On this day in 1544 – Sir Thomas Audley died

Thomas Audley was born in 1488 to Geoffrey Audley in Earls Colne, Essex. Audley studied at Buckingham College, Cambridge before entering Middle Temple to study law.

Audley became to town clerk of Colchester and was made a Justice of the Peace for Essex in 1521. Two years later Audley would be called to Parliament to represent Essex.

In 1527 Audley entered into Cardinal Wolsey’s employment and was appointed as a Groom of the Chamber to King Henry VIII. With Wolsey’s fall in 1529 Audley remained in favour with the King and was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster as well as being appointed as Speaker of the House of Commons. Audley presided over the Reformation Parliament.

Audley was the head of the commission to look at Bishop Fisher’s speech against the King and his divorce proceedings. On 20th May 1532 Audley was knighted and less than a year later he succeeded Sir Thomas More as Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, after More resigned from the post over Henry’s divorce to Katherine of Aragon. Audley would go on to preside at the trials of both More and Fisher.

In favour with the King, Audley would also sit on the council who would judge Anne Boleyn and the men she was accused with adultery with. Audley would go on to witness Anne Boleyn’s execution and would later put the revised Act of Succession to Parliament that would recognise the children of Jane Seymour and Henry as the rightful heir.

Through the dissolution of the monasteries Audley was granted many lands including Holy Trinity Priory, Aldgate and the Abbey of Walden, Essex.

On 29th November 1538 Audley was created Baron Audley of Walden after declaring the Pilrimage of the Grace rebels traitors and sentencing them to death. The following year Audley as Lord Steward oversaw the trials of Lord Montacute, and the Marquess of Exeter as they were charged with treason by King Henry VIII.

24th April 1540 saw Audley inducted into the Knight of the Garter. As his loyalty to Henry was clear Audley was charged with managing the attainder of Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s soon to be former Lord Chamberlain along with the annulment of the King’s marriage to Anne of Cleves.

In 1542 he re-established Buckingham College, Cambridge, his former place of study, and renamed it as the College of St Mary Magdalene.

Audley resigned the office of the Great Seal on 21st April 1544 and died days later on 30th April. He was buried at Saffron Walden where he had already prepared a magnificent tomb.

Thomas Audley

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On this day in 1500 – William Dacre was born

William Dacre was born on 29th April 1500 to Thomas, Lord Dacre, and his wife Elizabeth Greystoke. Dacre in 1516 became 7th Baron Greystock and in 1525 3rd Baron Dacre after his parent’s death. With the death of his father Dacre also inherited vast lands in Cumberland, Northumberland and Yorkshire.

Dacre married Lady Elizabeth Talbot; the date of the marriage is unknown but believed to have been taken place before 1527.

In 1525 Dacre was serving as captain of Norham and Carlisle when Henry VIII gave the positions to the Earl of Cumberland. Dacre refused to surrender Carlisle Castle and the lands associated with the ward and so Cumberland found it difficult to rule in the county without Dacre. In 1527 Henry VIII finally gave Dacre the position he felt he was owed. Taking control of the ward was not as simple as Cumberland retained Carlisle Castle until 1529.

Dacre held many positions in the North during his life including Steward of Penrith, Warden of the West Marches and Governor of Carlisle.

Dacre did not do anything to stay away from controversy when in 1534 he was accused of holding talks across the border with some Scots during the time of war. As a result a charge of treason was placed upon him and on 15th May 1534 Dacre was taken to the Tower of London where he was tried in Westminster Hall. Dacre defended himself to the judges for several hours and he was acquitted but fined £10,000 by Henry VIII.

With a heavy fine Dacre headed back North where trouble found him again in October 1536 when the Pilgrimage of Grace began to rise. Dacre was approached to lead the rebellion instead Dacre rode to Naworth when he left in November his tenants joined the cause of the Pilgrimage. In February 1537 Dacre again headed north when he was informed of the siege of Carlisle by the Pilgrims but learnt on arrival that his uncle, Sir Christopher Dacre, had dealt with the siege.

Dacre’s loyalty was rewarded by King Henry VIII when he was appointed to the council in the north. The reappointment of the wards was opposed by the Duke of Norfolk who felt that Dacre’s appointment would cause the feud with Cumberland to reignite and so they passed to Sir Thomas Wharton. Dacre was offered keeper of Tynedale, which he refused as he felt it an insult. Dacre was reported to have said that ‘he had rather loose one finger of every hande then to medle therwith’. As a result Henry refused to grant Lanercost Priory to Dacre during the dissolution of the monasteries.

Dacre was finally reappointed to his old posting on 17th April 1549 by King Edward VI’s Lord Protector, Edward Seymour.

During King Edward VI’s reign Dacre actively spoke out against the Book of Common Prayer and oppose a bill that would allow the clergy to marry. As Dacre stood protecting the north of the country against the Scottish he had some persuasion in the reformation of the country. However, when John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, was appointed Protector he swiftly made peace with Scotland and the reformation picked up its pace. As a result Dacre would again lose his wardenship.

With the death of the King, Dacre threw his support against Mary, a fellow Catholic. With Mary succeeding over Lady Jane Grey she was quick to restore Dacre to his former posting as a reward for his support.

With Mary’s death and the countries return to Protestantism Dacre saw him once again lose his wardenship under the new Queen Elizabeth.

In November 1563 Dacre fell ill at Kirkoswald and three days later died. He was buried in Carlisle Cathedral on 14th December following a traditional Catholic procession and burial.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACarlisle Cathedral – final resting place of William Dacre.

On this day in 1603 – Queen Elizabeth I funeral took place

On 28th April 1603 Queen Elizabeth I was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey after her death on the 24th March. When Elizabeth died she was placed in a lead coffin and taken from Richmond Palace to Whitehall. With the new King James I travelling to London from Scotland, to take the throne and oversee Elizabeth’s funeral proceedings, Elizabeth was to lie in state at Whitehall. With no anointed monarch on the English throne a life size effigy was placed atop of Elizabeth’s coffin as a representation of the throne.

With James now in the capital Elizabeth’s funeral was prepared and on 28th April her coffin was placed on a horse drawn hearse, which had black velvet hung around it and taken to Westminster Abbey. Elizabeth’s coffin was adorned with purple cloth, the colour of royalty, and the effigy was placed again on top of the coffin.

As the coffin was carried to the Abbey a canopy covered the hearse carried by six knights. Behind the hearse came the procession led by the Master of the Horse and her palfrey horses. The Countess of Northampton was the Chief Mourner and led the rest of the procession towards the Abbey. Over 1000 official mourners were part of the procession with many more Londoners taking to the streets as the procession past them by.

Elizabeth was originally buried in the chapel that her grandfather, King Henry VII, before she was moved three years later to the vault that she now shares with her sister, Queen Mary I, in the Lady Chapel. The sister’s vault was inscribed in Latin with the following phrase at the request of King James I;

“Regno consortes & urna, ic obdormimus Elizabetha et Maria sorores, in spe resurrectionis”

This translates in English to

Consorts both in throne and grave, here we rest two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in hope of our resurrection.”

John Stow attended Elizabeth’s funeral and later wrote:

“Westminster was surcharged with multitudes of all sorts of people in their streets, houses, windows, leads and gutters, that came to see the obsequy, and when they beheld her statue lying upon the coffin, there was such a general sighing, groaning and weeping as the like hath not been seen or known in the memory of man, neither doth any history mention any people, time or state to make like lamentation for the death of their sovereign”

Elizabeth’s funeral marked the end of the Tudor reign which had ruled England for 118 years.

Elizabeth I funeral procession

On this day in 1536 – Thomas Cranmer was summoned to Parliament

After Anne Boleyn miscarried the son of Henry VIII in January 1536 the fortune of the Queen was turning. Rumours that the King was looking to put aside the Queen he turned England upside down for were gathering pace and the King was seeking out advice on the matter.

On 27th April 1536 Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury received a summons to attend Parliament. The wording and timing of the summons suggests that a Parliament was being called to discuss the rumours regarding the Queen and her alleged behaviour at court.

The summons read:

“Summons to the archbishop of Canterbury to attend the Parliament which is to meet at Westminster, 8 June; and to warn the prior and chapter of his cathedral and the clergy of his province to be present, the former in person and the latter by two proctors. Westm., 27 April 28 Hen. VIII.
ii. Similar writs to the different bishops, abbots, and lords; to the judges, serjeants-at-law, and the King’s attorney, to give counsel; to the sheriffs to elect knights of the shires, citizens, and burgesses; also to the chancellor of the county palatine of Lancaster; to the deputy and council of Calais to elect one burgess, and to the mayor and burgesses to elect another.”

Thomas Cranmer

On this day in 1596 – Sir Henry Hastings was buried

Sir Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon, was born in 1535 in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire to Francis Hastings and his wife Catherine Pole.

Hastings grew up in companionship with the future King Edward VI where they were tutored Richard Cox, John Cheke and Jean Belmain. The tutors provided the boys with an education in humanism, language and history. In 1548 Hastings briefly attended Queen’s College, Cambridge.

On 21st May 1553 Hastings was married to Katherine Dudley, daughter of the Duke of Northumberland, John Dudley. This marriage was arranged through their father’s who were political allies. It was an alliance that would draw Hastings into a family that would be remembered forever.

With the young King Edward VI dying he named his cousin Lady Jane Grey his heir, going against his father’s final act of succession. Lady Jane Grey was also John Dudley’s daughter in law via his son Guildford. Lady Jane’s reign only lasted nine days when Edward’s sister, Mary, claimed the throne.

Hastings backed his father in law in his attempt to keep Jane on the throne and keep the country out of the hands of the Catholic Mary. Dudley and his supporters, including Hastings, found themselves imprisoned in the Tower of London. Hastings was freed after swearing loyalty to Mary and her reign.

With Hastings free he entered into the service of Cardinal Reginald Pole and followed him around the continent to Flanders, Calais and London. They also escorted Philip II of Spain from Spain to England for his marriage to Mary.

When Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1558 Hastings and his family were welcomed into her court and gained their loyalty. Hastings was in attendance at Elizabeth’s first parliament and during his time at court he witnessed the readings of the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity. Elizabeth also named Hastings as a Knight of the Bath. Hastings inherited the title of 3rd Earl of Huntingdon when his father died on 25th January 1560.

Hastings family name would come in to question once again in 1562 when Elizabeth contracted smallpox. Hastings was named as a potential rival heir, through his ancestor George Plantagenet and was favoured by the Protestants and those who were enemies of Mary Queen of Scots. Although he convinced Elizabeth of his loyalty she was sceptical in employing him.

Although Elizabeth no longer had full trust in Hastings, she still used him in important missions. In 1569 he helped George Talbot in escorting Mary Queen of Scots from Wingfield Manor to Tutbury. Hastings would later act as one of the judges in her trial in 1586.

In 1570 Hastings was inducted into the Knight of the Garter and through this in 1572 Hastings was appointed president of the Council of the North where he helped protect Enland’s borders from Scotland.

Whilst in Newcastle in November 1595 Hastings fell ill with a fever and died on 14th December 1595. Elizabeth spent time comforting Hastings wife. As they were childless Hastings had named his nephew Francis as his heir. Hastings was buried on 26th April 1596 at St Helen’s Church, Ashby-de-la-Zouch alongside his nephew, Francis, who died three days after Hastings.

Henry Hastings

On this day in 1513 – Edward Howard died

Edward Howard was the second son of Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Surrey and 2nd Duke of Norfolk and his first wife, Elizabeth Tilney.

Howard began a military career in August 1492 when he was just 15 as he served at the siege of Sluis under Sir Edward Poynings. This gave Howard the love of battle and in 1497 he followed his father and brother in battle against Scotland. The Earl of Surrey knighted both of his sons at Ayton Castle once a treaty had been signed with King James IV of Scotland also present at the siege of the castle was Pedro de Ayala the Spanish diplomat who served both Scotland and England on behalf of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon.

I 1503 Howard was selected as one of the escorts for King Henry VII’s daughter Margaret as she travelled to Scotland to marry King James IV.

With the ascension of the new King Henry VIII Howard is appointed the King’s standard bearer in 1509 after performing well at the celebratory joust that was held to celebrate to coronation of Henry.

In April 1512 Edward Howard was appointed Admiral of a fleet of 18 ships. With war breaking out against France Howard was to defend the English shores between the Thames estuary and Brest in Brittany, France. Howard stopped many ships entering English waters under suspicion of carrying French supplies.

In June 1512 Howard was required to escort an army to Brittany that were under the command of the Marquess of Dorset. Howard took the opportunity to raid the towns of Le Conquet and Crozon on the Brittany coastline. Howard and his fleet dominated the English Channel and kept England safe. King Henry VIII showed his appreciation of Howard’s work by awarding him a 100 mark annuity.

On 10th March 1513 Howard was made Lord Admiral after the death of the Earl of Oxford. However, his post did not last long on 19th March Howard set out from London for Plymouth reaching his destination on 5th April. Howard did not wait for his supplies to be restocked and set off to find the French fleet. On 22nd April with one ship already lost to a hidden rock Howard’s fleet took a blow when the Prégent de Bidoux attacked the English ships with heavy gunfire, this sank another of Howard’s fleet.

On 25th April Howard decided to strike back and took smaller row boats out to lead an attack and attempt to board the ships. During the fighting Howard was thrown overboard and the weight of his armour meant that he drowned and died. His body and the Lord Admiral’s silver whistle were found three days later and delievered to Bidoux who sent his armour and whistle to Princess Claude and Queen Anne of France respectively.

Edward Howard arms

On this day in 1555 – George Marsh was burned at the stake

George Marsh was born in Deane in Cheshire in 1515. He had a quiet upbringing and was a farmer by trade.

Marsh was married at the age of 25 but his wife died and Marsh left his children in the care of his parents and Marsh entered into Cambridge University where he had a change of religion from Catholic to Protestant.

In 1552 Marsh was ordained a deacon by the Bishop of London, Nicholas Ridley and in the following year Marsh became the curate at Leicestershire’s Church Langton and London’s All Hallows Bread Street. The previous owner of this role was Lawrence Saunders who was a preacher who fell out of favour with Queen Mary I for his Protestant beliefs. When Saunders was arrested in 1554 Marsh headed north to spread the Protestant word.

An arrest warrant was issued for George Marsh for heresy by Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby. Justice Barton of Smithills Hall, Bolton sent servants to arrest Marsh at his mother’s home. However, Marsh gave himself up to the authorities and was taken for examination. It is rumoured that Marsh was reinforcing his Protestant faith so much that he stamp his foot so hard he left a footprint in the floor. Marsh refused to recant and was taken to Lancaster Gaol. He stayed here for almost a year where he read his bible and prayed with people from the town via his window.

There were many attempts to get Marsh to convert back to the Roman Catholic faith. He was taken to the gaol at Northgate, Chester where he stood trial in Chester Cathedral under the Bishop of Chester, George Cotes.

Marsh was sentenced to death by burning and whilst on the stake was again offered the chance to recant and return to the Catholic faith. Again refusing Marsh was burned on 24th April 1555 in Boughton. After his death his friends and followers collected his ashes and buried them in St Giles cemetery.

George Marsh