Tag Archives: Holy Roman Emperor

On this day in 1538 – Geoffrey Pole was arrested

On 29th August 1538 Geoffrey Pole was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Pole was the son of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury and therefore had a claim to the throne.

Geoffrey Pole was present at Anne Boleyn’s coronation but his loyalty, along with the rest of the family, lay with Katherine of Aragon and her daughter, Princess Mary. Pole had a private meeting with the Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys and Pole told Chapuys that if the Holy Roman Emperor was to invade England to avenge the wrongs that had been done to his aunt, Katherine, then the English people would support him.

The conversation, which was supposed to be private, reached King Henry VIII’s ears and Pole was instantly arrested. He would stay in the Tower of London for the next two months until in October when he was called for interrogation. Pole was questioned about conversations and letters that had been sent and received to his brother, Cardinal Pole, from his family. These letters were not approved by the King or Council and so suspicion fell on the Pole family.

Pole’s wife, Constance, was also questioned about Pole’s activity but she was not imprisoned and so attempted to contact Pole’s mother and brother, Lord Montagu to warn them that Geoffrey was facing the rack and that they could be implicated. By the time word reached his family Geoffrey had attempted suicide and had caused some injury to himself.

After further interrogation Pole broke and gave all the evidence the King would need against the Pole family. Henry had Lord Montagu and Henry Courtenay arrested and imprisoned in the Tower on 4th November 1538.

Geoffrey along with his brother and Henry Courtenay were tried, they entered a plea of guilty and was originally condemned to death until he was pardoned on 4th January 1539. Thomas Cromwell wrote that he had received the pardon because he was so ill he was already as good as dead.

A_Torture_RackA typical torture rack

On this day in 1513 – the Battle of the Spurs took place

On 16th August 1513 the Battle of the Spurs took place. The battle was also known as the Battle of Guinegate and it was part of the War of the League of Cambrai. The battle saw the English, led by King Henry VIII, and the Holy Roman Empire, led by Maximillian I fight together against the French.

In May 1513 English soldiers arrived in Calais to join up with the army that was led by George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, who had been appointed as Lieutenant General on 12th May 1513. On 17th May King Henry VIII announced to the Cinque Ports and the Constable of Dover Castle, Edward Poynings, that he would be joining the troops in France and would leave his wife, Catherine of Aragon, as Governor of England.

The Chronicle of Calais records that troops began arriving from 6th June, with all the troops in place at the end of June they set off towards Thérouanne with Shrewsbury leading a vanguard 8,000 men strong and Lord Herbert, Charles Somerset, commanding the rearward that consisted of 6,000 men. King Henry arrived in Calais on 30th June with an army of 11,000 men provided by Cardinal Wolsey. Henry’s army contained cavalry, artillery, infantry and longbows. Henry set off towards the battle led by 800 German mercenaries that had been recruited to the battle.

When Shrewsbury arrived at the town of Thérouanne they set up the artillery battery and mines where they could lay explosives but throughout July little progress was made between the two sides. Eventually the town held by Antoine de Créquy surrendered and the French suffered a huge set back. Margaret of Savoy noted that two men were governing everything during the skirmish; this was Charles Brandon and Cardinal Wolsey. During all this Henry was camped to the east in a heavily defended camp. Henry’s accommodation was a wooden cabin with an iron chimney and surrounding that were large yellow and white tents.

The Emperor Maximillian arrived in France in August 1513 and stayed at Aire-sur-la-Lys, Henry arrived in Aire-sur-la-Lys on 11th August dressed in light armour whilst his retinue wore cloth of gold which was a big difference to Maximillian’s retinue who were dressed in black still mourning Bianca Maria Sforza, Maximillian’s wife. Upon hearing that the two leaders had met Catherine of Aragon wrote to Cardinal Wolsey that she was delighted as it would be an honour for Henry and help Maximillian’s reputation.

King Louis XII of France wanted the French to attempt a second battle in order to break the siege, it was organised for 16th August with the cavalry grouping at Blangy. The French army consisted of gendarmes and pikemen. In response to the this the English had their engineers work overnight constructing five bridges over the River Lys to allow their army to move freely, meanwhile King Henry moved his camp to Guinegate on 14th August after his army were able to displace a company of armed horsemen who were stationed at the Tower of Guinegate.

The French still in Blangy devised a plan to split their army into two one to be led by the Duke of Longueville and the other by the Duke of Alençon. Alençon’s force began by attacking the positions that were being held by Lord Shrewsbury whilst Longueville attacked Lord Herbert. Both of these attacks were to act as a diversion to allow the stradiots to deliver supplies to Thérouanne. The French were hoping to catch the English unaware by setting out before dawn; however, a small cavalry from the Scottish borders were already out patrolling and detected the two troops moving.

Henry sent out a vanguard consisting of 1,000 men and then followed them with between 10,000 and 12,000 men. With the French alerted to the fact that the English already knew they were moving the troops decided to wait on a hillside to regroup and wait for the stradiots to contact the garrison within the town of Thérouanne. Whilst they waited on the side of the hill the English vanguard approached from the front with archers shooting from nearby. This was the first time the French became aware of the size of the English army. The English charged as the French were moving off, throwing the French into confusion.

As the French were in disarray the stradiots who had attempted to reach Thérouanne were fleeing from cannon fire and crashed into the French cavalry. Whilst La Palice tried to regain control over his troops they were fleeing so quickly that in order to gain more speed they throw away lances and standards and the gendarmes even cut some of the heavier armour from their horses. The English chased the French for miles until they reached Blangy.

Whilst this was happening Sir Rhys ap Thomas fought the smaller French troops between the village of Bomy and King Henry’s encampment at Guinegate.

Reports of the day’s events were sent to Margaret of Savoy the Imperial Master of the Posts, Baptiste de Tassis wrote

“Early in the day the Emperor and the King of England encountered 8,000 French horse; the Emperor, with 2,000 only, kept them at bay until four in the afternoon, when they were put into flight. A hundred men of arms were left upon the field, and more than a hundred taken prisoners, of the best men in France; as the Sieur de Piennes, the Marquis de Rotelin, and others.”

With the battle over it was time to assess the casualties many French prisoners were captured and reports of approximately 3,000 French casualties. It was reported that nine French standards were captured as well.

With the threat of a French counter attack now dealt with Henry’s camp once again moved south and on 22nd August the town of Thérouanne fell and Henry was welcomed into the town by Shrewsbury. With the town captured it was time for the army to turn its attention towards Tournai.

Battle of the SpursAn artistic impression of the Battle of the Spurs

On this day in 1513 – Edmund de la Pole was buried

Edmund de la Pole was the son of John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk and his wife Elizabeth of York, younger sister of King Edward IV and older sister of King Richard III. The De La Pole’s were some of the last legitimate Plantagenet’s in England during the Tudor reign.

Edmund’s older brother, John, had been named heir apparent by King Richard III after the death of his own son making his the focus of the Yorkists and those loyal to the Plantagenet’s after the death of Richard at Bosworth in 1485.

John de la Pole swore allegiance to the new King Henry VII but in 1487 joined the rebellion of Lambert Simnel, who claimed to be the imprisoned Edward, Earl of Warwick and a claimant to the throne. John de la Pole fought and died at the Battle of Stoke which was considered the last battle of the Wars of the Roses.

With the death of John the focus moved to Edmund as the claimant of the throne for the Yorkists and in 1491 Edmund inherited his father’s title of Duke of Suffolk although two years later this was demoted to Earl.

In 1498 Edmund was indicted in the King’s Bench for allegedly killing a man in a fury. He received the King’s pardon but in summer 1499 Edmund fled to Calais but was persuaded to return to England and returned into the King’s favour. Edmund went on to witness the confirmation of the treaty for Prince Arthur’s marriage to Katherine of Aragon.

After a brief trip to Calais with the King, Edmund began hearing that the Holy Roman Emperor would be willing to help anyone that carried the blood of King Edward IV back to the throne so Edmund began to approach the Emperor and after six weeks received word that the Emperor would help him with up to five thousand men for three months. However, the Emperor would not be able to gather these men for his support so instead agreed to lend money to Edmund.

On 28th July 1502 Maximillian signed an agreement with the English that in return for £10,000 he would not aid any English rebels regardless of their rank and so Edmund was on his own. On 12th February 1503 with Edmund still staying within Maximillian’s borders, Maximillian was requested to take an oath to swear that he would observe the treaty that he signed and that Edmund would be expelled from his lands.

January 1504 saw an attainder passed against the de la Pole’s including Edmund. He eventually left Maximillian’s land during Easter by leaving his brother, Richard, behind as hostage. Edmund headed to Gelderland to the Duke of Saxony where instead of being greeted and supported he was imprisoned. The Duke of Saxony was believed to have received money from King Henry VII to secure Edmund but for some reason he was never handed over to England.

Philip, King of Castile, eventually gained possession of Edmund and in January 1506 Edmund sent his servants to communicate with Henry and to negotiate a way to leave Philip’s possession. During January Philip was travelling to Castile when he was blown off course and landed in England. He visited Henry at Windsor where they discussed the surrender of Edmund into Henry’s custody. In March 1506 Edmund was paraded through London and placed into the Tower.

King Henry had promised Philip that he would not kill or harm Edmund but instead keep him imprisoned for the remainder of his life. Henry VII kept his word and Edmund was still alive when Henry VIII took the throne. In 1513 King Henry VIII ordered Edmund’s execution and on 30th March 1513 he was taken from his cell in the Tower and beheaded.

Edmund was buried on 4th May 1513 in the Church of the Minories, Aldgate.

Edmund de la Pole coat of arms

On this day in 1530 – Pope Clement VII forbid Henry VIII from marrying Anne Boleyn

As the battle between Henry VIII and the Pope raged on over Henry’s divorce to Katherine of Aragon. It was becoming clear that it was not just about Henry’s belief that the marriage was never legal; it was about Henry wanting to take a new wife, namely Anne Boleyn.

Katherine did everything she could to protect herself and her daughter, Mary. She was sending letters to her nephew, Charles, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire for his assistance with her cause. Charles. The news of the events in England reached the ears of the Pope, who threatened Henry with excommunication if he went ahead and took a second wife.

The Pope issued the following statement;

“Bull, notifying that on the appeal of queen Katharine from the judgment of the Legates, who had declared her contumacious for refusing their jurisdiction as being not impartial, the Pope had committed the cause, at her request, to Master Paul Capisucio, the Pope’s chaplain, and auditor of the Apostolic palace, with power to cite the King and others; that the said Auditor, ascertaining that access was not safe, caused the said citation, with an inhibition under censures, and a penalty of 10,000 ducats, to be posted on the doors of the churches in Rome, at Bruges, Tournay, and Dunkirk, and the towns of the diocese of Terouenne (Morinensis). The Queen, however, having complained that the King had boasted, notwithstanding the inhibition and mandate against him, that he would proceed to a second marriage, the Pope issues this inhibition, to be fixed on the doors of the churches as before, under the penalty of the greater excommunication, and interdict to be laid upon the kingdom.
Bologna, 7 March 1530, 7 Clement VII.”
 (LP iv. 6256)

Henry VIIIPope Clement VII

On this day in 1500 – Charles V of Spain is born

Charles V was born on 24th February 1500 to Joanna of Castile and Philip I of Castile and was born the heir of three seperate houses – Habsburg, Valois-Burgandy and Trastámara.

Born the grandson of Isabella of Castile, Ferdinand II of Aragon, Maximilian, Holy Roman Emperor and Mary of Burgandy, Charles would grow up to become one of the most powerful men in Europe.

In 1516 he became King of Castile alongside his mother and this quickly followed by gaining the crown of Aragon in 1519. In the same year Charles was elected Holy Roman Emperor beating Frederick II of Saxony, Ferdinand I of France and Henry VIII o the position. As the grandson of the previous Emperor, Maximilion, Charles was the natural choice and with an unanimous decision he was crowned on the 28th June 1519.

In 1525 Charles married Isabella of Portugal and had three children with Isabella, however just four years earlier he was betrothed to the five year old Princess Mary daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon. Princess Mary later married Charles’ son Philip when she was aged 37.

During Charles’ reign as Emperor Henry VIII had started to try and divorce Katherine of Aragon in 1527. Katherine wrote frequently to her nephew, Charles, to help her cause within Europe and the Pope. In 1527 Charles had taken the Pope prisoner and so he was unable to get involved at the time, which Henry unsuccessfully tried to use to his advantage. In 1529  although the Pope was free he was still heavily influenced by Charles. The Pope sent Cardinal Campeggio to preside over the divorce hearing and delay it as much as he could.

In 1554 Charles began to withdraw from his duties passing them on to his brother, Ferdinand, and son, Philip II of Spain.

On 21st September 1558 Charles died, aged 58, of malaria. charles v