On this day in 1591 – Sir Edward Waterhouse died

Sir Edward Waterhouse was born in 1535 in Helmstedbury, Hertfordshire, to John Waterhouse and his wife Margaret, his father was once an auditor to King Henry VIII. Edward was educated at Oxford before joining the King’s Court.

Waterhouse began his career at court by being a private secretary to Henry Sidney, the Lord Deputy of Ireland and on 1st February 1566 was made clerk of the castle chamber at the same time he received a grant of a lease of the manor of Evan in Co. Kildare and the corn tithes of Dunboyne in Co,. Meath. During a tour of Ireland with Henry Sidney he was left to look after Carrickfergus whilst in care of the town he was a crucial part of obtaining a charter for the town in 1570 and as a result he was created a freeman, he later went on to represent the town in the Irish Parliament of 1585.

Waterhouse married three times firstly to Elizabeth Villiers, daughter of George Villiers whom he divorced in 1578, secondly to Margaret Spilman of Kent and finally to Deborah, widow of Mr. Harlackenden of Woodchurch. Deborah would survive Edward.

He then went on to serve Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex until the Earl’s death, during this time Devereux would sent Waterhouse to England on missions that were connected to the sale of property. Waterhouse gained the trust and gratitude of Devereux and then Earl died in his arms saying ‘Oh, my Ned! Oh, my Ned! Thou art the faithfullest and friendliest gentleman that ever I knew’.

Following Devereux’s death Waterhouse was able to obtain a pension of 10s a day which in 1579 was confirmed as a pension for life. He was then appointed secretary of state by Sir Henry Sidney and between 1576 and 79 was sent back to England to escort over treasure and in connection with the question of cess.

On 5th February 1579 he obtained a grant of the collectorship of customs of wine in Ireland and on 27th June he was appointed commissioner for check of the army, 7th July receiver-general in the exchequer and 25th July receiver of all casualties and casual profits falling to the crown.

Between August and November 1579 Waterhouse attended the movements of the army under Sir William Drury before being sworn in at the Privy Council in the October, but a rebellion of the Earl of Desmond in November saw him return to the army in Munster. The army took up all his time for two years and therefore he dismissed his other duties.

On 17th June 1580 Waterhouse obtained a grant for the office of overseer and water bailiff of the Shannon and on 10th April 1581 he was appointed a commissioner for ecclesiastical causes and on 22nd July of the same year he was granted a lease for 21 years of the lands of Hilltown, Meath.

As his positions grew he caught the eye of Queen Elizabeth who was allegedly jealous over his value in particularly the position of water bailiff of the Shannon and custodian of the boats at Athlone and in the autumn of 1582 he was ordered back to England. His gentle manner won the favour of Lord Burghley and his offer to surrender his posts pleased the queen although she demanded that he wrote a list of all the patents, fee etc that had been granted to him in the past seven years.

Upon his return to Ireland he was given the task alongside Sir Geoffrey Fenton of torturing Dermot O’Hurley, Archbishop of Cashel at the request of Lord Burghley, they were instructed to torture him by toasting his feet in front of a fire.

Waterhouse was knighted on 20th June 1584 by Sir John Perrot in Christ Church, Dublin. Perrot said that the reason was that Waterhouse had dispensed yearly more than a thousand marks.

Waterhouse began surrendering some of his roles in order to keep the peace in Ireland between nobles and at one point sought leave to return to England to plead for the reinstatement of his patent, Elizabeth again demanded a detailed account of his offices and rewards but Waterhouse explained that he had been obliged to sell his land in England to survive.

On 19th October 1586 he was appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer or of the green wax if Ireland, a position that lasted three years when he surrendered it to George Clive after receiving a grant in consideration of his sufficiency and painful good service.

Waterhouse retired to his estate of Woodchurch, Kent in January 1591 where he died on 13th October 1591.

Letter from WaterhouseA letter from Sir Edward Waterhouse

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On this day in 1537 – King Edward VI was born

The future King Edward VI was born on 12th October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace, Edward was born at 2am on St Edward’s Day after Jane Seymour had endured a 30 hour labour. Following the birth church bells rang out across the country declaring the royal couples happy news meanwhile parish churches sang the Te Deum and bonfires were lit. Merchants within the cities distributed wine and fruit and German merchants also gave wine and beer to the poor. In the evening from the Tower of London 2000 rounds were fired into the sky.

Edward VI infantEdward VI as an infant

In 2012 a letter was discovered in the archives of Dunham Massey, it was signed by Jane Seymour to Henry, although written in by another as Jane would not have been in any state to write,it was dated 12th October, therefore shortly after she had given birth to Edward. In the modern English the letter read;

By the Queen,

Trust and well beloved, we greet you well. And forasmuch as by the inestimable goodness and grace of Almighty God, we have been delivered and brought to child-bed of a Prince conceived in most lawful matrimony between my lord, the King’s Majesty, and us, doubting not but that for the love and affection which you bear unto us and the commonwealth of this realm the knowledge of which you should be joyous and glad tidings unto you, we have thought good to certify you of the same, to the intent that you might not only render unto God condign thanks and praise for so great benefit, but also pray for the long continuance and preservation of the same here in this life to the honour of God, joy and pleasure of my lord the King and us, and the universal peace, quiet and tranquillity of this whole realm. Given under our Signet at my lord’s manor of Hampton Court, the 12th day of October.”

Henry had every reason to celebrate he had finally been delivered of the son he had always desired.

Janes letter to Henry declaring a sonThe letter signed by Jane Seymour written to Henry declaring the birth of their son

On this day in 1542 – Thomas Wyatt died

Thomas Wyatt was born in 1503 at Allington Castle near Maidstone to Henry Wyatt and his wife, Anne Skinner. Henry was one of King Henry VII’s Privy Councillors, a position that continued upon the ascension of King Henry VIII.

Wyatt would first enter the court of King Henry VIII in 1515 as a ‘sewer extraordinary’ (another name for a waiter). In the same year he entered St. John’s College, Cambridge. Three years later in 1520, aged 17; Wyatt married Elizabeth Brooke, daughter of Thomas Brooke, 8th Baron Cobham. The couple would go on to have a son the following year; also called Thomas (he would go on to lead Wyatt’s Rebellion years later). The marriage between Wyatt and Elizabeth fell apart in approximately 1525 when Wyatt separated from his wife and charged her with adultery. At some point as their marriage was failing Wyatt had allegedly fallen for Anne Boleyn, although they most likely had met the extent of their relationship is unknown.

Thomas WyattSir Thomas Wyatt as painted by Hans Holbein the younger

Wyatt began undertaking more roles within the court and accompanied Sir John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, to Rome to petition Pope Clement VII to annul the King’s marriage to Katherine of Aragon and allow him to marry again. He was also appointed as High Marshal of Calais between 1528 and 1530 and Commissioner of the Peace of Essex in 1532. When King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn travelled to Calais in order to present Anne to the French King, Wyatt was part of the retinue that travelled with them he would later serve in Anne Boleyn’s coronation in June 1533.

Wyatt was knighted in 1535 but just a year later he would find himself imprisoned in the Tower of London suspected of being one of the men accused of adultery with Anne Boleyn he was also accused of arguing with the Duke of Suffolk. Whilst imprisoned in the Tower Wyatt likely saw the execution of Anne Boleyn and the five men accused alongside her, as someone who had written poetry throughout his life he composed ‘Innocentia Veritas Viat FidesCircumdederunt me inmici mei’, which read;

“Who list his wealth and ease retain,
Himself let him unknown contain.
Press not too fast in at that gate
Where the return stands by disdain,
For sure, circa Regna tonat.

The high mountains are blasted oft
When the low valley is mild and soft.
Fortune with Health stands at debate.
The fall is grievous from aloft.
And sure, circa Regna tonat.

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 Renga tonat.

The bell tower showed me such sight
That in my head sticks day and night.
There did I learn out of a grate,
For all favour, glory, or might,
That yet circa Regna tonat.

By proof, I say, there did I learn.
Wit helpeth not defence too yerne,
Of innocency to plead or prate.
Bear low, therefore, give God the stern,
For sure, circa Regna tonat.

Thomas Wyatts poetryAn example of Thomas Wyatt’s writing

Wyatt was released soon after Anne Boleyn’s death and returned to favour within Henry’s court, he was made ambassador to the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, in Spain returning to England in June 1539 before departing again in May 1540 to resume his role as ambassador.

Although Wyatt was technically still married in 1537 he took Elizabeth Darrell as his mistress and they had three sons together and in 1540 he was granted the site and manorial estates of the dissolved Boxley Abbey.

In 1541 Wyatt was charged with treason after an original charge from 1538 was revived against him by Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London. Bonner had claimed that Wyatt had been rude about the King and also had contact with Cardinal Pole, the King’s relative and papal legate who Henry was most displeased with after he sided with Rome over his divorce to Katherine of Aragon. Wyatt was again placed inside the Tower of London but was pardoned once again, possibly by the request of the current queen, Catherine Howard. Wyatt was again released and given royal offices following his pardon from the King. However, shortly after welcoming Charles V’s envoy at Falmouth he was taken ill and died on 11th October 1542 whilst staying with Sir John Horsey at Clifton Maybank House, Dorset. He is buried in Sherborne Abbey.

Wyatt’s poetry was published 15 years after his death and along with Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was one of the first to introduce the sonnet into England.

Wyatt-plaquePlaque dedicated to Thomas Wyatt in Sherborne Abbey

On this day in 1562 – Queen Elizabeth I was taken ill with smallpox

On 10th October 1562 Queen Elizabeth I was taken ill at Hampton Court Palace with smallpox, Elizabeth became so ill with a dangerously high fever that her council began to prepare in case she did not survive the illness. As she lay recovering Elizabeth named Robert Dudley as protector of the kingdom and swore to her councillors that ‘as God was her witness nothing improper had ever passed between them.’

Fortunately the Queen survived, however, her nursemaid Lady Mary Sidney caught the illness from the Queen and was badly disfigured as a result. Mary’s husband wrote in his ‘Memoirs of Services’ the effects the disease had on his wife;

When I went to Newhaven I lefte her a full faire Ladye in myne eye at least the fayerest, and when I returned I found her as fowle a ladie as the smale pox could make her, which she did take by contynuall attendance of her majesties most precious person (sicke of the same disease)the skarres of which (to her resolute discomforte) ever syns hath don and doth remayne in her face, so as she lyveth solitairlie sicut Nicticorax in domicilio suo more to my charge then if we had boorded toether as we did before that evill accident happened.”

Although Elizabeth survived the disease relatively unscathed she did have some minor scarring and hair loss that she began to cover with the use of makeup and wigs. Elizabeth would go on to reign for another 41 years following her illness.

queen-elizabeth-iQueen Elizabeth I

On this day in 1514 – Mary Tudor married King Louis XII of France

On 9th October 1514 Mary Tudor, sister to King Henry VIII, was married to King Louis XII of France. Mary was just 18 years old whilst Louis was 52. The wedding took place in the great hall of the Hôtel de la Gruthuse, Abbeville.

Mary wore a French style gown of gold brocade that was trimmed with ermine whilst King Louis also gold and ermine. In place of her brother, Henry, Mary was given away by the Duke of Norfolk and the Marquis of Dorset and the Bishop of Bayeux performed the ceremony itself.

A letter from the Venetian ambassador to the Bishop of Asti, Antonio Triulzi, which was dated the following day on 10th October, described Mary Tudor on her wedding day;

“Then followed the Queen, under a white canopy, above and around which were the roses, supported by two porcupines. She was alone beneath it, and Monseigneur (d’Angoulême) on her left hand, but outside. She rode a white palfrey, with rich trappings, and was herself clad in very handsome stiff brocade.

Next came her litter, very beautiful, adorned with lilies; then five of the principal English ladies, very well dressed; then a carriage of brocade, on which were four ladies, followed by a second carriage with as many more ladies. Next came six ladies on horseback; and then a third carriage, of purple and crimson velvet, with four ladies; after which a crowd of ladies, some twenty in number; then 150 archers in three liveries. In this order they went to the Queen’s house, which was near that of the King. It was a sumptuous entry, and these noblemen of England have very large chains, and are otherwise in good array.

Before the entry there was a heavy shower, which drenched them all, especially the ladies. The Queen was dressed in the English fashion. In the evening, ‘Madame,’ the King’s daughter, wife of Monseigneur d’ Angoulême, went to visit her, and they gave a ball. This morning the King had preparation made for the mass in his own hall, whither the Queen came, preceded by 73 English barons and gentlemen; the King doffed his bonnet, and the Queen curtseyed to the ground, whereupon his Majesty kissed her. The treasurer Robertet then presented to the King a necklace, in which were set two beautiful jewels, and his Majesty placed it round the Queen’s neck; after which mass was performed.

The two candles were held, the one by Monseigneur de Vendôme. After the King had kissed the 1 pax at the mass, he kissed the Queen. At the offertory Monseigneur gave the money to the King, and Madame to the Queen.

The mass by Cardinal de Bayeux being ended, he gave the consecrated wafer, one half to the King and the other to the Queen, who kissed and then swallowed it; and after making a graceful curtsey she departed, the King and Queen going each to their own apartments to dine. In the evening the Queen arrayed herself in the French fashion, and there was dancing; the whole Court banqueting, dancing, and making good cheer; and thus, at the eighth hour before midnight, the Queen was taken away from the entertainment by Madame to go and sleep with the King.

I promise you that she is very handsome, and of sufficiently tall stature. She appears to me rather pale, though this I believe proceeds from the tossing of the sea and from her fright. She does not seem a whit more than 16 years old, and looks very well in the French costume. She is extremely courteous and well mannered, and has come in very sumptuous array…”

The marriage would last just three months with King Louis XII dying on New Year’s Day. Mary would go on to marry Charles Brandon.

tapestry-showing-mary-tudors-marriage-to-louis-xii-of-franceA tapestry depicting the marriage between

Mary Tudor and King Louis XII of France

On this day in 1515 – Lady Margaret Douglas was born

Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox was born on 8th October 1515 and was the daughter of Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus and Margaret Tudor, Queen Dowager of Scotland and sister to King Henry VIII. Margaret was born at Harbottle Castle in Northumberland after her mother, Margaret Tudor, fled Scotland after her second husband was threatened by her son King James V.

After Lady Douglas stayed briefly at Berwick Castle with her nurse, Isobel Hoppar, Margaret joined the household of her godfather, Cardinal Wolsey. Following the death of Cardinal Wolsey Margaret was sent to the royal palace of Beaulieu where she lived with King Henry VIII’s daughter, Princess Mary. Margaret and her cousin Mary would be brought up together. Margaret was present at Christmastime at Greenwich Palace in 1530, 1531 and 1532 and King Henry presented his niece each year with a gift of £6 13s 4d.

Following the King’s divorce to Katherine of Aragon and his marriage to Anne Boleyn, Margaret was appointed as a lady-in-waiting to the new queen. It was during this time that Margaret met Lord Thomas Howard and they began a relationship, however by 1535 the couple were secretly engaged. By July 1536 Henry had learnt about his niece’s secret engagement and was furious, he had recently declared that Princess Elizabeth like her elder sister, Mary, was now illegitimate and this left Margaret as next in line to the throne therefore she was expected to seek the King’s permission for any potential marriage. As a result both Margaret and Thomas Howard were imprisoned in the Tower of London and on 18th July 1536 an Act of Attainder was passed in Parliament that sentenced Howard to death for his attempt to ‘interrupt ympedyte and let the seid Succession of the Crowne’. Parliament also included in the Act that it was forbidden that any member of the King’s family could not marry without his permission. Margaret remained in the Tower until she fell ill and the King granted permission for her to be moved to Syon Abbey under the supervision of the abbess. Margaret stayed here until she was released on 29th October 1537, Lord Howard was spared from being executed but remained in the Tower of London until his death two days after Margaret’s release on 31st October 1537.

Margaret wrote to Thomas Cromwell in 1537 shortly before her release to make it known that she had abandoned Howard, she wrote;

My Lord, what cause have I to give you thanks, and how much bound am I unto you, that by your means hath gotten me, as I trust, the King’s grace his favour again, and besides that that it pleaseth you to write and to give me knowledge wherein I might have his Grace’s displeasure again, which I pray our Lord sooner to send me death than that; I assure you, my Lord, I will never do that thing willingly that should offend his Grace.

And my Lord, whereas it is informed you that I do charge the house with a greater number that is convenient, I assure you I have but two more than I had in the Court, which indeed were my Lord Thomas’ servants; and the cause that I took them for was for the poverty that I saw them in, and for no cause else. Be seeing, my Lord, that it is your pleasure that I shall keep none that did belong unto my Lord Thomas, I will put them from me.

And I beseech you not think that any fancy doth remain in me touching him; but that all my study and care is how to please the King’s grace and to continue in his favour. And my Lord, where it is our pleasure that I shall keep but a few here with me, I trust ye will think that I can have no fewer than I have; for I have but a gentleman and a groom that keeps my apparel, and another that keeps my chamber, and a chaplain that was with me always in the Court. Now, my Lord, I beseech you that I may know your pleasure if you would that I should keep any fewer. Howbeit, my Lord, my servants hath put the house to small charge, for they have nothing but the reversion of my board; nor I do call for nothing but that that is given me; howbeit I am very well intreated. And my Lord, as for resort, I promise you I have none, except it be gentlewomen that comes to see me, nor never had since I came hither; for if any resort of men had come it should neither have become me to have seen them, nor yet to have kept them company, being a maid as I am. Now my Lord, I beseech you to be so good as to get my poor servants their wages; and thus I pray to our Lord to preserve you both soul and body.

By her that has her trust in you,
Margaret Douglas”

Margaret returned to court and in 1539 along with the Duchess of Richmond was appointed to greet Anne of Cleves at Greenwich Palace before joining her household staff, however, Henry decided to ride out to meet Anne at Rochester and Anne was put aside just months later. Margaret fell out of favour with the King once more in 1540 after she embarked on a secret affair with Sir Charles Howard, the half nephew of her previous fiancé, Lord Howard, and brother to the King’s new wife, Catherine Howard. Margaret was back at court to be one of the few witnesses to Henry’s final marriage to Catherine Parr. Margaret was appointed as one of Catherine’s chief ladies as they had known each other since they came to court around the same time in the 1520’s.

Margaret DouglasMargaret Douglas

In 1544 Margaret married Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, a Scottish exile who had been involved in the fight for control of Scotland with the Earl of Arran and also the prospect of marriage with Mary of Guise, but it was an offer of marriage to Margaret that Lennox could not refuse. They would go on to have two children Charles Stewart and Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley and second husband to Mary Queen of Scots.

Whilst her childhood friend and cousin, Queen Mary I, was on the throne of England Margaret was assigned rooms in Westminster Palace and in November 1553 Mary told Spanish ambassador, Simon Renard, that she thought Margaret, now Lady Lennox, was best suited to be her successor. Margaret took every opportunity to report gossip to Mary regarding Elizabeth, when Elizabeth was ordered to court after the Wyatt rebellion she was placed in a room in Whitehall that was directly below Margaret’s who turned her room into a kitchen so the noise would disturb the young Princess.

Margaret was integral to Mary and upon her wedding to Philip of Spain she granted Margaret the honour of carrying her train into the ceremony. When Mary died in 1558, Margaret was the chief mourner at her funeral. Following Mary’s death Margaret moved to Yorkshire where she lived at Temple Newsam and was the centre of Roman Catholic activity, which caused issues with her cousin and the new queen, Elizabeth. Whilst in Yorkshire Margaret successfully married her son, Lord Darnley, to Mary Queen of Scots causing a rival claim to the throne of England.

Margaret was sent to the Tower of London in 1566 by Elizabeth but following the murder of her son the following year she was released. Elizabeth wanted to send a clear message that Margaret’s family had no claims to the throne despite the fact she was grandmother to the son of Mary Queen of Scots and Darnley, the future King James. Following her release Margaret cut all association with her daughter in law, especially as she was implicated in the murder of her husband, however, Margaret did reconcile with Mary. With Mary overthrown from the Scottish throne and her infant son chosen over her, Margaret’s husband, Earl of Lennox, acted as regency until his assassination in 1571.

In 1574 Margaret was sent once again to the Tower of London after she arranged the marriage of her youngest son, Charles, to Elizabeth Cavendish – the stepdaughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Margaret was eventually pardoned after her son’s death in 1576. Following her youngest son’s death Margaret cared for his daughter, Lady Arbella Stewart. However, Margaret died shortly after her son on 7th March 1578. Margaret died in deep debt however, Queen Elizabeth I paid for a grand funeral alongside her young son in the south aisle of Henry VII’s chapel in Westminster Abbey.

Margaret_Douglas_tombMargaret Douglas’ tomb

On this day in 1577 – George Gascoigne died

George Gascoigne was born in 1535 to Sir John Gascoigne of Cardington, Bedforshire. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and later enrolled at Middle Temple before becoming a member of Gray’s Inn in 1555.

Gascoigne translated two plays that were performed in 1566 at Gray’s Inn, which was considered the most aristocratic of London’s Inns of Court. The plays were ‘Supposes’ based on Ariosto’s Suppositi and ‘Jocasta which is believed to have been derived from either Euripides’s Phoenissae or Lodovico Dolce’s Giocasta. Gascoigne’s translation of Ariosto is believed to be the first comedy written in English prose and used by William Shakespeare as a source for ‘The Taming of the Shrew’.

At some point it is believed that he was imprisoned for debt and that his father disowned him, however, Gascoigne himself claims that he was obliged to sell his patrimony to pay the debts that he had contracted whilst at court. Between 1557 and 1559 he was M.P for Bedford but when he presented himself for election at Midhurst in 1572 he was refused on the charges of being ‘a defamed person and noted for manslaughter’, ‘a common Rymer and a deviser of slaunderous Pasquelles’, ‘a notorious rufilanne’, and an atheist.

Gascoigne’s own writings were first published in 1573 under the title ‘A Hundredth Sundry Flowres bound up in one small Posie. Gathered partly in the fine outlandish Gardens of Euripides, Ovid, Petrarch, Ariosto and others; and partly by Invention our of our owne fruitfull Orchardes in Englande, Yelding Sundrie Savours of tragical, comical and moral discourse, bothe leas aunt and profitable, to the well-smelling noses of learned readers.’ It was printed by Richarde Smith and the book appeared to be an anthology of courtly poets edited by Gascoigne and two others that went by the initials H.W and G.T. The book is thought to contain courtly scandal and is hinted at throughout with the use of initials and posies with Latin or English tags denoting authors in place of actual names. It was republished two years later with the shorter title ‘The Posies of George Gascoigne, Esquire’ with additions and edits made.

George GascoigneGeorge Gascoigne

In 1572 Gascoigne sailed as a soldier of fortune to the Low Countries where his ship was driven by bad weather to Brielle, which had just fallen into the hands of the Dutch. There Gascoigne obtained a captain’s commission and was active in campaigns over the next two years including the Middelburg siege. Gascoigne was taken prisoner following the evacuation of Valkenburg by English troops during the Siege of Leiden and was sent back to England in late 1574. He wrote his adventures in ‘The Fruites of Warres’ and ‘Gascoigne’s Voyage into Hollande’ and dedicated them to Lord Grey de Wilton.

In 1575 Gascoigne had a share in devising the masques as ‘The Princely Pleasures at the Courte at Kenelworth’ which was in regards to the Queen’s visit to Kenilworth and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. In the same year at Woodstock he delivered a prose speech in front of the Queen and was present at a reading of the ‘Pleasant Tale of Hemetes the Hermit’ which Gascoigne then translated into Latin, Italian and French and gifted it to the Queen the following New Year during the annual gift exchange with members of the court.

Gascoigne died on 7th October 1577 at Walcot Hall, Barnack near Stamford where he was the guest of George Whetstone. He was buried in the Whetstone family vault at St John the Baptist’s Church, Barnack.

George Gascoigne tombThe tomb of George Gascoigne

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