Tag Archives: Anne Boleyn

On this day in 1533 – Anne Boleyn took to her chamber to prepare for the birth of Princess Elizabeth

On 26th August 1533 Anne Boleyn took leave of the court and entered confinement where she would stay until she gave birth. Normally a lady would go to confinement four to six weeks before the anticipated birth of their child.

Anne took to her chamber at Greenwich Palace after attending a special mass at the Chapel Royal within the Palace grounds. Anne would then proceed with her ladies to the great chamber were they would enjoy wine and spices before the Lord Chamberlain prayed to God that Anne would give a safe delivery, hopefully to a son. Anne would then enter her chamber where she would be waited on by her ladies; no men were permitted into the room.

The chamber was decorated in accordance with the ‘Royalle Book’ that had additions by Margaret Beaufort and had been followed by King Henry VIII’s mother, Elizabeth of York during her confinements in the same Palace. The book stated that the room should;

  • Be carpeted
  • Have an altar
  • Have soft furnishings of crimson satin that were embroidered with Gold crowns and the Queen’s arms
  • Have its windows, ceilings and walls covered with blue arras and tapestries
  • Have a tapestry covered cupboard to store the birthing equipment
  • Have a font in the room in case the baby needed baptising instantly due to sickness
  • Have a display of Gold and Silver plate items from the Jewel House, it was thought that the Queen and her baby to be surrounded by symbols of wealth
  • Be furnished with a luxurious bed for the Queen and a pallet at the end of it for the Queen to give birth on. The pallet would be built up to a height similar to the midwife, it was close to the fire and away from any cold draughts
  • One window would be slightly uncovered to let in light and air when deemed neccersary

In the ‘Ordinances and regulations for the royal household society of antiquaries’ it is written what is expected of the Queen’s chamber;

As to the deliverance of a Queene, it must bee knowne what chamber shee will bee delivered in, by the Grace of God; and that chamber must bee hanged with rich arras, the roofe, side and windowes, all except one windowe, and that must bee habged that shee may have light when it pleaseth her; with a royall bedd therein, the flore laid with carpeth over and over with a faire pallet bedd, with all the stuffe belonging thereto, with a riche sperner hanging over; and there must be a cupboard set faire, covered with the fame suite that the chamber is hanged withal. And if it please the Queene to take her chamber, shee shall bee brought thither with Lordes and Ladies of estate, and brought into the chappell or church there to bee houseled; then to come into the great chamber and take spice and wine under the cloth of estate; then twoe of the greatest estates to lead her into her chamber where shee shall be delivered; and they then to take their leave of the Queene. Then all the ladies and gentlemento goe in with her; and after that noe man to come into the chamber where shee shall bee delievered, fae woemen; and they to bee made all manner of officers, as buttlers, panters, fewers, kervers, cupbearers; and all manner of officers for to receave it in the chamber: a traverse of damaske, the bedd arrayed with sheetes of fine lawne or fine raynes, great pillows with a head sheete according to the sheetes; a pane of ermines embrothered with riche cloh of gould, the ells breadth of the cloth, and head-sheete of ermins and cloth of gould of the same suite; a pallet by the bedd arrayed according to the bedd, with sheets and paine; except the cloth of gould on the paine to bee of another colour than that of the great bedd; and over the pallet a large sperner of crimson satin, with a bowle of gould or silver and guilt; and above the opening of the same sperner to bee embrothered the King’s and Queen’s armes, and the residue with crownes of gould: and that such estates both spirituall and temporall as it shall like the Kinge to assigne to bee gossippes, to bee neere the place where the Queene shall bee delivered, to the intent anon after they bee ready that the child may soone bee christened.”

A typical room that was used for a ladies confinement was closed up to light and fresh air, it was believed that clean air was harmful to the new child. Candles were used day and night to provide light in the dark room and objects like herbs, relics and amulets were brought in to speed and aide delivery. Superstition was high regarding childbirth and a dark and clean room was believed to protect the baby from evil spirits as it would remind the child of the womb. Women were also required to move anything that could restrict the birth, this included knots, buckles and rings.

The women that accompanied the Queen into confinement would keep her company and were there to assist during the labour by bringing spiced wine or ale and making the caudle.

Anne Boleyn would give birth just two weeks after entering her confinement to the Princess Elizabeth. However, she would remain in confinement for a further 30 days when she would be churched and re-enter the court.

170px-Anne_boleynAnne Boleyn

On this day in 1545 – Charles Brandon died

Charles Brandon was born in 1484 to Sir William Brandon and Elizabeth Bruyn. Brandon’s father, William was the standard bearer for King Henry VII and was killed at the Battle of Bosworth. As a result of his father’s death Charles was brought up at the court of the new King and at a young age became friends with Prince Henry.

Brandon married Margaret Neville, a widower some 20 years his senior but by 1507 the marriage was declared void firstly by the Archdeaconry Court of London and then later by a papal bull that was issued on 12th May 1528. The following year Brandon went on to marry Anne Browne, Margaret’s niece, in a secret ceremony at Stepney with a public ceremony taking place at St Michael’s, Cornhill. The couple went on to have two daughters; Anne and Mary. Unfortunately Brandon’s wife would die just three years later in 1511.

With King Henry VIII succeeding the throne, Brandon found himself in a position of power as he remained a close friend and confidante to the new King and as a result held a number of positions within the court. In 1513 Brandon was given the position of Master of the Horse and also many lands that were considered highly valuable. Brandon was also present at the sieges of Thérouanne and Tournai during the War of the League of Cambrai and at the time Henry was pushing Margaret of Savoy to marry Brandon to strengthen their union. Henry also created Brandon the Duke of Suffolk.

Henry’s plan to marry Margaret of Savoy and Brandon did not work as also in 1513 Brandon was contracted to marry Elizabeth Grey, 5th Baroness Lisle and on 15th May 1513 was granted the title of 1st Viscount Lisle as a result of his forthcoming, however, Brandon did not go through with the marriage as a result of marrying the King’s sister, Mary, after the death of her first husband – the King of France. Brandon was forced to give up the title of Viscount Lisle.

Brandon and Princess Mary, Henry’s sister, married in secret in France after Brandon was sent to escort the Dowager Queen home following the death of her husband King Louis XII. The new King, Francis, encouraged the marriage in an attempt to not return Mary’s plate and jewels to England. The pair married in private on 5th March 1515 before setting off from France to return to England. Upon their arrival back in London Brandon confided in Cardinal Wolsey regarding his new marriage to the King’s sister.

Without Cardinal Wolsey we do not know how King Henry would have reacted but Wolsey was able to calm the angered King and the couple were ordered to pay Henry £24,000 in yearly instalments of £1,000 as well as Mary’s dowry from Louis which totalled £200,000 alongside the gold plate and jewels that the old King of France had promised to Mary. The couple were married at Greenwich Hall on 13th May after the papal bull was secure to declare Brandon’s first marriage officially void.

Brandon and Mary retired to the countryside for some years to avoid the King’s anger, however, Brandon was present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520 and in 1523 he was sent to Calais to oversee the English troops stationed there. Brandon and Mary would have two sons and two daughters, with his daughter Frances giving birth to Lady Jane Grey.

Charles Brandon returned to Henry’s court and his influence with the King increase following the fall of Cardinal Wolsey. Brandon along with Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk was sent to demand the return of the Great Seal from Wolsey. Brandon was also instructed to convey to Katherine of Aragon news that Henry had married Anne Boleyn and that she was to now be referred to as Dowager Princess.

Mary died on 25th June 1533 and in the same year Brandon married his 14 year old ward, Catherine Willoughby. Catherine was originally betrothed to Brandon’s son Henry but Brandon believed he was too young to marry and so in order not to lose Catherine’s lands he married her himself . Catherine and Brandon would have two sons together, Henry and Charles; they died from the sweating sickness at a young age.

Brandon supported Henry’s plans during the dissolution of the monasteries and was in receipt of many lands and in 1544 Brandon once again led the English army as they prepared for an invasion of France.

Charles Brandon died on 22nd August 1545 aged 61 at Guildford, Surrey and was buried at St George’s Chapel, Windsor with Henry VIII covering the costs of the funeral. Brandon had requested a quiet funeral but Henry wanted to honour his close friend, Brandon’s death hit Henry hard as he had lost his longest companion and he himself would die less than 18 months later.

Mary Tudor and Charles BrandonCharles Brandon and Mary Tudor

On this day in 1535 – King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn visited Acton Court

In 1535 King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn set out on a royal progress across the country and on 21st August the couple arrived at Acton Court in the West Country for a stay.

Nicholas Poyntz, the owner of Acton Court wanted to impress his King and so commissioned building to commence on a new East Wing onto his moated manor house and even went on to decorate the state apartments to impress his King. This extensive building work took nine months to complete, which shows how far in advance the King’s progress and route were planned. Only one wing of Acton Court exists today and it just so happens to be the East Wing that was built specially for a King.

A royal progress normally took place in the summer months when London was too hot and normally the plague had broken out so the King and his court took a break from life in the capital and travelled around a part of the country. Travelling meant that the King could go out and meet his subjects and in 1535 this was even more important. With the Henry recently becoming Head of the Church of England and marrying his second wife, Anne Boleyn, it was important for Henry to show off his new wife and convince his subjects that the Reformation was the best thing for the country.

The royal progress of 1535 took 14 weeks and Dr Glen Richardson in ‘Henry VIII and travel’ wrote about the progress and the journey they took;

“Starting from Windsor, the royal party moved to Reading and from there through Oxfordshire to Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire. They visited another six locations in that county in late August and early September before travelling down through Wiltshire and Hampshire, stopping at Winchester en route. In October, after a stay in Portsmouth, Henry headed back towards London through Hampshire staying at Bishop’s Waltham, Old Arlesford and at The Vyne, the home of Lord Sandys, the sheriff of Hampshire, Constable of Southampton Castle and a long time favourite of the king.”

Despite the aim of the royal progress to promote the Reformation and allow the King’s subjects to see his new wife, the progress would be the only one that Anne Boleyn would attend as less than a year later she was executed.

Acton CourtActon Court

On this day in 1533 – William Blount instructed to deliver to Katherine of Aragon her new title of Princess Dowager

On 3rd July 1533 Katherine of Aragon’s chamberlain William Blount, Lord Mountjoy, received instructions from Thomas Cromwell to instruct Katherine that she should no longer be referred to as Queen and instead should go by the title of ‘Princess Dowager’, her status upon the death of her first husband, Prince Arthur.

The instructions came after Archbishop Cranmer declared the marriage between Katherine and King Henry VIII as invalid and that Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn was legitimate.

William Blount received a letter from Thomas Cromwell on behalf of the King’s council that read;

“As the King cannot have two wives he cannot permit the Dowager to persist in calling herself by the name of Queen, especially considering how benignantly and honourably she has been treated in the realm. She is to satisfy herself with the name of Dowager, as prescribed by the Act of Parliament, and must beware of the danger if she attempt to contravene it, which will only irritate the feelins of the people against her. If she be not persuaded by these arguments to avoid the King’s indignation, and relent from her vehement arrogancy, the King will be compelled to punish her servants, and withdraw her affection from his daughter. Finally, that as the marriage is irrevocable, and has passed the consent of Parliament, nothing that she can do will annul it, and she will only incur the displeasure of Almighty God and of the King.”

Blount along with Sir Robert Dymok, Thomas Vaulx, John Tyrell and Gryffith Richards visited Katherine at Ampthill to deliver the news and reported back to Cromwell and the council;

To the effect that on Thursday, 3 July, they found her lying on a pallet, as she had pricked her foot with a pin, and could not stand, and was also sore annoyed with a cough. On our declaring that our instructions were to her as Princess Dowager, she took exception to the name, persisting that she was the King’s true wife, and her children were legitimate, which she would claim to be true during her life. To our assertion that the marriage with Anne Boleyn had been adjudged lawful by the universities, the Lords and Commons, she said the King might do in his realm by his royal power what he would; that the cause was not theirs but the Pope’s to judge, as she had already answered the duke of Norfolk. To other arguments, that she might damage her daughter and servants, she replied she would not damn her own soul on any consideration, or for any promised the King might make her. She did not defend her cause upon obstinacy, nor to create any dissension in the realm, but to save her own rights; and as for the withdrawing of the King’s affection from her, she would daily pray for the preservation of his estate; but as she sues by his licence, she trusts in so doing to lose no part of his favour. In fine, she will not abandon the title till such time as a sentence is given to the contrary by the Pope. She asked for a copy of these instructions, which she would translate into Spanish, and send to Rome.”

Katherine until her dying day refused to be referred to anything but Queen and Henry’s lawful wife.

Katherine of AragonKatherine of Aragon

On this day in 1536 – Thomas Cromwell apointed Lord Privy Seal

Following the execution of Anne Boleyn and her brother George at the hands of King Henry VIII, their father on 29th June 1536 was stripped of his office of Lord Privy Seal. This was a position he had held since January 1530 after Cardinal Wolsey’s fall from grace.

On 2nd July 1536 Henry appointed Thomas Cromwell to the vacant position as well as being created Baron Cromwell of Wimbledon just days later. Cromwell’s rise to power was not to everyone’s liking he was seen by many as just a blacksmith’s son and had no right at court, however, Henry regarded him as one of his most trusted aides.

The Lord Privy Seal is a lower rank to that of President of the Privy Council and the Lord Chancellor but it is a role that has great honour despite the fact it is an almost entirely ceremonial role. The Lord Privy Seal is the bearer of the King’s personal seal and has access to the King and council’s documents. Cromwell would have also have had unrestricted access to Henry as well.Thomas CromwellSir Thomas Cromwell painted by Hans Holbein

On this day in 1536 – Henry VIII’s councillors sent to bully Lady Mary into accepting Henry as the Supreme Head of the Church.

After the death of Anne Boleyn King Henry VIII pressed ahead with the Reformation and insisted to be the Supreme Head of the Church. One person that was still reluctant to acknowledge this along with Henry’s insistence that his first marriage to Katherine of Aragon was not legal was his daughter Mary. By acknowledging these demands Mary would be condemning the memory of her mother and also her own illegitimacy.

On 15th June 1536 member of Henry’s Privy Council led by the Duke of Norfolk arrived at Mary’s home in Hunsdon to coerce Mary to agree to Henry’s demands and was promised with reconciliation with her father if she did.

Eustace Chapuys, the Spanish ambassador and close to Mary and her late mother, wrote to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V about the visit;

To induce her to obey his commands and accede to his wishes, the King sent to her a deputation composed of the duke of Norfolk, the earl of Sussex, the bishop of Chester, and several others, whom she literally confounded by her very wise and prudent answers to their intimation. Upon which, finding that they could not persuade her, one of them said that since she was such an unnatural daughter as to disobey completely the King’s injunctions, he could hardly believe thatshe was the King’s own bastard daughter. Were she his or any other man’s daughter, he would beat her to death, or strike her head against the wall until he made it as soft as a boiled apple; in short that she was a traitress, and would be punished as such. Many other threats of the same sort did the said deputies utter on the occasion, assisted in their task by the Princess’ governess, who happens to be the same as before, having then and there received orders not to allow the Princess to speak a word to any one, and to watch over her so that she should never be left alone by night or day.”

Chapuys went on to say that he advised Mary to submit to her father’s demands;

I have written to her fully and in detail, advising, among other things, that, should the King, her father, obstinately persist in his determination should she herself hear from friends at Court or elsewhere that her life was really in danger through ill-treatment or in some other way, my opinion was that she ought to obey her father’s commands, assuring her at the same time that such was Your Majesty’s advice and wish. That in order to save her own life, on which the tranquillity of this kingdom and the reform of the many great disorders and abuses by which it is troubled entirely depended, it was necessary that she should make all manner of sacrifices, and dissemble for some time to come, the more so that the protest previously signed and the cruel violence used were quite sufficient to preserve her inviolable right, and at same time relieve her conscience, inasmuch as there was nothing in it against God nor against the articles of Faith. That God looked more into the intentions than into the deeds of men, and now she had a better opportunity than when the King’s concubine was alive, since there was a question of depriving the bastard and making her heir to the Crown. I was certain that, should she go to Court, she might by her prudence and wisdom be able to lead the King, her father, to the right path, availing herself of Your Majesty’s valuable intercession after your probable reconciliation with him. Many other similar things have I written and inculcated upon the Princess in order to persuade her that the best course for her to pursue in case of unusual violence is to yield for the present to the King’s wishes.

Thank God that the judges, notwithstanding all manner of threats were unwilling to take a resolution in the affair, and advised that a paper should be sent to the Princess for her to sign, and if she still refused that legal proceedings should then be instituted against her; otherwise I do not know what might have happened. At last the Princess, hearing from several reliable quarters how matters stood, signed the paper without reading it, which will be in future one of the best excuses she can offer. I need scarcely tell Your Majesty that I had beforehand sent her the formula of the protest for her to write down, and sign separately. I had likewise warned her to make sure first that by complying with her father’s wishes she will be quickly restored to his grace and favour; that I should never have advised her to sign the paper in question save with the perfect understanding that she was not acting against God and her conscience, or again that she could very well promise not to contravene the statutes without in anywise granting them her approval. I do not know yet how the Princess has come out of the difficulty, but whatever has been done I am confident that she has not disregarded my advice. Indeed had she allowed this opportunity to pass there would have been no remedy in her case. As soon as it was known that the Princess had actually signed the paper, there was incredible joy throughout the Court, save in the case of the earl of Essex, who said to the King, “That is a sort of game the playing of which will in time cost me my head, were it for no other reason than the injurious words I addressed to her on the occasion.” Innumerable people, moreover, have sent me their congratulations at the reconciliation of the Princess with the King, her father.”

Chapuys went on to add at the end of his report;

It appears, however, that after signing the paper as above said, the Princess fell suddenly into a state of despondency and sorrow; but I have since removed all her conscientious scruples by assuring her that not only will the Pope not condemn her action, but will highly approve of it under the circumstances.”

Mary was being asked to go against everything she believed in in order to be reconciled with her father.

Chapuys signatureEustace Chapuys signature

On this day in 1536 – Second Act of Succession passed by Parliament

The Second Act of Succession was passed by the English Parliament on 8th June 1536. It had two names at the time ‘An Act concerning the Succession of the Crown’ and ‘Succession to the Crown: Marriage Act 1536’.

The Act was introduced to Parliament following the execution of Anne Boleyn and the new marriage of King Henry VIII to Jane Seymour that had all happened within the previous month.

The new act replaced the First Act of Succession, which was passed in March 1534. In this act as well as Mary still being illegitimate it also declared Elizabeth to now be illegitimate and both were ruled out of the succession. Both girls lost the right to be called Princess and had to be referred to as Lady. Any children that Henry would have with his new Queen, Jane would be the rightful heir to the throne.

The Act however, left Henry with no legitimate children for the time and therefore no heir to the throne. The Act did cover this by declaring that it gave Henry ‘full and plenary power and authority’, which meant that if he still had no legitimate child when the time came to write his will then he could name his successor in letters patent or in his last will and testament.

As well as dealing with the line of succession it also made it an offence to any person who said that either of Henry’s first two marriages to Katherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn were valid or even if someone said Mary or Elizabeth were legitimate. It was also punishable if anyone criticised the sentence passed on Sir Thomas More who was executed for refusing to take the previous oath regarding the succession. If an offense was committed then that person could be charged with high treason and punished.

The Act also required subjects to take an oath to uphold the Act and again it was treason to refuse. Any one accused of treason was not able to seek sanctuary and therefore had nowhere to hide. If accused and convicted of treason then the death penalty could be passed.

Henry and Jane were delivered a son, Edward, in October 1537 and this act meant that he was, from birth, the rightful heir to the English throne.

Henry VIII and familyKing Henry VIII surrounded by his children.

On this day in 1535 – Sir Thomas More was interrogated in the Tower of London

The issue of royal supremacy was a highly dominate aspect of 1535 with citizens of England expected to sign an oath that declared they supported King Henry VIII’s claim as head of the Church of England and recognised that Anne Boleyn was his lawful wife and their children would be legitimate, therefore declaring that his daughter, Mary, was illegitimate as a result of an unlawful marriage with Katherine of Aragon.

One person who delayed in signing the oath was Sir Thomas More, More had been one of Henry’s closest friends and advisors and was even Lord Chancellor until he resigned over his opinions of Henry’s divorce.

On 3rd June 1535 More was in the Tower of London and was visited by Thomas Boleyn, Thomas Audley, Charles Brandon and Thomas Cromwell who were there to interrogate him about his views and to try and persuade him one more time to take the oath.

Sir Thomas More refused to take the oath again by answering that he answered to God first and the King second. More was pushed to give an answer on whether he had seen the oath he was being asked to take and if he thought it was lawful. More replied that he had confessed to seeing it but refused to answer whether it was lawful.

Sir Thomas More wrote a letter on the same day to his daughter, Margaret, to tell her about the visit. In the letter it said;

3rd June 1535

Tower of London

 Our Lord bless you and all yours.

 For as much, dearly beloved daughter, as it is likely that you either have heard or shortly shall hear that the Council was here this day, and I was before them, I have thought it necessary to send you word how the matter stands. And verily to be short I perceive little difference between this time and the last, for as far as I can see the whole purpose is either to drive me to say precisely the one way or else precisely the other.

 Here sat my Lord of Canterbury, my Lord Chancellor, my Lord of Suffolk, my Lord of Wilshire and Master Secretary. And after my coming, Master Secretary made rehearsal in what wise he had reported unto the King’s Highness, what had been said by his Grace’s Council to me, and what had been answered by me to them at mine other being before them last. Which thing his Mastership rehearsed in good faith very well, as I acknowledged and confessed and heartily thanked him therefore. Whereupon he added that the King’s Highness was nothing content nor satisfied with mine answer, but thought that by my demeanour I had been occasion of much grudge and harm in the realm, and that I had an obstinate mind and an evil toward him and that my duty was being subject; and so he had sent them now in his name upon my allegiance to command me to make a plain and terminate answer whether I thought the statute lawful or not and that I should either acknowledge and confess it lawful that his Highness should be Supreme Head of the Church of England or else to utter plainly my malignity.

 Whereto I answered that I had no malignity and therefore I could none utter. And as to the matter, I could none other answer make than I had before made, which answer his Mastership had there rehearsed. Very heavy I was that the King’s Highness should have any such opinion of me. Howbeit if there were one that had informed his Highness many evil things of me that were untrue, to which his Highness for the time gave credence, I would be very sorry that he should have that opinion of me the space of one day. Howbeit if I were sure that other should come on the morrow by whom his Grace should know the truth of my innocence, I should in the meanwhile comfort myself with the consideration of that. And in like wise now though it be great heaviness to me that his Highness have such opinion of me for the while, yet have I no remedy to help it, but only to comfort myself with this consideration that I know very well that the time shall come, when God shall declare my truth toward his Grace before him and all the world. And whereas it might haply seem to be but a small cause of comfort because I might take harm here first in the meanwhile. I thanked God that my case was such in this matter through the clearness of mine own conscience that though I might have pain I could have no harm for a man may in such case lose his head and have no harm. For I was very sure that I had no corrupt affection, but that I had always from the beginning truly used myself to looking first upon God and next up on the King, according to the lesson that his Highness taught me at my first coming to his noble service, the most virtuous lesson that ever prince taught his servant; whose Highness to have of me such opinion is my great heaviness, but I have no means, as I said, to help it but only comfort myself in the meantime with the hope of that joyful day in which my truth towards him shall well be known. And in this matter further I could not go nor other answer thereto I could not make.

 To this it was said by my Lord Chancellor or and Master Secretary both that the King might by his laws compel me to make a plain answer thereto, either the one way or the other.

 Whereunto I answered I would not dispute the King’s authority, what his Highness might do in such case, but I said that verily under correction it seemed to me somewhat hard. For if it so were that my conscience gave me against the statutes (wherein how my mind giveth me I make no declaration), then I nothing doing nor nothing saying against the statute, it were a very hard thing to compel me to say either precisely with it against my conscience to the loss of my soul, or precisely against it to the destruction of my body.

 To this Master Secretary said that I had before this when I was Chancellor examined heretics and thieves and other malefactors and gave me a great praise above my deserving in that behalf. And he said that I then, as he thought and at the leastwise Bishops did use to examine heretics, whether they believed the Pope to be the head of the Church and used to compel them to make a precise answer thereto. And why should not then the King, since it is a law made here that his Grace is Head of the Church, here compel men to answer precisely to the law here as they did then concerning the Pope.

 I answered and said that I protested that I intended not to defend any part or stand in contention; but I said there was a difference between those two cases because at that time, as well here as elsewhere through the corps of Christendom, the Pope’s power was recognized for an undoubted thing which seems not like a thing agreed in this realm and the contrary taken for truth in other realms. Whereunto Master Secretary answered that they were as well burned for the denying of that as they be beheaded for denying of this, and therefore as good reason to compel them to make precise answer to the one as to the other.

 Whereto I answered that since in this case a man is not by a law of one realm so bound in his conscience, where there is a law of the whole corps of Christendom to the contrary in matter touching belief, as he is by a law of the whole corps though there hap to be made in some place a local law to the contrary, the reasonableness or unreasonableness in binding a man to precise answer, standeth not in the respect or difference between beheading and burning, but because of the difference in charge of conscience, the difference standeth between beheading and hell.

 Much was there answered unto this both by Master Secretary and my Lord Chancellor over long to rehearse. And in conclusion they offered me an oath by which I should be sworn to make true answer to such things as should be asked me on the King’s behalf, concerning the King’s own person.

 Whereto I answered that verily I never purposed to swear any book oath more while I lived. Then they said that I was very obstinate if I would refuse that, for every man doth it in the Star Chamber and everywhere. I said that was true, but I had not so little foresight that I might well conjecture what should be part of my interrogatory, and as good it was to refuse it at first as afterward.

 Whereto my Lord Chancellor answered that he thought I guessed truth, for I should see them and so they were showed me and they were but two. The first whether I had seen the statute. The other whether I believed that it were a lawful made statute or not. Whereupon I refused the oath and said further by mouth, that the first I had before confessed, and to the second I would make none answer.

 Which was the end of the communication and I was thereupon sent away. In the communication before, it was said that it was marvelled that I stuch so much in my conscience while at the uttermost I was not sure therein. Whereto I said that I was very sure that my own conscience, so informed as it is by such diligence as I have so long taken therein, may stand with mine own salvation. I meddle not with the conscience of them that think otherwise, every man suo domino stat et cadit [Romans 14:4, Cor 10:12]. I am no man’s judge. It was also said unto me that if I had rather be out of the world as in it, as I had there said, why did I not speak even out plain against the statute. It appeared well I was not content to die though I had said so. Whereto I answered as the truth is, that I have not been a man of such holy living as I might be bold to offer myself to death, lest God for my presumption might suffer me to fall, and therefore I put not myself forward, but draw back. Howbeit if God draw me to it himself, then trust I in his great mercy, that he shall not fail to give me grace and strength.

 In conclusion Master Secretary said that he liked me this day much worse than he did the last time, for then he said he pitied me much and now he thought that I meant not well; but God and I know both that I mean well and so I pray God do by me.

 I pray you be, you and my other friends, of good cheer whatsoever fall of me, and take no thought for me but pray for me as I do and shall do for you and all them.

 Your tender loving father,

 Thomas More, Knight

More was eventually charged with treason and was put on trial on 1st July 1535. By the 3rd More said that the Act of Supremacy was like a ‘sword with two edges’ because ‘if a man say that the same laws be good then it is dangerous to the soul, and if he say contrary to the said statue then it is death to the body’. More was inevitably found guilty of treason and sentenced to exectution.

On this day in 1533 – Anne Boleyn’s coronation

Anne Boleyn’s coronation was a four day celebration that culminated on the 1st June 1533 where she was crowned Queen of England. This day would mark the end of the years of uncertainty that Anne had spent hoping to be wife and queen to Henry she was also heavily pregnant with the expected son and heir that Henry had longed for.

On Thursday 29th May 1533 Anne was taken by river to the Tower of London from Greenwich. Fifty decorated barges left Billingsgate and headed towards Greenwich to greet the King and the future Queen. Eric Ives described the pageant as;

Flags and bunting overall, hung with gold foil that glistened in the sun and with little bells that tinkled; the vessels were packed with musicians of every kind, and more cannon than seems safe on such a crowded waterway. The fleet was led by a light wherry in which had been constructed a mechanical dragon that could be made to move and belch out flames, and with it were other models of monsters and huge wild men, who threw blazing fireworks and uttered hideous cries.”

After rowing for two hours the pageant arrived at Greenwich for Anne to board her own barge to take her to the Tower of London alongside Anne were the ladies of her court. A second barge carried the remaining ladies with the King following in a separate barge with his guards. Ives believed that as the pageant set off for the Tower there was likely to have been 120 large barges and 200 smaller ones following behind.

Tower-of-London-from-North-West

Upon arrival at the Tower, Anne was greeted by Sir Edward Walsingham and Sir William Kingson, the Lieutenant and Constable of the Tower and taken to the King, who was observing the event in secret so not to take any focus away from his new wife. They were then led to the Queen’s apartments that had been newly refurbished by Thomas Cromwell in preparation for Anne’s coronation. Henry and Anne would remain here for the next two days.

On their second day at the Tower 18 men were created Knights of the Bath by Henry as part of Anne’s coronation celebrations. These men were

  • The Marquess of Dorset
  • The Earl of Derby
  • Lord Clifford
  • Lord Fitzwater
  • Lord Hastings
  • Lord Mountegle
  • Lord Vaux
  • Sir Henry Parker
  • Sir William Windsor
  • Sir John Mordaunt
  • Sir Francis Weston
  • Sir Thomas Arundel
  • Sir John Huddelston
  • Sir Thomas Poynings
  • Sir Henry Savile
  • Sir George Fitzwilliam
  • Sir John Tyndall
  • Sir John Germayne

On Saturday 31st May Anne left the Tower in a procession that was heading towards Westminster Hall. The procession was led by 12 servants of the French ambassador, they were all dressed in blue velvet with yellow and blue sleeves. Following the servants came the gentlemen of the Royal households, nine judges, the Knights of the Bath, the Royal Council and then the rest of the English government. Following all of this was Anne who was being carried in a litter of white and gold with a gold canopy held above her by the barons of the Cinque Ports. Anne was dressed in white and wore a golden coronet. Her ladies followed the litter and behind them were many more followers.

anne entry to london

From the Tower the procession began and headed towards Fenchurch Street where she was greeted by children who were dressed as English and French merchants. From here the procession headed towards its next pageant at Gracious Church (now Gracechurch Street). It was here that Anne and the procession witnessed a Hans Holbein designed a fountain which homed Apollo and the Nine Muses. Red wine flowed from the fountain and the Nine Muses left their positions on the fountain to present gifts to Anne before the procession continued.

apollo and the nine muses

The next stop was Leadenhall where a castle was constructed that had the red and white roses at the top of it, from here a falcon descended and landed on a nearby stump where an angel crowned it. This was a recreation of Anne’s badge in her honour. Beneath the newly crowned falcon were representations of St Anne and her children, the three Mary’s. It was also here that Anne was read a verse written by Nicholas Udall;

‘ Honour and grace bee to our Queene Anne.

ffor whose cause an Aungell Celestial

Descendeth, the ffalcon as white as swanne

To crun with a Diademe Imperiall!

In hir honour rejoice wee all,

ffor it cummeth from God, and not of man.

Honour and grace bee to our Queene Anne!’

 

The procession continued to Cornhill Street where another fountain had wine freely flowing from it. Another pageant was awaiting Anne starring the Three Graces before continuing to Cheapside where two pageants were performed. The first saw the Recorder of London and his aldermen greet Anne and recited verses to her and also handed Anne a purse that contained a thousand marks of gold. The second pageant was the recreation of the Judgement of Paris where Paris of Troy was asked to judge who out of Juno, Pallas and Venus would receive a golden apple. However, as the day was all about Anne, Paris instead gives the golden apple to Anne and recited a short verse to her;

yet, to bee plain

Here is the fouethe ladie now in our presence,

Moste worthie to haue it of due congruence,

As pereles in riches, wit, and beautee,

Whiche are but sundrie qualitees in you three.

But for hir worthynes, this aple of gold

Is to simple a reward a thousand fold.’

 

The procession then turned and headed towards St. Paul’s Cathedral where three ladies were seated with a message attached to their heads that read ‘Regina Anna! Prospere, procede, et regna!’ They also spoke of a prophecy that the child Anne was carrying was a son and he would lead England into a golden age. Within the courtyard of St. Paul’s 200 schoolchildren read out poems and praised both Anne and King Henry.

The next stop for the procession was Ludgate Hill, near St Martin’s Church where a choir sang ballads from the rooftop of the church before moving to Fleet Street. In Fleet Street a castle was built with four turrets that stood virtues that promised not to abandon Anne and from the centre came music.

The procession then came to Temple Bar with another choir greeting Anne before it proceeded to Westminster Hall where Anne and her ladies were given refreshments and gave thanks to all those who were present. It was from here that Anne retired for the night with Henry in preparation for the following day. The chronicler Edward Hall recorded;

And so [Anne] withdrew her selfe, with a fewe ladyes, to the Whitehalle, and so to chamber, and there shifted her, and after went into her barge secretely to the kyng to his Manor of Westmister, where she rested that night.’

 westminster_hall

At 9am on Sunday 1st June 1533 Anne Boleyn entered Westmister Abbey dressed in her coronation robes of purple velvet trimmed with ermine and a gold coronet on her head. She walked a blue carpet from Westminster Hall to the Abbey where the golden canopy from the previous day was carried above her still. In front of Anne was the rod of ivory topped with a dove and the golden sceptre carried by the Marquis of Dorset and the Earl of Arundel. The Earl of Oxford, The Lord Great Chamberlain carried the crown of St Edward. The crown had only ever been used previously on reigning monarchs so for Anne to be crowned with it was a first. It was a way for Henry to prove to the world that Anne was his rightful Queen. Following Anne was the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk carried Anne’s train, her ladies and the bishops of London and Winchester.

As Anne entered the Abbey she approached the altar and prostrated herself (not something that was easily done at six months pregnant!) Archbishop Thomas Cranmer prayed over her and Anne took her seat on St Edward’s Chair for the ceremony. Cranmer crowned Anne as the anointed Queen of England and gave her the rod and sceptre before placing the crown atop her head. After the Te Deum was sang Anne exchanged the crown for a smaller, lighter one made especially for Anne and she took the sacrament and gave an offering at the shrine of St Edward. Throughout the ceremony Henry watched from a specially built hidden area as was tradition. Following a short rest break for Anne in a room set aside for her the procession began to leave the Abbey to go back to Westminster Hall. Anne was accompanied by her father, the Earl of Wiltshire and Lord Talbot.

coronation chair

Once back at Westminster Hall Anne retired for a short time while a coronation banquet was being prepared. Anne returned to the Hall and took her seat at the centre of the high table. Accompanying her was Anne Howard, Dowager Countess of Oxford and Elizabeth Browne, Countess of Worcester their role was to hold a cloth in front of Anne if she wished to discard some food. At the end of the table was Archbishop Cranmer and at Anne’s feet were two ladies who remained seated for the entirety of the meal.

Once in place Anne was presented the first course of 32 carried by the Knights of the Bath. Once Anne had been served her first two courses it was time for the rest of the guests to be served in order of rank starting from the right hand side of the Queen.

After the meal Anne stood and washed her hands before moving to the centre of Westminster Hall where she was served wafers and hippocras by the Lord Mayor in a golden cup which Anne then presented to him as thanks for the effort him and the Aldermen of London had gone to. Anne then retired for the night and presumably reunited with Henry who had watched the whole thing in secrecy.

After the years spent waiting Anne was now crowned Queen of England but just 1000 days later she would lose that crown in the most brutal way.

On this day in 1536 – the wedding of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.

On 30th May 1536 just 11 days after the death of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII married Jane Seymour. The couple were married in the Queen’s Closet at York Palace. In preparation for the service the former Queen’s falcon emblems were quickly replaced with a phoenix and Jane’s initials laid over Anne’s, it was done in such hurry that if you look carefully at Hampton Court Palace you can still see some A’s under the J’s.

According to David Starkey the wedding vows would have been spoken by the King first followed by Jane and they would have been similar to the following;

“I, Henry, take thee to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part, and thereto I plight thee my troth.”

Jane’s vows would have been the same but with the added line promising to be ‘bonny and buxom in bed and board.’

The wedding remained secret for a few days and Jane was gradually introduced as the new Queen.

Sir John Russell wrote to Lord Lisle;

“On Friday last (2nd June) the Queen sat abroad as Queen, and was served by her own servants, who were sworn that same day. The King came in his great boat to Greenwich that day with his privy chamber, and the Queen and the ladies in the great barge.”

Henry granted 104 manors in four counties along with forests and hunting chases. He also gave his new wife a Hans Holbein designed gold cup that combined the King and Queen’s initials along with Jane’s motto of ‘bound to obey and serve.’

Jane was the only wife to give Henry the one thing that he desired, a son. Although it cost her her life in doing so.

marriage deed                               The marriage deed for Jane Seymour and Henry VIII