Tag Archives: Cardinal Campeggio

On this day in 1529 – Katherine of Aragon appeared in front of the Legatine Court.

King Henry VIII’s attempts to divorce his wife, Katherine of Aragon had caused great controversy not only throughout his kingdom but across Europe. With Henry putting increasing pressure on the Pope to annul the marriage the Pope was also facing pressure from the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, to ensure the marriage was saved. Charles V also happened to be the nephew of Katherine and therefore had a personal interest in saving the marriage.

Matters had gone as far as they could before the Pope had no choice but to send a representative to England to preside over the divorce hearing before a decision could be made. Cardinal Campeggio was sent to England with the hope of delaying Henry’s desires for as long as they could.

On 21st June 1529, a Papal Legatine court was held in Blackfriars where Cardinal Campeggio and Cardinal Wolsey began to hear the evidence regarding Henry’s request for his marriage to be annulled. Henry protested that by marrying his brother’s widow he had done wrong in the eyes of God and that is why he had not been blessed with a son. Katherine maintained that her first husband, Arthur, and she had never lay as man and wife and their marriage was never consummated.

As the proceedings began for the day both Henry and Katherine were present to give their testimonies regarding the matter. As Katherine was asked to make her case known she went and knelt in front of her husband and spoke directly to him by saying;

“Sir, I beseech you for all the love that hath been between us, and for the love of God, let me have justice. Take of me some pity and compassion, for I am a poor woman, and a stranger born out of dominion. I have here no assured friends and much less impartial counsel…

Alas! Sir, wherein have I offended you, or what occasion of displeasure have I deserved?,,,I have been to you a true, humble and obedient wife, ever comfortable to your will and pleasure, that never said or did any thing to the contrary thereof, being always well pleased and contented with all things wherein you had any delight or dalliance, whether it were in little or much. I never grudged in word or countenance, or showed a visage or spark of discontent. I loved all those whom ye loved, only for your sake, whether I had cause or no, and whether they were my friends or enemies. This twenty years or more I have been your true wife and by me ye have had divers children, although it hath pleased God to call them out of this world, which hath been no default in me…

When ye had me at first, I take God to my judge, I was a true maid, without touch of man. And whether it be true or no, I put it to your conscience. If there be any just cause by the law that ye can allege against me either of dishonesty or any other impediment to banish and put me from you, I am well content to depart to my great shame and dishonour. And if there be none, then here, I most lowly beseech you, let me remain in my former estate… Therefore, I most humbly require you, in the way of charity and for the love of God – who is the just judge – to spare me the extremity of this new court, until I may be advised what way and order my friends in Spain will advise me to take. And if ye will not extend to me so much impartial favour, your pleasure then be fulfilled, and to God I commit my cause!”

With her plea over Katherine stood up, curtseyed to her husband and walked out of the courtroom. There were many attempts to get Katherine to return that went ignored until she responded “On, on, it makes no matter, for it is no impartial court for me, therefore I will not tarry. Go on.”

Katherine did not return to the Legatine Court almost as if she knew her cause would go unanswered.

Catherine_Aragon_Henri_VIII_by_Henry_Nelson_ONeilKatherine pleading her case in front of Henry VIII and the Legatine Court

Painted by Henry Nelson O’Neil

On this day in 1535 – George Neville died

George Neville was the son of the second Baron of Bergavenny also called George and his wife Margaret. Neville was born in 1471, although the exact date is unknown. He was brought up alongside his brothers, Edward, Thomas and Richard.

Neville was created a Knight of the Bath on 5th July 1483 but went on to be a keen supporter of King Henry VII, he even fought alongside the King at the Battle of Blackheath against the Cornish rebellion. Upon the death of his father on 20th September 1492 Neville inherited the title of Baron Bergavenny.

Neville married Joan FitzAlan, niece to Elizabeth Woodville and King Edward IV, it is believed that the marriage produced two daughters; Elizabeth Neville and Jane Neville, who went on to marry Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu and son of Lady Margaret Pole.

It is documented that Neville was at Calais with King Henry VII in May 1500 and the loyalty he showed the King continued through to his son when he was crowned the new King of England at the time Henry VIII’s coronation Neville was in the hereditary office of Chief Larderer.

On 20th August 1512 Neville was made a commissioner of array for Kent, Surrey and Sussex and on 28th January 1513 he was appointed warden of the Cinque Ports. Neville was nominated to be inducted into the Knight of the Garter on 23rd April 1513.

Neville married for a second time in 1513 to Margaret Brent this marriage would end up childless and only lasted a few years.

King Henry VIII sent Neville to France later in 1513 and between June and October was a general in the army. It was a role he would take in 1514 again and due to his loyalty and success in 1515 he was granted the keepership of Ashdown Forest.

On 23rd July 1518 Neville, Lord Cobham, the Bishop of Chichester and some Kentish gentlemen were sent to meet Cardinal Campeggio and escort him to Canterbury where he would act as the Pope’s representative during peace negotiations and the signing of the Treaty of London. It was also in this year that Neville became a member of the Privy Council.

In June 1519 Neville married for a third time to Lady Mary Stafford, daughter of Duke of Buckingham. They would go on to have three sons and five daughters. In May 1521 Neville would find himself imprisoned in the Tower of London until early 1522 under suspicion of conspiring with his new father-in-law. He was soon released and pardoned, cleared of all charges of treason on the 29th March 1522. However, Neville had lost all his offices and had to resort to selling his home, Birling, to the King.

After his release he attended King Henry VIII as he met Charles V in 1522 and was once again the captain of the army in France in 1523.

As King Henry VIII proceeded with his divorce from Katherine of Aragon on 13th July 1530 Neville’s signature appears on a letter that was sent to Pope Clement VII asking him to settle to divorce case as soon as possible. With Neville back in favour with the King he was able to buy his home back and return to Birling. With the King breaking from Rome and remarrying to Anne Boleyn, Neville once again took the office of Chief Larderer at Anne’s coronation.

Neville married for a fourth and final time to his former servant and mistress, Mark Brooke (also known as Cobham).

However, age was catching up with Neville and in May 1535 he was notably absent from the feast of the Knights of the Garter due to ill health. With his health failing Neville wrote to the King asking that his family was not heavily pressed for his inheritance as he had many daughters that needed providing for as they all became married.

Neville died on the morning of 13th June 1535 (some documents say it was the 14th) at his home. His body was buried at Birling but his heart was buried at Mereworth.

George NevilleGeorge Neville painted by Hans Holbein the younger