Tag Archives: Edward VI

On this day in 1553 – Mary Tudor proclaimed Queen of England

On 19th July 1553 Henry VIII’s first born child was declared Queen of England following the death of her younger half brother, Edward.

Mary route to the throne was not easy as Edward in his will declared Lady Jane Grey as his heir, contravening what Henry VIII had laid out in the Third Act of Succession. However, Mary strongly believed that she was the rightful heir and began gathering support.

On 18th July the Earls of Pembroke and Arundel had called a Privy Council meeting to convince fellow members that Mary had a legitimate claim to the throne and it was Mary not Jane that was the rightful Queen. It took until the following day to convince all the members that they should support Mary’s claim. Pembroke even went as far as drawing his sword and cried to the others “If the arguments of my lord Arundel do not persuade you, this sword shall make Mary queen, or I will die in her quarrel.”

With the rest of the council now backing Mary Pembroke went out amongst the people of London later that day and proclaimed;

“The xix. day of the same monyth, was sent Margarettes evyne, at iiij. of clocke at after-none was proclaimyd lady Mary be qwene of Ynglond at the crose in Cheppe with the erle of Shrewsbery, the earle of Arundel, the erle of Pembroke, with the mayer of London, and dyvers other lords, and many of the aldermen and the kynges schrffe master Garrand, with dyvers haroldes and trompettes. And from thens cam to Powlees alle, and there the qwene sange Te Deum with the organs goynge, with the belles ryngynge, the most parte alle, and that same nyght had the parte of London Te Deum, with bone-fyers in every street in London, with good church, and for the most parte alle nyght tyll the nexte daye to none.”

Mary was unaware of the change of support from the council and that they had proclaimed her the rightful Queen of England until the following day when William Paget and the Earl of Arundel arrived at Framlingham with the news.

Mary IQueen Mary I

On this day in 1565 – Kat Ashley died

It is unknown when Katherine Champernowne, or Kat Ashley as she was later known, it is believed that she was born in 1502 and that her parents were Sir John Champernowne and Margaret Courtenay.

Kat’s early life is unknown and but she appears to have been appointed a waiting gentlewoman to Elizabeth in 1536, shortly after Anne Boleyn had been executed. Kat intended to keep Elizabeth’s mother’s memory alive with the infant.

After the birth of Henry VIII’s son, Edward, a new household was set up to care for him this included Lady Bryan who had been until then Elizabeth’s nurse. As a result in 1537 Kat was appointed governess to Elizabeth.

In her role as Elizabeth’s governess Kat would teach her young charge in every aspect from geography, astronomy, history, maths and many languages including French, Italian, Spanish and Flemish. Away from the classroom Kat would also teach Elizabeth dancing, riding, embroidery and needlework and by the time Elizabeth was six John Ashley husband of Katyears old she was able to sew a cambric shirt from her brother, Edward. Elizabeth said later in life that Kat ‘took great labour and pain in bringing of me up in learning and honesty.’ Kat played a huge part in shaping who Elizabeth would be in later life.

In 1545 Kat married Elizabeth’s senior gentleman attendant, Sir John Ashley, who was also a cousin of Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn

In 1543 with King Henry VIII marrying his sixth and final wife, Catherine Parr, Elizabeth began attending court more and more and Kat would accompany the young Elizabeth. With the death of the King, Elizabeth and Kat would go and live with Catherine and her new husband Thomas Seymour in Chelsea. However, it was not to be an easy time.

Thomas Seymour, despite his hasty marriage with the King’s widow, took a shine to Elizabeth and began a flirtation. Kat would witness Seymour’s attempts to potentially seduce the young girl and tried to stop them warning Elizabeth away from Seymour. Kat would eventually report her concerns to Catherine Parr, who instead of stopping it joined in and reportedly held Elizabeth down whilst Seymour slashed at the 14 year olds nightgown. However, things turned serious when Catherine caught Elizabeth in Seymour’s arms and Kat lectured Elizabeth on the need to stay out of trouble and protect her reputation especially as she was second in line to the throne.

These events would be eventually investigated by King Edward’s Privy Council when Seymour was being investigated for treason. On 21st January 1549 Kat was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London whilst the claims were investigated. Kat told the investigators everything she knew and protested Elizabeth’s innocence as well as her own and was eventually declared innocent and released in early March 1549.

Kat would return to Elizabeth who was now residing at Hatfield and would remain with Elizabeth until 1554 when Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower by her sister, Mary I. Elizabeth was later released and Kat rejoined her charge but it was short lived as in May 1556 Kat was arrested and sent to Fleet Prison after books that were discovered in her possession that was considered treasonous. Kat was imprisoned for just three months but on her release she was forbidden from seeing Elizabeth again.

Upon Elizabeth taking the throne the order was revoked and Kat returned to Elizabeth and was appointed First Lady of the Bedchamber and became one of the most influential people in Elizabeth’s court.

Kat Ashley died on 18th July 1565 and Elizabeth was left heartbroken at the loss of her long term companion. After Kat’s death Elizabeth would say of the woman who stayed by her side since she was four. ‘Anne Boleyn gave me life but Kat Ashley gave me love’.

Kat AshleyKat Ashley

On this day in 1553 – Lady Mary Tudor declared herself Queen

After King Edward VI’s death the country was left unsure of its future, the young King had declared just days before his death that he wished his cousin Lady Jane Grey to succeed to the throne upon his death, however, this contradicted his fathers, King Henry VIII, Third Act of Succession which declared if Edward died with no children then the throne would go to the Lady Mary, Henry’s daughter with Katherine of Aragon.

Mary had been informed of her half brother’s death on 7th July 1553 at Euston Hall, Thetford where she was staying with Lady Burgh. Mary travelled to her home at Kenninghall, Norfolk and declared to her household that the King had died and therefore “the right to the crown of England had therefore descended to her by divine and by human law.” Her household proclaimed Mary Queen of England, unaware of what Edward had done to alter the line of succession.

With the belief that Mary was the rightful Queen she wrote to the Privy Council informing them that she was to be recognised as Queen and to “casue our right and title to the crown and government of this realm to be proclaimed in our city of London and other places as your wisdom shall seem good.”

Little did Mary know that she would have to fight for her crown over the coming days.

Mary IQueen Mary I

On this day in 1533 – King Edward VI died.

On 6th July 1553 the 15 year old King Edward VI died at Greenwich Palace. Edward had fallen ill at the beginning of 1553 from a fever and cough. The Imperial Ambassador, Jehan Scheyfve, wrote about Edward’s early illness in a letter to the the Bishop of Arras;

the King of England is still confined to his chamber, and seems to be sensitive to the slightest indisposition or change, partly at any rate because his right shoulder is lower than his left and he suffers a good deal when the fever is upon him, especially from a difficulty in drawing his breath, which is due to the compression of the organs on the right side. It is an important matter for consideration, especially as the illness is increasing from day to day, and the doctors have now openly declared to the Council, for their own discharge of responsibility, that the King’s life is threatened, and if any serious malady were to supervene he would not be able to hold out long against it. Some make light of the imperfection, saying that the depression in the right shoulder is hereditary in the house of Seymour, and that the late Duke of Somerset had his good share of it among the rest. But he only suffered inconvenience as far as it affected his appearance and his shoulder never troubled him in any other way. It is said that about a year ago the King overstrained himself while hunting, and that the defect was increased. No good will he ever do with the lance. I opine that this is a visitiation and sign from God. “

This illness came just months after he had suffered from measles and smallpox so his immune system was already in a weakened condition. Edward had improved slightly but by June it was looking likely that the young King would not survive.

Edward VI 1546King Edward VI, aged 9.

On 30th May Scheyfve wrote again regarding Edward’s condition;

The King of England is wasting away daily, and there is no sign or likelihood of any improvement. Some are of opinion that he may last two months more, but he cannot possibly live beyond that time. He cannot rest except by means of medicines and external applications; and his body has begun to swell, especially his head and feet. His hair is to be shaved off and plasters are going to be put on his head. The illness is judged to be the same as that which killed the late Earl of Richmond.”

King Edward’s illness would come in stages and in April, Edward was seen walking through the park at Westminster before moving to his palace at Greenwich but by the end of April he was again weak and suffering. However, just days later on 7th May his doctors were expecting a recovery and Edward sat in a window overlooking the Thames watching the ships sail past the palace. Edward’s recovery was not long lived and on 11th June 1533 Edward relapsed.

With this the seriousness of Edward’s condition had become apparent and the likelihood of him surviving his illness was slim. Edward was soon bedbound after his legs began swelling and he was unable to stand up any longer.

With this news his council sought to change his father, King Henry VIII, will so that Mary would not inherit the throne and return England to Catholicism. Edward did not want to see the country returned to the old religion but also he felt that Mary and Elizabeth were both illegitimate and therefore illegible to take the throne. A document was drawn up entitled ‘My devise for the succession’ in which Edward overruled his father’s wishes in the Third Act of Succession and named Lady Jane Grey, Edward’s cousin, as his successor.

On 15th June Edward summoned his high rank judges to his sickbed and demanded their allegiance. He then called upon his lawyers and councillors to sign a bond that would ask them to perform his will faithfully. This would also see that Lady Jane Grey was placed upon the throne even if they believed the throne should pass to Mary. On 21st June the ‘Devise for Succession’ was passed to and signed by hundreds of councillors, peers, sheriffs, bishops and archbishops who all agreed to follow Edward’s wishes. Many would later claim that they had been bullied by John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland and father in law to Lady Jane.

King Edward VI’s final appearance to his subjects was on 1st July 1533 when he appeared at a window at Greenwich Palace and it was noted how thin he looked. Crowds continued to gather in hope of seeing their king but after two days the crowds were told that the weather was too cold for Edward to appear.

On 6th July at 8pm King Edward VI died, the cause of Edward’s death has been debated ever since with suggestions of tuberculosis, bronchopneumonia and even poisoning. However, it is likely that tuberculosis was the most likely cause of death for the 15 year old King.

Historian Chris Skidmore documents that Edward prayers included;

“Lord God, deliver me out of this miserable and wretched life, and take me among thy chosen: howbeit not my will, but thy will be done. Lord I commit my spirit to thee. O Lord! Thou knowest how happy it were for me to be with thee: yet, for thy chosen’s sake, send me life and health, that I may truly serve thee. O my Lord God, bless thy people, and save thine inheritance! O Lord God save thy chosen people of England! O my Lord God. defend this realm from papistry, and maintain thy true religion; that I and my people may praise thy holy name, for thy Son Jesus Christ’s sake!”

Edward was buried at Westminster Abbey in the Henry VII Lady Chapel on 8th August with the ceremony presided over by Archbishop Cranmer.

Edward’s death would send England into division over the new rightful monarch.

Edward VI tombKing Edward VI tomb at Westminster Abbey

On this day in 1543 – The treaty of Greenwich was signed

The Treaty of Greenwich was signed on 1st July 1543 between England and Scotland, the treaty was put forward after the Scottish defeat at Solway Moss the November before. Two sub treaties’s made up the full treaty in a plan developed by King Henry VIII to unite both kingdoms. The Scottish commissioners that were acting on behalf of Mary and her regent were Earl of Glencairn, James Learmonth of Dairsie and Henry Balnaves. Acting as commissioners for Henry were Baron Audley of Walden, Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk, Stephen Gardiner Bishop of Winchester, Thomas Thirlby Bishop of Westminster and Barons St John and Gage.

The first sub treaty was to establish peace between England and Scotland in the hope of ending the years of war between the two nations. The second was a marriage proposal between Henry’s son, the future King Edward VI and Mary, Queen of Scots. The marriage proposition put forward that Mary would be appointed a nobleman and his wife who would remain with Mary until she reached the age of ten. At this time Mary would be sent to England to live until her marriage to Edward; this was so she could be taught the English ways.

The treaty was initially signed by the Earl of Arran, Mary’s regent and it was ratified on 25th August 1543 however, when it was put in front of the Scottish Parliament on 11th December 1543 it was rejected. This rejection would lead to eight years of fighting between the two countries in a conflict that would be known as Rough Wooing. The conflict was sanctioned by Henry in an attempt to force Scotland into agreeing to the terms of the treaty.

Instead of Mary marrying Edward she would go on to be betrothed to the French dauphin, F

rancis, son of Henry II.

Edward_VIMary-Queen-of-ScotsLeft – Prince Edward

Below – Mary, Queen of Scots

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 1553 – Lady Jane Grey and Guilford Dudley were married.

On 25th May 1553 Lady Jane Grey was married to Guilford Dudley. Jane would have been around 16 years old at the time of her wedding and although there is no exact birth year for Guilford it is believed he was around the same age.

The wedding was attended by almost all English nobility with the exception of the King, who was ill and unlikely to live. The marriage was partly of convenience with the King dangerously ill; John Dudley feared that his position would be in danger if either Mary or Elizabeth took the throne so he moved to secure his position. The Dudley’s and Grey’s moved to arrange the marriages of their children. With Jane having a strong claim to the throne the Dudley’s arranged to marry her to their only unwed child, Guilford.

At the same time a two offer weddings took place between Katherine Dudley and Lord Henry Herbert and Lady Katherine Grey and Lord Henry Hastings. Each couple were dressed in silver and gold during the ceremony, as the weddings were rushed the outfits were borrowed from the Master of the Wardrobe.

In a letter from Jehan Scheyfve to the Emperor it was written;

“On the 25th of this month were celebrated the weddings of my Lord Guilford, son of the Duke of Northumberland, to the eldest daughter of the Duke of Suffolk; of the Earl of Pembroke’s son to the second daughter; and the Earl of Huntingdon’s son to the daughter of the Duke of Northumberland. The weddings were celebrated with great magnificence and feasting at the Duke of Northumberland’s house in town.”

With the death of King Edward VI, Jane was proclaimed Queen in place of Mary and was taken to the Tower of London to prepare for her coronation alongside her husband. Jane was unwilling to take the crown and was noted as saying; ‘The crown is not my right, and pleaseth me not. The Lady Mary is the rightful heir’.

Jane, Guilford and her family were all arrested upon Mary’s arrival in the city and imprisoned in the Tower of London where they awaited trial and eventually the executioner’s block. Jane would be known as the nine day Queen.

Jane Grey and Guilford Dudley

On this day in 1560 – Doctor Thomas Wendy died

Doctor Thomas Wendy was born in May 1500 in Suffolk. He had a modest upbringing and undertook an art degree which he completed in 1522.

Wendy went to study medicine most likely in Italy when he returned to England in 1527 where he returned to Cambridgeshire and at some point in his early life was president of Gonville Hall, Cambridge.

Wendy’s medical career quickly took off with the majority of his patients coming from the nobility. He was employed by Henry Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland in July 1534. Along with being the family’s medical practitioner he also performed many other tasks for Percy which included carrying letters to and from Thomas Cromwell.

In October 1546 Wendy was appointed as Queen Catherine Parr’s physician, not only did he have a strong reputation he also had Protestant sympathies. Wendy also went on to be the physician for King Henry VIII and attended the King on his deathbed. His close relationship with the King meant that Wendy was one of the witnesses to the King’s last will and testament, in which he received £100 from the King.

On 22nd December 1551 Wendy was admitted to the College of Physician and he also served as a Member of Parliament for St Albans in 1554 and Cambridgeshire 1555.

With his reputation for serving the King and Queen, Wendy was reappointed as royal physician in March 1547 to King Edward VI. At the same time Wendy began a career in public service he also began extending his property holdings, in September 1547 he took a 30 year lease on the Bishop of Hereford’s mansion near Old Fish Street, London and in January 1549 he purchased ex-chantry land in Cambridgeshire and Essex. Over his life he also bought manors and properties in Hertfordshire and many more lands in Cambridgeshire.

King Edward VI died at just the age of 15 Wendy was to attend the young King on his deathbed, however, despite his hard work the King passed away.

Wendy went on to be Queen Mary’s physician and most likely attended her during her phantom pregnancies up until her death. Making Mary, the third monarch to die under Wendy’s care. He was reappointed to serve Queen Elizabeth but died in London on 11th May 1560. He was buried at his home in Haslingfield.

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Parliament in the 16th Century – How Members of Parliament were elected to the Commons

To be elected a Member of Parliament in the 16th Century was different to what we know today. There were no polls for the inhabitants of towns to cast their votes instead things were different.

Parliament was only held when called together by the Crown, who was also the only one who had the authority to end it. Parliament was a lot more occasional than the King’s Council which was in court throughout the year. Henry VII only held seven Parliaments’ over the space of 24 years and Henry VIII held nine in 37 years on the throne. One of Henry VIII’s Parliaments’ sat for seven sessions before being dissolved. The reason for Henry VIII holding a lot more Parliaments’ was due to the Reformation and the need to pass laws to recognise Henry as the head of the church. Continuing on from Henry VIII, his son, Edward only held two Parliaments’ over his short reign of six years. Mary held five Parliaments’ over four years and finally in the 45 years on the throne Elizabeth held ten Parliaments’ over 13 sessions. Each session could vary in length from just a couple of days to weeks on end.

Each Parliament had a unique reason for being called from Henry VIII’s Reformation needs to Elizabeth needing to raise funds to support the defence of the country against the Spanish Armada. England could not go to war without the support of Parliament as the Crown could not fund a war on their own without the aid of additional funds from taxes.

In the commons there were 310 seats these were made up of 74 Knights of the shire and then 236 burgesses that represented the 117 parliamentary boroughs. It was normal that each borough sent two representatives with the exception of London who had four.

With each borough sending two representatives how were they chosen if not by public polling? In many boroughs influence was a key factor. Many boroughs were within the influence of the King as he had control over the electorate but in other areas if there was a major noble family had control of large portions of land then they would represent the borough. If there was no influential family then merchants or members of guild families were selected. In some cases though the position was almost hereditary with it being passed down the male line of a family.

Some boroughs did hold a type of election but only a select few were able to vote. In London, two of the four M.P.s were named by the aldermen and the other two by the common council. However, in York, M.P.s were decided by election and the only ones eligible to vote were the mayor, aldermen, sheriffs and a council made up of 24 men.

With the Commons in session they were able to oppose acts as well as pass them. Some notable acts that were opposed during Henry VIII’s reign were the Annates Act, the Royal Supremacy and Treasons Act and the Proclamations Act. Although they were opposed initially they eventually went through and they were sometimes modified in order to appease the Commons. During Elizabeth’s reign Parliament were unsuccessful in getting Elizabeth to name a successor but did secure the execution of Mary Queen of Scots.

It was not uncommon for the monarch to attend Parliament; they were viewed as the Manager of Parliament. Henry VIII attended on three or four occasions and Elizabeth attended at times but preferred to send messages or even began rumours if certain topics would displease her, such as talk of her successor.

by Joseph Sympson (Simpson), line engraving, probably 18th century

On this day in 1568 – Sir Edward Rogers died

Sir Edward Rogers was born in 1498 to George Rogers and his wife Mary.

It is believed that Rogers served the Courtenay family and was given livery by the Marquess of Exeter in 1525. The following year Rogers along with George Carew and Andrew Flamank took off to Calais. Instead the landed at Le Conquet and they set off for Paris and Blois where they sought to enter the service of the Regent of France. Their offer was turned down due to the lack of a letter of commendation from Henry VIII or Cardinal Wolsey. With the failure to gain the appointment the trio set off back for England via Calais. They were interviewed at Calais where they received a pardon and allowed to travel back to England.

Rogers was made an Esquire of the Body to King Henry VIII some time before 1534. In this role he was act as a personal attendant to the King and answered his every call. During the Dissolution of the Monasteries he was granted the land of a former nunnery in Cannington, Somerset. From here he set up his family home and was appointed as a Justice of the Peace for Somerset and Dorset and later, in 1547, represented Tavistock as a Member of Parliament.

Rogers fell out of favour briefly when he argued with the new Lord Protector, Edward Seymour, but with Seymour’s fall from grace Rogers returned to court. At the coronation of King Edward VI Rogers was knighted and appointed to be one of Edward’s four principal gentlemen of the Privy Council. It was a short appointment as in January 1550 Rogers was placed under house arrest for unknown reasons, he returned to favour once again six months later where he was also granted a pension of £50. Back in favour with King Edward VI Rogers witnessed the appointment of Lady Jane Grey as Edward’s heir.

With Lady Jane’s short reign and the rule of the Catholic Queen Mary, Rogers retreated back to Somerset until 1554 when he was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London for attempting raise a insurrection in Devon that coincided with Wyatt’s rebellion. Rogers was released 1555 with a pardon and a fine of £1000. Rogers had throughout his life discarded the Catholic rules and previously in 1543 he was reprimanded for eating meat during Lent.

With Mary’s death and the accession of Queen Elizabeth Rogers was recommended to her employment by Sir Nicholas Throckmorton. Rogers was appointed to the roles of Vice-Chamberlain, Captain of the Guard and Privy Councillor and in 1560 was appointed to succeed Sir Thomas Parry as Comptroller of Elizabeth’s household.

Rogers would hold these roles until his death on 3rd May 1568 in his will he left the majority of his goods and land to his only son.

Sir Edward Rogers