Tag Archives: Plantagenant

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

Richard III in repose and the King Richard III visitor centre

A visit to Leicester to see a King who died 530 years ago and is being re-interred on Thursday 26th March 2015.

When a skeleton was found in a car park 2 ½ years ago in September 2012 just six hours into the start of an archaeological dig that was funded on the feeling, no one knew just how much attention they would receive. After countless scientific tests and DNA matching it was confirmed the skeleton in a Leicester council car park was that of the lost King, Richard III. The last English monarch to die in battle in 1485 at Bosworth.

After 2 ½ years of testing, planning and even the odd argument about the treatment of Richard’s mortal remains it is finally time to put the last Plantagenet King to rest. A stunning final journey began on Sunday 22nd March where a coffin made from Richard’s descendant left the University of Leicester for the last time and placed in a hearse where his journey began. Travelling to Bosworth and the location of Richard’s death he was given a private ceremony before beginning his final journey. A more dignified journey than the last time he was taken from the battlefield, slung naked over a horse where he was attack and abused from the army escorting him to his grave. The cortège travelled through all the local villages whilst heading back towards its final destination of Leicester Cathedral. What started in a car park would end in a Cathedral.

When it was announced that King Richard III would lie in repose until he was re-interred and the public could visit the Cathedral to pay their respects, I was in no doubt, I had to go. So on Tuesday 24th March at 9am I set off for the hour’s drive towards Leicester. I was hoping more than anything that the weather would stay nice and the rain would hold off.

I parked up and consulted the map of how to find my way to the Cathedral, I really didn’t need to do that though as I only had to cross the street to find myself with the end of the vast queue in front of me in Jubilee Gardens. After reading reports from the previous day’s queues I prepared myself for a long wait. However, the queue was moving quite quickly and before I knew it we were the other side of Jubilee Gardens. Whilst here Phillippa Langley joined the queue to talk to a group of Richardians, it was quite strange seeing the lady ultimately responsible for all these events just standing casually chatting to others.

20150324_104724                             The back of the queue in Jubilee Gardens

As the queue began moving towards the Cathedral we soon approached the corner of Peacock Lane and was greeted with the ‘Waiting Time 2 Hours’ sign but we had been previously informed that the queue was moving at a quicker pace and it was be significantly less than the two hours. As we were moving along Peacock Lane many of the team who were involved with the dig for Richard were walking along the queue chatting to those waiting this included Richard Buckley (lead archaeologist), Dr Turi King (genetics analysis) and Jo Appleby (osteology expert).

012                             Richard Buckley talking to the crowds.

It was an honour to see them talking away to everyone and sharing in the experience of the day. Richard Buckley even said that about the interest and events’ surrounding Richard III was “anything beyond what anyone could have ever imagined”. I can understand what he meant, when it was predicting finding Richard was going to be a one in a million chance to then actually finding and identifying him, it’s so unbelievable they must constantly be pinching themselves.

The queue then began its approach towards the Cathedral, via the back of the Channel 4 temporary studio in the corner of the Cathedral Gardens. The queue was so well organised everyone was very patient with the wait and just got on and chatted to others. It was very well managed as well with clear signs as to where to go and how long was left. The Cathedral itself is magnificent and to see the approach adorned with Richard III’s banners and emblems really added to the spectacle of the event and brought medieval history into the present.

010                  Leicester Cathedral adorned by Richard III’s banners.

At 1pm we reached the front of the queue just as a Eucharist was about to begin. The Cathedral was staying open but photos were not allowed so I decided to move to the other queue and wait. So it was another hour but it was worth it. This is probably my only critism of the event we were moved to a smaller area where a queue began to form but as more joined it turned into chaos. It was clear it would be an undignified rush to get into the Cathedral but the security did handle it well even dealing with the few that were annoyed. But with that out my mind and not finding it much of a problem as we would all still get in I finally began my walk into the Cathedral at 2.15pm.

There were so many white roses walking into the Cathedral and walking in the coffin of the last Plantagenet King greeted us, a humbling moment to see history in front of my eyes. The black funeral pall embroidered with Richard’s life to his discovery. On top of the coffin lay a crown designed and commissioned by John Ashdown-Hill especially for the re-internment and also a 15th Century bible. Richard was a very pious man in a time when religion was everything. We were hurried through to keep the queue moving which meant I could not take a minute to think about the man, who controversial as he was, ruled England for just 777 days until I was back outside the Cathedral looking back into the coffin. The coffin was surrounded by a vigil of four retired veterans who did a fantastic job keeping the mortal remains of the King safe with honour.

038                                       King Richard III lying in repose

Leicester Cathedral did an amazing job. The tag line of ‘With dignity and honour’ has certainly been fulfilled by all of those involved.

After seeing Richard III I decided to go to the King Richard III visitor centre. It was also very busy with a small wait until an available slot. The centre itself is an impressive former school building overlooking the car park in which the King was found. To the left of the entrance the group was directed to a small room where a selection of art work was on display that depicted the events of the Wars of the Roses. With the instructions to return to the first room upon hearing the bells tolling we saw an introductory video that shows where the country was just before Richard’s reign began.

The start of the exhibition sees the death of Richard’s brother, Edward IV and the resulting chaos. It doesn’t focus much on the ins and outs of Richard taking the crown. There is a section of the Princes in the Tower, just enough to get you interested in the story so you can research it more when you leave. It swiftly moves onto what Richard achieved as King in his short reign before a good section on the Battle of Bosworth and the events that led to Richard’s death at the hands of the Tudor army.


The next part of the exhibition is via the cafe to warm up after spending so long queuing I needed a hot drink. Once refreshed I continued upstairs where we are to examine the many different interpretations of Richard over the years from Laurence Olivier’s Shakespearean Richard to Aneurin Barnard’s portray in Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen. It was an interesting and thought provoking section as to what we think of Richard. Was he evil? Did he kill the Princes? Or did he do a lot for his country in a short space of time?

Beyond this was the part many wanted to see how King Richard III was found. Many amazing artefacts from the dig accompanied the exhibition including documents that were filled in and the responses from parliament about the exhumation of the bones they found. This led into the science behind the discovery including a replica of the bones for all to see how he was found.

086                  The digger that cleared the tarmac that led to the discovery

The exhibition then led towards the facial reconstruction of Richard, newly updated to incorporate the recent news that he had blue eyes and blonde hair as a child. I saw the replica at Sudeley Castle in 2014 with the dark hair so seeing it now did feel a bit strange with all the portraits and images we have of Richard with dark hair now to see him blonde just didn’t feel right to me.

111                 The updated facial reconstruction of Richard III

With the upstairs part of the exhibition done I headed back downstairs to the highlight of the exhibition, the exact spot where archaeologists found the remains of Richard III. After seeing Richard earlier in the Cathedral to see the place where he was originally laid to rest was special. Seeing the cramped location that Richard was hastily buried in really made me appreciate that he was found and now is being buried in a more dignified and royal way.

121                   The location where Richard was found in Leicester

Both Leicester Cathedral and King Richard III visitor centre did a fantastic job dealing with the crowds and attention that has been received over the last few days and tomorrow (Thursday 26th March) we will see Richard III re-interred with a service befitting a King.

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On this day in 1500 – Cardinal Reginald Pole born

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

On this day in 1503 – Elizabeth of York is buried in Westminster Abbey

Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and mother to Henry VIII, was buried in Westminster Abbey on 23rd February 1503.

Elizabeth was betrothed to Henry Tudor whilst he was in exile planning his return to England to face Richard III. Henry defeated Richard at the Battle of Bosworth on 22nd August 1485 and was proclaimed king.

Henry took Elizabeth for his wife on 18th January 1486 with a service in Westminster Abbey. Their marriage united the Houses of York and Lancashire and ended the Wars of the Roses.

Elizabeth died on 11th February 1503 on her 37th birthday, days after giving birth to a daughter, Katherine, who unfortunately also died just a few days after being born. After her death Elizabeth lay in state at the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London before being interred to Westminster Abbey. Henry VII gave his wife a magnificent state funeral and spared no expense.

Elizabeth’s funeral procession began on 22nd February and was led by 200 men and women dressed in black and carrying torches. Behind them followed Elizabeth’s household members and clerics and then came Elizabeth’s coffin on a horsedrawn carriage accompanied by knights and nobles.

Behind the carriage were the Queen’s four sisters on horseback with four other noblewomen in single file each escorted by a gentleman dressed in black damansk. The procession was followed further by noblewomen and members of the royal household.

Following a night resting within the Abbey, masses were said with the Bishop of Lincoln presiding over the final requiem mass. When all the sermons and masses were over the Bishop of London sanctified the grave for the coffin to be lowered into the ground. The Queen’s chamberlain and gentlemen ushers broke their staffs of offie and threw them into the grave to signify the end of their employment in her name.

Henry VII declared that every 11th February a requiem mass was to be sung, bells tolled and 100 candles lit in honour of his Queen.

Work on the Tudor vault in Westminster Abbey had only just begun at the time of Elizabeth’s death and so she could not be interred here, instead she was temporarily laid to rest in a specially built vault made just for her between the high altar and the choir in the Abbey. It was only after the death of Henry VII in 1509 that she was re-interred to her final resting place in the Lady Chapel.