Tag Archives: Tudor court

On this day in 1536 – King Henry VIII wrote to the Duke of Suffolk regarding the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion

On 19th October 1536 King Henry VIII wrote to the Duke of Suffolk, Charles Brandon, regarding the Pilgrimage of Grace rebels he wrote;

You are to use all dexterity in getting the harness and weapons of the said rebels brought in to Lincoln or other sure places, and cause all the boats on the Humber or means of passage into Yorkshire to be taken up. After this, if it appear to you by due proof that the rebels have since their retires from Lincoln attempted any new rebellion, you shall, with your forces run upon them and with all extremity ‘destroy, burn, and kill man, woman, and child the terrible example of all others, and specially the town of Louth because to this rebellion took his beginning in the same.’ We have sent you this day a good sum of money, and will send more as required.”

Henry also wrote to the Earl of Derby on the same day;

We lately commanded you to make ready your forces and go to the earl of Shrewsbury, our lieutenant to suppress the rebellion in the North; but having since heard of an insurrection attempted about the abbey of Salley in Lancashire, where the abbot and monks have been restored by the traitors, we now desire you immediately to repress it, to apprehend the captains and either have them immediately executed as traitors or sent up to us. We leave it, however, to your discretion to go elsewhere in case of greater emergency. You are to take the said abbot and monks forth with violence and have them hanged without delay in their monks’ apparel, and see that no town or village begin to assemble.”

Henry wanted the rebellion dealt with swiftly and effectively in order to stop anymore uprisings. His message to Brandon was clear.

Pilgrimage badgeThe badge worn by the Pilgrimage of Grace rebels

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On this day in 1541 – Margaret Tudor died

Margaret Tudor was born on 28th November 1489 at Westminster Palace she was the oldest surviving daughter of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Margaret was baptised in St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster.
As Margaret approached the age of six her father began to consider a marriage match between Margaret and the King James IV of Scotland in an attempt to secure a Scottish alliance and end the support that James had been giving Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the English throne. The union was unpopular and the Italian historian, Polydore Vergil recorded that some of the council were concerned that it would bring the Scottish into the English succession. King Henry VII replied;
“What then? Should anything of the kind happen (and God avert the omen), I foresee that our realm would suffer no harm, since England would not be absorbed by Scotland, but rather Scotland by England, being the noblest head of the entire island, since there is always less glory and honour in being joined to that which is far the greater, just as Normandy once came under the rule and power of our ancestors the English.”
On 24th January 1502 the Treaty of Perpetual Peace was signed between the two countries and the marriage treaty was concluded on the same day. On 25th January 1503 the marriage was completed by proxy in the Queen’s great chamber at Richmond Palace with the Earl of Bothwell standing in for the Scottish King. Bothwell wore a gown made of cloth of gold and was accompanied by the Archbishop of Glasgow and the Postulate of Moray, Andrew Forman. Margaret was now considered the Queen of Scotland.
Now the Queen of Scotland, Margaret was provided a large wardrobe of clothes befitting her new status as well as state bed curtains made of crimson Italian silk embroidered with the Lancastrian red rose. In May 1503 King James confirmed that Margaret’s lands in Scotland would comprise of; Methven Castle, Doune Castle, Newark Castle, Linlithgow Palace and Stirling Castle as well as any income from the Earldom and Lordships of her land.
Margaret set of for her new life in Scotland on 27th June 1503 and was accompanied by an impressive progress that was led by King Henry VII until Collyweston. On 1st August Margaret was met by the Scottish court at Lamberton. On 4th August Margaret was comforted by her new husband after a fire broke out in the stables at Dalkeith Palace, which resulted in the death of some of her favourite horses. Just three days later on 7th August Margaret was carried in a litter from Dalkeith to Edinburgh.
The following day the marriage was celebrated in Holyrood Abbey with both Margaret and James present. The ceremony was presided over by the Archbishop of Glasgow and the Archbishop of York. Now officially married to James, Margaret undertook her first public engagement just two days later when she went to mass at St. Giles’ Cathedral. The couple would go on to have six children although only one survived infancy, the future King James V.

Margaret Tudor

Margaret Tudor

With Margaret’s brother, King Henry VIII, now on the throne of England the Treaty of Perpetual Peace soon broke down and with Henry away fighting in France, Scotland invaded England resulting in the death of King James IV. In his will he named Margaret as regent for their son, for as long as she remained a widow.
Margaret, now in charge of the country ruling in her infant son’s name soon came up against opposition, not only was she a women she was also the sister to their enemy and cries for her replacement soon began. The figurehead of their campaign was John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany, the closest living male relative to the young King. Margaret was able to calm the calls for her to stand down and reunited the Scottish council; however, as she was doing that she turned to the House of Douglas for support and secretly married Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus near Perth on 6th August 1514.Margaret refuses to hand her son over
Now no longer a widow by the end of August 1514 Margaret consented to the appointment of the Duke of Albany as the new regent of the country. The Scottish council also declared that with her new marriage she had also given up the rights to supervise her sons. In defiance to the ruling Margaret gathered her sons and fled to Stirling Castle. Margaret eventually surrendered her sons the following August to Albany, by now she was expecting another child with Douglas and they retired to Edinburgh.
Margaret obtained permission from the council to travel to Linlithgow and from there she fled back into England where she was greeted by Lord Dacre and was escorted to Harbottle Castle where she gave birth to her daughter, Lady Margaret Douglas. During her time at Harbottle Margaret was informed of the death of her youngest son, Alexander. It was also during this time that the relationship between Margaret and Douglas began to break down with Douglas returning to Scotland in an attempt to make peace with Albany and protect his lands, as outside of Scotland he had no real power.
Margaret, with her new born child, travelled on to London and the court of her brother, King Henry VIII, she was housed in Scotland Yard, the London residence of Scottish kings. A year later, in 1517, Margaret returned to Scotland following a new treaty between Albany, Henry and Cardinal Wolsey. The Dowager Queen of Scotland was met at the border by Sieur de la Bastie, Albany’s deputy and her husband. Shortly after returning to Scotland Margaret had discovered that her husband had been living with a former mistress, Lady Jane Stewart, in her home and using her money. In October 1518 Margaret wrote to her brother regarding the possibility of a divorce. Henry was strongly against the divorce on religious beliefs (this was before his own divorce to Katherine of Aragon) as well as the fact that Angus was an ally worth holding on to.
Margaret began to work closely with Albany and when Albany returned to Scotland in November 1521 they set about restoring order to Scotland. Angus by now had gone into exile and began to spread rumours regarding the relationship between Margaret and the Regent. However, in 1524, Margaret showed that her alliance with Albany was just political when she formed a party that set about removing the Regent altogether with the help of Arran and the Hamiltons, Margaret brought her son, King James V, to her in Edinburgh and it was declared that now James was 12 years of age he was able to rule in his own name and was granted full powers. In November of the same year Margaret was recognised by Parliament as the chief councillor to the King.
Angus returned from exile and the relationship broke down between Margaret and Angus so much that upon entering Edinburgh Margaret ordered cannons to be fired at him from both Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood House. He was finally admitted to the council in February 1525 where he seized custody of the King and held him for three years.
Margaret did all she could to resist the Angus’ attempts to rule through James and despite her previous coup remained in friendly contact with Albany who was in Rome working on achieving her divorce from Angus. Pope Clement VII granted the divorce in March 1527 but she was unaware of this until December of that year.
On 3rd March 1528 Margaret married for a third time to Henry Stewart. In June 1528 Margaret’s son, King James, was finally able to free himself from Angus and began ruling in his own name. James created his new step father Lord Methven and they became some of the leading advisors to the King. One of Margaret’s main aims was to bring about a stronger relationship between Scotland and England and attempted to arrange a meeting between James and Henry. Margaret wanted an event similar to the Field of Cloth of Gold but it never came to fruition as James refused to be ruled by others and was suspicious of Henry.
Margaret once again sought divorce from her latest husband and even attempted to flee back to England before she was intercepted and escorted back to Edinburgh. She would write to Henry complaining of poverty and sought his protection against her husband. In June 1538 Margaret welcomed her daughter in law, Mary of Guise, to Scotland. The two would have a good relationship and Mary ensured her mother in law was more comfortable making regular appearances at court with her husband, with whom she had reconciled.
Margaret died at Methven Castle, Perthshire on 18th October 1541. It was reported that she suffered a palsy but expected to recover and therefore made no will. She did send for her son who was at Falkirk Palace but he failed to arrive on time. She was buried at the Carthusian Priory of St John in Perth.

Methven CastleMethven Castle, place of Margaret Tudors death

On this day in 1586 – Sir Philip Sidney died

Sir Philip Sidney was born on 30th November 1554 at Penshurst Place, Kent to Sir Henry Sidney and his wife Lady Mary Dudley. His uncle was Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester. Sidney was educated at Shrewsbury School and later Christ Church, Oxford.

In 1572 Sidney was elected as Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury and he also travelled to France in the same year as part of the team tasked with negotiating the marriage of Queen Elizabeth I and the Duc D’Alençon. Whilst in France Sidney witnessed the St. Bartholomew’s day massacre in Paris on 24th August 1572. Sidney would spend the next few years travelling around Europe visiting countries like; Germany, Italy, Poland, Hungary and Austria during this time Sidney met many prominent politicians and even visited an exiled Jesuit priest, Edmund Campion. Sidney returned to England in 1575 and he soon met Penelope Devereux, Devereux would go on to inspire Sidney’s sonnet entitled ‘Astophel and Stella.’ Devereux’s father had planned to marry his daughter to Sidney but died before the marriage could take place.

Aged 22 Sidney was sent on a diplomatic mission by the Queen and was sent to Rudolf II, the German Emperor, and Louis VI, Prince of Orange, in order to present the Queen’s condolences on the death of their fathers. Sidney was also tasked with learning whether the Spanish and their control over Europe was a threat to England. Sidney returned and gave the Queen a positive report of his mission, but his age and lack of experience went against him and Elizabeth sent other diplomats to gather information, they returned with a less optimistic view than the one Sidney returned with.

Sidney opposed the Queen’s prospective French marriage which caused some tensions within the political world. He wrote a detailed letter to her in 1579 outlining why she should not marry the Duke of Anjou, although moved by the letter the Queen reprimanded Sidney for speaking out of line as he was still a commoner. Sidney would go on to clash with Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, regarding the Queen’s marriage. In August 1579 Oxford and Sidney would clash during a performance of play with Oxford insulting Sidney during an exchange between the two Sidney would leave but the following day sent Oxford a reminder of honour’s obligation ad Oxford responded. The Queen and the council heard of the argument and quickly put a stop to it. As a result Sidney retired from the court for the next year and stayed with his younger sister, Mary, in Wilton.

During his time in retirement Sidney wrote ‘Arcadia’ originally entitled ‘The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia’ with the title being a reference to his sister.

ArcadiaSir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia

In January 1581 Sidney was a Member of Parliament for Kent, a post he also held in 1584. During this time at court he met Penelope Devereux and quickly fell in love with the future Lady Rich. The love could not grow and he wrote ‘Astrophil and Stella’ about his experiences of impossible love, with Penelope being the inspiration.

In 1583 Sidney was restored to the Queen’s favour and was knighted and stood in for Prince Casimir who was being inducted as a Garter Knight. Later in this year Sidney married Frances Walsingham, daughter of Elizabeth’s Secretary of State, Sir Francis Walsingham. The marriage was opposed by the Queen who felt that she could use Walsingham’s daughter for a political marriage. As part of the couple’s marriage Sir Francis paid off £1500 of Sidney’s debt and to allow the couple the chance to save money they moved into the Walsingham family home.

Sidney was sent abroad in the service of the Queen and on 22nd September 1586 he was wounded at Zutphen in the Netherlands. Sidney was serving under his uncle, Robert Dudley, in his first military campaign. He was hit in the thigh with a musket ball after giving his leg armour away to a soldier who had none. Although his wound was serious he was able to ride the mile back to camp where he arrived with a large loss of blood. He was offered water upon arrival but shunned it so another wounded soldier could drink some. It was believed that Sidney would recover from the injury and so was taken to Arnhem to recover. Sidney died 26 days after being shot on 17th October 1586, his body was returned to England in a boat that sailed with black sails and the court went into mourning. A state funeral was held at St. Paul’s Cathedral .

Sir Philip SidneySir Philip Sidney

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 1586 – The trial of Mary Queen of Scots began

The trial of Mary Queen of Scots began at Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire on 14th October 1586. Despite being kept essentially under house arrest for the duration of her time in England she was finally officially arrested on 11th August 1586 after being implicated in the Babington Plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth and place Mary on the throne of England in her place. Mary had letters smuggled out of Chartley thinking that they were safe however; they were delivered straight to Sir Francis Walsingham who deciphered and copied them before allowing them to continue to the intended recipients. It was clear in these letters that Mary endorsed the killing of her cousin. Following her arrest she was transferred to Fotheringhay Castle and placed on trial charged with treason under the Act for the Queen’s Safety.

Mary stood trial in front of 36 noblemen that included Cecil, Shrewsbury and Walsingham himself. Mary denied the charges that were put before her and initially refused to even attend the trial but was told by Cecil that it would go ahead with or without her presence. Mary eventually appeared in front of the jury at 9am dressed in a black velvet gown and a white cambric cap and veil. She began to argue that the court was not legitimate and that she had not been allowed to seek legal representation or arrange for any witnesses to appear on her behalf.

Trial of Mary QoSThe counsel seated for the trial

The trial began with the intricate details of the Babington Plot being retold to the jurors and accused Mary of giving her blessing to the plot. A brief exchange occurred between Mary and the jurors;

Mary: I knew not Babington. I never received any letters from him, nor wrote any to him. I never plotted the destruction of the Queen. If you want to prove it, then produce my letters signed with my own hand.
Counsel: But we have evidence of letters between you and Babington.
Mary: If so, why do you not produce them? I have the right to demand to see the originals and copies side by side. It is quite possible that my ciphers have been tampered with by my enemies. I cannot reply to this accusation without full knowledge. Until then, I must content myself with affirming solemnly that I am not guilty of the crimes imputed to me…”

Unknown to Mary, Sir Francis Walsingham had amassed a large collection of evidence against the former Scottish queen that included:-

  • Sir Anthony Babington’s confession
  • A deciphered transcript in English of Mary’s response to Babington
  • A reciphered copy of the original letter sent by Mary to Babington that is an exact replica
  • Confessions from Mary’s personal secretaries.

The court produced this evidence to Mary who broke down in tears but continued to deny any involvement claiming that the evidence presented was fraudulent and that Walsingham was attempting to frame her.

Following a break in the proceedings for lunch the counsel read out the secretaries confessions and although surprised at what was being read out Mary was claiming that the letters must have been intercepted and changed. The proceedings then broke for the day with them to resume the next morning.

trial-of-mary-queen-of-scots-in-fotheringay-castleMary Queen of Scots on trial at Fotheringhay Castle

The next morning saw the counsel go straight into reiterating the accusation that Mary had consented to the plot, the trial would go back and forth between the accusers and Mary with the trial eventually closing with Mary demanding that the case should be heard in front of Parliament and the Queen. Elizabeth delayed the verdict for as long as she could, wrestling with her conscience over whether she could condemn an anointed monarch but eventually on 4th December Elizabeth declared that Mary was indeed guilty but she was unwilling to sign the warrant for her death until 1st February 1587 when Elizabeth asked for William Davison, her secretary, to bring the warrant to her and she signed it but also requested that instead of a public execution she wished that Walsingham wrote to Sir Amyas Paulet, Mary’s jailer, to ask him to perform the task in secret therefore meaning Elizabeth could deny any involvement in it.

However, Paulet was appalled at what was being asked of him and said ‘God forbid that I should make so foul a shipwreck of my conscience or leave so great a blot on my poor posterity’. At the same time Cecil had arranged a secret meeting of the Privy Council where it was agreed that the warrant would be sent to Fotheringhay Castle and appointed the Earls of Kent and Shrewsbury to oversee the execution, they would keep this from Elizabeth until the task was done.

On 8th February 1587 Mary Queen of Scots was executed at Fotheringhay Castle.

execution warantMary Queen of Scots execution warant signed by Queen Elizabeth

On this day in 1591 – Sir Edward Waterhouse died

Sir Edward Waterhouse was born in 1535 in Helmstedbury, Hertfordshire, to John Waterhouse and his wife Margaret, his father was once an auditor to King Henry VIII. Edward was educated at Oxford before joining the King’s Court.

Waterhouse began his career at court by being a private secretary to Henry Sidney, the Lord Deputy of Ireland and on 1st February 1566 was made clerk of the castle chamber at the same time he received a grant of a lease of the manor of Evan in Co. Kildare and the corn tithes of Dunboyne in Co,. Meath. During a tour of Ireland with Henry Sidney he was left to look after Carrickfergus whilst in care of the town he was a crucial part of obtaining a charter for the town in 1570 and as a result he was created a freeman, he later went on to represent the town in the Irish Parliament of 1585.

Waterhouse married three times firstly to Elizabeth Villiers, daughter of George Villiers whom he divorced in 1578, secondly to Margaret Spilman of Kent and finally to Deborah, widow of Mr. Harlackenden of Woodchurch. Deborah would survive Edward.

He then went on to serve Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex until the Earl’s death, during this time Devereux would sent Waterhouse to England on missions that were connected to the sale of property. Waterhouse gained the trust and gratitude of Devereux and then Earl died in his arms saying ‘Oh, my Ned! Oh, my Ned! Thou art the faithfullest and friendliest gentleman that ever I knew’.

Following Devereux’s death Waterhouse was able to obtain a pension of 10s a day which in 1579 was confirmed as a pension for life. He was then appointed secretary of state by Sir Henry Sidney and between 1576 and 79 was sent back to England to escort over treasure and in connection with the question of cess.

On 5th February 1579 he obtained a grant of the collectorship of customs of wine in Ireland and on 27th June he was appointed commissioner for check of the army, 7th July receiver-general in the exchequer and 25th July receiver of all casualties and casual profits falling to the crown.

Between August and November 1579 Waterhouse attended the movements of the army under Sir William Drury before being sworn in at the Privy Council in the October, but a rebellion of the Earl of Desmond in November saw him return to the army in Munster. The army took up all his time for two years and therefore he dismissed his other duties.

On 17th June 1580 Waterhouse obtained a grant for the office of overseer and water bailiff of the Shannon and on 10th April 1581 he was appointed a commissioner for ecclesiastical causes and on 22nd July of the same year he was granted a lease for 21 years of the lands of Hilltown, Meath.

As his positions grew he caught the eye of Queen Elizabeth who was allegedly jealous over his value in particularly the position of water bailiff of the Shannon and custodian of the boats at Athlone and in the autumn of 1582 he was ordered back to England. His gentle manner won the favour of Lord Burghley and his offer to surrender his posts pleased the queen although she demanded that he wrote a list of all the patents, fee etc that had been granted to him in the past seven years.

Upon his return to Ireland he was given the task alongside Sir Geoffrey Fenton of torturing Dermot O’Hurley, Archbishop of Cashel at the request of Lord Burghley, they were instructed to torture him by toasting his feet in front of a fire.

Waterhouse was knighted on 20th June 1584 by Sir John Perrot in Christ Church, Dublin. Perrot said that the reason was that Waterhouse had dispensed yearly more than a thousand marks.

Waterhouse began surrendering some of his roles in order to keep the peace in Ireland between nobles and at one point sought leave to return to England to plead for the reinstatement of his patent, Elizabeth again demanded a detailed account of his offices and rewards but Waterhouse explained that he had been obliged to sell his land in England to survive.

On 19th October 1586 he was appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer or of the green wax if Ireland, a position that lasted three years when he surrendered it to George Clive after receiving a grant in consideration of his sufficiency and painful good service.

Waterhouse retired to his estate of Woodchurch, Kent in January 1591 where he died on 13th October 1591.

Letter from WaterhouseA letter from Sir Edward Waterhouse