Tag Archives: Elizabeth I

On this day in 1609 – John Dee died

John Dee was born on 13th July 1527 in Tower Ward, London to Rowland Dee and Johanna Wild. He was an only child. His father was a minor courtier in the time of Henry VIII.

Dee had a strong education studying at St John’s College in Cambridge. Upon graduation he travelled Europe a continued studying and lecturing. Along the way he picked up a vast collection of astronomical and mathematical instruments.

In 1555 Dee was arrested on the grounds of forecasting the horoscopes of Queen Mary and the Princess Elizabeth. Mary also added treason to the charge but Dee cleared his name and survived. Dee was a lifelong learner and an attempt to preserve books and manuscripts with a vision of a national library was dismissed by Mary. Instead Dee set about expanded his personal library and collecting many ancient books from across Europe.

In 1558, with the ascension of Elizabeth, Dee prospered he was appointed to be Elizabeth’s advisor on all astrological and scientific matters and was consulted over the best day to hold the new queen’s coronation.

In his time Dee published many books and advised on matters that ranged from navigation to the occult. The occult was something that Dee himself would dabble in, in later life, using the services of scryers in an attempt to communicate with angels.

Dee travelled to Europe in 1583 and lived a nomadic life travelling from court to court seeking audiences with rulers. However, they did not trust him; they believed he was a spy under orders from Elizabeth herself.

Eventually Dee returned to England in 1589 to his home at Mortlake to find his house vandalised and his impressive library destroyed and burgled. An increased distrust in the occult meant that Dee found it difficult to find a position and asked Elizabeth for help. She appointed him Warden of Christ’s College, Manchester.

Dee returned to London in 1605 after Elizabeth’s death to find that King James I was unwilling to help him. Dee returned to Mortlake in poverty and was forced to sell off many possessions to support himself and his daughter.

Dee died on 26th March 1609 aged 81.

John Dee memorial plaque

On this day in 1584 – Sir Walter Raleigh granted a charter to colonise North America

Sir Walter Raleigh was granted a charter by Queen Elizabeth I to colonise an area of North America. The charter specified that a colony was to be established or Raleigh would lose his rights to colonisation.

Elizabeth intended that the venture would bring many treasures and would allow the British to establish a base which they would use to send ships to raid the Spanish ships that were carrying treasure.

By April 1584 Raleigh had set out on expedition and by July a new colony was founded at Roanoke, Virginia to learn their ways and the geography of the area.

All appears to have gone well so a second expedition was arranged led by Sir Richard Grenville in order to gain military and scientific knowledge. Five ships set out from Plymouth but storms meant that one ship, the Tiger, was separated from the others and docked in Puerto Rico. The Tiger set off for Roanoake again on June 7th and slowly began meeting up with other ships from the expedition. On the way the Tiger struck a shoal and much of the food was ruined but still they landed in August 1585 where 107 men disembarked with a promise that Grenville would return in the following April with more men and food supplies.

Grenville’s promised date on which he would return passed and attacks began taking place upon the fort on the island. Sir Francis Drake on his way home from the Caribbean stopped at Roanoake and offered to take the men home. Grenville’s fleet arrived shortly after Drake’s departure with the promising men and food. A small amount of men stayed behind to protect Sir Walter Raleigh’s claim to Roanoake.

Sir Walter Raleigh

On this day in 1603 – Queen Elizabeth I died.

On March 24th 1603 Queen Elizabeth I died, aged 69.

In the years leading to her death she had lost many of the courtiers that were close friends of hers from Robert Devereux, who was executed for treason in 1601 to Robert Dudley, who died in 1588 and was believed to be Elizabeth’s true love. Elizabeth’s most trusted advisor William Cecil died in 1598.

In late 1602 Elizabeth was out walking and caught a chill and began complaining of feeling unwell. Elizabeth retired to Richmond Palace in March and refused to allow the doctors in to examine her, she also refused to take to her bed and rest. Elizabeth would stand for hours and sat occasionally. Elizabeth eventually lay on the floor for four days where she grew weaker and eventually was unable to argue with her ladies in waiting who moved her to her bed. Elizabeth’s Privy Councillors gathered around her in the hope that she would finally name her successor but she was too weak to even talk. Elizabeth signalled to Robert Cecil who understood that it was a sign to name James VI of Scotland as her successor.

Archbishop Whitgift was called to the Queen’s bedside to offer prayers and Elizabeth slowly drifted into sleep and never awoke finally passing away on March 24th. A proclamation was issued to declare Elizabeth’s death and the succession of James VI of Scotland. Due to the way the Elizabethans still followed the Julian calendar Elizabeth actually died on the last day of 1602, with each New Year taking place on 25th March. A new year for a new ruling dynasty.

Elizabeth’s cause of death was never known as no post mortem was carried out however two theories of her death were simply old age or blood poisoning caused by the white lead and vinegar mixture she used upon her skin.

Elizabeth was laid to rest of 28th April 1608 in Westminster Abbey.

Under her leadership England advanced significantly in the Arts through the works of William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and John Donne. England also explored many new lands through Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Richard Greenville. She also successfully saw off many attempts of invasion from the Spanish. The death of Elizabeth saw the end of the Tudors and she left England in a better place than when she took the throne.

Elizabeth I tomb effigy (digitally altered so railings do not sh                        Tomb of Queen Elizabeth I at Westminster Abbey.

                               Photo courtesy of Westminster Abbey

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 1593 – Thomas Snagge died

Thomas Snagge was born in 1536 in Letchworth and studied law at Gray’s Inn, London. He began practising law in London in 1554.

Snagge had a great career under Queen Elizabeth I as he was appointed to the role of Attorney General for Ireland in 1577. Snagge held this role for three years until 1580 and it appears that he disliked being in Ireland, with all official paperwork listing the many complaints he had, in particular complaints about Nicholas White, the Master of the Rolls in Ireland.

Snagge was appointed, in 1580, the position of Serjeant at law, a role that would see him work with a small group of lawyers that took a lot of the work of the common law courts. However with Queen Elizabeth I created the Queen’s Council, this group of lawyers began to diminish. In 1589, Snagge was created Speaker at the House of Commons and the following year was appointed to Queen’s Serjeant.

Snagge died in 1593 and buried in St Mary’s Church in Marston Moretaine

Tomb of Thomas Snagge

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 1526 – Henry Carey, Baron Hundson, born

Henry Carey was born on 4th March 1526 to William Carey and Mary Boleyn.

His father died when he was just two years old. With the death her husband Mary found herself in financial difficulty. As Mary’s husband was a close courtier of Henry VIII and herself the King’s former mistress she wrote to the King for help. Henry did what he could and ensured that Mary received financial support from her father and helped further by granting her sister, Anne, wardship of her son Henry. Anne was chosen as she was in a position of financial security that she could help her struggling sister. Anne provided her nephew with the best education with him studying under Nicholas Bourbon, a renowned French poet and a fellow reformer. Anne was beheaded when Carey was only 10 years old.

Henry Carey received many royal appointments during adulthood. It began at the age of 21, in 1547, when he became a Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire a role he repeated in 1554. Carey was highly honoured when his cousin, Elizabeth, ascended the throne. Elizabeth treated her Boleyn relatives well with Carey’s sister, Catherine, as one of Elizabeth’s closest ladies-in-waiting.

In 1558 Elizabeth created Carey Baron Hundson and he was granted properties in Herfordshire as well as Kent. In 1560 she appointed Carey to the role of Master of the Queen’s Hawks followed a year later by his induction to the Knights of the Garter.

In 1564 Elizabeth appointed Carey Captain of the Gentlemen Pensioners, which essentially meant that the four years that he spent in this role he was the Queen’s personal bodyguard. A role that helped his next appointment in 1568, when he was appointed Governor of Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland. The role of Governor was not an easy one as less than a year in the position the nobles in the North were preparing to rise up against the crown. In February 1560 Carey defeated Lord Dacre, an event that helped bring an end to the rebellion.

As reward for his success Carey was awarded more prestigious positions on 31st July 1574 he became the Keeper of Somerset House, London, Elizabeth’s former residence. In 1577 he became a member of the Privy Council, advising Elizabeth on the politics and running of the country.

In 1585 Carey was granted the role of Lord Chamberlain of the Household, the most senior office in the Royal household. Whilst in this role he became the patron of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the acting company that was the home of William Shakespeare.

Henry Carey died at Somerset House on 23rd July 1596 and was buried in Westminster Abbey on the 12th August. Upon his death he left his family with debt that was acquired at the expense of serving the Queen. Due to this and the love she showed her relatives Elizabeth covered the costs of Carey’s funeral and granted his widow a one off payment along with a yearly pension from her Exchequer along with the keepership of Somerset House for the remainder of her life.

Henry Carey had a life having honours bestowed upon him by his cousin. His life has always been highly talked about from the moment he was born with constant rumours that his father was not William Carey but in fact Henry VIII’s illegitimate son with Mary Boleyn. It is known that Mary was the King’s mistress before he married her sister; Henry had to get a papal dispensation to marry Anne due to his previous relationship with Mary. Historians continue to argue for each side about the paternity of the Carey children. What do you think? Is Henry and his sister Catherine the children of Henry VIII or are they the children of a loving marriage between Mary and her husband William? Comment below with your thoughts.

Henry Carey

On this day in 1577 – Death of Edmund Guest, Bishop of Salisbury

Edmund Guest (or Gheast) died on 28th February 1577. Born in 1514 in Yorkshire he led a very academic childhood attending York Grammar School, Eton College and Kings College in Canterbury.

Whilst in Canterbury Guest became chaplain to Archbishop Matthew Parker who went on to make Guest Archdeacon of Canterbury and Rector of Cliffe, Kent. In 1560 Guest was made Bishop of Rochester, which duties he performed alonside his role as Archdeacon of Canterbury.

In 1563 he was invited to participate in the Convocation which was being held under his mentor Archbishop Parker. Their task was to revise the 42 articles. The origin of the 42 articles goes back to 1536 and Thomas Cranmer’s six articles that acted as the first guidelines for the Church of England. Over the years the articles were expanded and revised. It grew to 42 in 1552 under Edward VI. With the ascension of Mary I the articles were no longer enforced as Mary tried to turn the country back towards Catholism.

Under Elizabeth I and the Convocation led by Archbishop Parker only 39 of the 42 articles were passed, Elizabeth reduced this further to 38. Elizabeth did not want to offend any English citizens that still practised Catholism and so article XXIX was removed. It was later restored in 1571 after Elizabeth was excommunicated by the Pope the previous year. Bishop Guest opposed the article but his protests went unheard as Elizabeth approved the reintroduction of the article.

Guest was appointed to the role of Bishop of Salisbury in 1571, which he held until his death in 1577. He was buried in Salisbury Cathedral’s choir.

On this day in 1547 – George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon, was born

George Carey was born on 26th February 1547 to Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, and Anne Morgan. Henry Carey was the son of Mary Boleyn and if court rumour was to be believed the illegitimate child of Henry VIII. Regardless of whether this is true or not George Carey was the cousin of Elizabeth I.

In 1560 George Carey entered Trinity College, Cambridge. Carey later went on to have a successful military career fighting in the Northern Rebellion in 1569. The Northern Rebellion saw an unsuccessful attempt by Catholic lords to depose Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots who they believed was the rightful heir to the English throne. Carey was praised for issuing and winning a challenge he issued to Lord Fleming, commander of Dunbar Castle, in single combat. As a result Carey was knighted for his bravery by Earl of Sussex.

Following his military career Carey made the move into politics and became a Member of Parliament for several terms and for different counties. He served for Hertfordshire in 1571 and Hampshire in 11584, 1586, 1588 and 1592. During his time as an MP Carey’s father died, in 1596, and George inherited the title of 2nd Baron Hunsdon and in 1597 he was also appointed Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household, again following in his father’s footsteps.

Outside of Carey’s political career in his role as Lord Chamberlain he was a patron of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a theatre company that included the likes of Richard Burbage and William Shakespeare.

In 1597 Carey was invested as a Knight of the Garter, a prestigious event that was marked with, what is believed to be the first performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’.

Carey spent 20 years of his life as governor of the Isle of Wight and during his time there he took command of the island’s defences during the Spanish Armarda.

George_Carey_by_Nicholas_Hilliard_1601

Carey died on 9th September 1603 from veneral disease and mercury poisoning. He was buried in Westminster Abbey in the Carey vault in the chapel of St John the Baptist.

On this day in 1601 – Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, is executed

Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex, was beheaded on 25th February 1601 after a failed attempt to overthrow Elizabeth I.

Devereux was one of the Queen’s favourites, however they had a fiery relationship, in 1598 Elizabeth refused to grant one of Devereux’s requests and as a result Devereux turned his back on the Queen. Seen as a breach of etiqutte which saw Elizabeth loose her temper and slapped Devereux, who in retaliation reached for his sword. He was soon banished from the court.

A year later he was sent to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, forgiven by the Queen, to help stop an uprising. Devereux failed to fulfil his role y not putting a stop to the rebellion, fighting inrelevant fights and wasting the army’s funds. He also signed a truce with the leader of the rebellion, which caused concern back in England. Concerned at what was being said back in England, Devereux left his troops in Ireland and set off to England, disobeying strict orders from Elizabeth herself. He arrived at Nonsuch Palace on 28th September 1599 and stormed into the Queen’s bedchamber where she was unclothed and without her wig. Devereux was interogated by the Privy Council for five hours the following day to explain his actions. He was placed under house arrest at York House.

By August 1600 Devereux was freed but without his sweet wine monopoly, this was his main source of income. Furious at the Queen taking away his income Devereux began plotting to overthrow the Queen and government and began defending Essex House. On 8th February 1601 Devereux with a small army of just over 100 men carrying swords departed from Essex House on the Strand. They headed into the city via Ludgate Hill where a barricade was placed by a troop under the leadership of Sir John Leveson in an attempt to stop Devereux. Both sides began to fight but when Devereux’s step father, Sir Christopher Blount, was injured he soon retreated back to Essex House only to be arrested and sent to the Tower of London.

Devereux was tried on charges of treason on 19th February and found guilty. Devereux begged to be executed privately away from the baying mobs that executions bring. Standing on the scaffold before the block he removed his cap and coat before kneeling and indicting that he was ready. It took three attempts from the axemen to sever his head before his head was held up to the small audience watching.

Devereux was the last person to be beheaded within the Tower of London.

Robert Devereux