Tag Archives: Mary I

On this day in 1555 – Bishop Ridley and Bishop Latimer were burned at the stake

When Queen Mary I ascended the throne she instantly took to bringing England back in line with the Roman Catholic Church. One of the first acts she performed as she began to reconnect with Rome was to order the arrests of Bishop Hugh Latimer, Bishop Nicholas Ridley and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. These three men were influential during the reign of her brother, King Edward VI, and were figureheads for the Protestant religion.

After spending time in the Tower of London the three were moved to the Oxford Bocardo Prison on charges of heresy in September 1555 where they would be examined by the Lord’s Commissioner in Oxford’s Divinity School. Ridley was questioned in particularly regarding his opinion on whether he believed the Pope was the heir to the authority of Peter as the foundation of the Church. Ridley replied that the Church was not built on one man and therefore Ridley could not honour the Pope as he was seeking glory for Rome and not God.

Ridley and Latimer also both confessed that they could not accept mass as a sacrifice of Christ with Latimer stating; “Christ made one oblation and sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, and that a perfect sacrifice; neither needeth there to be, nor can there be, any other propitiatory sacrifice.”

Ridley and Latimer were both sentenced to be burned at the stake outside Balliol College, Oxford on 16th October 1555. Ridley openly prayed as he was being tied to the stake saying “Oh, heavenly Father, I give unto thee most hearty thanks that thou hast called me to be a professor of thee, even unto death. I beseech thee, Lord God, have mercy on this realm of England, and deliver it from all her enemies.”

In order to speed up their deaths Ridley’s brother gave the men gunpowder to wear around their necks, however the flames failed to come up higher than Ridley’s waist, it was reported that Ridley repeatedly said, “Lord have mercy upon me! I cannot burn…Let the fire come unto me, I cannot burn.”

Latimer would die a lot quicker than Ridley and tried to comfort Ridley as he approached his own death by saying, “Be of good comfort, Mr. Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace, in England, as I trust never shall be put out.”

Ridley and Latimer were decreed martyrs and are commemorated by a Martyr’s statue in Oxford alongside Cranmer.

Martyr statueThe Martyr’s statue in Oxford

John Foxe described Ridley and Latimer’s burning in his Book of Martyrs, he wrote;

Dr. Ridley, the night before execution, was very facetious, had himself shaved, and called his supper a marriage feast; he remarked upon seeing Mrs. Irish (the keeper’s wife) weep, ‘though my breakfast will be somewhat sharp, my supper will be more pleasant and sweet.’

The place of death was on the north side of the town opposite Baliol College:- Dr. Ridley was dressed in a black gown furred, and Mr. Latimer had a long shroud on, hanging down to his feet. Dr. Ridley as he passed Bocardo, looked up to see Dr. Cranmer, but the latter was then engaged in disputation with a friar. When they came to the stake, Dr. Ridley embraced Latimer fervently, and bid him be of good heart. He then knelt by the stake, and after earnestly praying together, they had a short private conversation. Dr. Smith then preached a short sermon against the martyrs, who would have answered him, but were prevented by Dr. Marshal, the vice-chancellor. Dr. Ridley then took off his gown and tippet, and gave them to his brother-in-law, Mr. Shipside. He gave away also many trifles to his weeping friends, and the populace were anxious to get even a fragment of his garments. Mr. Latimer gave nothing, and from the poverty of his garb, was soon stripped to his shroud, and stood venerable and erect, fearless of death.

Dr. Ridley being unclothed to his shirt, the smith placed an iron chain about their waists, and Dr. Ridley bid him fasten it securely; his brother having tied a bag of gunpowder about his neck, gave some also to Mr. Latimer. Dr. Ridley then requested of Lord Williams, of Fame, to advocate with the queen the cause of some poor men to whom he had, when bishop, granted leases, but which the present bishop refused to confirm. A lighted fagot was now laid at Dr. Ridley’s feet, which caused Mr. Latimer to say, ‘Be of good cheer, Ridley; and play the man. We shall this day, by God’s grace, light up such a candle in England, as, I trust, will never be put out.’ When Dr. Ridley saw the flame approaching him, he exclaimed, ‘Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!’ and repeated often, ‘Lord receive my spirit!’ Mr. Latimer, too, ceased not to say, ‘O Father of heaven receive my soul!’ Embracing the flame, he bathed his hands in it, and soon died, apparently with little pain; but Dr. Ridley, by the ill-adjustment of the fagots, which were green, and placed too high above the furze was burnt much downwards. At this time, piteously entreating for more fire to come to him, his brother-in-law imprudently heaped the fagots up over him, which caused the fire more fiercely to burn his limbs, whence he literally leaped up and down under the fagots, exclaiming that he could not burn; indeed, his dreadful extremity was but too plain, for after his legs were quite consumed, he showed his body and shirt unsinged by the flame. Crying upon God for mercy, a man with a bill pulled the fagots down, and when the flames arose, he bent himself towards that side; at length the gunpowder was ignited, and then he ceased to move, burning on the other side, and falling down at Mr. Latimer’s feet over the chain that had hitherto supported him.

Every eye shed tears at the afflicting sight of these sufferers, who were among the most the most distinguished persons of their time in dignity, piety, and public estimation. They suffered October 16, 1555.”

ridley-latimer-stakeBishop Ridley and Bishop Latimer at the stake

On this day in 1537 – Prince Edward was christened

Three days after Jane Seymour gave birth, the future King Edward VI was christened on 15th October 1537 in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court.

The celebrations spared no expense as Henry could finally celebrate the birth of a legitimate son. A procession left the Queen’s apartments to take the new born Prince to the Chapel Royal where in front of a large crowd Archbishop Cranmer performed the baptism. Edward’s sister, Elizabeth, carried the chrisom cloth with the aid of his uncle, Edward Seymour. Princess Mary acted as godmother whilst Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and Archbishop Cranmer acted as godfathers.

In the Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII documented in details the events of the day.

The preparations ordained for the said christening at Hampton Court.” Describing minutely the course of the Edward VI infantprocession and the decorations of the chapel, with the positions occupied by the officers of the household (Sir John Russell, Sir Fras. Bryan, Sir Nic. Carew and Sir Ant. Browne in aprons and towels were to take charge of the font until discharged by the lord Steward, or, in his absence, the Treasurer of the Household). The order of going to the christening was: First, certain gentlemen two and two bearing torches not lighted until the prince be Christened. Then the children and ministers of the King’s chapel, with the dean, “not singing going outward.” Gentlemen esquires and knights two and two. Chaplains of dignity two and two. Abbots and bishops. The King’s councillors. Lords two and two. The comptroller and treasurer of the Household. The ambassador. The three lords chamberlains and the lord Chamberlain of England in the midst. The lord Cromwell, being lord Privy Seal, and the lord Chancellor. The duke of Norfolk and abp. Of Canterbury. A pair of covered basins borne by the earl of Sussex, supported by the lord Montague. A “taper of virgin wax borne by the earl of Wiltshire in a towel about his neck.” A salt of gold similarly borne by the earl of Essex. “Then the crysome richly garnished borne by the lady Elizabeth, the King’s daughter: the same lady for her tender age was borne by the viscount Beauchamp with the assistance of the lord.” Then the Prince borne under the canopy by the lady marquis of Exeter, assisted by the duke of Suffolk and the marquis her husband. The lady mistress went between the prince and the supporter. The train of the Prince’s robe borne by the earl of Arundel and sustained by the lord William Howard.” “The nurse to go equally with the supporter of the train, and with her the midwife.” The canopy over the Prince borne by Sir Edw. Nevyll, Sir John Wallop, Ric. Long, Thomas Semere, Henry Knyvet, and Mr. Ratclif, of the Privy Chamber. The “tortayes” of virgin wax borne about the canopy my lady Mary, being lady godmother, her train borne by lady Kingston. All the other ladies of honour in their degrees.

When the Prince was christened all the torches were lighted and Garter King at Arms proclaimed his name (proclamation verbatim, titles duke of Cornwall and earl of Chester). “This done, this service following was in time the Prince was making ready in his traverse, and Te Deum sung”:- First, to the lady Mary the lord William to give the towel and the lord Fytzwater to bear covered basins, and the lord Montagew to uncover. Item, to the bishop that doth administer, the lord Butler to bear the towel, the lord Bray to bear the basins and the lord Delaware to uncover. To the duke of Norfolk and abp. Of Canterbury, godfathers, the lord Sturton to bear the towel and the lord Went worth to give the water. To serve the ladies Mary and Elizabeth with spices, wafers, and wine: the lord Hastings to bear the cup to lady Mary, and the lord Delaware that to lady Elizabeth; lord Dacres of the South to bear the spice plates to both, lord Cobham the wafers, and lord Montagew to uncover the spice plate. The bishop that doth administer, the duke of Norfolk and abp. Of Canterbury, godfathers at the font, and the duke of Suffolk, godfather at the confirmation, to be likewise served by knights appointed by the lord Chamberlain. All other estates and gentles within the church were served with spice and ypocras, and all other had bread and sweet wine.

The going homeward was like the coming outward, saving that the taper, salt and basin were left and the gifts of the gossips carried, i.e. Lady Mary, a cup of gold borne by the earl of Essex; the archbishop, 3 great bowls and 2 great pots, silver and gilt, borne by the earl of Wiltshirel Norfolk, ditto, borne by the earl of Sussex; Suffolk, 2 great flagons and 2 great pots, silver and gilt, borne by Viscount Beauchamp. Lady Elizabeth went with her sister Lady Mary and Lady Herbert of Troy to bear the train. Sounding of the trumpets. Taking of “assayes.” The Prince was then borne to the King and Queen and had the blessing of God, Our Lady, and St. George, and his father and mother. And the same day the King gave great largess.”

In 2014 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Hampton Court Palace they recreated Edward’s christening.

On this day in 1515 – Lady Margaret Douglas was born

Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox was born on 8th October 1515 and was the daughter of Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus and Margaret Tudor, Queen Dowager of Scotland and sister to King Henry VIII. Margaret was born at Harbottle Castle in Northumberland after her mother, Margaret Tudor, fled Scotland after her second husband was threatened by her son King James V.

After Lady Douglas stayed briefly at Berwick Castle with her nurse, Isobel Hoppar, Margaret joined the household of her godfather, Cardinal Wolsey. Following the death of Cardinal Wolsey Margaret was sent to the royal palace of Beaulieu where she lived with King Henry VIII’s daughter, Princess Mary. Margaret and her cousin Mary would be brought up together. Margaret was present at Christmastime at Greenwich Palace in 1530, 1531 and 1532 and King Henry presented his niece each year with a gift of £6 13s 4d.

Following the King’s divorce to Katherine of Aragon and his marriage to Anne Boleyn, Margaret was appointed as a lady-in-waiting to the new queen. It was during this time that Margaret met Lord Thomas Howard and they began a relationship, however by 1535 the couple were secretly engaged. By July 1536 Henry had learnt about his niece’s secret engagement and was furious, he had recently declared that Princess Elizabeth like her elder sister, Mary, was now illegitimate and this left Margaret as next in line to the throne therefore she was expected to seek the King’s permission for any potential marriage. As a result both Margaret and Thomas Howard were imprisoned in the Tower of London and on 18th July 1536 an Act of Attainder was passed in Parliament that sentenced Howard to death for his attempt to ‘interrupt ympedyte and let the seid Succession of the Crowne’. Parliament also included in the Act that it was forbidden that any member of the King’s family could not marry without his permission. Margaret remained in the Tower until she fell ill and the King granted permission for her to be moved to Syon Abbey under the supervision of the abbess. Margaret stayed here until she was released on 29th October 1537, Lord Howard was spared from being executed but remained in the Tower of London until his death two days after Margaret’s release on 31st October 1537.

Margaret wrote to Thomas Cromwell in 1537 shortly before her release to make it known that she had abandoned Howard, she wrote;

My Lord, what cause have I to give you thanks, and how much bound am I unto you, that by your means hath gotten me, as I trust, the King’s grace his favour again, and besides that that it pleaseth you to write and to give me knowledge wherein I might have his Grace’s displeasure again, which I pray our Lord sooner to send me death than that; I assure you, my Lord, I will never do that thing willingly that should offend his Grace.

And my Lord, whereas it is informed you that I do charge the house with a greater number that is convenient, I assure you I have but two more than I had in the Court, which indeed were my Lord Thomas’ servants; and the cause that I took them for was for the poverty that I saw them in, and for no cause else. Be seeing, my Lord, that it is your pleasure that I shall keep none that did belong unto my Lord Thomas, I will put them from me.

And I beseech you not think that any fancy doth remain in me touching him; but that all my study and care is how to please the King’s grace and to continue in his favour. And my Lord, where it is our pleasure that I shall keep but a few here with me, I trust ye will think that I can have no fewer than I have; for I have but a gentleman and a groom that keeps my apparel, and another that keeps my chamber, and a chaplain that was with me always in the Court. Now, my Lord, I beseech you that I may know your pleasure if you would that I should keep any fewer. Howbeit, my Lord, my servants hath put the house to small charge, for they have nothing but the reversion of my board; nor I do call for nothing but that that is given me; howbeit I am very well intreated. And my Lord, as for resort, I promise you I have none, except it be gentlewomen that comes to see me, nor never had since I came hither; for if any resort of men had come it should neither have become me to have seen them, nor yet to have kept them company, being a maid as I am. Now my Lord, I beseech you to be so good as to get my poor servants their wages; and thus I pray to our Lord to preserve you both soul and body.

By her that has her trust in you,
Margaret Douglas”

Margaret returned to court and in 1539 along with the Duchess of Richmond was appointed to greet Anne of Cleves at Greenwich Palace before joining her household staff, however, Henry decided to ride out to meet Anne at Rochester and Anne was put aside just months later. Margaret fell out of favour with the King once more in 1540 after she embarked on a secret affair with Sir Charles Howard, the half nephew of her previous fiancé, Lord Howard, and brother to the King’s new wife, Catherine Howard. Margaret was back at court to be one of the few witnesses to Henry’s final marriage to Catherine Parr. Margaret was appointed as one of Catherine’s chief ladies as they had known each other since they came to court around the same time in the 1520’s.

Margaret DouglasMargaret Douglas

In 1544 Margaret married Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, a Scottish exile who had been involved in the fight for control of Scotland with the Earl of Arran and also the prospect of marriage with Mary of Guise, but it was an offer of marriage to Margaret that Lennox could not refuse. They would go on to have two children Charles Stewart and Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley and second husband to Mary Queen of Scots.

Whilst her childhood friend and cousin, Queen Mary I, was on the throne of England Margaret was assigned rooms in Westminster Palace and in November 1553 Mary told Spanish ambassador, Simon Renard, that she thought Margaret, now Lady Lennox, was best suited to be her successor. Margaret took every opportunity to report gossip to Mary regarding Elizabeth, when Elizabeth was ordered to court after the Wyatt rebellion she was placed in a room in Whitehall that was directly below Margaret’s who turned her room into a kitchen so the noise would disturb the young Princess.

Margaret was integral to Mary and upon her wedding to Philip of Spain she granted Margaret the honour of carrying her train into the ceremony. When Mary died in 1558, Margaret was the chief mourner at her funeral. Following Mary’s death Margaret moved to Yorkshire where she lived at Temple Newsam and was the centre of Roman Catholic activity, which caused issues with her cousin and the new queen, Elizabeth. Whilst in Yorkshire Margaret successfully married her son, Lord Darnley, to Mary Queen of Scots causing a rival claim to the throne of England.

Margaret was sent to the Tower of London in 1566 by Elizabeth but following the murder of her son the following year she was released. Elizabeth wanted to send a clear message that Margaret’s family had no claims to the throne despite the fact she was grandmother to the son of Mary Queen of Scots and Darnley, the future King James. Following her release Margaret cut all association with her daughter in law, especially as she was implicated in the murder of her husband, however, Margaret did reconcile with Mary. With Mary overthrown from the Scottish throne and her infant son chosen over her, Margaret’s husband, Earl of Lennox, acted as regency until his assassination in 1571.

In 1574 Margaret was sent once again to the Tower of London after she arranged the marriage of her youngest son, Charles, to Elizabeth Cavendish – the stepdaughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Margaret was eventually pardoned after her son’s death in 1576. Following her youngest son’s death Margaret cared for his daughter, Lady Arbella Stewart. However, Margaret died shortly after her son on 7th March 1578. Margaret died in deep debt however, Queen Elizabeth I paid for a grand funeral alongside her young son in the south aisle of Henry VII’s chapel in Westminster Abbey.

Margaret_Douglas_tombMargaret Douglas’ tomb

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 1553 – Queen Mary I began her coronation procession from the Tower of London to Whitehall

After years of not knowing what her future held at 3pm on 30th September 1553 Queen Mary I began her coronation procession from the Tower of London and made her way to Whitehall where she would stay overnight before being proclaimed Queen the next day. Mary and the procession left the Tower to the bells of churches ringing and gun fire.

The procession consisted of the Queen’s messengers, trumpeters, heralds, bannerets, esquires of the body, Knights of the Bath which included 15 that had been newly created that morning, the clergy, merchants, soldiers, knights, foreign ambassadors and the council. Following all of these came Mary’s retinue that included the Earl of Sussex who was acting as Mary’s Chief Server, Stephen Gardiner and William Paulet carrying the seal and mace, the Lord Mayor of London carrying the gold sceptre, the Sergeant at Arms and the Earl of Arundel carrying the Queen’s sword there was also ‘two ancient knights with old-fashioned hats, powdered on their heads, disguised’ who represented the Dukes of Normandy and Guienne.

Behind all of these came the new Queen in an open litter pulled by six horses in white trappings. It was reported that she was ‘richly apparelled with mantle and kirtle of cloth of gold’ with a gold tinsel cloth and jewelled crown on her head. Mary was escorted by the mother of Edward Courtenay and the wives of the Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Arundel and Sir William Paulet all on horseback. Behind them was a carriage carrying Mary’s younger sister, Princess Elizabeth and their former step mother, Anne of Cleves.

The procession would travel a mile and a half across London and there was entertainment at every turn including; a civic pageantry at Temple Bar, verses sung in praise of the new queen at Cornhill and Cheap, Queen Mary was address at St Paul’s by the recorder of London and was presented with a purse containing 1000 marks of gold by the chamberlain and an oration in Latin and English was delivered by playwright John Heywood at the school in St Paul’s Churchyard and finally minstrels played at Ludgate.

Mary reached Whitegate where she would prepare for her coronation the following day at Westminster Abbey.

Mary IQueen Mary I

On this day in 1560 – Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury died

Francis Talbot was born in 1500 to George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife Anne Hastings. Francis’ father, George, fought alongside King Henry VII during the uprising of Lambert Simnel and the Battle of Stoke and was godfather to Henry’s eldest daughter, Princess Margaret. In 1538 Francis inherited his father’s title to become 5th Earl of Shrewsbury.

Francis followed his father’s footsteps and was in favour with King Henry VIII during his reign, despite being a staunch Roman Catholic. Francis even received lands, including parts of Worksop Priory and Beauchief Abbey, from the dissolution of the monasteries.

On 30th November 1523 Francis married Mary Dacre, daughter of Thomas Dacre, 2nd Baron Dacre, the couple went on to have three children; George, 6th Earl of Talbot, Anne and Thomas. Mary died in 1538 and Francis went on to marry again to Grace Shakerley but they would not have any children.

Francis took little interest in politics however, in 1545 he was made a Knight of the Garter and Francis was also deemed a powerful figure in the north of England and was part of the troops that invaded Scotland in 1547 that ended in the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh.

During the reign of King Edward VI the Imperial Ambassador described Francis as ‘one of the most powerful men in the kingdom’ and when plots arose against the Lord Protector, the Duke of Somerset he attempted to recruit Francis to his side but instead Francis joined those that opposed his rule. In 1549 Francis replaced Robert Holgate, Bishop of Llandaff, as Lord President of the Council of the North.

When King Edward VI took to the throne Francis converted to the reformed religion but harboured sympathies to the Catholic faith. Francis, although not a politician he was a member of the King’s Council. Despite converting to Protestantism and not opposing the proclamation of Lady Jane Grey as Queen after the death of King Edward VI, it is likely that he would have worked to convince the Council to recognise Mary I as the rightful heir and was one of the first to openly support her claim. Due to his early support Mary rewarded him upon her ascension with a place on her Council.

Francis, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth was Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire alongside his role as President of the Council of the North. In a letter from Francis to Sir William Cecil dated on 17th January 1559 from Ferry Bridge he stated that he was going to take some troops to Newcastle and whilst he was away he was appointing his Vice President, Sir Thomas Gargrave to do his job in his absence.

Francis Talbot died on 28th September 1560 in Sheffield Manor, Sheffield and was buried at St Peter’s in Sheffield.

Francis TalbotFrancis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury

On this day in 1571 – Bishop John Jewel died

John Jewel was born in Buden, Devon and was educated originally by his uncle John Bellamy, rector of Hampton along with other private tutors until he matriculated at Merton College, Oxford in July 1535 where he was taught by John Pankhurst.

On 19th August 1539 Jewel was elected scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford where he graduated with a BA in 1540 and an MA in 1545 and was elected fellow of the college in 1542. After 1547 Jewel became of the chief disciples of Pietro Martire Vermigli, also known as Peter Martyr in England.

In 1552 Jewel graduated BD and was made vicar of Sunningwell as well as public orator of the university during which time he was required to write a congratulatory message to Queen Mary I upon her accession to the throne.

Despite signing a series of Catholic articles he was still suspecting of supporting Protestantism and he fled first to London before reaching Frankfurt in March 1555. He soon joined Martire Vermigli at Strasbourg before accompanying him to Zurich and Padua.

John JewelBishop John Jewel

With the accession of Queen Elizabeth I Jewel returned to England and began to secure a Low Church settlement and made it known that he was committed to Elizabeth’s reforms. Jewel was selected as one of nine Protestant disputants that were called upon to attend the Westminster Conference in 1559 where they would face nine Catholic representatives where they would dispute three articles that would help shape the future of Elizabethan England.

Jewel was also a select preacher at St. Paul’s Cross on 15th June and in the on 27th July his congé d’élire as Bishop of Salisbury had been made out although he was not consecrated until 21st January 1560.

Whilst preaching at St. Paul’s Cross on 26th November 1559 Jewel issued a challenge for anyone to prove the Catholics case out of the Scriptures or the councils or Fathers for the first 600 years after Christ. He issued the challenge again in 1560 when Dr Henry Cole took on the challenge. The outcome of this challenge was Jewel’s ‘Apologia ecclesiae Anglicanae’ published in 1562. According to Bishop Creighton, Jewel’s work was the first methodical statement of the position of the Church of England against the Church of Rome.

Jewel’s work received criticism from Thomas Harding, an Oxford contemporary and Catholic that entered a battle of words and thoughts with Jewel. Harding and Jewel would debate over the Anglo-Roman controversy; Jewel’s theology was eventually enjoined upon the Church of England by Archbishop Bancroft during the reign of King James I.

Jewel was consulted by the government on questions such as the English attitude towards the Council of Trent, a highly important ecumenical council of the Catholic Church.

Jewel was giving a sermon at Lacock, Wiltshire when he collapsed, he was taken to Monkton Farleigh, a manor house built on the site of a Cluniac priory, where he died on 23rd September 1571. He was buried in Salisbury Catherdral.

Monkton FarleighMonkton Farleigh Manor

On this day in 1515 – Anne of Cleves was born

Anne of Cleves was born 22nd September 1515 in Düsseldorf to John III, Duke of Cleves and his wife Maria, Duchess of Julich-Berg. Anne grew up on the edge of Solingen.

At the age of 11 in 1527 Anne was betrothed to Francis, the 10 year old son of the Duke of Lorraine. Due to his age in 1535 the betrothal was broken off and considered unofficial.

Anne’s brother succeeded his father as the Duke of Cleves and due to his support of the Reformation and his ongoing dispute with the Holy Roman Emperor, Cleves was considered by Thomas Cromwell as a convenient ally.

Following the death of his third wife, Jane Seymour, King Henry VIII was beginning to consider remarrying for the fourth time and began to seek out his options. Hans Holbein the Younger was sent to Cleves to paint both Anne and her younger sister, Amalia, Henry was considering either of the sisters as his wife. Holbein was instructed to be as accurate as possible in his painting and not to flatter the sisters. The paintings were brought back to Henry who chose Anne based on her portrait.

Negotiators were sent to Cleves to begin talks regarding a marriage between Anne and Henry. Thomas Cromwell oversaw the talks himself and a marriage treaty was signed on 4th October 1539. With the treaty signed Anne set off for England.

Anne_of_Cleves,_by_Hans_Holbein_the_YoungerAnne of Cleves

The Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys wrote about Anne’s arrival in England;

“This year on St John’s Day, 27 Dec, Lady Anne, daughter of the Duke of Cleves in Germany, landed at Dover at 5 o’clock at night, and there was honourably received by the Duke of Suffolk and other great lords, and so lodged in the castle. And on the following Monday she rode to Canterbury where she was honourably received by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other great men, and lodged at the King’s palace at St Austin’s, and there highly feasted. On Tuesday she came to Sittingbourne.

On New Year’s Eve the Duke of Norfolk with other knights and the barons of the exchequer received her grace on the heath, two miles beyond Rochester; and so brought her to the abbey of Rochester where she stayed that night and all New Years Day. And on New Years Day in the afternoon the king’s grace with five of his privy chamber, being disguised with mottled cloaks with hoods so that they should not be recognised, came secretly to Rochester, and so went up into the chamber where the said Lady Anne was looking out of a window to see the bull-baiting which was going on in the courtyard, and suddenly he embraced and kissed her, and showed her a token which the King had sent her for New Year’s gift, and she being abashed and not knowing who it was thanked him and so he spoke with her. But she regarded him little, but always looked out the window… and when the King saw that she took so little notice of his coming he went into another chamber and took off his cloak and came in again in a coat of purple velvet. And when the lords and knights saw his grace they did reverence… and then her grace humbled herself lowly to the king’s majesty, and his grace saluted her again, and they talked together lovingly, and afterwards he took her by the hand and led her to another chamber where their graces amused themselves that night and on Friday until the afternoon.

…So she came to Greenwich that night, and was received as Queen. And the next day, being Sunday, the King’s grace kept a great court at Greenwich, where his grace with the Queen offered at mass, richly dressed. And on Twelfth Night, which was a Tuesday, the King’s majesty was married to the said Queen Anne solemnly, in her closet at Greenwich, and his grace and she went publicly in procession that day, she having a rich coronet of stone and pearls set with rosemary on her hair, and a gown of rich cloth of silver, richly hung with stones and pearls, with all her ladies and gentlewomen following her, which was a goodly sight to behold.”

Although Chapuys report shows the happy display the couple put on, away from public eyes Henry was unhappy with his new bride after she first failed to impress at their meeting in Rochester. Anne was expected to recognise her masked suitor as her new husband as per the rules of courtly love but she did not understand what was being played out in front of her. Henry urged Thomas Cromwell and his councillors to find a way out of the marriage

Despite Henry’s protestations and no solution to his request the marriage went ahead on 6th January 1540 at Greenwich Palace, presided over by Archbishop Cranmer. The couple then spent an unsuccessful wedding night together. Henry complained further about Anne in particular he described Anne as having bad odour and saggy breasts amongst other complaints, he also stated that Anne was unprepared for married life and what was expected of her on her wedding night. It was known that Henry reported to Cromwell ‘I liked her before not well, but now I like her much worse’.

By 24th June 1540 Anne was commanded to leave the court and was moved to Richmond Palace, while Anne remained in the dark as to what was happening back at Greenwich Stephen Gardiner was investigating the pre-contract Anne had with the Duke of Lorraine’s son. On 6th July 1540 Anne was informed that Henry was worried that their marriage was not lawful and her consent was sought for the marriage to be investigated. Anne gave her consent probably fearful of her life if she did not.

The marriage between Henry and Anne was declared invalid on 9th July 1540 due to three factors; Anne’s pre-contract with the Duke of Lorriane, Henry’s lack of consent to the marriage and the lack of consummation after the wedding. In exchange for a quick and easy annulment Henry granted Anne an income of £4000 a year, houses at Richmond Palace, Bletchingley and Lewes along with jewels, furniture, hangings as well as Hever Castle, the former home of Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. Anne was also given the title of King’s sister and allowed to attend court.

Anne of Cleves signatureAnne’s signature

Although the marriage did not work out between the couple Henry and Anne would go on to have a good relationship when Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, Henry visited Anne to inform her personally of the marriage. After the fall of Catherine Howard Anne’s brother, the Duke of Cleves, pushed her case for the King to remarry Anne, a suggestion that was quickly refused instead marrying Catherine Parr, a woman that Anne appeared to dislike.

After King Henry VIII’s death Anne remained in England and in March 1547 the new King Edward VI’s Privy Council asked Anne to vacate her home at Bletchingley Palace and relocate to Penshurst Palace in order for Thomas Cawarden, the new Master of Revels to live in Bletchingley.

Anne lived quietly away from court during Edward’s reign. When Edward’s eldest sister took the throne after his death Anne wrote to Mary on 4th August 1553 to congratulate her former step-daughter on her marriage to Philip of Spain. The following month on 28th September Anne accompanied Mary from St James’s Palace to Whitehall, Elizabeth also accompanied the pair.

With the country reverting back to Catholicism Anne changed her religion to please the new Queen and despite the few appearances at the beginning of Mary’s reign, including her coronation Anne remained away from court. That is until Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554 when Anne’s relationship with Elizabeth caused Mary to question Anne’s motives and Mary was convinced that “the Lady (Anne) of Cleves was of the plot and intrigued with the Duke of Cleves to obtain help for Elizabeth: matters in which the king of France was the prime mover.”

After falling under Mary’s suspicion Anne did not attend court again and chose to live quietly on her estates until her health began to deteriorate when Mary permitted Anne to relocate to Chelsea Old Manor, the former home of Henry’s final wife Catherine Parr. In July 1557 Anne dictated her final will, she remembers her family as well as the Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Suffolk and Countess of Arundel. Anne also left money for her servants and asked Mary and Elizabeth to find employment for them within their households.

Anne died on 16th July 1557; aged 41, the cause of death is unconfirmed. Anne was buried in Westminster Abbey, the only one of Henry’s wives that was buried there. Her tomb is opposite the shrine for Edward the Confessor.

Annes tomb Westminster AbbeyAnne of Cleves tomb in Westminster Abbey

On this day in 1557 – Sir John Cheke died

Sir John Cheke was born on 16th June 1514 to Peter Cheke and he was educated at St John’s College, Cambridge where he became a fellow in 1529, whilst at Cambridge Cheke adopted the principal beliefs of the Reformation. His learning and reputation earned him the chair of Greek in 1540. Amongst his pupils were William Cecil, who later married Cheke’s sister, and Roger Ascham, who later in The Scholemaster praised Cheke.

On 10th July 1544 Cheke was appointed as tutor to the future King, Edward. He was appointed to teach him ‘of toungues, of the scripture, of philosophie and all liberal sciences.’ Cheke continued in this position after Edward’s ascension to the throne.

Cheke was active in his public life; he was the Member of Parliament for Bletchingley in 1547 and 1552-53. In 1548 he was made provost of King’s College, Cambridge and was a commissioner that visited that the college along with the University of Oxford and Eton College and he was appointed alongside seven divines to draw a body of laws for the governance of the church.

On 11th October 1551 Cheke was knighted and in June 1553 he was appointed as one of the secretaries of state and joined the Privy Council.

Following the death of King Edward VI, Cheke followed the Duke of Norfolk in backing Lady Jane Grey and was appointed to the office of Secretary of State during her nine days as Queen. When Queen Mary I took the throne she placed Cheke in the Tower of London and confiscated all his property. He was released on 3rd September 1554 and was given permission to travel abroad where he first visited Basel before moving onto Italy and then finally settled in Strasbourg where he taught Greek.

In 1556 Cheke travelled to Brussels to visit his wife but on the return journey between Brussels and Antwerp he was arrested with Sir Peter Carew on the orders of King Philip II and taken back to England where he was sent to the Tower of London. Whilst imprisoned in the Tower he was visited by two priests and Dr John Feckenham, dean of St Paul’s, Cheke had attempted to convert them to Protestantism and now in prison he feared being burned at the stake and so in an attempt to be saved he converted to Catholicism. On 15th July Cheke wrote a letter from the Tower regarding his belief in Catholicism in the hope that he would be spared making a public recantation. Cheke also wrote to the Queen in which he declared that he was willing to obey the law regarding religion.

Cheke was forced to make a public recantation on 4th October after a further two months in the Tower. He was made to read the longer form of recantation in front of the court and agreed to perform whatever penances the legate wished to pass. With all the humiliating recantations out of the way he was finally released from the Tower and was allowed to regain his lands that he was earlier forced to give up.

Ashamed of abandoning his faith Cheke died on 13th September 1557 in London at the home of Peter Osborne, friend and remembrancer of the exchequer. He was buried in the north chapel of St Alban’s where a momument was built in his memory.

Sir John ChekeSir John Cheke