Tag Archives: Archbishop Cranmer

On this day in 1555 – Bishop Ridley and Bishop Latimer were burned at the stake

When Queen Mary I ascended the throne she instantly took to bringing England back in line with the Roman Catholic Church. One of the first acts she performed as she began to reconnect with Rome was to order the arrests of Bishop Hugh Latimer, Bishop Nicholas Ridley and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. These three men were influential during the reign of her brother, King Edward VI, and were figureheads for the Protestant religion.

After spending time in the Tower of London the three were moved to the Oxford Bocardo Prison on charges of heresy in September 1555 where they would be examined by the Lord’s Commissioner in Oxford’s Divinity School. Ridley was questioned in particularly regarding his opinion on whether he believed the Pope was the heir to the authority of Peter as the foundation of the Church. Ridley replied that the Church was not built on one man and therefore Ridley could not honour the Pope as he was seeking glory for Rome and not God.

Ridley and Latimer also both confessed that they could not accept mass as a sacrifice of Christ with Latimer stating; “Christ made one oblation and sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, and that a perfect sacrifice; neither needeth there to be, nor can there be, any other propitiatory sacrifice.”

Ridley and Latimer were both sentenced to be burned at the stake outside Balliol College, Oxford on 16th October 1555. Ridley openly prayed as he was being tied to the stake saying “Oh, heavenly Father, I give unto thee most hearty thanks that thou hast called me to be a professor of thee, even unto death. I beseech thee, Lord God, have mercy on this realm of England, and deliver it from all her enemies.”

In order to speed up their deaths Ridley’s brother gave the men gunpowder to wear around their necks, however the flames failed to come up higher than Ridley’s waist, it was reported that Ridley repeatedly said, “Lord have mercy upon me! I cannot burn…Let the fire come unto me, I cannot burn.”

Latimer would die a lot quicker than Ridley and tried to comfort Ridley as he approached his own death by saying, “Be of good comfort, Mr. Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace, in England, as I trust never shall be put out.”

Ridley and Latimer were decreed martyrs and are commemorated by a Martyr’s statue in Oxford alongside Cranmer.

Martyr statueThe Martyr’s statue in Oxford

John Foxe described Ridley and Latimer’s burning in his Book of Martyrs, he wrote;

Dr. Ridley, the night before execution, was very facetious, had himself shaved, and called his supper a marriage feast; he remarked upon seeing Mrs. Irish (the keeper’s wife) weep, ‘though my breakfast will be somewhat sharp, my supper will be more pleasant and sweet.’

The place of death was on the north side of the town opposite Baliol College:- Dr. Ridley was dressed in a black gown furred, and Mr. Latimer had a long shroud on, hanging down to his feet. Dr. Ridley as he passed Bocardo, looked up to see Dr. Cranmer, but the latter was then engaged in disputation with a friar. When they came to the stake, Dr. Ridley embraced Latimer fervently, and bid him be of good heart. He then knelt by the stake, and after earnestly praying together, they had a short private conversation. Dr. Smith then preached a short sermon against the martyrs, who would have answered him, but were prevented by Dr. Marshal, the vice-chancellor. Dr. Ridley then took off his gown and tippet, and gave them to his brother-in-law, Mr. Shipside. He gave away also many trifles to his weeping friends, and the populace were anxious to get even a fragment of his garments. Mr. Latimer gave nothing, and from the poverty of his garb, was soon stripped to his shroud, and stood venerable and erect, fearless of death.

Dr. Ridley being unclothed to his shirt, the smith placed an iron chain about their waists, and Dr. Ridley bid him fasten it securely; his brother having tied a bag of gunpowder about his neck, gave some also to Mr. Latimer. Dr. Ridley then requested of Lord Williams, of Fame, to advocate with the queen the cause of some poor men to whom he had, when bishop, granted leases, but which the present bishop refused to confirm. A lighted fagot was now laid at Dr. Ridley’s feet, which caused Mr. Latimer to say, ‘Be of good cheer, Ridley; and play the man. We shall this day, by God’s grace, light up such a candle in England, as, I trust, will never be put out.’ When Dr. Ridley saw the flame approaching him, he exclaimed, ‘Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!’ and repeated often, ‘Lord receive my spirit!’ Mr. Latimer, too, ceased not to say, ‘O Father of heaven receive my soul!’ Embracing the flame, he bathed his hands in it, and soon died, apparently with little pain; but Dr. Ridley, by the ill-adjustment of the fagots, which were green, and placed too high above the furze was burnt much downwards. At this time, piteously entreating for more fire to come to him, his brother-in-law imprudently heaped the fagots up over him, which caused the fire more fiercely to burn his limbs, whence he literally leaped up and down under the fagots, exclaiming that he could not burn; indeed, his dreadful extremity was but too plain, for after his legs were quite consumed, he showed his body and shirt unsinged by the flame. Crying upon God for mercy, a man with a bill pulled the fagots down, and when the flames arose, he bent himself towards that side; at length the gunpowder was ignited, and then he ceased to move, burning on the other side, and falling down at Mr. Latimer’s feet over the chain that had hitherto supported him.

Every eye shed tears at the afflicting sight of these sufferers, who were among the most the most distinguished persons of their time in dignity, piety, and public estimation. They suffered October 16, 1555.”

ridley-latimer-stakeBishop Ridley and Bishop Latimer at the stake

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On this day in 1537 – Prince Edward was christened

Three days after Jane Seymour gave birth, the future King Edward VI was christened on 15th October 1537 in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court.

The celebrations spared no expense as Henry could finally celebrate the birth of a legitimate son. A procession left the Queen’s apartments to take the new born Prince to the Chapel Royal where in front of a large crowd Archbishop Cranmer performed the baptism. Edward’s sister, Elizabeth, carried the chrisom cloth with the aid of his uncle, Edward Seymour. Princess Mary acted as godmother whilst Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and Archbishop Cranmer acted as godfathers.

In the Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII documented in details the events of the day.

The preparations ordained for the said christening at Hampton Court.” Describing minutely the course of the Edward VI infantprocession and the decorations of the chapel, with the positions occupied by the officers of the household (Sir John Russell, Sir Fras. Bryan, Sir Nic. Carew and Sir Ant. Browne in aprons and towels were to take charge of the font until discharged by the lord Steward, or, in his absence, the Treasurer of the Household). The order of going to the christening was: First, certain gentlemen two and two bearing torches not lighted until the prince be Christened. Then the children and ministers of the King’s chapel, with the dean, “not singing going outward.” Gentlemen esquires and knights two and two. Chaplains of dignity two and two. Abbots and bishops. The King’s councillors. Lords two and two. The comptroller and treasurer of the Household. The ambassador. The three lords chamberlains and the lord Chamberlain of England in the midst. The lord Cromwell, being lord Privy Seal, and the lord Chancellor. The duke of Norfolk and abp. Of Canterbury. A pair of covered basins borne by the earl of Sussex, supported by the lord Montague. A “taper of virgin wax borne by the earl of Wiltshire in a towel about his neck.” A salt of gold similarly borne by the earl of Essex. “Then the crysome richly garnished borne by the lady Elizabeth, the King’s daughter: the same lady for her tender age was borne by the viscount Beauchamp with the assistance of the lord.” Then the Prince borne under the canopy by the lady marquis of Exeter, assisted by the duke of Suffolk and the marquis her husband. The lady mistress went between the prince and the supporter. The train of the Prince’s robe borne by the earl of Arundel and sustained by the lord William Howard.” “The nurse to go equally with the supporter of the train, and with her the midwife.” The canopy over the Prince borne by Sir Edw. Nevyll, Sir John Wallop, Ric. Long, Thomas Semere, Henry Knyvet, and Mr. Ratclif, of the Privy Chamber. The “tortayes” of virgin wax borne about the canopy my lady Mary, being lady godmother, her train borne by lady Kingston. All the other ladies of honour in their degrees.

When the Prince was christened all the torches were lighted and Garter King at Arms proclaimed his name (proclamation verbatim, titles duke of Cornwall and earl of Chester). “This done, this service following was in time the Prince was making ready in his traverse, and Te Deum sung”:- First, to the lady Mary the lord William to give the towel and the lord Fytzwater to bear covered basins, and the lord Montagew to uncover. Item, to the bishop that doth administer, the lord Butler to bear the towel, the lord Bray to bear the basins and the lord Delaware to uncover. To the duke of Norfolk and abp. Of Canterbury, godfathers, the lord Sturton to bear the towel and the lord Went worth to give the water. To serve the ladies Mary and Elizabeth with spices, wafers, and wine: the lord Hastings to bear the cup to lady Mary, and the lord Delaware that to lady Elizabeth; lord Dacres of the South to bear the spice plates to both, lord Cobham the wafers, and lord Montagew to uncover the spice plate. The bishop that doth administer, the duke of Norfolk and abp. Of Canterbury, godfathers at the font, and the duke of Suffolk, godfather at the confirmation, to be likewise served by knights appointed by the lord Chamberlain. All other estates and gentles within the church were served with spice and ypocras, and all other had bread and sweet wine.

The going homeward was like the coming outward, saving that the taper, salt and basin were left and the gifts of the gossips carried, i.e. Lady Mary, a cup of gold borne by the earl of Essex; the archbishop, 3 great bowls and 2 great pots, silver and gilt, borne by the earl of Wiltshirel Norfolk, ditto, borne by the earl of Sussex; Suffolk, 2 great flagons and 2 great pots, silver and gilt, borne by Viscount Beauchamp. Lady Elizabeth went with her sister Lady Mary and Lady Herbert of Troy to bear the train. Sounding of the trumpets. Taking of “assayes.” The Prince was then borne to the King and Queen and had the blessing of God, Our Lady, and St. George, and his father and mother. And the same day the King gave great largess.”

In 2014 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Hampton Court Palace they recreated Edward’s christening.

On this day in 1557 – Anne of Cleves died

Anne of Cleves was born 22nd September 1515 in Düsseldorf to John III, Duke of Cleves and his wife Maria, Duchess of Julich-Berg. Anne grew up on the edge of Solingen.

At the age of 11 in 1527 Anne was betrothed to Francis, the 10 year old son of the Duke of Lorraine. Due to his age in 1535 the betrothal was broken off and considered unofficial.

Anne’s brother succeeded his father as the Duke of Cleves and due to his support of the Reformation and his ongoing dispute with the Holy Roman Emperor, Cleves was considered by Thomas Cromwell as a convenient ally.

Following the death of his third wife, Jane Seymour, King Henry VIII was beginning to consider remarrying for the fourth time and began to seek out his options. Hans Holbein the Younger was sent to Cleves to paint both Anne and her younger sister, Amalia, Henry was considering either of the sisters as his wife. Holbein was instructed to be as accurate as possible in his painting and not to flatter the sisters. The paintings were brought back to Henry who chose Anne based on her portrait.Anne_of_Cleves,_by_Hans_Holbein_the_Younger

Anne of Cleves portrait painted by Hans Holbein the younger

Negotiators were sent to Cleves to begin talks regarding a marriage between Anne and Henry. Thomas Cromwell oversaw the talks himself and a marriage treaty was signed on 4th October 1539. With the treaty signed Anne set off for England.

The Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys wrote about Anne’s arrival in England;

“This year on St John’s Day, 27 Dec, Lady Anne, daughter of the Duke of Cleves in Germany, landed at Dover at 5 o’clock at night, and there was honourably received by the Duke of Suffolk and other great lords, and so lodged in the castle. And on the following Monday she rode to Canterbury where she was honourably received by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other great men, and lodged at the King’s palace at St Austin’s, and there highly feasted. On Tuesday she came to Sittingbourne.

On New Year’s Eve the Duke of Norfolk with other knights and the barons of the exchequer received her grace on the heath, two miles beyond Rochester; and so brought her to the abbey of Rochester where she stayed that night and all New Years Day. And on New Years Day in the afternoon the king’s grace with five of his privy chamber, being disguised with mottled cloaks with hoods so that they should not be recognised, came secretly to Rochester, and so went up into the chamber where the said Lady Anne was looking out of a window to see the bull-baiting which was going on in the courtyard, and suddenly he embraced and kissed her, and showed her a token which the King had sent her for New Year’s gift, and she being abashed and not knowing who it was thanked him and so he spoke with her. But she regarded him little, but always looked out the window… and when the King saw that she took so little notice of his coming he went into another chamber and took off his cloak and came in again in a coat of purple velvet. And when the lords and knights saw his grace they did reverence… and then her grace humbled herself lowly to the king’s majesty, and his grace saluted her again, and they talked together lovingly, and afterwards he took her by the hand and led her to another chamber where their graces amused themselves that night and on Friday until the afternoon.

…So she came to Greenwich that night, and was received as Queen. And the next day, being Sunday, the King’s grace kept a great court at Greenwich, where his grace with the Queen offered at mass, richly dressed. And on Twelfth Night, which was a Tuesday, the King’s majesty was married to the said Queen Anne solemnly, in her closet at Greenwich, and his grace and she went publicly in procession that day, she having a rich coronet of stone and pearls set with rosemary on her hair, and a gown of rich cloth of silver, richly hung with stones and pearls, with all her ladies and gentlewomen following her, which was a goodly sight to behold.”

Although Chapuys report shows the happy display the couple put on, away from public eyes Henry was unhappy with his new bride after she first failed to impress at their meeting in Rochester. Anne was expected to recognise her masked suitor as her new husband as per the rules of courtly love but she did not understand what was being played out in front of her. Henry urged Thomas Cromwell and his councillors to find a way out of the marriage

Despite Henry’s protestations and no solution to his request the marriage went ahead on 6th January 1540 at Greenwich Palace, presided over by Archbishop Cranmer. The couple then spent an unsuccessful wedding night together. Henry complained further about Anne in particular he described Anne as having bad odour and saggy breasts amongst other complaints, he also stated that Anne was unprepared for married life and what was expected of her on her wedding night. It was known that Henry reported to Cromwell ‘I liked her before not well, but now I like her much worse’.

By 24th June 1540 Anne was commanded to leave the court and was moved to Richmond Palace, while Anne remained in the dark as to what was happening back at Greenwich Stephen Gardiner was investigating the pre-contract Anne had with the Duke of Lorraine’s son. On 6th July 1540 Anne was informed that Henry was worried that their marriage was not lawful and her consent was sought for the marriage to be investigated. Anne gave her consent probably fearful of her life if she did not.

The marriage between Henry and Anne was declared invalid on 9th July 1540 due to three factors; Anne’s pre-contract with the Duke of Lorriane, Henry’s lack of consent to the marriage and the lack of consummation after the wedding. In exchange for a quick and easy annulment Henry granted Anne an income of £4000 a year, houses at Richmond Palace, Bletchingley and Lewes along with jewels, furniture, hangings as well as Hever Castle, the former home of Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. Anne was also given the title of King’s sister and allowed to attend court.

Although the marriage did not work out between the couple Henry and Anne would go on to have a good relationship when Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, Henry visited Anne to inform her personally of the marriage. After the fall of Catherine Howard Anne’s brother, the Duke of Cleves, pushed her case for the King to remarry Anne, a suggestion that was quickly refused instead marrying Catherine Parr, a woman that Anne appeared to dislike.

After King Henry VIII’s death Anne remained in England and in March 1547 the new King Edward VI’s Privy Council asked Anne to vacate her home at Bletchingley Palace and relocate to Penshurst Palace in order for Thomas Cawarden, the new Master of Revels to live in Bletchingley.

Anne lived quietly away from court during Edward’s reign. When Edward’s eldest sister took the throne after his death Anne wrote to Mary on 4th August 1553 to congratulate her former step-daughter on her marriage to Philip of Spain. The following month on 28th September Anne accompanied Mary from St James’s Palace to Whitehall, Elizabeth also accompanied the pair.

With the country reverting back to Catholicism Anne changed her religion to please the new Queen and despite the few appearances at the beginning of Mary’s reign, including her coronation Anne remained away from court. That is until Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554 when Anne’s relationship with Elizabeth caused Mary to question Anne’s motives and Mary was convinced that “the Lady (Anne) of Cleves was of the plot and intrigued with the Duke of Cleves to obtain help for Elizabeth: matters in which the king of France was the prime mover.”

After falling under Mary’s suspicion Anne did not attend court again and chose to live quietly on her estates until her health began to deteriorate when Mary permitted Anne to relocate to Chelsea Old Manor, the former home of Henry’s final wife Catherine Parr. In July 1557 Anne dictated her final will, she remembers her family as well as the Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Suffolk and Countess of Arundel. Anne also left money for her servants and asked Mary and Elizabeth to find employment for them within their households.

Anne died on 16th July 1557; aged 41, the cause of death is unconfirmed. Anne was buried in Westminster Abbey, the only one of Henry’s wives that was buried there. Her tomb is opposite the shrine for Edward the Confessor.

Annes tomb Westminster AbbeyAnne of Cleves tomb in Westminster Abbey

On this day in 1533 – John Frith was burned at the stake for heresy

John Frith was born in 1503 in Westerham, Kent to Richard Frith, innkeeper of the White Horse Inn. Frith was educated at Sevenoaks Grammar School before transferring to Eton College and later Queen’s College, Cambridge, although Frith received his BA from King’s College.

Whilst at Cambridge he studied under Stephen Gardiner and read Latin, Greek and Mathematics. It was also here that he met Thomas Bilney and they began discussing the Reformation, it was during these meetings that Frith met William Tyndale for the first time. Upon graduation Frith became a junior canon at Thomas Wolsey’s Cardinal College, Oxford however, this did not last long Frith along with nine others were accused by the University of possessing heretical books and were imprisoned in a cellar for six months. Upon his release Frith left England to travel to Antwerp to join up with William Tyndale.

Frith spent many years in Europe and during this time he translated a number of works including, ‘A Pistle to the Christian Reader: The Revelation of the Anti-Christ’; ‘An Antithesis between Christ and Pope’. He also published his own works in response to Thomas More, Bishop Fisher and John Rastell entitled ‘A Disputacion of Purgatorye’. Unpon reading Frith’s work Rastell converted to the Protestant ways.

In ‘A Disputacion of Purgatorye’ Frith put forward the argument that there were two purgatories. He wrote “God hath left us two purgatories; one to purge the heart and cleanse it from the filth which we have partly received of Adam…and partly added thereto by consenting unto our natural infirmity. This purgatory is the word of God, as Christ saith.” Frith continued to say that the second purgatory was Christ’s cross and said; “I mean not his material cross that he himself died on, but a spiritual cross, which is adversity, tribulation, worldly depression etc.”

In 1532, Frith returned to England and was quickly arrested in Reading where he was mistaken for a vagabond with the help of Leonard Coxe, a local schoolmaster, he was released. Sir Thomas More, when he learnt that Frith had returned to England issued arrest warrants for Frith’s capture on the charges of heresy. Frith was eventually arrested when trying to board a ship back to Antwerp.

Frith was sent to the Tower of London where he continued to preach and write about the Lutheran ways and in particular the ritual of Communion, knowing that his work would be used against him as evidence. Whilst Frith was imprisoned Sir Thomas More resigned as Lord Chancellor after disagreeing with the King’s views on religion and a short time later following the death of William Warham, Thomas Cranmer was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury.

Also Cranmer himself leaned towards the Lutheran way he met with Frith at both Lambeth and Croydon for discussion in which Cranmer attempted to persuade Frith to change his stance regarding the Eucharist to be more in line with that of the King. Cranmer was trying to save Frith’s life but Frith was unwilling to change his belief.

Frith was eventually moved to Newgate Prison where he continued writing; he received letters from William Tyndale who attempted to keep Frith’s spirits up. However, Thomas Audley was given the office of Lord Chancellor and he sentenced Frith to stand trial.

Frith was placed before a jury of examiners and bishops and here he submitted his own writings as evidence of his personal views that were considered to be heresy. Frith was offered a pardon if he answered positively to two questions the first was ‘Do you believe in purgatory?’ the second was ‘Do you believe in transubstantiation?’ Frith replied that neither could be proven and with that he was condemned as a heretic and sentenced to death by burning on 4th July 1533.

Frith’s views would continue to live on and after the death of King Henry VIII, Cranmer subscribed to the same views as Frith regarding purgatory and the Eucharist and these were implemented into the Protestant reforms during King Edward VI’s reign.

John FrithJohn Frith being led to his death.

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 1533 – Archbishop Cranmer ruled that Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon marriage was annulled.

On 23rd May 1533 Archbishop Thomas Cranmer declared that the marriage between King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon was annulled and they were never lawfully married. With convocation already ruling on the matter in March and the King already married to Anne Boleyn it feels that this was just a formality in proceedings.

Archbishop Cranmer issued the following statement after his trial into the annulment at Dunstable Priory, Bedfordshire;

“Notification of the sentence of divorce between Hen. VIII and Katherine of Arragon pronounced by archbishop Cranmer. Dated in the monastery of Dunstable, 23 May 1533. Present, Gervase prior of the said monastery, Simon Haynes, S.T.P., John Newman, M.A., and others.

The matrimony between the King and the lady Katherine being dissolved by sufficient authority, all pactions made for the same marriage are also dissolved and of none effect. That is, the jointure shall return again to the King’s use, and the money paid to him by her friends shall be repaid to her. The matrimony being dissolved, the lady Katherine shall return to the commodity and profits of the first matrimony, and the pactions of the same, made with prince Arthur, and shall enjoy the jointure assigned to her thereby, notwithstandingany quittance or renunciation made in the second pact. For as these renunciations were agreed unto for a sure trust and hope to enjoy the commodities and pactions of the second marriage, which now she cannot enjoy, unless without fault she should be deprived of both, equity and right restore her to the first. This, we think, by our poor learning, to be according both to canon and civil law, unless there are any other treaties and pactions which we have not seen.

For the more clear declaration hereof, we think that when a matrimony is dissolved, if there is no paction of a further bond, then by law the money paid by the woman or her friends shall be restored to her, and the jointure return to the man and his heirs. In this case there is an especial pact that she shall enjoy her jointure durante vita, so that the said jointure is due to her by the pact, and the money paid by her and her friends by the law.”

Henry VIIIKatherine of Aragon

On this day in 1536 – The execution of Queen Anne Boleyn

Queen Anne Boleyn was sentenced to death at her trial but it was left up to the King to decide how she would die. The normal death for a female traitor was to be burned at the stake; however King Henry VIII had decided to change this to beheading but at the hands of a French swordsman instead of the typical axe. With the manner of her death decided the date of her execution was set for the 18th May 1536.

Anne was prepared to die at 9am on the 18th May. John Skip, the Queen’s almoner arrived at 2am to pray with the Queen, they were still praying when Archbishop Thomas Cranmer arrived to perform mass and hear the Queen’s final confession. Anne also took the sacrament and swore twice in front of the Constable of the Tower, Sir William Kingston that she was innocent of all charges.

Eustace Chapuys reported to the Holy Roman Emperor that;

“The lady who had charge of her has sent to tell me in great secrecy that the Concubine, before and after receiving the sacrament, affirmed to her, on the damnation of her soul, that she had never been unfaithful to the King.”

When 9am passed and no one came to collect the Queen to deliver her to her fate she called for Sir William Kingston again to try to learn what the cause of the delay was. However, Kingston had already been told not to inform the Queen that the execution had been delayed until the following day until the Tower was emptied of any diplomats. Instead he tried to comfort Anne about her upcoming execution and that it would not be painful. It was reported that Anne responded that; “I heard say the executioner was very good, and I have a little neck.”

Anne was informed after midday that her execution had been put off until the following day.

John Skip arrived at Anne’s room once again to perform mass and to offer the sacrament and at 8am Kingston informed the Queen to prepare herself as the time was approaching for Anne to climb the scaffolding to her death. Anne was already ready having dress herself in a ermine trimmed grey damask robe and a crimson kirtle, instead of her usual French style hood she wore an English style gable hood. Her outfit was planned to show her status as Queen as well as that of being a martyr.

Anne took the long walk to the scaffold where she climbed up to address the crowd that awaited her. Instead of protesting her innocence she simply followed what was expected of her in order to protect her daughter. She said to the crowd;

“Good Christian people, I have not come here to preach a sermon; I have come here to die. For according to the law and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak of that whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the King and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never, and to me he was ever a good, a gentle, and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me.”

Anne-Boleyn-Execution-German-Engraving

With her final words Anne paid the executioner his fee and her ladies approached to remove Anne’s hood and placed her hair within a linen cap. She knelt down in front of the executioner and one of her ladies covered her eyes. As Anne waited for her fate she began to pray by saying;

“O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul. To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesu receive my soul.”

The swordsman approached Anne and with some misdirection from an assistant he struck the Queen’s neck and Anne died.

With the execution over Anne’s ladies wrapped her body and head in white cloth and transported her body to the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula for burial. As no coffin had been provided a guard found an empty chest that once stored arrows. With this the Queen was committed to the ground and buried. Henry was now free to move on to his next wife and Anne was free to be at peace.

Grave Marker of Anne BolelynDSC_0076Above – A German engraving of Anne Boleyn’s execution

Middle – The plaque to mark Anne Boleyn’s body in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London

Below – The monument to commemorate those who were executed within the Tower of London’s walls