On this day in 1553 – Queen Mary I began her coronation procession from the Tower of London to Whitehall

After years of not knowing what her future held at 3pm on 30th September 1553 Queen Mary I began her coronation procession from the Tower of London and made her way to Whitehall where she would stay overnight before being proclaimed Queen the next day. Mary and the procession left the Tower to the bells of churches ringing and gun fire.

The procession consisted of the Queen’s messengers, trumpeters, heralds, bannerets, esquires of the body, Knights of the Bath which included 15 that had been newly created that morning, the clergy, merchants, soldiers, knights, foreign ambassadors and the council. Following all of these came Mary’s retinue that included the Earl of Sussex who was acting as Mary’s Chief Server, Stephen Gardiner and William Paulet carrying the seal and mace, the Lord Mayor of London carrying the gold sceptre, the Sergeant at Arms and the Earl of Arundel carrying the Queen’s sword there was also ‘two ancient knights with old-fashioned hats, powdered on their heads, disguised’ who represented the Dukes of Normandy and Guienne.

Behind all of these came the new Queen in an open litter pulled by six horses in white trappings. It was reported that she was ‘richly apparelled with mantle and kirtle of cloth of gold’ with a gold tinsel cloth and jewelled crown on her head. Mary was escorted by the mother of Edward Courtenay and the wives of the Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Arundel and Sir William Paulet all on horseback. Behind them was a carriage carrying Mary’s younger sister, Princess Elizabeth and their former step mother, Anne of Cleves.

The procession would travel a mile and a half across London and there was entertainment at every turn including; a civic pageantry at Temple Bar, verses sung in praise of the new queen at Cornhill and Cheap, Queen Mary was address at St Paul’s by the recorder of London and was presented with a purse containing 1000 marks of gold by the chamberlain and an oration in Latin and English was delivered by playwright John Heywood at the school in St Paul’s Churchyard and finally minstrels played at Ludgate.

Mary reached Whitegate where she would prepare for her coronation the following day at Westminster Abbey.

Mary IQueen Mary I

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On this day in 1564 – Queen Elizabeth I created Robert Dudley the Earl of Leicester

On 29th September 1564 Queen Elizabeth I created Robert Dudley the Earl of Leicester. It was a move that Elizabeth had been planning for a few months in an attempt to make Dudley a more attractable prospect to Mary Queen of Scots. The marriage proposal between the two had been an idea of Elizabeth’s for some time.

Queen Elizabeth I first proposed the match to the Scottish Ambassador, William Maitland of Lethington who originally laughed at the match he also asked why Elizabeth did not marry Dudley herself and that when she died she could leave her husband and the throne to Mary Queen of Scots.

Sir William Cecil, chief advisor to Elizabeth supported the match as it would not only form an alliance with Scotland but it would also take Dudley away from Elizabeth and the court. Cecil began communicating with Maitland full of praise and support for the match with Dudley however; Maitland did not inform Mary of the proposal from England for the simple fact that Dudley was not a peer.

Thomas Randolph, the English ambassador to Scotland was urged to keep pushing the prospect of marriage with Dudley to Mary despite the fact that neither Dudley nor Mary wanted the marriage to go ahead. Elizabeth had no intentions for the marriage to go ahead, it was purely political as it kept Mary occupied with negotiations and it stopped the gossip within Elizabeth’s own court regarding her relationship with Dudley.

On 29th September 1564 despite the fact that the marriage negotiations between Dudley and Mary were failing Elizabeth created Dudley the Earl of Leicester. The Earldom had been previously held by the likes of John of Gaunt and Henry Bolingbroke (later King Henry IV) and was a prestigious title. It was reported that as Elizabeth placed the chain of earldom around his neck she placed her hand on his neck with a little stroke.

Robert DudleyRobert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

On this day in 1560 – Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury died

Francis Talbot was born in 1500 to George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife Anne Hastings. Francis’ father, George, fought alongside King Henry VII during the uprising of Lambert Simnel and the Battle of Stoke and was godfather to Henry’s eldest daughter, Princess Margaret. In 1538 Francis inherited his father’s title to become 5th Earl of Shrewsbury.

Francis followed his father’s footsteps and was in favour with King Henry VIII during his reign, despite being a staunch Roman Catholic. Francis even received lands, including parts of Worksop Priory and Beauchief Abbey, from the dissolution of the monasteries.

On 30th November 1523 Francis married Mary Dacre, daughter of Thomas Dacre, 2nd Baron Dacre, the couple went on to have three children; George, 6th Earl of Talbot, Anne and Thomas. Mary died in 1538 and Francis went on to marry again to Grace Shakerley but they would not have any children.

Francis took little interest in politics however, in 1545 he was made a Knight of the Garter and Francis was also deemed a powerful figure in the north of England and was part of the troops that invaded Scotland in 1547 that ended in the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh.

During the reign of King Edward VI the Imperial Ambassador described Francis as ‘one of the most powerful men in the kingdom’ and when plots arose against the Lord Protector, the Duke of Somerset he attempted to recruit Francis to his side but instead Francis joined those that opposed his rule. In 1549 Francis replaced Robert Holgate, Bishop of Llandaff, as Lord President of the Council of the North.

When King Edward VI took to the throne Francis converted to the reformed religion but harboured sympathies to the Catholic faith. Francis, although not a politician he was a member of the King’s Council. Despite converting to Protestantism and not opposing the proclamation of Lady Jane Grey as Queen after the death of King Edward VI, it is likely that he would have worked to convince the Council to recognise Mary I as the rightful heir and was one of the first to openly support her claim. Due to his early support Mary rewarded him upon her ascension with a place on her Council.

Francis, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth was Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire alongside his role as President of the Council of the North. In a letter from Francis to Sir William Cecil dated on 17th January 1559 from Ferry Bridge he stated that he was going to take some troops to Newcastle and whilst he was away he was appointing his Vice President, Sir Thomas Gargrave to do his job in his absence.

Francis Talbot died on 28th September 1560 in Sheffield Manor, Sheffield and was buried at St Peter’s in Sheffield.

Francis TalbotFrancis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury

On this day in 1501 – Katherine of Aragon set sail from Spain for England

Katherine of Aragon left her life behind in Spain as she left the Alhambra Palace in Granada on 21st May 1501 for a new life in England. Katherine was heading to England to marry Prince Arthur Tudor, son and heir of King Henry VII whom she had been betrothed to since she was three years old.

Katherine and her party attempted to set sail from Coruna on the 17th August after saying a tearful goodbye to her parents who had travelled with her to Galicia. Storms in the Bay of Biscay caused the fleet to land at Laredo, Bilbao. King Henry VII heard of the failed attempt and sent Stephen Butt, one of his best naval captains, to guide the Spanish party across the Bay. The fleet regrouped and at 5pm on the 27th September a second attempt was made to carry the 15 year old Katherine to her new life 500 miles away.

Katherine landed at Plymouth on the 2nd October and brought with her a dowry of 200,000 that was to be split into two payments and in return Henry had agreed to settle a third of the Prince of Wales’ land so she would be provided for in the event of her new husband’s death.

Katherine and Arthur’s betrothal had many false starts although the marriage was first suggested when Katherine was just three years old and Henry wanted Katherine sent to England straight away to learn the ways of the English court. However, her parents were keen to keep her in Spain until the couple were at the age to be married. Various events in England saw a potential end to the alliance including the pretender Perkin Warbeck. Eventually the couple were formally betrothed in two ceremonies in England where the Spanish ambassador De Puebla acted as proxy for Katherine.

The couple were eventually married at St Paul’s on 14th November 1501.

Katherine of AragonThe young Katherine of Aragon

On this day in 1580 – Sir Francis Drake returned to England following his circumnavigation of the globe.

On 26th September 1580 Sir Francis Drake arrived in Plymouth following his circumnavigation of the world. Drake originally left Plymouth on 13th December 1577 with a fleet of five ships; the Elizabeth, the Pelican, the Marigold, the Swan and the Christopher.

The originally intention of the trip was to approach new nations and open trade links with them as well as discovering new shipping routes in order to weaken the Spanish influence in South America.

By June 1578 the fleet landed at Port San Julian (known in modern day as Argentina) whilst docked Thomas Doughty, an officer within the fleet stood trial and later executed for mutiny and sedition.

Whilst the fleet was at the Strait of Magellan, the Pelican was renamed the Golden Hinde in honour of the voyage’s patron, Sir Christopher Hatton, whose coat of arms featured a golden female deer, known as a hinde. The ships motto ‘Cassis Tutis Sima Virtus’ (Virtue is the safest helmet) was also taken from Hatton’s coat of arms. The Golden Hinde along with the Elizabeth and the Marigold then sailed through the Strait of Magellan and found themselves in the Pacific Ocean.

Golden HindeThe Golden Hinde

The fleet were hit by a series of storms which resulted in the loss of the Marigold, with all crew still aboard meanwhile the Elizabeth returned to England and the Golden Hinde was blown to the southern point of South America and an island that is known nowadays as Cape Horn.

Drake set out from Cape Horn and travelled along the west coast of South America taking treasure from Spanish and Portuguese settlements and ships. Drake received word that the Spanish ship Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion (Cacafuego) was heading towards Peru and it was filled with silver and jewels. Drake instantly changed his course to catch up with the Cacafuego and on 1st March 1579 just off the coast of Mexico he took over 362,000 pesos worth of silver from the Cacafuego.

Drake took the Golden Hinde north to North America where he docked and repaired the ship; he made contact and became the first European to trade with the local Native Americans. Drake named the land Nova Albion (New England) and claimed it in the name of Queen Elizabeth I.

Drakes routeDrake’s route around the world

From North America Drake sailed across the Pacific Ocean through Asia, the Golden Hinde arrived back in England at Plymouth via the Cape of Good Hope on 26th September 1580. The treasure that Drake acquired during his travels was calculated at £600,000 (approximately £25 million in today’s money). Half of this money was given to Elizabeth and the Royal Treasury was free from debt in the year that followed Drake’s return.

Queen Elizabeth I knighted Francis Drake aboard the Golden Hinde on 4th April 1581 whilst it was docked in Deptford and declared that the Golden Hinde should be a maritime museum. However, by the mid 1600s the ship fell into disrepair and disintegrated. The only parts of the ship that remains are a chair made from the timbers that is currently homed at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and a table (named the cupboard) that resides at the Middle Temple in London.

Hinde chairThe chair in the Bodleian Museum made from timber from

the Golden Hinde

On this day in 1534 – Pope Clement VII died

Pope Clement VII was born on 26th May 1478 as Giulio di Giuliano de’Medici. He was born in Florence one month after his father had been assassinated after the Pazzi Conspiracy. Giulio’s parents were not formally married, however, a loophole in canon law allowed for his parents to be betrothed which allowed Giulio to be considered legitimate. Giulio’s mother, Fioretta Gorini, died when he was a young age and was educated by his uncle, Lorenzo de’Medici, ruler of Florence.

In 1513 Giulio’s cousin Giovanni de’Medici was made Pope Leo X and made Giulio a Knight of Rhodes and Grand Prior of Capua and as a result he became one of the most powerful figures in Rome. He became one of Pope Leo X’s principal ministers and confidant.

On 23rd September 1513 Guilio was made Cardinal. Giulio was credited with being the main director of papal policy during his cousin’s reign. Between 1521 and 1522 he was Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Worcester.

Pope Leo X died in 1521 and Guilio was considered to be papabile in conclave however, he was not elected despite being one of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, preferred candidates. Guilio was a leading Cardinal during the papacy of Pope Adrian VI, who reigned less than a year before his unexpected death on 14th September 1523.

With Pope Adrian VI’s death a new conclave convened and Guilio was elected as Pope Clement VII. Upon his election one of Pope Clement’s first tasks was to send the Archbishop of Capua to the Kings of France, Spain and England in the hope of ending the Italian Wars, his attempt at peace failed. Following King Francis I of France’s invasion of Milan in 1524 Clement quit the Imperial-Spanish side of the Italian Wars and allied himself with the Italian princes which included the Republic of Venice and France in January 1525. The treaty was considered patriotic at the time, however, the unstable economy led to attacks from the Roman barons and the intervention of the Holy Roman Emperor. A month later Francis I was defeated and captured following the Battle of Pavia and Clement returned to his previous alliance with Charles V after signing an alliance with the viceroy of Naples.

Clement, however, once again switched his allegiance following the release of Francis I after the Treaty of Madrid in 1526. The Pope entered into the League of Cognac alongside France, Venice and Francesco Sforza of Milan.

Pope Clement’s change in politics caused the rise of the Imperial party inside the Curia; Cardinal Pompeo Colonna’s troops pillaged Vatican Hill and took control of Rome. Clement was forced to return the Papal States to an alliance with the Imperial side; however, Cardinal Colonna left the siege in Rome and headed to Naples leaving Clement to not follow through on his promise and remaining in alliance with the French. Clement also dismissed the Cardinal from his charge. Clement found himself alone in his alliance with France after the Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso d’Este, sided with the Imperial troops therefore leaving the road to Rome open for the German Landsknechts led by Charles III, Duke of Bourbon.

The Duke of Bourbon died during the siege and had left his army unpaid, starving and with no clear leader. On the 6th May 1527 the desolate army worked their way through Rome with many reports of vandalism, murder and rape. Pope Clement had no choice but to surrender on 6th June from Castel Sant’Angelo where he had taken refuge. In exchange for his life he agreed to pay 400,000 ducati in exchange for his life with the conditions that Parma, Piacenza, Civitavecchia and Modena were handed over to the Holy Roman Empire, whilst Venice also took advantage of the situation by capturing Cervia and Ravenna. For the six months following his surrender Clement was kept prisoner in Castel Sant’Angelo before he escaped after paying some Imperial officers. Clement disguised himself as a peddler and went first to Orvieto before heading to Viterbo he eventually returned to Rome in October 1528 to find is destroyed and depopulated.

During the Sack of Rome, in 1527, Clement received a request from King Henry VIII asking for his marriage to Katherine of Aragon to be annulled on the basis that it was unlawful in the eyes of God due to her previous marriage to his brother, Arthur. A dispensation had been issued from Pope Julius II before the marriage took place and Clement ruled that the dispensation was lawful and the marriage could not be annulled. The English clergy and lawyers advised Henry’s Privy Council that they could not forced the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham, to go against the Pope’s rulings. Warham died soon after and Henry persuaded the Pope to appoint Thomas Cranmer as the next Archbishop. Cranmer was a friend to Anne Boleyn and a reformer. Pope Clement issued the Papal Bulls that would allow Cranmer to take the position on the condition that he took an oath of allegiance to the Pope. Cranmer was consecrated as Archbishop but declared that he did not agree with the oath he was being asked to take. Cranmer granted Henry the annulment that he required and Henry swiftly married Anne Boleyn. Both Henry and Cranmer were excommunicated from the Catholic Church as a result of their actions. Henry would eventually lead Parliament in passing the Act of Supremacy that declared that Henry was the head of the Church of England and the papacy had no authority within the country.

On 25th September 1534 Pope Clement VII died, it was believed that he died after eating a poisonous mushroom; his body was interred in Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Just days prior to his death Clement had ordered Michelangelo to paint The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.

Pope Clement VIIPope Clement VII

On this day in 1561 – Edward Seymour was born

Edward Seymour was born on 24st September 1561 in the Tower of London to Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford and Lady Catherine Grey, sister to Lady Jane Grey. The marriage of Seymour’s parents was questionable as they kept their marriage a secret until Catherine became pregnant. A law had been passed stating that as Catherine was a potential claimant to the English throne she was unable to marry without Queen Elizabeth’s consent. Therefore when it was discovered the Earl of Hertford and Catherine had married they were taken to the Tower of London and questioned regarding the marriage. As neither could remember the date of their wedding and the priest could not be located their son was declared illegitimate and eventually she was separated from her husband and children until her death.

Seymour married Honora Rogers at some point during 1582 and they would go on to have six children; Edward, William, Francis, Honora, Anne and Mary. William Seymour would later go on to secretly marry his cousin Arbella Stuart and be imprisoned in the Tower of London like his grandparents were.

As the son of Lady Catherine Grey, Edward Seymour had a strong claim to the throne of England through Mary Tudor, King Henry VIII’s younger sister. However, Elizabeth chose to select King James VI of Scotland as her successor who had a claim through Margaret Tudor, Henry’s eldest sister. It is believed that James was chosen over Edward due to his illegitimacy.

Seymour died on 13th July 1612 at Great Bedwyn and was buried at Bedwyn Magna before being reinterred at Salisbury Cathedral.

Catherine Grey and Edward SeymourEdward Seymour and his mother, Catherine Grey