was now also trying to take some advantage for himself in the war in Italy between France and the Emperor Charles V.

    In February 1527, negociations were being made with regard to a possible marriage between the Duke of Richmond and the Pope's "niece", the orphaned Catherine d'Medici. She was actually a second cousin of the current Pope, Clement VII. Her parents had died very soon after she was born, and she had been passed from one guardian to another and from one convent boarding school to another, eventually becoming part of Clement VII's family, being brought up with his two sons. (That might be her picture with the armilliary).

    The opponents of the Emperor were trying to tempt Henry VIII into joining them in the war on their side. The Venetian ambassador reported: "It was agreed that Henry VIII would receive from enemy territory in Italy 30,000 ducats annually for his natural son who is to be his successor." Cardinal Wolsey was to get 10,000 ducats for arranging the alliance. The money was to come from the territories they were yet to reconquer.

    When in March, 1527, the Imperial troops sacked Rome, Henry VIII looked to an alliance with the Emperor. In April Wolsey was informed that the King was proposing to give the Duke of Richmond and Somerset "who is near of his blood an of excellent qualities, and is already furnished to keep the state of a great prince, and yet may easily by the King's means exalted to higher things, to some noble princess of near blood to the Emperor, to strengthen the bond between them."

    Henry's ambassadors were making enquiries about eligible young princesses for the Duke of Richmond. Amongst them, the Queen of Denmark's daughters, nieces of the Emperor. Another candidate as bride for Henry VIII's son, was the "daughter of Portugal", that was the Infanta Maria, Duchess of Viseu, born 18th June 1521. The daughter of King Manuel I and Eleanor, sister to Charles V, who was to become the 2nd wife of François Ier. However Maria's brother, John III, rebuffed the idea of Maria marrying Henry VIII's son, with the comment "we have enough bastards of our own". Maria was to remain unmarried. Her sister Isabella married Charles V on the 11th March 1526.


    Henry VIII tries some exploration of the world

    May 1527 Henry VIII sent two of his ships under the command of John Rut, "to seek strange regions". One ship disappeared. The other ship the "Mary Guildford" with Rut on board, turned up in Puerto Rico. Where they wanted to trade with the locals. The Spanish officials were not sure whether to allow this, and the "Mary Guildford" went home.


    Henry VIII plans to make his son his legitimate heir

    In 1527, the King sent Richard Croke off to the Vatican to check out the possibilities of making his bastard son his legitimate heir. Croke sent Richmond presents a school boy his age would like, such as a model Venetian galley, but may have been relieved to escape Sheriff Hutton.

    Being paid to browse through Europe's greatest libraries may have seemed like a dream job for the academic Croke.


    Henry VIII now thinks he could solve his problems of getting an heir, by divorcing his old wife and getting a younger one.

    Croke soon discovered a catch. His brief changed.

    In March 1527, Pope Clement VII had granted Henry VIII's sister Margaret her petition to divorce her husband Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, father of her daughter Margaret, and she was able to marry Henry Stewart on 3 March 1528.

    Encouraged by his sister's experience, in September, 1527, Henry VIII starting looking into an alternative possibility - instead of legitimizing his bastard son, he could divorce Katherine and marry a younger woman to provide himself with a legitimate son.

    But unlike Margaret's 2nd husband, the Earl of Angus, Katherine had never behaved in any manner that would give her husband a reason for divorce. (Although she could have easily found some legal reasons to divorce her husband under modern laws).

    And Henry VIII would still have to find a young foreign Princess willing to take Katherine's place, if it were possible. Now 36, losing his hair and putting on weight, he was not quite the hunk he thought he still was. But no one at his own court in his own country was going to tell him. He was expecting that he would be able to chose his next queen, from a number of young and attractive foreign princesses, once he was back on the market.

    Richard Croke was ordered to look up any legal loopholes which would make the King's marriage to Katherine null and void.

    This was not just a domestic matter for the King, it would affect foreign policy.

    Rome and the Pope were now controlled by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who happened to be Queen Katherine's nephew.

    Not a champion of women's rights, he left his own mother locked up in solitary confinement in Spain, as she was the real heir to, and Queen of, the Spanish Empire.

    But the situation with his Aunt Katherine was different. There politics were involved in the balance of power in Europe, between France and the Empire. Charles V had been formally betrothed to Princess Mary in 1522, when she was 6 and he was 22. But he was not going to wait for Mary to grow up, in 1526, he married his cousin Isabella of Portugal.

    The sack of Rome on 6th May 1527, had destroyed many of its grand new buildings, and the fountains supplying clean water, and left squalid slums in the ruins. The streets were full of rampaging soldiers, looters and arsonists, muggers, destitute beggars and prostitutes. Those who could, left. Rome was not at present, a civilized city. Henry VIII's sculptor Jacopo Sansovino had scarpered, and found new commissions in Venice, leaving Henry with his plans and drawings, for a vast edifice of marble and rare oriental stones, gilded angels, life-size images of Henry and Katherine, and life-size statue of the King on horseback under a triumphal arch, St.George, and about 34 other saints, prophets, apostles, etc. But nothing was ever built.

    And Rome was no longer a friendly and pleasant place for Croke either. Not only because the infra-structure had been destroyed, and then looted and occupied by foreign mercenaries. Croke found that he was being watched, he had been threatened, and he had to work undercover, with false names, secret addresses and disguise. What had seemed like an academic exercise was now dangerous espionage. He moved further north into the parts like Venice now also part of the Holy Roman Empire under Charles V.


    Palsgrave and Holbein

    When Croke left for Italy, John Palsgrave was Richmond's tutor, faced with the task of getting his education and behaviour up to the standard demanded by his father, and which had been accomplished by Princess Mary.

    Palsgrave had taught French to the King's sister Mary, and to the maids of honour including Richmond's mother. He was working on what was to be the first English-French text book: L'élaircissement de La Langue Française which was published in 1530 when Palsgrave had the time to finish it. Richmond became fluent in French - which was useful when he went to stay with the French Princes.

    French was still an international language and the language of diplomacy. Latin, though, seemed less useful. It had been essential for academics. Education had been in the hands of the Catholic Church and there had been little else to read but religious texts. There were some books dealing with what we would call science, history, and also romantic stories and poetry. But not many. Handwritten with hand painted illustrations, they were expensive works of art.

    The opening up of the trade routes from Central Asia and China had brought the knowledge of printing and making paper to print on, to Europe. The printing press was soon adapted in the 15th century to turning out much cheaper and therefore more accessible, books in practical and other topics as well as religious. There was a rapidly increasing demand for books in the reader's own language, and also, artists to provide the engraved illustrations. Which as the Catholic Church lost its power in northern Europe, and the new churches shunned decoration, provided alternative work for artists like Holbein and Dürer. Local schools were being founded sponsored by prominent citizens and guilds, to teach children the reading, writing, and arithmetic now essential in everyday life. And academics like Palsgrave could write their own text-books for their pupils and others. Which meant they now had to think more themselves about what to teach and how to present the material.

    Latin was far from obsolete, a new modern form of Latin was now developed which harked back to the Romans, rather than the corrupted medieval Latin of the Church. A good example is the "Commentaries of Caesar" which Richmond had to plod through. It is still used in schools, (we still had it for Latin in the 1950s) because as a soldier, rather than a philosopher or orator, Julius Caesar wrote very clearly and simply. This "modern" Latin was essential for the publication of books which were distributed internationally. Books on astronomy, physics, engineering, mathematics, medicine, etc. (for example Newton's Principia) were all published in Latin first, up to the 18th century. It was the international language, for science, just as French remained the international language for diplomacy.

    Teachers advocating the new modern Latin clashed with those backing medieval Latin.

    The other conflict at that time was between traditional teachers beating knowledge into children by beating them if they got something wrong (like Croke, handicapped by being unable to beat the son of the King, and notoriously, Nicolas Udall when Headmaster of Eton) and the modern approach by making the child want to learn by making it fun and interesting at their own level.

    Beating had not worked. Henry Fitzroy, responded to Croke "Teacher if you beat me I will beat you." And in fact young Henry knew he was safe, Croke could not lay hands on the King's son. But Croke also had problems when it came to hitting the other boys in the class. Croke complained they were rescued by the Usher (the assistant teacher who was supposed to administer the birch) who said it was "improper to unbreech them before so great a Prince, and that they ought to be taken to the bedchamber".

    One of the pioneers of the modern approach to make the lessons interesting for the child, was John Palsgrave. In 1513 he was appointed to teach French to Henry VIII's sister Princess Mary. He also taught the maids of honour, amongst them, Henry Fitzroy's mother Elizabeth Blount who seems to have been one of his star pupils. He was working on a new French grammar and dictionary.

    Palsgrave was already listed as one of Richmond's councillors, and as schoolmaster. Now, Croke was dispatched to Italy, he had to take over his schoolmaster role. Palsgrave and Elizabeth were in constant correspondence about the upbringing and welfare of her son. Separated as she was from her child, Palsgrave kept her informed of his progress and the problems he had with organising his education. (Cal. S.P. Henry VIII, vol. iv. 5807. Childe-Pemberton pp. 163-169)

    Palsgrave had no problem getting Richmond to study subjects that looked useful. Richmond tried to get his own way by refusing anything that looked boring. Palsgrave was now free to apply his own methods to educate a reluctant schoolboy. Perhaps he used suggestions made by Elizabeth who had three more children to bring up herself and now had some experience with young children. We do not know for sure as most of the correspondence has not survived. But certainly they did correspond. Palsgrave also had been working at Sheriffhutton a couple of years so far though mostly in the office. He thought he could get Richmond interested in his studies by the prospect of a much wished for reward, and by picture books which made the lessons more entertaining. (A strategy that was eventually taken up as a better way of educating children than the use of violence - but was to take a long time to be adopted.)

    The promised reward, negociated with Richmond's father Henry VIII, was his first suit of armour. And he had to wait until both teacher and parent were satisfied with his progress.

    It looks like he had already grown out of the first suit of armour and had to wait for a new bigger suit to be ready once he had convinced his dad of his progress.

    in Leeds ArmouriesAt age seven it was usual for aristocratic boys to get their first suit of armour. They did not take part in real combat until they were in their teens, but by 7 or 8 they could be dressed up in battle armour, for combats on foot at tournaments, for for ceremonial parades etc. (More information can be found in the Leeds Armouries where photo of display of boy's armour and swords, was taken). So Richmond was now wanting his armour. But he was going to have to work for it.

    It was not until January 1528, when he was nearly 9, that Richmond was finally allowed to write to his father and to Wolsey, asking "for on harnes to exercyse my selff yn armys accordying to my erudition in the commentaryes off Caesar."

    The picture is of a boy's armour made about this time which is now in the Leeds Armouries museum. The latest fashion for armour in 1528, was covered with acid etchings filled with gold, very decorative and flamboyant, though not quite as ornate as the armour later in the century. This even applied to armour which might be outgrown before it was ready to be worn - that is if it was to be worn by a young prince.

    Acid etching of metal was even more useful as a means of printing - artists were soon using it for illustrations. And Richmond's tutors would have welcomed new methods for illustrating books and making them more interesting for reluctant school boys.

    Richmond had to wait until July 1528, before Magnus brought up his specially made suit of armour from the Royal Greenwich armouries, to Sheriff Hutton. In addition he brought up specially made, bows, arrows, quivers and spare bow strings which the King had ordered for his son from his own bowyers.

    Palsgrave had also asked the King to send a painter to illustrate words, so the Prince (as he was always referred to now) could learn the names of things in Latin by looking at the pictures.

    The King recommended an artist from Basel, who had illustrated a book for Erasmus, painted his portrait, and was now staying with Thomas More working on the (now famous) portraits of his family. He was also commissioned for portraits for the merchants in the Steelyard - that part of London which was German speaking and governed separately from the rest of the city. And Henry VIII had been impressed with his work and already was to employ him himself on a massive and important project.

    Hans Holbein was to be sent up to Sheriffhutton when he had finished the work he had been commissioned to do for the King.

    Holbein was a friend not only of Erasmus and Thomas More but of the astronomer Nicolas Kratzer, who had designed sundials at Oxford, taught astronomy to Thomas More's daughters and was to become Henry VIII's astronomer as well as his friend and drinking partner. And his portrait surrounded by his astronomical instruments was to bring Holbein his fame.

    Part of the inscription on a sundial that Kratzer did the calculations for at Oxford says: "Nicolas Kratzer, the Bavarian who was of Munich, caused me to tell all the hours. He also at that time lectured to his pupils on astronomy, and much learning he handed down. He was then the astronomer of King Henry, of that name the eighth, who held him very dear. The stone cutter was English, the other German, at the time when I was the admiration of the whole age. Both men drank ever in the German fashion, and could swallow all the liquor that there was."

    Holbein and Kratzer spoke the same language - German - since Kratzer was from Munich and Holbein originally from Augsburg, his home was now in Basel. This was convenient because Kratzer refused to learn English.

    In February, 1527 Kratzer and Holbein collaborated on the ceiling for a temporary royal theatre at Greenwich which was to show the universe. Kratzer did the design and Holbein painted it.

    The occasion was a junket to be held at Greenwich Palace in May to celebrate the treaty between England and France.

    Princess Mary, heir to the English throne, who had once been betrothed to the Dauphin, then to Charles V (who dumped her to marry Isabella of Portugal), was now to be betrothed to Henri, the second son of the King of France. Later that year, in November, François I confered the Order of St.Michel on Henry VIII and Henry VIII made François a Knight of the Order of the Garter. This picture on the stitched cover of the presentation copy of the statutes of the Order of the Garter shows Henri and Mary. Henri was about the same age as Richmond, and so also would have been 8 years old. Mary was 11 and soon to be jilted yet again, replaced as Henri's bride by Catherine de Medici.

    Work began on assembling temporary structures at Greenwich to accomodate the visitors and entertainments, 2 large rooms, a banqueting hall and a theatre for the masques and pageants. Organised by Sir Henry Guildford, Controller of the Household (Holbein was commissioned for portraits of Guildford and his wife) and Sir Thomas Wyatt, (married but separated), whose mistress at that time was Anne Boleyn, and whose father Sir Henry Wyatt, was Treasurer of the Household.

    Holbein was responsible for painting a trompe d'oeil large mural on canvas with a triumphal arch above which was the seige of Therouanne Henry VIII's victorious battle in 1513 over the French. It was much admired by the English, who called it the "battle of Spurs" as according to them the enemy was running away. Holbein was paid £4. 10s. for it. The drawing above which is attributed to Holbein, looks like it could have been one of his sketches for the large painting. It is interesting as he has put in different weapons used by the foot soldiers. You can see a billhook, pikes, etc. We can get an idea of the design of the completed mural from a later drawing which was a copy of another painting on the same subject. The picture shows part of it.

    The central design was more tactful. A map of the world with the map over the heavens over it on a dome. Kratzer had mapped out on canvas for Holbein to paint, the map of the world for the floor, and for the dome over it the heavens above. It was described in Hall's Chronicle: "on the ground of the roof was made the whole earth, environed with the sea, like a very map or chart, and by a cunning making of another cloth, the zodiac with the twelve signs and the five circles or girdles and the two poles appeared on the earth and water compassing the same, and in the zodiac were the twelve signs curiously made, and above this were made the seven planets, as Mars, Jupiter, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Moon, every one in their proper houses made according to their properties, that it was a cunning thing and a pleasant sight to behold." For this work Holbein and Kratzer jointly received 4 shillings a day between 8th February and 3rd March.

    On the 11th March, Henry VIII, visited the site to see how the work was getting on, and the large painted cloths were temporarily raised into their final positions so he could see what it would look like.

    It would be very interesting if we could still see copies or sketches of these paintings of the Kratzer and Holbein earth and heavens in 1527. Because very soon the whole view of the earth and the universe would change. In Poland, Nicolaus Copernicus had already drafted the outline of his heliocentric theory, which was being circulated amongst other astronomers. And ships were needing more precise and detailed charts because they were travelling more than anyone from Europe had before, across the seas east and west to trade (or pillage) for spices, gold, and other things and discovering (and sometimes conquering) new places at the same time. Books by 16th century astronomers such as Peter Apian and Gemma Frisius, can give us some idea. The maps of the stars even in the practical tomes meant for navigators were embellished with bears, a lion, snake, twin fishes, and various mythical scantily clad figures, over the constellations they represented. The illustration is from a copy of part of one of the pages which had cords through the centre so the book itself could be used not only for calculations but to look at the stars.

    May 1527, when the festivities at Greenwich were taking place, Henry VIII for the first time chose Anne Boleyn as his dancing partner. And appeared at the jousts with new armour in the latest ornate fashion, etched and guilded all over with elephant and castles, the labours of Hercules, mermaids, cherubs, and animals. It is possible the decoration or some of it, was designed by Holbein. It was in the latest fashion. And had a very impressive cod-piece. It was manufactured by Henry VIII's Almain (ie German/Austrian/Swiss) armourers at Greenwich under the direction of Martin van Royane.

    Holbein's work at Greenwich was over, and he was now free to travel north to work on the picture books and portraits at Sheriff Hutton.

    Palsgrave's Latin dedication on the the picture book Holbein worked on for the Duke of Richmond has survived.

    Ad illustrissimum Henricum ducem Richomontanium

    Quo Romana modo majuscula littera pingi,
    Pingi quo possit littera parva modo,
    Hic liber ecce tibi signis monstrabit apertis
    Princeps Aonii spes et alumne gregis,
    Qui tibi si placeat, quod certe spero futurum,
    Maima pro parvo munere dona dabis.

    But not as far as is known at present, the rest of the book. It is possible that Richmond might have let Palsgrave keep this book to use at the small private school he established when he was no longer needed as his tutor.

    It is difficult to trace such things, as many copies were made of some of Holbein's drawings and paintings, over the years. Many other works were attributed to Holbein or called "School of Holbein" by archivists ignorant of the real artist. Most of his surviving drawings have been wrongly labelled by secretaries and archivists or art historians.

    This includes the (now faded) coloured chalk sketch Holbein did of the Duke of Richmond (of which this is a copy). Holbein took it with him when he returned to his wife and children in Basel. The original sketch is now in the Kunstmuseum in Basel, and had been wrongly labelled as Edward VI. However Holbein died in October 1543, and his only known portrait of Edward is as a toddler of 18 months. And the style of clothes and hair is of the 1520s not the 1540s. In the 1520s, men and boys had long hair and their shirts had a low neckline. In the 1540s, hair was cut very short and collars were very high up the neck. The picture has now been re-labelled as a boy with a monkey. Holbein's drawings from his first visit to England were on white paper with black and coloured chalks (as this drawing is).

    In the picture Richmond is cuddling the marmoset which belonged to his music teacher William Saunders, who was teaching him to play the virginals (which cost 40s. which is £2). There may have been a finished portrait, but all images of Richmond in England were later destroyed or disappeared, this small faded drawing only survived as it was in Basel.

    Marmosets like the one in the portrait, were imported from South America, and were popular pets at the time for those who could afford them. They feature in a number of contemporary paintings and portraits, including one of Queen Katherine, and one of Henry VIII's sister Queen Margaret of Scotland.

    The ostrich feather in the hat shows that the child is from a wealthy high status background since ostrich feathers were expensive. At that time Portugal was importing ostrich feathers from Africa, along with other trading goods, including gold and slaves. Not many other English school boys would have a real ostrich feather on his cap. Other indications that this is not the average schoolboy, are the gold points tying his sleeves, and the embroidered edge to his shirt.

    Since Henry VIII had plans at this time, to legitimize his son, to make him his heir, and get him on the marriage market for a Princess, a portrait would have been needed. It was not only just a spin-off from the illustrations for text books. Holbein also took the opportunity of getting commissions for portraits of some of the other people at Sheriff Hutton at the same time, including Sir William Parr. And some sketches survive.

    The same year, Holbein also finished his illustrations for an instruction book written by Kratzer on the use of an astronomical instruments intended to be given to Henry VIII as a New Year's gift. Kratzer had written the book "Canones Horoptri". It was then copied out by Pieter Meghen (who was then appointed Writer of the King's Books) on 16 vellum pages, and Holbein's job was to provide the illuminated capitals and embellishments (painted in tempera). It was then bound with covers of green velvet. It is now in the Bodleian library.

    Early in 1528, Holbein returned home to Basel to work on the sketches of the portraits he had done at Sheriffhutton, in London, and other work including jewrellry designs. The finished portraits were painted in oils on paper so easily transported by anyone he could find to carry them to England. Holbein also had commissions in Basel waiting for him to fulfill. In August 1528, he bought a new house for his family. He now had a little daughter, born while he was away in England. He painted a portrait of his wife and young son and baby daughter in that year, which survives. (more information and references).


    Long, Cold, Wet, Winter then Spring brings "The Sweat"

    Since autumn, the weather had been cold and wet with flooded fields and drowned sheep. By spring, food was scarce, prices high, and there was an epidemic of the Sweat.

    1528 brought the biggest ever epidemic of what was called "the English Sweating Sickness". Previous epidemics, such as the one in 1517 had been confined to England only. In 1528 the disease spread into Wales, and also around the Baltic and North Sea affecting the Netherlands, Poland, and other Baltic States and Denmark, Norway and Sweden. This must have been spread from London by the German speaking Hanseatic League merchants in their Headquarters in the Steelyard in London on their cargo ships carrying mainly English wool to the Baltic ports. (The last epidemic in 1551 was confined to England).

    There was an outbreak of both "The Sweat" and smallpox at Pontefract, so Richmond was moved with just five attendants, to Ledestone, a house three miles away. His father took refuge with the Queen and Princess Mary (now back with her mother) in Tittenhanger, Hertfordshire.

    The epidemic was one of the items Henry VIII's secretary, Brian Tuke (portrait on right), visited the King at Hampton Court to discuss. He had a batch of recent letters with him, including some from Wolsey. And he wrote later to Wolsey: ...."I receyved your Graces Lettres dated yesterday at Hampton Corte, with other commen oute of France and Spayn, whie after I had perused, I incontinently brouzt unto the Kings Highnes, being then commonyng secretely with his phisician M. Chambre (portrait on left) in a chamber within a Towere where his Highnes somtyme useth to suppe aparte." ........

    (both portraits taken from parts of copies of the portraits which had been commissioned from Holbein on his recent visit to England).

    After the King had read and discussed the letters, which had included a mention of Brian Tuke's embarrassing health problem "His Highness begenne to tel me a medecyn for a swelling, save your Grace's honor, in the testicles". "I immediately said his Highnes was not wel informed of my disease whiche is not there but in the bladder, and procedeth to come out hot from the kidneys. His Highnes had me by and by, and I promyse your Grace gave me as direct counsail and shewed me the remdyes as any connyng (knowledgable) phisician in England coude do.".....They then continued to talk about the epidemic of the Sweat, and the King's recommendations for avoiding catching it. And the news that William Carey had just died of it.

    Mary Carey's sister Anne Boleyn

    The earliest mention of Anne Boleyn at the English court was in 1522, as having a part in a masque along with her sister Mary, future sister-in-law Jane Parker, and many other ladies of the court including the King's sister Mary, now Duchess of Suffolk. While Anne's planned betrothal to James Butler floundered, she met the son of the Earl of Northumberland, Henry Percy who was in service with Wolsey. They became betrothed and married quietly and secretly. Marriages were not formally registered then, and as they had gone through a religious ceremony conducted by a priest in a chapel, and slept together, it was then regarded as a legal marriage. Henry Percy was 20 then and Anne a year or two older. Henry Percy's parents had already arranged a bride for him, Mary Talbot, they were furious and asked Wolsey and Henry VIII to break up the relationship of their son with Anne Boleyn.

    Anne's parents were still trying to arrange to marry Anne to James Butler, and this totally scuppered that arrangement. Henry Percy was forced to marry Mary Talbot who left him after having a baby, stillborn - but she had done what she had been forced to do. She then tried to get an annulment of the marriage, on the grounds that her husband had already been married to Anne Boleyn.

    Anne had lost her position at the court after her relationship with Henry Percy was broken up.

    They were in fact legally married. A marriage was binding once the contract had been agreed whether or not they had a church ceremony. And they did have a church ceremony. It appears they never lost their feelings for each other, or at least Henry Percy had not. Years later in 1536 Henry Percy was forced to be present at Anne's trial and fainted when the verdict was given. He never regained his health and died not long after.

    Anne later had a brief relationship with Thomas Wyatt, and also had the odd fling with other men employed at, or associated with, the court. Anne blamed Wolsey for separating her from Henry Percy, and was to get her revenge. For which she needed to become politically powerful. Anne was now to go after replacing her sister as the King's mistress.

    Anne Boleyn closing in on the King

    In 1526, Henry VIII had the old original castle up on the hill at Greenwich (where the observatory was later built) renovated. William Carey was appointed keeper of the manor, garden and tower of Pleasaunce (Greenwich palace). This was a source of income but does not mean he had to live there. The building was renamed Mireflore, and intended to be used as a banqueting house for hunting parties and to house guests. Henry VIII could have used the tower as an observatory, but he is famously known to have used it to accomodate his current mistress. He used to visit by barge down the Thames, and was usually accompanied by his standard bearer Sir Andrew Flamock, who he found amusing company. On one occasion, it was reported: Henry VIII had Sir Andrew Flamock, his standard bearer with him in his barge when going from Westminster to Greenwich "to visit a fair Lady whom the king loved and was lodged in the tower of the Park". "The King coming within sight of the tower and being disposed to be merry said 'Flamock let us rhyme'. 'As well as I can' said Flamock 'if it please your grace'. The king began: 'Within this towre, There lieth a flowre, That hath my hart'. Flamock answered: 'Within this howre, She pist full sower, And let a fart.'" Henry had liked Flamock's coarse sense of humour. Until now.(Puttenham, Chappell, Siemens).

    The mistress in the tower was thought to have been Mary Carey (since her husband was Keeper), but she had her second child that year, 1526, so it could have been her sister Anne Boleyn who was staying there.

    While her sister was the King's mistress, Anne had to work at making new contacts and getting back to court officially. From the date of this letter written by Anne Boleyn at the end of 1526, she had made sure the King started noticing her as someone who could fill in while her sister, Mary Carey, was still recovering from the birth of her son Henry born in March 1526. Note the clever wording. Now about 25 or 26 years old, Anne Boleyn had managed to get back at court officially, as a maid of honour to the Queen, as her carefully worded letter to the King shows. (modernized spelling)

    "Sire, It belongs only to the august mind of a great king, to whom Nature has given a heart full of generosity towards the sex, to repay by favours so extraordinary an artless and short conversation with a girl. Inexhaustible as is the treasury of your majesty's bounties, I pray you to consider that it cannot be sufficient to your generosity; for, if you recompense so slight a conversation by gifts so great, what will you be able to do for those who are ready to consecrate their entire obedience to your desires? How great soever may be the bounties I have received, the joy that I feel in being loved by a king whom I adore, and to whom I would with pleasure make a sacrifice of my heart, if fortune had rendered it worthy of being offered to him, will ever be infinitely greater.
    The warrant of maid of honor to the queen induces me to think that your majesty has some regard for me, since it gives me means of seeing you oftener, and of assuring you by my own lips (which I shall do on the first opportunity) that I am,
    Your majesty's very obliged and very obedient servant, without any reserve, Anne Bulen.

    The letter is carefully worded but certainly does not accord with the myth that Anne was unwilling, she had clearly pushed past her sister and was going to stay put. But Anne was not anywhere near her final goal yet. It was not until 1528, that Anne's brother George, to whom she had become very close, was made a "Gentleman of the King's Privy chamber", and "Esquire of the Body".


    Henry VIII's sister Margaret's divorce gives Henry a new idea.

    As mentioned, in March 1527, Pope Clement VII granted Queen Margaret of Scotland - Henry VIII's sister - a divorce from her second husband. The news took nearly a year to reach her, and then she was able marry her third husband, Henry Stewart, on 3rd March 1528. This gave her brother, Henry VIII, who was not getting much success finding a princess for his bastard son, a new plan. He could get the Pope to grant him a divorce, from Queen Katherine, and marry a new younger wife, one who can produce legitimate sons. At that time, thanks to Wolsey's arrangements, the woman who had given birth to the King's much loved son, was married. Henry was thinking of a political alliance with a foreign princess. But meanwhile another woman at his court was getting ambitions and would see the new potential to be more than the King's mistress like her sister and so many others. She could aim at becoming the next Queen.


    Anne Boleyn getting a little closer to the King

    William Carey had died on 23 June 1528 at Pleshey Castle in Essex, leaving his wife Mary, and two children Catherine who was 4 and Henry, aged 2, born March 1526. Legally Carey was the father, but it was well known that they could have been fathered by Henry VIII.

    Henry VIII took up with Anne Boleyn while her sister Mary, was having her second child. Anne seems to have made sure the substitute would be permanent. Meanwhile although her own family and that of her husband were very well off, Mary was left almost destitute since widows did not automatically inherit from their husbands, not even the care of their own children.

    Anne Boleyn asked the King for the wardship of Henry Carey. She was paid for this job, it was not really the caring instinct of an aunt. Little Henry Carey was dumped into a boarding school in a Cistercian monastery. A few years later Mary managed to retrieve her son, and with both her children rebuilt her life with a new husband - William Stafford.

    In 1528, because of the epidemic of "the Sweat", although she had just attracted the attention of the King, Anne was back living at her parents home of Hever. Here she and her brother become ill, but both soon recovered. Henry VIII stayed well away and wrote to her. These letters to and from Anne Boleyn from this time have survived - they had turned up a long time later in the Vatican - it is still a mystery how they got there and why and if they are all genuine. But certainly Anne's education under the Regent, who used to organise "Courts of Love", was about to pay dividends.

    Economic problems - Wolsey blamed.

    The wet weather since 1526, had destroyed harvests, and pastures, so cattle died, and the price of grain soared. In 1526 it had rained day and night from the 12th April until the 3rd of June, so by 1527 there was no bread to be had in London and many people died. The King sent his own provisions of loaves of bread. The carts were loaded at Stratford and when they reached Mile End they were mobbed by so many citizens, that the mayor and sheriffs had to go and rescue the carts and see them safe to the appointed markets. The Merchants of the Steelyard (who were mostly from German speaking parts of Europe) imported stores of wheat and rye from Danzig. This meant that London then had more and cheaper flour for bread making than the rest of the country. Even then the price was very high, too much for many people. And the King complained he was not getting his deliveries.

    The rising prices for food and the epidemics and deaths, led to complaints about the King and his government. The King deviated all blame upon Wolsey, who was to suffer.

    With Wolsey demoted and out of power, the government of the country had changed, and this included the King's Council in the North. The new Warden of the Marches was the Earl of Northumberland, who invited Richmond to stay for a night at his house of Topcliff, near Thirsk. Richmond had behaved very well according to Magnus.

    The Earl and Countess of Westmoreland brought their four-year old son and heir, Henry Neville to join Richmond's companions at Sheriff Hutton.

    Richmond mentions this in a letter to his father: (SP dom. II, 119)

    In my mooste humble and mooste lawly maner I beseche your highenes off your daily blissynge, Advertisinge the same that, thankes be to God and to yowr said highenes, I have paste this last Sommere withoute any perelle or daunger off the regious swete that haithe dreigned in these partis and other, and myche the better I truste with the helpe off suche preservatives as your highenes did sende unto me, wheroff mooste humble and mooste lawly I thanke the same, Acertainynge yowre grace that at this present tyme be here withe me my lorde off Wistmoorlande and my lady his wyffe, and have broughte unto me to attend upon me the lorde nevelle thaire sonne and haire. And thus almightety God have you, my mooste dradde soveraine lorde, in his mooste blessyd preservacion. At my Castelle off Shereff hooton, with the hand of your lawly servant,

    The Westmorelands were well rewarded for dumping their son so young. By 1546, he had gambled away his entire inheritance, was deeply in debt, and imprisoned in the Fleet, not just for unpaid debts but because he had tried to murder his father to get his money, and his wife, (although they had two children), so he could then find a richer woman to marry, by using witchcraft and magic. (Alec Ryrie: The Sorcerer's Tale, 2008). He was employing the same magicians who had promised him success in gambling with a magic ring. Which clearly had not worked. So he had not gained much from his priviledged education.

    The King's Son


    Henry VIII now looking for excuses to annul his marriage to Queen Katherine

    In 1529, Henry VIII was looking for religious experts who would support and find a plausible religious reason his marriage of 20 years, sanctioned by a papal dispensation, should not now be valid. Divorce would be difficult as unlike his sister's ex, Katherine had always behaved perfectly and given him no reason for a divorce. He had to find a way of establishing that his marriage of more than 20 years was invalid.

    He found and employed a new religious adviser, Jacobus Calchus, an Italian Carmelite friar, to address the crucial issues of the divorce and the break with Rome which seemed now needed to get it. Calchus finished his treatise in 1530, in a closely argued and handwritten text which concluded by stating that Henry could defy Rome and remain true to God. He was paid £23 6s. 8p. "by way of reward", as noted by Thomas Cromwell in his accounts.

    The King now also organised more local help in Italy for Richard Croke, who was now involved in investigating any religious loop-hole to justify Henry VIII divorcing Queen Katherine. The new men he engaged on this quest were Jerome de Ghinucci, Bishop of Worcester, (who actually lived in Rome not Worcester, and had been Secretary to Pope Julius II). And John de la Fossa.

    It was costing Henry VIII money. The German, Italian, and Hebrew scholars, and other religious experts that they consulted in what is now mostly Northern Italy, needed paying for their help in their investigations in giving their interpretations of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. (The parts of the Bible containing the restrictions on marriage). No one seemed really sympathetic to Henry VIII's desire to get rid of Queen Katherine, especially since her nephew now ruled over them. And they were also threatened by the powerful Turkish empire in the east. They took his money though. Had bills to pay, especially when their property had been damaged in the war.

    Henry was also still paying his local representatives in Italy like Gregorio Casali. Croke did not get on with most of them. He was far too aware that they had their own interests in receiving money from Henry VIII, without annoying Charles V. And the Pope as a Medici, wanted Florence back from Charles V, Katherine's nephew, so he was not going to do anything to annoy him either.

    Croke, De la Fossa, and Ghinucci, also needed money to live on. The money sent by Henry VIII did not stretch very far. On the 2nd of March Croke complained to Ghinucci that De La Fossa was "miserably in want" and unable to ensure the help of those whom he had already obtained for the King's side. He had received nothing. Ten days later Croke complained that De La Fossa refused to give Croke any more money, and he needed 70 crowns or he will perish from hunger.


    June 1529 - Queen Katherine called into court

    The court was presided over by Cardinal Wolsey and the Pope's Legate Cardinal Campeggio. Campeggio was elderly and frail, and the proceedings had to wait until he had recovered from his journey. He was under the impression that Katherine would agree to enter a convent. Taking holy orders dissolved any marriage.

    He underestimated Katherine. If her portrait commissioned shortly before this time can be relied on, Katherine certainly had not given up bothering about her appearance as some later historians make out. She is clearly wearing cosmetics, including face powder, and rouge (also used as lipstick then), and is gorgeously dressed.

    She was dressed as a Queen, in a sumptuous dress, complete with train sweeping behind her, when her name was called to enter the court. The trial was based on the premise put forward by Henry VIII that his marriage was unlawful as his wife had been married before and the marriage was consumated. Only Katherine knew if that was true or not and she had her daughter to protect as well as her own position. And there had been a dispensation from the Pope, Alexander Borgia, on the grounds that the marriage to Arthur was consummated, to allow her marriage to his brother Henry! So either way, the marriage was actually legal.

    When Katherine's name was called, she walked in, knelt before her husband and gave her famous speech. Which began:

    Sire, I beseech you, for all the loves that hath been between us, and for the love of God, let me have justice and right. Take of me some pity and compassion, for I am a poor woman and stranger born out of your dominion. I have here no assured friend, and much less indifferent counsel. I flee to you as the head of justice within this realm.
    Alas, Sire, where have I offended you? Or what occasion have you of displeasure, that you intend to put me from you? I take God and all the world to witness that I have been to you a true, humble and obedient wife, ever conformable to your will and pleasure. I have been pleased and contented with all the things wherein you had delight and dalliance. I never grudged a word or countenance, or showed a spark of discontent. I loved all those whom ye loved only for your sake, whether I had cause or no, and whether they were my friends or enemies. This twenty years and more I have been your true wife, and by me ye have had divers children, though it hath pleased God to call them out of this world, which hath been no fault in me. And when ye had me at the first, I take God to be my judge, I was true maid, without touch of man; and whether it be true or no, you put it to your conscience.
    If there be any just cause by the law that you can allege against me, either of dishonesty or any other impediment, to put me from you, I am well content to depart, to my shame and dishonour. If there be none, I must lowly beseech you, let me remain in my former estate and receive justice at your princely hands.

    When she had finished her speech she turned and swept out of the hall - and ignored the calls for her return.

    Katherine's speech in her defence was to be made famous by Shakespeare.

    August 1524

    Henry VIII calls a new Parliament. And his son is back at court.

    On the 9th August, 1529, the ten-year old Duke of Richmond was summoned to be one of the temporal lords (ie the ones who were not members of the clergy such as bishops) in the new Parliament, called by the King to lay charges against Cardinal Wolsey. Wolsey had not succeeded in satisfying Henry VIII's wishes to find a means of annulling his marriage to Queen Katherine, so he was going to take the flack on everything that had gone wrong with the economy and Henry VIII's life.

    Henry VIII seized all Wolsey's possessions, including his palaces of Hampton Court and York Place, which the King had occupied anyway since 1525. Hampton Court had in fact been leased to Wolsey by the Knights Hospitallers, and Wolsey had occupied York Place as Archbishop of York, and Durham Place as Bishop of Durham, neither they or many other properties the King bagged had actually been owned by Wolsey. Henry VIII ignored any claims by the actual legal owners of the properties he wanted for himself. At York Place he had the builders in, and a large number of neighbouring houses destroyed, leaving the owners without any recompense for the loss of their homes and businesses. This was to extend the building with the latest Italian trend in long galleries leading to the new park he was planning. (Hence the surviving parks there). No apartment for the Queen was planned, but there was a newly decorated suite of rooms for Anne Boleyn. (York Place was later renamed Whitehall and was where Charles I was publically executed). Some of the Tudor palace does remain but is concealed in the later rebuilding.

    Wolsey's loyal servants remained in his service even though they could not be paid. Many of his officers were to be re-employed by the King. Thomas Cromwell, Wolsey's secretary, took charge, and collected enough money to pay Wolsey's servants their outstanding wages. He was eventually to take Wolsey's place as the King's right hand man.

    The King did not have the power to remove every thing from Wolsey and his family. To give his partner Joan respectable security, Wolsey had arranged a marriage for her to George Legh of Adlington and they were to live in Cheshunt Great House near Waltham Abbey. His two children by Joan, also were provided for. Wolsey was still Archbishop of York and moved north to Yorkshire where he was welcomed. But the stress had got to him and he became seriously ill.

    Henry VIII needs more brass for cannons

    On the 12th August 1529, Henry VIII sent his astronomer Nicolas Kratzer, on a geological expedition. Along with Hugh Boystell and Hans Bour, he was "sent to search the King's woods and mines in Cornwall, Devonshire and other parts, and to try and melt the ore". They were paid £15 for this scientific work. What they were looking for in the rocks was calamine which contains zinc. Useful not just for Henry VIII's apothecary set, but also for needed for making brass or a form of bronze in an alloy which was better than cast iron or wrought iron for cannons. Get the alloy and manufacture wrong and instead of killing the enemy it could explode and kill the gunners.

    Henry VIII was going to need more and better weapons. His treatment of Katherine would alienate her powerful relatives such as her nephew Charles V, as well as many of his own subjects.

    Christmas at Windsor, 1529.

    Henry VIII, certain the annulment of his marriage was a matter which would soon be easily settled, had started to make changes to his personal situation at Christmas 1529.

    This was celebrated by the King, Queen, and the rest of the Court at Windsor Castle. But there were changes. These changing circumstances brought about by Henry VIII's plan to divorce the Queen, meant the King's son Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, could move from Sheriffhutton, back to be with his father at court.

    The Duke of Richmond was allocated the suite of rooms which previously had usually been given to the King's legitimate daughter, Mary, Princess of Wales. She was now given a less important suite. Both Henry VIII's children were now with their father at court. Mary was no longer based at Ludlow and Henry Fitzroy was longer the nominal head of the Council of the North. These two bodies were re-organised. Mary would no longer be Princess of Wales and was to lose her title as Princess. Henry Fitzroy was treated as the King's son and a royal prince.

    This Christmas 1529, Queen Katherine was still in her own apartments at Windsor. Anne Boleyn was installed in newly refurbished suite of seven rooms with a bedroom which had originally been designed for one of Edward IV's mistresses with a pattern of small mirrors all over the ceiling. Here Anne could wait for the King to visit her, while resting on the massive eleven-foot square bed with silver embroidered drapes the King had ordered for her, in the black satin nightgown edged with fur he had bought her which matched the fur-lined mantle (coat, wrap or dressing-gown), the King had ordered from his tailor Malt to make for her. Playing with fabulous necklaces and other jewelry Henry had spent twice as much as his annual gambling debts on. (Equivalent to millions today). And listening to the music provided by the young musician Mark Smeaton on the virginals.

    According to evidence later given by the women who waited on her, Mark, (who was still very young probably still in his teens), was sometimes concealed in the cupboard where night-time snacks were kept, until Anne called her waiting woman on duty "Margaret! bring me a little marmalade" when he was undressed and brought in to her ready for her entertainment. (Marmalade then was actually more of a sweet jelly, made from quinces, or peaches, and other fruit with enough natural pectin, and cut up into cubes to eat as sweets. Toyboys for rich women probably much the same as now).


    Richmond now with his father at court

    Since he was now looking for a legal way to dump her, Henry VIII was no longer going to consider Queen Katherine's feelings about having his bastard son at the court. Richmond was now old enough to attend Parliament as a member of the House of Lords, and this had given Henry VIII a good reason to bring his son back to his court to be with him. In addition, Richmond was made Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.

    His household was then re-organised. At eleven years old, he no longer needed his nurse and Anne Partridge was pensioned off. In 1530, she received a "reward" from the King of 40s. (£2), and in May 1530, she was granted an annuity of £20. Twice as much pension as she had been paid in wages. By this time her husband had died - she is named as "widow", the grant gave her an income. She moved to a house in London, in the parish of St.Andrew by the Wardrobe. (Which was all destroyed in the 1666 fire and bombed in the Blitz). Her son Harry Partridge remained in service with Henry Fitzroy.

    (Information from L&P and "A Who's Who of Tudor Women", by Kathy Emerson. And History of St.Andrew by the Wardrobe which tells you how it got called that.)

    Richmond's schoolmaster, John Palsgrave now found he was about to be out of work. From now on Henry VIII took personal responsibility for his son's education.

    When struggling with Richmond's education at Sheriffhutton, Palsgrave had sent a number of long letters to Richmond's mother Elizabeth. In them he complained, as Croke had done, of members of staff interfering with lessons, and did not acknowledge his importance in the care of of the "young Prince". He reminded Elizabeth that the King had said to him, (spelling modernized) Parr, and Page, "I deliver unto you three my worldly jewel, you twain (Parr and Page) to have the guiding of his body and thou Palsgrave to bring him up in virtue and learning". However the bulk of his rambling letters were mostly to remind Elizabeth how valued he was in order that she would give him a reference for his new job or see that he was kept in the household of her son the Duke of Richmond.

    Elizabeth however does not seem to have come up with much financial assistance to (as Palsgrave had put it in a another begging letter to Thomas More at the same time) "tread under foot this horrible monster poverty". And this may be why Palsgrave added to the long list of accusations collected against Wolsey that he had "begun to encourage our young gentlewomen to become our concubines by the well-marrying of Besse Blount."

    Palsgrave now had time to finish and publish his English-French textbook: L'élaircissement de La Langue Française. Published in 1530. His analysis of the grammar was very thorough. And he also paid attention to the correct pronunciation. There was an increasing demand for a such a book, but with all 3 volumes now combined in one book with more than 1,000 pages, it was too big, too heavy, and too expensive, to be of much use to travellers, and only 750 copies were ever printed.

    Palsgrave's new school he had started, was even far less successful. He only had 3 pupils, and was reduced to pleading when one of the pupils was removed by his parents. As well as books he also wrote plays. Which were more popular. Some influence from John Palsgrave's works lingers on in sayings like "deaf as a post" and "falling in love" attributed first to him.

    Richmond's mother also back at court.

    Richmond, no longer had his nurse and schoolmaster to take care of him, but now he could see his mother again, and his brothers and sister. As well as his father. Elizabeth was back in London, and she was also back at the court, though not in service to either Katherine or Anne. But at the invitation of the King.

    Elizabeth's husband, Gilbert, now Baron Tailboys, had been called to the new Parliament as a representative for Lincolnshire, in the House of Commons. So they moved into accomodation in London with their three younger children. The two boys, George and Robert, were now to live with their half-brother, the Duke of Richmond and would be in his service. However neither Elizabeth nor her daughter, also Elizabeth Tailboys, appear at this time, to have been given any official position at court either with Queen Katherine, or Anne Boleyn. Anne was openly hostile to Elizabeth, as the mother of the King's son. And especially so, after Elizabeth was widowed and people were expecting Henry to solve his problems by marrying his son's mother.

    Katherine currently remained in her position and accomodation as Queen, but had no power over her husband. Anne Boleyn was now taking her place at Henry VIII's side.

    Katherine did have a great deal of sympathy and support. From important ladies like the King's sister Mary Duchess of Suffolk, and the Duchess of Norfolk, whose sister in law was Anne Boleyn's mother. And from most of the female population of England. And that support buoyed her strength for a very good defence of her position.


    Parliament decisions

  • Act against the Poor

    One of the acts passed in 1530, by the first Parliament that Richmond attended, was to take action against the increasing numbers of desperately poor people resorting to begging in the streets.

    To solve this problem, Henry VIII had not considered helping them very much. The old and disabled could apply for a license to beg. "Sturdy vagabonds", and anyone found begging without a license would be tied to a cart and whipped until they were bloody - then returned to whichever place they had been living earlier.

  • Getting the King a divorce

    Henry VIII's main reason for calling the Parliament was purely for his own interests. He wanted Parliament to find him a legally convincing reason to get rid of his present wife and replace her with a new one.

    Elizabeth "mother of the King's son" becomes a widow. And back with Henry VIII at court.

    On the 15 April, 1530, Gilbert Tailboys, died. He was buried in the Priory at South Kyme, in a vault which is under the pulpit. In 1805 when they were laying the foundations for a new north wall, the Tailboys family vault was discovered. This contained four lead coffins. One contained the remains of Gilbert, Lord Tailboys, whose main claim to historical fame seems to have been his marriage to Elizabeth Blount, Henry VIII's mistress. His coffin was found with 3 small ones of children. The three children have not been identified.

    In 1905, a descendent of the Tailboys, James Getting, contributed to a new memorial plaque which can be seen next to the pulpit. There had been a memorial wall plaque with brass effigies (made from recycled older memorial brasses) which had suffered damage so that the brasses became detached from the marble slab which had been moved to the vestry (someone had tried to take both brasses). Only the inscription remains on that. The brass figure representing Elizabeth his wife has ended up in the British Museum. It was identified as Elizabeth by the Blount's heraldic ensignia on the dress. A full description can be found in: "South Kyme, the history of a Fenland village" by Margaret Newton, ISBN 0952481804.

    Now Elizabeth, Lady Tailboys, "mother of the King's son", was widowed, many people at or involved with, the court, or just interested in what was going on, thought Henry VIII would now be planning to marry the mother of his son when he obtained his divorce. In fact it looks like Henry VIII was thinking this himself. Elizabeth was still very attractive, and considered by those at court and foreign envoys, better looking than Anne. She may have been a few years younger than Anne, since Anne was born between 1500 and 1503, and Elizabeth was born sometime between 1504 and 1507. Still capable of having more children. And above all it would make the King's son his legitimate heir.

    Anne now had another woman besides Katherine, Henry's wife, to get out of the way of her achieving her dream of becoming the next Queen of England. Elizabeth, Lady Tailboys, the mother of the King's son.

    In 1532 a conversation was recorded between John Barlow, who worked for Anne Boleyn and had been used by her as an envoy to many places on the continent, before she was Queen. He was discussing Henry VIII's interest in Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth, Lady Tailboys, with Loys de Heylwigen, one of Charles V's Council in Brabant, and others who wanted to know what was going on. Barlow said that Elizabeth, the mother of the King's son, was "eloquent, gracious and beautiful, but the other lady was more beautiful still.

    (Anne did pay his wages!) ( Sources include: L&P Hen 8 1531-1532 and "The daring truth about Anne Boleyn" by Sylwia S. Zupanec.)

    In 1530 Anne's star was rising, she was confident that she would be the next Queen of England and mother of the King's legitimate son and heir. In that respect she must have echoed Henry's grandmother, Margaret Beaufort. Also small, dark and determined.

    By 1534, these dreams had turned sour. Anne had a daughter not the wanted son. Henry VIII and Elizabeth were sending their son joint New Year's gifts. And Henry VIII discovered Anne was behind various plots against Elizabeth to get her away from the King and the Court.

    Meanwhile, back in 1530, before Henry VIII took any new bride he had to legally get rid of his present wife, Katherine.


    Croke has hard time in Italy

    In March 1530, Pope Clement VII and the Emperor Charles V, met in Bologna to discuss and sort out their affairs after the Peace of Cambray. John De La Fossa had been ordered by Henry VIII to to be there and report back.

    Croke and his colleagues had little sympathy from the Venetian authorities, or from other Italian city states like Perugia, Bologna, Milan. Croke complained that he could not get anything from the theologians in Milan and anywhere else without money. John De La Fossa would not give him any money without the authority of Ghinucci, while Ghinucci had told Croke in a letter that he would not get more than 25 gold pieces a week.

    Croke had some positive results for Henry VIII from the Jewish scholars looking at the Hebrew texts, he consulted in the Ghettos in the cities of Northern Italy such as Venice. One helpful result for Henry VIII was that the law in Deuteronomy could mean to relate only to inheritance. But that was not much to work on.

    By 1531, Croke had enough of Northern Italy and the King's matrimonial problems. His royal pupil, Henry Fizroy, Duke of Richmond was now 12, had finished formal schooling, and was established with his father, at court, with an updated household. So Croke had no chance of returning to his former job.

    Croke decided he would return to Cambridge, back to the University where he might be better appreciated. The main problems he now encountered would be in his journey between where he was, and home, crossing the Alps, and travelling mostly on his own safely. It was going to take weeks, even months and sufficient money.

    But it was much easier now, than it would have been a year or two before. He would be able take the routes newly re-opened, (thanks to the winning Charles V currently now controlling most of Western Europe, as well as great chunks of the rest of the world), and organised across the Alps - (with a choice of taking a longer but easier route around the Alps avoiding the apparent more direct and scenic, but actually scarier bits) - via Milan and Besançon, Luxemburg, and Brussels. On each leg of the route he would be able to travel in the protection of being part of a convoy with others going that way. Then, to a port, probably Antwerp, then the richest city in Europe and one of the largest. He would have had no difficulty there finding a passage on a boat across the North Sea, with a change to a river boat - possibly at King's Lynn - down the estuaries and river, into Cambridge. This was still an important river port then, and by the bridge, you can still see some of the surviving buildings, including stables for the horses that pulled the river boats up the river, accomodation for the boatmen, and a brothel (this building still has some carvings outside showing its original purpose).

    Henry VIII continues to persecute Wolsey

    Wolsey was staying at Cawood in the palace which was an official residence of Archbishop of York. The King had no legal authority to take that from him at the time. (Eventually he was to claim all ecclesiastical property.) But he could order Wolsey back to London.

    Henry Percy, now the 6th Earl of Northumberland was sent to Cawood, to escort Wolsey back to London to be tried for treason. He was still resentful at Wolsey's parting him from Anne Boleyn at the behest of his parents to marry him to Mary Talbot. Wolsey's downfall was not going to help them but Henry Percy was pleased to be chosen to see Wolsey taken back to London for a trial and more humiliation. His forced marriage to Mary Talbot had been a failure. She soon left him and as a way out to freedom, was to sue for divorce on the grounds that he had been already married to Anne Boleyn. This earlier marriage contract was to cause worries for Anne as she was now on her way to fulfilling her dream to be Queen of England. And it was to be used later on by Henry VIII when he wanted not only to get rid of Anne but make her daughter illegitimate.

    Although he was by now seriously ill, Wolsey was forced to make the journey south. On the way back, too ill to travel any further, he stopped at Leicester Abbey, where he was accomodated and cared for. On 29th November 1530, Wolsey died "of a bloody flux" (diarrhea). He was buried in Leicester Abbey, in a dignified way with a nice tomb and memorial, but not the grand monument Wolsey had planned. The King had bagged that for himself.

    Wolsey's unfinished tomb, which he had commissioned from the Italian sculptor, Benedetto da Rovenzanno, in 1524, was now appropiated for his own afterlife by Henry VIII. Whose plans in 1527, for a grand tomb by another Italian sculptor, Jacopo Sansovino, had been aborted by the sack of Rome and his sculptor fleeing that city with the money. There was still the unfinished parts of the tomb commissioned from Torrigiano lying around St. George's chapel. But this time Henry VIII was not thinking of spending eternity with his wife Katherine but was now planning to ditch her for Anne Boleyn.

    Henry VIII never did get a magnificent tomb. His coffin exploded and he was bunged into a vault at St. George's Chapel with Jane Seymour's coffin. They were joined later by the beheaded Charles I, and a small daughter of Queen Anne.

    Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII now an Item

    During 1528 and 1529, Anne Boleyn was seldom at the court. She remained mostly at Hever in Kent one of her parent's houses. That was initially because of the epidemic, which had killed off so many of their friends and relatives.

    Henry VIII had wanted to Wolsey to arrange a house for her to live near the King in Westminster. Anne did not want to be accomodated like any other mistress and preferred to remain at a family residence away from court. Anne had worked out that since the King was now wanting to divorce his wife, she could do a lot better than follow her sister as the King's mistress. She could aim at becoming his wife and the next Queen of England.

    Then again it was not a good idea to seem directly involved as "the other woman" in the King's plans for a divorce and the downfall of Wolsey. And it was better for Henry VIII's plans that he tried to maintain the fiction that his 20 year old marriage to his former sister-in-law was on his conscience as not being allowed by the Church. Not that he really wanted to ditch her for a younger woman that had now taken his fancy. Anne had to keep a low profile, remaining out of public view and gossip, until after the Papal Legate had arrived and departed again. This also kept Henry VIII on the hook. He wrote her increasingly passionate letters, of which some mysteriously have survived archived in the Vatican and now published and in the public domain, such as the one below. (One or two have been found to have been later forgeries).

    Mine owne Sweetheart, this shall be to advertise you of the great ellingness that I find here since your departing, for I ensure you, me thinketh the Tyme longer since your departing now last than I was wont to do a whole fortnight. I think your kindness and my fervency of Love causeth it, for otherwise I wolde not thought it possible, that for so little a while it should have grieved me, but now that I am comeing toward you, me thinketh my pains by half released, and also I am right well comforted, insomuch that my Book maketh substantially for my Matter, in writing where of I have spent above IIII Hours this Day, which caused me now to write the shorter Letter to you at this Tyme, because some Payne in my Head, wishing my self (specially an Evening) in my Sweethearts Armes whose pretty dukkys I trust shortly to cusse.
    Written with the Hand of him that was, is, and shall be yours by his will,
    H. R.

    Many people who saw Anne close enough, wondered why Henry VIII fell in love with her and was prepared to sacrifice so much for her. There must have been more attractive women to choose from.

    A medal recently discovered, from 1534, and restored by Lucy Churchill, seems to be at present the only genuine contemporary portrait of Anne that has survived. Her most famous portrait with the "B" pendant was commissioned several years later for her daughter when she was Queen who also had a miniature of the same portrait in a ring with a portrait of herself. This shows Anne dressed in the style from a few years after her time. The medal shows Anne in the complicated box shaped headdress still worn at court when she was Queen.

    There are many contemporary descriptions of Anne, and also her body was excavated in the 19th century, so we have the description of her remains. (If it was Anne, not her cousin Katherine who was executed a few years later when she was Queen.) Anne was short (just over 5ft.), skinny, apparently rather flat and saggy, (described as "bosom not much raised") but going by Henry's remarks in his letters, enough to grope. She was dark and hairy (described as "swarthy") like her mother's Howard side of the family. This was at a time when fashionable women would bleach their hair if not naturally blonde and plucked out all superfluous hair on their body. And show off their cleavage with the fashionable low square necklines and supportive bodices re-enforced with wood slats, wires, and tight lacings.

    Anne also had a small extra little finger on one hand, and her neck was described as "like a boy's". The bump in front of her neck under her chin, (shows on the medal) mentioned by a number of contemporaries, was actually in those days not considered a problem, a double chin or even a goitre as Anne seems to have, was actually a beauty feature then.

    Anne very probably had an enlarged thyroid gland as this would also explain not only the bump in her neck under her chin, but her increasing hyper-activity and her very prominent big brown eyes, her most striking feature. She was called by those who did not like her much: "the goggle-eyed whore". A nicer term is "doe-eyed". Hence the references to the King hunting a "hind" or "doe". As also in the King's letters and also contemporary songs like: Blow thy Horn Hunter by William Cornish. Full of double-entendre. Also the poem by her former lover Thomas Wyatt which goes: "Whoseso list to hunt, I know where is an hind - But as for me helas, I may no more." And in a reference to her necklaces on which she attached a choice from her collection of diamond studded letters: "And graven with diamonds in letters plain - There is written her fair neck round about Noli me tangere (don't touch me) for Caesar's I am ...."

    Many of Henry's love letters to Anne Boleyn had astronomical references, which he knew she would understand. Anne had not only been well educated, she took an interest in the same things as Henry, or made sure she learned about them. One of the lessons girls used to have to learn was how to look interested in what the man you were after liked, if you wanted him to fancy you.

    Living at the Regent's court based in Mechelin or one of the Regent's other palaces, in Belgium then part of the Netherlands, Anne would have experienced a more technologically advanced society than in England. Church bells pealed automatically on the hours and the clock dials had figures which whirled round - all worked by automatic geared mechanisms. Portable table-top clocks, mechanical toys, and music boxes entertained indoors. And the same principle of punched rolls produced automated complicated musical rings of bells in the clock towers. (And was later used to work looms and the early computers). There were mechanical cars - clock-work buggies, she may have driven one herself. (See notes).

    Anne frequently used the astrolabe as part of her signature, but when she signed her letter to Henry and also wrote it down in her illustrated "book of hours" which she used to pass messages between herself and the King when in the chapel, this was a symbol. The words in French mean "the time has come - I (picture of astrolabe) Anne Boleyn". It was part of a quote she had learned when with the Regent. It continues "a day will come that shall pay for it all". (Ives p.277). And the astrolabe was a symbol of time. Anne was ready to come back to court as the King's mistress and future Queen.

    But she was not the only woman at the court who interested the King.

    Now a wealthy and independent young widow, one to three years younger than Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth, Lady Tailboys, was back in London and at the court and seeing the King frequently to discuss their son's education and welfare. Significantly, they also gave their son a joint New Year's Gift. A ship-shaped frankincense container in silver gilt with their initials H and E engraved on it.

    Elizabeth's second son was now Baron George Tailboys and remained with his brother the Duke of Richmond, and they were joined by their youngest brother Robert. Elizabeth's brother George Blount, was also one of Richmond's official companions on his staff.

    It looks like Anne Boleyn felt threated by a rival - the mother of the King's son. She had to get her own family into place to keep the others out but also to watch what they were doing.

    Thanks to some influence from Anne Boleyn, her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk's son, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, three years older than Richmond, was to join his household. Norfolk said he was told his son would be a preceptor to the Duke of Richmond. This is a sort of teacher, but also more of a supervisor. So probably Anne was hoping her cousin would be useful to her, planted in Richmond's household.

    Surrey was to become one of Richmond's closest companions and also his brother-in-law. Anne was also arranging a marriage between the Duke of Norfolk's daughter Mary Howard to the Duke of Richmond. She was the same age as Richmond, and was now at the court as a Lady in Waiting, but was soon to be in attendance upon her cousin Anne Boleyn. Mary's parents had already made other plans for their daughter's marriage. To persuade Mary's father, Anne Boleyn managed to fix it with the King, so that Norfolk would not have to provide a dowry for his daughter and pay for the wedding. That persuaded him.

    Anne was now making sure her own family was now to become part of the new royal family and had successfully implanted two family members to be close to the Duke of Richmond, who as Henry VIII's son, now growing up, was likely to represent a threat to her future ambitions.

    The King's son.

    Richmond remained at the court with his father who was now taking a direct interest in his education. Palsgrave had taught him French, which he was to speak fluently, his lessons in Latin and ancient Greek were abandoned.

    It looks like Richmond was more interested in learning things of practical use. He could talk to someone in French but was not going to meet a Roman Emperor or Greek philosopher.

    Latin was still used by the church but it looks like Richmond (unlike his future half-brother Edward) had little personal interest in religion and was happy to leave that to clerics. He may have agreed or at least not argued with, his future wife's ideas - she was to support reform and the use of English instead of Latin. His own chapel, that was set up as part of the furnishings of his home wherever he was, was run and performed as usual until the end of his life, traditionally and lavishly equipped, down to the matching costumes for the choir boys.

    Richmond was taking a serious interest in learning about things directly relevant to his life and future ambitions. Military organisation, and politics. He was interested not only in learning how to fight and organise and control an army, but in building defensive fortifications and in military leadership.

    He attended Parliament in the House of Lords, nearly every day the sessions lasted, and he also accompanied his father in the Garter Procession at Windsor on St. George's Day. By the age of fourteen, he was officially deputizing for his father on state occasions.

    He also learnt recreational skills, like hunting, shooting, jousting, and music. His father had a lute made for him which cost 20 shillings. These musical skills were considered by his father, who could also sing and play the lute, as important as learning about modern warfare, and politics. And were certainly part of the business of diplomacy. We don't know if Henry VIII was really a great singer and musician because no one was going to say otherwise to a man who could have you executed at a whim.

    No one has mentioned Richmond's artistic skills, only his sporting activities like playing tennis and jousting. He would entertain visiting diplomats and envoys by taking them for a game of tennis. He was fluent in French, especially after his stay with the French court, and was praised for his ability to speak in fluent French and entertain diplomats, at which he seems to have become better than his father.

    There was now a chance, since Richmond's stepfather had died, that since his father, Henry VIII, was planning to divorce his wife Queen Katherine, he would then marry the widowed Lady Tailboys, the mother of his son. This was certainly being discussed as a logical possibility at the court and even by overseas visitors.

    Henry and Elizabeth were together again, although Elizabeth did not have an official position at the court, and were even sending their son joint gifts as his parents. But Elizabeth had a serious rival and enemy in Anne Boleyn.

    The real clash did not come until 1534. Anne had a girl not the son the King wanted. Anne persuaded her sister-in-law Jane to collaborate in making Elizabeth uncomfortable and unwelcome at court. More on this later.

    Anne's sister Mary was now another of her ladies in waiting. She had been Henry VIII's mistress after Elizabeth Blount, an affair that had lasted for about 6 years and before that for the short time when in France with Mary Tudor, had apparently briefly been mistress to to another King, François. In fact the only real evidence we have that Mary Boleyn had been Henry VIII's mistress was that a dispensation from the Pope was required to enable Henry VIII to marry her sister Anne, on the grounds of his previous relationship with Anne's sister Mary. During this time Mary had been married to William Carey and had two children Katherine and Henry, officially her husband's but rumoured to be the King's. Carey died in the epidemic of the sweat in 1528, so Mary was now a widow and also free for Henry to marry in place of her sister.

    Mary was not interested though. She could put up with her sister gloating over her, because she had a secret. She had at last really fallen in love and was married. Her secret did not emerge until 3 years later when she became pregnant.


    Henry VIII attacks the clergy as he still has not got his divorce.

    Proceedings for prosecution against some of the clergy were begun in 1530, when Henry VIII had Parliament make a charge of praemunire against the English clergy.(This was a form of treason accusing the clergy of exercising jurisdiction against that of the crown). This was then suspended until Henry VIII had got his case together in January 1531, when he attacked the whole convocation. They had to pay for a pardon from him for "illegal exercising of spirtual jurisdiction" (ie not getting him an easy divorce), and had to acknowledge him as "sole protector and supreme head of the English church and clergy". After much debate, in February 1531, Henry accepted a clerical "subsidy" of £119,000 and the title of supreme head of the church "as far as Christ's law allows". Henry VIII has now separated the English church from the Papal authority. And added a bit of credit to his accounts much depleted by Anne Boleyn's jewrelry and new fashions, as well as his own gambling debts. But now he has the responsibility of organising the new Church of England. And not many people will accept the consequences of his actions - most of the country in fact when the new regulations and their implications strike, and Henry finds a new source of adding to his personal income. At the same time, depriving most of his people of their access to jobs in local industries, health care, education, libraries, care-homes for the elderly and disabled, etc. by his plan to close all the religious establishments.


    Anne installed in Queen's place, her rivals disperse

    The Queen was still in her state apartments but not for much longer. Her husband had made secret plans. On 11th July, 1531, Henry VIII left Windsor for Hampton Court with Anne Boleyn, who he installed into the Queen's apartments there. Queen Katherine was stranded at Windsor. Princess Mary was also kept at Windsor, but the Duke of Richmond who had also been living there, was moved to accomodation which kept him near his father.

    His mother, Elizabeth decided to return to South Kyme for the summer. Here she made full use of her renovated deer park and great hall, by holding hunting parties.

    Elizabeth's father had died in February 1531. Her mother now aged 50, sent her three younger daughters, Isabella, Rosa, and Albora, to live with their sister and find local husbands. Two did. Elizabeth's sister Isabella married William Reade and Rosa married William Gresley.

    Elizabeth herself had attracted the unwanted attentions of Lord Leonard Grey. (Who may have been encouraged indirectly by Anne Boleyn - to get Elizabeth out of her way). This military man, distantly related to the King through his grandmother's children by her first husband, saw the wealthy widow as a way to solve his pressing debts. He came along to one of Elizabeth's hunting parties, and "just happened" to be stranded for the night, making full use of the time to chat up his hostess. Thinking she must have been bowled over by his charm, back in his guest bedroom in a tower, at 12 o'clock on 24th May he wrote to Cromwell (who had by now taken Wolsey's place as Henry VIII's "right-hand man") asking him to press his marriage proposal, enclosing £5 in gold, and two more letters for the King and the Duke of Norfolk.

    Cromwell did write to Elizabeth, who told him she did not believe Grey was sincere. In fact Elizabeth may have now realised she now had a chance, now the King was looking for a divorce, of marrying the King instead of Anne which would make their son his legitimate heir. Unfortunately Anne was also aware of this.


    The Comet

    In August 1531 a comet was seen. It is the one we now call Halley's Comet. Comets were then seen as astrological portents of doom. But not by all. Some like the astronomer Peter Apian were using their instruments to measure and observe. By his carefully measured drawings, Apian noticed that the comet's tail always pointed away from the sun, and the comet was actually orbiting the sun. Until then it was believed any changes in the sky could only occur below the orbit of the Moon.

    Apian's observations were published in 1540, his book: Astronomicum Caesareum had a dedication to Charles V.

    The work of Apian, along with Copernicus's careful calculations, published in 1543, was further proof that the Earth could not be the in centre of the universe with everything else rotating around it. It was part of a break through, not just in astronomy, and our perceptions of the universe, but in how people believed and thought.

    As you can see from Apian's drawing, the comet was a lot more visible in Europe on that visit than it was on the most recent trip in 1986. But then we had the technology to send probes up to it for a close up view and the telescopes to have a look for ourselves.

    Henry VIII up on his observing platform on top of the turret at Hampton Court which housed his laboratory, with the astrolabe, quadrant, and other instruments specially made for him, like other people at that time, expected the comet to foretell something. But what.

    Autumn 1531 - Anne Boleyn narrowly escapes angry mob
    Not long after the comet, the news spread round Europe that a mob of an estimated seven or eight thousand women of London had gathered together and gone out of the city to seize Anne Boleyn, who was having supper with friends at a house on the river (the King was not with her). When told they were coming for her, Anne Boleyn escaped by crossing the river in a boat and hiding. She believed the women had intended to kill her.

    The women involved (and some men in drag) got away with their demo without any punishment. Anne was scared but she was not harmed in any way.

    Although most of England, and much of Europe too, supported Queen Katherine, and the Pope was not giving her husband an easy divorce, Henry still had the power to make life miserable for Katherine, while he tried to get his own way.


    Anne Boleyn is a threat to Henry VIII's children

    When Richmond was ill early in 1532, while at Hatfield, (only part of the original house that he, and also his sisters stayed in at different times, remains - as in picture) his father sent his own physicians.

    Now he no longer needed to be in Yorkshire and his household had been re-organised, the Duke of Richmond was usually placed in houses convenient to the court, to be with his father.

    Anne Boleyn appears to have viewed both the King's two children as a threat to her own ambition to become the Queen, and she planned ways to separate them from their father and reduce their importance to him. She had no power to do this directly but could persuade Henry.

    His daughter Mary was demoted from Princess to "the Lady" and forbidden to visit her mother. No longer to be called the Queen, but "Princess Dowager", Katherine was sent to live in Kimbolton, then Buckden, her own properties, given to her when she first married Prince Arthur. Anne Boleyn was now planning a new "logo" or badge to replace Catherine's pomegranate everywhere, as well as a coat of arms. Katherine had powerful support but could it be relied on, or effective (see notes).

    Anne was in a vulnerable position as she was not supported by the most influential ladies at the court. Following the example of two of the court's leading ladies, the King's sister, the Duchess of Suffolk, and Elizabeth, Duchess of Norfolk, they had refused to attend Anne or found excuses.

    Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, and uncle to Anne Boleyn, was annoyed at his wife's behavour in refusing to support his niece. Apparently too posh to beat up his wife himself, he had ordered his servants to sit on his wife and hit her, until she was spitting blood. The Duchess had had enough. She left. Telling him he could take his own mistress Elizabeth Holland (daughter of his estate manager) to court instead to attend on Anne the King's mistress. And that is what he did. Bess Holland (although actually sympathetic to Norfolk's wife) was delighted to take her place at court, especially as Norfolk, who was stingy as well as vicious, was forced to kit her out with the expensive clothes and jewelry she needed.

    One of women supporting Queen Katherine was an extremely popular prophetess called Elizabeth Barton, also called "the Holy Maid of Kent", or by those who did not like or believe what she said: "the Mad Maid of Kent". Following a severe illness in 1525, she had "visions" and foretold the future. She became a nun, and also a famous celebrity, meeting people at the top like Wolsey and Henry VIII. She fell out of favour with the King, when she took Queen Katherine's side in his divorce case, proclaiming that if the King remarried he would die within the year and go to Hell - and she had seen the place in Hell he would occupy for eternity. As saying this sort of thing was not illegal yet, a new Act of Parliament had to be passed so she (and anyone else saying anything like that against the King) could be arrested and executed without trial. Barton was arrested in 1533, and hanged at Tyburn (now Marble Arch) on 20th April, 1534. And her head went on a spike on London Bridge as a gruesome warning.

    Richmond goes to France

    State Visit to France autumn, 1532

    Anne was now on the way to fulfilling her dreams. She had designed her heraldic ensignia for when she would be Queen, and her "logo" was a white falcon, (a predatory bird used for hunting) crowned, trampling on Tudor roses, and gripping a sceptre.(see picture) Where Katherine's Pomegranate had been carved on the Palaces, Anne's Falcon was to replace it. In fact workman never got round to changing all of them by the time, less than four years later, Anne's falcon was to be chiseled out to be replaced by Jane Seymour's phoenix.

    It was Anne who was to accompany the King as his future queen, on the state visit to France October 1532. Two years earlier, François had been requested by Henry VIII to consult the French religious authorities with regard to Henry VIII's divorce from Katherine. François had sent Henry the result that there was no problem with his marriage to Katherine. Not what Henry wanted to hear.

    Now he was taking Anne across to meet François, to show she was to be regarded now as his wife and Queen of England. Anne was prepared by a ceremony creating her Marquess of Pembroke (in her own right so not a marchioness). This would give her the necessary status it was hoped, to meet the Queen of France and other noble ladies. But the ceremony was avoided by the very ladies she needed to accept her new status.

    The King's sister Mary Duchess of Suffolk would have nothing to do with Anne.

    Henry VIII expected his sister Mary, Duchess of Suffolk, to be with him, as she had been Queen of France.

    Since Anne would have taken precedence over all the other ladies, which would have included the King's sister, there was no way Mary, a Princess and former Queen of France, would attend on Anne Boleyn. Mary gave the excuse of poor health. Although Anne may not have believed her convenient excuse, in fact she did not have to invent it, she really was not very well with a nagging pain in her side. Her health problems turned out to be serious and she died in June 1533.

    The Duchess of Norfolk, Anne's aunt (being wife of Anne's mother's brother), was appointed, without consulting her first, to carry Anne's train. The crimson dress with train that she was to wear was dispatched to her. She refused. A substitute was needed. And this was not a job she could dump on Bess Holland.

    The Duchess's eldest daughter Katherine, who had been married to Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby, had died on 16th March 1530 within a few weeks of her marriage. (She was immediately replaced as Countess of Derby by her father's half-sister Dorothy Howard).

    That left the Duchess of Norfolk's younger daughter Mary Howard. She had to wear the new red dress and take her place holding Anne's train. Mary joined Anne's new queenly entourage at court. And became one of a small group of smart girls mostly Anne's cousins as she was, in Anne's service who whiled away the often boring moments by collecting poems and lovers and poems by lovers, and other things written by them and friends, into a folder (a sort of Tudor Facebook). Anne now had special plans for Mary who was about the same age as Henry VIII's son. This would bind him into her own family.

    Henry VIII now planned to meet François 1 with Anne, and his son.

    Richmond was really keen to go to France. Not just because it was interesting to see another country and meet the French princes. He hoped to be allowed to stay there with them, out of England, and out of Anne Boleyn's reach. He knew what was happening to his half sister Princess Mary, who was no longer to be called Princess and treated as such. He knew that he, like Princess Mary, was in the way of Anne's plans to have her own children as heirs to the throne. He may have been upset and resentful, that thanks to Anne, his mother missed the chance to marry his father. Which would have made him legitimate and heir to the throne. But it looked like his father would arrange for him to remain longer in France, if the French King agreed.

    Richmond normally travelled with an entourage of at least 600, and his total staff was very much larger than that. But he was only allowed to take 60 into France with him.

    This was in fact, to be used as a convenient ploy to reduce the number of members of his staff and officers, in his household. His father was confidently expecting that within the year he would have a new and legitimate son, so the old illegitimate son could be demoted. (Anne appears to have been plotting to get rid of both Richmond and his mother).

    For now, it meant that arrangements had to be made as to who would accompany him and for the accomodation with full board, of at least about a thousand of his staff who would left behind in England for an indefinite length of time.

    Richmond also found he was now short of money. As well as paying the wages and living expences for his employees left behind in England, Richmond and the sixty or so, men who would accompany him to France, had to be kitted out in new clothes and the other things needed, all of a quality and style to impress the French. That being one of Henry VIII's objectives for this expedition.

    On Friday, 11th October 1532, at 5 in the morning, when it was still dark, about 2,000 members of the King's court and just as many horses, crowded onto the quay at Dover, to embark on the ships anchored at the quay, to cross the channel to Calais.

    Although the Duke of Richmond had held the post of "Admiral of England" since he was 6 years old, and wore the gold whistle the symbol of this position, hanging from a chain around his neck, this was the first time he had ever been to sea.

    Richmond followed his father onto the Swallow. The ship in the picture. Among the others on the passenger list were the two men who each hoped to become his stepfather and had been courting his mother. Sir Leonard Grey, who Elizabeth rejected via a correspondence with Cromwell as she suspected he was just after her money and property. And Edward, Lord Clinton, only six years older than Elizabeth's eldest son Henry, Duke of Richmond. And who had the advantage not only of being young and handsome, and already established at court, but of already being a neighbour known to her, having inherited lands and property near hers. He and Richmond become friends. (When Richmond died Clinton was appointed his successor as Admiral of England). Richmond was assured of the support of Clinton, his future stepfather, who by his marriage to Richmond's mother would own a large part of South Lincolnshire, besides other extensive lands and property.

    Richmond was lucky with his first sea voyage as the sea was calm, and the wind just right, so that five hours later, at 10 the same morning, the Swallow docked at Calais.

    Calais was the only part of France still belonging to England. One of the main buildings was the Staple Inn, where the wool merchants held their wool market. This building had been renovated to accomodate the King with Anne Boleyn. Anne had already arrived there, with 12 of her ladies, as she had boarded an earlier ship.

    One of the ladies with her was her cousin, Mary Howard, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk. Anne now had plans to marry Mary Howard to Henry, Duke of Richmond and had persuaded the girl's parents, the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk.

    Mary Howard and Henry Fitzroy, were about the same age, and it would prevent Richmond marrying a foreign princess or a member of a family who opposed the Boleyns. Anne made sure the two young people would have the opportunity to get to know each other during the stay at Calais. It should also molify the Duchess of Norfolk, being a better marriage than the one already arranged for Mary. But it had been hard to persuade Mary's parents. What finally decided them was that Anne arranged it so they did not have to pay for the wedding and their daughter's dowry.

    On arrival at Calais, Richmond was met by Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, the Governor of Calais. They had something in common. Both were the only acknowledged bastard sons of English sovereigns. Viscount Lisle was the bastard son of Edward IV. He had been born in Calais and was brought up at the court of his father. Richmond was to stay with Viscount Lisle, his 2nd wife Honor, and his 3 daughters and 2 step-daughters.

    Henry VIII did not leave the boat until 7 pm Sunday evening, then moved in with Anne Boleyn. The delay was because his accomodation was still not ready.

    Richmond passed the time while they were waiting for the French King to arrive, looking at and studying the fortifications of Calais.

    He also found he was already running out of money and had to borrow 500 marks (a mark was a third of a pound) from his father.

    On the following Wednesday, the Duke of Norfolk with a group of other peers and their entourages, rode out to meet the Maitre d'Hotel or Grand Master of France, Anne de Montmorency, on the borders between Calais and France to fix the venue for the first meeting between the two Kings. Anne de Montmorency returned with them and dined with Henry VIII.

    The French King and his delegation did not arrive at Boulogne (which was now French) until the 19th October - the following Saturday, having left Henry VIII in Calais, to wait for him.

    Two days later, early on Monday, the Duke of Richmond, accompanied his father to meet and stay with François and his court. They and their entourages trailing behind them, were dressed to impress in their finest clothes and bling. Henry VIII was in russet velvet braided with gold and embroidered with pearls.

    Henry VIII had raised Anne's independent social status by creating her Marquess of Pembroke. He had loaded her with new jewels. He had hoped to get Queen Katherine's off her - but not surprizingly she refused to hand them over to him. Katherine said loundly and firmly so everyone near by heard and reported it: "I will not give them up to a person who is the scandal of Christendom and a disgrace to you".

    Most of Katherine's jewelry did get removed from her eventually, but ended up being worn by Jane Seymour who was to replace Anne.

    It was not that Anne wanted to wear Katherine's old stuff it had been a gesture to humiliate Katherine. Anne wanted Henry VIII to buy her new and fashionable jewelry and clothes to impress. So Henry had to fork out. The cost of Anne's jewels and new outfits, was at least as much as Henry VIII's gambling debts (as can be seen in the King's Privy Accounts), and the equivalent of millions even billions today.

    However her costly gowns and fabulous jewels still did not raise Anne's status in the minds of the wife, daughters, and sisters, and noblewomen, of the King of France. They did not even want to see her.

    Anne was left behind in Calais, as there had been no French lady of suitable rank who wished to meet her. François' mistress Anne d'Heilly was suggested not only by his sister but by his second wife, Queen Eleanoré of France, as more suitable than them to accompany him to greet Anne Boleyn. To avoid these issues of precedence and possible cat-fights, it was wiser and diplomatic, for François not to have any women at all in his entourage. He had not brought his wife, daughters, sister, mistress, not any members of his "petite band". None of them minded this, none of them wanted to meet Anne.

    The two Kings met each other in the fields at St.Inglevert, in between Calais and Boulogne. After their formal greetings Henry VIII introduced his son to François.

    Richmond was described by the French chroniclers reporting the occasion as "very handsome and accomplished" and as "a youth of great promise, so much does he resemble his father."

    François had 3 sons and 2 daughters surviving from his first Queen, Claude (the real heir to the throne), and a step-daughter Maria, one of the richest princesses in Europe, the daughter of Queen Eleanoré from her first marriage to the King of Portugal, and had just one bastard son, despite his famous womanising.

    François kept his daughters from meeting Richmond during the time he was in France. He did not want complications. The King of Scotland would be arriving later that year to choose a bride from one of the French princesses.

    Before reaching Boulogne, Richmond and his father and entourage, were met and greeted by the three French Princes - all dressed in black velvet embroidered with silver.

    After being presented to Henry VIII, they were then introduced to the Duke of Richmond, who was to stay in France with the two eldest princes.

    The Dauphin, François, the eldest, was then 14, and Henri d'Orleans, was 13, so they were around the same age as the Duke of Richmond. Both formally thanked the English King for helping to release their father from the Emperor.(more notes on this later)

    The youngest and the most cheerful (actually he was a spoiled brat and little terror) was Charles d'Angouleme who was 10. Henry VIII kept coming back to talk to this young boy, between greeting and kissing in turn every great lord of France and all the Cardinals.

    the Dauphin



    After the formal greetings were over, Henry VIII rode alongside the King of France into Boulogne with the remainder of their entourage, to the sound of a thousand gun salute. Henry VIII was to stay at the Abbey of Notre-Dame, in the citadel.

    The Duke of Richmond had to return early to Calais with some of the English courtiers. He had been given the responsibility of preparing the ceremonies for the return visit of François to Calais in 4 days time.

    Meanwhile in Boulogne, the two Kings passed their time gambling and talking, and watching François' sons play games like tennis.

    On Friday morning, a Chapter of the Order of St. Michel (the equivalent of St. George in England) was held, at which the Duke of Norfolk and the Duke of Suffolk were made Chevaliers.

    After this ceremony, the two kings set out on the journey to Calais, where the Duke of Richmond was waiting for them.

    Richmond was with a large company of the men who had returned with him or had remained behind in Calais. With this entourage, he rode out of Calais and met his father and François about two miles from the gates "and saluting the French King, embraced him in a most honorable and courteous manner". This time Richmond was described by the French chroniclers as "a goodly young prince and full of favour and beauty".

    They all rode to Calais in a procession of expensively and gorgeously clad courtiers. As they arrived at Calais they were met by a deafening salute from the artillery mounted upon the walls. Richmond rode just behind the two Kings, through the streets which he had organised to be lined on one side by English soldiers in their blue and red uniforms, and on the other by "the serving men of England" in coats of tawney and caps of scarlet with white feathers.

    Anne Boleyn had been moved out of the Staple Inn as François was staying there. She and Henry VIII were moved together into another house. Together. In a way a statement that they were an item.

    On his arrival, François sent Anne a large diamond as a gift, but had made no formal arrangements to meet her.

    He would only meet her informally, and also her sister Mary, travelling with Anne who he had apparently fancied and had as a mistress, when she was in France in attendance upon Queen Mary.

    On Sunday the Duke of Richmond and his companions went to the Staple Inn, where bull and bear baiting was being staged in the courtyard for the entertainment of everyone including the two Kings. This continued until evening.

    It was followed by an immense supper. Richmond sat by his father who was gleaming in a suit of violet (violet was an expensive, and therefore statement, colour made in Libya from rotting shellfish) shot with cloth of gold, with a collar of huge rubies, diamonds and pearls and hanging from it the "Great Ruby" (really a garnet) of the Black Prince, which was now the centre of a round gold pendant and can be seen in his portraits.

    When the supper tables had been cleared away and the men sat around talking, the music began. To tactfully introduce Anne Boleyn to the King of France, a masque had been arranged. Eight masked ladies entered dressed in identical clothes of gold and crimson satin woven with silver thread and fastened with gold laces. And began to perform a carefully choreographed dance. Then each chose one of the men as a partner. Richmond was chosen by Mary Howard. Presumably she had been ordered by Anne to do that, but it looks like Mary did not mind, and neither did Richmond. At the end of this dance, Henry VIII went over to the lady dancing with François and pulled off her mask, to reveal surprise surprise - Anne Boleyn!

    François and Anne sat down together and talked for about an hour. Anne's sister Mary, who was once Henry VIII's mistress and is supposed by many historians to have been François' mistress in the short time she was in France, received no more attention than the other ladies who had all in their turn been presented, greeted, kissed and embraced by François, and danced with.

    The story that François I had refered to Mary Boleyn as a "great and infamous whore", actually comes from a report by the Papal Nuncio Rodolfo Pio da Carpi, at the French court in 1535-1537, (after which he was made a cardinal) and is much more likely have referred to her infamous sister Anne. The remarks were made just before Anne was tried and executed for adultery. There is no actual evidence that Anne was ever at the French court in any official position. Although she may have lived in France for a short time it was with relatives. This might have been the first time she met François. And he had not invited Anne and had not expected to meet her at this event. Her sister Mary is likely to have met François when she was one of the maids of honour of the previous Queen of France, Henry VIII's sister Mary - who had refused to attend this junket. François' comment that Mary was his "favourite hackney - always good for a ride" might have referred to Mary or been associated with her later. There is no evidence that either sister was in attendance on Queen Claude. This dates from misinterpretations by previous historians which has become so entrenched it is accepted.

    Mary did not have to be bothered by François' attentions and her sister's behaviour. When widowed, Mary had quietly taken control of her own life and had by now fallen in love and secretly married one of the men accompanying Henry VIII on his trip to Calais William Stafford. They would get many opportunities to be together.

    Meanwhile, the younger people had clustered together. Richmond was with Mary Howard, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk, cousin to Anne Boleyn and sister to Richmond's companion, the Earl of Surrey. They were the same age, and got on well, which was fortunate as Anne had managed to arrange a marriage between them. At the cost to her personally of making sure that Mary's father, the Duke of Norfolk did not have to hand over a dowry, or pay any other wedding expenses out of his own purse.

    Anne was prepared to pay, as that marriage would get Richmond firmly into Anne's own family and away from the chance of making an alliance with a foreign princess or the daughter of another powerful aristocrat - either of which could threaten her own position and ambitions.

    Richmond and Mary were given many opportunities to meet. It helped that Mary's brother was already in Richmond's service and a close friend. After their French guests had departed, Henry VIII and his court were to remain another two weeks in Calais. Mary Howard was described as beautiful. She was lucky enough to have inherited her mother's good looks and figure and smart intelligence and independent spirit. Like her elder brother Henry Earl of Surrey, she could also write, and turn out poetry in the latest fashionable form, however she had not have his Howard horsey features, and his arrogantly bad behaviour.

    On the day after the party, the Duke of Richmond was at the Chapter of the Order of the Garter, at which Anne de Montmorency and Philippe Chabot the Admiral of France were made Knights.

    François was to return to Boulogne on Tuesday. The Duke of Richmond rode by his side accompanying the French king through the streets of Calais. Richmond had helped to organise the English troops lined up along the route for inspection. They were joined at the Gates of Calais, by Henry VIII and his retinue, and rode out of Calais towards Boulogne.

    After about 7 miles, they stopped. Henry VIII had arranged a huge picnic banquet laid out in the fields. Fortunately the weather stayed fine.

    After this the two Kings departed from each other "lyke lovynge brethern in great amytie". They had lavished presents on each other and had agreed to pay each other's costs for the event.

    Henry VIII had hoped that François would back him in obtaining his divorce. However it looks like, going by his actions and comments, (including apparently phrases translating as "a famous whore always good for a ride"), François saw Anne as an opportunistic tart, suitable perhaps as mistress, but not suitable as a bride and queen.

    On the other hand the Duke of Richmond had been totally accepted by the French as an English Prince, the King's son, and on equal status with the French princes. Or so it appeared at the time. In reality, François was to carefully avoid any meetings between Richmond and the French princesses. He really did not want any chance of a relationship forming with his daughters or step-daughter.

    end 1532

    Henry VIII was feeling increasingly threatened, as his kingdom was surrounded by potentially hostile nations. And parts of his own country were stirring against him.

    In Calais, with his son at his side, he toured the new building works that he was investing in, to bring the fortifications up to date.

    Richmond was very interested in warfare. As was fitting for someone who was expected to be destined to organise wars and lead his troops.

    He had organised the personnel put on parade for the French King's visit - and it had all gone well.

    At home he was starting to organise his own private army. As the King's son, he had a concesssion from the Laws of Livery and Maintenance which controlled the number of uniformed men-at-arms any nobleman may have on his staff. This was to enable him later to legally employ and equip his own armed forces of several thousand men.

    But now he had to abandon most of his household in England, while he was in France. Normally, apart from the permanent staff in his many houses, palaces and castles, he travelled around with an entourage of at least about 500 - 600 men in his livery, not including their families and other people, who accompanied them.

    This was the start of his own army that he was planning. And was legally free to do so, as he was exempt from the laws that controlled the number of uniformed armed men any one could employ.

    The King was spending time with his son, as they were soon to be parted. While the King returned with Anne to England, Richmond would be left in France. It was time to arrange the accomodation for all those of his staff and their families to be looked after while he was away. He could not take more than 60 people with him.

    On the 10th November 1532, Richmond sent a letter from Calais to the Prior of Tutbury. He wrote:

    "I am required by the King to repair from hence tomorrow to France, and it is determined that such of my servants as remain behind in England shall be established in religious places,(monasteries etc. provided hotel accomodation) to have meat (meaning food generally not just steaks) and drink for themselves, horse-meat (meaning food for horses not horses for food) for their geldings (castrated horses), and chambers (rooms) for their lodgings; of whom Robert Amyas, clerk of my jewel house is appointed to abide at your monastery."

    This could not have been arranged until after the meetings between the two Kings - as although a possibility - it had to be fixed between them. Until then Richmond could not have been certain that he would remain in France. But it was something he really wanted to do. Apart from the interesting experience, it would keep him safely out of England, and away from scheming Anne and her relatives and cronies.

    Henry and Anne had been hoping for some helpful and positive (to them) new from the Pope. But Pope Clement VII was not going to annoy Charles V, Katherine's nephew. What they heard was that the Pope wanted Henry to leave Anne and restore Katherine as Queen within the next month, or he would be ex-communicated. It was a bit of a blow.

    Not just the apparently wasted expenses. The 33-day trip had cost Henry VIII, £4033, 10s. 11d. (Equivalent to about £25,000,000 today).

    On the 13th November, Richmond saw his father, Anne Boleyn, Mary Howard, and the hundreds of others that had crowded into Calais, board the ships for England.

    They set sail for England at midnight.

    Two days later, Richmond left Calais to start his journey into France.

    also at the end of 1532 - Anne and Henry get things moving their way

    The official account of this state trip to France was written by John Gough and printed by Wynkyn de Worde. The cost of this publication was financed by Henry VIII. He used this modern method of getting his actions across. A nice illustrated booklet would be read and kept. Good propaganda, but most of his subjects still had no chance of learning to read and could not afford books anyway. And clearly the French were not impressed. In fact François also annoyed Henry VIII by turning up on the first encounter in a doublet embroidered all over with sparkling gems and diamonds. Valued at about £100,000 in English money then, billions today. The French won the style battle, and also left Henry VIII without the support he hoped for.

    There was one way Anne could get things moving forward for herself. And it worked. Soon after Henry and Anne arrived in England, Anne found she was pregnant. She was on the way to becoming Queen! But Henry was still extremely anxious. He had spent £468. 6s. 1d., the equivalent of £3 million in today's values, on Anne Boleyn, for her clothes, furs and jewellry, and gave her £218 extra spending money (about £1,350,000 today). He had spent the equivalent of £25 million on this trip to France, but failed to obtain support for his plans, and had alienated Europe's leaders, and many of his own subjects, against him.

    He now needed urgently to invest more funds in building up his country's defences. He had to renovate or build new coastal fortifications. And have guns made to put in them.

    As soon as Henry VIII returned to London, he put in new orders at the Armoury, not just for his own armour (he needed a bigger size again) but more importantly for new cannons, handguns and gunpowder. In December Henry VIII was visiting the Tower Armoury every day to check on and hasten the progress of the work. He was also visiting other cannon foundries in Houndsditch.

    Richmond stays in France

    Richmond was pleased to be out of England. He was to remain in France with his friend and future brother-in-law, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, and 60 other servants and companions, to stay with the two older French princes, the Dauphin François, Henri d'Orleans, both near his own age.

    Richmond may have thought he was safer from Anne's schemes in France. However, this arrangement was actually suggested to the King by Anne Boleyn as it would separate Richmond from his father. And get him out of her way. And he would be accompanied by her own cousin Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, to watch over him. Anne's brother, George, would also be travelling to France frequently and visiting Richmond, and keeping watch on the situation there.

    At the French court, were a number of suitable princesses of about the right age that Richmond could meet, get attached to, and might find one to be his bride. Anne did not want Richmond with a foreign royal bride as that could be a threat to her plans to have her own son as future King of England. Which is why she had already persuaded Richmond's father to accept her plans to arrange a marriage for Richmond to her own cousin, Mary Howard. Anne also made sure Richmond and Mary would be together a number of times when they were in Calais. Since Mary's brother was already in place as Richmond's companion, this would not be a problem.

    Anne's brilliant marriage scheme appealed to Mary Howard's father, the Duke of Norfolk as to persuade him (since he had other plans) she covered all the wedding expences and dowry herself, Norfolk now did not have to pay anything for his daughter's wedding.

    It also partly reconciled the Duchess of Norfolk, Mary's mother, who didn't like Anne and had refused to attend on Anne at court. This was a better match than the one previously planned for her daughter. Anne also tried to get Henry VIII to agree to match his daughter to Norfolk's son, Henry Earl of Surrey.

    Though Anne did get her cousin the Earl of Surrey to be Richmond's companion and close friend, she did not succeed in persuading Henry VIII to agree to marry his daughter to the Earl of Surrey. Clearly the King was still, despite the way he was treating her at this time, considering he might in future obtain a royal match overseas for his daughter.

    Richmond with his future brother-in-law, the Earl of Surrey and their retinue of staff, proceeded to Chantilly to join the French court.

    Surrey was ill with an "ague" - which is what they called malaria then. It was still endemic in England and France at that time. Surrey could have been bitten and infected by one of the mosquitos buzzing round the marshes surrounding Calais or even earlier when travelling through Kent on the way to Dover. As it takes a few weeks for the parasites to get established in your blood stream. And the mosquitos did not fly around when it was colder. He was reported to have fallen ill while still in Calais.

    Richmond was not only fit and well, he was glad to be out of England, where he was feeling as threatened as his half-sister Princess Mary was. He was reported to be looking forward to his stay in France, and he was.

    At Chantilly, François I embraced Richmond, saying that he thought himself now to have four sons, and esteemed him no less.

    After all been greeted by all the princes and the nobles, Richmond was taken into the the King's Privy Chamber "where the King told him he should always be as one of his chamber."

    In fact, his two eldest sons, François and Henri hated their father who had allowed them to be taken as hostages by the Emperor Charles V in exchange for their father who was captured at the Battle of Pavia in 1525. They were left as prisoners in Spain. Their mother Queen Claude died. Abandoned: their living conditions became increasingly bleak and prison-like.

    Their grandmother Louise of Savoy, colluded with Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands (they had grown up together as young girls in the French Court and remained friends) to bring an end to the war in 1529, at the Treaty of Cambrai, and forced her son to pay the ransom. Both these formidable ladies died soon after this collaboration.

    When the Dauphin and Henri came home, they had forgotten their French and could only speak Spanish.

    Their father, not surprisingly, found them coarse and sullen. They never forgave him for leaving them in prison.


    Richmond in Paris

    In Paris, Richmond was lodged with the Dauphin, and Henri d'Orleans.

    It would appear that Henry VIII's bastard son was treated as equal in status to the French King's legitimate sons.

    Although the brothers were near in age, and with the same experiences the two older princes were very different from each other.

    The Dauphin was a serious type who liked dressing entirely in black, only drank water, was fond of the arts and played tennis. He had a girlfriend, one of the Queen's maids of honour, to whom he wrote poetry.

    His brother, Henri d'Orleans liked fighting, drinking, tournaments, and had a rather dark, sadistic streak and coarse sense of humour. His marriage was arranged to Catherine d' Medici and would take place soon in France.

    About the same age as Orleans, Richmond joined him in hunting, drinking, gambling, tournaments, watching tortures and executions, hiding rotting corpses in the beds of ladies at court to give them a fright, group-raping peasant girls, (those whose families were unable to obtain redress), beating up smaller boys, and riding horses in a noisy gang through the streets in the middle of the night firing guns and throwing stones and rubbish through windows. Another popular pastime was burning cats in a basket.

    Reporting to Cromwell, Richard Tate, in charge of Richmond's household there, wrote that Richmond got on well with the French princes. "My lord of Richmond has been in good health, and finds the country very natural unto him. Surrey has suffered from an ague which he had before he left Calais, but it is hoped the worst is past." He wrote in another more secret letter that he found "great fault in setting forward my Lord's train which as yet is out of frame."

    The Venetian Ambassador observed that the Duke of Richmond was living at great expense. Richmond ran up great debts, trying to keep up with the fashions and life style of Henri d'Orleans and his friends.

    Surrey was less able to join in these activities as he kept falling ill. He also hated the dirty conditions in the Chateaux. French Chateaux, although more impressive in architecture and decor than the English royal residences, were short on mod. con. There were outside lavatories for the guards, but few if any facilities for ladies and gentlemen waiting on the royal family indoors, so courtiers caught short just found any handy corner.


    Richmond travels around France

    They went with the court from Paris to Toulouse, Montpellier and Beziers. Then returned to Paris to stay in the Louvre (then a palace). In spring they moved to Fontainebleau. Fontainbleau housed the King's library. On the floor below the library was the picture gallery. The first great decorated gallery in France. Still unfinished when Richmond was there. Its walls were being lined with erotic murals, mostly with the excuse of historical, classical or biblical themes, and François' china collection. On the floor below the art gallery, and with pride of place equal to the two upper stories of culture were the bathrooms. The only bathrooms to be installed in any of the King of France's numerous magnificent chateaux. (Medieval French chateaux had better sanitation). They were in the process of being decorated by Primaticcio, who clearly used the same model (said to be Anne d'Heilly, François' mistress) for many of the frescos and reliefs he designed on the walls of Fontainbleau.

    The baths were great round tubs, the largest measured 14 ft. by 10 ft., and was 3.5 ft. deep. Hot and cold water came from great brass coppers. The walls were decorated with some of the King's favourite pictures and there were six "retiring-rooms" decorated by Primaticcio. Clearly these bathrooms were not intended merely for functional, solitary, practical purposes. The King made frequent use of them both for his pleasures, and to ease the results, his symptoms of venereal diseases, which included syphilis which was to kill him eventually.

    The courtiers, even if they had no chance of always being clean, always did look splendid. They were expected to wear as rich and fine clothes as possible on all occasions. Some carried most of the wealth on their person, not to mention their debts.

    The Duke of Richmond wanted to make an equally good show and look trendy and cool, along with the other young men at court. He needed to dress in the French fashions - which seemed so much more uptodate than the English clothes. Since his funds were limited, he went into debt, and avoided paying his staff wages. Which meant they became more and more unmanageable. Since they needed money for fashions to look good in too. And for other things they needed to live. Like food and accomodation.

    One of the functions in which the Duke of Richmond was needed to play an important role this time as a Knight of the Garter, was held at Fontainbleau on April 23rd., St. George's Day. When a Festival of the Order of the Garter, was held with much ceremony by François.

    An English Herald had arrived two days before with the robes for the Grand Master and the Admiral, who had the Order of the Garter conferred on them by Henry VIII when he was in Boulogne.

    The Herald also brought unwelcome news from England for the Duke of Richmond. Anne Boleyn was more than five months pregnant and the King was going to go ahead with her coronation regardless of the fact that he was still legally married to Katherine.

    The next day, the Herald departed for England with the information for Henry VIII that François was going to meet Pope Clement VII, who was escorting his ward and relative, Catherine de'Medici, for her wedding to Henri d'Orleans.

    On 24th April, Richmond travelled with the French Court to Lyons. The journey was a slow tour as François was taking the opportunity to see his country and his subjects, and they did not arrive in Lyons until the middle of May.

    Pope Clement VII was due to arrive at Marseilles in July, with his ward Catherine and arrangements had been already made to receive him and Catherine and for the wedding of Catherine and Henri.

    These plans were to be disturbed by the actions of Henry VIII, now desperate to get his child by Anne born legitimately which was only possible if the Pope dissolved his marriage to Katherine before the baby was born.

    Anne pregnant, crowned Queen

    Anne's baby was due end August.

    On the 18th January 1533, at Greenwich, as the sun was setting in the afternoon, a giant fireball appeared falling from the sky. This meteorite spooked the court and gave them something to talk about the next few days. What did it mean? (Odd celestial phenomena were still believed to affect people on Earth and not just if they fell on them.)

    Now Anne was pregnant, Henry VIII was desperate to speed the divorce from Katherine so he could be legally married to Anne in time for the birth of his son and heir. He needed to prevent Queen Katherine appealing to the Pope. So the "Act in Restraint of Appeals" was passed to be effective after Easter. "An Acte that the Appeles in suche Cases as have ben used to be pursued to the See of Rome shall not be from hensforth had ne used but wythin this Realme".

    The Boleyn's Chaplain, Thomas Cranmer suggested deciding on the King's divorce in England. Henry VIII said "This man has got the right sow by the ear!" and Cranmer was promoted to Archbishop of Canterbury.

    Cranmer was married to Margaret who came from a Lutherian family. He was certainly in favour of a split from Rome in England then he would no longer be forced to hide his wife away.

    Now Anne decided to send her brother to France again. He had been before, on much the same mission. Then it was to obtain the support of the French universities for Henry VIII's divorce. They did not give it.

    George Boleyn now had a little more clout. In December 1529, Thomas Boleyn had been created Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond. So his son picked up his previous title of Viscount Rochford.

    In March 1533, George was sent to France again to try and get support for Henry VIII's plans, now his sister was pregnant and about to be crowned Queen of England. He carried letters written by Henry VIII himself. The meetings were hard work. George was expecting to become uncle to a future king of England at that time. And would not want anyone to obstruct this dream. He was able to return to England with a promise from François to write to the Pope.

    Since George would have met Richmond on this trip, Richmond knew what was going on, and he decided to remain in France for as long as possible.

    April 1533. George Boleyn back in England.

    9th April, Henry VIII orders the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk to visit Katherine and tell her she is no longer Queen of England but Princess Dowager of Wales.

    11th April, Henry VIII informs his council that Anne is now to be crowned Queen of England. She is expecting his son. (He thinks). She is now his wife - almost. You didn't need any other formality for a marriage until 1539 - that is as long as you were not already married to someone else - and Henry VIII still was.

    On the 12th April 1533, Anne attended the Easter Mass, in a procession, dressed as a Queen, in robes of gold tissue, decorated with diamonds and other precious stones, with Mary Howard (Richmond's future wife) holding her train. Queen Anne as well as King Henry VIII is now to be mentioned in prayers in all the churches, instead of Queen Katherine, and Princess Mary. People walk out of services when that happens.

    Despite Anne being dressed as Queen, and having taken over as Queen, Henry VIII had still not been able to legally annul his first marriage. Anne never had a real public wedding, as the King was still legally married to Katherine. And he could only legally (in Europe anyway) have one wife at a time.

    Two chroniclers, Hall and, later in Elizabeth's reign Sanders (a Catholic priest) claimed different dates 14th November 1532 and 15th January 1533, for the date of a secret wedding of Anne to Henry. There is no actual evidence, they were guessing. This was still a few years before 1538 when a act was passed to insist on the recording of all births, marriages, and deaths in the parish, to be kept in the parish church. But no evidence for a wedding, which would have made Henry and even Anne because of her marriage to Henry Percy, bigamists, except later chronicles copying each other. The dates appear to have been calculated (not very well) from the expected baby's date of birth.

    No royal wedding for Anne then, but a magnificent coronation to compensate. Anne's coronation is now being arranged. A new booklet is to be printed for the author John Gough, by Wynkyn de Worde.

    copy of one of Holbein's sketches for the arrangements at Anne's coronationHans Holbein had been asked to return to England. Henry VIII remembering his great painted decorations in 1527, has commissioned him to do the displays, scenery, decorations etc. for the coronation. Holbein arrived in England, with those finished portraits commissioned on his earlier visit which had not been sent on before, completed in oils on paper, so they could be easily carried, and including a copy of his painting of his wife and children.

    Cranmer is to preside at Anne's coronation on the 1st June 1533, a grand public occasion in London with displays along the procession, designed by Holbein. John Leland and Nicholas Udall (or Uvedale or Woodall etc.) wrote the little pieces of songs, poems, performances etc. spoken, sung, and performed, by children along the Queen's route through the city. Most of the poems were in praise of Anne:
    for example:

    "Anna comes,
    the most famous woman in the world,
    Anna comes,
    the shining incarnation of chastity,
    In snow-white litter,
    just like the goddesses,
    Anna the Queen is here,
    the preservation of your future."


    "Of body small,
    Of power regal,
    She is, and sharp of sight;
    Of courage hault,
    No manner fault
    Is in this falcon white."

    Richmond and his companions missed Anne's coronation, but Richmond's fiancèe Mary, as Anne's cousin, played an important part, (since her mother would have nothing to do with Anne) holding Anne's train. She saw all the displays by the City Guilds, some designed by Holbein, as she was conveyed with the other important ladies in the procession. She heard the songs, poems and speeches in the pageants staged by Nicholas Udall and John Leland. Richmond could have later seen the coronation booklet, and may have seen the sketches which Holbein made showing the plans for the ceremonies. This is a copy of one of Holbein's sketches showing Anne at her coronation banquet. The illustration shows a copy of one of Holbein's sketches.

    Anne had to sit under a canopy in state for 6 hours without being able to get up and move about. Particularly stressful since she was now six or seven months pregnant. So she was closely attended by an additional four ladies. Two held napkins in case "she list to spit" or was sick, and two crouched under the table equipped with napkins and basins for an even worse job.

    A highlight of the banquet was the Queen's champion riding in, fully armoured to make the "challenge". This was the 18 year old Edward Clinton, who had met Richmond on the boat to Calais, and who would soon become Richmond's step-father.

    The Ambassadors

    Tap on picture to get a fuller resolution version and more detail and information.

    The actual picture is 207 cm × 209.5 cm. and one of Holbein's most famous paintings, which can be seen in the National Gallery, London. Done when Holbein arrived back in England in 1553 after the commission for Anne Boleyn's coronation, this was his masterpiece of two young French envoys, Jean de Dinteville, dressed fashionably, and George de Selve in eccesiastical dress. Both still in their 20s, they are surrounded by items which do not directly relate just to them but to what we would now consider scientific achievements of the times. Many of the scientific instruments, which include a celestial globe, were borrowed from Holbein's friend Kratzer. On the lower shelf, there is also a mathematics book - Peter Apian's Arithmetic, by a globe of the world pointing downwards. The detail of the painting, oil on oak, can be seen in the close up of the globe shown later on. Next to the symbols of exploration of the Earth, are symbols of music. A lute, box of flutes with one missing, and music book. The music book is a Lutherian book of psalms open and facing us so we can see what it is and has 2 psalms which do not occur on facing pages in the actual book. The lute has 2 broken strings. These musical symbols are thought to represent, not harmony but discord. But it has also been noticed that there is actually another hidden message or more, in the broken lute strings, printed music and the instruments. The lute could be a symbol of love, or of the transience of life and death and was often painted along with a skull (as here) in northern European art. The broken lute can represent enforced silence. Censorship. Suppression. It could also represent a certain part of a woman's body, in which case as a broken lute it had yet another meaning. Anne was said to have sung a song "Fear not my Lute" which has this sort of double entendre which you can work out for yourself.

    Centre of the painting, balanced on the floor which is copied from one then in Westminster Abbey, is a skull which has been distorted (only looks right if looked at a certain way) and shows off Holbein's mastery of geometry and perspective. It certainly brought in commissions. Holbein never had another chance to return to his family in Basel. He died in London in 1543.

    There is a lot more that has been interpreted in this picture but we do not know what Holbein actually intended.


    Some of the new acts put through Parliament in 1533

  • 1533:

    An Acte for Reformacyon of Excesse in Apparayle

    It appears that Henry VIII did not want anyone else in England dressed as well and as grand as he did. This was the fourth act of this kind Henry VIII had passed through Parliament since his accession in 1509. It obviously had no effect and was impossible to enforce.

  • 1533:

    An Acte for the submission of the Clergie to the Kynges Majestie.

    Henry VIII in charge of the Church (in England). He could then close all the establishments and help himself to the buildings and contents.

  • 1533: An Acte for the punysshement of the vice of Buggerie

    otherwise known as "the Buggery Act of 1533" was passed in Parliament. More information and links.

    It had been put through by Thomas Cromwell as it would add another way to condemn a number of the inmates of the monasteries and another reason to close them down. One of those caught by the act had been a friend of Cromwell, Nicolas Udall or Uvedale or Woodall etc., the coronation poet, who was headmaster of Eton from 1534. In March 1541, he was accused of sexually abusing a pupil called Thomas Cheney. He had in fact been excessively beating and also sexually abusing his pupils for some years, but being close friends with a number of influential people he got away with it. One of his friends had been Thomas Cromwell but by this time he had just been beheaded. Which is probably why the move against him was now. But other friends who were important and influential were still around. So he got away with a year in the Marshalsea prison instead of being executed. And later became headmaster of Westminster school.

    The Buggery Act was repealed by Queen Mary in 1553, who enjoyed Udall's play performed for her Ralph Roister Doister (free on Kindle). More on Nicholas Udall with links to further information.

    Queen Elizabeth I restored the Buggery Act, and it was not repealed again until 1967.


    Hunt the Pope

    Immediately after Anne's coronation, her father, Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire, her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, and her brother George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford, (Anne's closest male relatives) left with a large impressive entourage on a mission for the King to find and obtain an audience with the Pope. Henry VIII was desperate to get his marriage to Katherine annulled, before the birth of his child by Anne. He hoped Katherine might be more likely to obey the Pope, if the Pope would co-operate. Otherwise he would just have had another bastard.

    But where was the Pope?

    The Pope was no longer at home, he was escorting his ward (a distant cousin, but referred to as his niece) Catherine d' Medici to her wedding with Henri d'Orleans, the second son of the King of France, François I. The wedding was to be held in Lyons.

    And since the Pope would be in France, Henry VIII also needed the support of François I.

    But where was the King of France?

    He was on a tour of the south of France. Intending eventually to meet up with the Pope and progress to the wedding venue at Lyons.

    The Duke of Norfolk and George Boleyn and their impressive entourage, crossed the Channel, but then they had to find the French King and his court. They were not in or near Paris. The whole French court had packed up and moved out of Fontainebleau.

    The King and his entourage, including his sons and Richmond and his companions, were slowly progressing south, to meet up with the Pope for the wedding of Henri and Catherine d'Medici. They were due to arrive at Marseilles in October.

    The Duke of Norfolk's mission was to contact the Pope and persuade him to declare Henry VIII's marriage to Katherine null and void, so his niece, now Queen Anne, could be regarded as legally married to to the King, in time for the birth of her child.

    The Pope heard about Norfolk's mission and had received messages from Norfolk, that led him to decide to delay his arrival with Catherine d'Medici on French soil, to avoid a confrontation. Since Norfolk was not going to like what he had arranged.

    As the wedding between his son Henri and Catherine d'Medici was now postponed, François I decided to continue on his tour in the south of France. After meeting up with Queen Eleanore and the princesses in her charge.

    François left his sons with the Queen, and their sisters, and step-sister.

    Richmond's father had tried to arrange his marriage to one of these princesses, as well as to Catherine de'Medici. Catherine (Caterina in Italian) was born on 13th April 1519, so was about the same age as Richmond as well as Henri.

    Now Anne was expecting to have the King's son (the various midwives, sorcerers, astrologers, etc. she and Henry paid to consult, assured them it was a son), Richmond was no longer a good marriage prospect.

    To make sure he did not get too friendly with any his daughters, step-daughter and prospective daughter-in-law, François did not let him remain with his sons and daughters any longer.

    Richmond with Surrey and the rest of his entourage, stayed with François on his progress in the Auvergne and the Languedoc regions. That meant Richmond was no longer protected by the security and additional staff that surrounded him while living with the French princes.

    Possible attempt to murder Richmond by George Boleyn

    On 10th July 1533, Norfolk and his nephew, George Boleyn, caught up with the French court at a Chateau at Riom in the Auvergne region. Which has volcanos and mineral water.

    They were met about one and a half miles outside Riom by Norfolk's son, Henry, Earl of Surrey, and the King's son, Henry, Duke of Richmond, accompanied by a number of members of the French Court. They escorted them into the Chateau where François, was waiting to receive them, and had laid on feasting and pagentry to entertain them.

    During the journey across France, Norfolk had been repeatedly trying to contact the Pope and had sent envoys to request an audience. Pope Clement VII refused to speak to them, and he refused to grant an audience with Norfolk.

    This brush-off for Norfolk was followed with the startling news that he received on 11th July, 1533, the day after they had arrived at Riom, that the Pope had excommunicated Henry VIII. That meant Henry VIII could not legally marry Anne, and he would not be able to marry anyone else either. Not if he wanted to stay Catholic.

    Norfolk ordered George Boleyn to return to England. Then George would be the first to give the bad news to the King.

    It seems that George had some other agenda on his sister's behalf for it is just then that Surrey and Richmond became violently sick, at the same time. Richmond was so ill, that for a while, it was feared he might die. They had shared a cup of wine which had been found in Richmond's room when they had returned there together. The physicians thought the symptoms were characteristic of poisoning. Because he had shared the wine with his friend, Richmond had not taken enough to kill him. He recovered. But his fears of attack by the Boleyns were justified.

    Poisoning Act 1530. Made it treason to murder someone by poisoning them, the penalty was being boiled to death. But that only applied in England - so it is possible George Boleyn believed he could get away with it in France, especially if he could claim he was already on the way back to England.

    Since by the time Richmond had found the wine in his room, George Boleyn had already gone. He was found to have departed in such haste that he had left all his luggage and servants behind.

    He had been told to give the news of excommunication to the King as soon as possible, but it did seem suspicious that he departed so suddenly in such haste, that he left his stuff and staff behind. His servants were left stranded with his luggage. No one, including Norfolk, expected him to do that. And that a cup of poisoned wine had just been left in Richmond's room. Later, at Anne Boleyn's trial, part of the evidence that George Boleyn's wife Jane gave the Court was that Anne and her brother had tried to poison the Duke of Richmond and Princess Mary.

    Richmond Ordered to Return to England and Marry Mary Howard

    François ordered the Duke of Norfolk to leave France. Norfolk wanted to take his son and future son-in-law Richmond with him, and told François that Richmond had to return to England for his wedding to his daughter Mary.

    It was not only a good excuse to get Richmond home, it would also clear any ideas that Henry VIII might be still thinking of marrying his son to a foreign princess. And undoubtedly Norfolk was worried about the safety of his son and future son-in-law. Norfolk arrived at Calais on the 29th August, but not with Richmond, his son, and the others who stayed with them. Richmond had refused to go back to England with Norfolk.

    Richmond now recovering from the attempt to poison him, wanted to remain in France. Now certain that Anne Boleyn and her brother were out to get rid of him, he felt safer outside England. Which also meant he had to stay out of Calais as well as that was still part of England.

    This was not very convenient for François who wanted the Pope to return soon, for the wedding of Catherine de'Medici to Henri d'Orleans. Also King James V of Scotland, was coming over to France on a state visit, with the aim of choosing one of the French princesses for a wife.

    François really did not want Richmond getting more than friendly with his daughters Madeleine (a year younger than Richmond, and Marguerite (3 years younger). Which means he viewed Richmond as likely to attract one of those girls. Richmond must have been looking more grown-up and maturing by then and must have been good-looking enough for François to believe he could be a rival to the other prospective prince - his cousin James V of Scotland. And he also seems to have been more presentable than Henri duc d'Orleans, who was a bit of a lout.

    Richmond still did not want to return to England, and took his time in travelling back to Calais, going a very long and slow way. If Anne had a son, he knew he would not be safe, she would continue to attempt to eliminate him. He was going to remain in France.

    One of his companions who went to France with him was Nicholas Throckmorton who was brought up with William Parr (brother of Katherine Parr) - who was also in France with the Duke of Richmond. They were both a few years older than Richmond - you get the impression in the extract below that Richmond was hitting a child, which was not the case, Throckmorton was about 20. Later in life Throckmorton's nephew wrote the story of his life in rhyme, (he was the 4th of 8 sons hence the winge about land) as dictated to him by his ghost! - and here is the bit on his life in France attendant on the Duke of Richmond:

    "A brother forth, and far from hope of land,
    By parents' hest I served as a page
    To Richmond's duke, and waited still at hand,
    For fear of blows that hapen'd in his rage.
    In France with him I lived most carelessly,
    And learned the tongue, though nothing readily.

    September 1533

    Its a Girl!

    On the 7th September, the pre-written letters announcing the Royal Birth of a Prince were sent out. On all of them an "s" was squeezed in (no space for two) after "Prince." Richmond and his half-sister Mary now had a new little half-sister, named Elizabeth after both her grandmothers.

    The Duke of Richmond was still the King's only son. He could go home. On 25th September he arrived in Calais with Surrey and the rest of his entourage, to take a boat back to England.

    In France, the weddding of Henri to Catherine de'Medici went ahead on the 28th October, with the wedding night under the survey of the King checking that his son performed correctly, while Pope Clement VII visited the couple very early in the morning to check his ward had been properly serviced. They were taking this extra care, because Henri suffered from a deformity which was likely to affect his performance.

    Part 5: Richmond returns to England and gets married

    Duke and Duchess of Richmond

    On the 26th November 1533, at Hampton Court Palace, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, the King's son, married Mary Howard, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk. Cranmer conducted the service. Anne Boleyn paid for the ceremony, the bride's outfit and associated celebrations. That was the only way she could get the bride's father to agree with the match.

    It is normal to have wedding pictures and even in the 16th century you find portraits of newly weds. The picture shows a rough sketch made for a portrait by Holbein. The notes and sketches show that Mary (if that is really her) in her final portrait was to be wearing a red floppy cap over an under bonnet or coif, and a red dress with a high collar. If that was the preliminary drawing for Mary's wedding portrait, then where is the finished one. It could be somewhere if it has survived probably re-labelled as someone else. And where is the matching companion portrait or even the preliminary drawing, of her red-haired husband.

    Holbein did complete a number of matching husband and wife portraits, but although he was not the only artist available at the time for commissions of this kind, he was the most likely to have done a new matching wedding portrait of the Duke of Richmond as this was just after his commissions for Anne Boleyn's coronation.

    It is also possible because of the high necked style of dress, that this was the sketch for a portrait a few years later. And in that case it might not even be of the Duchess of Richmond at all since she dressed in black after the death of her husband. There is a finished portrait, not by Holbein, of a lady finely dressed in a similar fashion in red velvet which may date from the 1540s. About the time the Earl of Surrey had commissioned a portrait of the Duke of Richmond from William Stretes. Holbein was dead by then but Stretes did have some of his sketches to work on.

    Mary and Henry had to have a dispensation from the Pope before they could marry because they were related. Though not closely. They both had the same great-great-grandmother. The Pope seems to have had no difficulty granting that particular dispensation quickly in exchange for the fee. The Catholic Church found a great source of income from dispensations, and they were originally needed for relationships up to 12 degrees apart. Of course only royalty and nobility could be bothered, or able, to trace their ancestors in such detail - but they were also the ones who could afford to pay.

    The Pope clearly had a political agenda in not allowing Henry VIII his dispensation to divorce Katherine and marry Anne.

    This match of Henry Fitzroy to Mary Howard, although of no political interest to the Pope, was of political interest in England. Arrangements had already been made by her parents, to marry Mary Howard to the Earl of Oxford's son. It was Anne who had the idea to use her cousin (Anne's mother Elizabeth was sister to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk) as bride to the King's son, and persuaded Henry VIII to accept it. To make sure, Mary's father, the Duke of Norfolk, agreed with it, Anne insisted he was relieved of the responsibility of providing his daughter with a dowry or any wedding expenses, she would pay for it all.

    Anne also tried to arrange the marriage of her uncle's eldest son, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, to the King's daughter Mary. In this she was unsuccessful and Surrey's original though less interesting marriage plans went ahead. Anne had hoped to get the King's children deactivated as rivals to her own offspring by making them part of her own family.

    The last thing Anne had wanted was Richmond's marriage to a foreign princess or to any one likely to represent the opposition or superiority, to her own family. She was smart enough to see, (and could tell from the reactions of people in the streets as her coronation procession passed), that she was not popular with the general public, and more important people too. Such as Mary's mother the Duchess of Norfolk, and the King's sister Mary, Duchess of Suffolk, who both refused to attend on Anne at her creation as Marquess of Pembroke, her coronation and on any other occasions. The King's sister really was ill, although originally it was just an excuse not to wait on Anne. She had died on the 25th June, 1533.

    Even if Anne gave birth to a healthy son for the King, Richmond would be a threat to the succession if the King died before the child was adult. As seemed increasing possible. Then there would be every chance that Richmond, as the King's son, would likely be chosen as Regent, rather than Anne, and probably take over. Which may have been behind George Boleyn's suspected attempt to kill Richmond. Richmond would have appeared to him to be obstructing his own potential role as a power behind the throne, and potential Regent, if Henry VIII died while his son was still a child.

    In fact what did happen was that by the time the Act of Parliament was passed to consider the Regency in the case of a minority succession, Anne and George had been executed and it was Jane and her brother Edward Seymour, who would have faced that future possibility.


    Richmond takes King's Place on State Occasions

    In January 1534, Parliament was called to pass the new Act of Succession. This would make Princess Mary a bastard, despite the Pope's ruling, received the previous March, that the King's marriage to Katherine had been lawful. The King's sister Mary had died the previous June, her son, the closest legitimate male heir to the throne, Henry Brandon, was to die in March, 1534. When the King had declared his daughter, Mary, illegitmate, Richmond, as the King's son, had precedence over her.

    Richmond was to attend Parliament in the House of Lords, everyday. At the Garter ceremonies and feast at Windsor, in May 1534, Richmond, now 15, took the place of the King at the head of the procession.

    Poole harbour and surrounds in 16th century

    Richmond Sent to Poole Harbour

    Richmond was sent to Canford (near the top of this copy of part of a 16th century map), his house near Poole Harbour. This is still a very nice place to live (if you can afford it). In the 16th century it was also known for its mineral resources of copperas and alum. Both greatly in demand and imported for use in the textile industry - as needed to fix colours in dyeing the fabrics. And had many other uses in industry.

    In 1535, when the Duke of Richmond owned Canford, alum in the form of naturally occurring greenish crystal deposits was being recovered from Durley Cliffs near what was shortly afterwards known as Alum Chine. This local industry was to develop during the 16th century. And it also had a good harbour.

    One of Richmond's responsibilities there was to check on the harbour's defences. It would be a tempting target for attack, and not just in war, in the 16th century, towns all along the south west coasts were plagued by pirates who captured people as well as goods to take for sale in the markets of north Africa.

    It is perhaps the industrial potential (therefore added income) of Canford - that was behind the campaign by Margaret Countess of Salisbury who insisted it was her property by right. She had been granted Canford in 1513 as part of the Earldom of Salisbury (which she held in her own right). She claimed that Sir William Compton contested her right to Canford because she had refused his offer of marriage. As Steward of Canford, Compton might really have noticed that Margaret's claim was not verified in the documentation. An added complication was the Master of St. Cross Hospital, Winchester, John Incent, who refused to hand over documents, claiming that the lands had been bought with the purposed of endowing the hospital.

    It was yet another factor that gave the Countess of Salisbury and her family - the "white rose" faction a grudge against the King's son and his increasingly important political role.

    Hence the Duke of Richmond who had been given Canford along with everything else that went with his investitures in 1525, was now taking up residence. Canford was a desirable place for someone like him to live since it had many deer parks nearby for hunting. And it was time someone with authority moved in as the area had been neglected.

    Richmond was made welcome at the places he stopped on his progress to Canford, via Salisbury, and when he arrived.

    As George Cotton reported to Cromwell on the 2nd June, from Canford: "there mett hym before he cam to Salisbury many wurshipfull men of this cuntrey, And receyved his grace verye lovingly in offering them selffes to be at his commandement. And before his entrye into the said towne he was also receiyved with very gentill ffac'on of the maire and aldermen of the same, the whiche presented hym with there costely gifts. And in likewise the said wurshipfulle men have sense his said cumyng to Canforde made his said grace dyvers and costelye presentes".

    Canford is currently restored as a school. While Richmond was staying at Canford, he was visited by nearby land-owners and their sons. One the boys who stayed with Richmond at Canford was Sir William Courtney. Whose home was in Devon (Powderham Castle). He was a few years younger than Richmond. During his stay, he had vandalised the bed hangings of his grand carved guest bed with its multi coloured curtains and fringed blue and yellow damask testour. He had slashed this behind the bolster. (Either he was drunk or didn't like his host.)

    There was good reason for the locals in Poole especially to be pleased to see the King's son there. This important harbour and the town's defences had been neglected. Henry VIII was now beginning to realise just how bad the situation was and how neglected England's sea defences were - not just in Poole but other important coastal areas. The country was in danger of invasion at any time and needed to be better prepared.

    This was the sort of thing that interested Richmond. Here is one of his letters dictated to his secretary, written on the 13th June: where he reports to Cromwell:.... that he had "viewed a certayne breche above my towne of Poole called Northavyn poynte, and do perceyve by the same that by reason of the sea if will be not only in processe of tyme greate prejudice and hinderaunce to the kinges highnes in his customes there, but also enue and be to the great annoyaunce and decay of my said towne by reason of the same."

    Being away from the court and London, checking up on England's border and sea defences was not a problem for Richmond. Since Anne was pregnant, and seeing Anne's brother appears to have tried to murder him last time Anne was pregnant, Richmond wanted to stay as far away from them as possible, preferably abroad. And it looks like his father also thought his son was safer well away from Anne and her brother.

    At the end of June, Richmond heard that the King was planning a visit to France and asked to accompany him. But Henry VIII decided to stay at home waiting for the son he expected Anne to give him this time, and sent Stephen Gardiner as his representative instead.



    Queen Anne had a lead cast medal/token issued in 1534. By her portrait was the initials: A.R. (Anne Regina). And around the edge: THE MOOST HAPPI : ANNO 1534. The token was for her to give out to those in her service as identification that they were acting on her behalf. This 38mm diameter lead disc is the only definite surviving contemporary image of her found so far. Anne was "the most happy" as she was pregnant again or thought she was.

    She was also happy because her plan to drive Elizabeth, mother of the king's son, away, seemed to be working. Elizabeth had left the court for her residence in South Kyme, and was being visited and courted by a number of men who seemed to think she wanted a husband and they would be a good choice. Perhaps Anne was sending them.

    Picture left shows an orginal medal as it was found, on the right is a reconstruction commissioned from Lucy Churchill, a stone carver. She has replicated the bulge on Anne's neck under her chin giving her a "neck like a boy's" which was probably caused by an enlarged thyroid. And the prominent eyes which are characteristic of this condition and gave her the popular name of "the google-eyed whore". Anne is wearing the formal court headress, and also appears to be boosting her bosom described as "not much raised" with some Tudor version of a "2 sizes bigger" or "Wonder Bra".

    Duke and Duchess of Richmond get their own home.

    In 1534 the King's stables and mews - where he kept his horses and hunting falcons, in Holborn, burnt down - killing many of the horses. Mews were where hunting birds were kept, the term got used for little roads at the back of old big town houses with garages, formerly stables and little houses for the staff, later.

    The Mews, at that time were also the responsibility of the King's Yeoman of the Stables, Thomas Wood. They were to be rebuilt at Charing Cross. At the same time Henry VIII was rebuilding that whole area west of London. Near York Place, (to be renamed Whitehall). There was a hospital dedicated to St. James the Less, which had been founded a long time ago (earliest mention 1100AD when it was already established), to care for "fourteen leprous maiden sisters" who were to live "chastely and honestly in divine service".

    Henry VIII in 1531, bought the site from its current owners, Eton College. Leprosy was no longer as common in England as it had been and the leper hospital was in the way of Henry VIII's plans to redevelop the area now he had taken over York Place. The old building was replaced with a new palace. This, Henry VIII planned, would accomodate his children. It continues to have a similar sort of use, it now has the offices of Princes William and Harry.

    The new palace was built round four courtyards and had an impressive gate house with clock. This was designed by John Molton, the King's Master Mason, who had just finished the new clock tower at Hampton Court. Hence it looked similar. The building was finished in 1535, and one apartment was then occupied by the Duke of Richmond and his wife, and another by Henry VIII's niece Margaret. The gatehouse with clock is mostly all that we can see today of the Tudor St. James' palace, as most of it burnt down in 1809 which included the apartments that had once been lived in by the Duke and Duchess Richmond, and the apartments for the King's niece Margaret.

    When they moved in, the clock only faced into the court yard, since St. James's, when first built, was isolated with just a straight road leading from the gate to York Place (Whitehall). The marshy land around it which is still famous for its lakes and water birds, was converted into a park. The picture was taken by me in 2005.

    At York Place, Henry VIII had a gallery built so that members of the court could watch jousting and other military exercises in the park. He also added tennis courts, bowling alleys and a cockpit to keep himself and those at the court entertained.

    Henry VIII's rebuilding of York Place did not go down well with the neighbours, since he had any houses in the way of his plans demolished without any compensation to the owners.

    Anne's Rivals

    Meanwhile at court Anne discovered her sister Mary had fallen in love and secretly (i.e. without her sister knowing) married William Stafford, and now was soon to have his child. Anne was furious at her sister's independent actions to lead her own life. In her opinion, her new husband was quite unsuited to the sister of a Queen. Mary retorted "I would rather beg my bread with him than be the greatest queen in Christendom. My husband would not forsake me!".

    Mary appealed to Cromwell for help and he was sympathetic. She left the court to live with her husband and children. And was the luckiest of the Boleyns, since she escaped the terrible events soon to happen.

    They lived mainly at Rochford Hall in Essex (near Southend Airport). This belonged to the Boleyn family, and Mary and Anne may have been born there since their grandmother lived there at that time.

    In 1543 on 15th July, Rochford Hall become Mary's own property, left to her by her sister-in-law Jane Boleyn, when she was executed along with Henry VIII's 5th wife Katherine Howard. Meanwhile Mary's husband William was in Calais, doing 4 months of military service. On the 19th July, just 4 days later, Mary died.

    William Stafford followed the "reformed" religion which had brought in to England as its official religion by Anne Boleyn - mainly so she could become Queen. When Katherine's daughter Mary became Queen, Stafford moved to Geneva, called himself Lord Rochford, and became a follower of Calvin. His new young wife managed to escape with her children back to England.

    The descendants of Mary's two children, Katherine and Henry Carey are still around. They have included impressive and historic figures such as Charles Darwin, and currently both William and his wife Catherine, their son and heir to the throne Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and any other children they have. So eventually it was not Anne Boleyn that despite her efforts, was to become the mother of a future British royal dynasty but her sister Mary.


    In 1534, Henry VIII had been having an affair with one of Anne's cousins Margaret (Madge) Shelton, who was hoping to marry Henry Norris, the King's Groom of the Stool, whose wife, Mary had died in 1531. Madge was also being courted by Francis Weston. Margaret was called "Pretty Madge" and had cute dimples when she smiled.

    There seems to have been some confusion by historians, and even by those reporting on events not long after this time, between Margaret and her sister Mary and which one was Henry VIII's mistress or both of them. We try to clear that later on. Their mother, Anne Shelton, was the sister of Anne's father Thomas Boleyn, and little Princess Elizabeth's Governess. More later. Both Mary and Margaret were amongst the smart young women close to Anne at her court, a group which included Mary Howard, Richmond's wife, and the King's niece Margaret Douglas. Among their activities, they collected poems, their efforts and others, like Wyatt's, and Mary's brother's poems, into a folder (later known as the "Devonshire manuscript").

    The King had also shown an interest in the lively, intelligent, auburn-haired, widowed daughter-in-law of Anne's Chamberlain Lord Burgh. That was Katherine Parr who had travelled with the Duke of Richmond's retinue heading north, as far as her new husband's home in Gainsborough. Her brother and uncle, both called William Parr, were still with the Duke of Richmond in his household. Katherine and her sister Anne would have been known to Richmond and his wife.

    When Lord Burgh's eldest son Edward, died, in 1533, his 19 year old widow, Katherine, who had lived with her husband at Kirton Lindsay, had to go back to living with her father-in-law at Gainsborough Old Hall. He was an awful father-in-law. His children though now grown-up lived in fear of him. He had just thrown out another daughter-in-law Elizabeth who was married to his son Thomas and had their children declared bastards. He had been accused of violence and rape against Elizabeth.

    In 1533, Lord Burgh was appointed Lord Chamberlain to Anne Boleyn, and took part in her coronation. He took his newly widowed daughter-in-law Katherine with him to act as hostess. His wife was left in Gainsborough.

    Katherine's sister Anne Parr, was now a lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne. Anne Parr was to be married soon. Katherine must have wanted to escape her awful father-in-law as soon as possible and also Anne Boleyn, since Anne could be nasty to any girl, especially outside her own family, who attracted the King. Katherine managed to find a new husband, John Neville, Lord Latimer, a Member of Parliament, now enobled and in the House of Lords. He had been married twice before, and had a son and a daughter aged nine, who needed a mother. The King did not forget Katherine Parr, and she was to become his wife no.6.(see notes)

    Meanwhile Elizabeth Lady Tailboys, was back at the court, this time as a wealthy widow. Henry VIII was still interested in her. She was well known as the mother of the King's son, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond. Her two other sons, and her brother were in Richmond's service.

    Henry VIII and Elizabeth had given their son a joint New Year's gift: "a Shippe for frankencense, with a Spone, parcell gilt," with H and E engraved on it.

    Queen Anne was not at all pleased. She was determined to get rid of Elizabeth, but at present she was confident in her position, power, and symptoms showing she had had another chance of given the King his son and heir.

    A letter from Chapuys to Charles V dated 28th January mentions that Anne was pregnant.

    In April 1534, Henry VIII ordered a cradle decorated with precious stones and Tudor roses from his goldsmith, Cornelius Hayes. And a letter to Lady Lisle in Calais dated 7th April, reports "The Queen hath a goodly belly, praying our Lord to send us a prince."

    In July Anne's brother George was sent to France to postpone a proposed meeting as Anne “being so far gone with child she could not cross the sea with the King.” Anne's pregnancy is also mentioned in a letter by Chapuys dated 27th July.

    By the end of September - it was starting to look like something was wrong with Anne's pregnancy. A letter written by Chapuys dated 27th September 1534: “Since the King began to doubt whether his lady was enceinte or not, he has renewed and increased the love he formerly had for a beautiful damsel of the court.”

    This seems to have been Elizabeth, who was already mother of the King's son, and possibly a daughter as well. This was not good news for Anne Boleyn, who was now determined to get rid of Elizabeth from the court.

    Elizabeth's only escape from the malice of Queen Anne would be to get married. She had no problem in finding a man interested in marrying her. She was being courted by several, mostly like Grey, appeared more interested in her position as a wealthy widow and mother of the King's son, than in herself as a person. And perhaps other things had turned her off Grey.

    It looks very likely that Elizabeth had been driven to re-marry and leave the court through the spite of Anne Boleyn. As her decision to get married (and it looks like it was for convenience rather than love) ties in with the information that Anne Boleyn persuaded her sister-in-law Jane, to collaborate with her in a scheme to drive out "a lady" at the court that Henry VIII was seen to be very close to. When this secret plotting was brought to the attention of Henry VIII, he was very angry. Jane was banned from the court for a few months.

    We only know this much and not exactly who the lady was that they were campaigning against. Elizabeth, since she was already the mother of the King's son, was a prime target for Anne's spite, but there were others. One was Katherine Parr, now widowed, and back at court. Henry VIII fancied her, and she also escaped by a new marriage at about this time. When Katherine's second husband John Neville, Baron Latimer, died, Henry VIII then, having got through wives 3, 4, and 5, made Katherine his 6th.

    There was also at least two of Anne's cousins, but that did not seem to worry her so much, and both girls were in attendance on Anne at court.

    Driven now to chose her second husband immediately, Elizabeth had made a practical choice: Edward Fiennes, Baron Clinton, whose father had died of the Sweat in 1528. He was some years younger than her, he was born in 1512, and had planned to marry a local girl Ursula Stourton, who was only about a year older than Elizabeth's eldest son.

    Clinton's lands adjoined Elizabeth's, and they already knew each other. It was a practical choice for him as well. And he was to do very well out of it. He did not give up Ursula, since it appears that their son Edward, if the dates are right, was born in 1540, at Tattershall, at which time Elizabeth was pregnant with her third child by Clinton. Clinton married Ursula as soon as Elizabeth died after giving birth to a daughter in 1541.

    Elizabeth may have first noticed Clinton as a grown-up man, who was very good looking, when he was the Queen's Champion at Anne's coronation. Scrivelsby, his family home, had an odd condition upon it, that the owners would be the Challenger on horseback at a coronation. Hence his appearance riding in full and splendid armour to offer the challenge, at Anne's coronation.

    They were married on the 12th February 1535. The King gave them as a wedding present a grant of three tuns of Gascon wine annually, part of the imports from Boston, the port near their Lincolnshire properties.

    They were to have three daughters. Elizabeth's two younger sons, George, Baron Tailboys, and Robert Tailboys were both now living with their half-brother the Duke of Richmond. Her daughter, Elizabeth Tailboys, now 14, would have normally been at court as her mother had been, as a maid of honour, but she does not seem to be mentioned as being there at this time (she was employed by the next queen, Jane). Certainly Anne would not have wanted her. And many women who would qualify did not want to be in Anne's service. Most of the women in attendance on Anne were her own relatives.

    Thanks to Anne, Elizabeth had missed the opportunity to become Queen, and for her son to be legitimized as the heir to the throne. Anne had made even more enemies. Friends and supporters of the King's son as potential heir to the throne, who were also those against the new religion and the destruction of the monasteries, which included most of the Midlands and North.


    Anne not the most happy.

    The cradle appears to have been finished but not a baby to use it. It was a big disappointment for Henry.

    Was the pregnancy faked. Not very likely. It would have been difficult for Anne to fake a pregnancy with all her attendants and scarce privacy now she was Queen. However, stress can actually lead to false symptoms. Or she may have started a pregnancy but it failed. She may actually have had problems following the birth of Elizabeth, causing her to be irregular and have other symptoms. In fact she was never to have another child, although she did have a miscarriage in January 1536.

    What might have happened could have been a hydatiform mole. This is when the egg is faulty and lacks a complete nucleus with all the genetic material needed to form a baby. But it is still penetrated by sperm. Develops and goes on growing. But the material is not there in the egg to develop a whole baby. Sperm are responsible for the placenta and go on trying to grow one. Instead of a baby the unlucky woman has an enlarged, abnormal placenta full of moving cyst-like lumps. This is what I saw on the scan's screen, when I was taken to hospital because of heavy bleeding. When found out, years later, more about this condition, (which can lead to cancer) l was grateful that I had been given a hysterectomy.

    Some of the accounts written a few years later, mention that Anne had aborted a mole. It is not clear whether they refer to the mysterious 1534 pregnancy, or the later miscarriage, early in 1536, on the 29th January. It is possible that the 1534 pregnancy was molar. Most pregnancies which have gone wrong, are aborted naturally at about 3 to 4 months (but not always, and not always completely). The January 1536 miscarriage is reported as having been a boy, but not at the time, a couple of years later by someone who may have been told by someone or guessing.

    Much the same thing was to happen to Henry VIII's daughter Mary, when she became Queen and married to Prince Phillip. She was then in her early 40s and was to die from cancer when she thought she was pregnant for the second time, having had a miscarriage the first time.

    The grand cradle ordered by Henry VIII was never going to be used by any of Anne's children.

    The Seymours start their rise into power

    In 1534, Henry VIII had continued his plans for his summer progress, without Anne. One of his stop-overs was Wolf Hall, in Wiltshire, family home of the Seymours.

    Anne had driven away from the court and the King, Henry VIII's wife Queen Katherine, his daughter Princess Mary, and his former mistresses, such as her own widowed sister Mary, Elizabeth Lady Tailboys, and new ones that the King fancied such as Catherine Parr. Now Anne was to find she had a new and a threatening rival: Jane Seymour. And from an unexpected source.

    Jane Seymour's brother Edward Seymour, had been at the court since he was a boy. But at that time no one would have imagined him to ever to one day, reach a position to be ruling England.

    In 1534 Edward Seymour, who had once been in service with the Duke of Richmond as his Master of Horse, seems to have felt the need to ditch his wife Catherine, married in 1527, and mother of his 2 sons John and Edward, for a new one, Anne Stanhope. His excuse was odd.
    Apparently :

    " - having been formerly employed in France, he did there acquaint himself with a Learned man, supposed to have great skill in Magics: of whom he obtained, by great rewards and importunities, to let him see, by the help of some Magical perspective, in what Estate all his Relations stood at home. In which impertinent curiosity, he was so far satisfied, as to behold a Gentleman of his acquaintance, in a more familiar posture with his wife, than was agreeable to the the Honour of either Party. To which Diabolical illusion he is said to have given so much credit, that he did not only estrange himself from her society at his coming home, but furnished his next wife with an excellent opportunity for pressing him to the disinheriting of his former Children."

    On this flimsy evidence, Edward Seymour's wife Catherine was dumped into a convent and her father expected to pay for it. At that time, if a wife or husband entered holy orders the marriage was dissolved. When retiring to a convent to give up her place as Queen to Anne Boleyn was suggested to Queen Katherine, she refused to even discuss it.

    Edward Seymour was known to be very gullible when it came to magic and sorcery. What he may have seen was a camera obscura. These were already known and used in the 16th century, by artists to get a more realistic picture, by astronomers to see an eclipse of the sun, and by showmen to show plays etc. - the first movies - performed by actors outside in the light, and watched by the audience inside in the dark on a screen - mostly popular stuff with fights and of course porn. Edward Seymour may have either interpreted what he had paid to see or more probably thought about it later, as a way of getting rid of his wife when he found someone else.

    In fact, though, Edward Seymour may have suspected his father for good reason. Despite being married to Margery who was attractive enough when young to inspire Skelton to dedicate a poem to her, John Seymour was always chasing women, and was responsible for an illegitimate son born as late as 1535.

    Edward Seymour had been in France in attendance on Mary Tudor in 1514 and on campaign in the war of 1522 - when he was just the right age to be interested in a saucy camera obscura show set up to entertain the troops. It could be possible this had been the inspiration to form an excuse to get shot of his wife when he met someone else. (Or he could have made the whole thing up anyway).

    Jane's two younger sisters married. Elizabeth, was married at the age of 13 to Sir Anthony Oughtred, Governor of Jersey, and Dorothy married Sir Clement Smythe (or Smith). Her brother Henry also married. Jane, the eldest daughter, was left on the shelf still living with her mum and dad.

    Edward's sister Jane is said by some historians, to have been still single as the scandal of her brother's divorce put off her wedding arrangements to William Dormer, but actually Jane and William had fallen in love and become betrothed, when she was 14 and he was 19, which would have been in about 1522 (according to some calculations - however definite ages and dates are not recorded). William's parents did not approve of the match, and broke the engagement between the young couple, having already arranged for William to marry Mary Sidney.

    Jane was not totally isolated in Wiltshire, she did have had some friends, relatives, and contacts at the court. One of them was Francis Bryan, by now a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber (he had replaced William Carey). But although related to Anne Boleyn, he had fallen out with her, and he was also just as closely related to Jane Seymour. Not that close, second cousin to both women. Close enough to know about Jane. He felt sorry for Jane, still single and stuck at home, and tried to find her a husband. Or at least a place at Court with the new Queen. Better still, since he did not like Anne, he decided to help Jane attract the King herself.

    The strategy worked. The King stopped off at Wolf Hall, the Seymour family home, on his summer progress without his wife Anne. And met Jane Seymour.

    Anne was annoyed when the King went back again to Wolf Hall on his summer progress the following year, 1535, although she was able to go with him, as this time he brought Jane Seymour back with him to court. Jane and Anne were also second cousins, so Anne (and others) knew the past scandal of her unofficial betrothal to William Dormer. Which also meant Jane had at least some experience with men. Henry VIII not only brought Jane back with him, but had her installed her as a lady in waiting to Queen Anne. It made Anne feel sick and angry but there was nothing she could do about it. When she saw Jane wearing a necklace the King had given her, with his portrait on it, she tore it from the woman's neck, cutting her hand in the process.

    Edward Seymour had been promoted to "Esquire to the Body". Edward Seymour's new wife Anne Stanhope, a pushy type of woman, seized the advantage. If Anne, now in her mid-thirties, continued to fail to provide Henry VIII with his male heir, she could be replaced. Edward Seymour's wife could be sister-in-law to the next Queen.

    Along with Francis Bryan, she was also giving advice to Jane on encouraging the King's interest in her and sustaining it to become something more permanent than a quick screw. It seems though, it was Jane's apparent freshness and lack of sophistication that appealed to Henry VIII. He had his pick of the sophisticated, well educated, and fashionable, young ladies already. And he was worried about the adverse publicity and spiteful rumours and gossip his new relationship had generated: In a letter to Jane:

    "My Dear Friend And Mistress,
    "The bearer of these few lines from thy entirely devoted servant will deliver into thy fair hands a token of my true affection for thee, hoping you will keep it for ever in your sincere love for me. Advertising you that there is a ballad made lately of great derision against us, which if it go abroad and is seen by you; I pray you to pay no manner of regard to it. I am not at present informed who is the setter forth of this malignant writing; but if he is found out, he shall be straitly punished for it.
    "For the things ye lacked, I have minded my lord to supply them to you as soon as he could buy them. Thus hoping, shortly to receive you in these arms, I end for the present,
    "Your own loving servant and sovereign,
    "H. R."

    Jane and Henry shared a few interests. Both liked their food - Jane still looks a little plump and double-chinned in her flattering Holbein portrait. She particularly liked fattened little game birds like quail and ortalan. They were fattened by being kept in a black box and fed continuously. Ortalan are traditionally baked whole and eaten whole, bones, insides and all, stuffed into the mouth with just the head hanging out which was bitten off. They were one of her most favourite dishes and were to cause her death.

    Jane lacked Anne's education and sophistication, but she was not totally dim. She was skilled at embroidery - she was now working on bed hangings and covers with a view to furnishing her new future. In fact one of Henry VIII's many interests was embroidery - he even did some himself. And she was also apparently something of an apothecary - being skilled in herbal medicines etc. This was an acceptable and essential feminine accomplishment then. It was the only medical profession which accepted women. Although women could not be doctors or surgeons in the 16th century (and for a long time later), they could be apothecaries. Women brewed medicines and adminstered first aid to their family and staff. Brewing up medicines was one of Henry VIII's main interests too. Jane would have learnt from her mother and aunt - both skilled apothecaries.

    Jane stayed with her brother and sister-in-law to give the appearance that she was chaperoned, but they were given an apartment at court conveniently connected to the King's own accomodation. This had been Cromwell's apartment, he moved out so they could move in. Jane was careful to act the modest maiden, and handed back a gift of money. She had no problem accepting other gifts. Though it looks like Henry was recyling some of Katherine's possessions. And later, some of Anne's. In the portrait by Holbein, Jane is wearing pinned to the front of her dress, what looks like one of Queen Katherine's brooches, which Katherine was wearing in one of her portraits. And as observed by Lucy Churchill who reconstructed Anne Boleyn's "The Most Happi" medal, Jane is also wearing Anne's necklace (without the pendant) and Anne's jewels around her hood. So that particular portrait must have been finished by Holbein, after Anne's arrest, trial and execution.

    Richmond called back to the court

    In November 1534, Richmond had to return to London to attend the Parliament.

    He was lucky that he was too young to sign the Oath to the Act of Succession which said amongst other things:

    " - that the said Lady Katherine shall be from henceforth called and reputed only dowager to Prince Arthur, and not queen of this realm; and that the lawful matrimony had and solemnized between your highness and your most dear and entirely beloved wife Queen Anne, shall be established, and taken for undoubtful, true, sincere, and perfect ever hereafter ... "

    While Richmond could delay making a decision, his half-sister Princess Mary had just turned 18, and the pressure was on her to sign. She refused.

    On the 30th November, Richmond had to entertain the Admiral of France, in the place of his father. Not just because Richmond was Admiral of England and could speak French. This was because the French Admiral (Philippe Chabot de Brion), had irritated Henry VIII. Not only did he insist Mary was the King's legitimate daughter, he made it clear he was not interested in watching the King performing in entertainments and playing tennis. So the King left his son to look after him.

    After Christmas, Richmond went to stay in Collyweston.

    Anne seems to be on a campaign to get round Richmond, now he was married to her cousin. New Year's gifts for Richmond in 1534 and 1535 came directly from Queen Anne and as a pair of presents each time. One official gift which he gave away, and one personally chosen by Anne which was something for him to wear, and which he kept each time. In 1534 Anne's New Year gift for Richmond was a Salt which Richmond gave away that year to (according to inventory made in 1536) "Maistres Jennye when the Duke christened her sonne.") The personal gift was a ring which he kept. In 1535, Anne gave "a Crewse with a cover gilt" which Richmond passed on to his wife. And a "Bonett furnished with buttons and a litil brooche." for Richmond, which he kept.


    Richmond used by his father to represent him on diplomatic occasions

    Richmond was recalled to the King's Court and also a new Parliament was to be held. His father expected him to take his place on more diplomatic occasions. His father left him as his deputy to talk to and dine with the Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys who was concerned about the safety of Princess Mary.

    Richmond needed his French language skills, and to have knowledge of the on-going political situation on other occasions as well.

    The King was leaving his son to stand in for him on some occasions where he would have been expected to have his own policies and actions challenged and now expected his son to give the right replies. It was clear Henry VIII was training his son to "follow in his footsteps".

    Mary stripped of title, property and household, sent to live with Anne Boleyn's aunt, Lady Anne Shelton, who was also in charge of Princess Elizabeth's household.

    Mary had been given a bad time, because she would not sign the Act of Succession. She was stripped of her title as Princess, her legitimacy, and her household. Her household was disbursed. Allowed only two women from her household to remain with her, she was sent to be a lady-in-waiting to Anne's daughter Elizabeth. Mary refused to pay the appropriate respects to her as a Princess. She insisted "I know no other Princess of England, except myself, but since the King my father acknowledges the child to be his, I might call her "sister" as I call the Duke of Richmond "brother".

    The descendants of the Plantagenets, the Courtenays and the Poles were central to the "White Rose" party who supported Queen Katherine while Henry VIII was trying to divorce her. They had a plan to marry Princess Mary to the Countess of Salisbury's son, Reginald Pole. This plan to make Mary her daughter-in-law, was probably why the Countess of Salisbury was desperate to remain with Mary and in charge of her household. When Mary's household was disbanded and Mary had to move with only two attendants into her baby half-sister's household, the Countess of Salisbury pleaded to be allowed to remain with Mary even at her own expense. She also tried to hide away some of Mary's gold and silver plate.

    Amongst Princess Mary's guests during 1533, had been Reginald's brothers, Lord Montague and Sir Geoffrey Pole, the Earl of Oxford and the Earl of Essex, and Lord Sandys, all supporters of Queen Katherine. Amongst the women visitors were Lady Bergavenny, the Countess of Derby and Lady Kingston - all of whom also shared these views as did their husbands. Their ideas had been backed by Bishop Fisher.

    Now Princess Mary was to be isolated from her supporters, friends and even her mother.

    Queen Katherine still managed to secrete letters to her daughter via friends and the French diplomat employed as the Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, who was also her friend. She advised her daughter "to say very little and to obey the King's commandments, but not to lose her own soul. She was to play her virginals or lute for recreation. Especially she was to keep her heart with a chaste mind and her body from all ill and wanton company, not thinking nor desiring any husband until the troublesome time be past." Katherine was worried her daughter could be married off to someone unimportant and unsuitable, and lose all her status as the King's daughter.

    Henry VIII was still wearing the shirts that Katherine had embroidered for him, including the new ones she was still sending him. In return, Henry was continuing to send Katherine her favourite wines. That infuriated Anne. She was stupid enough to announce that she would poison the wines sent to Katherine, and her daughter. Katherine was warned about that by friends. She took the warnings seriously, and was very wary of her food and drink, and now only ate what was prepared separately for her in her own bedroom.

    Mary had now been placed under the supervision of Anne Boleyn's aunt, her father's sister, Lady Anne Shelton (another "Anne Boleyn") and who was Princess Elizabeth's governess, in charge of caring for her. This meant Mary would join her little sister's household in a subordinate position, and that she no longer had her own separate household and independence.

    Anne had even given Lady Shelton instructions to ill-treat Mary, saying Mary should be beaten.

    Lady Anne Shelton, ignored this, she replied that "even if Mary were only the bastard of a poor gentleman, she deserved honour and good treatment for her goodness and virtues".

    Two of Lady Shelton's daughters Mary and Margaret, were not only ladies-in-waiting to Queen Anne, at least one of them, Margaret became mistress to Queen Anne's husband the King, and both continued to attract his attention. So Lady Shelton was not going to listen too much to her niece. She could see and hear for herself from her own daughters, and others, that Anne's hold over the King was not likely to last forever.

    Anne Shelton shared the responsibilty of caring for Henry VIII's two daughters with her sister Lady Alice Clere. Anne herself was the mother of ten children. And a grandmother. Her son John was married to Margaret Parker, Jane Parker's elder sister. And Jane was George Boleyn's wife. Anne Shelton had many opportunities to know what was really going on.

    Mary Shelton, (always confused by historians with her sister Margaret), was 21 years old in 1533, when she became one of Queen Anne's ladies in waiting and part of her inner group, which included Mary's sister Margaret, Mary Howard, about to become Duchess of Richmond, and Margaret, the King's niece. Mary Shelton was a keen poet, and a very close friend of the Earl of Surrey. And was also close friends and in love with another poet, her cousin Thomas Clere.

    Their brother Ralph married Amy Wodehouse, whose brother married Ralph's sister Margaret. So Margaret (usually called Madge) was to marry Thomas Woodhouse, whose sister had married her brother Ralph. But long before settling down with her brother-in-law, she was courted by Henry Norris, Henry VIII's Groom of the Stool, and also by Francis Weston. Both men were to be executed with the accusation of being lovers of Queen Anne. Meanwhile their girlfriend Margaret was mistress to Henry VIII as well in 1535. Then she married and had seven children.

    In contrast, Margaret's sister Gabriella became a nun in Barking Abbey. (Which specialised in caring for the mentally ill hence our term "Barking mad"). Sisters Amy and Elizabeth were to remain with Princess Mary in her service, and often received presents from her. Their sister, Anne was married to Edmund Knyvett. Emma and Thomas completed that family and were still young children. And their parents now had to care for the King's daughters. Since one was related and the other still a potential heir to the throne, they were not complaining about the girls, only about the bad way Anne expected Mary to be treated.

    Surrey married, no longer attendant on Richmond

    Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey was no longer living with his brother-in-law, the Duke of Richmond, or in his service, as he had married Frances de Vere, daughter of the Earl of Oxford. They were to have five children, their first was born on 10th March, 1536. But marriage and fatherhood did not stabilize Henry Earl of Surrey, his behaviour was to grow more erratic over the years.

    The Holbein portraits pictured here were from about this time as Holbein used pink paper for portraits after his return to England in 1533. Surrey's portrait was given his younger brother's name, Thomas Howard, (also his son's name) when the drawings were catalogued later, but although that could have been his younger brother, Henry Howard can be identified not only by his horsey Howard features but by the squint of his bad eye. He was blind in that eye. Not long after Surrey was trying to grow a beard and his portraits show this, so the drawing must have been done before his wedding.


    Richmond in Sheffield and Holt learning to command a large army to take to Ireland. To become King of Ireland.

    The King's actions were making him unpopular and causing disturbances in different parts of the country. There were complaints about his son too, but very much less serious. These were mainly of the devastation he and his friends did to the countryside by their hunting and other activities. Trees were felled to make more space for deer, and crops were ruined as Richmond only saw the fields as space for his leisure activities and military training. (His education seems to have skipped telling him where food comes from). But the military training was now very important.

    The King and Cromwell decided to send Richmond over to Ireland as the head of a large, well equipped army. They planned that Richmond could be made King of Ireland.

    That would get him out of England, and at the same time he would be helping subdue a country which had always been troublesome and threatening to England.

    Richmond's entourage normally included about 600 armed mounted men, so with an army too, he must have now been accompanied by a very large and potentially powerful well-armed force of a few thousand men.

    Richmond and his armed forces were to go to Ireland in stages. First they went to Sheffield. Here Richmond was accommodated at the Sheffield Castle, which belonged to the Earl of Shrewsbury. (picture left).

    On the 4th July, Richmond wrote to Cromwell complaining "her in this countrey where I lye I have no parke nor game to showe sporte nor pleasure to my frendes when they shall resort unto me."

    Richmond was then moved to Holt Castle. (picture right). A little nearer to Ireland.

    Holt is in Wales, right on the border of England. In 1495 Henry VII stayed there. He had taken it, complete with treasure, from the previous owner Sir William Stanley who was executed. At the time Richmond stayed there, the castle was still a large impressive building in good repair. Built of red sandstone, on top of red sandstone rock, and surrounded by a moat. It had a polygon layout and had many rooms within its walls and turrets. Picture left dates from 1562. Now there is little left but the reddish sandstone ruins, as the building was abandoned after the Civil War.

    Here Richmond was joined by the Duke of Norfolk, his father-in-law, who was an experienced military leader and would be training his son-in-law. From there they were expected to go to Ireland with the army.

    The Duke of Norfolk had plenty of experience with Ireland. More than he wanted. In May 1520, Henry VIII had sent him to Dublin with his family to reside there as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and to sort out Gerald Fitzgerald, 9th Earl of Kildare, who had been officially the King's Deputy in Ireland since 1513, but was apparently running the place like his own kingdom with little regard for England's supposed sovereignty.

    Thomas Howard did what he could, and was much appreciated there, but needed more backup from the King, with more armed forces and also more supplies. The country was chaotic, poverty stricken, and rife with epidemics. Much needed practical assistance was not forthcoming from Henry VIII, who also kept refusing his requests to be allowed to return to England with his young family.

    Meanwhile Howard's 21 year old, second wife Elizabeth, had to struggle to look after their new home in a foreign country and their five small children. Katherine, Henry, Mary, Thomas and Charles. Charles died not long after they had arrived.

    In May 1521, his wife's father, the Duke of Buckingham was executed. When they had received the news Thomas Howard appealed for a recall back to England. Months passed with no reply. He tried again in September.

    "I have continued now here one year and a half, to Your Grace's great costs and charges, and to mine undoing, for I have spent all that I might make. The country is so much disposed to flux of the body, with which disease I have been so sore vexed, and yet am, that I fear, if Your Grace should command me to remain this winter coming, I should be in right danger of my life. There is dead of the same disease here, of Your Grace's retinue, above sixty, and of the great sickness a more number."

    Four months later, the Howards were allowed to return home.

    When in 1534, Thomas Howard, now Duke of Norfolk, heard that he was to be sent to Ireland again, he said: "If the King really wishes to send me to Ireland, he must first construct a bridge over the sea for me to return freely to England whenever I like."

    "The Irish Question" in 1534

    Often called "The Irish Question" by historians perhaps because it has never been solved.

    In February 1534, Gerald FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Kildare, was summoned to London. He appointed his son, Thomas FitzGerald, who was was called "Silken Thomas" to be Deputy Governor of Ireland in his absence.

    In June 1534, Silken Thomas heard rumours that his father had been executed in the Tower of London and as a result publicly renounced his allegiance to King Henry VIII. He staged a rebellion and in July, his army attacked Dublin Castle, but was defeated. He ordered the execution of Archbishop Alen at Clontarf who had tried to mediate.

    On the 2nd September his father did die in England, and Silken Thomas was now the 10th Earl of Kildare.

    In March, l535, Silken Thomas' stronghold at Maynooth, County Kildare, was taken by an English force under Sir William Skeffington.

    In July, Lord Leonard Grey (who had wanted to marry Henry Fitzroy's mother when she was the widowed Lady Elizabeth Tailboys) was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland and sent there to sort it out. In August, Silken Thomas surrendered and was taken to England as a prisoner and put into the Tower of London.

    The Duke of Richmond was actually wanted in Ireland by the Irish - or at least some of them.

    A letter from Connor O'Brien, to Henry VIII on 13th October 1535, asks the King "if it would please your highnesse to send your sonne the duke of Richmond to this poor country, I insure your grace that my kinsmen and all my friends shall right gladly receive him to our forster sonne after the custom of Ireland, and shall live and dye in his right and service for ever".

    In fact it seems that Richmond was Henry VIII's first choice to go to Ireland as the King's Lieutenant. (Ellis). This was supported by Cromwell. But not by Richmond's father-in-law, the Duke of Norfolk who had had enough of the place. It also seems that Henry VIII was unwilling to suppoly sufficent finance and troops which would be needed to be commensurate with the status of Duke of Richmond, as Henry VIII's son.

    So the project floundered. Richmond still had the additional army and supplies he had been provided with so far, and the military training. He could now command an army when he had to.

    Richmond remains in England - and still with his own large army he has been trained to command.

    Richmond never reached Ireland (to his father-in-law's relief), as he was recalled by his father to attend a new Parliament. This was to be held in November.

    Richmond moved into his palace of Collyweston. Collyweston was on the Great North Road with direct and relatively quick access back to London (could be done in 2 days but usually about a week). It was also not very far from where his mother and step-father lived. And there was enough space around Collyweston to accomodate the increased size of Richmond's army billeted around it.


    Henry VIII worried about his daughter's health

    While under Lady Shelton's care, in 1535, Princess Mary had become very ill. She suffered from painful heavy periods but her condition had worsened (perhaps due to stress). Lady Shelton called in the apothecary, Mr. Michael who gave Mary some pills. But after taking the pills, Mary was very sick.

    Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador, (who was reporting to Charles V on his aunt and cousin and also trying to help them), was concerned about Mary. Ex-Queen Katherine who was kept informed by Chapuys, was extremely anxious and pleaded with the King to send her daughter to live with her so she could look after her. Chapuys asked Henry VIII to help his daughter.

    The King was himself was now very worried about his daughter, thinking she might be poisoned, as his son might have been. After all Lady Shelton was Anne's aunt. He sent his physician Dr. William Butts to check up on Mary's health. He examined Mary on 2nd September, and concluded that Mary had had a bad reaction to the pills she had been given. Henry VIII then went to see Lady Shelton and questioned her himself. After this he told Chapuys that he was confident that Lady Shelton was experienced in "women's problems".

    Neverthless Henry VIII did believe Anne had attempted to poison both his older children.

    The pills prepared for Mary, are likely to have contained ergometrine, which is still used to help with heavy periods and bleeding from miscarriages. Mary was having problems with her periods which were often late and very heavy. She also suffered from migraines. Ergometrine can help with both, but it also causes pains and cramps in the rest of the body, as it shrinks the blood vessels. It can even cause gangrene and other nasty side effects if too much is taken. As a keen amateur apothecary Henry VIII would have understood that. But he was now worried about the safety of his older children. And the failure of Anne to produce his desired son. And he was also worried about the growing opposition to him from his subjects, not just a few nutty prophets, but a great number of ordinary people and even those he had respected like Thomas More.

    Henry VIII taxes beards to raise more money for his campaign of terror
    In 1535 Henry VIII imposed a beard tax to raise more money. Beards had come back into fashion. Under this new law how much a man paid for his whiskers depended on how rich he was. Henry had a beard and was very rich, so he seems to have "shot himself in the foot" over this tax. It was tried again many years later as a money raiser, by Queen Elizabeth who didn't have that problem.

    1535: Henry VIII's Reign of Terror begins

    On the 4th May, 1535, Richmond had been ordered by his father to watch the execution of four Carthusian monks, who had defied the King's new Acts of Supremacy, which made him Head of the Church in England, and the new Act of Succession. They were to be made a public example, to scare others. They were dragged from the Fleet Prison (in Faringdon Street), to Tyburn (now Marble Arch) on a hurdle, then hung, drawn and quartered, and the King ordered that no mercy was to be shown. (Otherwise they might have made the hanging kill them, so they were already dead when the rest was done). Although he gave the orders, Henry VIII did not attend the trial and the executions himself. Instead he ordered his 16 year old son, the Duke of Richmond, to be his representative at the trial, and then to witness the executions on the scaffold.

    While watching the executions, Richmond, Norfolk, and Thomas Boleyn, wore masks and were on horseback. This was on order from the King. They would have looked a bit scary, but it did have an advantage for them as well, as they would not have wanted any reports going back to the King, that they might have looked in sympathy with the defiant Carthusians. In fact Norfolk did get flack from Henry VIII, as he and the others did not interupt the Prior's speech at the trial.

    A full account of the gruesome spectacle was taken back to Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher in the Tower. Both these men who opposed Henry VIII's policies, were an embarrassment for him as they were internationally famous. Sir Thomas More, who had resigned as Chancellor hoping that would avoid the situation in which he now found himself, was famous as the author of Utopia and other works, a friend and patron of Erasmus and other famous scholars and artists (like Holbein). John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, had recently been made a Cardinal - a deliberate move by the Pope to annoy Henry VIII.

    Influential friends did not help these two men. They were beheaded at the Tower of London for refusing to concede to to the Act of Supremacy and accept the new Act of Succession. Although it made no difference to them since they were long since dead by then, both were canonised as saints by the Vatican, and the Carthusian monks who were executed were made matyrs.

    Cromwell had organised for the King at his command, what amounted to a secret police network of paid informers. Among the ordinary people brought to trial was a woman in Suffolk overheard referring to Queen Anne as "a goggyll yed hoore". (Lots of people called her a "goggle-eyed whore".) And an 80 year old man walking home from Worcester market in the rain complaining " that this wedre is so troblous or unstable, and I wene we shall nevir haue better wedre whillis the Kinge Reigneth".

    Which just gives an indication of the many people who were overheard making the sort of comments and complaints we all make about the government and the weather, but they could be reported by anyone, and summoned to court for trial and punishment.

    It did not help that the summers continued to be cold and wet. This meant harvests were bad, people already hard up went hungry. Merchants could not trade their goods overseas. A letter Cromwell received from Thomas Broke in September 1535, he was told that he had seen the wines "which Francis Towell desires a licence to transport beyond the sea. They are so slimy and soapy, that they are not fit for sauce much less wholesome to drink".

    And he also reported to Cromwell that death and penury were widespread in the city. "Bread is so musty and of bad wheat is is more poisonous than nourishing. What was sold for a half-penny is now a penny".

    When times are hard you blame the government for failing to meet its promises, making a mess of things, and bringing financial disaster, all for its own gains, profit and benefit. And the government was Henry VIII. The vast numbers of what we might now call "lese majeste" cases turning up at court from all parts of his realm and all different members of society, were making King even more unpopular.

    And in addition Henry VIII was now screwing money out of, and attacking and planning to close down, the only source of social assistance, medical care, and education, for most of the population. Nearly all the local charitable foundations, hospitals, schools, sheltered accomodation for the elderly and for the handicapped, and so on, were run by the local ecclesiastical organisations, such as monasteries, convents, priories, etc. They also run most of the large-scale manufacturing industries, and also the essential services to the local community, like drainage, canals, mills etc. They had been the main employers in their local area. And had also been supported financially, by various bequests, by local people.

    For example: St Catherine's Priory, run by the Gilbertine monks and nuns in Lincoln. (St. Gilbert's monasteries were for both men and women). It was not just a monastic "power-house of prayer", it was a major employer and food provider for the area, with extensive farm holdings, gardens, cattle, sheep, poultry and other livestock, agricultural fields, and windmills. It also provided refuge, comfort, and nursing care for the sick, a hospice, a leprosy and other contagious diseases unit, a local medical and health service, a school, an orphanage, an asylum, sheltered accommodation for the elderly and disabled, social service facilities for the neighbourhood, and hospitality for pilgrims, any travellers who needed to stop over (they provided hotel type accomodation for long or short stays, and for royal and episcopal visitors).

    Henry VIII had asked Cromwell to compile a list of all the religous institutions and their assets. Henry was after their assets, although many of their assets did not belong entirely to the church but to local people or other organisations. He was planned to close them all down within the next few years. And although this began with the smaller establishments and Cromwell's office was ordered to provide suitable reasons - sex scandals mostly, and rehouse the evicted. - No one was fooled. They were going to lose all their social services, and most of their local employment opportunities. And in addition - the places where family was buried, with donations in their memory not just for memorials, but things like scholarships, building, furniture, etc. from themselves and their families in the past would all be stolen from them, in the closures and destruction. Only the King and his cronies would benefit.

    The list was called the Valor Ecclesiasticus. And several copies were written by hand, probably mostly by the monks who were about to lose their homes and jobs. They were beautiful manuscripts, with a lovely illustrated initial letter showing Henry VIII in his throne, usually wearing a sort of robe. In this one, Henry VIII is shown as the monks saw him, wearing his normal clothes, with red stockings, and a big red codpiece.

    Plague back

    The Plague was breaking out all over the country in the summer of 1535. The King and Queen Anne were staying at Thornbury from the 18th August 1535. They were to visit Bristol but the royal visit was cancelled because of the plague, though they did receive a delegation bearing gifts for them.

    The King's Visitors were officials who had orders to travel around the abbeys and other religious establishments to count their assets and report on any misbehaviour that might give some meaning to the closure as they all were to be closed and assets given to the King. Like the traders, and others travelling the country they were vulnerable to catching the plague and spreading it. Another good reason they were not welcome. At least one of them complained he could not do his job because everywhere was infected with the plague.

    Members of Parliament were sending in reasons because of the plague that they could not attend. Some could not even be elected. The election of Knights to represent Shropshire could not be held in Shrewsbury because of the plague there.

    By early September there were complaints of food shortages and famine. In London the price of bread doubled from a half penny to a penny, and was "so musty it is rather poisonous than nourishing." Mouldy expensive bread in addition to the others "cuts" and the latest epidemic did not made people happy with Henry VIII's government.

    Because of the plague, the opening of Parliament was postponed until the 4th February 1536, and the Law Courts closed until All Souls Eve (2nd November).

    1535 contd.

    In November, 1535, the Duke of Richmond, now re-united with his wife Mary, joined his father at the court at Windsor Castle.

    They then moved to Westminster for the new parliament session when it began. The Duke and Duchess of Richmond now had their own home at the new St.James's Palace which was nearby.

    Richmond found that Anne was getting even more pushy and demanding. He had discovered that the King was going to give Collyweston, one of his main residences, to Anne. Was this anything to do with Richmond's armed forces being billeted there. Or was it a deliberate bit of spite on Anne's part to grab what she knew to be one of Richmond's favourite houses.

    On the 6th November Richmond sent a letter to Cromwell, with Anthony Driland, stating that "having given to his servant Anthony Driland, the bearer, the reversion of the offices of the bailiwick and keeper of the park of Collyweston, and understanding that it was the king's pleasure that the queen's grace should have that manor, he requests that Driland's claim should be respected". He was successful, Driland kept his job.

    And soon Anne would be history.


    The call of far off places.

    One of the events Richmond might have missed but his wife would have told him about, was a visit at the court, from William Hawkins with "one of the savage kings of Brasil" he had brought back in his ship "Paul of Plymouth" in exchange for one of his men, Martin Cockeram as surety for his safe return. The ladies could admire and wonder at the bronzed hunk with his face and body piercings. Hawkins did return to "Brasil", but the chief died on the journey. Fortunately his people still allowed Martin Cockeram to return home to England.

    You can get an idea of the geography at this time from this detail of a globe from Holbein's Ambassadors, turned the other way up. Brasil, or Brazil, as well as being the country in south America was also the name of a mythical place and given vaguely in the 15th and early 16th centuries to any lands to the west of Ireland, which was usually off the coasts of Newfoundland and Canada where they went fishing for cod. Many ships from England set off across the North Atlantic well up in the Arctic, then sailed south along the coast. So the native American could have come from any place that way, since further south had already been occupied by Spanish and Portuguese. The Pope had divided up the world between the Spanish and Portuguese, but other countries were not going to accept that.

    There was one enterprise that Henry VIII gave his support to early in 1536, which was inspired by William Hawkins "savage". Richard Hore, a wealthy London leather seller, and astronomer, was accustomed to trading voyages to the Canary Islands, and had the idea he could make money out of voyaging to "Brasil" to capture natives in strange ethnic dress, tattoos etc. to bring back and put on display to a fee-paying public.

    With the King interested, a number of young gentlemen from wealthy families, signed up with Hore and contributed funds for the adventure. By April 1536 they were under way down the Thames in two hired ships, the William and the Trinity. Waving from the decks in their colourful fashionable clothes.

    They did not reach the land on the other side of the Atlantic until July. Then the William was loaded up with the professional sailors and fishermen, and the supplies and food they needed and set off to fish for cod.

    The amateurs on the Trinity were left to find "Brasil". It was colder than they thought it would be with great "islands of ice". Then they caught sight of a boat load of "savages" - actually Beothuk - the native people who lived on Newfoundland, dressed in ethnic furs, - coming in their bark canoe to check them out. They launched a boat to chase them. The "savages" turned and fled into the river and escaped. All the English blokes could find was the remains of a campsite with birchbark wigwams, a fire and a bear on a spit. They returned to the boat with their only souvenirs an embroidered ethnic boot and a mitten.

    Then they discovered their boat needed drastic repairs. And all their food was gone. They should have taken the bear on a spit. They were starving and some of the men who went off with the remaining crew, to find food, never returned.

    Then a French ship was sighted and came to their rescue. They hi-jacked it and sailed back to England. Where they found the King wanted to see them. He had received an angry letter from François I wanting compensation for his hi-jacked ship and marooned sailors. (They had managed to get home by patching up the English ship). And Hore also had an angry letter from the owner of the William wanting compensation for his lost ship.

    Henry VIII paid up for them, which considering what had been happening and what he had been doing that year was unusually considerate. 1536 was the year that changed Henry VIII and his country.

    Part 6 - 1536 - Katherine's death brings changes

    Christmas and New Year 1535-1536

    No New Year's gift this year from Anne, formal or otherwise is recorded to the Duke of Richmond and his wife.

    Katherine dies, Henry bangs his head, Anne miscarries.

    Katherine dies

    Just after Christmas, on 7th January 1536, ex-Queen Katherine died.

    Ex-Queen Katherine had been ill for about a month. She complained of stomach pains and kept feeling sick. Her physician was suspicious about poison and blamed a crate of wine from Wales, but since everything was checked and shared with Katherine's companions, this was a mystery. The women still in Katherine's service and her friends who managed to get in to see her, prepared her food themselves in her room, because they and Katherine had reason to suspect that Anne Boleyn would try to poison Katherine's food and drink. It does seem though that heart and cardio-vascular problems - no doubt at least partly brought on by stress and anxiety had contributed to her final illness and death.

    Henry VIII, perhaps worried he might be accused of murdering Katherine, gave commands that she should have an autopsy on her body. This was carried out by the undertakers - who were also the carpenters that made the coffin, and also at that time had the job of carrying out autopsies when needed.

    Eight hours after she died, Katherine's body was cut open and, because of the fear (also held by her former husband) that she had been poisoned, her intestines, stomach etc. were carefully cut open and examined. All these organs looked normal and healthy, no problem was found there. However when they looked at her heart, it was black, and on cutting it open, they found it was black inside everywhere. There was also something round and black stuck to it.

    These are all symptoms of a heart attack, or "myocardial infarction". The pain can be mistaken for indigestion pains, as it seems Katherine's physicians did, and there can be shortness of breath, and tiredness - as Katherine experienced. It is caused usually by blockages of the arteries suppying blood to the heart. Stress as well as diet can be a cause. Stress makes blood vessels contract. The blackness was caused by ischemic decay and the round black thing stuck to the heart the men doing the autopsy observed when they opened the heart, was a blood clot, possibly due to an embolism. It was black right through, they found, as was the heart. Modern photo shows what this would have looked like at the autopsy.

    Information on Katherine's death, comes from the autopsy. The interpretation of it was assisted by the research and personal experience of Mervyn Hobden. See also: Wikipedia and other websites on myocardial infarction..

    Katherine's death had been caused by a heart attack, not it seems by poisoned wine - although living in fear of such a threats for the past few years such nervous anxiety may have caused or at least increased the problem that killed her.

    Katherine was buried in Peterborough Cathedral. Her daughter had not been allowed to visit her mother, nor to go to her funeral. Henry VIII could not prevent everyone. Their nieces Frances and Eleanor, daughters of the King's late sister Mary, did go to Katherine's funeral. Along with many others. Katherine was not getting a bad deal at the end, not the royal funeral to which she should have been entitled, nor the burial at a Franciscan monastery she had requested (which was just as well as they had been closed or were about to be), but it was still with a ceremonial procession, bishops, candles, and her nieces as chief mourners.

    Katherine is remembered as a strong and defiant victim of an abusive husband. She now has a lovely memorial in Peterborough Cathedral and many sympathetic visitors to her last resting place.

    Katherine had left a letter for Henry when she feared she might not live much longer:
    This is a copy (modernized):

    "My most dear lord, king and husband,
    The hour of my death now drawing on, the tender love I owe you forceth me, my case being such, to commend myself to you, and to put you in remembrance with a few words of the health and safeguard of your soul which you ought to prefer before all worldly matters, and before the care and pampering of your body, for the which you have cast me into many calamities and yourself into many troubles.
    For my part, I pardon you everything, and I wish to devoutly pray God that He will pardon you also. For the rest, I commend unto you our daughter Mary, beseeching you to be a good father unto her, as I have heretofore desired. I entreat you also, on behalf of my maids, to give them marriage portions, which is not much, they being but three. For all my other servants I solicit the wages due them, and a year more, lest they be unprovided for. Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things.
    the Quene"

    Anne happy as Queen and pregnant

    Queen Anne, was now legally the King's wife, which for her husband meant she could now be divorced, to make way for someone new, but she was pregnant again, this had to be the son he wanted.

    Anne was given some of Katherine's houses and other possessions. One of these was Baynard's Castle. This was where Katherine had given birth at the time Elizabeth Blount was discovered to be pregnant by the King. It says something for her devastating grief at the death of what was to be her last child, since everything was left still there which had been used for the birth and Katherine's recovery. It is all in the inventory made after her death.

    Katherine must have felt very bitter and sad at her baby's death, and angry at her husband. Elizabeth Blount's song had been a clever way of announcing that the King had got her pregnant and now had to do something about it. But it had upset the Queen, and could be blamed as the cause of her going into premature labour and losing her child. It is not surprising then, that Elizabeth Blount had been hussled away to a small village a long way from her own home, under surveillance, rather like being a prisoner, and not even sent home to her mother.

    Now Katherine was dead, Queen Anne now helped herself to all the late Queen Katherine's things she thought pretty or useful. Even the two rolls of cloth from which her sanitary towels were made (thick fluffy for inside, fine linen for outside), linen and lace "breast cloths" (bras), and embroidered linen nightdresses. Anne changed her mind about taking the breast cloths in the end - probably they were too big for her.

    But: Henry VIII has passed on some of Katherine's jewelry to Jane Seymour

    At the same time she was celebrating the death of Katherine, Anne attempted a sympathetic and friendly letter to her stepdaughter Mary. But it was too late. Mary was already assured of the support of Jane Seymour who in Holbein's portrait which was painted some time in 1536, is wearing Queen Katherine's brooch pinned to the centre front of her dress, as Queen Katherine used to wear it. Henry VIII must have already given her some of Katherine's jewelry, but in this official portrait, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, and recently restored, (it was bought from the Duke of Arundel in 1654), the brooch is a political statement. Jane (not Anne) is now intended to take Katherine's place.

    Some links about Jane wearing Katherine's brooch:

  • more on Jane Seymour wearing same brooch that had belonged to Katherine of Aragon
  • and more who have noticed Jane wearing Katherine's brooch
  • and what did IHS on the brooch mean

    The portrait was painted after Anne was executed, since Jane is also wearing a necklace identified by Lucy Churchill as the one Anne was wearing in her "moost happi" medal - but without the pendant cross. And also the same jewels decorating the edge of her headress.

    Henry seems to have a new wife lined up

    Anne had been upset and furious when she caught her husband with Jane on his lap. Later Anne hit Jane, Jane hit back and there was a cat fight in front of the other women. Jane was obviously secure in her position with the King by now.

    On the day of Katherine's funeral in Peterborough Cathedral, 25th January, Anne, her 2-year old daughter Elizabeth, and the King dressed in cheerful yellow, to show the public they did not care. But others did not share Anne's glee. The King's nieces were not the only ones who made the effort to attend Katherine's funeral in Peterborough.

    As part of the celebrations led by Henry VIII and Anne at court, Henry went off to enjoy himself hunting and jousting. Perhaps Katherine's death had upset him more than he wanted to show, for he fell off his horse. And the horse fell on top of him. He had a nasty bang on the head and was unconscious for two hours.

    Anne received no sympathy from her husband, when after she was told about the accident by her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, she miscarried.

    As soon as he heard this news, the King his head still smarting, rushed into her bedroom. Anne blamed him for causing the miscarriage by scaring her with his fall, and also upsetting her with his behaviour with Jane. She screamed at him "I saw that harlot Jane sitting on your knees while my belly was doing its duty!". Henry shouted at her: "You shall have no more sons by me, Madam!" and left the room.

    When Richmond went in to see his father, as was the daily custom when he was at court, the King, with tears in his eyes said that "both he and his sister ought to thank God for having escaped from the hands of that accursed whore who had planned their death by poison."

    So the King was now convinced that Anne had attempted to murder both his older children. And he had already been collecting evidence that would enable him to get rid of her and replace her with the younger woman he was already courting. While Katherine lived, then if he had jettisoned Anne he would still have been left with Katherine. Now Katherine was dead, he could replace Anne. And he had the young lady lined up ready.

    Anne is now doomed.

    The Parliamentary Writs to put Acts through giving Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, precedence over all the King's other children, were put out on 27th April, 1536.

    But his father had not given up his attempts to have more sons. That need not have worried the Duke of Richmond too much since considering the state of the King's failing health and age, any son born to him soon or later would likely be still a child by the time his father died. Which would leave Richmond as Regent and in power. And most likely to be prefered as King.

    Henry VIII was now spending more of his time with Jane. Being blonde, plump, unsophisticated, quiet and dowdy, Jane was a contrast to thin, dark, fashionable, well read and hyperactive, Anne. Jane had a number of "friends" who had fallen out with, or never liked, Anne, and had been helping Jane as a means to push Anne from her position as Queen. And with Katherine dead, were now hoping Jane would be an adequate replacement to restore the status quo in politics and religion. Jane acknowledged this and it become part of her plan once she had ousted and replaced Anne to get the King to re-instate his daughter Mary in her former position.

    Cromwell had been ordered by Henry VIII to collect any evidence the could be found, to dispose of Anne, from anything Anne might have said or done that could incriminate her.

    Anne had objected to the King's continuing gifts to Katherine of her favourite wines - now she was accused of poisoning the casks. In fact the threat was real. Katherine had been warned and was afraid of poisoning to the extent that her few remaining trusted staff used to prepare her food themselves in her room. However it seems to have been the stress not toxic food and drink, that caused her pains and affected her heart.

    Anne was now accused of attempting to poison not only ex-Queen Katherine, but Henry VIII's children, Mary, and the Duke of Richmond. Katherine had cause to worry about her own food and drink. She did have a bad tummy upset at one time and couldn't keep her food down for a while. As we have seen Henry VIII was already concerned about Anne's threats, and had carried out his own investigation when he thought his daughter Mary was being poisoned. And there had been an attempt on poisoning Richmond when he was in France in which Anne's brother George is very likely to have been involved.

    Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador who was trying to help both Katherine and her daughter Mary, suspected that Gregory di Casale (one of Henry VIII's Italian agents) had supplied a slow poison which would leave no trace. It does not seem that Katherine was fatally poisoned but the stress and fear and worries about her daughter, coupled with conditions associated with her age - around the menopause, would certainly have affected her heart and from the evidence of the autopsy, it was this that caused her death.

    Anne is doomed

    Henry VIII no longer burdened by his first wife, has now thought of a way of getting rid of his second wife, to free himself to marry the third one (perhaps 3rd time lucky, this one will have a viable son).

    On the 2nd May 1536, Anne was sent to the Tower and charged with adultery with her musician, Mark Smeaton, Henry Norris, Richard Page, William Brereton, Francis Weston, Thomas Wyatt, and Anne's brother, George Boleyn Viscount Rochford, who were also imprisoned in the Tower.

    Mark Smeaton who played the virginals for Anne, (and could also sing, dance, and play the lute, violin and organ and was young and very good looking) continues to be suspected as a possible father to Elizabeth. One of the stories gathered to use against Anne was: When Anne was on a summer progress with the King, she was housed separately in a place in Winchester. Mark Smeaton was concealed by one of her waiting woman, Margaret, who was in on the secret, in the cupboard where the snacks which might be wanted in the evening, were kept. When the other ladies were in their own room, all they could hear was Anne calling "Margaret, bring me a little marmalade". And Margaret brought in Mark - who was already undressed and prepared, then went off to bed.

    The issue of the parentage of Elizabeth

    This was even more important retrospectively when Elizabeth was the Queen of England.

    It is not impossible that recently Anne had been using Mark as a toy boy. Mark did not deny having sex with Anne although he knew he was likely to be executed for it. And Anne did give him many expensive and personal presents. It is just possible he could have parented Anne's last child, which miscarried, and it has been claimed would have been a son. Anne had been getting more desperate by then. Whether he fathered Elizabeth is much less likely since Elizabeth must have been conceived at the end of or just after the trip to France. Anne was unlikely to have been desperate enough at that time.

    Henry Percy, now Earl of Northumberland, was also suspected of being the father of Elizabeth. As mentioned earlier, he and Anne Boleyn had fallen in love in 1523, when he was 20 and Anne about three years older. They had a secret but genuine wedding, in a chapel with a priest. Both their parents were furious when they found out as they had other plans. Anne was intended to marry James Butler, and Henry Percy to marry Mary Talbot. So the parents asked Wolsey to bring this relationship to an end. But it looks like they still held feelings about each other, even though forced apart. Neither fell in love with anyone else. And Henry VIII was able to use this relationship as one of the reasons for annulling his marriage to Anne.

    Henry Percy was ordered to attend Anne's trial and fainted when Anne was sentenced to death. He died just over a year later. Poisoning was suspected. He was described when he was dying as "yellow and distended". But this could also have resulted from malaria, which he had suffered from intermittantly or some other problem which would have affected his liver.

    Anne's brother George was also accused of incest with his sister Anne. And of being the likely father of Elizabeth. He had no children by his wife. It could be possible and would account for the apparent estrangement of his wife Jane, who gave evidence against her husband and Anne, when questioned. She had seen them embracing, and kissing tongue in mouth etc. and other behaviour not expected to be normal between a brother and sister. But again if this had happened it is likely to have been more recently when Anne was getting desperate. And Jane appeared to be deeply concerned and upset about her husband's fate.

    After her husband was executed for treason, Jane was given an appointment as a Lady of the Privy Chamber to Jane Seymour. Which meant she would be in personal attendance to the new Queen. And had her own independent income arranged for her. Jane kept her title of Lady Rochford and never remarried.

    Another suspected father of Elizabeth is the Duke of Richmond, old enough at nearly 15, when they were both at the events in Calais. Anne intended to get him interested in her cousin Mary Howard while they were in Calais. But she might have shown him a few tricks when they were both left in Calais, with Richmond in charge, while Henry VIII was visiting the French King. That could give an additional motive for the attempt by Anne's brother George (who was very close to Anne and in her full confidence) to poison Richmond when he had the opportunity on the trip to France with the Duke of Norfolk. However the dates do not quite match - although they are almost possible. Richmond left Calais to join the French court on 11th or 12th November, just after seeing his father and Anne embark on the ship to England on the 11th November.

    One month too many. Very close but perhaps not quite close enough unless Elizabeth was 3 weeks overdue. Not impossible. It could have aroused the paranoid suspicions of Henry VIII. But since Anne was three or four years older than Richmond's mother she might not have had any appeal to rival Mary Howard. Who although virtually thrown at him, was much more attractive than Anne, and about the same age as Richmond.

    In fact it looks like Richmond did not like Anne despite her attempts to win him over. If it were not for her evil plotting against Richmond's mother, at the time she was widowed and back at the court, the King would probably have married Richmond's mother when his divorce from Katherine came through, or as it didn't, when Katherine had died, and made her his next Queen. And Richmond would have now been the undisputed heir to the throne. Richmond was convinced he was in danger from Anne, as he was still a rival to her aspirations for her own child. Especially as the legitimacy of little Elizabeth was not recognized by France when attempts were made to arrange a betrothal with the youngest French prince, Charles.

    As mentioned earlier, New Year's Gifts from Queen Anne to the Duke of Richmond in 1534 and 1535 are listed. Each time, two items were sent, one official, one personal. In 1534, "a littile Salt", which Richmond recycled. It was given to "Maistres Jennye the same yere, when the Duke christened her sonne". The other gift "a Ryng, remaynyng with my Lordes grace, and never delivered into his treasure". In 1535, Anne gave Richmond "a Crewse with a cover gilt, whiche was sent unto my Ladyes grace for a Newyeres gift". (i.e. It was given to his wife Mary). And "a Bonett furnished with buttons, and a litill brooche". In the inventory made after Richmond's death, that was said to have been "Remayning in my Lords grace handes, and never delivered to his treasure".

    Although Anne was still Queen at the New Year 1536, Richmond was not on her gift list - only the King's gifts are mentioned.

    It seems that after his marriage to Mary, Queen Anne was making an effort to appease Richmond in some way with these personal gifts about which (after an earlier one had been returned) she might have consulted his wife directly or indirectly about to get them right and be sure they would be acceptable. But then everything changed.

    There is little actual evidence that Richmond was directly involved in Anne's downfall. He seems, despite Anne's very personalized presents, to have tried to keep well out of Anne's way, and stayed out of it until ordered by his father to take his place at the trials and executions. Not just as his father's representative but probably also as a lesson his father wanted to give him. Henry VIII was being sent information from different parts of his realm of plots and plans to rise against him and replace him with his son.

    "Thunder rolls around the Throne"

    Greenwich Palace

    picture is of Greenwich Palace as it was in the 16th century

    By the 26th April 1536, Anne had been getting anxious enough to ask her Chaplain, Matthew Parker to see that her daughter Elizabeth was looked after, if anything happened to her. (He did, and when Elizabeth was Queen she made him Archbishop of Canterbury).

    Mark Smeaton had continued to benefit from Anne's favours, receiving many expensive gifts. This made him cocky and arrogant and irritated some of the courtiers. Especially Sir Thomas Percy, brother of Henry Percy, now Earl of Northumberland, who had married Anne. Anne ordered Thomas Percy to make up his quarrel with Mark. This annoyed Thomas Percy, so he told Cromwell of his suspicions of the favours Smeaton was getting from Anne. Cromwell told Percy to watch for evidence. On 29th April, 1536, Thomas Percy was able to report that he had seen Smeaton, coming out of Anne's apartments at Greenwich, early in the morning.

    Anne's response when she was questioned about this was that: "Upon Saturday before May Day I found him standing in the round window in my Chamber of Presence and I asked why he was so sad, and he answered and said it was no matter, then I said, "You may not look to have me seek to you as I should to a nobleman, because you be an inferior person." "No, no madam, a look suficeth me and thus fare you well."

    Anne seems to have believed that Smeaton was declaring his love for her - but actually on this occasion Smeaton had been trying to warn her what was happening and that the King was collecting evidence to get rid of her.

    He was unable to say more since Anne did not seem prepared to listen and understand, and he guessed they were being overheard anyway. He left Greenwich, and made the mistake of getting a ferry across the Thames, hoping to escape through London. He might have had more chance heading the other way for a boat overseas. Cromwell's men were waiting for him. He was caught, arrested and imprisoned in Cromwell's old 3-bedroomed house in Stepney, now occupied by his nephew Richard, since Cromwell moved upmarket. The following day, Smeaton was interrogated by Cromwell. Then he was sent to the Tower of London where he was threatened with the possibility of torture if he did not admit details of his relationship with Anne, and ordered to name other men he believed to be associated closely with Anne.

    Mark Smeaton; Henry Norris (a very close friend of Henry VIII until now, he was his Groom of the Stool); Richard Page (Richmond's Vice Chamberlain), William Brereton, more on Brereton and why he was to be done away with. Francis Weston and Thomas Wyatt, faced trial on 12th May 1536.

    Only Smeaton pleaded guilty to the charges, but the jury returned a verdict of guilty against four of them and a traitor's execution.

    Adultery, even then, was not normally a capital offence let alone a treasonable one. And Henry VIII had been openly unfaithful to both his wives so far and had his wedding to the next one already planned. So hardly on firm moral ground.

    Wyatt was released from the Tower, after the executions. He actually did have a love affair with Anne. Henry VIII was well aware of it, since Anne had told him when he first showed his interest in her. And Wyatt had later told Henry what had happened. Wyatt had later tried courting Mary (or Margaret?) Shelton, only to be pipped again by Henry VIII.

    Richard Page was found not guilty of treason and was released. Brereton's arrest probably had little do with Anne. He was a Groom of the Privy Chamber and about 50 years old. It was more about his activities in the west country. Where he had been acquiring properties and power. The King was just taking the opportunity to get rid of him.

    Henry VIII stayed away from all the proceedings. He appointed his son, the Duke of Richmond, to represent him at all the trials and subsequent executions. Richmond had no choice but to be there in a prominent position, with his father-in-law, the Duke of Norfolk, uncle to two of the people on trial, at all the events. They watched the executions on horseback, and wearing black masks.

    Wyatt obviously shaken by what was going on, and while still in the Tower not knowing what would happen to him, wrote a poem.

    Here is one of the verses:

    These bloody days have broken my heart.
    My lust, my youth did them depart,
    And blind desire of estate.
    Who hastes to climb seeks to revert.
    Of truth, circa Regna tonat.
    (thunder rolls around the throne)

    Wyatt escaped by telling Henry VIII with the story of the start of his relationship with Anne. They were neighbours, Wyatt did not have far to go on horseback to Hever, where he knew Anne was staying while her parents were at court. He found his way to her bedroom and they were just getting on when a noise came from the room above and Anne pulled on her skirt and ran up the stairs. After an hour she returned but wanted to leave things for another day. This story Wyatt is said to have related to Henry VIII in great detail, and he was so amused, that Wyatt escaped the block, and was sent to France as an envoy. In fact Wyatt adapted it from one of the stories in Boccaccio's Decameron. Married anyway and friends with Anne since they were children, Wyatt certainly did have casual sex with Anne and dropped that relationship when he saw Henry was interested as shown in his poems mentioned earlier.

    Anne and her brother were tried separately and after the others on 15th May. There was an audience of at least 2,000 and they were to be judged by 26 peers (which included Richmond's step-father Edward Clinton).

    The Duke of Norfolk was ordered by Henry VIII, to preside over the trial despite being Anne and George's uncle. So he would be forced to condemn his niece and nephew to death. He had no alternative, or he could end up without his head. (He was to have a narrow escape from that fate some 10 years later). Richmond had no alternative but to be there as his father's representative as ordered.

    Another reluctant man forced to be at the trial of Anne Boleyn and her brother, was her ex, Henry Percy, who had now succeeded his father as Earl of Northumberland. When the sentence was passed on Anne, Henry Percy fainted and had to be carried out. Although Henry Percy was not one of those to be on trial and executed, it did look like he still had feelings for Anne. But he may have just been ill as he suffered from recurring bouts of "the Ague" (malaria) and died just over a year later. There were rumours that he was poisoned as he was suspected of being the real father of Anne's daughter Elizabeth. Shortly before he died he was described as "yellow and distended". This might have been the result of malaria or another illness affecting his liver, but it could still have been poison that finished him off. At the same time his brothers took part in the "Pilgrimage of Grace" against Henry VIII.

    Bets were placed that Anne's brother George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford would be acquitted. But Anne had been overheard confiding to her sister-in-law Jane, George's wife, to the effect that the King was rubbish at making love and gave more details. Which delicate evidence was written down in Latin and translates as "was not skilful in copulating with a woman, and had neither virtue nor potency". This piece of evidence was given to George Boleyn in a written note with instructions just to say if it was correct or not. George (who knew he was damned anyway) read it out loudly in English so everyone could hear.

    On the 17th May, Boleyn, Norris, Brereton, Weston, were all executed at the Tower, by having their heads cut off with an axe. As he was not upper class like the others Smeaton was to be hung, drawn (his body cut open and guts pulled out) and quartered - genitals, arms and legs cut off, then his head. But as he had confessed to having been Anne's lover, he was executed like the others. The real reason was that at the Tower, the executions were performed to an invited audience. At Tyburn (now Marble Arch) they were public. And Henry VIII did not want that sort of negative publicity. So all five were lined up at the same scaffold within the walls of the Tower of London.

    They were processed in order of social status, so Mark Smeaton was first and got three blows of the axe before his head was off. By the time the executioner got to George he was in his stride so George got done in one. As usual, the heads were dipped in tar for preservation and displayed on London Bridge.

    The King's marriage to Anne was declared null and void, by Cranmer, on the grounds of the King's previous relationship with her sister Mary, who had been his mistress for several years. But there had actually been a papal dispensation for this at the time Henry VIII was trying to divorce Katherine to marry Anne! What Henry didn't get from the Pope was the annulment of his marriage to Katherine so he would be free to re-marry.

    Making out the marriage to Anne was not legal was just a ploy to make Anne's daughter Elizabeth illegitimate since there had been an act of succession passed in 1534, to make only the King's children by Anne legitimate. And Henry would have been reluctant to claim he was not actually Elizabeth's father, especially after the embarrassing evidence read out aloud to more than 2,000 of the most important people in the country, by Anne's brother.

    There is actually no real proof or evidence of a public wedding ceremony anyway neither would have it been legal until Katherine died then it actually was, ceremony or not. Dates in November and January (when they were supposed to be married by Cranmer the very man who declared their marriage null and void) seem to have been invented later by chroniclers writing in the reign of Anne's daughter Elizabeth - who obviously could not call into question their ruler's legitimacy if they wanted to keep their heads.

    On the 19th May 1536, Anne was to be executed for adultery. Although if she had not been legally married, she could not have committed adultery! Anne saw the irony of her fate and knew she was being eliminated for the King's personal and political reasons. And her successor was already waiting to take over.

    Henry VIII's only remaining consideration for the woman he abandoned his wife of more than 20 years for, and changed the state religion of his country, was to import an executioner, Jean Rombaud, from St. Omer - near Calais (in the part of France still English), who could cut off Anne's head quickly with a sword. In fact he had already been booked by Henry before the trial even began!

    But this did mean that Anne's execution date was postponed for another day, while they waited for the executioner to arrive.

    At Anne's execution, Richmond had been ordered by his father to stand nearest to her on the scaffold as his father's representative.

    Perhaps his father not only wanted his son to be there on his behalf, but to take note on what he could do to his nearest and dearest if they annoyed him or got in the way of his plans.

    Anne Boleyn's execution is remembered as an extreme case of domestic violence. And Henry VIII's record of domestic violence was still only beginning.

    Many historians say that during the time of these trials and executions, Henry VIII was having a lovely time at Wolf Hall, preparing for his wedding to Jane Seymour, which took place at Wolf Hall, the day after Anne's execution. Considering the difficulties in transport, security, and communications, then, it is a good story but unlikely. And actually Jane was still near London, staying with Nicholas Carew, brother-in-law to Francis Bryan. His family home was in what is now south London, at Beddington near Croyden. Nicholas Carew was also distantly related to Anne Boleyn but did not like the way Queen Katherine and Princess Mary had been treated. So like Francis Bryan he had supported Jane as Anne's replacement. Jane was moved to his house in Chelsea then to a house near York Place with a convenient mooring by the Thames.

    Meanwhile, Henry was making preparations for his marriage to Jane, enjoying himself with boat parties with a number of entertaining women, and chose to forget about Anne. When Anne's lady companions who were looking after her in the Tower, had the horrible task of placing her body and head in a coffin - they found there had been none made ready. Someone managed to find an arrow chest to fit her in. It is also said that Anne's head was first taken to show to Henry VIII who was playing tennis at York Place at the time. Then it was put back to join the rest of the body in the arrow chest. At least it was not put on display on London Bridge with the others.

    Jane now Queen

    The masons at Henry VIII's palaces were busy chipping off Anne Boleyn's falcon logo and replacing it with Jane Seymour's phoenix. While Anne's falcon tramples little red and white roses, Jane's phoenix extends protective wings over the little red and white roses. (Good PR).

    After Anne had been executed, Henry VIII went to see Jane. Not quietly and secretly or with other women. But in his state barge. He took her in a state procession of barges up the Thames, to Hampton Court. Here he gave Jane a tour of the new buildings still in construction, including the new apartments for the Queen, originally intended for Anne and still unfinished. Here she could see Anne's falcon being chipped off to replace with her phoenix. Now this would be her new home. And here at Hampton Court she and Henry were formally betrothed. They then returned to York Place for a quiet wedding ceremony with just a few selected guests.

    The marriage would ensure the legitimacy of their future children. And not being public, also be easier to repudiate if Jane did not produce the desired heir. On May 29th, Jane was proclaimed Queen.

    Richmond's mother, Lady Clinton, is listed as one of "The Great Ladies" now to be in attendance on the new Queen Jane. The other "Great Ladies" included Richmond's wife, Mary Duchess of Richmond, and her friend, the King's niece, Lady Margaret Douglas. Richmond's mother clearly now was given a recognised status as "mother of the King's son" making her equivalent in status to the King's daughter-in-law and niece.

    One of the new Ladies of the Privy Chamber was Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, once Jane Parker, and one of the teenage mistresses (perhaps) of Henry VIII, now the widow of Anne's brother, George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford. She had been left with almost nothing, (Henry VIII had taken all the possessions of the executed) and had to appeal to Cromwell. With Cromwell's sympathetic help, since her evidence had helped in the trial which left her a widow, she now had a position at court and an adequate income.

    Jane Seymour's younger sister Elizabeth had been widowed in 1534 and was living in York. She petitioned Cromwell for for financial help. What she got was a new husband. A marriage between her and Cromwell's son Gregory was arranged by her brother Edward Seymour and Cromwell.

    Richmond was only going to benefit from Anne's downfall. He acquired new lands and positions, confiscated from the accused and condemned. Also Baynards Castle in London which had once been Queen Katherine's residence, then Anne's.

    The Duke of Richmond and his wife were guests at the glittering turnout for the wedding of the year, a triple wedding. Lady Dorothy Neville, her brother, and her sister Margaret, were married respectively to Lord John de Vere, Lady Anne Roos and her brother. The King was present, dressed up in Turkish costume, performing in a masque. Richmond took part in the jousts watched by his wife.

    This spectacular was sponsored by the King as a substitute for his quiet wedding to Jane Seymour.

    Jane had to give the King his male heir or she could end up like Anne. It was not going to be easy, as the King was now middle-aged and no longer in good health. Since his accident, he had headaches, bad temper, a nasty supporating ulcer on his leg, had put on weight, another 25.5 cm. (10 inches) round his waist since 1520, gone bald, and needed glasses for reading. Anne and Jane, were not the only women that had discovered the King's huge codpiece was mostly padding, and that he expected his partner to do most of the work.

    Jane was already familiar with Henry's ways, but despite her efforts, each month passed as usual. A false rumour that she was expecting, when she was observed to have loosened the laces of her bodice, shows how much emphasis was being placed on her function to produce a male heir. Jane was actually stressed and comfort eating and putting on weight.

    The King kept fobbing her off with excuses (plague etc.) when it came to discussing the day of her coronation, even though some preparations were being made in London in expectation of the event. It looks like he was going to see if this one worked and produced a son, if not he had already prepared a list of other candidates. (That is true, he had.)

    Jane was already trying to extend friendship with the King's daughter Mary and to get her re-instated with her father as a princess. This was part of her personal agenda. But she did not succeed in getting Mary back at court until she was pregnant.

    When Jane could give the King a son, there would be another problem for the Seymours and their allies. His existing son, the Duke of Richmond. The new Act of Succession would enable Richmond to be nominated the Regent if the heir to the throne was still an child when Henry VIII died. Which with the King's increasingly poor health, looked likely to be the case. Already well known as the King's son, the Prince, Richmond was now almost fully grown up and with his own large army. Jane's son, if she had one, would have no chance of becoming King of England if Richmond was still around.

    New Act of Succession would allow Richmond to become heir to the throne

    The previous session of Parliament was to close on 14th April 1536, but since then, Henry VIII had Queen Anne executed and her daughter declared illegitimate, and had married Jane Seymour, now Queen Jane. A new session had to be held without enough time for new elections, to discuss the succession, which was to take place from the 8th June 1536, to the 18th July, 1536.

    With all the King's children now declared bastards, Richmond had precedence as the King's son, and a good claim in popular opinion to be made the heir to the throne. The Parliament where the Acts were to be passed making this possible opened on the 8th June. Richmond attended every day. Now nearly as tall as his father, and with bright red hair, he was popular with those who looked for an alternative to his increasingly unpopular father. But he had to be very careful.

    On the 30th June, the new Act of Succession was presented in Parliament, which would have enabled the King to nominate his son to be his heir. Among the members attending at this Parliament was the Duke of Richmond's step-father, Edward, Lord Clinton, who would have had a personal interest in his step-son becoming heir to the throne. Both Richmond's half-brothers were in his service, and the elder one, George, Baron Tailboys was now old enough to attend parliament representing Lincolnshire.

    Henry VIII had intended to nominate his son immediately as his heir, but Cromwell warned the King that if he did this, his son was "very likely to fall into inobedience and rebellion".

    He may have been worried that Richmond was leader of a large army, not in Ireland, as originally intended, but in England.

    Cromwell who had a network of informers, knew that there was considerable opposition to the King, especially in the part of England where Richmond had the most property, relatives, friends and now a large number of armed men. Lincolnshire. And Yorkshire was joining them.

    Cromwell was now seen as friend to the Seymours and about to be related to them as well. His son Gregory was soon to marry Jane's widowed sister Elizabeth. If Richmond was the King's heir, there would be little chance for any child of Jane's to inherit.

    July, 1536
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    The Duchess of Richmond in Trouble

    The Duke of Richmond was staying with his wife Mary, in the new St.James's Palace recently converted from a leper hospital for women.

    Henry VIII intended the new palace to accommodate his grown-up children, Henry Fitzroy and his wife, and the King's niece who had been brought up as his daughter, Lady Margaret Douglas. Mary was to move in soon. Elizabeth eventually. (And to be born October next year, Edward). He does not seem very short of a family for a man who seemed desperate to have heirs. But tragic events were to happen here.

    St. James' Palace was burned down and rebuilt later, so we can now see only the main entrance looking much as it had done when it was built and home to the Duke and Duchess of Richmond.

    The new palace was divided into separate apartments. Richmond and his wife Mary, had one of the two larger apartments, Margaret, the King's niece, the other larger one. They shared the same entrance with its main yard, and to the sides, chapel and kitchens, but were otherwise separately accomodated further back, each around their own courtyards. Mary and Margaret were already close friends and shared many of the same interests. They both liked collecting poems and writing their own. (One of the fashionable intellectual activities that Anne had encouraged with her ladies, and which rather excluded Jane Seymour).

    Margaret had fallen in love with the Duchess of Richmond's uncle, Thomas Howard, a much younger half-brother of the Duke of Norfolk. Mary, Duchess of Richmond, helped arrange their secret romantic meetings.

    When this was discovered, on the 8th July 1536, both Margaret and Thomas were imprisoned in the Tower. And kept apart. But they managed to send notes to each other with lines of verse: for example:

    "Alas that ever prison strong
    Should such two lovers separate!
    Yet though our bodies sufferth wrong
    Our hearts shall be of one estate."

    Thomas was to be executed however he had not committed a crime. This had to be changed first. A new Act of Parliament (28 Hen.8 c. 18) was compiled put through making it treason for anyone to "defile or deflower" any female member of the royal family "those being lawfully born or otherwise". (It still applies today!).

    More than a year later, in October 1537, while still waiting in prison for the Act allowing his execution to come through, Thomas Howard fell ill and died. It could have been natural causes but he could have been poisoned since the King and the Seymours wanted him dead. Jane had just given birth to a healthy son. The Seymour heir to the throne. The Seymours did not want any potential Howard heirs to the throne. They would have wanted to make sure Thomas Howard really had no chance of ever making the King's niece Margaret pregnant.

    The same attitude would have applied to Mary Howard, the Duchess of Richmond and her husband. The Seymours would not have welcomed any children by Richmond and his wife.

    Margaret did marry some years later and have children who eventually were in the line up as heirs to the throne. Her son was married to Mary Queen of Scots, so her grandson became James VI of Scotland and was to be the first Stuart King of Britain in 1603.

    Cromwell (whose wife had died a few years earlier) had become fond of Princess Mary, giving her expensive presents. He had a gold ring made for her, with portraits of the King and new Queen on one side and Princess Mary on the other, and an inscription in Latin. He also gave Mary a watch. Watches (very expensive items then), were worn by women hanging from a girdle round the waist. Mary liked them and Cromwell was to give her more as gifts later on. The new Act would have dashed his hopes if he really had any, of making her his wife. But that was unlikely whatever others suspected. Mary had already been warned by her mother in her last letters to her, to be careful as the King might appreciate an excuse to marry her to a "commoner". And Cromwell, whatever his enemies thought of him, had no intention of marrying Mary or he would not have been behind the new Act of Succession. In fact he seems to have had no intention of marrying again after he lost his wife as he never did remarry. However he did engineer the marriage of his son Gregory, to the new queen's widowed sister Elizabeth. And this linked his family to the now dominant Seymours.

    On the 21st July, the King's daughter, Mary, then at Hundson with her little sister Elizabeth, sent her servant Randal Dod to her father with a concilitary letter, in which she also mentioned "My sister Elizabeth is well, and such a child toward, as I doubt not but your Highness shall have cause to rejoice of in time coming"....

    This was because her bewildered little sister could not understand what had happened. Mary, who knew what this situation was like was sympathic and helped find her a new governess, one of Mary's friends Katherine Champernowne.

    Mary and Elizabeth were now moved nearer London, to Hackney (now well within North East London).

    What was in the minds of Cromwell and Henry VIII, when planning the Act of Succession, was the possibility of the "white rose" plot to marry Mary to the Countess of Salisbury's son, Reginald Pole. Which in fact was being planned. And why Reginald stayed on the other side of the Channel. They were also concerned about any other unofficial suitors for either Mary the King's daughter, or Margaret the King's niece that might be inappropiate or politically designed.

    18th July, midday, Richmond suddenly becomes very ill

    Mary, Duchess of Richmond, was in trouble for helping the King's niece Margaret have secret romantic meetings with her boyfriend, who happened to be Mary's uncle. She was still at home at this time, in St.James' Palace. It must have been a bit chaotic though. All the furnishings were being packed up loaded on carts and moved to Tonge Manor in Kent where they were due to move to as soon as this current Parliament session finished. Many of the wall hangings, beds etc. were already at Tonge. Arrangements had been made for the King, the new (and still uncrowned) Queen Jane, and the rest of the court to be moved out of the city, as soon as Parliament had closed, to Sittingbourne in Kent. This was near to Chatham which Henry VIII had plans to develop as a naval dockyard. Henry wanted to check out the building of this new dockyard at Gillingham, and liked to oversee the new ship-building he was planning as well as the updating of his existing ships. Henry VIII's main positive achievement was to build up what was to become the British Navy. He was increasingly making use of his son and training him, giving him work to do, and also Richmond was still Admiral of England.

    Mary's husband was out each day over at Westminster Palace attending Parliament. This parliament of 1536, marks the beginning of the traditions surrounding the State Opening with the delivery of a speech by the monarch. Henry VIII was also to attend the closing of this parliament, and make another speech.

    The Duke of Richmond is recorded as being in daily, morning and afternoon attendance in Parliament until the last afternoon of the day when it closed on the 18th of July.

    The Duke of Richmond was recorded as being present for the morning session on the 18th July, but not in the afternoon when the King was to close the session.

    The members of Parliament, used to meet up for dinner (lunchtime) and supper (following the afternoon session), at nearby taverns. One of those was the Queen's Head in Cripplegate. It was the opportunity to meet up in groups to discuss the King's policy and what actions to take. Very likely Richmond would have been in such a group at the Queen's Head, because a number of his friends and others were in opposition to the King's plans to close the monasteries. This included the father, Sir George Throckmorton, of one of Richmond's companions - Nicolas Throckmorton.

    George Throckmorton was one of the MPs at this parliament, and known to be against the King's actions in making Anne Boleyn, his Queen. And he claimed the King had "meddled" with Anne's sister and her mother. Which led to claims that Henry could have been Anne's father. Henry replied to that: "never with the mother" - which was probably right since he would have been only about 9 years old.

    However, because of Henry VIII's relationship with Anne's sister Mary, he had to get a dispensation from the Pope, to carry on with his plans to marry Anne. This had not been a problem. It was getting a divorce from Katherine so he could legally make Anne his wife, that was the problem.

    The midday and evening meetings of Members of Parliament, at the Queen's Head and other pubs were being watched. Cromwell had a good secret service organised for the King, noting down all those members of parliament who opposed the unpopular bills that had been going through Parliament in the last few years.

    The 18th of July was the last day of the Parliament. After the midday dinner break, the King was to attend to close the sessions. One of the acts to be passed would have enabled the King to nominate his son as his successor. This appears to have been anticipated by opponents to Henry VIII's policies, who had asked the Duke of Richmond to be their leader, in what was about to become the northern rebellions in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.

    The Duke of Richmond had suddenly become too ill after the midday break to return for the afternoon session with the ceremonial closing of Parliament. He was taken home to St. James. The doctor was called. And this was noticed.

    In the report John Husee wrote up on the 18th July to send to Lord Lisle in Calais, he added in a note at the bottom: "My Lord of Richmond very sick."

    The King always moved out of London in summer with a limited number of court members, family, guests, and attendants, as it was a smelly and unhealthy place to live in the summer heat. The epidemic of the Sweating Sickness in 1528 had cost him many of his friends and supporters.

    As with the 1919 epidemic of swine flu (but bird flu and other viruses like SARS or other coronaviruses, the sort which also cause the common cold, are also likely contenders for "The Sweat"), young fit people were even more likely to be overcome fatally as their stronger immune systems can overdo it and actually destroy the body, especially attack their lungs. This looks like a virus which could cause pneumonia and then, further, organ failure. Young men, it was observed at that time, especially it seemed well off young men, were particularly vulnerable to "the Sweat". Which indicates that their hunting birds like falcons, or the animals they killed on hunting parties, could have been a vector for this disease. There had already been a number of casualties over the past years to this disease amongst the King's courtiers, relatives and friends. Including Prince Arthur who had died 5 days after falling ill from symptoms similar to those now afflicting the King's son, Henry Duke of Richmond.

    But Richmond had been attending Parliament at Westminster every day, not hunting in the countryside.

    And the epidemic disease around at that time in London was the Plague, not the Sweat.

    A letter from the Duke of Norfolk was written about this time but as undated - that is unsure. It just says Tuesday. So it could be Tuesday 18th July or more likely, the week before, since he was Richmond's father-in-law so he would have been even more concerned when Richmond was the one ill.
    "When I sent last night for my servant Robert Knyvet for the matter you know of, I learnt he was sick; and, since my arrival here, I have heard that Dr. Augustine and Dr. Wotton think it is the sickness, and recommend bleeding. Tomorrow I shall be certain, and if it is the sickness, I shall defer my departure into Norfolk. As I will remove to the bishop of London's house at Fulham, I have sent away my servants who lodged in the new lodging where he lies; the rest, being in the house at the water's side, are in no danger. Chelsea, Tuesday, 6 p.m. Then Norfolk scribbled underneath: Have heard from Knevet, and fear he has the sickness.

    Since Norfolk refers to "the sickness" it could have been "the Sweat" if it was still around. It would then be possible for the Duke of Richmond to have caught this, mixing closely each day as he was with many other men in Parliament, and the known symptoms - cough, sudden onset, death within a few days, etc. do fit the symptoms of "The Sweat", so it is possible, but not certain, that might have caused his death.

    However there was another "sickness" which definitely was around then. That was the Plague. The disease which postponed Parliament and shut the Inns of Court for a time. During the winter, the Plague was less of a menace. Hence Parliament was delayed until February to April. But now Parliament had been held again from the 8th to the 18th July. The hottest time of the year. And in a city like London, the most unhealthy time to be there. Those who could left. (There is still an English tradition of summer holidays and things closing for the summer break). The description such as we have of Richmond's final illness, indicates that it was in his lungs. The most common form of plague is Bubonic plague, with swollen lymph glands. It is mostly caused by being bitten by an flea infected with the bacteria Yersinia pestis, whose normal host is a rat or squirrel or similar small furry rodent. In fact we don't really know if he had a lung infection. This is likely to be an unwarranted conclusion by the Victorian editors of the original documents, who lived in a time when at least a third of the population caught pulmonary tuberculosis. But plague infections can be airborne too.

    Pneumonic plague can be breathed in from the droplets in the breath of an infected person or animal. It is much rarer as involves close contact with an infected person or animal. Richmond could have caught it that way. As he was - it seems - not the only person associated with Parliament and the court to be infected. But there were only a very few. And he only missed the last afternoon at the Parliament when his father presided over the final session.

    Pneumonic plague does attack quickly, quicker than bubonic plague, and is swiftly more fatal than bubonic plague. It goes straight to the lungs, and coughing up sputum which soon becomes bloody, and rapidly destroys the lungs producing septicaemia, mental confusion, haemorrhages under the skin, shock. Death within 2 or 3 days. There was no way of treating the symptoms adequately then, that had to wait for antibiotics.

    Henry VIII used the Plague epidemic as a reason to postpone Queen Jane's coronation. It might have also been a convenient excuse. Although some preparations, street decorations etc. were going up, Henry it seems, never intended to commit himself to the new marriage until or unless, a healthy male heir was produced. He already had a list made of possible alternative candidates for Queen in case this new one failed to produce a male heir soon.

    If it was the Plague that might account for his father's strange behaviour with regard to the disposal of his son.

    But his wife Mary and as far as we know, the many others still at St.James Palace at the time looking after him, did not get it. And it is very infectious.

    Also another "sickness" which could have been around then and was often epidemic, had its main symptom as diarrhea. Richmond's final illness was definitely in his lungs and his main symptom a cough. If we can rely on the reports which were often rewritten or written later.

    Another possible cause of infection might have been a coronavirus. The common cold belongs to that family. But some coronaviruses cause SARS. Or other similar and potentially fatal acute infections. Caught just as easily as any cold. The first symptom is a cough. Which is what Richmond may have had. The cough is apparently why he was taken home midday on the 18th July. That can rapidly develop into pneumonia, and death in a few days. Even with modern medicine available. It is also very infectious.

    Wriothesley wrote in his "Chronicle" p.53: "It was thought that he was privelie poysoned by the meanes of Queene Anne and her brother Lord Rochford".

    Anne and George Boleyn are suspected of plotting to poison Richmond in France. In fact it seems certain that George Boleyn had left the poisoned wine in his room. But if Richmond had been poisoned again, and it had killed him this time it could not have been by Anne and George Boleyn as they were both dead.

    The Boleyns as a political power were now history.

    But there were others still around who would have benefitted if Richmond was out of the their way.

    And would have found it possible to have something toxic but unnoticable mixed with his beer or wine during the midday break. Richmond's last dinner at parliament probably was not in a local pub with his mates but is more likely to have been a formal affair, with his father who had arrived for the closing ceremony that afternoon. It was then, that Richmond suddenly became too ill for the afternoon session and had to be taken home.

    Richmond would have joined his father for the dinner and been sitting near him. Henry VIII, as we have seen earlier, was very interested in mixing potions, mostly useful medicines for himself and his staff and friends. Could the King have suspected his son was part of a plot against him which would have made him King in place of his father. And dropped something on his dinner. Henry VIII was by that time quite capable of such an act. He recently had the woman he loved so much executed so he could marry someone else. He was capable of adding something lethal to the dinner of his much loved son.

    The End: and what happened next

    On the 21st July Richmond is down on the list of those "lords and ladies who have the first payment of the subsidy granted to our sovereign lord King Henry the Eight". The subsidy was a sort of super tax. And Richmond had paid £90, this was the second highest amount, his father in law the Duke of Norfolk owed £100 for the first installment. But although his wife had paid both her tax bills of £25, Norfolk had not paid any of his tax yet.

    Richmond and his wife were to have moved to Tonge in Kent not far from where the King and Queen had moved in Sittingbourne. The medieval moated manor house which was there on the site of the earlier castle, was being prepared for his stay there.

    Most of Richmond's staff and his furniture, including some carts and horses had already been moved down the river Thames to Tonge. And are listed in the inventory of his possessions made following his death.

    The walls of the main rooms were being lined with sets of tapestries taken down from the apartment at St. James. They were looked after by the Wardrobe of Beds.

    To get an idea of what their home would have looked like furnished here is something about two of the big sets of tapestries that hang around the walls of their rooms. (More on their furnishings later).

    A set of 8 each pieces of tapestry all large and different sizes which must have covered the walls of a main room, was called Paris and Helen. It showed scenes from the Trojan Wars. Henry VII had one of these sets of tapestries. Here is a picture of small part of a panel of one of these sets of tapestries from the early 16th century to get an idea of what it might possibly have looked like.

    One smaller set of tapestries showed the "Victory of Tullus Hostillus". He was a King of Rome in the 5th century BC, who had conquered neighbouring states. This was a popular subject for frescos and wall hangings in the early 16th century, and would have showed brutal scenes of killing etc. Under the list of the 4 pieces, which would have fitted a fairly small room, someone added a note "a good hangings".

    With the imprisonment of their friend and neighbour Richmond's cousin Margaret in the Tower, and most of the staff and furnishings, including the chapel, already moved down the Thames to Tonge, St.James's must have felt rather quiet and isolated, depressing and creepy. Especially for the Duchess of Richmond who could have been imprisoned in the Tower herself as an accused accomplice to Margaret's romance and secret marriage. Fortunately she was still at home and with her husband. Richmond was too ill to go anywhere and remained at St.James's Palace with his anxious wife Mary. Despite the efforts of his physician, Dr. William Butts, early in the morning of 23rd July, he died.

    The Imperial Envoy Eustace Chapuys, had written early on the 23rd July that the King was now even more angry at the marriage of his niece, since he now had no hope that the Duke of Richmond had long to live, as he certainly intended to make him his successor, and would have had him declared so by parliament. In a letter later that same day he reported that he had just heard that the Duke of Richmond had died that morning and this was "not a bad thing for the interests of the Princess."

    Mary the King's daughter, appears to have been concerned not only for herself but for her little half sister Elizabeth, and wrote to their father on her behalf as well as for herself. For Mary things were about to get better anyway thanks to her new step-mother. Her father was ordering new jewellry and as other things for her, and planning her move straight away into St. James's Palace - into the apartment occupied by her half brother. His widow Mary was now to be homeless as well. But she did remain the Duchess of Richmond.

    Summaries of the above letters from Chapuys can also be found on the British History website.

    For Richmond's household, as well as his wife, his unexpected death was a terrible shock. Many of them had been in his service since he was first created Duke of Richmond and Somerset. They were like an extended family. They had brought him up. From child to married man. They had expected to remain in his service for the rest of the lives. They would have expectations that they might end up in service to the next King of England. It was a good future to look forward to.

    Suddenly everything was gone. As they started to compile a list of all the Duke of Richmond's possessions, their first thoughts were: what should they do now. What was to happen to them.

    "First, to know how long my lord's house shall remain together and what order shall be taken with his servants at their departure. What liveries of black cloth shall be given to his head officers. Whether the King will take such as are suitable men into his guard. What George Cotton, late governor to the said Duke, and Richard Cotton, late comptroller of his house shall do."

    And someone else then added: "To know what the King will do with the Duke of Richmond's servants".

    Others were to be affected too. Far more than the King even knew anything about. An unknown Londoner who kept a record of events put it: "Then dyid the kyngges bastard son deuke of Rechemonde at St. Jamys be yend Charying +". He continues: "Then was dyverce halidays put doune and then bagen the abbes to go down"."

    That is what happened.

    People were not putting up with the changes just announced in the recent parliament sessions. Protests were turning into planning organised armed rebellions against Henry VIII.

    Would they have preferred his son.

    Had his son been involved, or at least ready to lead.

    Possibly. Probably. He had a large army of his own, centrally placed. Not far in fact to where the uprisings were to take place. He had been trained to lead an army by the Duke of Norfolk, his father in law. And the rebellion against Henry VIII started in the county where he had close family connections. Where his mother lived. And where he had his own large army, (about 7,000 men) some billeted around his palace of Coleweston convenient to the Great North Road, some at Tattershall, some elsewhere in that region. And, as Darcy hinted, a vast number of people, in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, and other counties, were ready for him to lead them.

    Part 7 what happened next

    Henry VIII's strange reaction to his son's death

    As soon as he received news of his son's death at Sittingbourne, the King travelled with new Queen Jane back to London. But not, as might be expected, to see his son's body, arrange a state funeral, and console his widowed daughter-in-law.

    The King and Queen went straight to Hackney where the King's daughter Mary was now staying with her little sister, and told her to move straight away into her brother's apartment at St. James's Palace.

    The King's daughter, Mary was now to be regarded as "Second Lady of the Kingdom", next in importance to Queen Jane. But it was not until Jane was pregnant, that she was able to obtain the King's permission for Mary to be presented at court. And Mary still was not given back her title of Princess.

    It was usual then as now, to have an autopsy when a prominent royal died, and a public funeral. Even Katherine had an autopsy and a decent funeral suitable to her demoted rank as Princess-Dowager, in Peterborough Cathedral.

    Richmond was the King's son, with the status of a royal prince, and would have been heir to the throne, a state funeral might have been expected.

    Instead the King gave orders to the Duke of Norfolk to bury his son-in-law as secretly as possible.

    His young widow Mary, the Duchess of Richmond, appears to have been overcome not only with her sudden bereavement but with fear. She should have been a rich widow, but was about to lose everything including her home. Their apartment was now to be cleared immediately for the King's daughter Mary.

    Mary, Duchess of Richmond, with the help of her husband's loyal servants, loaded four ponies (four of the six geldings Richmond owned complete with their saddles, bridles etc.) with as much as they could carry, and headed for Thetford where her husband was to be buried in the final resting place of most of the Howards. She had only been able to take smaller items, such as silver spoons and other things which still remained at St.James's palace.

    She had to leave the furniture, carved oak beds draped with cloth of gold, and crimson velvet, yellow and blue damask, chairs covered in velvet, fringed with silk, cushions of cloth of gold. She left behind the large pieces of gold plate, such as the gold salt, with a black dragon and pearls and sapphires. She had to leave the jewels which were in the care of George Cotton, the garter chains with diamonds, the gold whistle, that her husband had as Admiral of England, two bracelets of gold, with roses of rubies, pearls and diamonds, a collar of gold, with enamelled white roses, that had been given to him by his father (and may have been Prince Arthur's).

    She left her husband's clothes, many of them new colour co-ordinated suits in satin and velvet. They were no use to his wife, but some of them were passed on to his two brothers. One of the outfits was immediately given to his brother Baron Tailboys, who was now taken into the service of the King.

    When the Duchess of Richmond later wrote to the King about her widow's pension, she was shocked to be told she would receive nothing.

    The King claimed they had not been really married and their marriage had not been consummated.

    Even if Richmond was gay,(no evidence) this would be very unlikely. A marriage was not valid unless the couples had sex together. It was part of the wedding celebrations. The couple were tucked up in bed together and later on their family and friends would barge in and inspect the sheets for stains. If they had not had this full relationship then Mary would not have been called the Duchess of Richmond. At that time if you had slept together and said you were married, you were. And Richmond and his wife had a formal wedding ceremony as well.

    In fact they had been living together at St.James's Palace and on earlier occasions. But were often apart when Mary had to stay attendant on Queen Anne at the court, while Richmond was ordered to another part of the country. Unfortunately since Mary had not become pregnant, there was nothing to prove without doubt that their marriage had been consummated except her word for it. Her father-in-law Henry VIII now thought he could escape allowing her the income and property to which she had a right as Richmond's widow.

    Possible proof that the King was just being mean to his daughter-in-law and she had a normal sort of married relationship when she was with her husband, is in this part of the poem her brother, the Earl of Surrey, wrote at Windsor when he was imprisoned there in the year following Richmond's death. And remembered happier times spent there as Richmond's companion. He had been imprisoned at Windsor for punching Edward Seymour in the face. The poem does seem to show that they were both trying to attract, and chase after, girls. Here is a relevant extract - there is more of the poem later.

    ..."The large green courts, where we were wont to hove,
    With eyes cast up into the Maiden's tower,
    And easy sighs, such as folk draw in love.
    The stately seats, the ladies bright of hue.
    The dances short, long tales of great delight;
    With words and looks, that tigers could but rue;
    Where each of us did plead the other's right.
    The palme-play, where, despoiled for the game,
    With dazed eyes oft we by gleams of love
    Have miss'd the ball, and got sight of our dame,
    To bait her eyes, which kept the leads above.
    The gravel'd ground, with sleeves tied on the helm,
    On foaming horse, with swords and friendly hearts;
    With chere, as though one should another whelm,
    Where we have fought, and chased oft with darts."...

    Henry VIII seems to have turned against the son he had doted on. And Mary was to have a long and hard struggle, assisted by her mother, until she received anything from her husband's estates - now all back with Henry VIII.

    Mary's father the Duke of Norfolk regretted that he had been keeping the couple apart too much while he was training Richmond to lead an army, otherwise his daughter could have had a child by now. Then the King would not be able to dispute that the marriage was valid, and would have been pleased to have a grandchild.

    Mary's claim was not settled by Henry VIII until 1538. Thomas Seymour, Jane Seymour's brother, was to propose to her twice. Thomas Seymour was quite hunky. But Mary refused his proposals. Katherine Parr, when widowed again, did fall in love with Seymour. But she also drew the attention of Henry VIII who had just had his 5th Queen beheaded and made her his 6th Queen. She survived and as soon as she was widowed again she married Thomas Seymour.

    To the annoyance of her father, Mary refused every offer of marriage made to her. And turned down Thomas Seymour twice. She was also horrified at her elder brother's suggestion that she could become the King's mistress. Not surprizing really. He was not only her father-in-law, and by now, horrible as a person, with an awful record with women. He had been mean and nasty to her also, denying her rights as the widow of his son.

    Like her mother Mary prefered to be an independent woman. And she could do that better when she retained her status as Duchess of Richmond and Somerset, and Henry VIII's daughter-in-law. She may also perhaps have missed her husband and was not prepared for another man to take his place.

    Richmond's first burial

    Following the King's orders to take care of his son's burial, Norfolk had asked the Cotton brothers, still in Richmond's service and personal friends of the King, to arrange for the body to be taken 8 days after his death, according to the King's orders, in a plain lead coffin in an enclosed cart covered with straw, to the Howard family burial place at Thetford Priory.

    Henry VIII then had second thoughts over his initial reaction to his son's death. He now complained to Norfolk, that his son's funeral had not been secret enough, and threatened him with the Tower!

    Norfolk, was already shattered from being forced to condemn his niece and nephew, Anne and George, to death earlier that year, and now the loss of his son-in-law and the King's mystifying orders to him for his son's burial. However, he had been brought up in the intrigues of court life and had learned how to protect himself as best as possible. He wrote to Cromwell. His letter reveals his extreme anxiety but also his political acumen:

    "This night at 8 o'clock came letters from my friends and servants about London, all agreeing in one tale, that the King was displeased with me because my lord of Richmond was not buried honourably. The King wished the body conveyed secretly in a closed cart to Thetford and at my suit thither, and so buried. Accordingly I ordered both the Cottons to have the body wrapped in lead and a close cart provided, but it was not done, nor was the body conveyed very secretly. I trust the King will not blame me undeservedly. It is further written to me that a bruit (rumour)doth run that I should be in the Tower of London. When I shall deserve to be there Tottenham shall turn French. I would he that began first that tale of mine, he being a gentleman, and I, were only together on Shooter's Hill, to see who should prove himself the more honest man. I pray you pardon my foolish writing. If I had not intended to come to Court, these news would have spurred me."

    Cromwell had placed his son Gregory, in Norfolk's household, and Norfolk was well aware that this was not just for the value of the education Gregory would receive, but also for the value of the information in his letters home. Norfolk continued his letter:

    "your son is in good health here sparing no horseflesh to run after the deer and hounds. I trust you will not be discontent that I now cause him to forbear his books. Be sure you shall have in him a wise quick piece."

    Norfolk signed his letter:

    "Kenninghall Lodge, Saturday at 10 at night 5 August, with the hand of him that is full, full, full of choler and agony.

    P.S. I have at this hour finished my will and written it twice, and shall leave one part with you as my principal executor whom I trust next my master, whom I have made supervisor of the whole. I trust when I die you both will consider I have been to the one a true servant and to the other a faithful friend. Sic transit gloria mundi."

    Norfolk had carefully thought out this letter. He reminded Cromwell that he was looking after his son who was living with him. He made Cromwell an executor to his will, and therefore likely to benefit when Norfolk met a natural death. If he was executed the King would get the lot. Realising his weak political position now his niece and nephew had been executed, and his son-in-law was dead, Norfolk was doing his best to climb back into favour.

    When Thetford Priory was dissolved two years after Henry Fitzroy was buried there, most of the Howard family coffins but not the actual tombs, were transferred to St. Michael's Church, Framlingham, Suffolk. Some remains of Richmond's original tomb have recently been excavated at Thetford.

    Mary Fitzroy remained the Duchess of Richmond for the rest of her life. As mentioned she refused to marry again despite pressure from her family. When she died (in 1557) she was buried with her husband Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset. Their remains are in the vault under the tomb (Richmond's second tomb) that was made for both of them with both their coats of arms.

    Richmond's later tomb or memorial to him and his wife, can be seen near other Howard memorials by the side of the altar. It is a carved stone sarcophagus decorated with biblical scenes, and shields and lozenges for male and female coats of arms to be added as appropiate in this case, Richmond's in the shields and his wife Mary's in the lozenges. Or combined as was done for married couples as in this picture showing their combined shield on their tomb - Richmond's has the "bar sinister" across it showing he was illegitimate.

    The tomb is clearly a standard design from the same mason as the tomb nearby for the wives of Surrey's eldest son Thomas, who had ordered the new tombs in Framlingham. The first of Thomas Howard's wives, died in October 1557, but they are both buried elsewhere, although both their effigies lie on top of the tomb.

    On top of Richmond's tomb, are four slightly damaged figures around the edges, similar to those on the other tomb. The top of the tomb, where there should have been effigies of Richmond and his wife who died in December 1557 and was buried with her husband, is rough and damaged and it is not clear if any effigies had ever been fixed on there and removed or destroyed, during the occupation of Framlingham by troops in the Civil War. Or if it never had been finished.

    There are no bodies inside the actual tomb. We were told that during the Civil War when the church had been used as a billet, the bodies were cleared from the tombs so they could be used to store weapons etc. However in fact, they were actually placed under the tombs, and this is usual in church memorials. The bodies will be in a vault under the ornate sarcophagus with effigies of the deceased below, lying on top. This is the case in for example, Westminster Abbey, where they have to map all the actual bodies under the floor.

    The bodies which were removed from their tombs at Thetford at the time of the dissolution, such as that of the Duke of Richmond and some of the Howard ancestors were placed in vaults under the floor of the church at Framlingham. To them were added in their time, Richmond's widow, Mary, and her mother, Norfolk's widow Elizabeth.

    More recently, both Richmond's tomb and that of his father-in-law, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk were examined as it appears that they received a later makeover. The article on the BBC website dates from 16 June, 2011.

    See also, and, and, and .

    In 1841, the church had a rebuild. The vaults under the the tombs of the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk and his first and second wives were opened. An account of this event at the church was written by J.W.Darby. The vault under the tomb of the Duke of Richmond was opened first. They found the complete body of a young man. They went by the teeth, good teeth meant a younger person. He had a full set of teeth all in good condition. None of his wisdom teeth had come through yet. His body was wrapped in cere cloth, (waxed cloth used to wrap round bodies) which had originally been enclosed in a wooden coffin, now decayed. So if this was Richmond, he certainly had not been wrapped in lead as his father had ordered, just a waxed fabric shroud.

    Cere cloth was the waxed linen which was wrapped first around the body. After that it was usual to have other wrappings such as lead. And decorative wrappings and lead lined coffin. So this proves that the body was only roughly prepared, and had none of the attention which was normally given to anyone of any status. Some of the other bodies found were wrapped in lead.

    Here is the extract first published in The Richardian Vol.18, 2008 in an article written by John Ashdown-Hill.

    "On Easter Tuesday 1841, in the presence of the rector, the reader, the clerk, &c., it was ascertained that there was a vault (nine feet by six feet) under the tomb of the duke of Richmond, and on removing the bricks from the west end, there was found a skeleton entire, the coffin of wood having fallen to pieces. The body appeared to have been wrapped in many folds of cered cloth, and the teeth in the upper and lower jaw bones (fourteen in number in each) were quite perfect, and as the duke was only seventeen years old when he died, this was without doubt his skull, and the body must have been moved with the tomb."

    Too young for wisdom teeth. With a full set of the rest of his teeth for what would have been more than 10 years in perfect condition, he must have been healthy until his rather sudden end. It seems to be only the teeth that led to the identification. However if the indentification is right then he was only wrapped in a waxed cloth (cere cloth) shroud, and not in lead.

    It was assumed this was the remains of the Duke of Richmond. Unfortunately they did not seem to do anything more useful, even in those days they could have measured the height of the body, etc. A restoration of the church in the late 19th early 20th century included new flooring which blocked off access to the tombs underneath. There is now a frustrated number of historians with forensic interests, eagerly hoping that access will be possible again so they can get at the bodies that interest them.

    As far as the Duke of Richmond is concerned, he left no direct descendants, as far as we know, no children of his own. No nieces and nephews either. Since neither his sister and two brothers on the Tailboys side, or his two half sisters and half brother on his father's side had any children. However recently it was possible to to track DNA from Richard III who also had no direct descendants, and find a correllation in a distant relative. So it is possible with Richmond too. A skilled examination of his remains would not only identify them as his or not but if it was then probably clear up the cause of his death, as it did with Richard III, and enable a reconstruction of his appearance.

    Surrey in trouble over his portrait

    Henry VIII was never again to fully trust either Norfolk or his son the Earl of Surrey. Especially after another sultry beauty from the Howard stable, Catherine Howard, who became his 5th wife, ended up beheaded on Tower Hill.

    Surrey wrote a poem remembering "With a Kinges sonne, my childishe yeres did passe". An extract has been mentioned, a version of the full text, is at the end.

    Surrey never forgot he was friend and brother-in-law to the King's son.

    In 1546, Surrey commissioned a portrait of himself, from the artist William Stretes. In the centre of a large Mannerist style painting (copy below) which had his coats of arms on each side supported by cherubs and partially draped figures and other classical style decorative motifs. He was to be standing in the centre, leaning on a broken column. On the base of the column was painted a portrait of his late brother-in-law, the Duke of Richmond.

    Then Surrey wrote to the artist William Stretes, to black the portrait out. Probably because he was already in trouble with Henry VIII for his arrogance and using a new coat of arms (shown in the complete painting, copy below) allegedly showing a royal connection, although it has been argued later, as he did at the time, that he was entitled to display all the heraldic emblems shown. Surrey was arrested before the work was completed, and still in the artist's studio. This picture shows the centre part of a copy of the original in which you can see the blacked out portrait on the plinth of a symbolic broken column. Each side was embellished with Renaissance figures, masks, and so on in monochrome to resemble relief carving, apart from the two brightly coloured shields with his controversial coats of arms on either side. Only copies still survive. Another copy is shown at the end, with Surrey's poem.

    (From: L&P Vol.9, pt.1, no.1426). Surrey wrote to his Servant, Hugh Ellys:

    "Hugh Ellys, it will be iij or iiij days or Catelyn com, who shall bryng yow money. I pray delyver this letter with all spede to Mrs. Hevingham, whom yow shall fynde at Jeromes Shelton's howse in London, or eles will be ther within iij days. Commawnd the paynter to leve owt the tablet wher my lord of Richmondes picture shuld stand; for I will have nothyng ther, nor yet the tablet, but all dowbet. From Kenyngale, this Wedensday. H. Surrey.
    Delyver this letter to none but her own handes".

    This letter was used as part of the evidence collected to accuse Surrey of treason as written below on this letter was a note by Sir Richard Southwell:

    Yt maye please your good Lordshippez to examyn Mes Henygham, late Marye Shelton, of the effect of th'earle of Surrey his lettre sent unto her; for yt ys thowght that menye secrettes hathe passed betwen them before her maryag and sethens.

    Mary Shelton (by now Mrs. Hevingham) - picture left, and Surrey had been close friends, perhaps lovers. They were both poets and had many interests in common. Both were first cousins of Anne Boleyn, Mary's parents were in charge of her daughter's household, and Mary's sister Margaret (Madge) had been Henry VIII's mistress. Both girls were part of the intellectual circle of women around Anne which included Mary, Richmond's wife, and Margaret Henry VIII's niece. Mary married a cousin, Sir Anthony Heveningham and they had five children. In 1558, a year after he died, she married Philip Appleyard. She died in 1571.

    From the above communications, it also looks certain there was at least one portrait owned by the Earl of Surrey or his sister, Richmond's widow, from which Stretes could make a copy, of the Duke of Richmond.

    Surrey leaning on the broken column with the portrait of the Duke of Richmond on it, could have been an obvious symbol of Surrey's lost hopes of power under his brother-in-law. And clearly Surrey suddenly found out it was not actually, a good idea, since the painting - still in Stretes' studio was being used as evidence to get rid of him. Hence the instructions to Stretes to cover it up. But as the original painting apparently does not survive, only copies, it is unlikely to be found under the paint.

    Was it just the heraldic emblems that had annoyed Henry VIII or the portrait of his lost son.

    By this time Henry VIII was past mistresses or even trying to have a child by his last wife Katherine Parr. His health had declined to the extent that all offical documents were signed with a stamp. And in the jostle for power over the 9 year old heir, Edward, son of Jane Seymour, the Howard family was on the losing side. Both Norfolk and his eldest son, were imprisoned in the Tower of London. Surrey was caught trying to escape down the guarderobe shaft into the Thames, where a boat was waiting. He was executed for treason just before Henry VIII died. His father only escaped the same fate because Henry VIII died the day before his execution was scheduled. So he was left imprisoned in the Tower of London, visited occasionally by his daughter. When Mary I ascended the throne in 1554 she had Norfolk released. She had used the castle of Framlingham to fight and win the battle against Lady Jane Grey's claim to the throne. The Duke of Norfolk could now go home.

    Surrey's five children had been taken from their mother Frances, and given to Richmond's widow Mary to bring up. But most of the time Mary, Frances, and Mary's mother Elizabeth Duchess of Norfolk were living together. With Norfolk safely locked up in the tower, they could lead their own lives. Norfolk's mistress Elizabeth Holland was now free, and married Henry Reppes, but died in childbirth. Frances remarried and had two children by her second husband. She was buried at Framlingham in 1577. Surrey's body was moved from London to join his former wife in a colourful new tomb built in 1614, and placed near those of his brother-in-law and sister, father, and other family members. The Duchess of Norfolk survived three of her children and her husband, and after she died, her grandson put her in a splendid new tomb with her husband with their effigies on top. Luckily she never knew this would happen. You can see the tombs in St. Michaels church Framlingham.

    back to 1536

    "One of the most brute and beastly shires in the realm"

    The King's strange reaction to his son's death may be because he had information that he was to lead an uprising against him. There are a number of indications to this, and it seems to have been suspected by Cromwell. As soon as Richmond died the original plan had to be aborted. But the desire to get rid of the King was still there, and the rebels were ready. There was also those wanting the overthrow the King, but not to replace him with his son. The "white rose faction" aimed at replacing the King with his daughter Mary and marrying Mary off to Reginald Pole, the Countess of Salisbury's son.

    Richmond's sudden death just then, might just have been a coincidence, or an arranged murder. There may be a clue in the Lincolnshire uprising against the King, October 1536.

    In May 1536, when Anne was executed, it was not just simply a personal whim of her husband. It was a political execution. There were no organised political parties as we have today, but there were political factions at the King's court. Anne represented one, Jane Seymour and her brother Edward, another, and the Duke of Richmond, another faction.

    In Lincolnshire, where Richmond and his mother had much influence, opposition to the King was becoming organised. The greatest part of the wealth of Lincolnshire was in the hands of the Church, the great abbeys were the chief landowners and employers. They had the resources and manpower to develop industries and provided employment for the local region. The same applied to Yorkshire. Now church possessions and finances once sacrosanct were exposed to the scrutiny of the King's commissioners sent to audit their affairs.

    The Bishop of Lincoln was John Longland, who was also Henry VIII's confessor. He was not, however, in favour of the King's changes to the state religion, and complained in 1536 to Thomas Cromwell about the Protestant preachers in his diocese.

    The Church first, others next. The clerics were joined in their protest meetings by tradesmen who saw their livings threatened. Not only did they lose valuable custom and employment if the Church establishments, such as abbeys, and priories were closed and their wealth confiscated. Once the King's commissioners had audited and dealt with the Church they could move on to investigate everyone else's financial affairs and tax them accordingly. There was also the personal connection people had with the religious establishments in their locality. Their children were educated there, the sick were treated in the hospitals, the frail, elderly and disabled were cared for there. They provided employment in local industries. Memorials to loved ones and ancestors had been donated and were part of the treasures in these places. And they took pride in having a particularly grand local church or cathedral. The inhabitants of Louth had recently commissioned the building of a magnificent tall steeple for their church which can still be seen from miles away.

    On Saturday 30th September, these same citizens in Louth, feeling threatened by the imminent arrival of the commissioners, collected the keys of the church and handed them to a shoemaker, Nicholas Melton to keep safe. He thus became "Captain Cobbler" the leader of a rebellion against the King. By Monday 2nd October, men from Horncastle and East Rasen arrived in Louth. By then a large crowd, they marched to Caistor where the King's Commissioners were at present taking inventories of church property. Here they were joined by Sir Robert Dymoke and his sons, and friends who "just happened to be staying with them at that time". From Goltho, home of Richmond's step-grandmother, Lady Tailboys' chaplain arrived with a large group of armed men. More than 500 armed retainers from South Kyme joined the rebels, under the leadership of Sir Thomas Percy, a relative of the Tailboys family, who "just happened to be there for the hunting", and a similar number headed by Edward Dymoke.

    The same Monday, 2nd October, Edward, Lord Clinton who had been step-father to the Duke of Richmond, left home on horseback, with just one servant. He headed first for Sleaford, and Lord John Hussey. Hussey had been Princess Mary's Chamberlain, and his wife had been imprisoned for continuing to refer to her as "Princess Mary" not "The Lady Mary". Hussey had been assured of the support of the Emperor Charles V, Mary's cousin, and seemed a natural leader of the rebellion against the King. But he was not their leader.

    Clinton galloped on to Nottingham, then on to Lord Huntington at Ashby. By Friday, he reached the Earl of Shrewsbury at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. He carried letters from Cromwell.

    Meanwhile the rebels were joined by other groups of armed men, alerted by beacons, and had spread across the Humber to Yorkshire. The MP for Lincoln, Thomas Moigne met Robert Aske, who led the rebellion in Yorkshire where it was called the Pilgrimage of Grace and marched under banners showing the "4 wounds of Christ".

    Sir John Russell and Sir William Parr, who had both had been in the service of the Duke of Richmond, and could therefore occupy Collyweston, blocked the Great North Road at Stamford, with a large force of armed men, they were in the way of anyone coming up from London.

    The only substantial Lincolnshire landowner that the King might be able depend on was his ex-brother-in-law, Henry Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. The King's sister Mary had died and Suffolk had married his young ward Catherine Willoughby, but he was still deeply in debt to the King. Suffolk arrived at Stamford with a large, well equipped army. The rebellion in Lincolnshire, lacked a positive leadership and was easily dispersed, however it was not the only centre of the rebellion which had moved to Yorkshire and found new leadership there.

    The Duke of Suffolk was given Tattershall Castle, which had been one of Richmond's properties. It is not far from South Kyme, and during the Rising had been used to house a large number of the Lincolnshire rebels.

    Henry VIII's answer to the grievances that had been put to him was read out in the Chapter House of Lincoln Cathedral by Moigne. The King had never yet heard that a prince's counsellors and bishops should be appointed by ignorant common people, and least of all by the "rude commons of one of the most brute and beastly shires in the realm".

    At the celebratory re-enactment in Lincoln Castle in 1986, this was greeted with cheers. As they went in, the audience could choose whether to back Melton the Cobbler or the King, (and were given a badge). Most chose to back the Cobbler. It ended with fireworks.

    The real rebellion was put down with punishing retribution lasting some years, and many executions.

    Henry VIII complained later that he had "unhappy people to govern whom he would shortly make so poor that they would not have the boldness or power to oppose him."

    The story of the Lincolnshire Rebellion can be read in "The Lincolnshire Rising 1536" by Anne Ward, ISBN 0901977063, 1986. And a more complete recent and detailed account in: "The Pilgrimage of Grace": by Geoffrey Moorhouse, which shows how much most of the people in England were upset and disturbed by the King's actions and behavour.

    In November 1536, Thomas, Lord Darcy, the Steward of the Royal Castle of Pontefract (one of the homes of the Duke of Richmond) together with Mr. Magnus, and the Archbishop of York, was beseiged in Pontefract castle and yielded to the rebels. In fact they joined the rebellion against Henry VIII.

    Later, Charles, Duke of Suffolk sent Somerset Herald to Darcy, (now back at his home in Templehurst, Yorkshire) to question Darcy. Darcy had to talk his way out. In the course of his account he said: he "- will show him a tale. "When Thomas FitzGerald did rebel in Ireland he sent word to the duke of Richmond, whose soul God pardon, that if he would receive him he would yield him to him. And the Duke answered full wisely and said: By my faith! if I were sure to get him his pardon I would be glad to receive him; but he that will lay his head on the block may have it soon stricken off!"
    (L&P foreign and Domestic Henry VIII Vol 11 pp 435-451) original in Records Office:)

    Richmond was it seemed planning and getting prepared. But cautious. It is clear that Richmond was already well aware that for the past two years he was under suspicion by his increasingly paranoid, unstable, and unpopular, though doting, father. The fact that his father made him attend all the main political executions of 1535 and 1536, re-enforced that. Richmond had to be careful. His father had already demonstrated he did not hesitate to condemn those he had respected, and those he had loved, to death. Unless the the rebellion was totally successful, and his father was dead, he would be in danger, since he would be under suspicion of leading the uprising to take over from his father. But in reality he may have been preparing to do that.

    It seems Henry VIII came to realise, or at least suspected, that the opposition could find a leader in his son. Richmond's sudden death, left the opposition without a potential focus, and a united driving force. Darcy was one of the many executed when the rebellion was crushed.

    Retribution and change

    December 2nd 1536, the Yorkshire rebels of what was now called "The Pilgrimage of Grace" led by Robert Aske, met in Pontefract Castle to compile of petition to be presented to Henry VIII. There were 24 articles in the completed "Commons Petition" which was given to the Duke of Norfolk at Doncaster on December 6th. The King promised Robert Aske a Parliament at York, and a general pardon to all rebels. However it was eventually seen that Henry VIII had ignored the petition and the following January a new uprising began. This gave the King the excuse to move in forces under Charles Brandon and have all the rebels brutally suppressed.

    The rebellion failed because there was no one uniting leadership and cause. Had the Duke of Richmond still been alive, then he would have been there, at his palace of Collyweston, by Stamford, with his trained army of at least 7,000 (a larger number than the 5,000 men the Duke of Suffolk mustered), and a following very much larger still. The fact that Russell and Parr were there with an army blocking the route north, shows that this had already been planned. People were ready. Richmond had left the bulk of his army billeted at Collyweston, when he was summoned back to the Parliament in London.

    As the King's son and potential heir to the throne, he would have provided an alternative to his now unpopular, sick and ageing and dangerously unpredictable, father.

    The above quote by Darcy "he that will lay his head on the block may have it soon stricken off" - shows that Richmond knew he had to appear to his dangerously paranoid father to have no involvement in any conspiracies against him. That would be difficult.

    Especially as the rebellion, started in the part of England in which Richmond had the most influence, in which he had stayed most often in recent years, and in which he had the greatest number of contacts and relatives including his mother.

    It seems also that during the Parliament, he may have been invited to join George Throckmorton and a group of other MPs at the Queen's Head in Cripplegate for dinner and supper. (Our lunch and dinner). They were having secret discussions about parliament and importantly for Richmond, the succession. This was one of the places that the "Pilgrimage of Grace" was being planned. George Throckmorton's son Nicholas was a close friend of Richmond's and one of those that had accompanied him to France. And they were against the religious changes being made.

    They must have felt much like we do now, seeing our health services, education, housing, jobs, libraries, hospitals, etc. being closed down, and the money going into the well filled pockets of a few rich people getting even richer. And they were looking for a suitable leader - once who could make a better king. The people who Richmond may have met for lunch would have been friends or at least known to him for a long time. So it is likely he was there on some occasions. He would have been concerned anyway as the people involved all had property near his. Most of them were from the Midlands and North.

    And it is very likely that Henry VIII had been informed.

    For the special ceremonial dinner with the King when he arrived to close Parliament in the afternoon, Richmond would have been among the guests, probably seated near his father.

    After the rebellion

    Despite Henry VIII's suspicions, Elizabeth, Lady Clinton, escaped retribution, thanks to her mother, Katherine Blount, who was a valuable friend and informer to Cromwell and intervened on her daughter's behalf.

    Queen Jane had tried to plead with the King to be merciful with the rebels, but even when pregnant had little control over him and little power. She did manage to get The Lady Mary back at court but did not succeed in persuading her husband to restore her as a Princess.

    It was The Lady Mary and Lady Bryan who intervened to help the neglected little Elizabeth, left with the Sheltons. They were still looking after the little girl who anyway was a relative of theirs, but now Elizabeth had no special servants and no special treatment. She herself had noticed she was no longer called Princess and her canopied chair of state had gone. Lady Bryan reported to Elizabeth's father that she needed new clothes. And Mary recommended a friend of hers, Catherine Champernowne as a new governess for Elizabeth.

    Both sisters had a part to play in the christening of their new baby brother Edward. Edward Seymour carried little Elizabeth, but after the actual christening he forgot about her. It was left to her big sister Mary to take the abandoned tot by the hand and look after her.

    Their new brother was taken off to live in another royal residence with his own household under the care of his nurse Sybil Penn. The King went off too on a hunting holiday, leaving Jane at Hampton Court with the remaining staff and the few women left to attend her, while she was still confined in her apartment. She had to stay there for about six weeks, until fully recovered from the birth. The personnel left at Hampton Court had been given orders from the King that the Queen was to have anything she wanted.

    There were none left in attendance with the authority to dispute any unsuitable demands from Jane. At 10 o'clock one night she demanded a dish of ortalans. This French favourite, (now banned) is a little bird roasted and eaten whole with its insides and everything, except for its feathers. When it is stuffed into the mouth the head is left hanging out and is bitten off. (When it was served in restaurants the diner had by tradition to wear a napkin over his head. Reasons vary but it was probably to avoid grossing out other diners).

    The Privy kitchen intended for the Queen's apartments was not yet finished. The one which served Queen Jane, was the Privy kitchen for the King's apartments, further away, which at this time of night had been shut down, and the staff had gone to bed. They had to be woken up and get the fire going again. They found they had no ortalans and had to search for them. The only ones they found in the palace were hanging in the larder of a French envoy and a few days old. They then had to prepare and cook them quickly for the hungry Queen's late night snack.

    After which she became ill with diarrhea. And despite the efforts of the physicians who had been called in, died. Henry received the reports on Jane's final illness from the doctors including a final assessment from Dr. Butt, ("her death had been caused by those about her letting her eat anything her fancy demanded") and at the same time lists of possible replacements from his councillors. The King now had a legitimate male heir, but needed a new queen.

    Elizabeth Lady Clinton, her final years:

    Richmond's mother Elizabeth, was now one of the "Great Ladies" appointed to Queen Jane's court. Along with the King's nieces and eldest daughter and widowed daughter-in-law. The Duchess of Richmond retained her title and status, but not her income, she had to fight for that. Richmond's mother was now counted by the King as one the leading ladies in his country. Richmond's mother, Elizabeth, Lady Clinton, must have been devastated by the sudden death of her eldest son but appears to have been given no part or influence in his burial. His widow and father-in-law shocked by the casual and indifferent arrangments made by his father Henry VIII, took over, which is why he is with the Howards and his wife was placed with him when her turn came.

    Elizabeth was to have three daughters by Clinton: Bridget, Katherine and Margaret.

    When his brother, the Duke of Richmond died, George, Baron Tailboys had been given some of his brother's clothes including a coat of "great taffeta, welted with green velvet, and lined with sarcenet", and was appointed to be one of the King's henchmen.

    In May 1539, he was married to Margaret Skipworth from another Lincolnshire family. She had been Henry VIII's mistress in 1538, and rumours spread that she or the King's other mistress Margaret Shelton, might be the next Queen. But Margaret Shelton was now married.

    Hussey had written to Lisle in Calais: "...The election lieth between Mrs. Mary Shelton and Mrs. Mary Skipwith. I pray Jesu send such one as may be for his Highness' comfort and the wealth of the realm. Herein I doubt not but your lordship will keep silence till the matter be surely known..."

    There is such confusion between Margaret and Mary Shelton, and Margaret and Mary Skipworth that some historians think the Margarets and Marys were just the same person. They were two separate sisters in each case.

    Still, after being the King's mistress, and about 3 months after the rumours were spreading, Margaret Skipworth married local boy George Tailboys. Son of another of the King's mistresses, Elizabeth, Richmond's mother. More about Margaret Skipworth. Her younger sister Mary was to marry another Lincolnshire man, George Fitzwilliam.

    After Margaret's marriage, Henry VIII decided on a new marriage for himself. He sent Holbein to paint the portraits of eligible princesses. It doesn't seem to have occured to him that the miserable fates of his three former wives was unlikely to endear him as a Prince Charming to any young princesses. In Brussels Holbein painted a lovely picture of the 16 year old, but already twice widowed, Christina of Denmark who said if she had two heads she would let the King of England have one.

    Henry's demand that the eligible French princesses would be collected together so he could choose one, was greeted with comments to the effect that they were not mares to be lined up and mounted in turn until he found one that suited him.

    Henry was eventually to pick on Anne of Cleves. Holbein had painted a magnificent picture, mostly of her fine, but unfashionable, clothes. At 24 (the same age as Henry VIII's daughter Mary) she was glad to escape the stifling influence of her mother.

    George Tailboys was one of those appointed to meet Anne of Cleves at Calais. At that time he was also employed as a guard to William Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton.

    George Tailboys died in 1541, leaving no children. His wife was eventually to marry twice more. If George had been born after the marriage of his mother to Gilbert Tailboys, then he would have only been 15 in 1539, so the earlier date of birth seems more likely to be the right one. Which makes it possible he was also Henry VIII's son. George's widow Margaret later married Sir Peter Carew. George's younger brother Robert, was now Baron Tailboys. But he died not long after.

    Their sister Elizabeth was now Baroness Tailboys of Kyme in her own right. Her first husband was Thomas Wymbish. As a peer she qualified as a member of the House of Lords. But she was not allowed in Parliament. Women could not vote or be members of Parliament until 1918, the first lady MP was in 1919. Baroness Tailboys tried to get her husband accepted as her representive, but even that was refused by Henry VIII, as they did not have children. If they had a son, then her husband could represent that son in Parliament. Her second marriage was in September 1553 to Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, the eldest son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, who at that time had just been executed for supporting his daughter-in-law Jane against Henry VIII's daughter Mary who was now Queen.

    The list of appointed ladies for the late Queen Jane was brought out in 1539 to sort out the retinue for the next Queen, Anne of Cleves. Elizabeth, by then Lady Clinton, is on that list. But not long after the birth of her daughter Margaret in 1539, the next time Lady Clinton is mentioned it was Ursula Stourton, Clinton's second wife, the one he was to marry before he met Elizabeth. (He was to get through three wives).

    The date of birth of Ursula's son by Clinton which took place at Tattershall is given as 1539, and in 1559 he was a member of the House of Commons. So it looks like Elizabeth had died soon after the birth of of her daughter Margaret, and Clinton replaced her so quickly with Ursula, she must have been kept in reserve. It certainly looks like they might have overlapped, and that while he was married to Elizabeth, Clinton had not forgotten Ursula. An alternative birth date for Ursula's son is 1544, which would have made him an MP at 15.

    Elizabeth's two younger sons, George and Robert, both seem to have died in 1541.

    Although Elizabeth was on a memorial brass with her first husband at the priory at South Kyme, (the actual brasses which were made from recycled older ones, are in the British Museum, the stone slab is in the priory church but repositioned to the vestry) - she was not buried there. She was either buried somewhere else in Lincolnshire, or in Hounslow, (where Clinton had a house), at the Holy Trinity Church. This was not the current church but in the Priory. This was demolished, and although the church was left for local use, this was later vandalised and burnt down, and the current church built. The earlier burials have all been lost. So her exact date of death is not known, neither has a record yet been found of exactly when Ursula Stourton became the next Lady Clinton.

    Henry VIII had a hunting lodge nearby at Hansworth which survives - it was used for hunting parties from Hampton Court. And the Clintons had a house there also. Mostly Heathrow Airport now, it was conveniently situated for many of the palaces like Richmond, and Hampton Court as well as not far from Westminster. The Duke of Richmond's coat of arms was in a stained glass window of the rectory so that may have been a relic of his former property.

    Lord Clinton took his late stepson's title of Admiral of England, his first marriage had been a good career move.

    Of Elizabeth's three daughters by Edward Clinton:

    Bridget was to marry Robert Dymoke of Scrivelsby. The Dymokes were traditionally King's champions at the coronations. They were involved in the Lincolnshire Rising and Pilgrimage of Grace. Bridget had ten children. In 1580 Dymoke as a Catholic was carried off to Lincoln prison where he died. And was made a martyr.

    Katherine married William, Lord Burgh, (also spelt Borough) 3rd son of Thomas Burgh of Gainsborough. The eldest brother Edward had been married to Katherine Parr. The second son, Thomas, married Elizabeth Owen, but his father threw her out and declared her childen bastards. It is suspected he abused his daughter-in-laws and may be why Katherine soon re-married to Lord Latimer. All his children lived in fear of their father.

    There is a Holbein drawing labelled by someone else later as "Lady Borough". It is of a lady at the court since she has the headress still worn at court when Anne was Queen, and then Jane. They never wore them again, (understandably, if you still looked good in that head gear then you must be stunningly beautiful) and Holbein arrived back in England in 1533 and died in 1543 so the sketch had to be done during that time. It could not be Elizabeth's daughter Katherine, who would only have been a small child at the time this portrait was drawn by Holbein. The same person, John Cheke, Edward VI's tutor, was to catalogue Holbein's drawings, so it could have been him who labelled it, (he also labelled other Holbein drawings including the one as "Thomas Howard" which could have been the Earl of Surrey's younger brother but it has the Earl of Surrey's bad eye). It is possible that the drawings were labelled on the basis of physical resemblance. So there is a chance that this drawing could be of Elizabeth Blount when she was at the court. Possibly in 1534 when her presence was really annoying Anne. And Holbein was less busy. If it had been commissioned by Henry VIII then Anne would certainly be hopping mad and planning revenge. But it could have been at the time of her 2nd marriage, since there is a Holbein sketch of her husband Lord Clinton and they could have been preparation for one of Holbein's husband and wife portraits. (But that is guessing).

    Margaret, the youngest daughter, would have never known or remembered her mother. Only her stepmother Ursula Stourton. She was to marry Charles, Lord Willoughby of Parham who was her cousin.

    Was Richmond Poisoned, if so, By Whom

    If the King had been told there were plans for an uprising to replace him with his son, then that might account for his reaction to his son's death, it might even account for his timely death.

    There are odd facts surrounding the sudden death of the Duke of Richmond:

    Similar cases

    In 1553, Richmond's half-brother, son of Jane Seymour, King Edward VI, died aged 15, after an illness lasting about six months. It was said by Edward's physicians that he had the same symptoms that had killed his brother. However, Richmond fell ill suddenly during or just after his midday meal and was dead only a few days later. Until then he had usually been robust and in good health.

    Edward did not have the same physicians as his brother, and Dr. Butts who attended Richmond, had died some years before.

    The cause of the deaths of Prince Arthur, and later of the Duke of Richmond were each reported by Spanish envoys at the time as tisis. Later called phtisis- it refered to any lung disease then. Later historians have all too readily attributed these deaths to "consumption" - also known as "phtisis" which was very common in 19th and early 20th century Britain, especially in the crowded industrial towns and cities, and by which is usually meant pulmonary tuberculosis.

    Pulmonary tuberculosis takes some time, years, to kill its victim. It was not so common in the 16th century as it was in the 19th century. The most common form of tuberculosis in the 16th century and earlier, was known as Scrofula - it was from the bovine tuberculosis in cows and caught from drinking contaminated milk. This affects the glands in the neck, and leaves characteristic scars.

    After Edward VI's death allegations were made that he had been poisoned. The autopsy on Edward's body was not done until a month later. Since this was mid-summer very little must have remained for a 16th century autopsy to be of any use. All the allegations were made by Catholic sources supportive of Mary, against the Protestant government of Edward under John Dudley, now Duke of Northumberland. As a child John Dudley had seen his father executed on the orders of Henry VIII, he had been educated at court and was now the most powerful man in the country. He stood to lose everything by Edward's death. It was Princess Mary (her title finally restored by Dudley who had been her friend in the past) and her supporters who benefitted.

    Edward's terminal symptoms were described in detail and appear to have been caused by septicemia which may have followed the initial infection but could also have been caused by toxic substances like lead, antimony, arsenic, etc. commonly used in 16th century poisons, but also in medicines at that time - so it may not have been deliberate.

    These sorts of chemical medicines were a recent innovation in Henry VIII's reign. The King himself, mentioned earlier, was very interested in these new compounds and made up many of his own medicines and ointments and other preparations. He sent Cardinal Wolsey a medicine of his own preparation when he was ill following his fall from power. But Wolsey died.

    On 10th August, soon after Richmond's death, the Dauphin François died. Poisoning was suspected as he had fallen ill four days earlier after drinking from a pitcher of water to cool off after playing tennis. The page who filled and carried the pitcher and the steward who supervised him, were interrogated. The steward, Count Sebastiano di Montecuculi, confessed after arsenic and other poisons were found in his lodging, and was sentenced to be torn apart by horses, which horrible death was watched by the whole court on 7th October. The only person who benefited from the Dauphin's removal was his brother Henri. His wife's Medici relatives were suspects, as they had sponsored Montecuculi who had been a doctor of medicine.

    Far more important in Henri's life than his wife, was his mistress Diane de Poitiers, old enough to be his mother, who had been with him since his return from captivity and was to dominate and control his life, to the exclusion of his wife. When Henri had a daughter by a younger mistress, Diane adopted the child and dumped her mother into a convent. Diane would do anything to maintain and increase her own wealth and power.

    The Dauphin had been betrothed to Princess Mary, he was not married to anyone else, perhaps because there was still a possibility that he would marry Mary if she were reinstated as heir to the throne. So there may have been others who wished to eliminate him now Mary was back with her father at court, to avoid such a possibility.

    The Dauphin may have died of natural causes. 19th and early 20th century historians have attributed the Dauphin's death (as with the Duke of Richmond) to "consumption". But he would hardly have been up to a strenuous game of tennis in the summer heat, 4 days before his death if he was terminally ill with tuberculosis. And as mentioned that disease was not nearly so common in the 16th century, as it was to become in the crowded cities of the 19th century. The deaths of Prince Arthur, the Duke of Richmond, and the Dauphin, had all been reported by foreign envoys in their dispatches as "tisis" (phtisis) which was later called "consumption" and then refered to any lung disease. Since in all three cases the victim died in 4 or 5 days, it could not have been pulmonary tuberculosis (which was usually meant in the 19th century) which takes some time to finish off the sufferer, but more likely "the Sweat" as that seems to have been similar to the 1919 epidemic - which could also fatally affect the lungs. Or perhaps the Pneumonic Plague. Since there was not an epidemic of "the Sweat" at the time, but there was still a lingering epidemic of "the Sickness" - the Plague which had revived with the warmer weather. If it had been Bubonic plague which can spread to the rest of the body including the lungs, after infection that would have been identified and described as such, because of the swollen glands. It was such a common disease then, there were special doctors for it who wore special clothes and masks. So it would have had to be the much rarer Pneumonic plague. But that might have not been identified as such. And it is extremely infectious so those taking care of the sufferer were likely to catch it.

    In all 3 cases, of Richmond, the Dauphin and Edward VI, with the present state of our knowledge, assasination cannot be entirely ruled out.

    There is one more similar case - with the involvement of someone who was still around at the time - see below: "The White Rose" faction. Margaret, Countess of Salisbury was at Ludlow Castle at the time Prince Arthur suddenly fell ill and died. She was eventually to be executed secretly without any warning in 1541, at the Tower by the order of Henry VIII.

    Who would have benefitted if Richmond was out of their way?

    Earl of Surrey's poem remembering better times at Windsor when he was imprisoned there:

    So cruel prison how could betide, alas,
    As proud Windsor, where I in lust and joy,
    With a Kinges son, my childish years did pass,
    In greater feast than Priam's sons of Troy.
    Where each sweet place returns a taste full sour.
    The large green courts, where we were wont to hove,
    With eyes cast up into the Maiden's tower,
    And easy sighs, such as folk draw in love.
    The stately seats, the ladies bright of hue.
    The dances short, long tales of great delight;
    With words and looks, that tigers could but rue;
    Where each of us did plead the other's right.
    The palme-play, where, despoiled for the game,
    With dazed eyes oft we by gleams of love
    Have miss'd the ball, and got sight of our dame,
    To bait her eyes, which kept the leads above.
    The gravel'd ground, with sleeves tied on the helm,
    On foaming horse, with swords and friendly hearts;
    With chere, as though one should another whelm,
    Where we have fought, and chased oft with darts.
    With silver drops the mead yet spread for ruth,
    In active games of nimbleness and strength,
    Where we did strain, trained with swarms of youth,
    Our tender limbs, that yet shot up in length.
    The secret groves, which oft we made resound
    Of pleasant plaint, and of our ladies' praise;
    Recording oft what grace each one had found,
    What hope of speed, what dread of long delays.
    The wild forest, the clothed holts with green;
    With reins availed, and swift y-breathed horse,
    With cry of hounds, and merry blasts between,
    Where we did chase the fearful hart of force.
    The void vales eke, that harbour'd us each night:
    Wherewith, alas! reviveth in my breast
    The sweet accord, such sleeps as yet delight;
    The pleasant dreams, the quiet bed of rest;
    The secret thoughts, imparted with such trust;
    The wanton talk, the divers change of play;
    The friendship sworn, each promise kept so just,
    Wherewith we past the winter night away.
    And with this thought the blood forsakes the face;
    The tears berain my cheeks of deadly hue:
    The which, as soon as sobbing sighs, alas!
    Up-supped have, thus I my plaint renew:
    'O place of bliss ! renewer of my woes!
    Give me account, where is my noble fere?
    Whom in thy walls thou d[id]st each night enclose;
    To other lief; but unto me most dear.
    Echo, alas! that doth my sorrow rue,
    Returns thereto a hollow sound of plaint.
    Thus I alone, where all my freedom grew,
    In prison pine, with bondage and restraint:
    And with remembrance of the greater grief,
    To banish the less, I find my chief relief.

    This website is written, designed and maintained by Heather Hobden, The Cosmic Elk
    Copyright Heather Hobden