On 20 June 1543: John Dudley, Lord Lisle writes to Lord William Parr from Greenwich Palace.
“Thanks for his letter of the 11th and for taking Lisle’s servants during the time of his abode there. In reply to his desire for news; the King is well, and is newly come from Harwiche, where he perused and saw two notable havens but liked Coulme Water best. Wrote that it was like to grow to war with France; and this is now intimated, and the King sends Mr Treasurer to Guisnes with 4,000 footmen and 500 horsemen; and Sir Rice Mansfeld is gone to the seas with 10 ships. This for a beginning. When the Emperor comes into Flanders, who is already past Italy and arrived in Almayne, you shall hear of greater going both by land and sea. Other news “is none but that my lady Latymer, your sister, and Mrs Herbert be both here in the Court with my lady Mary’s grace and my lady Elizabethe.” Will write again when he has news. Made his commendations as directed, and also to other friends, of whom there be numbers that desire his “short return.”
Greenwich 20 June Signed P 1 Flyleaf with address lost
Lately on Pinterest I have noticed that a certain portrait has become labeled as a member of Queens Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard’s family. The woman in the portrait is being credited as their grandmother (or whatever) “Lady Elizabeth Cheney Tilney”. The link used on each pin belongs to The Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and if clicked on — the title is clearly stated as being “Elizabeth Cheyne, Lady Vaux (1509-1556)”
Lately on Pinterest I have noticed that a certain portrait has become labeled as a member of Queens Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard’s family. The woman in the portrait is being credited as their grandmother (or whatever) “Lady Elizabeth Cheney Tilney“. The link used on each pin belongs to The Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and if clicked on — the title is clearly stated as being “Elizabeth Cheyne, Lady Vaux (1509-1556)“.
The actual Lady Elizabeth Tilney was born in 1422 as a Cheney, the daughter of Lawrence and Elizabeth Cokayne. Elizabeth married firstly to Sir Frederick Tilney by whom she had a daughter named Elizabeth Tilney. By Lord Tilney, Elizabeth was in actuality the great-grandmother of Queens Anne Boleyn (wife no. 2) and Katherine Howard (wife no. 5). As the widowed Lady Tilney, Elizabeth made a second marriage to Sir John Saye. By that marriage she was also the great-grandmother of Queen Jane Seymour (wife no. 3). Lady Elizabeth Saye (born Cheney) died in 1473.
The only daughter of Sir Frederick Tilney and Lady Elizabeth (born Cheney), Elizabeth, married firstly to Sir Humphrey Bourchier by whom she had issue. After her first husband died, the widowed Lady Bourchier became the wife of Sir Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey (later Duke of Norfolk) on 30 April 1472. This couple was parents to Lady Elizabeth Howard (mother of Anne Boleyn) and Sir Edmund Howard (father of Katherine Howard)–the two doomed queens of King Henry VIII.
Will the Real Elizabeth Cheney Please Stand Up?
As for the REAL Elizabeth Cheyne (or Cheney)–she was born in 1509; around the time that Anne Boleyn may have been born. Elizabeth was the daughter of Sir Thomas Cheyne of Irthlingborough, an Esquire of the Body to Henry VIII, and Lady Anne (born Parr). Sir Thomas Cheyne (d.1514) was the son of Sir John Cheyne of Fen Ditton (c.1424-1489) and his wife Elizabeth Rempston (born c.1418)–see below for more info. Lady Anne’s parents were Sir William Parr, Baron Parr of Kendal and Lady Elizabeth (born FitzHugh). By her parents, Lady Anne was a paternal aunt to Henry VIII’s last queen, Katherine Parr. In 1516, Elizabeth Cheyne became a ward of of her step-grandfather, Sir Nicholas (later 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden). In 1523, she was married to Sir Thomas Vaux (later 2nd Baron Vaux of Harrowden); the heir of Lord Nicholas Vaux by his second wife.
The Close Circle of Nobility
“Step-grandfather you say?”
Now this is where the history of the Vaux and Parr families become extremely confusing to some–Elizabeth Vaux and Katherine Parr’s grandmother, the widowed Lady Elizabeth Parr (born FitzHugh), married secondly to Sir Nicholas Vaux (later 1st Baron) as his first wife. This move was made as a measure to ensure loyalty to the new Tudor King, Henry VII. Lord Vaux’s mother, Katherine, had been a loyal supporter of the House of Lancaster and Queen Margaret of Anjou (wife of Henry VI). Elizabeth FitzHugh, herself, was loyal to the House of York. Her mother Lady Alice Neville was a daughter of Sir Richard, 5th Earl of Salisbury. As such, Elizabeth was a niece of Richard, Earl of Warwick “Warwick, the Kingmaker”. As close family members, Elizabeth and her mother were part of the coronation train of Queen Anne (born Neville) and attended her as ladies afterwards. Elizabeth and Nicholas had three daughters. One was the wife of Sir George Throckmorton, also named Katherine (née Vaux). After Elizabeth FitzHugh died, Lord Vaux married secondly to Anne (née Greene); the maternal aunt of Queen Katherine Parr. By Anne, Lord Nicholas had his heir–Thomas–who married Elizabeth Cheyne. Upon Thomas and Elizabeth’s marriage in 1523, Elizabeth was formally titled Lady Elizabeth Vaux or Lady Vaux. The family tree of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard have no such lady with this title.
As for Sir Thomas Cheyne–here is where some people may have confused the portrait. Cheyne was of the same lineage as Lady Elizabeth Tilney/Saye (born Cheney), daughter of Sir Lawrence (d.1461) and Elizabeth Cokayne. Thomas’s father, Sir John (d.1489), was Elizabeth Cheney’s brother. So there is a connection there, but the daughter of Sir Thomas was not an ancestress to the Boleyn or Howard family.
About the Work of Art
Above: the actual sketch from Windsor Castle’s collection of Holbein’s portraits. It is described as using Black and coloured chalks, white bodycolour, wash, pen and ink, brush and ink, and metalpoint on pale pink prepared paper; 28.1 x 21.5 cm
The original sketch was acquired by Edward VI in 1547 after the death of his father, Henry VIII. Henry FitzAlan, 12th Earl of Arundel bequeathed the portrait to John, Lord Lumley in 1580. Lord Lumley probably bequeathed the portrait to Henry, Prince of Wales in 1609, and thus, it was inherited by Prince Charles (later Charles I) in 1612. Charles I exchanged the portrait with Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke (the grandson of Lady Vaux’s other cousin, Lady Anne Pembroke (sister of Queen Katherine Parr) around 1627/8. Charles II acquired the painting through Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel in 1675. It has been in the Royal Collection ever since.
This drawing of Lady Vaux with the companion image of her husband was probably made as a study for a painted portrait. Holbein’s painting of Lady Vaux is known only through copies. No painting of Lord Vaux survives.
Henry VIII loved art and collected his fair share of portraits and drawings. There is a painting of ‘Lady Vaux’ at Hampton Court (above) which is said to have been painted by Holbein. It is one of three paintings recognized as genuine by the experts. However, others debate the authenticity and the painting at Hampton is labeled ‘After Holbein–Elizabeth, Lady Vaux‘. Elizabeth is depicted looking to the front, wearing a brown dress with ermine, with a jewel at her bosom decorated with the Madonna and Child enthroned. She holds a pink carnation in her right hand, and a cherry in her left. This is thought to be a competent copy after a lost original by Hans Holbein. The original was painted in 1535. This portrait hangs in the Haunted Gallery at Hampton. The authentic sketch of ‘Lady Vaux’ by Holbein (RCIN 912247) is at Windsor Castle.
The only other copy of the painting of Lady Vaux is in Prague Castle Gallery of all places!
So, if you see the portrait of Lady Vaux on Pinterest; the caption is incorrect. The fact that people refuse to or do not know how to change the caption is rather sad in my opinion. Elizabeth had no direct connection to the Boleyn or Howard families. Why do I feel like the painting was and still is being labeled incorrectly? My theory: most people do not know anything about Katherine Parr’s extended family; it seems so much easier to associate a lot of things to the Boleyn family for some fans. And when some are called on it, it can get pretty nasty. I’ve had some really nasty comments after leaving my own comment about the true identity of the sitter. For some Boleyn fans, the research, so they think, has already been done. The caption must be correct. No. But who am I? Some random pinner–or so they think.
I won’t deny that as a writer on Parr, this whole situation makes me extremely angry. I have been writing for years on this family and just trying to correct a simple image has become tiresome and pretty unpleasant. What really bothers me is the fact that putting the wrong label on a portrait deprives the memory of the real person. To me, somehow that person becomes erased.
Elizabeth, Lady Vaux died shortly after her husband on 20 November 1556. She was most likely a victim of the plague which killed her husband.
Burke, Sir Bernard. “A Genealogical History of the Dormant: Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire,” New Edition. London: Harrison, 1866. pg 418.
‘Spelthorne Hundred: Hampton Court Palace, pictures’, in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 2, General; Ashford, East Bedfont With Hatton, Feltham, Hampton With Hampton Wick, Hanworth, Laleham, Littleton, ed. William Page (London, 1911), pp. 379-380 http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol2/pp379-380 [accessed 13 February 2016].
Sir William Davanant on Twitter: “I give thee Elizabeth Cheyne, Lady Vaux (1509-1556). After Hans Holbein. #HamptonCourt” [https://twitter.com/SirWilliamD/status/297996052068450304]
A F Wareham and A P M Wright, ‘Fen Ditton: Manors’, in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire) (London, 2002), pp. 123-124 http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/cambs/vol10/pp123-124 [accessed 11 February 2016].
Richardson, Douglas. “Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families,” 2nd Edition, 2011. pg 526-7. Google eBook
Johnson, Graham and Humphries, Lund. “Holbein and the Court of Henry VIII: The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace,” London and Bradford, The Gallery, 1978. pg 95-96.
A possible ring belonging to Queen Katherine Parr was found near an estate that belonged to her second husband, Lord Latimer, also know as Lord of the manor of Sinnington. The ring was found near the manor of Sinnington. A Lombardic inscription on it suggests the ring dates from between the ninth to the 15th century.
Katherine spent time in the area as Lady Latimer from 1534-1543; wife of Sir John Nevill. It is said that Sinnington was a favourite during Katherine’s days as Dowager Lady Latimer. As well as Sinnington Manor, several manors near by belonged to Latimer and Katherine’s family. Nunnington Manor, which belonged to Katherine’s brother William, was close by.
HISTORY OF the manor: In 1284–5 the Nevills of Raby had obtained a mesne lordship, which descended to Sir Ralph first Earl of Westmorland (husband of Lady Joan Beaufort, only daughter of Prince John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster by his third wife, Katherine). Westmorland must have given it to his fifth son by Lady Joan; George, who was created Lord Latimer in 1432. George died seised in 1469, and in 1531 the manor was still held by his great-grandson Sir John Nevill, third Lord Latimer.
6 AUGUST 1552: THE DEATH of Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton Court [uncle by marriage and cousin]. George was the eldest son of Sir Robert Throckmorton of Coughton by Catherine, daughter ofWilliam Marrow. Sir Robert Throckmorton was a courtier and Councillor to Henry VII. Before his death, in Italy while on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Sir Robert had seen George launched at court and in local government and in enjoyment of numerous leases and stewardships. This early advancement may have owed something to Throckmorton’s marriage to a daughter of another courtier, Sir Nicholas Vaux, whose stepson Sir Thomas Parr, comptroller of the Household to Henry VIII.
George was a loyal subject to the crown, however when it came to Henry’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon he opposed it. He did not approve of Henry marrying Anne Boleyn and was vocal about it. After all, he was close to Sir Thomas More and the Throckmorton was a devout Catholic family [still are to this day]. George’s circle included supporters of Katherine of Aragon which included Lady Maud Parr, his sister-in-law [wife to Sir Thomas Parr, brother of his wife Katherine]. Maud stayed with her mistress until her death in 1531.
Later on, George was steward from 1528-40 for Thomas Seymour, [later Baron Seymour of Sudeley]. The marriage of Katherine Parr to King Henry VIII in 1543 proved helpful to his children, but George was still in disfavor at court. George was part of the fall of Thomas Cromwell, but his part in it is obscure. Cromwell had somewhat kept George in disfavor for quite some time. The two clashed on religious ideals and other matters of state. The Throckmortons who had converted to Protestantism were held high at court and helped out their cousin Katherine Parr during her reign as queen and as dowager queen. Several Throckmortons did stick to the “old” religion and later found themselves in trouble during the reign of Elizabeth I [daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn].
By 1512, George married Katherine, daughter ofSir Nicholas Vaux [later 1st Lord Vaux of Harrowden] and his first wife, Elizabeth FitzHugh. Elizabeth FitzHugh was the paternal grandmother of Queen Katherine Parr; daughter of Lady Alice FitzHugh [born Neville, granddaughter of Lady Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland]. The couple had eight sons including Anthony,Clement,George,John I,Kenelm,NicholasandRobert and eleven daughters.
Throckmorton died on 6 August 1552 and was buried in the stately marble tomb which he had prepared for himself in Coughton church. The most impressive monument which he left, however, was the gatehouse of Coughton court. Throckmorton spent most of his life rebuilding the house: in 1535 he wrote to Cromwell that he and his wife had lived in Buckinghamshire for most of the year, ‘for great part of my house here is taken down’. In 1549, when he was planning the windows in the great hall, he asked his son Nicholas to obtain from the heralds the correct trickling of the arms of his ancestors’ wives and his own cousin [and niece by marriage] Queen Katherine Parr. The costly recusancy of Robert Throckmorton and his heirs kept down later rebuilding, so that much of the house still stands largely as he left it.
On 7 July 1517, a lavish banquet was held for the Emperor’s Ambassadors at Greenwich. The tables above show where several of the notables, including the King and Queen, sat. The banquet seems to have been largely a Howard family event.
The banquet was held on St Thomas’s day that is to say the summer feast the 7th of July. There were in all thirty three people seated at the banquet. The King had the centre place at the upper table; Queen Katherine was on his right and Cardinal Wolsey on hers; on the King’s left was the French Queen [Mary Tudor, Duchess of Suffolk] and the Emperor’s Ambassador was beside her. Then at the side tables with English peers and peeresses sat the Ambassadors of France, Aragon, and Venice. To attend on these thirty three persons no less than 250 names are given in a paper that was drawn up beforehand and these are almost all lords or knights. How they could avoid being in one another’s way is the difficulty. For instance Lords Abergavenny, Fitzwalter, Willoughby, and Ferrers to hold torches while the King washes. To bear towels and basons for the King the Earl of Surrey, Lords Richard Grey, Leonard Grey, and Clinton, Sir Maurice Berkeley, and eight other knights. The King’s server was Sir William Kingston and to attend on him Lord Edmund Howard [father of the future Queen Katherine] and fourteen knights the last named of whom is Sir Adrian Fortescue. To help the Vice-chamberlain in the ordering of the company, Sirs Thomas Parr [father of the future Queen Katherine] and John Peche. At the third mess, the French Queen’s servant; to attend on him, Sirs William Parr [brother to Sir Thomas and uncle to the future queen] and several others.
At the head table:
French Queen Mary Tudor
The table on the left:
Duchess of Norfolk
Countess of Surrey
Bishop of Spain
Lady Elizabeth Boleyn [mother of the future Queen Anne]
Provost of Cassel
Lady Howard [mother of the future Queen Katherine]
John S. Brewer, Robert H. Brodie, James Gairdner. Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII.:Preserved in the Public Record Office, the British Museum and Elsewhere: 1517 – 1518, Volume 2, Issue 2, H.M. Stationery Office, 1864.
John Morris. The Venerable Sir Adrian Fortescue, knight of the bath, knight of St. John, martyr, Burns and Oates, 1887.
The Field of the Cloth of Gold started on 7 June 1520. It took place between Guînes and Ardres, in France, near Calais, from 7 June to 24 June 1520. It was a meeting arranged to increase the bond of friendship between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France following the Anglo-French treaty of 1514.
Among those present was the widowed Lady Maud Parr and 1 woman; Lady Joan Guildford the elder (Joan Vaux, sister of Katherine Parr’s uncle-in-law AND step-grandfather Sir Nicholas, Lord Vaux of Harrowden) and 2 gentlewomen; Lady Vaux (most likely Catherine’s maternal aunt, Anne Green (d.1523)) and 1 woman; and Lady Mary Parr (Mary Salisbury, wife of Katherine’s uncle, William, Lord Parr of Horton) and 1 woman. These women accompanied and attended the queen, Katherine of Aragon.
Many books and local legends of Cumbria place the birth of Queen Katherine Parr at Kendal Castle in 1512. Is this true? No.
It’s false of course. By the time of her birth — her father, Sir Thomas, had abandoned the castle which was falling into disrepair for the court life. Who wouldn’t want to be at the court of Henry VIII? It was THE place to be! Plus, Catherine’s mother was in attendance upon the Queen. It would appear that Catherine’s grandfather, William, was the last to reside in the Castle. Shortly after the coronation of Richard III, Parr left for Kendal to distance himself from Edward IV’s “successor.” He died a few months later and is buried in Kendal Parish Church.
No one knows where Katherine, her brother William and sister Anne were born.
In spite of long held beliefs and old stories, the future Queen Katherine was not born in Kendal Castle which, after years of neglect, was becoming ruinous and by 1572 it was derelict and left in the hands of the Steward.
More probably the children were born in the house in Blackfriars which Sir Thomas Parr had leased shortly before Katherine was born, or in one of the other properties owned by the family in the south of England.(The Stricklandgate House Trust Limited)