29 JULY 1504: THE DEATH of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby

29 JULY 1504: THE DEATH of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby

Portrait purported to be of the first Earl of Derby but the costume is of a later period.
Thomas Stanley was born c. 1435 to Sir Thomas Stanley, 1st Baron Stanley and Joan Goushill, daughter of Sir Robert of Heveringham Goushill and Lady Elizabeth FitzAlan, Duchess of Norfolk; herself the daughter of the 11th Earl of Arundel and Lady Elizabeth de Bohun. Lady Elizabeth was aunt to a royal Duchess, Lady Eleanor, who married Prince Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester [youngest son of King Edward III] and the wife of the future King Henry IV, Lady Mary [she died in 1394; Henry was crowned in 1399]. Mary was the mother of Henry IV’s heir, Henry V.

King Henry VI, unknown artist, late 16th or early 17th century. Transferred to the National Portrait Gallery in 1879 from the British Museum.
So, Thomas was born in to good stock having connections to the Lancastrian monarchs. Thomas would have been a 3rd cousin of King Henry VI having shared 2nd great-grandparents; Sir William de Bohun, 1st Earl of Northampton [grandson of Edward I] and Lady Elizabeth [born Badlesmere].

Although Henry VI was King during Stanley’s career at court, Stanley’s family married him to a daughter of Sir Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury and Lady Alice Montacute, Countess of Salisbury.

Through his paternal grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Stanley [born Harrington], Lord Stanley was a first cousin, twice removed of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal. The two shared Sir Nicholas Harrington and Isabel English as grandparents [Parr was a 2nd great-grandchild]. Lady Elizabeth Stanley was aunt to Lady Alice Parr [born Tunstall] by her sister, Lady Elizabeth Tunstall [born Harrington]. Lady Alice Parr married Sir Thomas Parr, Sheriff of Westmorland; they were grandparents to Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal.

In addition to being related to Thomas Parr by Lady Alice, Parr’s grandaunt was Lady Eleanor Neville; wife of Thomas Stanley. Eleanor and Thomas had seven sons and six daughters. Eleanor died shortly after Edward IV was reinstated as King for the second time [1471].

"The White Queen", BBC. The portrayal of the marriage of Lord Stanley to Lady Margaret Beaufort.
“The White Queen”, BBC. The portrayal of the marriage of Lord Stanley to Lady Margaret Beaufort.
Upon Stanley’s marriage to Lady Margaret Beaufort in 1482–it was not expected of Margaret to supply him with anymore children. Margaret must have been relieved. After her birth of her only child, Henry Tudor, at the age of 12/13, she probably didn’t want to experience the pain that she had at such a young age.

Stanley offers the crown to Henry of Richmond on the battlefield.
Stanley offers the crown to Henry of Richmond on the battlefield.
Stanley is known for his support of his stepson, Henry Tudor, against Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. His decision to back Tudor ultimately decided the fate of the outcome. Richard would be defeated. On the battlefield, it is said that Stanley crowned his stepson, King of England, as King Henry VII [of the House of Tudor]. Did Stanley’s attachment to Henry’s mother have anything to do with the defeat? Most likely. However, there was another reason Stanley may have switched loyalties.

"The White Queen", BBC. Richard III detains Stanley's eldest son, Lord Strange.
“The White Queen”, BBC. Richard III detains Stanley’s eldest son, Lord Strange.
The following is the statement of the Croyland Chronicler, a contemporary of the events which he records:

A little before the landing of these persons (Richmond and his adherents) Thomas Stanley, Steward of the King’s Household, had received permission to go into Lancashire to visit his house and his family, from whom he had long been separated. Still, however, he was permitted to stay there on no other condition than that of sending his eldest son, George Lord Stanley, to the King at Nottingham in his stead, which he accordingly did“.

The same chronicler avers that after the landing of Richmond was known to Richard, the King summoned Lord Stanley to join him at Nottingham, and received a refusal on the plea of sickness. Soon afterwards, it is added, Lord Strange attempted to escape, was prevented, then confessed his guilt, acknowledging that his uncle, Sir William Stanley, was privy to Richmond’s expedition, but declaring that his father was innocent, and if his own life were spared would still join the King.

If Lord Stanley did not join Richmond on his landing, it was, we are told, because he feared for the life of his son, then very possibly safe and sound at Latham. It is Lord Strange’s perilous position that, in the old chronicles, makes Lord Stanley pretend to retreat from Lichfield, which he left open to Richmond; this is what he pleaded as an excuse for his neutrality, during, the alleged interview with Richmond at Atherstone three nights before the battle; and this is to account for his indecision during the battle itself. Perhaps it may turn out that Lord Strange was never in Richard’s hands at all, and that Lord Stanley never stirred a finger or moved a man until the fate of the battle was decided. All accounts agree that Richard’s final charge might have been successful had not Sir William Stanley, with his three thousand men, suddenly come to the rescue of Richmond. But Sir William seems to have been a rasher, or rapider man than his elder brother, and much more ready to run risks. When Richard was killed and the battle over, the battered crown which had fallen from his helmet during the conflict was, according to a plausible tradition, placed by Lord Stanley or his brother on the head of the victorious Richmond. There was no longer room for doubts, scruples, hesitations. Nor did the Stanleys show any pity for those of their coadjutors of the ended reign, who to the last had remained faithful and true to Richard. Three days after the battle a batch of Richard’s adherents was executed -Catesby among them. He made his will on the day of execution, and it contained this significant, this striking passage and petition: “My Lord Stanley, Strange, and all that blood! help! and pray for my soul, for ye have not for my body, as I trusted in you“.

"The White Queen", BBC. Lord Stanley offers the crown to Henry Tudor. Lady Margaret stands on the battlefield to see her son crowned.
“The White Queen”, BBC. Lord Stanley offers the crown to Henry Tudor. Lady Margaret stands on the battlefield to see her son crowned.
Eleanor was buried in London’s St. James’s Church, Garlickhithe. There is no evidence that her body was reinterred at Burscough Abbey, the Stanleys burial place in Lancashire; although an effigy of her was added to Lord Stanley’s grave when he was buried in 1504.

Effigy of the Earl of Derby and Lady Stanley [Lady Eleanor Neville].
Effigy of the Earl of Derby and Lady Stanley [Lady Eleanor Neville].
Lord Stanley [Earl of Derby by now] died, probably about the age of seventy. His death must have occurred between the 28 Jul 1504, on which day his will was dated, and the 29 Nov in the same year, the day on which it was proved. He left to the King a cup of gold, and legacies to this abbey and to that, duly providing too for masses on behalf of his own soul, of those of his wives, relations, friends, servants, and in one case, especially for the souls of all them lie had in any wise offended, and for all Christian souls.

Sources

  • David Baldwin. The Kingmaker’s Sisters: Six Powerful Women in the War of the Roses, 2009. The History Press, Gloucestershire, England, UK.
  • Tudor Place Bios. Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, Online Source.
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7 June 1520: The Field of the Cloth of Gold

The Field of the Cloth of Gold started on 7 June 1520. It took place between Guînes and Ardres, in France, near Calais, from 7 June to 24 June 1520. It was a meeting arranged to increase the bond of friendship between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France following the Anglo-French treaty of 1514.

"The Field of the Cloth of Gold" British School, 16th century (artist) c.1545 (Royal Collection under Wiki Commons)
“The Field of the Cloth of Gold” British School, 16th century (artist) c.1545 (Royal Collection under Wiki Commons)

Among those present was the widowed Lady Maud Parr and 1 woman; Lady Joan Guildford the elder (Joan Vaux, sister of Katherine Parr’s uncle-in-law AND step-grandfather Sir Nicholas, Lord Vaux of Harrowden) and 2 gentlewomen; Lady Vaux (most likely Catherine’s maternal aunt, Anne Green (d.1523)) and 1 woman; and Lady Mary Parr (Mary Salisbury, wife of Katherine’s uncle, William, Lord Parr of Horton) and 1 woman. These women accompanied and attended the queen, Katherine of Aragon.

30 September 1544: Henry returns from Boulogne, France

Henry greet Queen Katherine after returning from France; “The Tudors”

30 September 1544 – Queen Catherine’s duty as Regent of the Realm was over as Henry VIII returned to England after his victory in Boulogne. The French forces had surrendered on 13th September after a siege which had lasted from 19th July.

Ancestral Lineage of Queen Katherine Parr

Royal Emblem of Queen Katherine Parr

“Like the family of King Henry’s second wife, the Boleyns, the Parr family had gone up in the world as a result of royal favor and successful marriages.”[3] Historian Agnes Strickland quotes that Katherine’s paternal ancestry was more distinguished than that of Thomas Boleyn and John Seymour. Also, according to David Starkey, Katherine’s lineage, “unlike that of Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, was better and more established at Court.”[3]

Kendal Castle was acquired through the marriage of Sir William de Parr to the heiress and only child of Sir John de Ros of Kendal, Elizabeth de Ros in 1383.

Katherine’s 3x great-grandfather was Sir William Parr (d.1405); in 1383, Sir William de Parre married Elizabeth, only daughter and heiress of Sir John de Ros and Elizabeth le Latimer, daughter of Sir Thomas le Latimer, 1st Baron Latimer of Braybrooke and Lora de Hastings. Elizabeth de Ros was the granddaughter and heiress of Sir Thomas de Ros, Baron of Kendal and had livery of her inheritance. On the accession of the Duke of Lancaster as Henry IV of England, Sir William stood so high in the estimation of the new monarch that he was deputed with the bishop of St. Asaph to announce the revolution to the court of Castile; the King claimed Castile by right of his father, even though his half-sister, Katherine [daughter of the Titular Queen Constanza of Castile], had taken her rightful position as Queen consort after the debate of her Regency. He died on 4 October 1405 being then seized of the fourth part of the manor of Kirby in Kendal. In right of the heiress of Ros and was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir John of Kendal.

Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Weobley, Hertforshire. Agnes is buried with her 3rd husband. Her first husband, Sir Walter Devereux, has his own tomb and effigy.
Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Weobley, Hertforshire. Agnes Crophull is buried with her 3rd husband, John Merbery. Her first husband, Sir Walter Devereux, has his own tomb and effigy.

Katherine’s great-great-grandfather, Sir John Parr (b. circa 1383) married to Agnes de Crophull, the sole heiress to Sir Thomas de Crophull of Weobley Castle and Sybil de Bere. Agnes’s grandfather, Sir John of Bonnington was styled Seigneur of Weobley Castle as owner of Weobley Castle in Hertfordshire. The Castle had been gained through his marriage to Margery de Verdun. The Verdun’s descended from John I of England (Joan, Princess of Wales and Llewelyn Ap ‘The Great’, Prince of Wales) and his sister Princess Eleanor, Queen of Castile (Infanta Berengaria of Castile, Queen Consort of Leon and Alfonso IX, King of Leon). They also descended from King David I of Scotland. Agnes was married firstly to Sir Walter Devereux, Sheriff of Herefordshire by whom she had issue. In 1386, Devereux had livery of her lands through which Weobley Castle passed to his children by Agnes. Agnes’s cousin, Sir John de Crophull had Lordship of Ludlow Castle. Her descendants include Anne Devereux (wife of Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, 1408 creation) and Sir Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex who married to Lettice Knollys. She was also a great-grandmother to Blanche Milbourne, Lady Troy and thus a great-great-grandmother to Blanche Perry. Agnes’s third husband was Sir John Merbury, Chief Justice of South Wales. The couple had no children, however Merbery had issue from his first marriage, Elizabeth, who ended up marrying her step-brother’s son, Sir Walter Devereux. This connection to Agnes Crophull gave the Parr’s more than a few connections to the gentry and courtiers.

Katherine’s great-grandfather, Sir Thomas Parr (b.1407) was Sheriff of Westmorland and Escheator of Cumberland & Westmorland. He married Alice Tunstall, co-heiress of Sir Thomas Tunstall of Thurland Castle and Isabel Harrington. By this connection she was a cousin to Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall who served Henry VIII and all of his children. Under Elizabeth I, he was put under “house arrest” in Lambeth Palace where he died. Isabel Harrington’s sister, Elizabeth, married Sir John Stanley; they were grandparents to Sir Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby making him a first cousin, three times removed. Derby married Katherine’s great-aunt, Eleanor Neville, by whom he had issue. Upon his second marriage to Lady Margaret Beaufort, Derby became step-father to King Henry VII. Derby was a key figure in the Battle of Bosworth and crowned Henry upon the battlefield. Upon the death of Isabel, Lady Tunstall, Tunstall re-married to Hon. Joan Mowbray, daughter of Sir John de Mowbray, 4th Baron and Hon. Elizabeth Segrave, herself the daughter of Lady Margaret Plantagenet, daughter of Thomas of Brotherton. The marriage produced no children, but the Tunstall’s had step-siblings from Joan’s first marriage to Sir Thomas Grey which included John Grey, Earl of Tankerville.

Katherine’s grandfather, Sir William Parr, was part of King Edward IV’s court. William held the office of comptroller of the household from 1471 to 1475 and again in 1481 till Edward’s death in 1483.[4][5][6] William was held in high favour and close friend to the King and was one of only two courtiers to become Knight of the Garter in the second reign of Edward IV. Elder generations of the Parr family had served in the household of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, ancestor of Queen Katherine. Sir William Parr could claim royal descent through many lines, a few including:

  • Blanche de Brienne and William Fieness, Baron of Tingry; Blanche was the granddaughter of Emperor Jean of Brienne, King of Jerusalem and Infanta Berenguela of León, Empress of Constantinople. By this lineage the Parr’s descended from Eleanor of England, Queen of Castile, daughter of Henry II of England and his consort Eleanor of Aquitaine. By this lineage the Parr’s also descended from the Jimenez Kings of Navarre; the infamous Garcia Ramirez, King of Navarre who “restored” the independence of the Navarrese crown after 58 years of union with the Kingdom of Aragon. The Jimenez dynasty had been ruling Pamplona, later Navarre, since 905 AD. Garcia Ramirez was the grandson of the illegitimate son of Garcia Sanchez III of Navarre. After the assassination of the King’s son, Sancho IV, Navarre was taken over by the Aragonese.
  • King John of England [through his illegitimate daughter Joan, Lady of Wales and her husband Llewelyn, Prince of Wales],[1]
  • King David of Scotland, sister of Matilda, Queen of the English [thrice through his son Henry, Earl of Huntingdon], [1]
  • King William “the Lion” of Scotland [twice through his illegitimate daughter Isabella, Lady Ros],[1]
  • Geoffrey Plantagenet, founder of the Plantagenet Kings of England through several lines.[1]
  • King Henry I of England via several illegitimate children such as Robert de Caen, 1st Earl of Gloucester
  • Stephen Blois, Count of Aumule.
  • Several times by Henry I, King of France
  • Adela of England and Stephen of Blois
  • Adeliza of Louvain, Queen consort of the English
  • The Brus family from which came Robert de Brus, King of the Scots.[1]
Lady Joan Beaufort and her daughters

Katherine descended from every King of England who had issue up to King Edward III. Katherine Parr was also the only queen of King Henry VIII to descend from the Beaufort’s; the illegitimate, later legitimized issue of  Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and his third wife, Katherine Swynford Roet. King Henry’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon, also descended from John of Gaunt by his first two wives.

Ravensworth Castle, ancestral home to the Barons FitzHugh

Sir William Parr’s wife, the Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh, was the daughter of Henry, 5th Baron FitzHugh of Ravensworth Castle and Lady Alice Neville. FitzHugh, himself, descended from Henry I (several times), Henry II, and John I (twice); all from illegitimate children. His family was an old baronial family of England descending from Akarius Fitz Bardolph, Lord of Ravensworth (d.1161), the son of Bardolph an 11th century nobleman living in Richmondshire, the area encompassing the Ure, Tees and Swale valleys in northern England.[5] The 5th Baron was the son of William, 4th Baron FitzHugh and Margery Willoughby; by his mother he was a nephew of Richard Willoughby, 6th Baron Willoughby of Eresby.

Lady Alice was sister to Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick and 6th Earl of Salisbury [best known as “Warwick, the Kingmaker”] and other prominent noblemen and women. Her cousin, Sir George Neville, 1st Duke of Bedford was intended to marry Elizabeth of York [mother of King Henry VIII]; this obviously fell through due to his father and nephew’s [Warwick] rebellion against Edward IV. The Neville’s were already established at court being grandchildren of John of Gaunt’s legitimized daughter Lady Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland. Katherine was just about related to every noble and royal at court who came before or during her time; Edward IV and Richard III were first cousins (thrice removed of Katherine Parr). Their wives, Queen Anne Neville and Queen Elizabeth Woodville, were also a first cousins. [The Woodville connection comes from Katherine’s mother, Maud Green — Queen Elizabeth was a first cousin, thrice removed of Katherine]. This connection made her related to all of her husbands in one way or another.

Sir Thomas Montacute, 4th Earl of Salisbury and Lady Eleanor Holland
Princess Joan of Acre, eldest daughter of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile

Lady Alice Neville’s mother Lady Alice Montacute was suo jure 5th Countess of Salisbury being the only surviving child of Sir Thomas, 4th Earl of Salisbury and Lady Eleanor Holland [pictured above]. Salisbury married to Alice Chaucer. Salisbury descended from:

  • Princess Joan of Acre, eldest daughter of King Edward I and his first wife, Eleanor of Castile,
  • Henry I of England by his illegitimate sons Robert de Caen, 1st Earl of Gloucester [twice] and Reynold of Dunstanville, 1st Earl of Cornwall,
  • William the Lion, King of Scots by his illegitimate daughter Isabella, Lady Ros,
  • William the Conqueror by his illegitimate son William Peverell and legitimate daughter, Adela of Normandy.

Lord Salisbury’s siblings included Lady Anne who married thrice. By her marriage to Sir Richard Hankford they were ancestors to Anne Boleyn. After being widowed, she became Duchess of Exeter as wife to the 2nd Duke of Exeter (nephew of the 2nd Earl of Kent, ancestor to Queen Katherine Parr).

Lady Eleanor Holland descended from

Coat of arms of Prince Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent
  • Edward I of England by his son from his second marriage to Marguerite of France [daughter of Philip III of France and Maria of Brabant], Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent,
  • Henry III of England by his son Prince Edmund, 1st Earl of Lancaster [whose wife was Blanche of Artois, Queen of Navarre and mother to another of Queen Katherine’s ancestors, Jeanne I, Queen Regnant of Navarre]. Their son was Sir Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster who married Maud Chaworth [descendant of Louis VI of France],
  • John I of England twice by his illegitimate daughter Lady Joan, Lady of Wales,
  • Henry II of England by his legitimate daughter by Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, Eleanor of England, Queen of Castile and by his illegitimate son William Longespee, 1st Earl of Salisbury,
  • Henry I of England twice by his illegitimate daughter Lady Maud of Normandy, Duchess of Brittany and twice by his illegitimate son, Robert de Caen, 1st Earl of Gloucester,
  • Duncan II of Scotland by his son the Earl of Moray
  • David I of Scotland, twice by his son Henry, Earl of Huntingdon,
  • Louis VI of France by his son Pierre of Courtenay,
  • Geoffrey Plantagenet twice by his son Sir Hamelin Warrenne, Earl of Surrey,
  • William, the Conqueror twice by his daughter Adela of Normandy and his illegitimate son William Peverell.
Coat of arms relating to those mentioned below who married or are in the Holland family.
Coat of arms relating to those mentioned below who are members of, descendants of, or married into the Holland family. L to R: Mortimer, 2nd Earl of Kent, 1st Duke of York, 3rd Earl of Cambridge, Duke of Clarence, 3rd Duke of Lancaster, 16th Earl of Warwick

Lady Salisbury’s siblings included:

  • Lord Thomas Holland, 1st Duke of Surrey, 3rd Earl of Kent.
  • Lord Edmund of Woodstock, 4th Earl of Kent who had a child by Lady Constance of York, daughter of Edmund of Langley, Duke of York (husband of his sister, Lady Joan). In 1403, there was a betrothal of Lord Edmund of Woodstock to Lady Constance of York; not apparent as to whether or not they actually married. [Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry]
  • Lady Elizabeth who married Sir John Neville; ancestors to the Earls of Westmorland (Neville was the heir to the 1st Earl and his first wife Lady Margaret Stafford. The Earl would later marry Lady Joan Beaufort — the two were ancestors to Queen Katherine Parr).
  • Lady Joan married to Edmund of Langley, Duke of York — no issue. Nevertheless she was styled Duchess of York.
  • Lady Alianore, Countess of March, wife to the 4th Earl of March — and through them the crown of Edward IV was claimed by their daughter, Lady Anne Mortimer, Countess of Cambridge (wife of Richard of York, 3rd Earl of Cambrige, brother to Lady Constance of York). The Countess would marry again to the 5th Baron of Powis, their grandson would marry the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Gloucester (son of King Henry IV), Lady Antigone.
  • Lady Margaret, Countess of Somerset and Duchess of Clarence married John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset (illegitimate son of John of Gaunt by Katherine Swynford) and by him they were ancestors to Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII. Margaret would re-marry to Thomas of Lancaster, Duke of Clarence, grandson of John of Gaunt by his son King Henry IV.
Princess Joan of Kent and her son, King Richard II

Lady Salisbury’s [Lady Eleanor Holland] paternal grandmother was Princess Joan of Kent, suo jure 4th Countess of Kent and later Princess of Wales. Her story is one of interest. She married firstly to Sir Thomas Holland who became 1st Earl of Kent through her inheritance. By him she had Lady Salisbury’s father, Sir Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent. Her uncle was Sir John, 1st Duke of Exeter who married Lady Elizabeth of Lancaster, daughter of Prince John of Gaunt and his first wife, Blanche of Lancaster. They were parents to John Holland, 2nd Duke of Lancaster who married thrice; Lady Anne Stafford, Beatrice of Portugal, and Lady Anne Montacute. His second wife, Beatrice of Portugal was half-sister to Edward I of Portugal; John, Lord of Reguengos de Monsaraz; and Afonso, Duke of Braganza. Lord of Reguengos was a grandfather to Queen Isabella of Castile (mother of Queen Katherine of Aragon) while the Duke of Braganza was a great-grandfather.

Lady Salisbury’s paternal aunts were Lady Joan, Duchess of Brittany [wife to John V of Brittany] and Lady Maud, Countess of Ligny [wife to Waleran III of Luxembourg; their daughter Jeanne married Antoine de Valois, Duke of Brabant]. Joan of Kent’s third marriage was to Edward, Prince of Wales [eldest son and heir of King Edward III]; their son was King Richard II of England and thus granduncle to Lady Salisbury.

John Holland, Duke of Lancaster.
John Holland, 1st Duke of Lancaster.

Lady Salisbury’s maternal grandparents were Sir Richard “Copped Hat” FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel and Lady Eleanor of Lancaster, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Lancaster and his wife, Maud Chaworth. The Earl and Countess were parents to Lady Alice FitzAlan, Countess of Kent (wife to the 2nd Earl). By her mother, Lady Kent had half-siblings by Lady Arundel’s first marriage to Sir John Beaumont, 2nd Baron; Maud, the ancestress of the Courtenay Earls of Devon and Lord Henry (who were both half-siblings themselves to Sir William Devereux, father of Sir Walter, first husband to Agnes Crophull, later Lady Parr of Kendal as wife to Sir John Parr.) Lady Kent’s siblings included:

  • Lady Joan of Arundel, mother to the uncrowned Mary de Bohun, wife of Henry IV and mother to Henry V. Her other daughter became Duchess of Gloucester as wife to Lord Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, youngest son of King Edward III.
  • Sir Richard, 11th Earl of Arundel who’s daughter Margaret became Duchess of Norfolk; another daughter Joan became Lady Bergavenny, ancestress to Lords Bergavenny, Earls of Shrewsbury, and grandparents to the 7th Earl of Ormonde (ancestor of Queen Anne Boleyn).
  • Sir John, 1st Lord Arundel — ancestor to the later Earls of Arundel and Dukes of Norfolk. Lord Arundel’s great-grandson married Lady Joan Neville, sister of “Warwick, the Kingmaker” and Alice (great-grandmother to Queen Katherine Parr).
King Richard III and consort Lady Anne Neville were both cousins to Queen Katherine’s paternal grandmother

When the Duke of Gloucester became King in 1483, as Richard III, both Elizabeth and her mother Alice were appointed ladies-in-waiting to Alice’s niece, queen consort Lady Anne Neville. The profession would span five generations down to Katherine’s sister, Anne, who would serve all six of King Henry VIII’s wives. by Lady Parr (Golden Aged writer)

Katherine’s father, Sir Thomas Parr, was a close friend of King Henry VIII; Parr’s step-father, Sir Nicholas Vaux, had been educated in the household of Lady Margaret Beaufort, Henry’s grandmother, where Parr is also believed to have spent some time. Sir Thomas was present at court and was in the circle of Henry VIII which included Sir Thomas Boleyn. Both were knighted in 1509 at Henry’s coronation; Parr was also made a Knight of the Garter and appointed Sheriff of Northamptonshire on that occasion. Parr became Master of the Wards and Comptroller of the household of Henry VIII. Parr’s brother, William [later Baron Parr of Horton], was also a part of the King’s circle. They kept company with the Stafford’s and their cousins, the Neville’s. They were also friend’s with the Carew’s and Sir Thomas Boleyn, father Queen Anne Boleyn. In 1515, Parr was entrusted with escorting Queen Margaret of Scotland [the king’s elder sister] from Newcastle back to London.

The “lowly” marriage of Mary Boleyn to Sir William Stafford — unlike “The Tudors” insistence that he was a “nothing” — Stafford was actually the grandson of Sir John Fogge and Alice Haute (cousin to Queen Elizabeth Woodville). This connection made Stafford a cousin to Parr’s mother, Maud Green (her aunt was Stafford’s mother, Margaret).

Katherine’s brother, William, entered the household of Henry Fitzroy, the King’s illegitimate son, at the age of eleven. It was there that he met Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. They were educated together and Katherine’s uncle, Sir William, Baron Parr of Horton, was part of the head of the household for Fitzroy.

From Sir Thomas’ grandmother to his own daughter, Anne, were all ladies-in-waiting to the queens of England. His grandmother and mother both personally served under special appointment by Richard III’s consort herself, Lady Anne Neville. Anne was the niece of Parr’s grandmother, Lady Alice Neville. Katherine’s sister, Anne Parr [Herbert], was one of the few women to serve all six of Henry’s wives. Maud Parr nee Green, his wife, was good friend’s with Queen Katherine of Aragon and a lady-in-waiting to her. She was given private chambers next to the queen’s and Queen Katherine was supposedly Katherine Parr’s godmother. Lady Parr’s grandmother, Lady Alice Fogge (Haute) was a lady to Queen Elizabeth Woodville (see below).

If Sir Thomas had not died at such an early age he would have been given the title which his brother received or another barony. He was also co-heir to the FitzHugh barony; which is still in abayence between the descendants of his aunt Alice FitzHugh, Lady Fiennes and his daughter, Anne Parr, Countess of Pembroke.

Green Family

Katherine’s mother also descended from royal blood. Maud Green’s family had long served the crown.

Sir Henry Green (died 6 August 1369) was an English lawyer, and Chief Justice of the King’s Bench from 24 May 1361 to 29 October 1365. Early in his career he served both Queen Isabella (consort of Edward II) and Edward the Black Prince. He was made justice of the Court of Common Pleas in 1354, and knighted by King Edward III.

By her grandfather, Sir Thomas Greene of Greens Norton, Queen Katherine directly descended from King Fergus of Galloway and many nobles and Kings of England which included William the Conqueror, John of England, Henry I by three illegitimate children and Empress Matilda, Edward I, and Henry II of England by two legitimate children and one illegitimate. By both husbands of Isabella of Angoulême, Queen Consort of England;  from Welsh nobility like Nest Ferch, Princess of Wales, Llewelyn Ap ‘The Great’, Gwladys Dhu verch; Spanish royals such as Alfonso II of Aragon, Alfonso IX of Aragon; they also descended from French royalty Charles I, Henry I, Louis VII of France and Scottish royals such as David I, Maud of Huntingdon; and from Jean of Brienne, King of Jerusalem through her connections with the Ferrers of Groby, Talbot, Despencer, FitzAlan, De Clare, Earls of Ormonde, and other noble families.

By her mother, Joan Fogge, Lady Parr was a cousin to Elizabeth Woodville, queen consort of Edward IV; descending from Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather, Sir Richard Woodville. When Elizabeth became queen to Edward IV, she brought her favorite female relatives to court to serve her. Lady Parr’s grandmother, Lady Alice Fogge (born Haute), was one of five ladies-in-waiting to her cousin Elizabeth Woodville in the 1460s.[4]

Relations to Husbands

Queen Katherine and Henry VIII’s closest relations: Third cousins (through Sir Richard Wydeville and Joan Bedlisgate); third cousins once removed (through Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and Lady Joan Beaufort); and double fourth cousins once removed (through Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent and Lady Alice FitzAlan and John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and Katherine Swynford). Queen Katherine also shared ancestors with her 4th husband, Thomas Seymour, but the closest one is Edward III and Philippa.

Sources:

  1. Douglas Richardson. “Plantagenet Ancestry,” 2005.
  2. Douglas Richardson. “Magna Carta Ancestry,” 2nd Edition, 2011.
  3. David Starkey. “Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII,” HarperCollins, May 4, 2004. pg 690. Google eBook.
  4. Barbara J. Harris. “English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550 : Marriage and Family, Property and Careers: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers,” Oxford University Press, Jul 26, 2002. pg 218.
  5. John Burke. “A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England, Ireland, and Scotland, extinct, dormant, and in abeyance,” 1831.

Some of her ancestry can be viewed here:  

Tudors Wiki: Ancestry of Queen Catherine Parr

Thoroughly researched. One line still in question: Sir Roger, 4th Baron Strange of Knockyn’s wife, Maud, who has been theorized as the illegitimate daughter of Enguerrand VII de Coucy, 1st Earl of Bedford which would relate her back to ancestors like the Habsburgs; the Chatillions; the Wittlesbachs; Beatrice of England, Duchess of Brittany [daughter of Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence]; Matilda of England, Duchess of Saxony [daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine]; the Champagne and Jiminez Kings of Navarre;  and more.

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.

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

Childbearing: Queen Katherine of Aragon and Lady Maud Parr

Childbearing; the Tale of Katherine of Aragon and Maud Parr

Queen Katherine of Aragon; first wife of Henry VIII and mother to Queen Mary I

As most Tudor enthusiasts know, Katherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry, had many troubles when it came to childbearing. This wasn’t an unusual thing for women in Tudor times. The infant mortality rate was also an issue as many newborns did not live past birth or even their first birthday.

During the first year of Katherine’s marriage to King Henry, Katherine had a miscarriage within the initial six months of pregnancy in January 1510. This mishap began a pattern which resulted in many miscarriages and stillbirths.

On New Year’s day in 1511, a son was finally born. He was christened Henry, Duke of Cornwall. The whole court was ecstatic and a great tournament was thrown in honour of the birth of Henry’s son. But to Katherine and Henry’s dismay, he died fifty-two days later on 23 February 1511. Contemporary reports state that both parents were distraught at the loss of their second child and expected future king. The deeply religious Catherine spent many hours kneeling on cold stone floors praying, to the worry of courtiers. Henry distracted himself from his grief by unsuccessfully waging war against Louis XII of France with his father-in-law, Ferdinand II of Aragon.

By 1513, Katherine was with child again. It was at this time that Katherine was appointed Regent as Henry took on a military mission in France. In was within her regency that she rode north, heavily pregnant, after the Battle at Flodden Field to address soldiers. The journey no doubt was painful as a woman in that stage of pregnancy should have begun her lying in already. When Henry returned from France, instead of embracing a new baby boy, the two were saddened by another death.

Historians have speculated as to the course English history might have taken, had either of the two Henrys, Duke of Cornwall, or any other legitimate son survived. Given that Henry’s search for a male heir, after Catherine’s failure to give birth to any more live sons, was the cited reason which led him to have their marriage annulled, a living male child might have at least forestalled, or even prevented, the marriage to Anne Boleyn and placed England in a different relationship with Roman Catholicism during the Protestant Reformation.

This theme has also been explored in some alternate history science fiction, such as Kingsley Amis’ The Alteration (1976), in which another alternate history English Reformation is depicted, even without the succession crisis caused by the absence of a male heir until the birth of Edward VI to Henry and Jane Seymour. However, Amis’ book within a book does not specify whether this alternate history Henry IX is any specific son of Henry VIII.

Portrait miniature of Princess Mary at the time of her engagement to Charles V.

After finally giving birth to a healthy baby girl in 1516, christened Mary (the future Queen Mary), Katherine became pregnant yet again in 1518 gave birth to another girl. This baby died within a week of her birth date. It became apparent in 1526 that Katherine’s health was deteriorating which made it highly unlikely that she would have any more children.

Katherine Parr’s mother, Maud, became lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine of Aragon after she married Sir Thomas Parr. Maud stayed with Queen Katherine until the end of her life; she stayed with her even through the tumultuous times of the 1520s when Henry started his infatuation with one of Katherine’s ladies, Anne Boleyn.

Maud’s relationship with the Queen was a relationship that went much deeper than “giddy pleasure”. Both knew what it was like to lose a child in stillbirths and in infancy. It was Katherine Parr’s mother, Maud, who shared in the horrible miscarriages and deaths in which Queen Katherine would endure from 1511 to 1518. The two bonded over the issue and became close because of it. When Maud Green became Lady Parr she became pregnant shortly after her marriage to Sir Thomas Parr. Most people think that Katherine Parr, the future queen and last wife of Henry, was the first to be born to the Parrs; not so. In or about 1509, a boy was born to Maud and Thomas. The happiness of delivering an heir to the Parr family was short lived as the baby died shortly after — no name was ever recorded. It would be another four years before Maud became pregnant again. In 1512, Maud finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She was christened Katherine, after the queen, and speculations are that Queen Katherine was her godmother. In about 1513, Maud would finally give birth to a healthy baby boy who was named William. Then again in 1515, Maud would give birth to another daughter named Anne, possibly after Maud’s sister. This pregnancy and childbirth is usually seen as the last for Maud; that she did not have anymore. Again, not so.

In or about 1517, Maud became pregnant again. It was in autumn of that year that her husband, Sir Thomas, died. It is believed that the stress from his death and leaving Maud with three children to raise alone caused the baby to be lost or die shortly after birth. No further record of the child is recorded. In a way Maud might have been relieved as she already had three young children to provide for.

Maud continued her position at court as one of Katherine of Aragon’s household and stayed close to the Queen even when her relationship with Henry started to decline. Henry’s infatuation with Anne Boleyn, one of the Queen’s ladies, became apparent and inevitably the ladies began to take sides. In these times, Queen Katherine never lost the loyalty and affection of women like Maud Parr, Gertrude Courtenay, and Elizabeth Howard, who had been with the Queen since the first years of her reign.

The theories of if Henry, Duke of Cornwall lived have been written about — but that of if Katherine Parr’s older brother had lived — perhaps the story would have been different and Kat would have never become the last wife of Henry — never have restored the royal family which made way for Lady Mary and Elizabeth to become part of the succession again. Perhaps the cause of the Reformation, which started to entice King Henry in his great matter, would have never been furthered. Kat went on to try continuing what Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, had started yet she wanted to help Henry make peace with his children. She took on the role of step-mother for Lady Elizabeth and Prince Edward, but remained good friend’s with the Lady Mary as Mary was only a few years younger than Kat. Some have called her the perfect combination of all of Henry’s wives; I would like to think they are referring to Henry’s first three wives; Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Jane Seymour. To this day some believe that Kat shaped the little girl who would become the last reigning Tudor; Elizabeth. Certainly many of the characteristics which Kat had were emulated by Elizabeth and she continued the beliefs her own mother and step-mother had in religion. Of the many things that Kat Parr did; many that are not listed here — I would like to think that her best influence and legacy lived on through Elizabeth, as she was basically the daughter she never had the opportunity to raise. Kat Parr would go on to give birth to a baby girl in her 4th and final marriage to Prince Edward’s uncle, Sir Thomas Seymour — but the joy was short lived as Katherine died shortly after.  Her three previous marriage were obviously childless. There has never been recorded evidence that she ever became pregnant or gave birth to any children before Lady Mary Seymour. The Parr legacy would continue within her sister’s family — the Herbert’s — as the Earls of Pembroke, whom today, still hold that title among others.