Tag Archives: Katherine of Aragon

On this day in 1536 – William Tyndale was executed

William Tyndale was born in Melksham Court, Stinchcombe between 1484 and 1496, his family also went by the name of Hychyns at times and Tyndale was enrolled at Magdalen College, Oxford as William Hychyns. Tyndale studied a Bachelor of Arts degree at Mgadelen Hall in 1506 receiving his degree in 1512, in the same year he became a subdeacon. In July 1515 he was made Master of Arts and this allowed him to begin studying theology although his official studies did not include the systematic study of Scripture. Tyndale later said on this

They have ordained that no man shall look on the Scripture, until he be noselled in heathen learning eight or nine years and armed with false principles, with which he is clean shut out of the understanding of the Scripture”.

Tyndale whilst studying theology also became fluent in Spanish, Italian, French, Greek, Hebrew, German and Latin. In 1517 until 1521 he was at the University of Cambridge before becoming chaplain at the home of Sir John Walsh at Little Sodbury in 1521, he also became a tutor to Walsh’s children. His opinions caused Tyndale to be summoned before the Chancellor of the Diocese of Worcester, John Bell, in 1522 but no formal charges were laid against Tyndale.

In 1523 Tyndale left Little Sodbury and travelled to London to ask permission to translate the Bible into English, he sought the help of Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall, a classicalist who worked with Erasmus on a Greek New Testament. However, Tunstall denied Tyndale his patronage saying he had no room for him within his household. Instead Tyndale preached and studied in London and took help from Humphrey Monmouth, a cloth merchant, also during this time he lectured across the city including at St Dunstan-in-the-West.

Tyndale left England and landed in Europe in 1524 where it is believed he travelled to Wittenberg, an entry in the registers of the University of Wittenberg has been translated to William Tyndale of England. During his time here he began his translation of the New Testament and it was completed in 1525 with the help of William Roy, an Observant friar.

In 1525 publication of the work by Peter Quentell, in Cologne, was interrupted following the impact of anti-Lutheranism. A full edition was however printed in 1526 by Peter Schoeffer in Worms, Germany, a city that was adopting Lutheranism. More copies were printed in Antwerp and were smuggled into England and Scotland before Bishop Tunstall condemned it in October 1526. Tunstall issued severe warnings to booksellers and burned many copies in the streets.

Tyndale remained in Worms for a year before moving to Antwerp and then Hamburg in 1529 when he continued revising his New Testament and began work on translating the Old Testament and writing treatises. Cardinal Wolsey declared Tyndale as a heretic in open court in January 1529.

In 1530 Tyndale wrote The Practyse of Prelates, which opposed King Henry VIII divorce from Katherine of Aragon on the grounds that it was unscriptual and a plot by Cardinal Wolsey to get Henry entangled in the papal courts. Henry demanded that the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V captured Tyndale and sent him to England under the terms of the Treaty of Cambrai. However, Charles demanded formal evidence before he would do anything.

Tyndale was betrayed by Henry Phillips who alerted the Imperial authorities as to his position and he was captured in Antwerp in 1535 and held in the castle of Vilvoorde near Brussels. He was charged with heresy in 1535 and stood trial where he was condemned to be burnt at the stake. Tyndale’s date of death is typical marked as 6th October 1536 and it was reported that his final words before death were ‘Lord! Open the King of England’s eyes.’

Just four years after Tyndale’s death English translations of the Bible were published at the King’s request.

William_TyndaleWilliam Tyndale

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On this day in 1518 – Princess Mary and the Dauphin of France were betrothed

As part of the Treaty of London, signed on 28th February 1518, an agreement was made that would betroth Princess Mary of England and the Dauphin of France two betrothal ceremonies would take place on in England, on 5th October, the second in Paris on 16th December.

Treaty of LondonThe Treaty of London

On 5th December 1518 the two year old Princess Mary was taken to the court at Greenwich and presented to the French Maryambassadors. Standing in for the French Dauphin was Guillaume Gouffier, Lord Admiral of France. Mary was dressed in a gown of gold cloth and a cap made of black cloth that covered her auburn hair, she was also covered in jewels.

Mary was stood in front of her mother, Katherine of Aragon, until the ceremony began and she was held up to participate. The French ambassador asked for Henry and Katherine’s consent to the marriage, which also meant Mary’s consent. After the royal parents gave their consent the Princess’ godfather, Cardinal Wolsey, presented the Lord Admiral with a Diamond ring which he then placed on the young Princess’ hand.

Mary who behaved throughout the ceremony believed that the Lord Admiral was the Dauphin and asked ‘Are you the Dauphin of France? If you are, I wish to kiss you.’

DauphinFollowing the first betrothal Mary would begin French lessons, the French ambassadors would check on her progress. Mary would never meet the Dauphin as King Henry VIII did not take her to the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520 although King Francis took the Dauphin along. Henry eventually broke the betrothal the following year in 1521 when he betrothed Mary to Charles V instead.

Above right: Princess Mary

Left: the Dauphin of France

On this day in 1553 – Queen Mary I was coronated

On 1st October 1553 Queen Mary I was proclaimed Queen of England at Westminster Abbey, after a turbulent childhood spending years out of favour with her father, King Henry VIII following his divorce from Katherine of Aragon.

At 11am Mary was led by the Bishop of Winchester, gentlemen, knights and councillors including the Earl of Arundel carrying the ball and sceptre, the Marquess of Winchester carrying the orb and the Duke of Norfolk carrying the crown. Mary was dressed traditionally wearing the state robes of crimson velvet that her male ancestors would have worn to their coronation. A canopy was carried over the Queen by the barons of the Cinque Ports as she walked along a raised walkway to the coronation chair.

Bishop Stephen Gardiner presided over the coronation instead of the Archbishop of Canterbury, this was because Mary viewed the Archbishop as her enemy due to his Protestant beliefs therefore Gardiner and his Catholic ways was a safer bet. Gardiner began the coronation by saying;

Sirs, Here present is Mary, rightful and undoubted inheritrix by the Laws of God and man to the Crown and Royal Dignity of this realm of England, France and Ireland, whereupon you shall understand that this day is appointed by all the peers of this land for the consecration, injunction and coronation of the said most excellent Princess Mary; will serve you at the time and give your wills and assent to the same consecration, unction and coronation?”

The congregation replied ‘Yea, yea, yeah! God save Queen Mary!’

Mary then prostrated herself on a velvet cushion in front of the altar whilst prayers were said over her. Following this the Bishop of Chichester, George Day, preached a sermon about the obedience owed to a monarch. Mary then made her oaths and whilst the choir sang Veni Creator Spiritus Mary laid prostrate in front of the high altar.

Following this Mary and her ladies prepared the new Queen for her anointing, Mary returned dressed in a purple velvet petticoat and lay in front of the altar as she was anointed with holy oil on her shoulders, forehead, temple and breast by Bishop Gardiner. Mary did not wish to use the oils that had been consecrated by her brother’s ministers as she viewed them as heretical therefore Mary had the Bishop of Arras in Brussels send untainted oils.

After redressing herself with the robes of state Mary was handed the sword, sceptre and orbs, Mary was in fact handed two sceptres during her coronation; the first was the one handed to all past Kings and the second was one that was bearing a dove which was traditionally handed to the Queen Consort this second sceptre would have been handed to Mary’s mother, Katherine of Aragon. After she was handed these items of state Mary was crowned firstly with the crown of Edward the Confessor, then the Imperial Crown and finally a smaller custom made crown. Finally the ermine furred crimson mantle was placed around her shoulders and nobles approached the new Queen to pay their respects whilst she was seated in the coronation chair.

The coronation ended at 4pm with Mary proceeding to Westminster Hall for the coronation banquet and the beginning of her reign. During her coronation banquet Sir Edmund Dymoke appeared on horseback dressed in full armour and flung his gauntlet down and threw open a challenge and proclaimed himself as the Queen’s champion. Mary in gratitude gave Dymoke her gold drinking cup filled with wine. Mary was served over 312 dishes at her banquet with 7,112 served to the entire court. Nearly 4,900 dishes were recorded as waste and distributed to the Londoners that were outside the Hall hoping to catch a glimpse of the new Queen.

Coronation_of_Mary_ICoronation of Queen Mary I

On this day in 1501 – Katherine of Aragon set sail from Spain for England

Katherine of Aragon left her life behind in Spain as she left the Alhambra Palace in Granada on 21st May 1501 for a new life in England. Katherine was heading to England to marry Prince Arthur Tudor, son and heir of King Henry VII whom she had been betrothed to since she was three years old.

Katherine and her party attempted to set sail from Coruna on the 17th August after saying a tearful goodbye to her parents who had travelled with her to Galicia. Storms in the Bay of Biscay caused the fleet to land at Laredo, Bilbao. King Henry VII heard of the failed attempt and sent Stephen Butt, one of his best naval captains, to guide the Spanish party across the Bay. The fleet regrouped and at 5pm on the 27th September a second attempt was made to carry the 15 year old Katherine to her new life 500 miles away.

Katherine landed at Plymouth on the 2nd October and brought with her a dowry of 200,000 that was to be split into two payments and in return Henry had agreed to settle a third of the Prince of Wales’ land so she would be provided for in the event of her new husband’s death.

Katherine and Arthur’s betrothal had many false starts although the marriage was first suggested when Katherine was just three years old and Henry wanted Katherine sent to England straight away to learn the ways of the English court. However, her parents were keen to keep her in Spain until the couple were at the age to be married. Various events in England saw a potential end to the alliance including the pretender Perkin Warbeck. Eventually the couple were formally betrothed in two ceremonies in England where the Spanish ambassador De Puebla acted as proxy for Katherine.

The couple were eventually married at St Paul’s on 14th November 1501.

Katherine of AragonThe young Katherine of Aragon

On this day in 1534 – Pope Clement VII died

Pope Clement VII was born on 26th May 1478 as Giulio di Giuliano de’Medici. He was born in Florence one month after his father had been assassinated after the Pazzi Conspiracy. Giulio’s parents were not formally married, however, a loophole in canon law allowed for his parents to be betrothed which allowed Giulio to be considered legitimate. Giulio’s mother, Fioretta Gorini, died when he was a young age and was educated by his uncle, Lorenzo de’Medici, ruler of Florence.

In 1513 Giulio’s cousin Giovanni de’Medici was made Pope Leo X and made Giulio a Knight of Rhodes and Grand Prior of Capua and as a result he became one of the most powerful figures in Rome. He became one of Pope Leo X’s principal ministers and confidant.

On 23rd September 1513 Guilio was made Cardinal. Giulio was credited with being the main director of papal policy during his cousin’s reign. Between 1521 and 1522 he was Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Worcester.

Pope Leo X died in 1521 and Guilio was considered to be papabile in conclave however, he was not elected despite being one of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, preferred candidates. Guilio was a leading Cardinal during the papacy of Pope Adrian VI, who reigned less than a year before his unexpected death on 14th September 1523.

With Pope Adrian VI’s death a new conclave convened and Guilio was elected as Pope Clement VII. Upon his election one of Pope Clement’s first tasks was to send the Archbishop of Capua to the Kings of France, Spain and England in the hope of ending the Italian Wars, his attempt at peace failed. Following King Francis I of France’s invasion of Milan in 1524 Clement quit the Imperial-Spanish side of the Italian Wars and allied himself with the Italian princes which included the Republic of Venice and France in January 1525. The treaty was considered patriotic at the time, however, the unstable economy led to attacks from the Roman barons and the intervention of the Holy Roman Emperor. A month later Francis I was defeated and captured following the Battle of Pavia and Clement returned to his previous alliance with Charles V after signing an alliance with the viceroy of Naples.

Clement, however, once again switched his allegiance following the release of Francis I after the Treaty of Madrid in 1526. The Pope entered into the League of Cognac alongside France, Venice and Francesco Sforza of Milan.

Pope Clement’s change in politics caused the rise of the Imperial party inside the Curia; Cardinal Pompeo Colonna’s troops pillaged Vatican Hill and took control of Rome. Clement was forced to return the Papal States to an alliance with the Imperial side; however, Cardinal Colonna left the siege in Rome and headed to Naples leaving Clement to not follow through on his promise and remaining in alliance with the French. Clement also dismissed the Cardinal from his charge. Clement found himself alone in his alliance with France after the Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso d’Este, sided with the Imperial troops therefore leaving the road to Rome open for the German Landsknechts led by Charles III, Duke of Bourbon.

The Duke of Bourbon died during the siege and had left his army unpaid, starving and with no clear leader. On the 6th May 1527 the desolate army worked their way through Rome with many reports of vandalism, murder and rape. Pope Clement had no choice but to surrender on 6th June from Castel Sant’Angelo where he had taken refuge. In exchange for his life he agreed to pay 400,000 ducati in exchange for his life with the conditions that Parma, Piacenza, Civitavecchia and Modena were handed over to the Holy Roman Empire, whilst Venice also took advantage of the situation by capturing Cervia and Ravenna. For the six months following his surrender Clement was kept prisoner in Castel Sant’Angelo before he escaped after paying some Imperial officers. Clement disguised himself as a peddler and went first to Orvieto before heading to Viterbo he eventually returned to Rome in October 1528 to find is destroyed and depopulated.

During the Sack of Rome, in 1527, Clement received a request from King Henry VIII asking for his marriage to Katherine of Aragon to be annulled on the basis that it was unlawful in the eyes of God due to her previous marriage to his brother, Arthur. A dispensation had been issued from Pope Julius II before the marriage took place and Clement ruled that the dispensation was lawful and the marriage could not be annulled. The English clergy and lawyers advised Henry’s Privy Council that they could not forced the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham, to go against the Pope’s rulings. Warham died soon after and Henry persuaded the Pope to appoint Thomas Cranmer as the next Archbishop. Cranmer was a friend to Anne Boleyn and a reformer. Pope Clement issued the Papal Bulls that would allow Cranmer to take the position on the condition that he took an oath of allegiance to the Pope. Cranmer was consecrated as Archbishop but declared that he did not agree with the oath he was being asked to take. Cranmer granted Henry the annulment that he required and Henry swiftly married Anne Boleyn. Both Henry and Cranmer were excommunicated from the Catholic Church as a result of their actions. Henry would eventually lead Parliament in passing the Act of Supremacy that declared that Henry was the head of the Church of England and the papacy had no authority within the country.

On 25th September 1534 Pope Clement VII died, it was believed that he died after eating a poisonous mushroom; his body was interred in Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Just days prior to his death Clement had ordered Michelangelo to paint The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.

Pope Clement VIIPope Clement VII

On this day in 1513 – the Battle of Flodden began

On 9th September 1513 the Battle of Flodden took place between England and Scotland in Northumberland, England. King James IV led the Scottish army against the defending English that was led by the Earl of Surrey who was acting on orders of the Regent of England, Katherine of Aragon who had been left in charge of the country whilst her husband, King Henry VIII, was leading the army in France.

King James IV declared his intentions for war upon England in order to support France and the alliance that they held together. However, his declaration was in breach of the Treaty of Perpetual Peace a treaty signed between England and Scotland in 1502. King James IV sent a letter via the Lyon King of Arms to Henry on 26th July asking him to stop his attack on France. Henry responded to the Lyon Arms by saying that James had no right to ask this of him and if anything James should be England’s ally as he was married to Henry’s sister, Margaret. Henry said;

And now, for a conclusion, recommend me to your master and tell him if he be so hardy to invade my realm or cause to enter one foot of my ground I shall make him as weary of his part as ever was man that began any such business. And one thing I ensure him by the faith that I have to the Crownof England and by the word of a King, there shall never King nor Prince make peace with me that ever his part shall be in it. Moreover, fellow, I care for nothing but for misentreating of my sister, that would God she were in England on a condition she cost the Schottes King not a penny.”

King James IV used the pretext of the murder of his Warden of the Scottish East March, Robert Kerr, five years previously in 1503 at the hands of John ‘The Bastard’ Heron to begin his invasion of England. However, England was not completely unprepared before Henry left for France he left an army and artillery in the north of the country and he also appointed Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey as Lieutenant General of the army in the north in 1512.

King James IV sent notice to England a month in advance regarding his intention to invade this gave England enough time to collect the banner of Saint Cuthbert from Durham Cathedral, a banner that had been at the front of the English army in past victories over the Scottish.

On 18th August 1513 the Scottish transported five cannons from Edinburgh Castle to Netherbow Gate at St Mary’s Wynd with the King setting off that night to join the army as well. As a result on 27th August 1513 Katherine of Aragon acting as Regent of the country issued warrants for all property belonging to any Scots to be seized instantly. Upon hearing of the invasion preparations Katherine sent an order on 3rd September to Thomas Lovell to gather an army from the Midlands.

The Scottish army moved closer to England before taking Norham Castle on 29th August and moving further south capturing the castles of Etal and Ford. James kept the army at Ford Castle for a while enjoying the hospitality of Lady Heron and her daughter. It was here that the English Herald, Rouge Croix arrived to negotiate a place of battle for the 4th September and gave instructions that if James sent any heralds to speak with the Earl of Surrey should be met away from where the English army was camped. It was at Ford Castle that the Earl of Angus spoke out in favour of returning to Scotland as he felt they had done everything for France; James sent the Earl of Angus home and wanted to push on with the invasion.

On 7th September the Earl of Surrey recorded that James had sent his Islay Herald and agreed that they would commence battle on the 9th between midday and 3pm he returned the Herald asking for the battle to take place at Milfield as previously agreed.

With the time and place agreed Surrey moved his troops to block the Scottish route north so it would force them towards Branxton Hill. When the Scottish and English armies were three miles apart Surrey sent to Rouge Croix to King James to confirm the time of battle, James replied that he would wait until noon.

At 11am on the morning of 9th September the English vanguard and artillery crossed the Twizel Bridge whilst the Scottish army was in five formations and by the afternoon the Scottish descended into battle. The English had two battle formations each comprising of two wings. The Earl of Surrey combined his vanguard with the soldiers of his father’s rearward. Surrey’s groups fought the Scottish troops led by the Earls of Huntly, Crawford and Erroll with forces that totalled 6000 men.

The King of Scotland then led an attack on Surrey and the son of Lord Darce who bore the brunt of the Scottish armies force. When the battle ended Edward Hall, the chronicler, wrote ‘the battle was cruel, none spared other, and the King himself fought valiantly.’

Post battle the Scottish council sent for help from Christian II of Denmark the Scottish ambassador, Andrew Brounhill, was asked to explain what went wrong in the battle. Brounhill blamed the King for moving downhill to attack the English on marshy ground from a more favourable position and he claimed that the English won purely because of Scottish inexperience.

King James IV was killed close to Surrey after being fatally wounded by an arrow and a bill, a polearm weapon. His body was discovered by Lord Dacre and was taken to Berwick-upon-Tweed where according to Edward Hall the Scottish courtiers William Scott and John Forman who identified the body as the late King. His body was then embalmed and taken to Newcastle upon Tyne. From York the body was taken to Sheen Priory near London.

James’s banner, sword and his thigh armour were taken to the shrine of Saint Cuthbert at Durham Catherdral. Thomas Hawley, the Rouge Croix Herald, was first to take news to London of the English victory. He took the blood stained surcoat of the King to Katherine of Aragon at Woburn Abbey, who instantly sent it to Henry VIII who was still battling the French at Tournai. She had thought about sending the body of the fallen King instead as Henry had sent her the Duke of Longueville, a prisoner from Thérouanne.

Margaret Tudor was informed of her husband’s death and a council met at Stirling to form a committee that would rule Scotland in the name of Margaret Tudor and her infant son the new King James V of Scotland.

battle_of_floddenArtist impression of the Battle of Flodden

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