On this day in Tudor history, 24th October 1537, Queen Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII, died at Hampton Court Palace twelve days after giving birth to a son who would grow up to be King Edward VI.
In today's talk, I share contemporary accounts of Jane Seymour's illness and death, as well as details of how her remains were prepared for burial and where they were buried.
You can read an article on Jane’s labour and death by midwife Dayna Goodchild in June 2018's edition of Tudor Life magazine here.
Here are more videos on Jane Seymour:
And here are some resources from our archives:
- Gareth Russell's talk on Jane Seymour
- Researching Jane the Quene - Expert talk by Janet Wertman
- Jane Seymour quiz
- Jane Seymour - A brief bio of Jane.
- 12 November 1537 – Jane Seymour’s remains moved to Windsor
- 13 November 1537 – Queen Jane Seymour is buried
- Who was Jane Seymour?
- Phoenix Birth: A Look at Jane Seymour and the Importance of Death and Birth in Tudor England
Also on this day in history:
- 1521 – Death of Robert Fayrfax (Fairfax), church musician and composer, in St Albans. He was buried in the abbey there. Fayrfax was a Gentleman of the Chapel of the households of both Henry VII and Henry VIII, and attended the 1521 Field of Cloth of Gold. His works included the Magnificat Regale, Salve regina, six masses and English part-songs.
- 1525 – Death of Thomas Dacre, 2nd Baron Dacre of Gilsland, from a fall from his horse in the English borders. He was buried at Lanercost Priory, in the Dacre family mausoleum. Dacre fought at the Battle of Bosworth on the side of Richard III, but was able to earn Henry VII's trust and favour afterwards. Henry VII put Dacre in charge of the English west march and he was active in the borders, until he was imprisoned in early 1525 after trouble in the borders. He was fined and released in September 1525.
- 1545 – Death of Sir John Baldwin, judge and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. He was buried at Aylesbury.
- 1572 – Death of Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby and Privy Councillor during the reigns of Mary I and Elizabeth I, at Lathom House in Lancashire. He was buried at the parish church in Ormskirk.
- 1589 – Death of Christopher St Lawrence, 7th Baron Howth and an active participant in Irish politics. He was buried in Howth Abbey in Dublin.
- 1590 – John White, governor of the Roanoke Colony, returned to England after failing to find the lost colonists, which included his daughter, Ellinor (Elenora), and his granddaughter, Virginia Dare. Virginia was the first child born to English parents in the Americas. Nobody ever found out what had happened to the colony.
I have a question. It might be stupid, but I’ve not been to the chapel, or even England. Now the market is on the floor. Are they right below it? And is there a way to get to it? Like is there a lower level, like a basement, where you could access it? Not that anyone would want to, I’m just curious about where they are, what it looks like, and if it’s sort of like a little ante room on a lower level. Thanks. Michelle t
That’s supposed to say marker. “Now the marker is on the floor.”
Yes, they’re in the vault below it. I’m not sure if there’s any other access apart from lifting the slab.
Reading the article it seems Jane wasn’t infected during the childbirth itself but the retention of her after birth caused an infection and she died from toxic septic poisoning and she was probably denied the intervention she should have received or refused medical help because she was in too much pain. Exhausted and delirious she became ill and died delirious and barely conscious. A deeply saddened King Henry withdrew for several weeks and he shared Jane’s tomb when he died.
Under the markers there are vaults and in the vault are the coffins of Henry Viii, Jane, King Charles I and an infant of Queen Anne. The coffins were opened in the nineteenth century and restored as they were broken. A large cyrpt and series of vaults existed grilled off at one time but the vaults now I believe are their original size. They are under the floor, although I don’t know how close to the markers, but certainly not far away.
One of the saddest events in the recent drama Catherine the Great was the death of her daughter in law in childbirth after 48 hours in labour. She simply couldn’t deliver her child and her son also died in the womb. An autopsy showed her son was perfectly formed but too big for her to deliver him. She died of blood loss and her son was in distress and died unable to get his breath. This actually happened, resulting in the terrible loss of mother and baby. A C was considered but would only be done on a mother who had died to save a live baby. Her second daughter in law also laboured for more than 25 hours but Katherine stayed with her and her efforts were not in vain. With the medical help now both of these mothers and Queen Jane would have been saved; that was the tragedy of those times, one third of all women died from the complications of childbirth.
Henry saw his own mother die of perpetual fever after the last child she bore aged 37 in 1503,_attempting to give him another son. Her little daughter, Katherine, died not long afterwards. Henry was close to his mother and only a boy of no more than eleven when she died. Now his wife, whom I believe he did love and who had brought him some domestic peace, the mother of his much-needed heir, whom he had waited for, for 28 years, had lost her own life because of the complications of childbirth. Henry withdrew with only his fool for company, put on dark mourning and remained isolated for several months. He left the arrangements for the funeral of Queen Jane to the Duke of Norfolk and his grief was inconsolable. Maybe Jane really was the light in his dark, dark world as it put it in the Tudors: she was the one he determined to spend eternity with and began to build a huge memorial tomb. Unfortunately, it was never finished, but Henry’s huge marbled sarcophagus now houses the mortal remains of Admiral Lord Nelson in Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, appropriate for the Father of the English Navy.