Tag Archives: Charles Brandon

On this day in 1536 – King Henry VIII wrote to the Duke of Suffolk regarding the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion

On 19th October 1536 King Henry VIII wrote to the Duke of Suffolk, Charles Brandon, regarding the Pilgrimage of Grace rebels he wrote;

You are to use all dexterity in getting the harness and weapons of the said rebels brought in to Lincoln or other sure places, and cause all the boats on the Humber or means of passage into Yorkshire to be taken up. After this, if it appear to you by due proof that the rebels have since their retires from Lincoln attempted any new rebellion, you shall, with your forces run upon them and with all extremity ‘destroy, burn, and kill man, woman, and child the terrible example of all others, and specially the town of Louth because to this rebellion took his beginning in the same.’ We have sent you this day a good sum of money, and will send more as required.”

Henry also wrote to the Earl of Derby on the same day;

We lately commanded you to make ready your forces and go to the earl of Shrewsbury, our lieutenant to suppress the rebellion in the North; but having since heard of an insurrection attempted about the abbey of Salley in Lancashire, where the abbot and monks have been restored by the traitors, we now desire you immediately to repress it, to apprehend the captains and either have them immediately executed as traitors or sent up to us. We leave it, however, to your discretion to go elsewhere in case of greater emergency. You are to take the said abbot and monks forth with violence and have them hanged without delay in their monks’ apparel, and see that no town or village begin to assemble.”

Henry wanted the rebellion dealt with swiftly and effectively in order to stop anymore uprisings. His message to Brandon was clear.

Pilgrimage badgeThe badge worn by the Pilgrimage of Grace rebels

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 1514 – Mary Tudor married King Louis XII of France

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mary Tudor and King Louis XII of France

On this day in 1581 – Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton died

Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton was born on 24th April 1545 and was the only surviving son of Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton and Jane Cheney. At his christening at St Andrew’s, Holborn, both King Henry VIII and Charles Brandon were appointed his godfathers and Princess Mary was his godmother. Wriothesley had five sisters and two brothers, who both died young.

From the age of two until his father’s death in July 1550 he was called Lord Wriothesley but after his father’s death he inherited his earldom and became a royal ward. The King granted Wriothesley’s custody to Sir William Herbert before it was acquired by his mother before being granted in 1560 to Sir William More of Loseley.

On 19th February 1566 Wriothesley married the 13 year old Mary Browne, daughter of Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu. Wriothesley was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn on 19th March of the same year. Wriothesley reached his majority as well in 1556 and was granted his inheritance by letters patent on 7th February 1568, according to J.G. Elzinga in their biography of Wriothesley; he had six residences and an income that was between £2000 and £3000.

Wriothesley was raised Catholic and there was a strain during Queen Elizabeth’s reign, the strain first arose in February 1569 when Wriothesley’s brother in law wrote to Sir William Cecil saying that Wriothesley should be ‘rather charitably won than severely corrected’ when it came to religion. In the summer of 1569 Queen Elizabeth visited Wriothesley at his home at Titchfield Abbey, however, by November of the same year along with his father in law, Viscount Montagu, Wriothesley were implicated in the Northern Rebellion in particularly in a letter from Guerau de Spes, the Spanish ambassador, to the Duke of Alba dated 1st December 1569 in which he wrote that both Wriothesley and his father in law ‘have sent to me for advice as to whether they should take up arms or go over to your Excellency’. Wriothesley and Montagu set sail for Flanders but bad weather forced them back to England and they were summoned to appear in front of the council to explain their actions, although they both remained unpunished.

Following Pope Pius V excommunication of Elizabeth in May 1570 Wriothesley contacted the Bishop of Ross, John Lesley, and attempted to secretly meet him in the marshes of Lambeth where he was intercepted and on 18th June 1570 his arrest was ordered by the Privy Council and he was placed under house arrest at the home of Henry Becher, Sheriff of London. On 15th July he was transferred to Loseley and was now in the custody of Sir William More. More was instructed to ensure that Wriothesley took part in Protestant devotions and after complying Wriothesley was released in November of the same year.

In September 1571 whilst John Lesley was being questioned regarding the Ridolfi Plot he revealed the full story regarding his meeting with Wriothesley and as a result Wriothesley was arrested and placed in the Tower of London for 18 months. He was eventually released on 1st May 1573 and once again placed into the custody of Sir William More at Loseley until 14th July when he was permitted to live with his father in law at Cowdray although his movement was restricted.

On 6th October 1573 Wriothesley wrote to Sir William More to announce the birth of his son, Henry the future 3rd Earl of Southampton. For the next six years Wriothesley was granted small offices from the Queen and seemed to be in favour. Following his mother’s death in 1574 his income grew and he commissioned the building of a mansion at Dogmersfield.

Wriothesley’s marriage began to deteriorate at in 1577 he reportedly forbid his wife from seeing Donsame, although just two years later a report was given to Wriothesley stating that his wife had been seen with Donsame at Dogmersfield. As a result he banished her to one of his Hampshire estates under surveillance however, his wife, Mary, defended herself denied all accusations of adultery instead accusing Thomas Dymock, a servant of causing the rift between herself and her husband.

Wriothesley died on 4th October 1581 at his home of Itchell, Dogmersfield and was buried at Titchfield on 30th November. He left behind an estate valued at £1097 6s per annum, in his will he named Thomas Dymock and Charles Paget as executors. His estranged wife contested the will with the aid of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester and a settlement was agreed on 11th December 1581 in which Thomas Dymock would retain that what was bequested to him but the rest of the estate was passed into the care of Edward Gage, another executor of Wriothesley’s will.

Henry Wriothesley tombThe tomb of Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton,

alongside the tomb of his mother, Jane Cheney.

On this day in 1580 – Katherine Willoughby died

Katherine Willoughby was born on 22nd March 1519 to William Willoughby and his wife Maria de Salinas. She was born at Parham Old Hall in Suffolk. Her mother Maria was of Spanish origin that came to England in the service of the future queen, Katherine of Aragon.

Katherine was raised at Parham whilst her mother attended on the Queen but when she was only seven, in 1526, her father died and Katherine as their only child inherited her father’s barony and all his property, making her a very wealthy child. However, Katherine’s inheritance was fought over within her family due to doubt over which land was left to male heirs and which to heirs general. It would be an ongoing battle.

Due to the death of Katherine’s father she was now the ward of King Henry VIII. Wards were often granted to the king if a father had died to take the financial strain off the mother in her times of need. As a result of this the King sold his ward to his closest friend and brother in law, Charles Brandon. Brandon acting for his ward soon became involved in her ongoing struggle to claim her inheritance by writing a letter to Cardinal Wolsey.

Katherine was betrothed to Brandon’s son, Henry but when Brandon’s wife and the king’s sister, Mary Tudor died in 1533 Brandon, aged 49 began showing an interest in his 14 year old ward. The betrothal between his son and Katherine was broken and six weeks after his wife’s death Brandon married Katherine. Katherine bore two sons to Brandon, one called Henry and the other Charles. She also raised Brandon’s first son from his previous marriage, the boy Katherine was originally intended to marry.

Brandon died in 1545 with Katherine only in her mid 20’s. It is believed that following the death of his friend the king viewed Katherine as a potential seventh wife. However, nothing came of this and the king remained married to Catherine Parr until his death in 1547.

Following Henry’s death and that of the dowager Queen Catherine, she was awarded the wardship of Catherine Parr and Thomas Seymour’s daughter and in later years also Lady Mary Grey. Tragedy struck Katherine in 1551 when both her sons caught the sweating sickness and died within an hour of each other.

Katherine married for a second time to Richard Bertie, this appears to be a love match as he was a member of her household. They also shared the same religious beliefs, their beliefs would cause them to flee to the continent during the reign of Queen Mary I. They returned to England in 1559 and continued living at Katherine’s estate, Grimsthorpe. Katherine and Richard had two children Peregrine and Susan.

Katherine’s battle over her estates were not resolved until Queen Elizabeth I took the throne.

Katherine died on 19th September 1580 and is buried with her second husband, Richard, in Spilsby, Lincolnshire.

Katherine WilloughbyKatherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk

On this day in 1540 – Sir William Kingston died

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

about George Boleyn

On this day in 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 1514 – Princess Mary Tudor was married by proxy to King Louis XII

When King Henry VIII ascended the throne he worked on ensuring his alliances were secure for the future. The King arranged for his sister, Princess Mary, to marry his nephew in law the future Holy Roman Emperor, Charles. However, after a series of diplomatic delays and secret talks between Spain and France Henry called off the betrothal. It is believed that Mary was pleased with her brother’s decision as she did not wish to marry someone four years younger than herself.

With Henry’s decision Mary was once again available and marriage negotiations began once again. If Mary was unpleased with her brother’s first choice of someone four year younger then his next choice would be would really displease her! Henry had negotiated for his sister to marry the King of France, King Louis XII, who was 34 years older than Mary.

Mary upon learning the news that she was to be married to a King who had been described as ‘feeble and pocky’ wept and begged to marry Charles. Mary reluctantly agreed to marry the aged King but on the condition that when she was widowed she could choose her next husband and it would be a marriage based on love. Henry agreed to this in order to send his sister off to France quickly and peaceful but also because he knew who it was that she loved, his best friend, Charles Brandon.

On 13th August 1514 a proxy marriage took place at Greenwich Palace with the Duc de Longueville standing in for the aged King. The marriage was even declared consummated and therefore legal when Mary lay down on a bed with the Duc de Longueville and he touched her body with his naked leg. A wedding feast took place after the ceremony and Mary was gifted jewels and a trousseau that befitted a Queen of France.

Mary set sail for France on 2nd October after bad weather delayed the voyage. Four ships of the 14 that set sail landed in Boulogne and the party continued on towards Abbeville. It was recorded that she wore an outfit made from cloth of gold on crimson with tight sleeves and in the English fashion. She also wore a crimson hat that was worn at a slant over one eye. Mary would meet her new husband in an arranged accident just outside of Abbeville and they were officially married within the city.

Mary became the Queen of France. However, just 82 days later on 31st December 1514 King Louis XII abruptly died. It is believed that his marital activities put a strain on his weakened body. Mary was now a Queen dowager but was put into seclusion for 40 days until it was known whether or not she was carrying the future King of France. Mary was not pregnant and sent to the Hotel De Cluny to see out the mourning period. From here she wrote to her brother back in England begging to return to her home country and that he upheld his promise.

Mary was visited by the new King Francis who hoped to keep the English French alliance that was rapidly breaking down. With some careful words Mary was frightened about her future and confessed to the King her love for Charles Brandon. Upon hearing this he promised to do all that he could to help the Queen dowager. When Brandon arrived to escort Mary home Francis called him into a private meeting and declared that he would do all he could to help Brandon marry Mary. With that Mary and Charles Brandon married in February 1515 in a small chapel of the Palais De Cluny.

Mary TudorPrincess Mary Tudor

On this day in 1551 – Henry and Charles Brandon died of the sweating sickness

Henry and Charles Brandon were the sons of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and his final wife, Catherine Willoughby.

Upon their father’s death Henry succeeded him as 2nd Duke of Suffolk on 22nd August 1545 but due to their ages, Henry was 15 and Charles was 14, instead of taking up the role that was expected of him the two young boys continued their studies at St John’s College, Cambridge. When the sweating sickness broke out across the country they were sent to the countryside.

Sweating sickness was strike fast and the symptoms would appear suddenly. Symptoms included cold shivers, headache and exhaustion. Once the fever took a hold of the body sweating, delirium and a rapid pulse would manifest before the infected would eventually collapse with exhaustion and fall into a need for sleeping. The disease could kill within hours of the symptoms making themselves known.

The two young boys were staying at the Bishop of Lincoln’s Palace in Buckden in Huntingdon when they were taken ill and on 14th July 1551 they succumbed to the sweating sickness and died within an hour of each other. Henry died first and therefore passed the title of Duke of Suffolk to his younger brother who held the title for just one hour. Their mother had been staying nearby reached the house just before the youngest Brandon passed away.

They were buried at Buckden privately before a requiem mass was held on 22nd September which would be called “A Month’s Mind”. John Strype wrote;

it was performed with two standards, two banners, great and large, ten bannerols, with divers coats of arms; two helmets, two swords, two targets crowned, two coats of arms; two crests, and ten dozen of escutcheons crowned; with lamentation that so noble a stock was extinct in them.”

Charles Brandon Henry Brandon

Left: Henry Brandon, 2nd Duke of Suffolk. Right: Charles Brandon, 3rd Duke of Suffolk

Painted by Hans Holbein the Younger

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.