Tag Archives: Pope Clement VII

On this day in 1542 – Thomas Wyatt died

Thomas Wyatt was born in 1503 at Allington Castle near Maidstone to Henry Wyatt and his wife, Anne Skinner. Henry was one of King Henry VII’s Privy Councillors, a position that continued upon the ascension of King Henry VIII.

Wyatt would first enter the court of King Henry VIII in 1515 as a ‘sewer extraordinary’ (another name for a waiter). In the same year he entered St. John’s College, Cambridge. Three years later in 1520, aged 17; Wyatt married Elizabeth Brooke, daughter of Thomas Brooke, 8th Baron Cobham. The couple would go on to have a son the following year; also called Thomas (he would go on to lead Wyatt’s Rebellion years later). The marriage between Wyatt and Elizabeth fell apart in approximately 1525 when Wyatt separated from his wife and charged her with adultery. At some point as their marriage was failing Wyatt had allegedly fallen for Anne Boleyn, although they most likely had met the extent of their relationship is unknown.

Thomas WyattSir Thomas Wyatt as painted by Hans Holbein the younger

Wyatt began undertaking more roles within the court and accompanied Sir John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, to Rome to petition Pope Clement VII to annul the King’s marriage to Katherine of Aragon and allow him to marry again. He was also appointed as High Marshal of Calais between 1528 and 1530 and Commissioner of the Peace of Essex in 1532. When King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn travelled to Calais in order to present Anne to the French King, Wyatt was part of the retinue that travelled with them he would later serve in Anne Boleyn’s coronation in June 1533.

Wyatt was knighted in 1535 but just a year later he would find himself imprisoned in the Tower of London suspected of being one of the men accused of adultery with Anne Boleyn he was also accused of arguing with the Duke of Suffolk. Whilst imprisoned in the Tower Wyatt likely saw the execution of Anne Boleyn and the five men accused alongside her, as someone who had written poetry throughout his life he composed ‘Innocentia Veritas Viat FidesCircumdederunt me inmici mei’, which read;

“Who list his wealth and ease retain,
Himself let him unknown contain.
Press not too fast in at that gate
Where the return stands by disdain,
For sure, circa Regna tonat.

The high mountains are blasted oft
When the low valley is mild and soft.
Fortune with Health stands at debate.
The fall is grievous from aloft.
And sure, circa Regna tonat.

These bloody days have broken my heart.
My lust, my youth did them depart,
And blind desire of estate.
Who hastes to climb seeks to revert.
Of truth, circa Renga tonat.

The bell tower showed me such sight
That in my head sticks day and night.
There did I learn out of a grate,
For all favour, glory, or might,
That yet circa Regna tonat.

By proof, I say, there did I learn.
Wit helpeth not defence too yerne,
Of innocency to plead or prate.
Bear low, therefore, give God the stern,
For sure, circa Regna tonat.

Thomas Wyatts poetryAn example of Thomas Wyatt’s writing

Wyatt was released soon after Anne Boleyn’s death and returned to favour within Henry’s court, he was made ambassador to the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, in Spain returning to England in June 1539 before departing again in May 1540 to resume his role as ambassador.

Although Wyatt was technically still married in 1537 he took Elizabeth Darrell as his mistress and they had three sons together and in 1540 he was granted the site and manorial estates of the dissolved Boxley Abbey.

In 1541 Wyatt was charged with treason after an original charge from 1538 was revived against him by Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London. Bonner had claimed that Wyatt had been rude about the King and also had contact with Cardinal Pole, the King’s relative and papal legate who Henry was most displeased with after he sided with Rome over his divorce to Katherine of Aragon. Wyatt was again placed inside the Tower of London but was pardoned once again, possibly by the request of the current queen, Catherine Howard. Wyatt was again released and given royal offices following his pardon from the King. However, shortly after welcoming Charles V’s envoy at Falmouth he was taken ill and died on 11th October 1542 whilst staying with Sir John Horsey at Clifton Maybank House, Dorset. He is buried in Sherborne Abbey.

Wyatt’s poetry was published 15 years after his death and along with Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was one of the first to introduce the sonnet into England.

Wyatt-plaquePlaque dedicated to Thomas Wyatt in Sherborne Abbey

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 1535 – George Neville died

George Neville was the son of the second Baron of Bergavenny also called George and his wife Margaret. Neville was born in 1471, although the exact date is unknown. He was brought up alongside his brothers, Edward, Thomas and Richard.

Neville was created a Knight of the Bath on 5th July 1483 but went on to be a keen supporter of King Henry VII, he even fought alongside the King at the Battle of Blackheath against the Cornish rebellion. Upon the death of his father on 20th September 1492 Neville inherited the title of Baron Bergavenny.

Neville married Joan FitzAlan, niece to Elizabeth Woodville and King Edward IV, it is believed that the marriage produced two daughters; Elizabeth Neville and Jane Neville, who went on to marry Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu and son of Lady Margaret Pole.

It is documented that Neville was at Calais with King Henry VII in May 1500 and the loyalty he showed the King continued through to his son when he was crowned the new King of England at the time Henry VIII’s coronation Neville was in the hereditary office of Chief Larderer.

On 20th August 1512 Neville was made a commissioner of array for Kent, Surrey and Sussex and on 28th January 1513 he was appointed warden of the Cinque Ports. Neville was nominated to be inducted into the Knight of the Garter on 23rd April 1513.

Neville married for a second time in 1513 to Margaret Brent this marriage would end up childless and only lasted a few years.

King Henry VIII sent Neville to France later in 1513 and between June and October was a general in the army. It was a role he would take in 1514 again and due to his loyalty and success in 1515 he was granted the keepership of Ashdown Forest.

On 23rd July 1518 Neville, Lord Cobham, the Bishop of Chichester and some Kentish gentlemen were sent to meet Cardinal Campeggio and escort him to Canterbury where he would act as the Pope’s representative during peace negotiations and the signing of the Treaty of London. It was also in this year that Neville became a member of the Privy Council.

In June 1519 Neville married for a third time to Lady Mary Stafford, daughter of Duke of Buckingham. They would go on to have three sons and five daughters. In May 1521 Neville would find himself imprisoned in the Tower of London until early 1522 under suspicion of conspiring with his new father-in-law. He was soon released and pardoned, cleared of all charges of treason on the 29th March 1522. However, Neville had lost all his offices and had to resort to selling his home, Birling, to the King.

After his release he attended King Henry VIII as he met Charles V in 1522 and was once again the captain of the army in France in 1523.

As King Henry VIII proceeded with his divorce from Katherine of Aragon on 13th July 1530 Neville’s signature appears on a letter that was sent to Pope Clement VII asking him to settle to divorce case as soon as possible. With Neville back in favour with the King he was able to buy his home back and return to Birling. With the King breaking from Rome and remarrying to Anne Boleyn, Neville once again took the office of Chief Larderer at Anne’s coronation.

Neville married for a fourth and final time to his former servant and mistress, Mark Brooke (also known as Cobham).

However, age was catching up with Neville and in May 1535 he was notably absent from the feast of the Knights of the Garter due to ill health. With his health failing Neville wrote to the King asking that his family was not heavily pressed for his inheritance as he had many daughters that needed providing for as they all became married.

Neville died on the morning of 13th June 1535 (some documents say it was the 14th) at his home. His body was buried at Birling but his heart was buried at Mereworth.

George NevilleGeorge Neville painted by Hans Holbein the younger

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