Marriage Negotiations: Letter of Maud Parr to Lord Dacre

Bolton Castle, North Yorkshire.
Bolton Castle, North Yorkshire. (Image page is error, author unknown)

Between the Spring of 1523 and 1524, Maud Parr entered into marriage negotiations for her daughter Katherine. Her first choice came upon the Hon. Henry le Scrope (c.1511-25 March 1525), son and heir to Sir Henry le Scrope, 7th Baron Scrope of Bolton by his wife Mabel Dacre. Lord Scrope was family being related by various ancestors of Katherine, i.e., Henry, 4th Lord FitzHugh and Marjory Willoughby [Katherine’s great-great-grandparents]; Sir Henry Scrope, 1st Baron of Masham and Joan [Katherine’s 5x great-grandparents]; and Sir Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and Lady Joan Beaufort. His wife, Mabel, was a granddaughter of Katherine’s great-aunt, Mabel Parr, Lady Dacre.

The marriage was stalled for various reasons; the modest character of Katherine dowry and lineage [which was just as strong as Lord Scrope]. The failure was fortunate as Henry died in 1525, which would have left Katherine a widow shortly before she would turn thirteen.

Most honourable and my very good lord,

I heartily commend me to you. Whereas it pleased you at your last being here to take pains in the matter in consideration of marriage between the lord Scroop’s son and my daughter Katharine, for the which I heartily thank you, at which time I thought the matter in good furtherance. Howbeit, I perceive that my lord Scroop is not agreeable to that consideration. The jointure is little for 1100 marks, which I will not pass, and my said lord will not repay after marriage had; and 200 marks must needs be repaid if my daughter Katharine dies before the age of sixteen, or else I should break Master Parr’s will [meaning the will of Katherine’s late father, Sir Thomas], which I should be loth to do, and there can be no marriage until my lord’s son [lord Scroop] comes to the age of thirteen, and my daughter to the age of twelve, before which time if the marriage should take none effect, or be dissolved either by death, wardship, disagreement, or otherwise which may be before that time notwithstanding marriage solemnized, repayment must needs be had of the whole, or else I might fortune to pay my money for nothing. The conversation I had with you at Greenwich, was that I was to pay at desire 1100 marks, 100 on hand–and 100 every year, which is as much as I can spare, as you know, and for that my daughter Katharine is to have 100 marks jointure, whereof I am to have 50 marks for her finding till they live together, and then they are to have the whole 100 marks and repayment to be had if the marriage took not effect. My lord it might please you to take so much pain as to help to conclude this matter, if it will be, and if you see any defect on my part it shall be ordered as ye deem good, as knoweth Jesu, who preserve your good lordship.

Written at the Rye the 13 day of July,

Your cousin Maud Parr


Author: tudorqueen6

Meg McGath is the author behind the articles on tudorqueen6; she has been studying the history and genealogy of the Parr family since 2007. Now, a decade later, she is still writing about her favorite Tudor queen, Kateryn Parr. Meg studied Women's Studies with an emphasis on English Women's History at the University of Maryland. One of her goals is to end the myth that Kateryn Parr was nothing more than a nursemaid to the aging King Henry VIII. "It simply isn't true, she did so much more for the Royal Family and her country," says Meg. And, of course, to educate Tudor enthusiasts on the prestigious lineage and connections of the Parr family. "Kateryn was related to everyone at court by blood or marriage. She was a descendant of the Beaufort line of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III, and Katherine Swynford. She shared this line with two of her husbands, Lord Latimer and the King," Meg states. A book is always her end game with Parr, but Meg has yet to put all the information together and send it to a publisher. "I've been told by many, including Professors, that I am a good writer..." says Meg. "The book, would focus on the generations before the Queen and how the Parr family became courtiers and relatives of The Crown." Meg has also done extensive research on the massive jewels and tiara collection of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty's collection was built starting with Queen consort Charlotte of Mecklenberg, wife of King George III, and grandmother of Queen Victoria. Meg is now putting together a separate blog that coincides with her Tudor Wiki contributions which started in 2007.

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