12 FEBRUARY: The Throckmorton Brothers

Coughton Court, Warwickshire, England

Coughton Court, Warwickshire, England

The Throckmorton family of Coughton Court in Warwickshire is one of the oldest Catholic families in England. The Throckmortons were prominent in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I (Tudor). Sir George Throckmorton was a favorite of King Henry VIII during his early years as King. He owed his position probably due to his brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Parr, comptroller of the King’s household and loyal friend of the King. However, his marriage to the Lancastrian Vaux family may have had something to do it. Throckmorton’s wife, Lady Katherine (Vaux), was the younger half-sister of Lord Parr, both being children from one of Lady Elizabeth’s (born FitzHugh) two marriages; Lord Parr and Lord Vaux. The Vaux family was loyal to Henry VI and especially Margaret of Anjou when she was exiled to France. George’s father-in-law, Nicholas, became a protege and favorite of Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII Tudor. As the stepson of Lord Vaux (Lord William Parr died shortly after the coronation of Richard III in 1483), Thomas Parr is noted to have been a possible pupil in the household of Henry VIII’s grandmother as a young lad.

The connection to the Parr family made Throckmorton an uncle by marriage to queen consort Katherine Parr, the Marquess of Northampton, and Lady Anne Herbert (wife of William, 1st Earl of Pembroke). The Parrs also shared common ancestry with the Throckmorton’s through their maternal great-grandmother Matilda Throckmorton (Lady Green), daughter of Sir John Throckmorton and Eleanor de la Spiney (great-grandparents of Sir George). George Throckmorton, however, would become involved in a scandal to keep the King from divorcing his first wife, Queen Katherine of Aragon, to marry her lady-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn. Throckmorton didn’t approve and supported the queen. Most members, including Sir Thomas Parr’s widow and his cousin, Lady Maud Parr (Green), stuck by Katherine of Aragon until her household was dissolved.

12 FEBRUARY 1570: THE DEATH of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton

Sir Nicholas Throckmorton by Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist. © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Nicholas Throckmorton by Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist. © National Portrait Gallery, London

A cousin of Katherine Parr, Throckmorton was a staunch Protestant, and a supporter of Lady Jane Grey, though he served as a Member of Parliament under all the Tudor monarchs including the Catholic queen, Mary I. His importance during the reign of Elizabeth I was mainly as an ambassador to France and to Scotland. Throckmorton was the son of Katherine’s paternal aunt, Hon. Katherine Vaux and cousin Sir Robert Throckmorton of Coughton Court (a supporter of Queen Katherine of Aragon). Throckmorton was a page in the household of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond by 1532-6; his cousin, William Parr (brother of Queen Katherine) had been raised and educated with Fitzroy and the Earl of Surrey and his maternal uncle, also named William Parr, was head of the household there. Throckmorton then became a servant in the household of his cousin, William, Baron Parr by 1543. Throckmorton, along with his brother Clement, would go on to serve in the household of their cousin Queen Katherine Parr by 1544-7 or 8. After the reign of Henry VIII, Throckmorton continued to serve at court. Upon the death of the Dowager Queen, he returned to the household of his cousin, the 1st Marquess of Northampton (William Parr).

12 FEBRUARY 1581: THE DEATH of Sir Robert Throckmorton

Robert Throckmorton by British School (c) National Trust, Coughton Court; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Robert Throckmorton by British School (c) National Trust, Coughton Court; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Sir Robert Throckmorton (c.1513-12 February 1581) was the eldest son of Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton Court and Hon. Katherine Vaux. As such, Robert was the elder brother of Nicholas, above. Throckmorton, like his father, was Catholic. His role in the succession crisis of Queen Mary is not clear, but it seems that he backed Mary’s claim because of the positions he was given. He was knighted in 1553 and appointed Constable of Warwick Castle among other positions. His Catholicism explains his disappearance from the Commons in the reign of Elizabeth I, although the most Catholic of his brothers, Anthony Throckmorton, was to sit in the Parliament of 1563. Judged an ‘adversary of true religion’ in 1564, Throckmorton remained active in Warwickshire until his refusal to subscribe to the Act of Uniformity led to his removal from the commission of the peace. (A. L. Rowse) Throckmorton married twice and had issue by both wives who would continue his legacy at Coughton Court.



Which Queen Katherine: The Lambeth Portrait

It has been identified as Queen Katherine Parr for centuries. Thanks to modern technology used to examine the portrait by the NPG in London, it has been concluded that the portrait is indeed that of wife no.1, Queen Katherine of Aragon.

Disputed Lambeth Palace portrait; Katherine Parr or Katherine of Aragon

Lambeth Palace portrait; now identified as Queen Katherine of Aragon, wife no. 1

The young woman in the picture is blessed with good features, an oval-shaped face with a firm jawline and a clear complexion. But it is the overall impression of intelligence and intensity that is so compelling. There is an inner strength in the face that commands attention. The woman looks confident. This is a woman full of grace and maturity. The portrait is carefully composed. She is very much the aristocratic lady, expensively dressed and already demonstrating a love of jewels and fashion that would develop over the years. Her clothing is red and gold, with the hood perfectly matching the gown. At the period of time the portrait was painted the Telegraph quotes,

Academics working on the ‘Making Art in Tudor Britain’ project had noticed the facial features and costume worn by the woman were far more similar to works depicting the first Catherine, and dated from the 1520s or 30s. (Furness)

The 1520s — Katherine’s mother was still negotiating for a marriage. In 1529, she was married to Sir Edward Borough, son of Sir Thomas, 3rd Baron Borough of Gainsborough (Lord Chamberlain to Queen Anne Boleyn). The status wouldn’t have made her that important enough to paint. However, the 3rd Barons wife, Agnes Tyrwhitt had her portrait done by Holbein. Sir Thomas, however, had to pull his connections just to get his wife, Lady Borough, painted by Holbein. (Porter pg 55) By 1533, Katherine was a widow. Her next marriage to Lord Latimer took place in 1534 and it lasted until 1543. The hood was most likely outdated by the 1530s, but Katherine had not been living at court so perhaps she did not know the current fashions. Her home from 1529-1534 was spent in the Northern part of England; Lincolnshire. After her marriage to Sir John Neville, 3rd Lord Latimer her home was Snape Castle, in North Yorkshire. Her mother and sister would have been at court. Her mother served Katherine of Aragon until her household was dissolved. Her sister, Anne, would continue to serve under Queen Anne Boleyn. The two sisters were close so perhaps Anne wrote about the current fashions at court; Katherine was to become a fashionable queen so her interest must have developed early on. Therefore it is contradictory as to what Katherine actually wore.

Lambeth Portrait of Katherine of Aragon.

Lambeth Portrait of Katherine of Aragon.

Interestingly, although the gown has fashionable slashed undersleeves and a gauzy partlet, covering the throat and chest, the coifed gable hood that the woman is wearing was a more conservative choice. Anne Boleyn supposedly made the French hood popular, but the hood had been introduced to England well before she returned from France in 1522. The French hood showed more hair, so therefore in some circles it was still considered unseemly. Jane Seymour favoured the gabled hood, though this may have been less a personal preference than a conscious decision to differentiate herself from her more flighty, disgraced predecessor. (Porter)

In Katherine Parr’s case, she had married a man whose overall outlook was conservative and it is possible that her head-wear reflected his taste. Her jewels, three ropes of pearls and a large, round gold, pearl and ruby brooch, are also a sign of wealth without ostentation. In this portrait, Katherine is very much the elegant nobleman’s wife. (Porter on the portrait being Katherine as Lady Latimer)

The two paintings will now be hung together for the first time in the National Portrait Gallery, nearly 500 years after they were painted Photo: National Portrait Gallery

The two paintings will now be hung together for the first time in the National Portrait Gallery, nearly 500 years after they were painted. Photo: National Portrait Gallery

Technical analysis of the paint and “rare” engraved frame by the NPG (National Portrait Gallery in London) are believed to show it was painted at the same time as a portrait of Henry VIII, with a similar style and scale. (Furness) (See above)

However, there is still more than a few portraits with Henry and his other wives that still use this depiction as Katherine Parr. For example, the only miniature in the Royal Collection (from Queen Victoria’s miniature collection) that depicts Queen Katherine Parr is this same depiction. Hopefully they will not change the description now as there is no other depiction of Parr and all six wives are represented.

Katherine Parr or Katherine of Aragon

‘Portrait of a lady called Katherine Parr’, by Henry Pierce Bone, 1844. Enamel; 4.8 x 3.9cm.The miniature was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1844, to add to her growing collection of portraits of sixteenth-century figures. It is still part of the Royal Collection.
The Earliest Portrait of Katherine Parr or Katherine of Aragon?

On the back of the portrait is the following inscription:

‘Katharine Parr / London Febr 1844 / Painted by Henry Pier. / Bone Enamel Painter / to Her Majesty & H.R.H. / Prince Albert &c. From / the Original in / Lambeth Palace.’

Detail of the Miniature.

Detail of the Miniature.

In early 2011, after inquiring about the portrait, I was told (by email from the Lambeth Palace Library) that this had been re-identified as Katherine of Aragon. Lambeth Palace’s site had this image as Katherine Parr; the image was uploaded in 2008. The re-identification took place in 2009, but was not officially announced or re-identified until recently.

The portrait you are inquiring about used to be referred to as the “Unknown Woman” thought to be Katherine Parr.  However, in 2009 we had the National Portrait Gallery here to look at another painting in our possession.  As we walked by the portrait a period costume expert, who so happened to be among them, took great notice in it and declared that the clothes were far too early to be Katherine Parr.  The National Portrait Gallery took it away with them to research further.  The conclusion was that it was in fact a rare survival of a Tudor portrait of Catherine of Aragon, not Katherine Parr as originally thought.  You can imagine it was rather exciting for all concerned.

Obviously they had not made the announcement official until now — due to years of research at the NPG. But as of 24 January 2013, this is now identified as Queen Katherine of Aragon. For details on the examination process and the conservation of the portrait — see links.



Family of Queen Katherine: Thomas Dacre, 2nd Lord of Gilsland

Coat of arms of the Barons of Dacre showing their heraldic charges, the Bull. European Heraldry

SIR THOMAS DACRE, 2nd Lord (Baron) Dacre of Gillesland (25 November 1467 – 24 October 1525) was the eldest son and heir of Sir Humphrey Dacre, 1st Lord Dacre and his wife, Mabel Parr (great-aunt of Queen Katherine Parr).[1]

Dacre was summoned to parliament from 17th October 1509 to 12th November 1515. This nobleman in the 9th Henry VII, served under Thomas, Earl of Surrey (later the 2nd Duke of Norfolk), at the siege of Norham Castle, and his lordship obtained great celebrity in the command of a body of horse reserve at the famous fight of Floddin in the 4th Henry VIII under the same gallant leader. He was subsequently, at different times, engaged in Scotland and he filled the important office of warden of the West Marches from the 1st year of King Henry VIII.

Naworth Castle, home to the Dacre family from 1335-1601. http://www.flickr.com/photos/23408986@N06/4260147660/lightbox/

Naworth Castle, also known as, or recorded in historical documents as “Naward”, is a castle in Cumbria (formally Westmorland), England near the town of Brampton. It is on the opposite side of the River Irthing to, and just within sight of, Lanercost Priory. It was the seat of the Barons Dacre. The castle is thought to have late 13th-century origins, in the form of a square keep and bailey. It was first mentioned in 1323, and in 1335 a licence to crenellate was granted to Ralph Dacre, 1st Baron Dacre (ca. 1290 – April 1339). Residential quarters were added in the early 16th century by Thomas, 2nd Lord Dacre. He built the whole of the south and east wings including the 100ft Great Hall, and what is now known as Lord William’s Tower. Unfortunately for the Dacre family, in 1560 the then Lord Dacre died, leaving a widow, three daughters and a young son called George. Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, Queen Elizabeth’s cousin, married the widowed Lady Dacre, and arranged to marry his three sons to her three daughters. Young George was killed in a fall from a vaulting horse and the vast Dacre estates which covered great tracts of the north of England- including 70,000 acres of the Barony of Gilsland, lands in Cumberland including Greystoke and Dacre, 20,000 acres around Morpeth and 30,000 acres in Yorkshire – now part of Castle Howard estate, all came under the control of the Howard family.The castle is currently occupied by Philip Howard, brother and heir presumptive of the 13th Earl of Carlisle.[2]

Two of the four two metre-high Dacre Heraldic Beasts (a bull and a gryphon), which used to stand in the hall of Naworth Castle in Cumbria, now the seat of the Howard family, the Earls of Carlisle, from whom they were recently purchased. They date from 1519-21. http://www.flickr.com/photos/24151047@N05/3286962813/

Marriage and issue

He married c. 1488 to Elizabeth, suo jure 6th Baroness Greystock, daughter and heiress of Sir Robert de Greystoke by Lady Elizabeth Grey, daughter of Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent [descendant of Lady Elizabeth of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster] and Lady Katherine Percy [descendant of Edward III’s granddaughter, Lady Joan Beaufort and also his son, Lionel of Antwerp]. Elizabeth was the granddaughter and sole heiress of Ralph de Greystock, 5th Baron Greystock KG [descendant of Edward III by his granddaughter, Lady Joan Beaufort’s, first marriage to Lord Ferrers].[1]

They had eight children:

  1. William Dacre, 3rd Baron Dacre of Gilsland, who married Lady Elizabeth Talbot, 5th daughter of George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury and Lady Anne  Hastings.[1]
  2. Hon. Mary Dacre who married Francis, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury, brother of the above Lady Elizabeth Talbot. Had issue.[1]
  3. Hon. Anne Dacre, wife of Christopher Conyers, 2nd Baron Conyers. Had issue.[1]
  4. Hon. Mabel Dacre who married Henry Scrope, 7th Baron Scrope of Bolton. Had issue which included their son, John, 8th Baron. The 7th Lord Scrope would enter into marriage negotiations with Lady Maud Parr for the hand of his eldest son and heir, Henry. If everything had gone according to plan, Katherine would have married her 2nd cousin [twice removed, closest relation out of several shared ancestors]. Luckily for Katherine the marriage was rejected as Henry died a few years later. His brother John succeeded their father in the barony.[1]
  5. Hon. Jane Dacre, wife of Lord Tailboys.[1]
  6. Hon. Philippa Dacre, most likely named after her paternal grandmother, Lady Philippa Neville.[1]
  7. Hon. Humphrey Dacre.[1]
  8. Hon. Jane Dacre, of the second name.[1]

His lordship died on 24 October 1525 due to a fall from his horse.[1] He had his wife, who had died in August of 1516, were buried in Lanercost Priory, Cumberland, England.[1] He  was succeeded by his elder son William.


  1. Douglas Richardson. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, 2011. pg 16-18.
  2. Naworth Castle History

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]


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]


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.


  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.


  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.


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]


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


  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.


  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.