On this day in 1540 – Sir William Kingston died

Sir William Kingston was born around 1476 and grew up in Painswick, Gloucestershire and first appeared in court life in June 1509 as a yeoman of the guard and again in 1512 as an under marshal in the army. During his time in the army he was on the Spanish coast at San Sebastian with Dr William Knight. He is noted as being involved in discussions regarding the best course of action for the English troops that were under the leadership of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset.

Kingston was also present at the Battle of Flodden and was knighted in 1513 (you can read more about the Battle of Flodden here – https://wordpress.com/post/85308923/809/)

Kingston was appointed as High Sheriff of Gloucestershire for 1514-1515. Kingston was present in the French court during 1520 after Sir Richard Wingfield wrote to King Henry VIII that the French Dauphin had taken a liking to Kingston. King Henry VIII had also taken to Kingston and he was present with the King at the Field of the Cloth of Gold and later at the meeting with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. Henry was so impressed with Kingston he presented him with a horse.

For the next few years Kingston remained a country magistrate as well as courtier and acted on the King’s behalf levying men in his home county, when he was in London he stayed with the Black Friars.

In April 1523 Kingston joined Lord Dacre on the northern frontier and Kingston along with Sir Ralph Ellerker were assigned some of the most dangerous posts including being at the capture of Cessford Castle. He returned to London suddenly and was appointed Captain of the Guard and a Knight of the King’s Body. On 30th August 1523 along with Charles Brandon he landed at Calais and on 28th May 1524 he was appointed Constable of the Tower with a salary of £100, in addition to this he also signed the petition to Pope Clement VII regarding the King’s divorce in July 1530.

Kingston would be involved in some of the biggest political events of the 1530’s in November 1530 went to Sheffield Park, Nottinghamshire to take charge of Cardinal Wolsey. Wolsey was concerned as he was once told that he would meet his death at Kingston, although Kingston tried to reassure him that he was not there to kill him he was with Wolsey when he died and later rode back to London to inform the King of the news.

Kingston travelled to Calais with Henry VIII for a second meeting with Francis I at Boulogne and on 29th May 1533 he greeted Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London where she would stay before her coronation.

He remained the Constable of the Tower and on 2nd May 1536 he received Anne Boleyn once again at the Tower who had been sent to the Tower accused of adultery. Kingston would report to Thomas Cromwell regarding Anne and her movements whilst imprisoned. He sent his first report on 3rd May where he documented Anne’s arrival and her musings regarding her arrest. He would go on to escort Anne to the scaffold after already telling her that her execution had been postponed.

On 9th March 1539 Kingston was made controller of the household and on 24th April he was made a Knight of the Garter, the King gave Kingston granted Flaxley Abbey to Kingston.

Sir William Kingston attended his last Privy Council meeting on 1st Septmeber 1540 and died on 14th September at his home in Painswick.

Kingston Letter about George BoleynA letter from Sir William Kingston to Thomas Cromwell

about George Boleyn

On this day in 1557 – Sir John Cheke died

Sir John Cheke was born on 16th June 1514 to Peter Cheke and he was educated at St John’s College, Cambridge where he became a fellow in 1529, whilst at Cambridge Cheke adopted the principal beliefs of the Reformation. His learning and reputation earned him the chair of Greek in 1540. Amongst his pupils were William Cecil, who later married Cheke’s sister, and Roger Ascham, who later in The Scholemaster praised Cheke.

On 10th July 1544 Cheke was appointed as tutor to the future King, Edward. He was appointed to teach him ‘of toungues, of the scripture, of philosophie and all liberal sciences.’ Cheke continued in this position after Edward’s ascension to the throne.

Cheke was active in his public life; he was the Member of Parliament for Bletchingley in 1547 and 1552-53. In 1548 he was made provost of King’s College, Cambridge and was a commissioner that visited that the college along with the University of Oxford and Eton College and he was appointed alongside seven divines to draw a body of laws for the governance of the church.

On 11th October 1551 Cheke was knighted and in June 1553 he was appointed as one of the secretaries of state and joined the Privy Council.

Following the death of King Edward VI, Cheke followed the Duke of Norfolk in backing Lady Jane Grey and was appointed to the office of Secretary of State during her nine days as Queen. When Queen Mary I took the throne she placed Cheke in the Tower of London and confiscated all his property. He was released on 3rd September 1554 and was given permission to travel abroad where he first visited Basel before moving onto Italy and then finally settled in Strasbourg where he taught Greek.

In 1556 Cheke travelled to Brussels to visit his wife but on the return journey between Brussels and Antwerp he was arrested with Sir Peter Carew on the orders of King Philip II and taken back to England where he was sent to the Tower of London. Whilst imprisoned in the Tower he was visited by two priests and Dr John Feckenham, dean of St Paul’s, Cheke had attempted to convert them to Protestantism and now in prison he feared being burned at the stake and so in an attempt to be saved he converted to Catholicism. On 15th July Cheke wrote a letter from the Tower regarding his belief in Catholicism in the hope that he would be spared making a public recantation. Cheke also wrote to the Queen in which he declared that he was willing to obey the law regarding religion.

Cheke was forced to make a public recantation on 4th October after a further two months in the Tower. He was made to read the longer form of recantation in front of the court and agreed to perform whatever penances the legate wished to pass. With all the humiliating recantations out of the way he was finally released from the Tower and was allowed to regain his lands that he was earlier forced to give up.

Ashamed of abandoning his faith Cheke died on 13th September 1557 in London at the home of Peter Osborne, friend and remembrancer of the exchequer. He was buried in the north chapel of St Alban’s where a momument was built in his memory.

Sir John ChekeSir John Cheke

On this day in 1555 – Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer stood trial

On 12th September 1555 the trial of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer began, he was charged with two offences – repudiating papal authority and denying transubstantiation. His trial was held in the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin at Oxford.

At the east of the church a ten foot scaffold was built where James Brooks, bishop of Gloucester and representative of the Pope sat and below him sat Dr Martin and Dr Storey who were acting as Queen Mary I’s commissioners.

Archbishop Cranmer was then brought into the make shift courtroom he was described by John Foxe as being ‘clothed in a fair black gown, with his hood on both shoulders, such as doctors of divinity in the university use to wear and in his hand a white staff.’

Cranmers arrest Foxes book of martyrsCranmer’s arrest as shown in John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Cranmer was called forward by one of the commissioners who called ‘Thomas archbishop of Canterbury! Appear here, and make answer to that shall be laid to thy charge; that is to say, for blasphemy, incontinency and heresy; and make answer to the bishop of Gloucester, representing the pope’s person.’ Cranmer proceeded to the dock where he bowed to Dr Martin and Dr Storey but not the bishop of Gloucester. Upon questioning Cramer revealed ‘that he had one taken a solemn oath, never to consent to the admitting of the bishop of Rome’s authority into this realm of England again; that he had done it advisedly and meant by God’s grace to keep it; and therefore would commit nothing else by sign or token which might argue his consent to the receiving of the same; and so he desired the said bishop to judge of him.’

Cranmer went on to say that he did not recognise the court he spoke;

“My lord, I do not acknowledge this session of yours, nor yet you, my mislawful judge; neither would I have appeared this day before you, but that I was brought hither as a prisoner. And therefore I openly here renounce you as my judge, protesting that my meaning is not to make any answer, as in a lawful judgment, but only for that I am bound in conscience to answer every man of that hope which I have in Jesus Christ, by the counsel of St. Peter; and lest by my silence many of those who are weak, here present, might be offended. And so I desire that my answers may be accepted as extra judicialia.”

After Cranmer spoke his mind regarding the authenticity of the court he knelt and recited the Lord’s Prayer after his prayer Dr Martin asked Cranmer who he believed was in charge of the Church of England. Cranmer responded ‘Christ is head of this member, as he is of the whole body of the universal church’. When pushed further regarding the appointment of King Henry VIII as the head of the church Cranmer elaborated further by saying ‘Yea, of all the people of England, as well ecclesiastical as temporal… for Christ only is the head of his church, and of the faith and religion of the same. The king is head and governor of his people, which are the visible church’.

With Cranmer had been able to speak the commission ordered him to appear at Rome to answer to the Pope and returned to his cell. The commission never took the Archbishop to Rome but on 4th December the Pope stripped Cranmer of his office and gave the relevant authorities to pass sentence on him. With Cranmer being told of the Popes decision he began to recant and by February 1556 he had recanted four times and recognised the Pope as the head of the church.

Cranmer’s execution date was set for 7th March 1556 which prompted him to fully submit to the Catholic Church and should have been enough for Cranmer to be pardoned however, his execution was instead just postponed for 21st March 1556. You can read more about Cranmer’s execution here: https://thetudorchronicles.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/on-this-day-in-1556-archbishop-cranmer-was-burned-at-the-stake/

Cranmer burnt at the stakeAn artist depicting Thomas Cranmer’s execution

On this day in 1581 – Barnaby Fitzpatrick died

Barnaby Fitzpatrick was born around 1535 in Ireland and was the eldest son of the 1st Baron Upper Ossory. He was sent at an early age to England as a pledge of his father’s loyalty, in England he was educated at the court of King Henry VIII alongside Prince Edward, who he became very close to. Fitzpatrick was amongst the chief mourners at the funeral of King Henry. On 15th August 1551 Fitzpatrick, alongside Sir Robert Dudley, were sworn in with four others to the new King Edward’s privy chamber.

King Edward VI sent Fitzpatrick to France in 1551 to further his education and advised him to ‘behave himself honestly, more following the company of gentlemen, than pressing into the company of the ladies there.’ Fitzpatrick responded to the King said ‘You make me think the care you take for me is more fatherly than friendly.’ Fitzpatrick was introduced to King Henri II of France by Lord Clinton the Lord Admiral. Henri made Fitzpatrick a Gentleman of the Chamber, which was a privileged position in which to observe French politics. Fitzpatrick left France on 9th December 1552 and was commended by Henri for his conduct whilst within the court.

Upon his return to England Fitzpatrick took an active role in the suppression of Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1553. Later in the year John Gough Nichols recorded in his Chronicle of Queen Jane that;

the Erle of Ormonde, Sir Courteney Knight, and Mr. Barnaby fell out in the night with a certain priest in the streate, whose parte a gentyliman coming by chance took, and so they fell by the eares; so that Barnabye was hurte. The morrowe they were ledd by the ii sheryves to the counter in the Pultry, where they remained … daies.”

Fitzpatrick was sent to Ireland shortly after with the Earl of Kildareand Brian O’Conor Faly. It was recorded that in 1558 Fitzpatrick was present at the Siege of Leith where he was knighted by the Duke of Norfolk despite Norfolk having no authority to authorise such appointments. In 1566 he was officially knighted by Sir Henry Sidney.

In 1573 as part of a feud with the Earl of Ormond his wife and daughter were kidnapped. Fitzpatrick appealed to Sir Henry Sidney to help secure their return but resorted to employing Piers Grace, an Irish felon, to rescue his daughter. His wife was eventually returned but Fitzpatrick retaliated by ruining Ormond’s lands.

The following year, in 1574, saw Ormond make fresh allegations against Fitzpatrick and his loyalty but it resulted in Fitzpatrick being summoned in front of the council in Dublin to answer his allegations instead he successfully acquitted himself at the council.

In 1576 Fitzpatrick succeeded his father to Baron Upper Ossory. He remained fairly quiet for a few years until 14th January 1581 when he and his wife were committed to Dublin Castle after Ormond declared that there was ‘not a naughtier or more dangerous man in Ireland than the baron of Upper Ossory. However, Sir Henry Wallop called him ‘as sound a man to her majesty as any of his nation’.

On 11th September 1581 Fitzpatrick was taken ill, at 2pm he died in Dublin in the house of surgeon, William Kelly. Sir Henry Sidney spoke of Fitzpatrick and said that he was ‘the most sufficient man in counsel and action for the war that ever I found of that country birth; great pity it was of his death’.

16th-century-map-of-Ireland16th Century map of Ireland

On this day in 1533 – Princess Elizabeth was christened at Greenwich

Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn was christened on Wednesday 10th September 1533 at the Church of Observant Friars in Greenwich.

The Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic of Henry’s reign documents the events of Elizabeth’s christening;

The mayor, Sir Stephen Peacock, with his brethren and 40 of the chief citizens, were ordered to be at the christening on the Wednesday following; on which day the mayor and council, in scarlet, with their collars, rowed to Greenwich, and the citizens went in another barge.

All the walls between the King’s place and the Friars were hanged with arras, and the way strewed with rushes. The Friars’ church was also hanged with arras. The font, of silver, stood in the midst of the church three steps high, covered with a fine cloth, and surrounded by gentlewomen with aprons and towels about their necks, that no filth should come into it. Over it hung a crimson satin canopy fringed with gold, and round it was a rail covered with red say.

Between the choir and the body of the church was a close place with a pan of fire, to make the child ready in. When the child was brought to the hall every man set forward. The citizens of London, two and two; then gentlemen, squires, and chaplains, the aldermen, the mayor alone, the King’s council, his chapel, in copes; barons, bishops, earls; the earl of Essex bearing the covered gilt basons; the marquis of Exeter with a taper of virgin wax. The marquis of Dorset bare the salt. The lady Mary of Norfolk bare the chrisom, of pearl and stone. The officers of arms. The old duchess of Norfolk bare the child in a mantle of purple velvet, with a long train held by the earl of Wiltshire, the countess of Kent, and the earl of Derby. The dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk were on each side of the Duchess. A canopy was borne over the child by lord Rochford, lord Hussy, lord William Howard, and lord Thomas Howard the elder. Then ladies and gentlemen.

The bishop of London and other bishops and abbots met the child at the church door, and christened it. The archbishop of Canterbury was godfather, and the old duchess of Norfolk and the old marchioness of Dorset godmothers. This done, Garter, with a loud voice, bid God send her long life. The archbishop of Canterbury then confirmed her, the marchioness of Exeter being godmother. Then the trumpets blew, and the gifts were given; after which wafers, comfits, and hypocras were brought in. In going out the gifts were borne before the child, to the Queen’s chamber, by Sir John Dudle, lord Thos. Howard, the younger, lord Fitzwater, and the earl of Worcester. One side was full of the Guard and King’s servants holding 500 staff torches, and many other torches were borne beside the child by gentlemen. The mayor and aldermen were thanked in the King’s name by the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, and after drinking in the cellar went to their barge.”

Although Elizabeth was not the son that Henry had wished for her christening was still a lavish celebration of her birth.

Princess ElizabethPrincess Elizabeth as a teenager

On this day in 1513 – the Battle of Flodden began

On 9th September 1513 the Battle of Flodden took place between England and Scotland in Northumberland, England. King James IV led the Scottish army against the defending English that was led by the Earl of Surrey who was acting on orders of the Regent of England, Katherine of Aragon who had been left in charge of the country whilst her husband, King Henry VIII, was leading the army in France.

King James IV declared his intentions for war upon England in order to support France and the alliance that they held together. However, his declaration was in breach of the Treaty of Perpetual Peace a treaty signed between England and Scotland in 1502. King James IV sent a letter via the Lyon King of Arms to Henry on 26th July asking him to stop his attack on France. Henry responded to the Lyon Arms by saying that James had no right to ask this of him and if anything James should be England’s ally as he was married to Henry’s sister, Margaret. Henry said;

And now, for a conclusion, recommend me to your master and tell him if he be so hardy to invade my realm or cause to enter one foot of my ground I shall make him as weary of his part as ever was man that began any such business. And one thing I ensure him by the faith that I have to the Crownof England and by the word of a King, there shall never King nor Prince make peace with me that ever his part shall be in it. Moreover, fellow, I care for nothing but for misentreating of my sister, that would God she were in England on a condition she cost the Schottes King not a penny.”

King James IV used the pretext of the murder of his Warden of the Scottish East March, Robert Kerr, five years previously in 1503 at the hands of John ‘The Bastard’ Heron to begin his invasion of England. However, England was not completely unprepared before Henry left for France he left an army and artillery in the north of the country and he also appointed Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey as Lieutenant General of the army in the north in 1512.

King James IV sent notice to England a month in advance regarding his intention to invade this gave England enough time to collect the banner of Saint Cuthbert from Durham Cathedral, a banner that had been at the front of the English army in past victories over the Scottish.

On 18th August 1513 the Scottish transported five cannons from Edinburgh Castle to Netherbow Gate at St Mary’s Wynd with the King setting off that night to join the army as well. As a result on 27th August 1513 Katherine of Aragon acting as Regent of the country issued warrants for all property belonging to any Scots to be seized instantly. Upon hearing of the invasion preparations Katherine sent an order on 3rd September to Thomas Lovell to gather an army from the Midlands.

The Scottish army moved closer to England before taking Norham Castle on 29th August and moving further south capturing the castles of Etal and Ford. James kept the army at Ford Castle for a while enjoying the hospitality of Lady Heron and her daughter. It was here that the English Herald, Rouge Croix arrived to negotiate a place of battle for the 4th September and gave instructions that if James sent any heralds to speak with the Earl of Surrey should be met away from where the English army was camped. It was at Ford Castle that the Earl of Angus spoke out in favour of returning to Scotland as he felt they had done everything for France; James sent the Earl of Angus home and wanted to push on with the invasion.

On 7th September the Earl of Surrey recorded that James had sent his Islay Herald and agreed that they would commence battle on the 9th between midday and 3pm he returned the Herald asking for the battle to take place at Milfield as previously agreed.

With the time and place agreed Surrey moved his troops to block the Scottish route north so it would force them towards Branxton Hill. When the Scottish and English armies were three miles apart Surrey sent to Rouge Croix to King James to confirm the time of battle, James replied that he would wait until noon.

At 11am on the morning of 9th September the English vanguard and artillery crossed the Twizel Bridge whilst the Scottish army was in five formations and by the afternoon the Scottish descended into battle. The English had two battle formations each comprising of two wings. The Earl of Surrey combined his vanguard with the soldiers of his father’s rearward. Surrey’s groups fought the Scottish troops led by the Earls of Huntly, Crawford and Erroll with forces that totalled 6000 men.

The King of Scotland then led an attack on Surrey and the son of Lord Darce who bore the brunt of the Scottish armies force. When the battle ended Edward Hall, the chronicler, wrote ‘the battle was cruel, none spared other, and the King himself fought valiantly.’

Post battle the Scottish council sent for help from Christian II of Denmark the Scottish ambassador, Andrew Brounhill, was asked to explain what went wrong in the battle. Brounhill blamed the King for moving downhill to attack the English on marshy ground from a more favourable position and he claimed that the English won purely because of Scottish inexperience.

King James IV was killed close to Surrey after being fatally wounded by an arrow and a bill, a polearm weapon. His body was discovered by Lord Dacre and was taken to Berwick-upon-Tweed where according to Edward Hall the Scottish courtiers William Scott and John Forman who identified the body as the late King. His body was then embalmed and taken to Newcastle upon Tyne. From York the body was taken to Sheen Priory near London.

James’s banner, sword and his thigh armour were taken to the shrine of Saint Cuthbert at Durham Catherdral. Thomas Hawley, the Rouge Croix Herald, was first to take news to London of the English victory. He took the blood stained surcoat of the King to Katherine of Aragon at Woburn Abbey, who instantly sent it to Henry VIII who was still battling the French at Tournai. She had thought about sending the body of the fallen King instead as Henry had sent her the Duke of Longueville, a prisoner from Thérouanne.

Margaret Tudor was informed of her husband’s death and a council met at Stirling to form a committee that would rule Scotland in the name of Margaret Tudor and her infant son the new King James V of Scotland.

battle_of_floddenArtist impression of the Battle of Flodden

On this day in 1560 – Amy Dudley died

Amy Dudley the first wife of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, died on Sunday 8th September 1560. Amy had been staying at Cumnor Place, Abingdon as a guest Sir Anthony Forster and his wife. On the morning of the 8th September Amy had sent her servants to attend the Fair that was in Abingdon.

Upon their return they found Amy dead at the foot of the stairs with two head rooms and an apparent broken neck. Robert Dudley upon hearing of his wife’s death immediately ordered his steward, Thomas Blount, to order an inquest at once. Blount reported back to Dudley regarding his wife’s movements on the morning of her death, he reported that Lady Dudley had risen early and;

would not that day suffer one of her own sort to tarry at home, and was so earnest to have them gone to the fair, that with any of her own sort that made reason of tarrying at home she was very angry, and came to Mrs. Odingsells… who refused that day to go to the fair, and was very angry with her also. Because (Mrs. Odingsells) said it was no day for gentlewomen to go… Whereunto my lady answered and said that she might choose and go at her pleasure, but all hers should go; and was very angry. They asked who should keep her company if all they went; she said Mrs. Owen should keep her company at dinner; the same tale doth Picto, who doth dearly love her, confirm. Certainly, my Lord, as little while as I have been here, I have heard divers tales of her that maketh me judge her to be a strange woman of mind.”

Mrs. Picto was Amy Dudley’s maid and Thomas Blount asked her whether or not she suspected foul play in her death Blount reported that Mrs. Picto replied;

she said by her faith she doth judge very chance, and neither done by man nor by herself. For herself, she said, she was a good virtuous gentlewoman, and daily would pray upon her knees; and divers times she saith that she hath heard her pray to God to deliver her from desperation. Then, said I, she might have an evil toy in her mind. No, good Mr. Blount, said Picto, do not judge so of my words; if you should so gather, I am sorry I said so much.”

Thomas Blount continued in his report by saying;

My Lord, it is most strange that this chance should fall upon you. It passeth the judgment of any man to say how it is; but truly the tales I do hear of her maketh me to think she had a strange mind in her: as I will tell you at my coming.”

An inquest was set up consisting of the coroner and the jurors were made up local gentlemen and yeomen. Blount followed up his letter to Dudley with a second to keep him informed of the proceedings, he informed Dudley that some of the jury were not friendly towards Anthony Foster and they were proceeding with the inquiry and were very thorough. He wrote;

they be very secret, and yet do I hear a whispering that they can find no presumptions of evil. And if I may say to your Lordship my conscience: I think some of them be sorry for it, God forgive me…Mine own opinion is much quieted… the circumstances and as many things as I can learn doth persuade me that only misfortune hath done it, and nothing else.”

Rumours began to spread around the court back in London regarding the circumstances of Amy’s death, it had long been rumoured that Dudley wished to marry the Queen and viewed his wife as an obstacle. Therefore rumours sprang up that Dudley had his wife murdered or poisoned to further his proposal with the Queen. It was in Dudley’s best interest for the inquiry to conclude as quickly as possible with an outcome that cleared him of any suspicion.

The jury wrote to Dudley to tell them that the ruled the death as accidental but they recommended that another inquiry should take place to investigate further and it should include any friends of Amy’s that were available as well as her half brothers John Appleyard and Arthur Robsart. However, this second inquiry never happened.

The coroner ruled on 1st August 1561 that Lady Dudley ‘being alone in a certain chamber… accidentally fell precipitously down’ the stairs ‘to the very bottom of the same’ The coroner reported that she had two injuries to her head with one being ‘of the depth of a quarter of a thumb’ and the other ‘of the depth of two thumbs’. It continued to say that ‘by reason of the accidental injury or of that fall and of Lady Amy’s own body weight falling down the aforesaid stairs’ that she broke her neck ‘on account of which … the same Lady Amy then and there died instantly;… and thus the jurors say on their oath that the Lady Amy…by misfortune came to her death and not otherwise, as they are able to agree at present.’

Amy Dudley was buried at St. Mary’s, Oxford and Robert spared no expense with her funeral and spent £2,000. Robert Dudley did not attend the funeral as was the custom in Tudor times but he wore mourning clothes for the next six months he also retired from court for a month and went into mourning at his home at Kew.

With the aid of modern medicine the death of Amy Dudley has been kept alive theories surrounding her death suggest that she was suffering from breast cancer that had spread into her spine causing her neck to break easily under limited strain. Another theory was that she was murdered but not by Dudley but by someone who did not wish to see the Queen and Dudley marry. However, anyone who did arranged it risked the Queen’s reputation. Therefore, the most likely cause of death I believe is either illness or perhaps even suicide due to depression or a worsening illness.

Amy Robsart paintingThe death of Amy Dudley painted by Victorian artist,

William Frederick Yeames

On this day in 1533 – Anne Boleyn gave birth to Elizabeth

On 7th September 1533 at 3pm­ Queen Anne Boleyn gave birth at Greenwich Palace, the child was a girl and named Elizabeth after both of her grandmothers, Elizabeth of York and Elizabeth Howard.

Astronomers and philosophers predicted that Anne would give birth to a son and preparations had been made for the announcement of a son so when Elizabeth was born Henry was disappointed he had torn the country apart to marry Anne for her to give him another daughter.

With the birth of Elizabeth bonfires were lit across the country but there was little celebration for the Princess many of the jousts and banquets were cancelled. The proclamation announcing her birth had to be altered as it was written before declaring Henry had been given a prince an s was added before they were sent out to the country. It was traditionally for the birth of a daughter to be low key and a similar thing happened at the birth of Princess Mary.

A herald announced the birth of Henry’s first legitimate child whilst the choristers sang the Te Deum in the Chapel Royal.

Although Henry was bitterly disappointed that he still did not have a son it is reported that he said to his wife “You and I are both young, and by God’s grace, boys will follow.”

Upon her birth Elizabeth automatically became Henry’s heiress presumptive as Henry’s first daughter had been barred from the succession and declared ill­­egitimate.

Birth announcement of ElizabethThe announcement of Princess Elizabeth’s birth

On this day in 1520 – The Protestant Reformer Martin Luther sent a pamphlet to Pope Leo X

On 6th September 1520 the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther wrote and sent a pamphlet to Pope Leo X in response to the thread of excommunication that was issued by the Pope. The pamphlet read;

“AMONG those monstrous evils of this age with which I have now for three years been waging war, I am sometimes compelled to look to you and to call you to mind, most blessed father Leo. In truth, since you alone are everywhere considered as being the cause of my engaging in war, I cannot at any time fail to remember you; and although I have been compelled by the causeless raging of your impious flatterers against me to appeal from your seat to a future council—fearless of the futile decrees of your predecessors Pius and Julius, who in their foolish tyranny prohibited such an action—yet I have never been so alienated in feeling from your Blessedness as not to have sought with all my might, in diligent prayer and crying to God, all the best gifts for you and for your see. But those who have hitherto endeavoured to terrify me with the majesty of your name and authority, I have begun quite to despise and triumph over. One thing I see remaining which I cannot despise, and this has been the reason of my writing anew to your Blessedness: namely, that I find that blame is cast on me, and that it is imputed to me as a great offence, that in my rashness I am judged to have spared not even your person.
  Now, to confess the truth openly, I am conscious that, whenever I have had to mention your person, I have said nothing of you but what was honourable and good. If I had done otherwise, I could by no means have approved my own conduct, but should have supported with all my power the judgment of those men concerning me, nor would anything have pleased me better, than to recant such rashness and impiety. I have called you Daniel in Babylon; and every reader thoroughly knows with what distinguished zeal I defended your conspicuous innocence against Silvester, who tried to stain it. Indeed, the published opinion of so many great men and the repute of your blameless life are too widely famed and too much reverenced throughout the world to be assailable by any man, of however great name, or by any arts. I am not so foolish as to attack one whom everybody praises; nay, it has been and always will be my desire not to attack even those whom public repute disgraces. I am not delighted at the faults of any man, since I am very conscious myself of the great beam in my own eye, nor can I be the first to cast a stone at the adulteress.
  I have indeed inveighed sharply against impious doctrines, and I have not been slack to censure my adversaries on account, not of their bad morals, but of their impiety. And for this I am so far from being sorry that I have brought my mind to despise the judgments of men and to persevere in this vehement zeal, according to the example of Christ, who, in His zeal, calls His adversaries a generation of vipers, blind, hypocrites, and children of the devil. Paul, too, charges the sorcerer with being a child of the devil, full of all subtlety and all malice; and defames certain persons as evil workers, dogs, and deceivers. In the opinion of those delicate-eared persons, nothing could be more bitter or intemperate than Paul’s language. What can be more bitter than the words of the prophets? The ears of our generation have been made so delicate by the senseless multitude of flatterers that, as soon as we perceive that anything of ours is not approved of, we cry out that we are being bitterly assailed; and when we can repel the truth by no other pretence, we escape by attributing bitterness, impatience, intemperance, to our adversaries. What would be the use of salt if it were not pungent, or of the edge of the sword if it did not slay? Accursed is the man who does the work of the Lord deceitfully.
  Wherefore, most excellent Leo, I beseech you to accept my vindication, made in this letter, and to persuade yourself that I have never thought any evil concerning your person; further, that I am one who desires that eternal blessing may fall to your lot, and that I have no dispute with any man concerning morals, but only concerning the word of truth. In all other things I will yield to any one, but I neither can nor will forsake and deny the word. He who thinks otherwise of me, or has taken in my words in another sense, does not think rightly, and has not taken in the truth.
  Your see, however, which is called the Court of Rome, and which neither you nor any man can deny to be more corrupt than any Babylon or Sodom, and quite, as I believe, of a lost, desperate, and hopeless impiety, this I have verily abominated, and have felt indignant that the people of Christ should be cheated under your name and the pretext of the Church of Rome; and so I have resisted, and will resist, as long as the spirit of faith shall live in me. Not that I am striving after impossibilities, or hoping that by my labours alone, against the furious opposition of so many flatterers, any good can be done in that most disordered Babylon; but that I feel myself a debtor to my brethren, and am bound to take thought for them, that fewer of them may be rained, or that their ruin may be less complete, by the plagues of Rome. For many years now, nothing else has overflowed from Rome into the world—as you are not ignorant—than the laying waste of goods, of bodies, and of souls, and the worst examples of all the worst things. These things are clearer than the light to all men; and the Church of Rome, formerly the most holy of all Churches, has become the most lawless den of thieves, the most shameless of all brothels, the very kingdom of sin, death, and hell; so that not even antichrist, if he were to come, could devise any addition to its wickedness.
  Meanwhile you, Leo, are sitting like a lamb in the midst of wolves, like Daniel in the midst of lions, and, with Ezekiel, you dwell among scorpions. What opposition can you alone make to these monstrous evils? Take to yourself three or four of the most learned and best of the cardinals. What are these among so many? You would all perish by poison before you could undertake to decide on a remedy. It is all over with the Court of Rome; the wrath of God has come upon her to the uttermost. She hates councils; she dreads to be reformed; she cannot restrain the madness of her impiety; she fills up the sentence passed on her mother, of whom it is said, “We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed; let us forsake her.” It had been your duty and that of your cardinals to apply a remedy to these evils, but this gout laughs at the physician’s hand, and the chariot does not obey the reins. Under the influence of these feelings, I have always grieved that you, most excellent Leo, who were worthy of a better age, have been made pontiff in this. For the Roman Court is not worthy of you and those like you, but of Satan himself, who in truth is more the ruler in that Babylon than you are.
  Oh, would that, having laid aside that glory which your most abandoned enemies declare to be yours, you were living rather in the office of a private priest or on your paternal inheritance! In that glory none are worthy to glory, except the race of Iscariot, the children of perdition. For what happens in your court, Leo, except that, the more wicked and execrable any man is, the more prosperously he can use your name and authority for the ruin of the property and souls of men, for the multiplication of crimes, for the oppression of faith and truth and of the whole Church of God? Oh, Leo! in reality most unfortunate, and sitting on a most perilous throne, I tell you the truth, because I wish you well; for if Bernard felt compassion for his Anastasius at a time when the Roman see, though even then most corrupt, was as yet ruling with better hope than now, why should not we lament, to whom so much further corruption and ruin has been added in three hundred years?
  Is it not true that there is nothing under the vast heavens more corrupt, more pestilential, more hateful, than the Court of Rome? She incomparably surpasses the impiety of the Turks, so that in very truth she, who was formerly the gate of heaven, is now a sort of open mouth of hell, and such a mouth as, under the urgent wrath of God, cannot be blocked up; one course alone being left to us wretched men: to call back and save some few, if we can, from that Roman gulf.
  Behold, Leo, my father, with what purpose and on what principle it is that I have stormed against that seat of pestilence. I am so far from having felt any rage against your person that I even hoped to gain favour with you and to aid you in your welfare by striking actively and vigorously at that your prison, nay, your hell. For whatever the efforts of all minds can contrive against the confusion of that impious Court will be advantageous to you and to your welfare, and to many others with you. Those who do harm to her are doing your office; those who in every way abhor her are glorifying Christ; in short, those are Christians who are not Romans.
  But, to say yet more, even this never entered my heart: to inveigh against the Court of Rome or to dispute at all about her. For, seeing all remedies for her health to be desperate, I looked on her with contempt, and, giving her a bill of divorcement, said to her, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still,” giving myself up to the peaceful and quiet study of sacred literature, that by this I might be of use to the brethren living about me.
  While I was making some advance in these studies, Satan opened his eyes and goaded on his servant John Eccius, that notorious adversary of Christ, by the unchecked lust for fame, to drag me unexpectedly into the arena, trying to catch me in one little word concerning the primacy of the Church of Rome, which had fallen from me in passing. That boastful Thraso, foaming and gnashing his teeth, proclaimed that he would dare all things for the glory of God and for the honour of the holy apostolic seat; and, being puffed up respecting your power, which he was about to misuse, he looked forward with all certainty to victory; seeking to promote, not so much the primacy of Peter, as his own pre-eminence among the theologians of this age; for he thought it would contribute in no slight degree to this, if he were to lead Luther in triumph. The result having proved unfortunate for the sophist, an incredible rage torments him; for he feels that whatever discredit to Rome has arisen through me has been caused by the fault of himself alone.
  Suffer me, I pray you, most excellent Leo, both to plead my own cause, and to accuse your true enemies. I believe it is known to you in what way Cardinal Cajetan, your imprudent and unfortunate, nay unfaithful, legate, acted towards me. When, on account of my reverence for your name, I had placed myself and all that was mine in his hands, he did not so act as to establish peace, which he could easily have established by one little word, since I, at that time, promised to be silent and to make an end of my case, if he would command my adversaries to do the same. But that man of pride, not content with this agreement, began to justify my adversaries, to give them free licence, and to order me to recant, a thing which was certainly not in his commission. Thus indeed, when the case was in the best position, it came through his vexatious tyranny into a much worse one. Therefore, whatever has followed upon this is the fault not of Luther, but entirely of Cajetan, since he did not suffer me to be silent and remain quiet, which at that time I was entreating for with all my might. What more was it my duty to do?
  Next came Charles Miltitz, also a nuncio from your Blessedness. He, though he went up and down with much and varied exertion, and omitted nothing which could tend to restore the position of the cause thrown into confusion by the rashness and pride of Cajetan, had difficulty, even with the help of that very illustrious prince the Elector Frederick, in at last bringing about more than one familiar conference with me. In these I again yielded to your great name, and was prepared to keep silence, and to accept as my judge either the Archbishop of Treves, or the Bishop of Naumburg; and thus it was done and concluded. While this was being done with good hope of success, lo! that other and greater enemy of yours, Eccius, rushed in with his Leipsic disputation, which he had undertaken against Carlstadt, and, having taken up a new question concerning the primacy of the Pope, turned his arms unexpectedly against me, and completely overthrew the plan for peace. Meanwhile Charles Miltitz was waiting, disputations were held, judges were being chosen, but no decision was arrived at. And no wonder! for by the falsehoods, pretences, and arts of Eccius the whole business was brought into such thorough disorder, confusion, and festering soreness, that, whichever way the sentence might lean, a greater conflagration was sure to arise; for he was seeking, not after truth, but after his own credit. In this case too, I omitted nothing which it was right that I should do.
  I confess that on this occasion no small part of the corruptions of Rome came to light; but, if there was any offence in this, it was the fault of Eccius, who, in taking on him a burden beyond his strength, and in furiously aiming at credit for himself, unveiled to the whole world the disgrace of Rome.
  Here is that enemy of yours, Leo, or rather of your Court; by his example alone we may learn that an enemy is not more baneful than a flatterer. For what did he bring about by his flattery, except evils which no king could have brought about? At this day, the name of the Court of Rome stinks in the nostrils of the world, the papal authority is growing weak, and its notorious ignorance is evil spoken of. We should hear none of these things, if Eccius had not disturbed the plans of Miltitz and myself for peace. He feels this clearly enough himself in the indignation he shows, too late and in vain, against the publication of my books. He ought to have reflected on this at the time when he was all mad for renown, and was seeking in your cause nothing but his own objects, and that with the greatest peril to you. The foolish man hoped that, from fear of your name, I should yield and keep silence; for I do not think he presumed on his talents and learning. Now, when he sees that I am very confident and speak aloud, he repents too late of his rashness, and sees—if indeed he does see it—that there is One in heaven who resists the proud, and humbles the presumptuous.
  Since then we were bringing about by this disputation nothing but the greater confusion of the cause of Rome, Charles Miltitz for the third time addressed the Fathers of the Order, assembled in chapter, and sought their advice for the settlement of the case, as being now in a most troubled and perilous state. Since, by the favour of God, there was no hope of proceeding against me by force, some of the more noted of their number were sent to me, and begged me at least to show respect to your person and to vindicate in a humble letter both your innocence and my own. They said that the affair was not as yet in a position of extreme hopelessness, if Leo X., in his inborn kindliness, would put his hand to it. On this I, who have always offered and wished for peace, in order that I might devote myself to calmer and more useful pursuits, and who for this very purpose have acted with so much spirit and vehemence, in order to put down by the strength and impetuosity of my words, as well as of my feelings, men whom I saw to be very far from equal to myself—I, I say, not only gladly yielded, but even accepted it with joy and gratitude, as the greatest kindness and benefit, if you should think it right to satisfy my hopes.
  Thus I come, most blessed Father, and in all abasement beseech you to put your hand, if it is possible, and impose a curb to those flatterers who are enemies of peace, while they pretend peace. But there is no reason, most blessed Father, why any one should assume that I am to utter a recantation, unless he prefers to involve the case in still greater confusion. Moreover, I cannot bear with laws for the interpretation of the word of God, since the word of God, which teaches liberty in all other things, ought not to be bound. Saving these two things, there is nothing which I am not able, and most heartily willing, to do or to suffer. I hate contention; I will challenge no one; in return I wish not to be challenged; but, being challenged, I will not be dumb in the cause of Christ, my Master. For your Blessedness will be able by one short and easy word to call these controversies before you and suppress them, and to impose silence and peace on both sides——a word which I have ever longed to hear.
Perhaps I am shamelessly bold in seeming to teach so great a head, by whom all men ought to be taught, and from whom, as those plagues of yours boast, the thrones of judges receive their sentence; but I imitate St. Bernard in his book concerning Considerations addressed to Eugenius, a book which ought to be known by heart by every pontiff. I do this, not from any desire to teach, but as a duty, from that simple and faithful solicitude which teaches us to be anxious for all that is safe for our neighbours, and does not allow considerations of worthiness or unworthiness to be entertained, being intent only on the dangers or advantage of others. For since I know that your Blessedness is driven and tossed by the waves at Rome, so that the depths of the sea press on you with infinite perils, and that you are labouring under such a condition of misery that you need even the least help from any the least brother, I do not seem to myself to be acting unsuitably if I forget your majesty till I shall have fulfilled the office of charity. I will not flatter in so serious and perilous a matter; and if in this you do not see that I am your friend and most thoroughly your subject, there is One to see and judge.
  In fine, that I may not approach you empty-handed, blessed Father, I bring with me this little treatise, published under your name, as a good omen of the establishment of peace and of good hope. By this you may perceive in what pursuits I should prefer and be able to occupy myself to more profit, if I were allowed, or had been hitherto allowed, by your impious flatterers. It is a small matter, if you look to its exterior, but, unless I mistake, it is a summary of the Christian life put together in small compass, if you apprehend its meaning. I, in my poverty, have no other present to make you, nor do you need anything else than to be enriched by a spiritual gift. I commend myself to your Paternity and Blessedness, whom may the Lord Jesus preserve for ever. Amen.
Wittenberg, 6th September, 1520.”

Martin Luther as an Augustinian Monk *parchment, on panel *43.6 × 29.8 cm  *after 1546

On this day in 1569 – Queen Dowager Catherine Parr died

On 5th September 1569 the Queen Dowager Catherine Parr died six days after giving birth at Sudeley Castle, the home she shared with her fourth husband, Thomas Seymour.

Catherine Parr died of puerperal fever, which was also known as childbed fever. It was also the illness that killed King Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour. It was not an uncommon cause of death amongst women in Tudor times as the hygiene around childbirth was very poor.

Catherine’s body was wrapped in a waxed cloth, to prevent decay and was encased in a lead coffin. Her chief mourner at her funeral was Lady Jane Grey as her step daughter Elizabeth had been sent away from Sudeley Castle following an alleged scandal involving Thomas Seymour and the young Princess.

The funeral service was performed in English, the first of its kind, and relatively short as Catherine was a believer of the reformed faith. The funeral contained psalms sung in English, an offering for alms, three lessons and a sermon spoken by Miles Coverdale, well known for translating the Bible. Catherine was buried in the chapel within the grounds of Sudeley Castle with an inscription on her lead coffin which read;181

Here lyeth Queen Katheryne Wife to Kinge Henry the VIII and The wife of Thomas Lord of Sudely high Admy… of Englond And ynkle to Kyng Edward VI.”

Catherine’s tomb was discovered in 1782 and when the coffin was opened the wax cloth was removed from the body and it was discovered that Catherine was well preserved and she still had hair, teeth, nails and her flesh was still soft and moist with her arm weighing the same as if she was alive.

When the coffin was opened again in 1817 there was nothing but a skeleton, it was now that the coffin was moved to the tomb of Lord Chandos, the family that resided in Sudeley Castle at the time. It was carefully restored on the orders of Lady Anne Greville, Duchess of Buckingham and daughter of the 3rd Duke of Chandos. In later years the chapel was rebuilt by Sir George Gilbert Scott who built a canopied tomb wih a recumbent marble figure crafted by John Birnie Philip. The tomb had four crests carved on the side one for each of her husband’s.

178The tomb of Queen Dowager Catherine Parr