Ladies-in-Waiting: Mary Wotton, Lady Carew

Mary (née Wotton), Lady Guildford
Mary (née Wotton), Lady Guildford by Hans Holbein

Mary Wotton (1499-17 September 1558) was the daughter of Sir Robert Wotton of Boughton Malherbe, Kent (1465-1524) and the heiress, Anne Belknap. By her sister, Mary was the great-aunt of Lady Jane Grey.

The Wotton family were merchants from London. The Wottons seemed to have suffered as a result of the War of the Roses, but seemed to survive and come out on top afterwards like the Howards, Carews, etc. At one time, Sir Robert was Controller of the Royal Household. He also received the Order of the Garter. Mary’s brother, Nicholas, was a diplomat and Ambassador to France to Queen Mary. Her nephew, Sir Henry, was also a diplomat and a poet. Her sister became Marchioness of Dorset and eventually Duchess of Suffolk.[4]

Wotton may have been the Mistress Wotton who was a chamberer to Mary Tudor, queen of France, in 1513.

She married first, as his second wife, Sir Henry Guildford (1489-1532) and was his executrix. Guildford was long associated with Sir Nicholas Carew so that may explain how the eventually widowed Lady Guildford married secondly to a Carew.

Mary, as Lady Guildford is listed as being one of the ladies who performed in a masque at the elaborate banquet that took place after the signing of the Treaty of Universal Peace with the French Ambassadors. The entertainment was lead by the King himself and his sister, the French Queen. At that time, Mary, Lady Guildford, was listed as part of the household of Queen Katherine of Aragon. Other ladies listed are Lady Carew, Elizabeth (Bessie) Blount, and Lady St. Leger. Wotton appeared quite frequently at court and probably lived there.[1]

According to Susan James, Lady Carew (previously Lady Guildford) was a veteran at court who had known Katherine’s mother, Lady Maud Parr.[2] The family connections were strong as the Parrs were already connected to the Guildford family. Lord Guildford was the son of Joan Vaux, sister of Sir Nicholas Vaux. After the death of Lord Parr in 1483, the widowed Elizabeth, Lady Parr, remarried to Sir Nicholas Vaux. Vaux became stepfather to the future Queen Katherine’s father, Sir Thomas. As for the Carews, Sir Thomas and Maud were friends with them while they were at court during the reign of Queen Katherine of Aragon. Several of the Carew family members would be placed within the household of Queen Katherine Parr including Wymond Carew who became the Queen’s treasurer.[2]

Apparently, along with her mother-in-law, Lady Jane Guildford, and her sister, the Marchioness of Dorset, she was one of the most prominent women at court in the 1530s.[1]

After Guildford died, she continually wrote to King Henry to receive some sort of help, referring to herself as a “poor widow”. She received a release from all her obligations to the king on March 25, 1533 but was still deeply in debt in 1535 when she wrote to Lord Cromwell on the subject.[1]

Her second husband, married in July 1540, was Sir Gawin Carew of Exeter and Wood, Devon (c.1503-1583). Mary was the second of his three wives. Gawin was the fourth and youngest son of Sir Edmund Carew. He was a Protestant and was devoted to the cause. When Anne of Cleves arrived, he was tasked with receiving her. We find that Sir Gawin was a Navy man and was in command of the ship Matthew Gonson during 1545. The ship was 500 tons and contained 300 men.[4]

As Lady Carew, she lived at Wood Barton, but was obviously frequently at court as she went on to attend Queen Katherine Parr and was part of her inner circle. Perhaps Mary was even given apartments again.

The appearance of Mary is not described anywhere, but from the complaints of King Henry we can tell that Queen Katherine’s ladies were not much to look at. Perhaps their daily clothing did not help enhance their beauty; if they were beautiful. It was probably to the Queen’s credit that she kept her ladies in subdued colors and didn’t flaunt them like other consorts did. Queen Katherine had seen what happened to Henry’s other wives and probably didn’t want a repeat of what happened before she became Queen.[2]

Along with Lady Herbert, Lady Lane, and Lady Tyrwhitt, Lady Carew was tasked with assisting the Queen on her first Maundy Thursday activities (1544), where the Queen performed her duty of washing the feet of poor women.[2]

When Katherine published her book, Psalms or Prayers, Mary and the inner circle of the Queen were included as recipients of the book.[3]

Lady Carew died on 17 September 1558. She is buried in the Church of Kentisbeare in the Whiting Chapel. Her effigy is not present, but can be seen on the monument of her husband, Sir Gawen Carew in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene in Exeter Cathedral.[4]

For more on her tomb and memorial, see here (Memorials of the West).

Portraits

Sources

  1. Barbara Harris. English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers. Google ebook.
  2. Susan James. Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love.
  3. Mike Pincombe, Cathy Shrank. The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature: 1485-1603. Google eBook
  4. Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association. Google eBook
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Prayers of Queen Katherine Parr by the Princess Elizabeth, 1545

For Christmas, 1545, Princess Elizabeth was determined to give her stepmother and father something that would please them both. Elizabeth decided to take the published book by the new Queen, Prayers and Meditations, and transcribe it into Latin, French, and Italian. Elizabeth presented the gift at Christmas only to find her father irritated and annoyed. At the time, Elizabeth was barely twelve. For any person to perform such a feat at such a young age and embroider her own book cover–mind blowing. However, her father thought it was some sort of joke and seemed to be somewhat jealous of his wife. Why? One can only imagine what Henry was thinking. Knowing his temper, Henry was probably upset that Elizabeth had not translated one of his works into some lavish Latin based language — note: Henry never had a book published. Instead, Henry had yet another wife who aspired to be a great woman. Like Katherine of Aragon, Parr was highly educated. Her mother, the widowed Lady Maud Parr, who was close to Queen Katherine (of Aragon), was a mother of her time. As Princess Mary was being educated and taught to someday perhaps succeed her father, Lady Maud took note and used the same system Thomas More used, to educate his daughters. Queen Katherine Parr was given an enviable education which was only afforded to royals and top nobility. One of the top Tudor biographers, Dr. Starkey, has gone as far as saying that Parr was the most educated of all six wives. In the end, Parr would publish two books and her poems/prayers would be added to Prayer books later on.

Prayer Book of Princess Elizabeth (1545)
Embroidered back cover of the trilingual translation by Elizabeth I. Parr’s monogram is in the centre. (Wikipedia)

Another manuscript beautifully written by the Princess Elizabeth about a year later is now at the British Museum. It is on vellum, and contains prayers or meditations, composed originally by Queen Katherine Parr in English, and translated by the Princess into Latin, French, and Italian. The title as given in the book reads, ‘Precationes … ex piis scriptoribus per nobiliss. et pientiss. D. Catharinam Anglie, Francie, Hibernieq. reginam collecte, et per D. Elizabetam ex anglico converse.’ It is, moreover, dedicated to Henry viii., the wording being, ‘Illustrissimo Henrico octavo, Anglie, Francie, Hibernieq. regi,’ etc., and dated Hertford, 20th December 1545.

It is bound in canvas, and measures 5¾ by 4 inches, the groundwork being broadly worked in tapestry-stitch, or some stitch analogous to it, in red silk, resembling in method the work on the ground of The Miroir of the Synneful Soul already described. On this, in the centre of each side, is a large monogram worked in blue silk, interwoven with silver thread, containing the letters K, probably standing for Katherine, A, F, H, and R, possibly meaning ‘Anglie, Francie, Hibernieque, Reginæ,’ but like most monograms this one can doubtless be otherwise interpreted. Above and below the monogram are smaller H’s, worked in red silk, interwoven with gold thread. In each corner is a heartsease of yellow and purple silk, interwoven with gold thread, and having small green leaves between each of the petals. The work which was once on the back is now so worn that it cannot be traced sufficiently to tell what it originally was. The designs of these two volumes, credited to the Princess Elizabeth, resemble each other to some extent; they both have a monogram in the centre, they both have heartsease in the corners and groundwork of a like character. They are, as far as workmanship goes, still more alike, similar thick silk is used for the ground, and threads and braids of a thick nature, with metal interwoven, are used on both for the ornamental work. Speaking of this British Museum book, the Countess of Wilton says, ‘there is little doubt that Elizabeth’s own needle wrought the ornaments thereon.’

Source: English Embroidered Bookbindings by Cyril James Humphries Davenport. Alfred Pollard Release, January 23, 2006 [EBook #17585]. pg 34-35.

Bogus Family Lines: Mrs Anne Dorsey

The never ending problem of amateur genealogists trying to link their kin back to a royal…this story has been debunked several times. As I have Anne ______ Dorsey as an ancestress who married the immigrant Edward Dorsey of Hockley, I have been studying the lines and claims to Anne’s supposed descent from Lady Margaret Douglas, the daughter of a Queen of Scotland, and niece to King Henry VIII of England. As my site deals with Queen Katherine Parr–sixth and last wife of Henry, Lady Margaret features largely in Parr’s life as Queen. Katherine’s own father, Lord Thomas, was part of her escorts early on. Katherine and Margaret would have known each other from early on, in the 1520s. And when Katherine married King Henry in 1543, Margaret was present. Afterward, Margaret became a chief lady-in-waiting to the Queen.

Lady Margaret was born to the elder sister of Henry, Princess Margaret. Margaret became the Queen of Scots, but would remarry after the death of King James. That’s where Margaret comes from; Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. However, through her mother, Queen Margaret, she had a claim to the throne–Henry refused to acknowledge the Scottish line in favor of his younger sister, Princess Mary’s lineage. Even so, Margaret would have been kept under constant scrutiny as a possible heiress one day to the throne. Those who are close to the throne–their recorded history tends to be thorough, especially when it comes to children.

A child with Thomas Howard would have been illegitimate and may have caused Lady Margaret her life for committing treason against the King. Like I said, possible heiresses were closely watched. In fact, due to this secret “engagement” to an uncle of the disgraced Queen Anne (Boleyn) in 1536, a new rule was established–no Royal family member could marry without the permission of the sovereign. This rule would be broken several times after the death of King Henry, especially with Queen Elizabeth’s ladies.

Thomas and Margaret were thrown in the Tower. Henry eventually relented with his niece, but Thomas never saw Margaret again. There is no mention of a pregnancy or a possible child from this match–and seeing how brutal Tudor life was–if there had been a child, it either would have been given away or aborted (after birth). So, even the pregnancy of Margaret could be debated. There are no written statements in the historical account of Margaret which state, perhaps she moved away from court to have the child, and there are no statements from courtiers and the Queens she served that talk of a pregnancy (which was extremely hard to hide). So, the argument for a Robert Howard is BOGUS when you review the historic record of Margaret’s life.

As for the lineage of Mrs. Anne Dorsey, we have yet to learn where she came from and who her parents were. However, we DO have documentation that her daughter by Edward, Sarah, married a Matthew Howard. On FindAGrave, however, we see that this Matthew Howard is linked to the parents Matthew and Anne Hall; the same parents linked to Sarah’s mother, Anne. With this connection, Sarah would be marrying her own uncle! And that consanguinity was not common among courtiers–maybe with the Habsburg dynasty–but not with these immigrants.

Sarah Dorsey and Matthew Howard (Jr) were not related that we know of. In fact, it may well be, as stated in some books, that Matthew’s surname was not Howard, but Hayward. In “The Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland” by Joshua Dorsey Warfield, the chapter on the Howard family states:

“An early certificate in the Land Office at Annapolis reads, “Laid out July 3rd 1650 for Matthew Howard on the Severn southside near a creek called Marsh’s beginning at a hollow called Howard’s Hollow and binding on said creek a tract containing 350 acres also another tract running with Howard’s swamp containing 350 acres more.” These surveys of Lloyd were not patented. This record indicates clearly that Matthew Howard came up with Edward Lloyd in 1650. In support of this, the records of Lower Norfolk County Virginia give us the following history of the Howards of Virginia.

There were three Howards or Haywards among the English members of the Virginia Companies, records Alexander Brown in his First Republic. They were Master John, Rev John, and Sir John Howard, Knight. They contributed in all 112 and 12s. Master John, the historian, was born in Suffolk in 1560, was DCL of Cambridge pleader in ecclesiastical courts was knighted 1619, and an MP in 1621, married Jane Pascal, died in London 1627. His “Life of Edward VI” was published after his death. Rev John Howard was reported in Stiths “History of Virginia” as John Howard, Clerk. He subscribed 37. He was the author of “Strong Helper” in 1614. Sir John Howard subscribed 75. He was the second son of Sir Rowland by his second wife Catherine Smythe. He was knighted at Windsor July 23rd, 1609, was High Sheriff of Kent in 1642. In 1622, a John Howard who had come with Edward Bennett’s first company in 1621 was killed by the Indian massacre of 1622. His plantation formed the border line of the Isle of Wight, Virginia. From some of these Howards members of the Virginia Company descended Matthew Howard a close friend, relative, and neighbor of Edward and Cornelius Lloyd in Virginia; and with the former came to Maryland. Matthew Howard was in Virginia in 1635, as shown by a court record in which he had a suit with Mr Evans. In 1645, he was the executor of the will of Richard Hall, a merchant of Virginia, who in 1610 was one of the Grocers Court of England which contributed 100 toward the plantation in Virginia. Colonel Cornelius Lloyd was a witness to Richard Hall’s will in 1645. The testator’s property was left to Ann, Elizabeth, John, Samuel, Matthew, and Cornelius Howard; children of Matthew and Ann Howard. Philip Howard, the youngest son of Matthew and Ann was evidently not born in 1645 for his name was not included in the list of legatees. But, in 1659, Commander Edward Lloyd surveyed for him after the death of Matthew, the Severn tract of Howard stone, for Philip Howard, Orphan. In 1662, the sons of Matthew Howard came up to the Severn and seated themselves near their father’s surveys. John Samuel and Cornelius Howard all transported a number of settlers and received grants for the same, upon the Severn. They located, adjoining each other, near Round Bay. In 1661, Henry Catlin, one of Edward Lloyd’s commissioners, also of the Nansemond Church, assigned his survey to Matthew Howard Jr., who resurveyed the same with Hopkins Plantation, added into Howard’s Inheritance. In 1662, the five brothers, John, Samuel, Matthew, Cornelius, and Philip had nine hundred acres granted them as brothers.”

With that, we have a considerable amount of possible fathers to Matthew Howard. Do we know which one was his? Still working on it…

The Lives of my Ancestors

Whilst researching a branch of my family I came across an interesting connection relating to my 11x great grandparents Thomas Burlingham (1563 – 1650) and Elizabeth Howard (1579 – 1620) both of Norfolk, England. Many researchers have incorrect dates for this couple which would make them about aged four when they started a family lol. (putting those silly mistakes to the side) the biggest issue with this couple is research that was made in the 1700’s, of which a line of descent made Elizabeth Howard the granddaughter of a Robert Howard of Syon House, London (1537 – 1598). It is claimed that this Robert Howard who married a Phillipa Buxton was the illegitimate son of Lord Thomas Howard (1511 – 1537) and Lady Margaret Douglas, Princess and Countess Lennox, who married in secret in 1536 against the wishes of King Henry VIII. This part of the story is correct, the…

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10 JULY 1543: Archbishop Cranmer’s License for the Marriage of Henry & Kateryn

Marriage Certificate
The actual Marriage Certificate of King Henry VIII and Kateryn Parr. The certificate was on display in 2012 at Hampton Court Palace where they were married on 13 July 1543.

ARCHBISHOP THOMAS CRANMER’S LICENSE FOR THE MARRIAGE OF KING HENRY VIII AND KATHERINE PARR LATIMER, INCLUDING DISPENSATION OF THE REQUIRED PROCLAMATION OF BANNS, JULY, 10, 1543

To the most excellent and most invincible prince on a throne, and our supreme lord Henry VIII, by the Grace of God King of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and on earth Supreme Head, under Christ, of the Churches of England and Ireland: Thomas, by divine compassion Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, and Metropolitan, dully and lawfully invested therein by the subscribed authority of the Parliament of England:

Health and perpetual happiness, with honor.

Since by your most excellent royal majesty it has been considered worthy to lead into matrimony the noble and distinguished woman Lady Katherine Latimer, lately the wife of the distinguished and powerful man, Lord Latimer, during his natural life, now deceased, she being favored by the most good and most great God and by your initiatives:

Therefore, that marriage between your most excellent kingly majesty and the said noblewoman, Lady Katherine, in whatever Church, chapel, or oratory or wherever else your kingly majesty may wish to choose, without any proclamation of banns, may be solemnized by any bishop or priest whatsoever; and that you may exempt from actual constraints,

We and our soul, moved in this regard duly and legitimately by the honor of your estate and concerned for the benefit of the whole realm of England, with the authority established by these presents, do dispense with constitutions and ordinances propounded to the contrary, nothing whatsoever standing in the way.

Given at our manor of Lambeth, under our seal for enactments, the tenth day of the month of July, the year of our Lord one thousand five hundred forty-three; and of your majesty’s most happy and most illustrious reign, the thirty-fifth; and of our consecration, the eleventh year.

[Witnessed by]

Nicholas Wotton, Comissioner

Richard Lyell, Clerk for enactments by the said very Reverend [Lord Archbishop]

Source: Kew, Surrey: The National Archives, E 30/1472(6). A formulaic Latin writ in the engrossing hand of Richard Lyell, Cranmer’s clerk for enactments, sealed with the archbishop’s outsized seal.

  • From Katherine Parr: Complete Works & Correspondences, edited by Janel Mueller.

Queen Katherine and Media: Review of “Lamentation” by CJ Sansom

The day I found out that a link had been added to a Guardian Book Review was last year on this day. The highlighted “Lamentations of a Sinner“, went directly to my web site, TUDORQUEEN6. I was astonished and flattered. So, lets look back on this review…
A series of novels have been written about Queen Catherine Parr. Recently, Catherine was a hot topic for historical fiction authors like Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Freemantle. This book, “Lamentations”, is an older novel that deals with a reoccuring narrator named Matthew Shardlake.
In this novel, Shardlake and the queen go back a long way, to a time when she was merely the widowed Lady Latimer and Shardlake entertained vain hopes that she might overlook his hump if he offered his hand (in the manner of all great detectives, Shardlake’s vast intellect and emotional insecurity mean he doesn’t have much luck with women). But though Shardlake has repeatedly vowed to cease putting himself in danger, he can’t resist the commission to trace the whereabouts of a secret, potentially heretical manuscript that has been stolen from the queen’s bedchamber.
Catherine did write a book and published it during the King’s reign. The book, Prayers and Meditations, was a huge success and the Queen was encouraged to write more. A mere encounter with almost being arrested quieted the Queen, just enough to make her the only surviving wife of King Henry. After Henry’s death in January of 1547, the Dowager Queen was once again encouraged to put forth her writings by her brother, William, now Marquess of Northampton and the Dowager Duchess of Suffolk, Katherine Willoughby. Lamentations of a Sinner was published. The book was more “heretical” than her earlier publication. If Catherine had tried to publish the book under Henry’s reign, she most definitely would have been arrested and tried for “heresy” by the Catholics at court. Whether or not she would have been put to death, we will never know, because Catherine was smart enough to plead her case to the King before the Catholic faction could even arrest her. Way to go Catherine!

Problems with Identification: Tudor Portraits

Portrait of an Unknown Lady c.1565-8 by Hans Eworth active 1540-1573
Portrait of an Unknown Lady c.1565-8 by Hans Eworth (1540-1573), Tate Gallery, London, United Kingdom

There is a yet another discrepancy as to who the sitter is in another Hans Eworth portrait from the Tudor era. This time around, the actual sitter is, in fact, unknown. The proposed sitter of the painting was (and still is often) Lady Eleanor Clifford. Wikipedia has the portrait as Lady Eleanor’s main portrait. However, there has been a nod to perhaps the sitter being Eleanor’s daughter, Lady Margaret Clifford. As to who is really is–we’re not sure, so let’s study the background of each woman.

Lady Clifford was born Lady Eleanor Brandon in 1519 – 27 September 1547) She was the second daughter of Sir Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and his wife the former Princess Mary, Queen of France. Her mother was the younger sister of King Henry VIII; making Eleanor a grandchild of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. In March 1533, a marriage contract was written up for Lady Eleanor and Lord Henry Clifford, the eldest son and heir of Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland by Lady Margaret Percy.[2] However, since her mother died nine months later, she waited to go and live with her young husband and in-laws. Eleanor officially married Lord Clifford at Brandon house, Bridewell, in 1537; her uncle King Henry VIII was present.[3][4][5][6] 

Lady Clifford served several of her uncle’s queens. In 1536, she was Chief Mourner to Queen Katherine of Aragon; the deposed wife Henry put aside for his second, Anne Boleyn.

Lady Eleanor and her husband had one surviving child, Lady Margaret, who was born in 1540. Eleanor died on 27 September 1547, nine months after her uncle Henry VIII. At the time of her death, her cousin Edward VI was King.

Lady Margaret Clifford would have been born in the process of King Henry VIII’s wife swaps. In 1540, Katherine Howard was consort. A short lived marriage that put Katherine on the chopping block dissolved and Henry was single again. In 1543, the King would marry for the 6th and final time to the widowed Lady Latimer (born Katherine Parr). Queen Katherine had a sturdy circle of religious women around her at all times. In her list of ladies-in-waiting, we see that both Lady Cumberland (mother to Margaret) and the Duchess of Suffolk (Lady Frances Brandon; aunt to Margaret) are listed. Margaret would have only been three when her granduncle married Katherine Parr.

The scandal of Lady Jane Grey hit Lady Margaret’s immediate family hard. Her cousin, Jane was in line to the throne after King Edward VI and his two sisters; Ladies Mary and Elizabeth. King Edward saw fit to bypass his sisters in his will and give his cousin Lady Jane the crown. Jane was the daughter of Lady Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk. As such, Jane was the niece of Lady Eleanor Clifford; mother of Lady Margaret. The scandal was quickly suppressed and the will of Henry VIII (Edward’s father) was upheld. Lady Mary Tudor came to court to denounce her cousin Jane. The will of Henry VIII held more sway over Edward’s. Also, the blood descendants of King Henry VIII were preferred over the descendants of his father, Henry VII. There were two still living. Mary claimed her right to the throne and Jane was disposed. Jane, her father, her husband, and a few others were implicated and eventually executed under the new queen. As for Lady Margaret? She joined the court of Queen Mary. Queen Mary consented to the marriage of Lady Margaret to the heir of the Earldom of Derby and the two were married at Westminster Palace on February 12, 1555.

In 1557, Lady Margaret started to cause somewhat of a ruckus by claiming a superior succession to the crown than her cousins, Lady Catherine Grey and Lady Mary Grey. Margaret stated that because her cousin Jane had been tainted, tried, and executed, the whole line of the Grey family should be barred from the succession.

The death of Queen Mary set Lady Margaret in the attendance of the new Queen, Elizabeth. She held the rank of two of the highest noblewomen in the country along with her cousin, Lady Margaret Douglas (daughter of the eldest sibling of Henry VIII; Queen Margaret of Scots). Lady Margaret Clifford’s status may have been enough for a portrait. Her cousin, Margaret Douglas, certainly got a few.

adbdc68bd823116ac48d57efcf945ffe
Full-length portrait of Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox (1515-78), standing with a Griffon at her feet. She is holding gloves in her left hand and resting her right on a table on which stands a clock in the form of a tempietto, the dial surmounted by a hound and a shield with the arms of Scotland. Inscribed: THE LADY MARGARET. HIR GRACE / LATE WIFE TO MATHEW ERLLE / OF LENNOX REGENT OF SCOTLANDE / AND MOTHER TO HENRY KINGE / OF SCOTLAND / Aetatis 55 Aí Dni. 1572.

 

What We Know About the Portrait

The coat of arms in the top left corner, which may have been added later, are the impaled arms (those of a husband and wife) of Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland, and his wife Lady Eleanor, daughter of Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk and Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France. As a result the painting has been frequently exhibited in the past as a portrait of Lady Eleanor, regardless of the fact that she died in 1547, well before the date of this portrait [the roman numerals MDLX at the top right = 1560]. It is, however, a rule of heraldry that impaled arms are not used by the children of a marriage, as they would have their own. Hence the later addition and erroneous use of the arms here suggests that the identity of the portrait was already unclear only two or three generations after it was painted, a situation by no means unusual amid the frequent early deaths, multiple marriages, and shifting alliances and fortunes of the most powerful families of the Tudor era. Later the portrait was thought to represent the only child of Eleanor and Henry to survive infancy, Margaret. Unfortunately the inscription on the right which might have provided a check (Margaret would have been aged 25-28 at the time of this portrait) has been truncated; although the Roman numerals of the year can apply only to 1565-8, the age of the sitter cannot be ascertained with any useful accuracy. The National Portrait Gallery has an online sketch of this portrait identified as Lady Eleanor, but the portrait remains in dispute.

Another unfortunate aspect of the portrait is the clothing; the clothing does not match the time period of Lady Eleanor Brandon. The dress is third quarter of the 16th century and is of Spanish influence.

According to Richard Davey. The sisters of Lady Jane Grey and their wicked grandfather, E.P. Dutton and co., 1912:

The Lady Eleanor Brandon was a better looking woman than her sister Frances. When her tomb in Skipton Church was disturbed in the seventeenth century her skeleton which was in perfect condition proved her to have been very tall and large boned whereas the Lady Frances was of medium stature. Lady Eleanor, if we may judge by her portrait, which hangs at Skipton Castle, was pretty rather than beautiful. The writer confesses that the portrait at Skipton did not impress him as that of one who could have put forward the slightest pretensions to good looks; the cheeks are high, the forehead abnormally broad, the eyes however are fine, and the hair fair but the complexion according to this venerable picture must have been quite ghastly. The portrait is very badly painted; a poor thing worth little as a work of art but none the less interesting.

The site for the Tate Gallery concludes that the painting is still unidentified, yet there is an identical sketch on the site for the National Portrait Gallery identified as Lady Eleanor. Who’s who?

Another proposal for the sitter is given as Hon. Margaret Wentworth, daughter of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Baron and his wife Margaret Fortescue. Sir Thomas was a nephew of Queen Jane Seymour’s mother, Margaret Wentworth. Thomas’s daughter, Margaret, married three times; Sir John, Baron Williams of Thame; Sir William Drury; and Sir James Croft. The new identification is given by Dr. Roy Strong based on the comparison to her sister, Jane Wentworth, Lady Cheney [below].

Problems with Identifying Tudor Portraits

npg_4451_Katherine_Parr
Queen Katherine Parr attributed to Master John c. 1544. NPG, London. (c) National Portrait Gallery, London; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

For years Queen Katherine Parr’s many portraits were thought to be Lady Jane Grey; it is just recently that the portrait in the NPG in London (first portrait) was finally changed permanently to Queen Katherine Parr based on the research of the Queen’s inventory of jewels which was recorded in the documents of King Henry VIII. They are also recorded in the back of the recently published book, “Katherine Parr: Works and Correspondences.” Those very same jewels that belonged to the Queens of England were last worn by Queen Katherine Parr. After the death of King Henry, and after Edward Seymour proclaimed himself Lord Protector, the jewels, along with her personal jewels, were put into the Tower for safekeeping. Since Edward VI had no queen the jewels would not have been in use unless Edward’s wife Anne Stanhope got a hold of them; which she was not entitled to. Lady Jane Grey was in the household of Queen Dowager Katherine Parr until her death in 1548, but as stated the queen’s jewels were not accessible to Lady Jane and the portrait which is dated in the early 1540s also proves that the person painted had to have possession of those jewels; and who had possession during that time — only Queen Katherine Parr.

Let’s Talk to an Expert

The portrait at the Tate is certainly not of Eleanor Brandon. The artist of that painting is identified as Hans Eworth, an artist who did not become active in England until after Brandon’s death. Too, the style of the sitter’s costume also quite firmly dates the painting to at least a decade after Brandon’s death.
It seems quite logical that a portrait of Eleanor would have hung at Skipton, since that castle belonged to the family of Eleanor’s husband Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland. I do see that Richard Davey claims to have viewed the portrait in situ just prior to World War I. Whether or not his claim is factual is an open question, however. Davey too often simply invented the “facts” presented in his books. His list in Nine Days Queen of portraits of Jane Grey is packed with errors and deliberate falsehoods.
I understand that Skipton is now partially derelict, though it may still have some limited habitable spaces. Have you contacted Skipton Castle directly through their website to ask for any information they may have? That is certainly where I would start. I did check the Getty Research Institute’s Provenance Research Database, but that did not turn up any portraits of Eleanor Brandon Clifford appearing at public auction between 1700 and 1900. But the portrait may have been sold privately. –Dr. Stephan Edwards (Author of A Queen of a New Invention and The Lady Jane Grey Prayer Book)

I have contacted Skipton Castle looking for information. I have yet to receive and email. So for now, as of the end of 2016, the portrait remains unknown.

Sources

  • Lawrence Manley, “From Strange’s Men to Pembroke’s Men: 2 “Henry VI” and “The First Part of the Contention”.”, Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 54, No. 3 (Autumn, 2003), pp. 253-287.
  • Sir Sidney Lee. Dictionary of national biography, Volume 54, Smith, Elder, & co., 1898. pg 70.Google eBook 
  • Eleanor Clifford (née Brandon), Countess of Cumberland, probably by Alfred Thomas Derby, after Unknown artist, Purchased, 1893, Reference Collection NPG D23066. National Portrait Gallery 
  • The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.66-8. Tate Collections
  • Katherine Parr, attributed to Master John, circa 1545. Purchased with help from the Gulbenkian Foundation, 1965 Primary Collection. Reference Collection NPG 4451

  • Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox (1515-78), c.1572, British School, 16th Century, Royal Collection Trust. RCIN 401183
  • Kathy Lynn Emerson Who’s Who in Tudor Women.

Portraits of Queen Katherine: Reason and Logic vs Opinion

NOT_Margaret_Douglas
God love that Pinterest, but did I read that correctly? The woman in the middle is Margaret Douglas? Wasn’t that identified as Queen Katherine Parr in 1965 and then again in 1996? So where does the Margaret Douglas identity come from?

Pinterest, the new online addiction for millennials. Pinterest is a website where you can “pin” photos online to a virtual “board”. I was merely looking for a picture on the web and did an image search. I noticed that several of my articles photos popped up. So, why is this website using my photo? Welcome to Pinterest! The rest is history!

Pinterest can be your best friend or your worst nightmare, depending on who you are. If you’re a historian, like me, it’s a complete mess! Portraits are mislabeled, facts are not true, the link that provided the photo has disappeared yet the photo remains, etc.

Most people catch on and realize that they can indeed change the caption that is mindlessly being re-pinned onto other boards. Yes, when you Pin something, the caption (in this case, the wrong one) doesn’t change unless you manually do it. So…we find portraits from the Tudor era that have been incorrectly identified and re-pinned hundreds of times! Oh, my head!

I have been wanting to write something on Pinterest for a long time; about the relentless misidentified Tudor portraits. Well, this final pin has my full attention.

The pin is right in the middle of the screen cap above. It seems that someone pinned the portrait “Katherine Parr” from a website that identifies the portrait as “Margaret Douglas”. Confused? Me, too!

So I thought I would check out the website and boy did I get more than I bargained for!

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Kleio.org: the website run by Ms. Vogt-Luerssen. This is her page for “Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox”. As you can read for yourself, Ms. Vogt-Luerssen insists that the portrait is Margaret Douglas and NOT Katherine Parr. “Margaret Douglas, daughter of the Scottish Queen Margaret Tudor and one of the favourite nieces of the English King Henry VIII., c. 1532 The depicted is NOT Katherine Parr!”

Kleio.org is a personal website run by a woman named Maike Vogt-Luerssen. I was somewhat taken back by what I saw under the portrait. Ms. Vogt-Luerssen insists that the portrait is Lady Margaret Douglas, niece of King Henry VIII, and daughter of Margaret, Queen of Scots. The portrait on her page is dated c.1532. Underneath the caption, Ms. Vogt-Luerssen has written “The depicted is NOT Katherine Parr!”

And to that, I reply “au contraire mon fraire”!!

In an earlier article I did in March of 2013, I studied the portrait that has actually been long associated with Lady Jane Grey; grandniece of King Henry VIII by his other sister Queen Mary of France (Duchess of Suffolk). Surprisingly, through research, I learned that the original portrait came to the Portrait Gallery in 1965 as “Katherine Parr”.

“Most people don’t even realize that the painting came in as “Katherine Parr.” In fact, unless you do thorough research you won’t even know that the portrait was originally at Glendon Hall, the seat of the Lane family. Glendon Hall once belonged to Sir Ralph Lane who married Hon. Maud Parr, a cousin and lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine Parr. The portrait came to be generally accepted as Lady Jane for decades. The re-naming to “Lady Jane” was based on what you ask?”

Following research published in 1996, the identity of the sitter has been reassessed and the traditional identification of the sitter as “Katherine Parr” has been re-confirmed (James, 1996). Several of the jewels worn in the portrait can be traced to certain lists. James used several different inventories of jewels belonging to queens Katherine Howard (inventory as of 1542), ‘The Quene’s Jewells’ (inventory as of 1550), and a third undated list entitled “Inventory of jewels — parcel of the Queen’s Jewels and other stuff which came from the late Admiral’s [Thomas Seymour] house of Sudeley.” The 1542 list is of particular interest due to the fact that after Howard was arrested, her jewels were handed over to her lady-in-waiting, Lady Anne Herbert (sister of the future queen Katherine Parr). The list of 1550 was ordered by the Lord Protector as part of a comprehensive inventory of the ‘goods of Henry VIII.’ This list was entitled “The Quene’s Jewells.” Each list was looked at by James. The coronet shaped brooch was not found in the list for 1542. However, a similar one was described in the 1550 list and that of Parr’s possessions. The brooch may be identified with one described in the 1550 jewel list as, an ‘ouche’ or ‘flower’ was a brooch worn pinned to the bodice.

– Meg McGath, “Queen Katherine Parr: The Coronet Brooch“, 2013

catherineparrchest
Detail of “Queen Katherine Parr”; NPG 4451.

Argument for a Necklace

So I was very surprised when I went on to the site Ms. Vogt-Luerrsen runs. She had no actual sources for her claim that the portrait was “Margaret Douglas”. Nothing. Until September 1st when she published a private email she had received from “M.M” (which she has since changed to “just an email”). Hmm, wonder who that is. The email basically asked what Ms. Vogt-Luerrsen’s sources were. The writer even tried to offer some help to show why the portrait was not Margaret Douglas. Her response, is a fabrication she put together using my original response to this…

Dear M.M.,
I am a historian and a researcher too, and my knowledge is based on the contemporary historical sources of the 16th century, the written and the pictorial ones. The depicted woman you mentioned is without any doubt Margaret Douglas and certainly NOT Queen Katherine Parr. Actually not too long ago the depicted young lady was declared to be “Jane Grey” by the art historians. They now have changed their mind to “Katherine Parr”. My research is based on the history of the fashion. How can anybody make the claim that the depicted is Katherine Parr? Does this person have any idea what Katherine Parr really looked like? We have plenty of images of her. See here:

http://www.kleio.org/en/history/famtree/vip/abb20t/
Let’s look at the portrait of Margaret Douglas. Her costume is the only tool to date the painting. It was in fashion around 1528 to 1535. Jane Grey was born in 1537. She was not even born when this portrait was made. Therefore we can rule her out.
Katherine Parr got married to her second husband John Neville around 1530/1531. She married the English King Henry VIII in the year 1543. And in 1543 she was already a woman of the age of 31 years. Does this young woman (15 – 20 years old) look like 31 years old? We are in the Renaissance! Do you have any idea what a woman looked like when she was 30 years old?
The fashion tells us that the depicted on the portrait cannot be Katherine Parr. The portraits of Katherine Parr also tell us the depicted on this portrait can not be Katherine Parr. Margaret Douglas and her cousin Eleanor Brandon were the favourite nieces of Henry VIII (at least in the beginning of the 1530s).

Look at portraits of Eleanor Brandon: http://www.kleio.org/en/history/famtree/vip/abb2vv/
Margaret Douglas and Eleanor Brandon both received a specific piece of jewellery *(a necklace) from him which he also gave – according to Susan James – to his new bride Katherine Parr in 1543. The two specimens of these *necklaces of Margaret Douglas and Eleanor Brandon look almost the same, but there are small differences. Susan James was therefore not very well informed when she made her claim that the depicted is Katherine Parr.
You should read my biography about Margaret Douglas (Margarete Douglas: Die hinreißend schöne Schottin in der englischen Königsfamilie) in my E-Book: Die Frauen des Hauses Tudor – Das Schicksal der weiblichen Mitglieder einer englischen Königsdynastie:

http://www.kleio.org/de/buecher/tudor/
Kind Regards, Maike Vogt-Lüerssen

*The now PUBLIC email that Ms. Vogt-Luerssen published on her site differs from her original printed here after I responded to THIS email. However, let us examine this email and pick it apart.

Argument of Period Clothing

The argument against Katherine Parr holds no sustenance. Ms. Vogt-Luerssen questions as to how the painter actually knew who the sitter was. Well, for one, the sitter was actually present when the portrait was done. Ms. Vogt-Luerrsen then goes on to say that the fashion worn in the portrait pertained to only 1528-1535. Pretty sure that no one wore that style of clothing during that supposed time period.

The Earliest Portrait of Katherine Parr or Katherine of Aragon?
Although thought to be a portrait of Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Katherine Parr, the costume, which dates to the 1520s or 1530s, and the facial features matched far more closely with portraits of Henry’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon. (National Portrait Gallery, 2008)

Let’s see, Katherine of Aragon was still the Queen of England in 1528. In fact, her title wasn’t taken away until 1533. So, no, that was not the fashion at the time. Even when Mistress Anne Boleyn started to emerge at court, her style, as drawn by Holbein in 1532-35, stayed relatively the same. Anne was more in tune with the fashions of the French Court, but she is still seen wearing the Gable Hood, even in the most authentic depiction that we have of her. As for Katherine of Aragon’s fashion, she was known for her specific style of clothing that included the Gable. She also introduced the Spanish Farthingale which would become popular later on in the reigns of Katherine Howard (1540-41) and Katherine Parr (1543-47).

Tradition holds that the Spanish Farthingale arrived in England in the early 1500s, introduced by Katharine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s future queen. In a description of the marriage of Katherine and Prince Arthur in 1501, her clothing is described as:

“…her gown was very large, bothe the slevys and also the body with many plightes, much litche unto menys clothyng, and aftir the same fourme the remenant of the ladies of Hispanyne were arayed; and beneath her wastes certayn rownde hopys beryng owte ther gownes from the bodies aftir their countray maner.”

Despite this early reference, it is only in the 1540s–four decades later–that clear evidence of a stiffened hoopskirt begins to appear in documents, portraits and paintings of the time. The classic mid-16th century English look is created in large part by the farthingale: an inverted small triangle of the bodice over a larger one of the skirt. Queen Mary Tudor had several farthingales in her wardrobe: two farthingales of crimson satin edged with crimson velvet, and one of crimson grosgrain edged with crimson velvet.{2}

The appearance of the fashion in the portrait of Katherine Parr appears to have become documented and portrayed in portraiture in the 1540s. Katherine Parr was known for her love of fashion. In fact, Parr and the Lady Mary (daughter of Katherine of Aragon) bonded over their clothing. The two were always wearing the latest fashions. Katherine made it known that she preferred Spanish relations to the French. Katherine was keen on presenting the Lady Mary above all. The two were constantly seen together.

12783855_1688370734769470_1797439626_n
Detail of the NPG portrait of “Queen Katherine Parr“.

My Argument: The Brooch

I’m not sure where you are getting your info. I have researched this issue thoroughly since Susan James’s book came out in 2009. Your theory is based off your own opinions. There are no concrete sources listed in your argument. I can list over a dozen that prove that the portrait IS Katherine.
Katherine married Henry in 1543. The portrait was done circa 1545. Margaret Douglas was a lady to Queen Katherine. And in England, Margaret Douglas was not treated to any type of special kind of attention. Margaret held no rank that would have put her above the Queen. In fact, Margaret was behind several women. Under Henry VIII’s succession act, she wasn’t even named as a successor. She was merely a daughter of Queen Margaret and her noble husband–not even a Princess! Henry cut any ties to his Scottish family.
Check records for the time–was there a portrait commissioned by Henry VIII for his niece? Not that I know of. You have anything? And any sources saying Henry gifted a specific necklace to Margaret; description and all?
How can you deny the research that was done by the NPG? The portrait came in as “Katherine Parr” and was challenged. Due to research done by Susan James, the portrait was returned to the ORIGINAL identity of Katherine Parr in 1996.
Dr Susan James came out with a SPECIFIC study on this portrait — identifying it as Katherine Parr. Her sources were the lists of jewels worn by the Queens of England and Katherine Parr’s inventory. There is NO study that identifies this portrait as Margaret Douglas. There are no sources that even propose the portrait to be Margaret!
The portrait was actually done circa 1545. Jane Grey had NO access to the specific jewels in question. Even Margaret Douglas would have NO access to those jewels. Pretty sure Margaret was lower than Lady Jane in status due to Henry’s succession act. Also, Jane would have been extremely young if she was painted in 1545 (you say she wasn’t born under your date of when the portrait was done). When Susan James focused on changing the identity BACK to Katherine Parr, she used the brooch Katherine is wearing in the portrait. Also, Margaret Douglas wouldn’t be wearing such rich clothing and jewels as a lady in waiting. Katherine was always the top lady when it came to fashion (along with Lady Mary Tudor, later Queen). Margaret’s full length portrait done later in full black is basically what Katherine Parr had her ladies wear along with Parr’s Royal emblem.
As for dates, Katherine Parr was still married to Edward Borough in 1531. She didn’t marry Latimer until 1534!
On the argument of her age–does the portrait of Lady Mary look like a woman only a few years younger than Katherine? The half length portrait was painted around the same time (c.1543/45). The NPG also did a long exhausting study on that portrait also done by Master John. That portrait is listed as being commissioned in actual records.
And when scientific tests were done on Parr’s portrait, this was revealed: “Head

In infrared reflectography it is clear that the hairline has been raised, the face made slightly fuller along the left-hand side, and the position of the nose altered. The headdress has been drawn in a sketchy manner.” This was found by infrared reflectography. The original portrait done by Master John was altered — most likely an attempt to preserve the portrait. There were some extra marks around the eyes in Katherine’s portrait.
You have no concrete sources. You are asking me to look at your portraits that you have compiled. There is no link to any source except your own site which states it’s Margaret. I don’t read German, however my brother is fluent.
Going against actual biographers such as Dr Susan James, Linda Porter, Dr David Starkey, the curators at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the curators at Sudeley Castle, and the many sources available is ridiculous. The labeling of the portrait as Margaret is not correct; the facts that have been presented by ACTUAL historians label the portrait as Katherine Parr.
I’ve been studying Katherine Parr for over a decade! A historian who works on the identity of portraits claimed to be Jane Grey, Dr Stephan Edwards, has his own pages that state that the portrait is Katherine. This portrait has been thoroughly studied and Margaret was NEVER even brought up as a possible sitter! It was between Katherine Parr and Jane Grey. Again, Margaret had her own full length portrait done much later on. This portrait of Katherine Parr looks NOTHING like Margaret’s other portraits. Here are some actual links that state WHY the portrait is Katherine Parr. A lot of research and work was done to positively identify this portrait as Katherine Parr and hopefully you can put down the ego and open your mind on this subject.
Meg McGath

tudorqueen6.com

From Dr Edwards: “Susan James convincingly re-identified NPG 4451 as Katherine Parr by comparing the bodice brooch to items described in inventories of the jewels owned by Henry VIII’s wives, including Parr. The brooch is unique as James suggests and the sitter in NPG 4451 is indeed Katherine Parr.” Would you like me to send you Parr’s inventory and the queen of England’s jewel inventory which was held by Lady Anne Herbert (sister of Queen Katherine)??

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Detail of the Coronet Brooch of Katherine Parr, NPG; © Susan James (black&white detail) © National Portrait Gallery (color detail)

This is the subject of the so called debate in which I revealed to Ms. Vogt-Luerssen that the portrait was indeed “Katherine Parr” based on the studies done by the NPG and biographer Dr Susan James.

Many sources were attached to this email response. Shortly after, I found that the woman actually published my private email on her public site. Fine, game on. What really made me angry about the publishing of a private email was the fact that this woman, Ms. Vogt-Luerssen, took MY own words (research, see below) from this reply and inserted them into her refutation on her site. What words did Ms. Vogt-Luerssen replace with MINE? A few paragraphs back, I made sure to highlight words in RED.

Margaret Douglas and Eleanor Brandon both received a specific piece of jewellery *(a necklace) from him which he also gave – according to Susan James – to his new bride Katherine Parr in 1543. The two specimens of these *necklaces of Margaret Douglas and Eleanor Brandon look almost the same, but there are small differences. Susan James was therefore not very well informed when she made her claim that the depicted is Katherine Parr.

EMAIL from Ms. Vogt-Luerssen

And now, I have a side by side comparison of the email to Ms. Vogt-Luerssen’s page on “Margaret Douglas”.

kleio_false2
The discrepancies of the email and what is posted on the actual LIVE site. On the left, is the original email from Ms. Vogt-Luerssen [photo still taken by my Iphone]. On the right, is the actual website in which she took my research and information (about the brooch) to make her own “research” seem legit. Again, no sources and no portraits of Margaret Douglas and Eleanor Brandon to prove either claims in these two highlighted sections (necklace OR brooch).
You also have Ms. Vogt-Luerssen calling Dr. Susan James, a well known biographer of Katherine Parr, “not well informed”. To my knowledge, James has had the most experience when it comes to researching Katherine Parr to this date.

Ms. Vogt-Luerssen now has FALSE information on her website. She has been confronted by several people; including some Doctoral Scholars who are well known in the Tudor community. So, the cat is out of the bag so to say. This is ONE of several issues this woman refuses to fix on her website. Her reputed knack for identifying Tudor portraits (by opinion only) is horrific and goes to show what passes as “Historical Accuracy” online. I have had conversations with several Tudor scholars on this and the final conclusion is that Ms. Vogt-Luerssen is not a Historian and IS a hack trying to sell her own compilation of opinions and ill research. And to boot, she has written a “non-fiction” book called, The Women of the House of Tudor – The fate of female members of an English royal dynasty,which she points to at every mention she can.

Follow ups to the other vital mistakes will be linked to here.

  • Queen Katherine Parr in Art: False Portraits of Queen Katherine [currently working on]

Sources

 

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20 November 2016