Tag Archives: Thomas Wyatt

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 1513 – William Parr was born

On 14th August 1513 William Parr was born to Sir Thomas Parr and his wife Maud. Thomas had two sisters Anne and Catherine, the sixth wife of King Henry VIII.

On 9th February 1527 Parr married Anne Bourchier daughter of Henry Bourchier, 2nd Earl of Essex. The marriage was not an easy one and in 1541 Anne eloped with her lover John Lyngfield, the prior of St. James’s Church, Tanbridge and they had several children. As a result of this Parr was able to annul the marriage via an Act of Parliament and on 17th April 1543 and Anne’s children were declared illegitimate. As a result of the Act Parr obtained his wife’s lands and titles and as a result was created the Earl of Essex. Parr was able to achieve this due to his high position within King Edward’s court and the influence he held over many.

Parr went on to marry Elisabeth Brooke. Elisabeth had been married to Sir Thomas Wyatt, who had been implicated in Anne Boleyn’s downfall; they had a son with Wyatt who went on to be Sir Thomas Wyatt the younger. Elisabeth fell in love with Parr whilst still married to Wyatt and they lived in adultery and later married whilst Wyatt was still alive, therefore the marriage was bigamous The validity of the marriage was contested as during Henry’s reign a divorced man could not be allowed to remarry but this law was rescinded by King Edward and their marriage was legal. However, it was again overturned by Mary before once again being revoked by Elizabeth.

Parr had many titles bestowed upon him alongside the Earl of Essex in 1539 he was created Baron Parr of Kendal and in 1547 he was created the Marquess of Northampton.

After the death of King Henry VIII Parr being the King’s brother in law and therefore step-uncle to the new King, Edward VI, Parr was one of the most important men in the new Council. He served Edward loyally and when it was clear that the King was dying Parr along with his wife worked with John Dudley to place Lady Jane Grey as the successor to the throne. Upon Queen Mary’s ascension Parr was arrested on the charge of high treason and sentenced to death on 18th August 1553, however, he was instead released and eventually had his titles restored to him by Queen Elizabeth in 1559.

In 1565 his wife, Elisabeth, died aged 39 heavily in debt as she attempted to find a cure for her ailment which was believed to be cancer. Five years later Parr would marry Helena Snakenborg who was a lady in waiting from Sweden. This marriage would be short lived as Parr would die five months later at Warwick Priory. With no children his titles became extinct.

Queen Elizabeth paid for the funeral and burial of Parr and he was buried in St Mary’s Church, Warwick. His tomb is inscribed as followed;

William Parr, Marquis of Northampton; Died in Warwick 28 October 1571. [Buried] with the ceremonial due [of a] Knight of the Garter to the Order of Queen Elizabeth who bore the expense of the funeral, 2 December 1571.”

William ParrWilliam Parr, brother to Catherine Parr