Tag Archives: Edward VI

On this day in 1596 – Sir Henry Hastings was buried

Sir Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon, was born in 1535 in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire to Francis Hastings and his wife Catherine Pole.

Hastings grew up in companionship with the future King Edward VI where they were tutored Richard Cox, John Cheke and Jean Belmain. The tutors provided the boys with an education in humanism, language and history. In 1548 Hastings briefly attended Queen’s College, Cambridge.

On 21st May 1553 Hastings was married to Katherine Dudley, daughter of the Duke of Northumberland, John Dudley. This marriage was arranged through their father’s who were political allies. It was an alliance that would draw Hastings into a family that would be remembered forever.

With the young King Edward VI dying he named his cousin Lady Jane Grey his heir, going against his father’s final act of succession. Lady Jane Grey was also John Dudley’s daughter in law via his son Guildford. Lady Jane’s reign only lasted nine days when Edward’s sister, Mary, claimed the throne.

Hastings backed his father in law in his attempt to keep Jane on the throne and keep the country out of the hands of the Catholic Mary. Dudley and his supporters, including Hastings, found themselves imprisoned in the Tower of London. Hastings was freed after swearing loyalty to Mary and her reign.

With Hastings free he entered into the service of Cardinal Reginald Pole and followed him around the continent to Flanders, Calais and London. They also escorted Philip II of Spain from Spain to England for his marriage to Mary.

When Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1558 Hastings and his family were welcomed into her court and gained their loyalty. Hastings was in attendance at Elizabeth’s first parliament and during his time at court he witnessed the readings of the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity. Elizabeth also named Hastings as a Knight of the Bath. Hastings inherited the title of 3rd Earl of Huntingdon when his father died on 25th January 1560.

Hastings family name would come in to question once again in 1562 when Elizabeth contracted smallpox. Hastings was named as a potential rival heir, through his ancestor George Plantagenet and was favoured by the Protestants and those who were enemies of Mary Queen of Scots. Although he convinced Elizabeth of his loyalty she was sceptical in employing him.

Although Elizabeth no longer had full trust in Hastings, she still used him in important missions. In 1569 he helped George Talbot in escorting Mary Queen of Scots from Wingfield Manor to Tutbury. Hastings would later act as one of the judges in her trial in 1586.

In 1570 Hastings was inducted into the Knight of the Garter and through this in 1572 Hastings was appointed president of the Council of the North where he helped protect Enland’s borders from Scotland.

Whilst in Newcastle in November 1595 Hastings fell ill with a fever and died on 14th December 1595. Elizabeth spent time comforting Hastings wife. As they were childless Hastings had named his nephew Francis as his heir. Hastings was buried on 26th April 1596 at St Helen’s Church, Ashby-de-la-Zouch alongside his nephew, Francis, who died three days after Hastings.

Henry Hastings

On this day in 1587 – Anne Seymour died

Anne Seymour was the second wife of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector of Edward VI. Anne was born in 1497 to Sir Edward Stanhope and his wife Elizabeth and it is through her mother that Anne is descended from Thomas of Woodstock, youngest son of King Edward III.

Anne married Edward Seymour sometime in 1535. Edward was the brother of the future queen of England, Jane Seymour. After Jane’s marriage to King Henry VIII the Seymour’s began being honoured with lands and titles. Edward was elevated to Viscount Beauchamp and in 1537 after Jane gave birth to Henry’s son, Edward, he was created Earl of Hertford. Finally in 1547 he was created Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector of his young nephew, Edward.

Anne and Edward had ten children and Queen Jane Seymour acted as godmother to their first child as well as Thomas Cromwell and Princess Mary.

Anne did not go unnoticed at court Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey took a fancy to her and although he had argued with her husband Howard still went on to write a sonnet about Anne entitled ‘A lady who refused to dance with him’ it portrayed Anne as a spiteful and cold lady.

Anne in 1545 sent aid to Anne Askew, the Protestant preacher who was burned at the stake for foretelling the King’s death. This showed that she was in favour of the Protestant faith and it was not the first she would be implicated in Protestant conspiracies.

Anne Seymour had a very prominent life at court; she was present throughout the latter days of Henry VIII’s reign and was not afraid of confrontation. Although she was present at Henry’s wedding to his final queen, Catherine Parr. Once Henry died and her husband became Lord Protector, Anne and Catherine found it difficult to get along. Anne deemed herself the most important lady in the realm and the rift deepened when Catherine married Anne’s brother in law, Thomas Seymour. Anne refused to enter a room behind Catherine however; Catherine invoked the Third Act of Succession, Henry’s final Act which restored Mary and Elizabeth to the line of succession. The Act also stated that Catherine, Mary, Elizabeth and Anne of Cleves were still took precedence over any other woman in the country and this included Anne Seymour.

Anne’s husband, Edward, was appointed Lord Protector by 13 of the 16 members of the council created in Henry VIII’s will to govern for the young King Edward VI until he was 18. This appointment made Seymour the most powerful man in England. After a series of rebellions during 1548/49 the blame fell at Seymour and the Privy Council had Edward Seymour and his wife arrested and placed in the Tower. Anne was released soon after and Seymour in January 1550. Anne was helpful in securing Seymour’s release by making visits to John Dudley, the new head of the council. Through Anne’s negotiations Seymour was admitted back into the Privy Council and her daughter was married to the eldest son of John Dudley.

Edward Seymour was arrested again on 1st December 1551 and was executed less than a month later on 22nd January 1552 Anne was released on 30th May 1553.

With the death of Edward Seymour Anne remarried to Francis Newdigate who was steward to her late husband. Little is known of their relationship and marriage. Anne appears to have taken herself away from court. Anne died at Hanworth Palace, Middlesex on 16th April 1587 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Anne Seymour

On this day in 1556 – Sir Anthony Kingston died

Sir Anthony Kingston was born approximately in 1508 to Sir William Kingston but it is unknown who his mother was, it was one of Sir William’s two wives Anne or Elizabeth. Kingston began being noticed within the Tudor court when he served at the head of a troop of men from Gloucestershire who marched under the banner of the Duke of Norfolk during the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536. Kingston was well rewarded by King Henry VIII firstly he was knighted by Henry on 18th October 1537 and received land that once belonged to the monasteries that were now suppressed, many of these lands were in Gloucestershire and included Flaxley Abbey. Kingston was also rewarded with offices at court that included serjeant of the king’s hawks. In 1546 Kingston was the Constable of the Tower of London and charged with interrogating Anne Askew, a poet and Protestant. Askew was accused of heresy and is the only woman to be documented as being tortured in the Tower and burned at the stake. Kingston prospered further under the reign of King Edward VI where he was made Provost Marshal during the Prayer Book Rebellion in 1549 that took place in Devon and Cornwall. Kingston remained in Edward’s service by acting on the council for the marches of Wales. Kingston sat in the House of Commons for Gloucestershire on many occasions between 1539 and 1555. During the Parliament in 1555 Kingston was a knight marshal and also a key supporter of the Protestant religion, a danger position to be in with Queen Mary I. During the 1555 Parliament Kingston took the keys to the house with the approval of the majority of Parliament. However, the day after Parliament was dissolved on 10th December, Kingston was sent to the Tower accused of taking part in the conspiracy to place Elizabeth on the throne over Mary. Kingston submitted after 13 days and was discharged from the Tower after asking to be pardoned. This was not the only time Kingston would be involved in a conspiracy regarding Elizabeth. Less than six months later Kingston was concerned about a plot to rob the exchequer in order to fund another attempt to place Elizabeth on the throne by Sir Henry Dudley. It is unknown if Kingston was involved in these plots but he died on 14th April 1556 either in Cirencester or whilst he was on his way to London to stand trial.

On this day in 1534 – First Act of Succession is passed

The First Act of Succession was passed on 23rd March 1534 by Henry VIII.

The Act declared his daughter with Katherine of Aragon illegitimate, therefore changing Mary’s status from Princess to Lady. It paved the way for any children Henry had with his new wife, Anne Boleyn, to be the heir to the throne, with any boys would take precedent over girls. Anne’s first child was Elizabeth which made her heir to the throne unless Anne gave Henry what he ultimately desired – a boy.

Another part of the Act required all subjects to swear an oath to recognise Anne as his legal wife and any children they have the true heirs. It also demanded that Henry’s subjects recognise him as the head of the church. Anyone not swearing the oath was arrested under the Treasons Act. Some notable subjects that refused to take the oath included Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher both were later executed for treason.

Henry later altered the act when he married Jane Seymour creating the Second Act of Succession, this Act declared Elizabeth illegitimate alongside Mary and pronounced his son heir to the throne. It was altered again in 1543 when Mary and Elizabeth were returned to the line of succession but behind Edward.

Parliament record

On this day in 1556 – Archbishop Cranmer was burned at the stake

On 21st March 1556 Archbishop Thomas Cranmer was burned at the stake for treason and being a heretic on orders of Queen Mary I.

Cranmer’s problems began on the death of King Edward VI in 1553. In the months leading up to his death the council were working hard to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne and secure the Reformation. Edward VI’s will was signed on 17th June 1553 and contradicted the Third Act of Succession which would see the Catholic Mary placed on the throne.

Upon Edward’s death Lady Jane Grey took the throne for a mere nine days before Mary was proclaimed the true queen of England. Many supporters of Lady Jane were imprisoned but for now Cranmer was safe and so he led the funeral for the late King. Cranmer advised many other Reformers to flee England and Mary’s persecution of any Protestants.

Cranmer was ordered to stand in front of the council on 14th September 1553 where he was sent straight to the Tower of London to join others who had been arrested. On 13th November 1553 Cranmer and four others stood on trial and found guilty of treason, they were all condemned to death. However, death would not come quickly for Cranmer as on 8th March 1554 the Privy Council Cranmer and others were transferred to an Oxford prison to awaiting another trial on the grounds on heresy. The trial finally began over a year later on 12th September 1555 where the final judgement fell to the Pope and Rome. Although Cranmer denied all the charges he faced and was taken to the Tower to await his fate whilst his co-accused was instantly executed.

Cranmer was stripped of his archbishopric by Rome as his punishment. Cranmer began to recant and was sent to the Dean of Christ Church. Free from prison Cranmer found himself within an academic community and was able to debate freely. He recognised the Pope as the head of church and submitted himself to the rule of Queen Mary I. After just two months of freedom Cranmer was sent back to Oxford and on 24th February a writ was issued to the mayor of Oxford to set the date for Cranmer’s execution on 7th March. Just two days later Cranmer recanted again, for a fifth time, where he repudiated all Lutheran theology and fully accepted Catholic theology and Papal supremacy. Under normal circumstances Cranmer would have been absolved and pardoned, however Mary I was unwilling to absolve Cranmer and set about making an example of him.

Cranmer was informed he could make one final recantation at a service at the University Church, Oxford. He never got to say it in public as it was published after his death. This was because at the service he held he opened with a prayer and exhortation to obey the king and queen but then went with a sermon that was not his prepared recantation. Cranmer renounced his previous recantations and that he would be punished by being burnt. He also refused Papal supremacy. Cranmer was dragged from the pulpit and taken straight to be burnt.

Cranmer’s vision for a religion free from Rome and the Pope was finally recognised after his death with the ascension of Elizabeth I when she restored the Church of England and became independent from Rome.

Why did Mary I make such a public exhibition of Cranmer was it to exert her authority on the Protestant religion or did she simply have a personal vendetta against Cranmer for being the man responsible for declaring her parent’s marriage null and void and therefore making her illegitimate?

Cranmer burnt at the stake

On this day in 1555 – Death of Sir John Russell.

Sir John Russell was born in 1485 in Dorset to James Russell and his first wife Alice Wise.

Sir John had a very successful career at court and held many high ranking offices. He first came to the attention of the Tudor court in 1506 when Archduke Philip of Austria and Juana, the King and Queen of Castile. Juana was also the sister of the dowager Princess of Wales, Katherine of Aragon. The Spanish monarchs had been shipwrecked off the coast of Weymouth on a diplomatic trip to visit King Henry VII. As a result of their detour, Russell escorted them to London to complete their journey. Philip and Juana highly praised Russell and the service that he provided to them to King Henry VII, who in 1507 made Russell a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber. A position he held after King Henry VIII ascended the throne.

Russell went on to loyally serve Henry VIII’s court. Russell was involved in the War of the League of Cambrai (also known as the War of the Holy League) and he was present at the taking of Tournai and Thérouanne. Russell was knighted by Henry VIII in 1522 after losing an eye in battle in Brittany.

Sir John Russell help a wide range of posts in the Tudor court from serving as High Sheriff of Dorset and Somerset in 1528 and acting as a Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire between 1529 and 1536.

After the downfall of Anne Boleyn and her family in 1536. Russell was made a Privy councillor and helped suppress the rebellion of the Pilgrimage of Grace in autumn 1536. Russell also benefitted greatly from the downfall of another courtier, Henry Courtenay, 1st Marquess of Exeter. After Courtenay’s execution Russell was made a Baron and Lord President of the Council in the West. This was quickly followed by being invested in to the Knight of the Garter. Finally in 1539 Russell was made High Steward of Cornwall and Lord Warden of the Stannaries.

During Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries Russell was granted many lands, these included Tavistock Abbey and Plympton Abbey in Devon, making him the largest land owner in Devon. Russell was also granted Blackfriars in Exeter where he later built Bedford House. Russell was also granted lands in London, including the kitchen garden of Westminster Palace. In the modern day this is now the site of the busy Covent Garden.

In 1540 Russell was made Lord High Admiral. At this point he had a very close relationship with Henry VIII. The day after Henry met Anne of Cleves for the first time Henry asked Russell whether he thought Anne to be fair. Russell replied that he found her “not to be fair, but of a brown complexion”. An answer which probably saved Russell when Henry was trying to find ways out of his marriage.

In 1542 Russell resigned from his position as Lord High Admiral and was elevated to the role of Lord Privy Seal. One of the highest positions within the council. Russell remained close to Henry VIII throughout the King’s final years. He was entrusted as one of the executors of Henry’s will and was appointed one of the 16 councillors that help rule the country during the new King, Edward VI’s, minority. Russell also acted as Lord High Steward at the coronation of the young King, who in return elevated him to the title of Earl of Bedford in 1550 and in 1552 Lord Lieutenant of Devon.

In the final days of the young King on 16th June 1553 Russell was one of the 26 peers who signed a settlement of the crown on Lady Jane Grey, ensuring that she would be Edward’s heir and not his sister Mary as was expected due to Henry VIII’s final Act of Succession.

Sir John Russell died on 14th March 1555 and was buried in the Bedford Chapel in the church that lies next to Chenies Manor House, his ancestral home.

John Russell                        Sir John Russell painted by Hans Holbein the younger.

On this day in 1549 – An Act of Attainder was passed against Thomas Seymour

Thomas Seymour, brother to the late Queen Jane Seymour, husband of the Dowager Queen Catherine Parr and uncle to King Edward VI saw an Act of Attainder passed against him on 5th March 1549 declaring him guilty of high treason.

Upon the ascension of Edward VI, Thomas was created Baron Seymour of Sudeley and as the King’s uncle a member of the new Privy Council. In 1547 he married King Henry VIII’s widow, Catherine Parr, controversially only months after Henry had died. Due to the Dowager Queen’s position of step-mother and guardian of Princess Elizabeth they lived at Chelsea Manor in London. Upon Catherine and Thomas’ marriage he also moved into the property, which raised some concerns as during the final months of Henry’s life Thomas had put forward the notion of marrying one of the Princesses, preferably Elizabeth, although this did come to nothing at the time.

With Elizabeth now under the same roof as Thomas their relationship became too familiar with reports that Thomas would enter her chambers dressed in just his nightclothes and would tickle and slap the Princesses behind whilst she was in bed. These incidents were reported to Catherine who tried to put them down to innocent fun and she even partook in a few of them herself to try and ease the situation.

Catherine became pregnant in 1548 and the couple moved to Sudeley Castle. Elizabeth was sent to Hertfordshire to live as a precaution to ensure that Thomas didn’t do anything towards her whilst Catherine was in confinement. Catherine gave birth in September 1548 to a daughter but only a few days later Catherine died from complications of childbirth. Upon her death Thomas inherited all of Catherine’s wealth and once again his attentions turned towards Elizabeth and the idea of marriage.

Sudeley Castle      Sudeley Castle home of Thomas Seymour and Catherine Parr

Throughout King Edward VI’s reign Thomas was jealous that his brother, Edward, was appointed Protector and not him. The jealousy worsened over time and Thomas attempted to do what he could to gain influence over the nine year old King. He began visiting the King in secret and giving him an allowance behind his brothers back. He also tried to convince the King that he could rule in his own right and did not have a need for a Protector, on this occasion Edward did not listen to his uncle for fear of betraying the man appointed to look after him and his interests.

In 1547, with his brother invading Scotland in the Kings name, Thomas began voicing concern over his brothers ability to rule in the Kings name and he even went as far as approaching other nobles for their support in case of a rebellion. Upon his return from Scotland, Edward Seymour called for a council meeting for his brother to explain himself. Thomas failed to show up.

Thomas Seymour’s downfall took a further turn for the worse when on 16th January 1549 Thomas was found outside King Edward’s chambers with a loaded pistol after breaking in to Hampton Court Palace. It is unclear of his intentions but to the council it appeared that he was attempting to abduct the King.

The following morning Thomas was arrested and sent straight to the Tower of London and in the following five weeks was charged with 33 counts of treason and other offenses. Instead of receiving a trial in front of a jury of his peers Thomas Seymour was found guilty via an Act of Attainder. The Act was sent to the Lords on 25th February where it passed through twice before it was sent to the Commons for final approval. It was signed off on 5th March 1549. The Act of Attainder stripped Thomas of his land and titles as well as condemning him to execution.

Thomas Seymour was executed on 20th March 1549.

Thomas Seymour

On this day in 1500 – Cardinal Reginald Pole born

It is widely accepted that Cardinal Reginald Pole was born on 3rd March 1500. He was born in Stourton Castle in Staffordshire to Sir Richard Pole and his wife Margaret. Margaret was the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, which made Margaret the niece of King Edward IV and Richard III. Therefore Reginald would have had a strong Plantagenet claim to the throne had it not been for the Bill of Attainder that was passed against his grandfather when he was found guilty of treason.

Pole studied at Oxford from the age of 12 and completed his degree just after the age of 15. It looks like Pole was always destining for a life within the clergy.

Henry VIII bestowed many honours on Pole including the deanery of Wimborne Minister in Dorest, the Prebendary of Salisbury and the Dean of Exeter, despite never being ordained into the church. In 1521, with Henry’s blessing, Pole set off to the University of Padua where he quickly became popular and was highly regarded amongst scholars like Erasmus and Thomas More. Henry paid half of Pole’s fees whilst he was studying abroad.

Pole remained in Padua until 1527 when he returned home. Henry at this time was desperate for Pole’s support and his written opinion on ‘The Great Matter’, his divorce with Katherine of Aragon. In exchange for his support Henry offered Pole the role of Archbishop of York or the Diocese of Winchester in return for his loyalty. Pole wanted to avoid being dragged into the situation instead seeked permission to leave for France to further his studying. In effect he went into self imposed exile to avoid answering Henry’s demands. Despite this Henry was still covering Pole’s allowances abroad.

In May 1536, Pole eventually spoke out against Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. Henry called Pole back to England to answer questions on his writings. Pole disobeyed Henry’s orders and instead headed to Rome after receiving a Papal invitation to stay at the Vatican from Pope Paul III. This was a blow to Henry as it was clear for all to see that the once close relationship that they shared was over as Pole sided with Rome against Henry and England.

Despite never being ordained Pole, in 1537, was created a Cardinal and was charged with organising a march on London to replace Henry’s current government with a Roman Catholic one to bring the country back in line with Rome.

In retaliation to Pole’s betrayal Henry arrested members of the Pole family including his brother, nephew and mother, the Countess of Salisbury and charged each of them with treason and aiding Reginald Pole and his cause. All but one was found guilty and Bills of Attainders were passed against them all stripping of their titles and land and eventually they were executed for Pole’s betrayal.

Pope Paul III died in 1549 and a conclave was held to find his successor, at one point Pole had nearly two – thirds of the votes required to become Pope, however, Pole didn’t want to campaign to become Pope and so support began to slip away from him.

Reginald Pole remained a Cardinal and was quietly dedicated to his work. That is until the death of Edward VI in 1553. With the Catholic Mary I taking the throne Pole’s life was once again an active one. He instantly wrote to the newly anointed Queen and successfully returned to England from exile as Papal Legate in 1554.

Under Mary I, Pole saw the attainder against his family reversed and was finally ordained as a Priest in 1556. Two days later on 22nd March Pole was consecrated as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Pole was the last Roman Catholic to hold this position. Alongside this he also acted as chief minister and advisor to the Queen.

Cardinal_Reginald_Pole

Reginald Pole died on 17th Nov 1558, most likely for the influenza which had gripped London in an epidemic. He died just a few short hours after Queen Mary I. He is buried at Canterbury Cathedral.

On this day in 1547 – The Coronation of Edward VI

Following the death of Henry VIII, his only son Edward was announced as his successor on 28th January 1547. 20th February 1547 saw the day that Edward was crowned King Edward VI.

The day before his coronation Edward rode out of the Tower of London to the Palace of Westminster. The procession was led by the King’s messengers, gentlemen, trumpeters, chaplains and esquires. Following them on horseback was the nobility and council members  with Henry Grey carrying the Sword of State. Behind all of this was the new King, nine year old, Edward accompanied by his uncle, Duke of Somerset and the Earl of Warwick.

The coronation service was shorter than normal partly due to his age but also to do with the fact that many of the rituals were now inappropriate due to the Reformation. Cramer encouraged the young King to continue the work of his father and pushed the Protestant cause.

After the coronation the nation was placed under a Regency Council until the young King was old enough to rule on his own. The council was led by his uncle, Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset.

Edward’s reign was short lived, he fell ill in February 1553 and passed away, aged only 15 and six years into his reign. Edward named his cousin, Lady Jane Grey as his successor in an attempt to keep England Protestant, despite it going againt his fathers wishes in his Act of Succession.Edward_VI_of_England_c._1546