Tag Archives: Tower of London

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

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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

Sandra Vasoli’s book tour – Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower

Today Tudor Chronicles welcomes Sandra Vasoli, author of ‘Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower’ on her book tour. Sandra has written a wonderful article about the British Library and how Sandra came to view Anne’s Book of Hours.Sandra’s book is available in either paperback or Kindle and published by MadeGlobal Publishing.

Here is Sandra in her own words about the British Library and Viewing Original Documents.

The British Library, adjacent to St Pancras Station in Euston Road, London, is the national library of the United Kingdom. It is truly a place of amazement and delight for individuals of all ages. It’s the largest library in the world based upon the number of catalogued items. They total over 170 million, and are held in many languages and formats.

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(illustration The British Library http://static.trustedreviews.com/94/b5ce19/eb6b/british-library-01.jpg)

Maybe most spectacular is the Library’s collection of historical manuscripts and artefacts. There are precious holdings which date as far back as 2,000 BC. The Library often puts selected pieces on display, creating opportunities for people to see things which are astonishing by virtue of their age and importance in the history of humankind.

Beinecke Library

(Illustration British Library glass stacks http://www.educationbash.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Yale-Rare-Book-Manuscript-Library-4.jpg)

With regard to early manuscripts, papers and documents, the Library shines. Very convenient to the interested person or serious researcher, there are digitized versions of documents available which have contributed to history all over the world, because the British Library partners with major educational settings globally. In addition, the research staffs from various departments within the Library are enormously helpful in supporting people in their studies .

The Library’s website is well worth poring over, especially for anyone interested in seeing early documents. One of my personal areas of interest and delight includes viewing early illuminated manuscripts. Once logged into the Library’s website, go to the page ‘Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts’ http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/welcome.htm. There, you can key in a time period, or the name of a historical figure, and you will have a chance to see any and all documents or items which pertained to that person or time.

For another fascinating computer-based search, visit the tab ‘Services’, and ‘Images Online’. This will provide an endless array of options to explore. As a point of example, if you are a fan of Anne Boleyn, type her name in the box designated for ‘Search Images Online’, and you will be rewarded with 22 wonderful items to discover and view, including paintings, letters and a gorgeous image of the tiny, gold –bound book of hours that Anne was said to hand to one of her ladies while she was on the scaffold awaiting her death.

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(illustration Anne’s book https://bookaddictionuk.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/untitled-picture.png)

How did I become acquainted with the magnificent British Library? In 2011, I had begun research to write the first of my two-part series of a novel of Anne Boleyn. The book, Je Anne Boleyn: Struck With the Dart of Love, is a memoir about Anne’s relationship with Henry VIII. I became very interested in the book of hours which it is reputed Anne owned, and in which both she and Henry wrote flirtatious inscriptions to each other. I had learned that this book is owned and held by the British Library, and I decided to attempt to see it. I had no idea whether this effort would work, but I spoke with the staff in Research Services and received my instructions about what was required to receive a Reader’s Pass for the Manuscripts Reading Room. As a part of my planned visit to London, I went to the Library, with necessary documents and information in hand. A last minute requirement caused me a great deal of panic, as my heart was now set on seeing this book, and it appeared that I might not be admitted. But due to the help of a London based friend, I was able to complete all my verification paperwork, and lo and behold, I entered the Reading Room.

For me, at least, this was a marvelous, but daunting experience. There was a reverential hush throughout the lovely, brightly lit space. Many students of all ages were situated in study carrels, which have been designed for the purpose of safely and carefully viewing precious, ancient documents. I was assigned a seat, and placed my scant belongings (at that time, the only items permitted were a notebook, number 2 pencils, eyeglasses, and a magnifying glass. Now, I believe, laptops or pads are permitted). I submitted my request, using the Library catalogue number, through the internal computer system, and then checked with the staff at the desk, where I was told to wait, and that I would be summoned if and when my request was approved. I nervously waited at my station, and looked about , craning to glimpse what incredible items others were studying. I was dumbfounded, seeing the ancient Greek, Latin, medieval, and even Egyptian hieroglyph manuscripts opened with people scrutinizing them, busily making notes.

After a short wait, I was asked to approach the desk. The pleasant young woman handed me a small box. She lifted the lid, and there, lying in its cardboard covering, was a leatherbound volume. My heart pounded, and I looked at her questioningly. She said, “certainly, you may take it and look at it. You are the only one permitted to handle it, please do not allow anyone else to touch. Use the tips of your clean, dry fingers only, and touch as little as possible.” She handed me a ‘snake’ of smooth pebbles strung together which are placed across the pages to hold them open. I returned to my desk, barely breathing.

I will never forget the feeling I had when when I opened the book. The binding had been replaced during the reign of George I in the early 1700’s (his inscription was on the binding), so that was not original. But the pages! They were of the smoothest, highest quality vellum, which is lamb or kidskin. And the illuminations – well, they were nearly indescribable. My magnifying glass was critical, because the book was small, smaller than the size of one’s hand, and the illustrations were painted with stupendous detail. The colours were so vibrant that the blues almost hurt the eyes, and the gold leaf, of which there was a great deal, shone and gleamed. This clearly was a book which had been enormously costly, and had been taken great care of in its day. Slowly and carefully I turned the pages, marveling over every one, until I came to the page illustrated with the image of Mary, with the archangel and the dove of the Holy Spirit seeking to gain her attention, to tell her that she would have a Son. The illustration was beautiful – but below… there was Anne’s handwriting! It was before my own eyes, and I realized that she had touched the very page I had just touched, and had written a message to Henry, her love – meant only for him. It was an unimaginable moment for me. And from then on, my concept about research was never the same. I looked at the words she had written:

By daily proof you shall me find

To be to you both loving and kind

Kings 9 66v

(illustration Anne’s Page in Book of Hours http://41.media.tumblr.com/f359953b92731fb7293072eb5fa8e0c5/tumblr_nojudaWm8Y1rnltc5o1_1280.jpg)

Paging onward, it was difficult, because I wanted to study each leaf, yet I was anxious to find Henry’s inscription. That lay further on in the book – almost at the end. Finally, I turned a page and there it was. The ink had faded to a soft grey, and the nib he had used was sharper – Anne’s letters were broad – but on the page with the bleeding and flayed Christ, he had written in French :

“If you remember my love in your prayers as strongly as I adore you,

I shall hardly be forgotten, for I am yours. Henry R. forever.”

annebs_large

(illustration Henry’s page in Book of Hours http://onthetudortrail.com/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/annebs_large.jpg)

I studied his writing, and the entire book, as long as I was able. Finally, I had to relinquish it, and return it to the Manuscripts desk. I had taken copious notes, which today I treasure. I have been told that it is becoming more and more difficult to obtain permission to view many of those priceless and singular documents.

Once I had an opportunity to reflect on what I had seen, I was struck by something which I feel the book told me. The story of this Book of Hours, as repeated by historians, is that the book belonged to Anne before 1529. Once their romance had commenced, and in Mass one morning, she wrote Henry her message in the book and passed it to him. He found her note, and seeing as he was already doing business and signing documents (as apparently he did during morning Mass) he penned the response, and sent the book back to her. After having held this lovely item and having viewed it closely, I found that I disagreed with this legend. My first strong realization was that this particular book, lavishly illustrated, with gorgeous,expensive, and numerous pages, was too costly to belong to anyone but royalty. Therefore, the story that it was Anne’s prior to 1529 I find erroneous. (If compared to the Books of Hours she did in fact own, and are kept at Hever, it is quite apparent that they are much less extravagant than this one). I believe the book was owned by Henry. The second deviation I find is that Books of Hours were not typically used at Mass. Instead, congregants used Missals, which followed the rites of the Mass. The Henry and Anne volume is clearly a Book of Hours, which was intended to be carried throughout the day, to refer to when praying at differing times and locations. This causes me to doubt the legend of the exchange at Mass. The pages of the book were not well worn, therefore I don’t believe it was often used, but instead was a beautiful belonging of Henry’s. I think he decided to give her the Book, and wrote his message in it when he was wooing her. I feel that Anne received it, and took her time in selecting a page on which to respond, as well as the message she would inscribe before she returned it to Henry. These inscriptions were not done hastily, it is easy to see when studying them.

What happened to this beautiful object? How did it come to remain with us today? I don’t know, but my guess is that Henry gifted it to Anne after he had read her wonderful, promising inscription. Perhaps she then gave it to someone close to her, or perhaps it was left in her belongings after her death and saved for her daughter Elizabeth who ensured its safety.

I learned that day, not only about the Book itself, but just how much the study of original documents can inform our assessment of history. It makes all the difference!

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Sandra Vasoli, author of Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower, earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and biology from Villanova University before embarking on a thirty-five-year career in human resources for a large international company.

Having written essays, stories, and articles all her life, Vasoli was prompted by her overwhelming fascination with the Tudor dynasty to try her hand at writing both historical fiction and non-fiction. While researching what would eventually become her Je Anne Boleyn series, Vasoli was granted unprecedented access to the Papal Library. There she was able to read the original love letters from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn—an event that contributed greatly to her research and writing.

Vasoli currently lives in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, with her husband and two greyhounds.

A huge thank you to Sandra for her words.

Sandra’s book tour will continue all week with visits to the following sites

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Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower is available now and can be purchased here:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Anne-Boleyns-Letter-Tower-Assessment/dp/8494372157/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1442061382&sr=8-1&keywords=sandra+vasoli

Our review of the book will be up later in the week but in the meantime MadeGlobal Publishing have offered one copy of the book as a competition, for further details please head over to http://www.facebook.com/TudorChronicles to enter, one winner will be selected at random after the competition closes at midnight on September 18th and will be contacted after this date.

On this day in 1540 – Sir William Kingston died

Sir William Kingston was born around 1476 and grew up in Painswick, Gloucestershire and first appeared in court life in June 1509 as a yeoman of the guard and again in 1512 as an under marshal in the army. During his time in the army he was on the Spanish coast at San Sebastian with Dr William Knight. He is noted as being involved in discussions regarding the best course of action for the English troops that were under the leadership of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset.

Kingston was also present at the Battle of Flodden and was knighted in 1513 (you can read more about the Battle of Flodden here – https://wordpress.com/post/85308923/809/)

Kingston was appointed as High Sheriff of Gloucestershire for 1514-1515. Kingston was present in the French court during 1520 after Sir Richard Wingfield wrote to King Henry VIII that the French Dauphin had taken a liking to Kingston. King Henry VIII had also taken to Kingston and he was present with the King at the Field of the Cloth of Gold and later at the meeting with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. Henry was so impressed with Kingston he presented him with a horse.

For the next few years Kingston remained a country magistrate as well as courtier and acted on the King’s behalf levying men in his home county, when he was in London he stayed with the Black Friars.

In April 1523 Kingston joined Lord Dacre on the northern frontier and Kingston along with Sir Ralph Ellerker were assigned some of the most dangerous posts including being at the capture of Cessford Castle. He returned to London suddenly and was appointed Captain of the Guard and a Knight of the King’s Body. On 30th August 1523 along with Charles Brandon he landed at Calais and on 28th May 1524 he was appointed Constable of the Tower with a salary of £100, in addition to this he also signed the petition to Pope Clement VII regarding the King’s divorce in July 1530.

Kingston would be involved in some of the biggest political events of the 1530’s in November 1530 went to Sheffield Park, Nottinghamshire to take charge of Cardinal Wolsey. Wolsey was concerned as he was once told that he would meet his death at Kingston, although Kingston tried to reassure him that he was not there to kill him he was with Wolsey when he died and later rode back to London to inform the King of the news.

Kingston travelled to Calais with Henry VIII for a second meeting with Francis I at Boulogne and on 29th May 1533 he greeted Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London where she would stay before her coronation.

He remained the Constable of the Tower and on 2nd May 1536 he received Anne Boleyn once again at the Tower who had been sent to the Tower accused of adultery. Kingston would report to Thomas Cromwell regarding Anne and her movements whilst imprisoned. He sent his first report on 3rd May where he documented Anne’s arrival and her musings regarding her arrest. He would go on to escort Anne to the scaffold after already telling her that her execution had been postponed.

On 9th March 1539 Kingston was made controller of the household and on 24th April he was made a Knight of the Garter, the King gave Kingston granted Flaxley Abbey to Kingston.

Sir William Kingston attended his last Privy Council meeting on 1st Septmeber 1540 and died on 14th September at his home in Painswick.

Kingston Letter about George BoleynA letter from Sir William Kingston to Thomas Cromwell

about George Boleyn

On this day in 1534 – Gerald FitzGerald 9th Earl of Kildare died

Gerald FitzGerald was born in 1487 in Maynooth, County Kildare; he was the son of Gerald FitzGerald, 8th Earl of Kildare and his wife Alison FitzEustace.

FitzGerald’s father was the Lord Deputy of Ireland during the reign of King Edward IV and remained in the position after Henry Tudor won the Battle of Bosworth and took the throne, however, FitzGerald Snr disobeyed the Tudor King on several occasions most notably by supporting the pretender to the throne Lambert Simnel.

In 1502 the younger FitzGerald played a principle role in the funeral of Prince Arthur Tudor who had died at Ludlow Castle and was buried at Worcester Cathedral.

In 1503 FitzGerald had already married Elizabeth Zouche, cousin to King Henry VII and he was given permission to return to Ireland with his father. The following year, in 1504, he was appointed to Lord High Treasurer of Ireland, in August of that year FitzGerald commanded the reserve at the Battle of Knockdoe where his inexperience and impulsive nature caused them a loss. FitzGerald’s father died in 1513 and FitzGerald became the 9th Earl of Kildare and at the same time selected to be the Lord Justice of Ireland. FitzGerald’s brother in law King Henry VIII also promoted him to his late father’s position of Lord Deputy.

FitzGerald defended Ireland and he did such a great job in 1513, after having defeated O’More and killing O’Reilly, a rebel, King Henry VIII granted FitzGerald the custom of the ports in the County of Down. In 1515 FitzGerald invaded Imayle in the Wicklow Mountains and killed Shane O’Toole, whose head he sent to the Lord Mayor of Dublin. FitzGerald went on to march into Ely O’Carroll where he, along with the Earl of Ormond and the son of the Earl of Desmond, captured Lemyvannan castle.

In March 1517 FitzGerald called a parliament in Dublin from which he went and invaded Ulster, stormed Dundrum Castle then marched toward Tyrone before taking the Castle of Dungannon. In 1518 he was accused of maladministration in order to clear his name he appointed a deputy in his place and he set sail for England. Upon arrival he was removed from the government and in his place Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk was appointed as his replacement. FitzGerald remained in England and in 1520 he is recorded as being present with King Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold.

It was at the Field of the Cloth of Gold that FitzGerald met the King’s first cousin, Lady Elizabeth Grey, a few months later they married. His time in Ireland was far from over though in 1523 King Henry permitted him to return after rumours came out of the country that he was attempting to stir up trouble for the new Lord Deputy, following inquires the King decided that there was no evidence to convict FitzGerald. At the same time he founded the College of Maynooth.

Upon his arrival back in Ireland FitzGerald instantly set off on an expedition to Leix but they ran into difficulty and soon retreated to Dublin. FitzGerald and the Earl of Kildare and Ormond, the current Lord Deputy, argued and accused each other of treason therefore the only thing they could do was to appeal to the King to settle it. Henry VIII ordered the two that they should abstain from making war without his permission, that they should cease levying coigne and livery within the four shires of Meath, Urgell, Dublin and Kildare. The pair were also ordered that their kinsmen submitted to the law and finally that they were bound by a bond of 1,000 marks to keep the peace for one year.

The peace between the two men did not last for long, James Talbot one of the Earl of Ormond’s followers was murdered by the retainers of FitzGerald. Again an appeal was sent to the King who sent commissioners to Ireland. An inquiry was held at Christ Church, Dublin in June 1524, the inquiry found in favour of FitzGerald and an indenture was drawn up ordering the two to forgive each other and become friends.

Soon after the inquiry FitzGerald was reappointed as Lord Deputy and took the oath of the position at St Thomas Court with his nephew Con Bacagh O’Neill carrying the sword of state walking before him. He agreed that he would not grant any pardons without the consent of the council in England. He was also required that his men dressed in the English fashion and shaved their upper beards.

In 1525 FitzGerald and Ormond was once again fighting over the amount of £800 as before they were accusing each other. At the same time Ormond was required by royal mandate to assemble an army to march and arrest the Earl of Desmond before moving north to make peace with the O’Neills and O’Donnells.

In 1526 FitzGerald was summoned to England to face the charges that Ormond had accused him of. Ormond now held the title of Earl of Ossory and accused FitzGerald of secretly assisting the Desmonds and murdered many subjects in Ireland due to their association with the Ormond and Butler family. When FitzGerald arrived in London he was sent to the Tower of London and was kept in England for four years when he was eventually brought in front of a council where a violent altercation broke out between himself and Cardinal Wolsey. Holinshed reported that Wolsey obtained an order for FitzGerald’s execution but instead he was granted bail and in 1530 he was one of the peers who signed the letter to the Pope regarding the King’s divorce with Katherine of Aragon.

In 1530 after signing the letter to the Pope FitzGerald was once again permitted to return to Ireland with Skeffington, the new Lord Deputy. After a march again the O’Tooles and then against the O’Donnells FitzGerald and Ormond were once again writing to the King to accuse each other. With the Deputy supported by the Butlers, FitzGerald was able to clear himself and was appointed to succeed Skeffington as Lord Deputy under the Duke of Richmond who had been granted the office of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. FitzGerald landed back in Ireland to great acclaim however, it did not last and it was eventually realised that peace in Ireland could never be achieved if FitzGerald or Ormond held the office of the Lord Deputy.

FitzGerald received a gunshot wound during a battle with the O’Carrolls at Birr and as a result partially lost the use of his limbs and speech. In February 1534 FitzGerald was once again summoned to court at Drogheda where he nominated his son, Thomas, as Vice Deputy before he set off to England. Upon arriving in England he was again sent to the Tower of London, where on the 2nd September 1534 he died, with the official cause being from grief after hearing of his son’s rebellion. He is buried in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula within the grounds of the Tower of London.

Gerald_Fitzgerald,_9th_Earl_of_KildareGerald FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Kildare

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

On this day in 1510 – Edmund Dudley and Richard Empson were executed

Edmund Dudley was the financial agent and English administrator of King Henry VII whilst Richard Empson was educated as a lawyer and was later a minister for the King. Early in King Henry VII’s reign both Dudley and Empson became associated with each other whilst they were both part of the Council Learned in the Law. The Council was a special tribunal carried out the King’s unreasonable taxations as a result the pair became highly unpopular with the King’s subjects but at the same time the King took a strong interest in the two men and soon elevated them to knights of the shire.

At the same time as collecting taxes for the King the pair also became wealthy themselves. When King Henry VII died in April 1509 Dudley and Empson were arrested on 24th April 1509 and imprisoned by the new King, Henry VIII on the charge of constructive treason. The pair were accused of ordering their friends to gather in arms when it became known that the King was dying however, they were also unpopular with the rest of the court which resulted from their financial gains.

Dudley and Empson were taken to the Tower of London where Acts of Attainders were put forward to the Parliament the Act was passed against Empson however, the Act against Dudley was not confirmed and Dudley believed that he would be pardoned. During his imprisonment Dudley wrote a treatise in support of absolute monarchy called The Tree of Commonwealth a plan to gain favour with the new King, his writing never reached the King.

Dudley and Empson were taken to Tower Hill on the 17th August 1510 and executed.

The Duke of Rutland Collection