Family of Queen Katherine Parr: Sir John Neville, 3rd Lord Latimer

Coat of Arms of the Neville Barons Latimer of Snape.

Sir John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer of Snape Castle (17 November 1493–2 March 1543) was an English nobleman of the House of Neville. Latimer was Katherine Parr’s second husband and Latimer’s third and final wife. His family was one of the oldest and most powerful families of the North. They had a long standing tradition of military service and a reputation for seeking power at the cost of the loyalty to the crown as shown by Sir Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick [Warwick, the Kingmaker], John’s 1st cousin, twice removed.[2]

Latimer’s branch of the Neville family was in line for the Earldom of Warwick; his great-grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Beauchamp was a daughter of the 13th Earl of Warwick by his first wife. The 13th Earl’s heir was his only son, Henry, by his second marriage Lady Isabel le Despenser [granddaughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York]; he was created Duke of Warwick. Warwick married to the future “Warwick, the Kingmaker’s” sister, Lady Cecily Neville. The Duke’s only child and heir by Cecily was a daughter, Lady Anne, who became Countess in her own right. After her early death the Earldom and inheritance became an issue.[see note 1] Due to the affiliation, Lord Latimer dealt with quite a bit of sibling rivalry. Legal actions were taken by his younger brothers and Latimer, at the time of his marriage to Katherine in 1534, was having financial difficulties. He lived chiefly at Snape Castle, Yorkshire, but sometimes at Wyke in Worcestershire.

Born about 17 November 1493,[1] he was eldest son of Sir Richard Neville, 2nd Baron Latimer by Anne, daughter of Sir Humphrey Stafford. His grandfather and heir to the Barony, Sir Henry, had been involved in the War of the Roses and in 1469 was killed at the battle of Edgecote fighting for Henry VI [the last Lancastrian king]. The fortunes of this branch of Nevilles were saved by Neville’s sympathetic granduncle, Cardinal Thomas Bourchier [uncle of Neville’s paternal grandmother Joan], who procured the wardship of the 2nd Baron and preserved his inheritance.

He came to court where he was one of the gentlemen-pensioners. Neville doesn’t really enter into history until 1513 when he accompanied Henry VIII to Northern France and was knighted after the taking of Tournai. He had taken part in about 1517 in the investigation of the case of the Holy Maid of Leominster. He was knight of the shire (MP) for Yorkshire in 1529 which was a step in progress even if he owed it to his father. The representation of the county was somewhat of a family affair as his fellow knight was Sir Marmaduke Constable, whom Neville took precedence over most likely due to his noble inheritance. He was not a member of the Commons for long as his father died before the end of 1530 and he had livery of his lands and succeeded to the House of Lords as the 3rd Baron on 17 March 1531.

Tomb of Queen Katherine at Sudeley features the her family arms impaled with that of her four husbands [Latimer & Parr]. Copyright Meg McGath

Tomb of Queen Katherine at Sudeley features the her family arms impaled with that of her four husbands [Latimer & Parr]. © Meg McGath [2012]

In the summer of 1534, Latimer married the widowed Lady Borough, Katherine Parr. At age 40, Lord Latimer was twice Katherine’s age. Latimer was a 2nd cousin to Katherine’s paternal grandmother, Elizabeth [at the time of Latimer’s birth, she had become Lady Vaux after re-marrying]. The match was credited to several family members which included Katherine’s uncle, Sir William, who had taken over as a father figure when her father died in 1517. From the beginning of the marriage, Katherine tried to be a good wife. Her affection for her husband would grow deep enough to cherish a remembrance of him, his New Testament with his name inscribed inside, which she kept until her death. Katherine would also prove to be a good step-mother to her step-children; a trait which she would again show after her marriage to the King. Her “teenage” step-son, John, proved to be difficult. There is some indication that Margaret, his sister, was the couple’s favorite. Never the less, Katherine would continue a relationship with the two after her marriage to King Henry, bringing Margaret to court as her maid-in-waiting and securing a position for John’s wife, Lucy, the new Lady Latimer in her household.[10]

The Pilgrimage of Grace

Latimer was a supporter of the old religion and bitterly opposed the king’s divorce and remarriage and it’s religious ramifications. In 1536, within two weeks of the riot in Louth, a mob appeared before the Latimer’s home threatening violence if Lord Latimer did not join their cause. Katherine watched as her husband was dragged away by the rebels. As prisoner of the rebels, conflicting stories of which side Latimer was truly on began to reach Cromwell and the King in London. The rebellion in Yorkshire put him in a terrible dilemma. If he was found guilty of any kind of treason his estates would be forfeited leaving Katherine and her step-children penniless. The King himself, wrote to the Duke of Norfolk pressing him to make sure Latimer would ‘condemn that villain Aske and submit [himself] to our clemency’.[11] Latimer was more than happy to comply. Both Katherine’s brother, William Parr and uncle, William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Horton fought with the Duke of Norfolk and the Duke of Suffolk against the rebellion. Katherine’s brother, Sir William Parr, who had been in the service of the Duke of Richmond [natural son of King Henry VIII and Elizabeth Blount], blocked the Great North Road at Stamford, with a large force of armed men, they were in the way of anyone coming up from London. The only substantial Lincolnshire landowner that the King could depend on was his friend and brother-in-law, the Duke of Suffolk.It is to most likely to Katherine’s credit that Lord Latimer survived; both her brother and uncle probably intervened at one point and saved Lord Latimer’s life.[10] Never the less, Latimer represented the insurgents at the conferences with the royal leaders in November 1536, and helped to secure amnesty.[12]

Ruins of Snape Castle.

In January 1537, Katherine and her step-children were held hostage at Snape Castle during the uprising of the North; the “Bigod Rebellion” which was lead by Sir Francis Bigod of Settrington. The rebels ransacked the house and sent word to Lord Latimer, who was returning from London, that if he did not return immediately they would kill his family. When Lord Latimer returned to the castle he somehow talked the rebels into releasing his family and leaving, but the aftermath to follow with Lord Latimer would prove to be taxing on the whole family.[10] It is probable that Katherine made sure that her husband did not join the uprising.[12]

The family would later move south after the executions of the rebels which pleased Cromwell and the King. Although now charges were found, Latimer’s reputation which reflected upon Katherine, was tarnished for the rest of his life. He spent the last seven years of his life blackmailed by Cromwell. Latimer was called away frequently to do the biding of Cromwell and the King and be present during Parliament from 1537-42. With Cromwell’s fall in 1540, the Latimer’s reclaimed some dignity and as Lord Latimer attended Parliament in 1542 he and Katherine spent time in London that winter. The atmosphere of the court was much different from the rural and parochial estates. It was at court that Katherine could find the latest trends, not only in religious matters, but in frivolous matters such as fashion and jewellery which she loved.[10]

By the winter of 1542, Lord Latimer’s health had broken down after a grueling life of what some would call ‘political madness’. Katherine spent the winter of 1542-1543 nursing her husband. John Neville, Lord Latimer, died in 1543. In Lord Latimer’s will, Katherine was named guardian of his daughter, Margaret, and was put in charge of Lord Latimer’s affairs which were to be given over to his daughter at the age of her majority. Latimer left Katherine Stowe Manor, Wyke [or Wike] Manor, and other properties. He also bequeathed money for supporting his daughter and in the case that his daughter did not marry within five years, Katherine, was to take £30 per annum out of the income to support her step-daughter. Katherine was left a rich widow faced with the possibility of having to return north after Lord Latimer’s death.[10]

Wyke Manor in Wick, Worcestershire. [Wikipedia]

Wyke Manor in Wick, Worcestershire. [Wikipedia]

He died on 2 March 1543 in London, and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral. In Weever’s Monuments, ed 1631, page 371, he says in speaking of old St Paul’s,

“Here in a monument broken all a pieces lieth entombed the body of John Nevill Lord Latimer whose widow Katherine Parr daughter of Sir Thomas Parre of Kendal and sister to William Lord Parre Marquesse of Northampton was the sixth and last wife to King Henry the Eight. He died in the year 1542 [incorrect date].”[9]

Family

Latimer married three times:

1. By 1520,[3] Dorothy de Vere (d. 7 February 1527), the daughter of Sir George de Vere and Margaret Stafford. Dorothy was the sister and co-heiress of John de Vere, 14th Earl of Oxford. She is buried in Wells, North Yorkshire in St. Michael’s; which is next to Snape Castle. The couple had two children:

  • John Neville, 4th Baron Latimer (1520[4]-1577), married Lady Lucy, daughter of Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester and Anne Browne [daughter of Sir Anthony Browne and Lady Lucy, herself a daughter of John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu]  by whom he left four daughters and co-heiresses, of whom Dorothy married Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter.[2] On his death, the Barony of Latimer fell into abeyance between his four daughters and co-heirs, and so remained until 1913, when Francis Burdett Thomas Coutts-Nevill was summoned to Parliament by writ, dated 11 February 1913.[5][6] Latimer was buried near Snape Castle in St. Michael’s Church, Wells, within Nevilles’ Chapel.[7]
Effigy and tomb of the 4th Lord Latimer in Nevilles' Chapel, Wells, North Yorkshire Well Village Website © Well Parish Council 2011

Effigy and tomb of the 4th Lord Latimer in Nevilles’ Chapel, Wells, North Yorkshire Well Village Website © Well Parish Council 2011

  • Hon. Margaret Neville (1525[7]-1546), was betrothed to her cousin Ralph Bigod in 1534, before the Bigod Rebellion. Ralph was the son of the rebel Sir Francis Bigod. The betrothal was broken most likely to the Rebellion. She died at age twenty-one, unwed, and d.s.p. [no children].[2]

2. On 20 June 1528, he obtained a marriage license to Elizabeth Musgrave (d. 1530), daughter of Sir Edward Musgrave of Hartley and Joan Warde, by whom he had no issue.[1][2] Elizabeth was in fact a cousin to Katherine Parr sharing Sir Thomas Tunstall and Isabel Harrington [3rd cousins, twice removed]; the 3rd Lord FitzHugh and Elizabeth Grey [4th cousins]; and both Sir Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and Lady Joan Beaufort — Elizabeth descended from Westmorland’s children, Sir Ralph [4th cousin, once removed] and Hon. Philippa [4th cousin], by his first wife, Lady Margaret Stafford, who married his stepmother’s (Lady Joan Beaufort) daughter, Hon. Mary Ferrers, the daughter from Lady Joan’s first marriage to of Robert, Lord Ferrers [4th cousin, once removed]. These last three connections to Westmorland, Lady Joan Beaufort, and Lady Margaret Stafford also made Elizabeth a cousin of her husband Lord Latimer.
3. In Summer 1534, Katherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal and widow of Sir Edward Borough (d. circa April 1533), son of Thomas Burgh, 1st Baron Burgh.[2]

Ancestry

By his father, Latimer descended from King Edward III of England twice. Latimer’s grandparents were Sir Henry Neville, heir to the barony of Latimer and Earldom of Warwick, and the Hon. Joan Bourchier. Henry Neville was the heir and eldest son of Sir George, 1st Baron Latimer of Snape and Lady Elizabeth Beauchamp [through whom the Latimer’s claimed the Earldom of Warwick; Elizabeth was a daughter of the 13th Earl of Warwick by his first wife Hon. Elizabeth Berkeley, both descendants of Edward I]. George was a younger son of Sir Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and his second wife, Lady Joan Beaufort. Lady Joan was the legitimized daughter of Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster [son of Edward III and father of Henry IV of England] by his mistress, later wife, Katherine Roet.

Joan Bourchier was a granddaughter of Sir William, 1st Count of Eu and Lady Anne of Gloucester, daughter of Prince Thomas of Woodstock [youngest son of Edward III] and his wife, Lady Eleanor de Bohun [descendant of Edward I and Henry III]. This connection to the Bourchier family made Latimer a cousin of the Earls of Bath, Lords Dacre of the South, the Lady Margaret Bryan [governess of the King’s children], Lady Anne Bourchier [husband of Katherine Parr’s brother William Parr], and even the Duchess of Somerset Anne Stanhope. Perhaps the connection to the Bourchier’s, specifically Anne, wife of Sir William Parr, brought Katherine and Latimer together. Credit is usually given to Parr’s uncle also named Sir William and her cousin Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall.

Ancestry of John Neville, 3rd Lord Latimer; Queen Katherine and Latimer shared Lady Joan Beaufort and Sir Ralph, 1st Earl of Westmorland as common ancestors.

Notes

  1. The earldom passed to the 13th Earl’s male heir, Henry, from his second marriage to Lady Isabel le Despenser [a granddaughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York]. Henry married Lady Cecily, a sister of the future Lord Warwick [Richard Neville] in 1436. At the same ceremony, Henry’s sister Lady Anne was married to Richard Neville, son of the 5th Earl of Salisbury. After the marriage, Henry was created Duke of Warwick in 1445. The couple had one child, a daughter Lady Anne, who inherited as suo jure 15th Countess of Warwick after the death of her father in 1446 [women could not inherit Dukedoms]. Lady Anne died young (d.1449). The title went to her her paternal aunt Lady Anne Beauchamp [whom she was most likely named after]. The title was passed to her husband, Richard Neville, who was also the maternal uncle of the last Countess. For the full story, see “Warwick Inheritance” on Lady Cecily’s page. The Warwick inheritance would be the subject of another feud after the death of Lord Warwick between his two daughters, Lady Isabel, Duchess of Clarence, and Lady Anne, Duchess of Gloucester and future queen of England. The title was bestowed upon Lady Isabel’s husband, George, Duke of Clarence (brother of King Edward IV and Richard III) and would go to his son, Edward, 17th Earl of Warwick, the last male Plantagenet.

References

  1. History of Parliament: a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons, ed. Stephen Bindoff ‘Neville, Sir John I (1493-1543), of Snape, Yorks.,‘ 1982.
  2. Linda Porter. Katherine, the Queen. Macmillan, 2010.
  3. Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume VII, page 483.
  4. Linda Porter. Katherine, the Queen, Macmillian, 2010. pg 65. *At the time of his father’s marriage to Katherine Parr in 1543, Neville was 14 yrs old.
  5. Charles Mosley, editor, Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke’s Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 1363.
  6. G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume VII, page 484.
  7. History of Village of Well, North Yorkshire, St. Michael’s
  8. Linda Porter. Katherine, the Queen, MacMillian, 2010. pg 66. *At the time of her father’s marriage to Catherine Parr in 1543, Margaret was aged 9.
  9. Richard Simpson. Some Accounts of the Monuments in Hackney Church, Billing and Sons, 1881; Chapter: Lady Latimer.
  10. Susan E. James. Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love. The History Press, 2009 US Edition. pg 61-73.
  11. Letters and Papers, Foreign & Domestic of the Reign of Henry VIII, II, no. 1174.
  12. Sir Sidney Lee. Dictionary of the National Biography, Vol XL, Smith, Elder and Co., 1894. pg 269.

Links

History of Parliament: Neville, Sir John I (1493-1543), of Snape, Yorks.

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

Family of Queen Katherine Parr: Sir John Neville, 4th Baron Latimer

Effigy of John Neville, 4th Lord. By jmc4 – Church Explorer

Sir John Neville, 4th Baron Latimer of Snape Castle (1520[1][2] – 22 April 1577) was an English nobleman of the powerful House of Neville.

Early life

Born about 1520 (he was 23 when his father died, 2 March 1543), he was the only son of John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer of Snape Castle and his first wife Dorothy, sister and co-heiress of John de Vere, 14th Earl of Oxford. After the death of his mother, Lord Latimer married secondly, Elizabeth Musgrave, by whom he had no children. After her death in 1530, Latimer married again in 1534 the widowed Katherine, Dowager Lady Borough [Parr].

From the beginning of his father’s marriage to Katherine, she tried to be a good step-mother to both children, but John proved to be difficult. There is some indication that Margaret, his sister, was their father and Katherine’s favourite. If that is true, it may explain the turbulence which would follow as John got older. As a “teenager”, John proved to be a confident sulking, lying, and over-sensitive boy. Lord Latimer did not name his son as heir to his properties and made sure that his son could not meddle with his inheritance or father’s legacy. In Lord Latimer’s will, Katherine was named guardian of his daughter and was put in charge of Lord Latimer’s affairs which were to be given over to his daughter at the age of her majority.

In January 1537, John, his sister Margaret, and step-mother Katherine, were held hostage at Snape Castle during the uprising of the North. The rebels ransacked the house and sent word to Lord Latimer, who was returning from London, that if he did not return immediately they would kill his family. When Lord Latimer returned to the castle he somehow talked the rebels into releasing his family and leaving, but the aftermath to follow with Lord Latimer would prove to be taxing on the whole family.[3]

Later life

Nevill became Baron Latimer on his father’s death in 1543. Although the relationship proved difficult during his youth, Katherine, did not forget Nevill. Katherine stayed close with her former stepchildren. In fact, Katherine made John’s wife, Lucy Somerset, a lady-in-waiting when she became queen consort to King Henry VIII.[1][3]

In May 1544, Nevill was involved with the siege of Edinburgh in Scotland and it was there that he was knighted. Nevill then went to war in France where he took part in the siege of Abbeville.

John became an emotionally unstable man later in life. In the summer of 1553, John was sent to Fleet Prison on charges of violence done to a servant. He was arrested for attempted rape and assault in 1557 and in 1563, he killed a man. Of the situation in 1553, Thomas Edwards wrote to the Earl of Rutland describing the violence which had taken place with the servant quoting “too great a villainy for a noble man, my thought.” That this public violence occurred after the death of his step-mother, Katherine, might suggest that at least she had some sort of control over Nevill while she was alive.[3]

Marriage and issue

In 1545, Latimer married Lady Lucy Somerset, daughter of Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester and his second wife, Elizabeth Browne.[4] The new Lady Latimer was a cousin to Queen Katherine as the great-granddaughter of the Marquess of Montagu, brother to Lady Alice FitzHugh [great-grandmother of Queen Katherine]. Lady Lucy became a lady-in-waiting to her husband’s former step-mother, Queen Katherine Parr.

Together they had four daughters that all produced children by their first marriages:

  • Hon. Elizabeth Neville (c. 1545 – 1630), married firstly Sir John Danvers of Dauntsey, and secondly Sir Edmund Carey. Elizabeth’s descendants by Danvers included the Dukes of Leeds [extinct in 1964]; Earls of Lichfield; Earls of Leicester of Holkham from which Sarah of York descends.
  • Hon. Katherine Neville (1546 – 28 October 1596), married firstly Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland, and secondly Francis Fitton of Binfield. Lord and Lady Northumberland were parents to Sir Henry, 9th Earl of Northumberland. Her descendants include Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales; HM Queen Elizabeth II by her mother; Sarah, Duchess of York; and others. Katherine was buried in the Chapel of St. Nicholas in Westminster Abbey, within the Percy family, Dukes of Northumberland.
  • Hon. Dorothy Neville (1547 – 23 March 1609), married Sir Thomas Cecil, Queen Elizabeth’s counselor, later Earl of Exeter. Cecil was the half-brother of the Earl of Salisbury. Her descendants also include Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales.

Latimer’s daughter, the Hon. Dorothy Neville who became Countess of Exeter when her husband Thomas Cecil was elevated to Earl in 1605

  • Hon. Lucy Neville (c. 1549 – April 1608), married Sir William Cornwallis of Brome Hall. Their daughters made advantageous marriages to nobility such as the marriage of their daughter Anne to the 7th Earl of Argyll by whom she had issue. Another daughter, Elizabeth, became Viscountess Lumley as the wife of Sir Richard, 1st Viscount Lumley.

Lord Latimer died without sons in 1577; his four daughters became his joint heiresses. The barony became abeyant until 1913, when its abeyance was terminated in favour of Latimer’s distant descendant Francis Money-Coutts, 5th Baron Latymer.

Effigy and tomb of the 4th Lord Latimer in Nevilles’ Chapel, Wells, North Yorkshire Well Village Website © Well Parish Council 2011

He was buried in St. Michael’s Church, Well, North Yorkshire which adjoined Neville’s home, Snape Castle. The church had a long standing history with the Neville family going back to John and Queen Katherine Parr’s ancestor, Sir Ralph Neville, the 1st Earl of Westmorland. Westmorland married Lady Joan Beaufort; the only daughter of Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster by his mistress, later wife, Katherine Roet. Ralph was responsible for the building of the present church c. 1330. Latimer’s mural monument lies in Nevilles’ Chapel within Well’s Church. Latimer’s daughter, Hon. Dorothy, Countess of Exeter inherited Snape Castle and is also buried there with her husband Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter.[5] According to a card placed upon the tomb, the four coat of arms on his tomb represent that of his four daughters and their husband.

His wife, Lucy, was buried in Hackney Parish Church in London. Her grand tomb has her effigy surrounded by her four daughters.[6] Her tomb is one of only a few in England which feature such noble bearings; the other being the tomb of George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland at Skipton which is surrounded by no fewer than seventeen richly adorned shields which include that of Brandon, Dacre, de Clare, St. John, and more.[7] The Earl himself was a descendant of Katherine Parr’s great-aunt, Mabel Parr, Lady Dacre. Lady Latimer’s tomb not only includes the arms many of those on Clifford’s tomb as Neville, Beauchamp, Dacre, Berkeley, and Percy but also those of de Vere Earl of Oxford, Walcot, and Cecil.[6] Lord Latimer’s arms (the Neville) are at one end of the tomb. The statues of the four daughters were two on each side of the monument; at the side of each the shield of the husband impaling the Neville arms. These arms are thus repeated five times. At the other end are Lady Latimer’s arms: the lions and fleur de lis that is France and England, quarterly, the arms of the Dukes of Beaufort, descended from the eldest legitimated son of John of Gaunt, her father being Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester.[6]

Document on the magnificent tomb of Lady Lucy Somerset, Lady Latimer; wife of the 4th Lord Latimer and lady to HM Queen Katherine Parr. Courtesy of JMC4 Church Explorer.[8]

In Robinson’s History of Hackney we find:

“The effigy of Lady Latimer was exquisitely sculptured and was fixed on the top of the table monument She appears to be dressed in a scarlet robe with a coronet on her head and the other part of the dress was richly gilt This effigy was probably intended for a portrait of her.”[6]

Memorial to Lady Lucy Latimer in the old church. Watercolour by T. Fisher c.1795 [9]

Her epitaph reads:

Such as she, is such surely shall yee bee; Such as shee was, such if yee bee, be glad: Faire in her youth though fatt in age she grew; Virtuous in bothe whose glosse did never fade. Though long alone she ledd a widowe’s life, Yet never ladye live da truer wife. From Wales she sprang, a Branch of Worcester’s race, Grafte in a stock of Brownes her mother’s side: In Court she helde a maide of honor’s place, Whilst youth in her, and she in Court did byde. To John, Lord Latimer, then became she wife; Four daughters had they breathing yet in life. Earl of Northumberland tooke the first to wife; The nexte the heire of Baron Burleigh chose: Cornwallis happ the third for terme of life: And Sir John Danvers pluckt the youngest Rose. Their father’s heirs, them mothers all she sawe: Pray for, or praise her: make your list the Lawe, Made by Sir William Cornwallis, Knight, this Ladye’s Sonne in Lawe.[6]

Ancestry

By his father, Latimer descended from King Edward III of England twice. Latimer’s great-grandparents were Sir Henry Neville, heir to the barony of Latimer and Earldom of Warwick, and the Hon. Joan Bourchier. Neville was a grandson of Sir Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and his second wife, Lady Joan Beaufort. Lady Joan was the legitimized daughter of Prince John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster by his mistress, later wife, Katherine Roet. Bourchier was a granddaughter of Sir William, 1st Count of Eu and Lady Anne of Gloucester, daughter of Prince Thomas of Woodstock [youngest son of Edward III] and his wife, Lady Eleanor de Bohun. This connection to the Bourchier family made Latimer a cousin of the Earls of Bath, Lords Dacre of the South, the Lady Margaret Bryan [governess of the King’s children], Lady Anne Bourchier [husband of Katherine Parr’s brother William Parr], and even the Duchess of Somerset Anne Stanhope.

Latimer’s mother was the granddaughter of the 12th Earl of Oxford and Elizabeth Howard. Oxford was himself a descendent of Edward I of England and Eleanor of Castile by their daughter Princess Joan of Acre. The Countess of Oxford, Elizabeth Howard, was a descendant of John I of England by his son Richard of England, Earl of Cornwall, King of the Romans as well as a descendant of Henry I’s illegitimate son Reynold de Dunstanville, 1st Earl of Cornwall.

The ancestry of John Neville, 4th Lord Latimer

References

  1. ^ Linda Porter. Katherine the Queen; the Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII. Macmillan, 2010. pg 66-67.
  2. According to Linda Porter’s Katherine, the Queen, Neville was 14 at the time of his father’s marriage to Catherine Parr.
  3. Susan E. James. Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s Last Love. The History Press, 2009.
  4. G. E. Cokayne. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, Vol. VIII, G. Bell & sons, 1898. pg 200. Google eBook
  5. Village of Well, North Yorkshire, http://www.wellvillage.org.uk/history/
  6. Richard Simpson. Some Accounts of the Monuments in Hackney Church, Billing and Sons, 1881; Chapter: Lady Latimer.
  7. W. Harbutt Dawson. History of Skipton, Simpkin, Marshall, London, 1882.
  8. JMC4 Church Explorer . London, Hackney, Flickr, 2008.
  9. T. Fisher. Hackney Council, The Churchyard Memorials: Memorial to Lady lucy Latimer in the old church, c.1795.

Written and researched by Meg McGath
27 August 2012

Family of Queen Katherine Parr: Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall

Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall

Cuthbert Tunstall (c. 1474/5 Hatchford, Richmondshire, England – 18 November 1559 Lambeth Palace, London, England) was an English church leader during the reign of four Tudor monarchs. Through out his lengthy career he was Bishop of Durham, Bishop of London, Archdeacon of Chester, Lord Privy Seal, Royal adviser, and a diplomat. He was “lucky” enough to have served as Bishop of Durham [among other offices] and actually survive the reigns of three Tudor monarchs; King Henry VIII, Edward VI [Protestant], Mary I [Catholic]. Under the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I, Tunstall would be arrested in 1559 after refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy and die under house arrest at Lambeth Palace [home to the Archbishops of Canterbury].

“Tunstall’s long career of eighty-five years, for thirty-seven of which he was a bishop, is one of the most consistent and honourable in the sixteenth century. The extent of the religious revolution under Edward VI caused him to reverse his views on the royal supremacy and he refused to change them again under Elizabeth.”The Anglican historian Albert F. Pollard

Tunstall was illegitimate at birth, although his parents later married and the irregular circumstances of his background were never held against him. He was the son of Sir Thomas Tunstall, one of two sons of Sir Thomas of Thurland. Sharing a great-great-grandfather, Sir Thomas of Thurland Castle [Tunstall’s grandfather], Tunstall was a first cousin, twice removed on his father’s side to Queen Katherine Parr and her siblings Lady Anne Herbert and Sir William, 1st Marquess of Northampton. Tunstall was appointed as the executor of Sir Thomas Parr’s will. After his death, Tunstall continued to stay close to the Parr family. Tunstall advised Lady Maud Parr on the education of her children; especially that of her daughters. Maud named Tunstall as one of the executors of her will as well.

Tunstall was an outstanding scholar and mathematician, he had been educated in England, spending time at both Oxford and Cambridge, before a six year spell at the University of Padua in Italy, from which he received two degrees. His Church career began in 1505, after he returned to England. He was ordained four years later. At the time of his ordination four years later he had caught the attention of the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham, who sponsored Tunstall’s advancement and brought him to court. Tunstall was also a close to Wolsey, who recognized his potential to serve his country and diplomacy.

Cuthbert Tunstall [a portrait painted before the Reformation showed him with a rosary. It was obviously painted over].

Tunstall was close to all the great names of English humanism in the early sixteenth century, especially Sir Thomas More. The European humanist Erasmus greatly admired Tunstall’s modesty, scholarship, and charm. Tunstall helped Erasmus in his publishing.

Tunstall was a great publisher of many books including De arte supputandi libri quattuor (1522), which enhanced his reputation among the leading thinkers of Europe. This book would be used later by Mary Tudor and his cousin Catherine Parr as queen.

Like More, Tunstall was on intimate terms with King Henry VIII. During the King’s ‘Great Matter‘, Tunstall defended Queen Katherine of Aragon, but not with the vigour or absolute conviction of Bishop Fisher. Tunstall had been bold enough to tell Henry that he could not be Head of the Church in spiritual matters and he may have been one of the four bishops of the northern convocation who voted against the divorce, but he recognized that the queen’s cause was hopeless and never attempted opposition to the King. In fact, he attended Anne Boleyn’s coronation. But Tunstall felt he could not keep quiet, he wrote a letter personally to Henry about the rejection of Christendom, and other matters that bothered him. Henry disagreed and refuted every point Tunstall made. These exchanges led to a search of Tunstall’s home by order of the King, but no incriminating evidence was found. Rumor was that Sir Thomas More warned Tunstall in time to dispose of anything that might incriminate him.

Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall [right] confronts Katherine of Aragon in "The Tudors".

Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall [right] portrayed by Gordon Sterne confronts Katherine of Aragon in “The Tudors“.

Tunstall agreed to take the oath, unlike More and Fisher. He and Archbishop Lee of York were required to explain to the imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, and subsequently the very angry Katherine of Aragon the justification for the annulment of her marriage. They did not succeed in getting her to agree or acknowledge the fact that she was no longer queen.

After the ‘great matter’ was resolved, Tunstall turned his loyalty back to the King. Tunstall was an executor of King Henry VIII’s will. Tunstall would go on to serve in the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I.

On 19 July 1553, Mary was proclaimed Queen. After being imprisoned in The Tower under the rule of Edward VI, Mary released him and he went back to being Bishop of Durham. During the reign of Mary, Tunstall was very lenient on the Protestants involved in the “Marian Persecutions.”

Lambeth Palace, London. The oldest parts of the present buildings date from the 1400’s. The most obvious external feature is the gatehouse which is framed on either side by two towers, built by in tudor brick by Archbishop Morton in 1495. This is consequently known as Morton’s Tower.

It was during Elizabeth’s reign that Tunstall refused to take Elizabeth’s Oath of Supremacy and was subsequently arrested. Even though he had been Elizabeth’s godfather, he was deprived of his diocese in September 1559, and held prisoner at Lambeth Palace, where he died within a few weeks, aged 85. He was one of eleven Catholic bishops to die in custody during Elizabeth’s reign. He was buried in the chancel of Lambeth church under the expense of the Archbishop that had overseen his confinement, Parker.

Thurland Castle Gate; Lancashire.gov.uk

Thurland Castle; Lancashire.gov.uk

De arte supputandi libri quattuor

De arte supputandi libri quattuor Cuthbert Tunstall London: R. Pynson, 1522 [DeM] L.1 [Tunstall] SSR

De arte supputandi libri quattuor
Cuthbert Tunstall
London: R. Pynson, 1522 [DeM] L.1 [Tunstall] SSR

De Morgan in his Arithmetical Books was laudatory about Tunstall: “This book is decidedly the most classical which was ever written on the subject in Latin, both in purity of style and goodness of matter. The author had read every thing on the subject, in every language which he knew … and had spent much time, he says, ad ursi exemplum, in licking what he found into shape. … For plain common sense, well expressed, and learning most visible in the habits it had formed, Tonstall’s book has been rarely surpassed, and never in the subject of which it treats”. As hinted by De Morgan, Tunstall’s work is not original, but a confessed compilation. Tunstall‘s motivation for writing it was a suspicion that that the accounts goldsmiths with whom he was dealing were incorrect; he renewed his study of arithmetic in order to check their figures. His work was the first printed in Great Britain to be devoted wholly to mathematics.

Copy of Tunstall’s book from Lehigh University.

This is the first of three 16th-century editions in De Morgan’s library. De Morgan’s designation of it on the title page as “very rare” has since been disproved: nineteen other copies are recorded in Britain on ESTC, chiefly held in Oxford and Cambridge libraries, with another five in North America. (DeMorgan Library, London)

Tunstall Chapel

In Durham Castle, Tunstall constructed a Chapel in 1540. For more info: Tunstall Chapel.

Sources

  1. William Fordyce. “The history and antiquities of the county palatine of Durham:comprising a condensed account of its natural, civil, and ecclesiastical history, from the earliest period to the present time; its boundaries, ancient, parishes, and recently formed parochial districts and chapelries, and parliamentary and municipal divisions; its agriculture, mineral products, manufactures, shipping, docks, railways, and general commerce; its public buildings, churches, chapels, parochial registers, landed gentry, heraldic visitations, local biography, schools, charities, sanitary reports, population, &c,” Volume 1, A. Fullarton and co., 1857. Google eBook.
  2. Edward Foss. “The Judges of England: With Sketches of Their Lives, and Miscellaneous Notices Connected with the Courts at Westminster, from the Time of the Conquest,” Volume 5, Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1857. pg 237-40.
  3. Katherine Parr. “Katherine Parr: Complete Works and Correspondence,” editor Janel Mueller, University of Chicago Press, Jun 30, 2011.
  4. Linda Porter. “Katherine, the Queen,” Macmillian, 2010.

Katherine Parr: Lady Latimer of Snape Castle

Lady Latimer

Katherine’s arms as Lady Latimer from her tomb at Sudeley Castle ©Meg McGath

In the year of 1533, Katherine is thought to have spent her widowhood with her cousins, the Strickland family at Sizergh Castle in Westmorland (now Cumbria). In the summer of 1534 she married John Neville, 3rd Baron Latymer, of Snape, North Yorkshire. At age 40, Lord Latimer was twice Katherine’s age. Latimer was her father’s second cousin, a twice-widowed descendant of George Neville, 1st Baron Latimer; Warwick, the ‘Kingmaker’s’, ‘idiot uncle’ and a 2nd great-grand uncle to Katherine [The Kingmaker’s sister, Lady Alice, was Katherine’s paternal great-grandmother]. From his first marriage to Dorothy de Vere, sister of John de Vere, 14th Earl of Oxford [m. by 1520], he had two children, his son and heir John and Margaret. After the death of his first wife on 7 February 1527, Neville remarried to Elizabeth Musgrave, daughter of Sir Edward Musgrave, c. 20 June 1528. They had no children and Neville was widowed again in 1530.[3] Neville was one of fifteen children born to Richard Neville, 2nd Lord Latimer and Anne Stafford, daughter of Sir Humphrey Stafford. Latimer’s branch of the Neville family was in line for the title of Earl of Warwick [via his great-grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Beauchamp, daughter of the 13th Earl of Warwick] and because of this, Lord Latimer, dealt with quite a bit of sibling rivalry. Legal actions were taken by his younger brothers and Latimer, at the time of his marriage to Katherine, was having financial difficulties. But as Lady Latimer, Katherine now had a home of her own, a husband with a position and influence in the north, a ready-made family, and a title. Katherine would become the only female Parr, apart from her great-aunt, Mabel, to marry into the peerage. Katherine’s brother-in-law, William Herbert, would later become Earl of Pembroke during the reign of Edward VI promoting her sister from Lady Herbert to Countess of Pembroke from which the current Earls and other branches descend from. From the beginning of the marriage, Katherine tried to be a good wife. Her affection for her husband would grow deep enough to cherish a remembrance of him, his New Testament with his name inscribed inside, which she kept until her death. Katherine would also prove to be a good step-mother to her step-children; a trait which she would again show after her marriage to the King. Her “teenage” step-son, John, proved to be difficult. There is some indication that Margaret, his sister, was their father’s favorite. Never the less, Katherine would continue a relationship with the two after her marriage to King Henry, bringing Margaret to court as her maid-in-waiting and securing a position for John’s wife, Lucy, the new Lady Latimer in her household.[1]

Latimer was a supporter of the old religion and bitterly opposed the king’s divorce and remarriage and it’s religious ramifications. In 1536, within two weeks of the riot in Louth, a mob appeared before the Latimer’s home threatening violence if Lord Latimer did not join their cause. Katherine watched as her husband was dragged away by the rebels. As prisoner of the rebels, conflicting stories of which side Latimer was truly on began to reach Cromwell and the King in London. The rebellion in Yorkshire put him in a terrible dilemma. If he was found guilty of any kind of treason his estates would be forfeited leaving Katherine and her step-children penniless. The King himself, wrote to the Duke of Norfolk pressing him to make sure Latimer would ‘condemn that villain Aske and submit [himself] to our clemency’.[2] Latimer was more than happy to comply. Both Katherine’s brother, William Parr and uncle, William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Horton fought with the Duke of Norfolk and the Duke of Suffolk against the rebellion. It is to most likely to Katherine’s credit that Lord Latimer survived; both her brother and uncle probably intervened at one point and saved Lord Latimer’s life.[1]

From the months of October 1536 and April 1537 Lady Latimer lived alone in fear with her step-children, struggling to survive. It is probable that in these uncertain times that Katherine’s strong reaction against the rebellion strengthened her adherence to the reformed church. In January 1537, Katherine and her step-children were held hostage at Snape Castle during the uprising of the North. The rebels ransacked the house and sent word to Lord Latimer, who was returning from London, that if he did not return immediately they would kill his family. When Lord Latimer returned to the castle he somehow talked the rebels into releasing his family and leaving, but the aftermath to follow with Lord Latimer would prove to be taxing on the whole family.[1]

The family would later move south after the executions of the rebels which pleased Cromwell and the King. Although now charges were found, Latimer’s reputation which reflected upon Katherine, was tarnished for the rest of his life. He spent the last seven years of his life blackmailed by Cromwell. Katherine would spend much of her time in the south during the years of 1537-42. Her husband was called away frequently to do the biding of Cromwell and the King and be present during Parliament. With Cromwell’s fall in 1540, the Latimer’s reclaimed some dignity and as Lord Latimer attended Parliament in 1542 he and Katherine spent time in London that winter. Her brother, William and sister, Anne had been present at court. Anne entered court service in 1531 as maid-in-waiting to Henry’s queens. It was here that she made acquaintances and met her future fourth husband Sir Thomas Seymour. The atmosphere of the court was much different from the rural and parochial estates. It was at court that Katherine could find the latest trends, not only in religious matters, but in frivolous matters such as fashion and jewellery which she loved.[1]

By the winter of 1542, Lord Latimer’s health had broken down after a grueling life of what some would call ‘political madness’. Katherine spent the winter of 1542-1543 nursing her husband. John Neville, Lord Latimer, died in 1543. In Lord Latimer’s will, Katherine was named guardian of his daughter, Margaret, and was put in charge of Lord Latimer’s affairs which were to be given over to his daughter at the age of her majority. Latimer left Katherine Stowe Manor and other properties. He also bequeathed money for supporting his daughter and in the case that his daughter did not marry within five years, Katherine, was to take £30 per annum out of the income to support her step-daughter. Katherine was left a rich widow faced with the possibility of having to return north after Lord Latimer’s death.[1]

Using her late mother’s relationship with Henry’s first queen Katherine of Aragon, Katherine took the opportunity to renew her friendship with Lady Mary. By 16 February 1543, Katherine had established herself with Mary and was now part of her household although this has been disputed.

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References:

  1. Susan E. James. Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love. The History Press, 2009 US Edition. pg 61-73.
  2. Letters and Papers, Foreign & Domestic of the Reign of Henry VIII, II, no. 1174.
  3. The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982. ‘NEVILLE, Sir John I (1493-1543), of Snape, Yorks.

© Meg McGath

2 April 2011

English Ancestry of The Six Wives: Descent from Edward I

The Six Wives of King Henry VIII

Yes, all six wives of King Henry VIII had English ancestry; some more than others.

Henry VIII after Hans Holbein c. 1535-44

Miniature of Henry VIII [1540-1570] after Hans Holbein the Younger. Watercolour and bodycolour on vellum, diameter 3.6 cm, Royal Collection, Windsor Castle.

FACT: King Henry VIII descends from Edward I of England only six times!

  • By his paternal grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, Henry descended from Edward I by Margaret’s paternal grandparents; John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset and his wife Lady Margaret of Kent [born Holland], later Duchess of Clarence.
    • Lord Somerset was a grandson of Edward III [grandson of Edward I and his first wife, Eleanor of Castile] by his father Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster.
    • Lady Margaret of Kent was a granddaughter of Princess Joan of Kent, Princess of Wales [wife of Edward, Princes of Wales, heir to Edward III, and mother to Richard II]; granddaughter of Edward I and his second wife, Marguerite of France, by their second son, Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent.
  • By his maternal grandfather, Edward IV, Henry descended from Edward I by Edward’s parents; Lord Richard, Duke of York and Lady Cecily [born Neville], Duchess of York:
    • The Duke of York’s parents, Lord Richard, 3rd Earl of Cambridge and his wife Lady Anne [born Mortimer], Countess of Cambridge both descended from Edward I.
      • Cambridge was a grandson of Edward III by his father, Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, 4th surviving son of Edward III.
      • Lady Anne Mortimer was a granddaughter of Edward III by her paternal grandmother, Lady Philippa of Clarence, 5th Countess of Ulster; granddaughter of Edward III by his second surviving son, Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence. Lady Anne also had a second connection to Edward I, by her maternal grandfather, Sir Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent; son of Princess Joan, Princess of Wales. Princess Joan was, as mentioned before, a granddaughter of Edward I and his second wife Marguerite.
    • Lady Cecily, Duchess of York, was the youngest daughter of Sir Ralph, Earl of Westmorland and his second wife, Lady Joan Beaufort. Lady Joan was the only daughter of Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and his third wife, Katherine [Roet]. John of Gaunt was of course the son of Edward III.

292px-Tudor_Rose_Royal_Badge_of_England.svgWould it surprise you to know that even Katherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves had Edward I in their pedigree?

In fact, Katherine of Aragon descended from two wives of Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, Titular King of Castile [the son of Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault]; Blanche of Lancaster AND Constanza of Castile, heir to the throne of Castile.

Royal Emblem of Queen Katherine of Aragon

1. Katherine of Aragon – daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile [2 times]

  • By her mother — Isabella of Castile’s paternal grandmother, Katherine of Lancaster, daughter of Prince John of Gaunt [son of Edward III] and his second wife, Constanza of Castile, she descended from Edward I and Eleanor of Castile.
  • Isabella of Castile’s maternal great-grandmother, Philippa of Lancaster, was also a daughter of Prince John of Gaunt, but by his first wife, Blanche of Lancaster. Lady Philippa was brother to King Henry IV [Bolingbroke]. Queen Katherine’s Hampton Court Pedigree shows this line from Edward I’s son, Edward II, onwards.

Royal Emblem of Queen Anne Boleyn

2. Anne Boleyn – daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn and Lady Elizabeth Howard [5 times]

  • By both paternal great-great-grandparents [through the Butler’s of Ormonde], Sir James, 4th Earl of Ormonde and Joan Beauchamp; she descended from Edward I and Eleanor’s daughter Princess Elizabeth of Rhuddlan. The Earl and Countess of Ormonde were parents to the 7th Earl of Ormonde.
  • By her paternal great-great-grandmother, Lady Anne Montacute, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Salisbury [also an ancestor of Queen Katherine Parr] she descends from Princess Elizabeth’s elder sister, Princess Joan of Acre. Lady Anne was the mother of Anne Hankford, Countess of Ormonde as wife to the 7th Earl.
  • By her maternal [Howard] line she descended from Edward I and Eleanor of Castile via her great-great-grandmother Lady Margaret Mowbray, wife of Sir Robert Howard; Lady Margaret descended from Elizabeth of Rhuddlan, by way of Lady Eleanor Fitzalan [wife of Thomas Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk].
  • By Sir Thomas Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk, she descended from Edward I and Marguerite of France through their son, Thomas of Brotherton Plantagenet, Duke of Norfolk [Hampton Court Pedigree shows this line from Edward I’s son, Thomas of Brotherton onwards]

Royal Emblem of Queen Jane Seymour

3. Jane Seymour – daughter of Sir John Seymour and Margery Wentworth [twice]

  • By her maternal great-grandmother, Hon. Margaret Clifford, whose father John Clifford, 7th Lord descended from Joan of Acre, daughter of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile. Lord Clifford’s great-great-grandmother was Lady Margaret de Clare, Countess of Gloucester [daughter of Princess Joan] who married Sir Hugh Audley, 1st and last Earl of Gloucester.
  • By Hon. Margaret Clifford’s mother, Lady Elizabeth Percy, whose grandmother was Lady Philippa of Clarence, 5th Countess of Ulster who was the daughter of Lionel of Antwerp, the second son of Edward III. [Hampton Court Pedigree shows this line from Edward I’s son, Edward II, onward]

Royal Emblem of Queen Anne of Cleves

4. Anne of Cleves – daughter of John III, Duke of Cleves and Marie von Julich [twice]

  • By both paternal great-grandparents, Johan I Duke of Cleves and Elizabeth of Nevers; who were great-grandchildren of Marguerite of Dampierre, suo jure Countess of Flanders. Marguerite was the great-granddaughter of Margaret of England, Duchess of Brabant; daughter of Edward I and Eleanor. [Hampton Court Pedigree shows the lineage of Johan I of Cleves from Edward’s daughter, Margaret of England who’s son became Johan III, Duke of Brabant]

Royal Emblem of Queen Katherine Howard

5. Katherine Howard – daughter of Lord Edmund Howard and Jocasa Culpepper [3 times]

  • Like Anne Boleyn, by her paternal line [Howard] she descended from Edward I and Eleanor by Elizabeth of Rhuddlan by way of Lady Eleanor Fitzalan [wife of Thomas Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk].
  • By Sir Thomas Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk, she descended from Edward I and Marguerite of France through their son, Thomas of Brotherton Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Norfolk [Katherine’s Hampton Court Pedigree shows this line from Edward I’s son, Thomas of Brotherton onwards]
  • By her maternal great-great-grandfather, Sir William Ferrers, 5th Baron Groby, she descends from Princess Joan of Acre, daughter of Edward I and Eleanor, via her daughter Lady Elizabeth de Clare, wife of Sir Theobald, 2nd Lord Verdun.

Royal Emblem of Queen Katherine Parr

6. Katherine Parr – daughter of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal and Maud Greene [6 times]

  • By her paternal grandmother the Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh, daughter of Lady Alice Neville [sister of “Warwick, the Kingmaker”] she descended from Lady Joan Beaufort and her second husband Sir Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland; Lady Joan was the legitimized daughter of Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, third son of Edward III and thus she descended from Edward I and Eleanor of Castile. [Katherine’s Hampton Court Pedigree shows this line from Edward I’s son, Edward II onwards]
  • By her paternal great-great-grandmother, Lady Alice Montacute, suo jure Countess of Salisbury [wife of Sir Richard, 5th Earl of Salisbury, son of Lady Joan and Sir Ralph mentioned above]. Both parents of the Countess of Salisbury descended from Edward I; by her father the 4th Earl of Salisbury she descended from Princess Joan of Acre, daughter of Edward I and Eleanor by her son 2nd Lord Monthermer by her second husband Lord Monthermer, Earl of Gloucester. By her mother Lady Eleanor de Holland [daughter of Lady Joan of Kent, Princess of Wales and niece of King Richard II] she descended from Prince Edmund of Woodstock, son of Edward I and his second wife Marguerite of France.
  • By her maternal great-great-grandfather, Sir Thomas Greene, Sheriff of Northamptonshire, she descended from Princess Elizabeth of Rhuddlan, daughter of Edward I and Eleanor; Sir Thomas Greene descended from Princess Elizabeth’s daughter Lady Eleanor Bohun, Countess of Ormonde. His wife, Hon. Philippa de Ferrers descended from Elizabeth of Rhuddlan’s elder sister, Princess Joan of Acre, TWICE; by her daughters Lady Margaret de Clare, Countess of Gloucester and Lady Eleanor de Clare, Lady Despenser.

For more on their pedigrees, featuring the windows from Hampton Court Palace — see also —

The Hampton Court Pedigrees

Written and researched by Meg McGath, 2012.

Sir Edward Borough: first husband of Katherine Parr

Sir Edward Borough (d. bef April 1533)

Gainsborough Old Hall, at one time was home to Katherine and her husband, Sir Edward.

Maud Parr looked to the Northern families for her daughter’s marriage after the deal with Lord Scrope of Bolton did not play out. In the lands of Sheriff Hutton, where her son William had once resided in the Duke of Richmond’s household, Maud found the royal surveyor of the castle, manor and lands, Sir Thomas Borough of Gainsborough, who was a distant kinsman of her husband, Sir Thomas Parr.[1]

The Boroughs of Gainsborough in Lincolnshire were and old and well-established gentry family. Sir Thomas’ grandfather, the 1st Baron had been an outstanding Yorkist in the reign of King Edward IV in the neighborhood of fanatical Lancastrians. He was a tough-minded and hard-handed individual who was given the Order of the Garter in 1496 by King Henry VII proving his ability to change and adapt with the constant royal change. Sir Thomas’ father, Sir Edward Borough, who became the 2nd Baron in name only, in 1496, was not so fortunate. Sir Edward, only a few years after succeeding to the barony, was declared a lunatic and was kept under restraint in his own home, Gainsborough Old Hall. After his incarceration, Sir Thomas, his son, took over as head of the family.[2][2.1]

Both Sir Thomas and his first wife Agnes Tyrwhit were kin to the Parrs and marriage into the family was seen as a suitable solution. Sir Thomas’ eldest son, Edward, was in his early twenties and although almost nothing is known about his character, it appears that his health kept him in a frail condition. Whether his health was frail or perhaps he inherited the bad seeds of his grandfather’s lunacy is uncertain. There were also rumors that Edward may have been homosexual. Whatever the ordeal, Edward was competent enough for his father to allow him the duties and responsibilities of part of his inheritance — he served as both a feofee and a justice of peace.[3]

For centuries, historians like Agnes Strickland, Alison Weir, and antiquarians alike have confused the grandfather, Lord Borough — with the grandson — Sir Edward — throwing the Scrope-Parr marriage negotiations into the mix for good measure. The story of twelve year old Katherine being sent away to marry an aged lunatic was/is a wonderful story filled with drama — but none the less was a myth that can now be laid to rest. The truth although is not quite so lurid and had its own moments of drama.*[see below for side notes]

Sketch titled “Lady Borow” by Holbein;
thought by some to be Katherine Parr.
Katherine’s father-in-law, Sir Thomas,
had to pull his connections just to get his own
wife, Lady Borough, painted by Holbein. (Porter pg 55)

Most likely in the Spring of 1529,[4] Katherine, now aged sixteen, set out for Lincolnshire to become the bride of Sir Edward Borough taking with her a wedding gift from her mother of two gold bracelets and a rosary. This was Katherine’s first venture north and given her closeness to her mother and her family it must have made her somewhat homesick.

Life at Old Gainsborough Hall with an unfamiliar husband and an over-bearing father-in-law given to violent rages, and the memories of the recently deceased lunatic in the attic must have frightened Katherine. Katherine’s new father-in-law ruled his family with an iron hand requiring absolute obedience. Some time after her marriage, Katherine’s father-in-law had another daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Owen, thrown out of the household and her children with his younger son Thomas declared bastards. Katherine’s husband lived in fear of his own father.[5]

In May 1533, at the celebrations for the coronation of Anne Boleyn, Katherine’s father-in-law was severely rebuked for ‘ripping Queen Katherine of Aragon’s [coat of] arms off her barge and for seizing the barge.’ Having been appointed Boleyn’s Lord chamberlain, he maintained a high profile and rode in her barge as she was received at the Tower on her coronation day. Appearing in the procession he wore a surcoat and mantle of white cloth of tissue and ermine as he held the middle of Anne Boleyn’s coronation train.[6] After being involved with the Queen’s affairs of state, Sir Thomas ended up being one of the twenty-six Peers summoned in May 1536 to Anne Boleyn’s trial; which would find her guilty and sentence her to death. In 1541, Sir Thomas would entertain King Henry VIII and his 5th ill-fated queen consort, Katherine Howard. Some ‘historians’ state that during this visit the King was introduced to his 6th and final queen consort, Katherine Parr, but by this time Katherine was now Lady Latimer, wife to Sir John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer of Snape Castle.[7]

Thomas Borough had an ambitious reform-minded chaplain with whom he discussed his opinions in the matter of religion with. The passion for the reformed religion in the household of the Borough’s could have been where Katherine was first introduced to the new religion.[8]

Yet Katherine’s duty was not to discuss religion but to bear sons, which she did not do. Failure to do so may not have been all her fault. Having been raised in a liberal and enlightened household maintained by her mother — Edward Borough’s new bride was unused to the paternal tyranny of the household at Gainsborough. If Sir Thomas attempted to intimidate Katherine, he did not succeed. In fact, Sir Thomas came to find that Katherine was made of sterner stuff than his own sons! Another reason for the failure, which may have also put a strain on the marriage, could have been due to Katherine’s marriage portion which had not yet been paid for. For in Maud [Green] Parr’s will, written in 1529, she remarked ‘I am indebted to Sir Thomas Borough, knight, for the marriage of my daughter’.[4] The historical record on whether or not Katherine was ever pregnant by Edward is silent. If she was, certainly none survived to full term or survived infancy. Although her immediate family would have known, they, along with Katherine never spoke of it and there is no record of children by Sir Edward.[9]

Gainsborough Old Hall

For a time, Katherine and Edward lived with Edward’s family at Gainsborough Old Hall. If Katherine was homesick or unhappy, she had reason to be and wrote frequently to her mother for advice. Her mother would travel north in 1530 to see Katherine and it is most likely at her urging that the couple move out of the Old Hall after two years of marriage. Sir Thomas was a steward to the manor of the soke of Kirton-in-Lindsey, a small village about ten miles above Gainsborough. Thomas was persuaded to secure a joint patent in survivorship with his son. Katherine and Edward moved to Kirton-in-Lindsey. It was a modest residence, but mainly it was away from her in-laws and was a household in which she was the sole mistress. Instead of becoming the passive lady of the household, Katherine took control of her fortunes. But with the joy of escaping the Old Hall came the tragic news of her mother’s death less than a year after she moved.

“In learning, charity, and responsibility for the welfare of her family, Maud was the pattern from which Katherine constructed her own self-image.” (James. pg 55)

Saint Andrew's Church, Kirton in Lindsey.

Saint Andrew’s Church, Kirton in Lindsey.

A year and a half after the death of her mother, Katherine’s marriage to the fragile Edward came to an end. In 1532, Katherine’s husband was named to the various commissions of peace that held session in the area, but by April of 1533, Edward Borough “Burgh” was dead. Unable to remain at Kirton-in Lindsey, which belonged to her father-in-law, Katherine’s options were limited. Her in-laws showed no desire in having her move back into Gainsborough Old Hall or in even keeping her around. Sir Thomas turned over the income of two of his manors in Surrey and one in Kent as her dower and that was the end of it. With no children from her marriage to Edward, she no longer had ties to the Borough’s and was most likely more than happy to be rid of them.[10] As a young widow barely out of her teens, Katherine found herself with little money, no home and no support system among her late husband’s circle. Katherine found herself all alone with the question of what to do and where to go.

*Notes: Until recently, many sources online stated that Katherine married the elderly Edward Burgh, 2nd Baron Burgh in 1529 [and some as early as 1526], at the age of seventeen, but the 2nd Baron died in August 1528. Truth be told that since Antonia Fraser’s release of The Wives of Henry VIII in 1994, and David Starkey’s 2004 release on the six wives, Katherine’s first husband has been identified as Sir Edward Borough. For seventeen years the preconceived notion that Katherine married the elderly 2nd Baron has been posted on many websites including Wikipedia. Some blame could be attributed to 19th century historian Agnes Strickland’s book on the Queens of England, Alison Weir’s book on the six wives [which seems to be a romanticized version of Parr’s life with sources from Strickland’s Victorian biography], lack of research, or lack of interest in Katherine. Coincidentally, recent interest in Parr sparked the release of two biographies on Katherine by Susan James and Linda Porter. In both books, research of documents and the will of Katherine’s mother confirm that she married the 2nd Baron’s grandson, who shared his first name. Sir Edward Borough was the eldest son and heir of the 2nd Baron’s eldest son and heir, Sir Thomas Borough, who would become the 1st Baron Burgh under a new writ in December 1529 after his father was declared insane and was never called to Parliament as the 2nd Baron Borough. In her will, dated May 1529, Maud Parr mentioned Sir Thomas, father of Edward, saying ‘I am indebted to Sir Thomas Borough, knight, for the marriage of my daughter‘. At the time of his son’s marriage, Thomas, was thirty-five which would have made Edward around Katherine’s age. Edward was in his twenties and may have been in poor health. The younger Sir Edward Borough died in the spring of 1533 never fulfilling the title of Lord (Baron) Borough.

Biographers of Katherine Parr, Susan James and Linda Porter, state that the younger Sir Edward Burgh died in the spring of 1533. Others state ”before April 1533”.[7]

Sources:
Primary: James, Susan E. Kateryn Parr: The Making of a Queen. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. 1999. pg. 60-63.
– Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham. Magna Carta ancestry: a study in colonial and medieval families, Genealogical Publishing Company, 2005. pg 838.
[1] Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII; I, i, no. 563 (10).
[2] M.E. James, ‘Obediance and Dissent in Henrician England: The Lincolnshire Rebellion, 1536’, Past and Present, 48 (August 1970), 3-78.
[2.1] Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII; 2, i, no. 1363.
[3] Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII; 5, no. 1694, and II, no. 943 (7).
[4] National Archives, London. PROB: 11/24; Image Reference 149/110. *The wording of Maud Parr’s will implies that Katherine’s marriage had only recently taken place and the making of the will itself may have been inspired by the recently concluded marriage of Lady Parr’s eldest daughter.
[5] Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII.
[6] Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII; 6, p. 241.
[7] Cole, Robert Eden George. History of the manor and township of Doddington, otherwise Doddington-Pigot, in the county of Lincoln and its successive owners, with pedigrees. James Williamson, Printer, 1897. pg 41-50.
[8] D. Willen: 1989, 148-152.
[9] Porter, Linda. ‘Katherine the Queen’. Macmillan, 2010. pg 55.
[10] Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII; 12, ii, no. 187(6).

© Meg McGath

Tudor Conflict and Disease: the Reformation and Plague

The uniting of the House of York [technically Elizabeth of York was, after the death of her brothers, heiress to the throne of England, but she was a female] and the House of Lancaster [Henry Tudor who became King Henry VII of England].

The Tudor period was a time of change. The War of the Roses between the two Royal houses of Lancaster and York had just ended [1485]. The newly crowned King was Henry Tudor [VII], a direct descendant of John of Gaunt Plantagenet (3rd surviving son of Edward III; father to the Lancastrian Kings) and his mistress (later wife) Katherine Roet through his mother Lady Margaret Beaufort. Although there were plenty of nobility who could claim the throne based on a more legitimate line; Henry Tudor was crowned King of England in 1485 on the battle field directly after the Battle of Bosworth [in which he defeated Richard III of the House of York]. Henry VII, who had fought his way to the throne of England, was crowned on 20 October 1485. In an attempt to keep the Nation from going to War again, he married Princess Elizabeth of York [Plantagenet of the House of York]; daughter of King Edward IV and his queen consort Elizabeth Woodville. Through this union Henry’s hope was to unify the two houses. Henry’s children, when born, would have a stronger claim to the throne because the blood of both the houses of York and Lancaster would be inherited. Having married Elizabeth, who some saw as the sole heiress of Edward IV, the children of the two would leave no question as to who should rule England. 

Although Henry VII’s intentions were good, over the next two generations the House of Tudor would go through some very unsettling times. Due to the fact that England had become bankrupt during the reign of his predecessor, there would be economic difficulties that Henry VII would have to resolve. His oldest son, Arthur, Prince of Wales, would die young leaving his only other living son, Henry, the throne.[1] Henry VIII had a long and grueling reign. His reign saw the demise of the Catholic Church due to his “great matter” which will be discussed further in this paper. The plague of “sweating sickness” began around 1485, when Henry VIII’s father came to power and lasted until 1551. With Henry VIII’s rule and the ascension of his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, a whole new lifestyle was created. There was a constant fight over religion and disease played a huge part in everyday life.

In this paper there will be two main topics discussed; conflict and disease. The conflict for this paper deals with Henry VIII’s conflict with the Catholic Church over his “great matter” and how he transformed England into a Protestant nation even though he died as a Catholic in the end. I then chose to write about the history of the plague of “Sweating Sickness” which hit London during the reign of the Tudor dynasty. Both issues had an impact on England. The change to Protestantism over the King’s “great matter” sent the whole country into an uproar. There were major disputes between the clergy and King Henry. Even the people had issues with the change. Then in between all of this came the plague to make things worse. It swept through London killing anyone it came into contact with. 

The original Tudor heir, Prince Arthur, was Henry’s older sibling.

Henry VII and Elizabeth of York gave birth to a son in September of 1486. They named him Arthur, Prince of Wales. As the oldest son Arthur was to be the heir to the English throne. Arthur grew up being taught the ways of the Kingdom. He was sure to be King of England one day. Arthur was betrothed to a Spanish princess named Katherine of Aragon at an early age. The match was one of allegiance for Katherine was the daughter of the two great Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. The two were to be married as soon as they turned of age. They married in 1501. The couple was not together long before the two of them became sick. Katherine eventually recovered, but only to find herself a widow. At the age of 15, Arthur died after suffering from a mysterious sickness at Ludlow Castle. Sweating sickness was thought to be one of the causes.[2]
The sweating sickness was an epidemic that started originally in the late 1400s. It was an epidemic that would have sudden outbreaks. The worst outbreak recorded in the book “The Epidemics of the Middle Ages” by Justus Friedrich Carl Hecker was recorded during 1517. In July of that year many people were infected and within the span of two or three hours they were dead. The epidemic was extremely contagious and if you came into contact with it your chances of living were slim to none. The poor were affected the most, but even the rich who thought they were beyond getting the epidemic got caught by surprise. Christmas celebrations of that year were cancelled in the Palaces. King Henry VIII retreated from London to the countryside to stay away from the epidemic. He would constantly move around in fear and would shut himself up alone in castles until the epidemic passed through. The sickness began to spread though into other parts of England like Oxford and Cambridge. Soon it had reached the English occupied part of France, Calais. [3]
The causes of the epidemic are unknown, but one can certainly imagine personal hygiene had something to do with it. Also, English people were not known for eating healthy. There would be excess overeating of salted meats, over indulging in wine, etc. The living habits were not very healthy basically. People did not know how to take care of themselves. People did not take baths, there was no soap, and the poor were not taken care of. They were left to rot on the streets.

The towns people and nobility try to flee from London.

If you were to escape the sickness you would have to leave the city. There were also mystic pills and herbs that people took, but only the rich could afford them. Basically, unless you were of high status and had a lot of money you would have to stay in town and try to wait it out, but as stated before, your chances of surviving were slim to none.[4]

King Henry VIII shortly after his coronation in 1509.

Henry, who had been titled Duke of York, became the next heir apparent after Arthur died and took on the title of Prince of Wales. Henry had grown up in a carefree environment. He was educated, but not as Arthur had been. After the death of his brother Arthur, Henry VII was left with Infanta Katherine who had become the dowager Princess of Wales. Since Katherine had been married once already she was seen as less of an attractive match. She did not return to Spain. As a solution to accommodate Katherine of Aragon [more likely to better suit Henry VII and to be able to keep her dowry], Henry VII discussed the possible proposal of marriage to Katherine himself with her parents Ferdinand and Isabella. Henry VII’s son Henry VIII was only eleven and his chances of surviving to adulthood were at stake. Henry VII thought that if he married Katherine of Aragon himself, he would be able to have another son as a safeguard. Of course the match was not approved. Henry VII was about 30 years older than Katherine and he had more experience and knowledge in politics. Eventually the idea of marrying Katherine to Henry VII’s son, Henry, Prince of Wales, was put forth.

Katherine of Aragon and Henry VIII were betrothed and later married on 11 June 1509. Katherine of Aragon and Henry VIII’s marriage was a good match. At the time, it provided an alliance with Spain through Katherine’s nephew The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.[5] Katherine’s English ancestry was also a plus. Katherine descended from Edward III of England, twice, by his son Prince John of Gaunt. 1st Duke of Lancaster [father of Henry IV]. Katherine descended from John’s first two wives, Lady Blanche of Lancaster, the heiress to the Lancaster inheritance and Infanta Caterina of Castile who was Titular Queen of Castile in her own right. Technically, Katherine had a stronger claim to the throne of England than Henry if Henry was to use his paternal ancestry as the basis of his rise to the throne. So any future children by Prince Henry and Katherine would have a stronger claim to the throne.

King Henry with his first wife, Katherine of Aragon.

Shortly after being married, Katherine gave birth to a son. Henry and Katherine named him Prince Henry. He was given the title Duke of Cornwall. Henry was ecstatic. There were lavish gatherings and jousting matches held in the new baby’s honor. But only a few months later the baby Henry would die. Katherine became pregnant again soon after the death of her child. This time around she lost the baby which was in fact a boy. Katherine would have many more of these unfortunate events happen before she gave birth to a healthy baby girl on 18 February 1516. The couple named her Mary. Shortly after her birth Katherine became pregnant again, but lost the child. Princess Mary would be the only surviving child between the union of Henry and Katherine; which became a problem.

Princess Mary was for a time the heiress to the English throne.

At this point in time King Henry was starting to question Katherine’s ability to conceive a male heir. Katherine was getting old and her chances of having a healthy boy were diminishing. It was during these times that Henry started to stray from his marriage and as a result, his mistress Elizabeth Blount, had a son by Henry named Henry Fitzroy. Of course the child was not legitimate, so the baby could not become his heir. This didn’t stop Henry from celebrating his birth and bestowing the title of Duke of Richmond and Somerset upon him. Henry was in fact quite proud of his new born son.[6]

When King Henry saw that it was possible for him to conceive a son with another woman he then saw the issue of producing a male heir as Katherine of Aragon’s fault. King Henry continued to dispute whether his marriage to Katherine was valid. In the Bible he had read a passage from Leviticus 18:16: “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness” and Leviticus 20:21: “If a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing…they shall be childless.” Therefore Henry convinced himself that God was punishing him for marrying his brother’s widow.[7][8]

Henry Fitzroy was the only illegitimate child the King acknowledged; he was created Duke of Richmond and Somerset which infuriated the Queen.

At the death of Arthur, there was a question of whether or not the marriage had been consummated. This proof would be needed if Katherine was to marry Henry VIII for Arthur and Henry were brothers. Papal Dispensation was needed before the two could even marry. Katherine of Aragon had to vow that her marriage to Arthur Tudor had never been consummated. So twenty-four years later King Henry tried to use this plea as a way of getting a divorce so he could marry his new love, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine, named Anne Boleyn.[9]

When Henry met Anne, he became infatuated with her. He suddenly declared that he wanted a divorce and was willing to do anything to get it. Henry eventually got his way, but not without turning the whole country upside down. Cardinal Wolsey, Henry’s confident, was to get this divorce by partitioning the Pope in Rome starting in 1526.
Anne Boleyn came from a family that was known to support the “new” religion. At the time, the people of Europe were being swept over by the Catholic Church or so they were led to believe. The money that the congregation spent was to be for the poor and the needy, but instead it was used for personal gain. The people were also led to believe that if you paid a handsome sum, you could save your loved ones soul from purgatory and God would grant them forgiveness. The Catholic Churches were not all like this. The few that were gave the whole religion a bad name. So when a man named Martin Luther started to talk about the misfortunes of the Catholic Church and how they should be overturned, people started to listen. They were tired of the old faith and wanted a religion that did not corrupt and steal money. They also wanted personal access to a Bible that was written in English. For the only way the people could learn about scripture in the Catholic Church was through listening to a Priest read from the Bible in Latin. Many people were not educated enough to understand Latin and therefore were led to believe what they heard was the word of God.

Anne Boleyn, a lady-in-waiting to the queen, caused quite a stir at court. The Queen’s ladies would start to take sides over the queen or the new mistress; or “the whore” which Anne was known as by the Catholics and those in favour of the queen.

In the middle of all this a war broke out between France, Spain, and the Catholic Church. The French King, Francois I, was captured and taken to Rome, but later released on the authority of King Henry. This war would interrupt and delay the Pope’s decision on Henry’s matter. On 17 May 1527, the King called a meeting. In this meeting he brought up the matter declaring that his marriage was not legal, but the Cardinals begged to differ. At this point in time, Katherine who had been kept in the dark about the whole matter for over two years was now just being informed of the whole situation. Katherine immediately knew that she needed the support of her nephew the Emperor Charles V if she was to stay married to the King. Katherine claimed that the marriage to Arthur had never been consummated and she had come to King Henry a virgin. In an altercation that would follow, the King was quoted as saying that they had been living in immortal sin and that Katherine was not his legal wife.
Wolsey, who was Catholic, was not popular at Court. Katherine of Aragon did not like him because he was pleading for Henry’s divorce and the Boleyn’s did not like him because they were opposed to the Catholic faith. The Boleyn’s were Protestant, true believers of the movement Martin Luther had started. Anne, her family, and a rising courtier named Cromwell, were in favor of this “new” religion. Not only did they believe it would end the “corruption” of the Catholic Church, but thought it might be the way for Henry to finally get an annulment from Katherine.
The King was granted the title “Supreme Head of the Church of England.” Even with this title, he could not declare his marriage as null and void. He still needed a decision from the Pope. The Pope did not see the marriage as being null so he declared that Katherine was the rightful wife of Henry VIII and they were still legally married. After receiving this final letter, Henry decided that he would deny the Pope’s authority. Henry then decided to sever himself from Rome. Cromwell was appointed Chancellor after Thomas More retired due to conflicting views with his faith. More did not see Henry as the Head of the Church, he was Catholic, therefore he agreed with Rome when it came to their decision. He did agree to the decree that made Anne Boleyn Henry’s legal wife, but that was not enough for Henry. Therefore, Thomas was executed at the Tower.
The King was granted the title “Supreme Head of the Church of England.” Even with this title, he could not declare his marriage as null and void. He still needed a decision from the Pope. The Pope did not see the marriage as being null so he declared that Katherine was the rightful wife of Henry VIII and they were still legally married. After receiving this final letter, Henry decided that he would deny the Pope’s authority. Henry then decided to sever himself from Rome. Cromwell was appointed Chancellor after Thomas More retired due to conflicting views with his faith. More did not see Henry as the Head of the Church, he was Catholic, therefore he agreed with Rome when it came to their decision. He did agree to the decree that made Anne Boleyn Henry’s legal wife, but that was not enough for Henry. Therefore, Thomas was executed at the Tower.

The English Bible approved by King Henry VIII; The Bible in Englyshe, London: Richard Grafton and Edward Whitechurch, 1540. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress.

The Reformation of England was a political issue, not a doctrinal. The first action to be taken was to put an end to the tyrannical power that the clergy had over the people. Then the superstition that you should not question your faith, that it was a sin to, had to be broken. The King began to hand out the English Bible to his servants.[10]  Although Henry was adamant about giving his people a Bible which could be read in English, through out his reign he became concerned about the consequences of letting the lower classes reading the bible for themselves. Restrictions and certain versions were restricted.

Queen Katherine by unknown artist, NPG

Henry’s last wife, Katherine Parr, a supporter of the Reformation and a believer in allowing the people to read the Gospels and the Bible in English, would come to know the restrictions and would almost be condemned herself for her genuine attempt to spread the word of God. Katherine Parr would go on to publish the first book by an English woman and queen in her own name called “Prayers or Meditations“. After the death of Henry and during the reign of the Protestant king, Edward VI, son of Henry and his third wife Jane Seymour, Katherine would go on to write and publish another book called “Lamentations of a Sinner” which became a huge success among the English people.

Henry imposed Royal Supremacy. This meant that Henry would have supremacy over the laws of the Church in England. The Act of Supremacy passed by Parliament and Henry stated that the King was “the only supreme head on earth of the Church in England’ and that the English crown shall enjoy “all honours, dignities, preeminence’s, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits, and commodities to the said dignity.”[11]

Queen Katherine’s “Lamentations” on display at the Vivat Rex Exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library © Meg McGath

The Reformation of the Church in England changed religion in the Nation forever. Instead of answering to Rome, England answered to only the Sovereign in power. King Henry saw himself as the Supreme Head of the Church in England. He felt that he should have say over the laws of religion and he passed an act that would only allow him to be answerable to God himself. In the end, I think the whole break from Rome was a mix of wanting to break away from the religious dogma of the Catholic Church and Henry’s desire for an annulment so he could marry Anne Boleyn and have a son. Henry VIII was obsessed with having an heir. After his father, Henry VII had won the War of a Hundred years you can understand why he wanted the Tudor dynasty to continue on. Henry VIII’s father worked tirelessly to build up England again. As for the topic of sweating sickness, it was a lot like today’s Swine Flu disease only worse.  It spread faster and killed 99% of its victims. There was no hygiene in London. Most of London’s population at the time was poor. They were packed into small houses. Their diet was not good and they had no medicines or vaccines to prevent the spread of the epidemic. No one knew what to do. This was during the time when doctors thought bleeding a patient would get rid of the sickness. Today we know better. The Tudor period was a harsh period. Not just because of the disease, but the fact that each day you woke up you had no idea whether or not you would live or die.[12]
Bibliography
Alexander, Michael Van Cleave. “The First of the Tudors: Study of Henry VII and His Reign.” Croom Helm. February 1981.
Bucholz, Robert and Key, Newton. “Early Modern England, 1485-1714: A Narrative History.” Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated. January 2008.
Carlton, Charles. “Royal Childhoods.” Routledge & Kegan Paul Books Ltd. January 1986.
Carroll, Robert. “Bible: King James Version (KJV).” Oxford University Press, USA. August 1998.
Fraser, Antonia. “The Wives of Henry VIII.” Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. November 1993.
Froude, James Anthony. “The Divorce of Catherine of Aragon: The Story as Told by the Imperial Ambassadors Resident at the Court of Henry VIII. In Usum Laicorum.”
Adamant Media Corporation. 30 Nov 2005
Hecker, J.F.C. “The epidemics of the middle ages.” Translated by B. G. Babington.
G. Woodfall and Son for The Sydenham Society. London. 1844.
Ross, David. “Henry VIII ‘s Act of Supremacy (1534) – Original Text.” Britain Express.
< “http://www.britainexpress.com/History/tudor/supremacy-henry-text.htm”>
Thurston, Herbert. “Henry VIII.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 16 Jul 2009. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07222a.htm&gt;.

[1] Robert Bucholz and Newton Key’s Early Modern England, 1485-1714: A Narrative History, Wiley, Johnson and Sons, 2008.
[2] Robert Bucholz, Newton Key, Early Modern England, 1485-1714: A Narrative History, Wiley, John and Sons, Incorporated, 2008.
[3] J. F. C. Hecker, The epidemics of the middle ages. Translated by B. G. Babington, G. Woodfall and Son for The Sydenham Society, London, 1844.
[4] J. F. C. Hecker, The epidemics of the middle ages. Translated by B. G. Babington, G. Woodfall and Son for The Sydenham Society, London, 1844.
[5] Robert Bucholz, Newton Key, Early Modern England, 1485-1714: A Narrative History, Wiley, John and Sons Incorporated, 2008.
[6] James Anthony Froude, The Divorce of Catherine of Aragon: The Story as Told by the Imperial Ambassadors Resident at the Court of Henry VIII. In Usum Laicorum, Adamant Media Corporation, 30 Nov 2005.
[7] Antonia Fraser, The Wives of Henry VIII, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, November 1993.
[8] Carroll, Robert. “Bible: King James Version (KJV).” Oxford University Press, USA. August 1998.
[9] Antonia Fraser, The Wives of Henry VIII, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, November 1993.
[10] Robert Bucholz, Newton Key, Early Modern England, 1485-1714: A Narrative History, Wiley, John and Sons Incorporated, 2008.
[11] Henry VIII’s Act of Supremacy (1534) – original text, English History. David Ross and Britain Express
[12] J. F. C. Hecker, The epidemics of the middle ages. Translated by B. G. Babington, G. Woodfall and Son for The Sydenham Society, London, 1844.
© Meg McGath 16 July 2009, London, UK