The Tudor Society

3 May – A man who served 3 monarchs and kept his head

On this day in Tudor history, 3rd May 1568, courtier, member of Parliament, and privy councillor, Sir Edward Rogers, died.

Rogers had a long and successful royal career, serving three of the Tudor monarchs, and he managed to keep his head too.

Find out more about him, and how he even survived being implicated in rebellion and opposing Mary I, in today's talk.

Also on this day in history, 3rd May 1580, poet, farmer and agricultural writer Thomas Tusser died. In last year’s video, Claire shared his verses for the month of May so please do watch that:

And on 3rd May 1536, following the arrest of Queen Anne Boleyn and prominent courtiers, a shocked Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote to King Henry VIII. Find out what was going on in the video for 3rd May 1536:

Also on this day in history:

  • 1415 – Birth of Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, daughter of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, and Joan Beaufort. Cecily was the wife of Richard, 3rd Duke of York, and the mother of twelve children, including Richard III, George, Duke of Clarence, and Edward IV.
  • 1446 – Birth of Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, also known as Margaret of York, third daughter of Cecily Neville (see above) and Richard, 3rd Duke of York. She was married to Charles the Bold, who became Duke of Burgundy, and she was godmother to Emperor Charles V.
  • 1524 – Death of Richard Grey, 3rd Earl of Kent, son of George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent, and Anne Bourchier (née Woodville).
  • 1610 – Death of Sir William Skipwith, member of Parliament, Sheriff of Leicestershire and poet. In his “Worthies of England”, author and historian Thomas Fuller described Skipwith as “dexterous at the making fit and acute epigrams, poesies, mottoes and devices”. He was buried at Prestwold Church in Leicestershire.


On this day in Tudor history, 3rd May 1568, courtier, member of Parliament, and privy councillor, Sir Edward Rogers, died.
Rogers had a long and successful royal career, serving three of the Tudor monarchs, so let me give you an overview of his life and career.

Sir Edward Rogers was a Somerset man, being the eldest son of George Rogers of Langport, Somerset, and his wife, Elizabeth. He was born in around 1498.

He fled into exile in France in 1526 after committing some kind of offence, but was pardoned in 1527 and whatever it was, it didn’t stop him going to to serve King Henry VIII.

In Henry VIII’s reign, he served as an esquire of the body, sewer of the privy chamber, and carver, and in 1544, he accompanied the king to France and was captain of 200 footmen at Boulogne. He reaped the rewards of his loyal service when he was granted a monastery and priory following the dissolution of the monasteries, and he was granted a manor after the fall of the Marquess of Exeter.

In 1540, Rogers is recorded as quarrelling with Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane Seymour. It was obviously a big quarrel as they were both bound in £1000 to keep the peace. Then, in 1543, he was in trouble once more, this time for breaking the Lent fast by eating meat.

In 1547, during the celebrations for the new king Edward VI’s coronation, Rogers was knighted, and in 1549, following the fall of Edward Seymour, Lord Protector, he was one of those chosen to attend the king as a principal gentleman of his privy chamber. He may not have been trusted, though, by the new leader of the government, John Dudley, as in January 1550, his privy chamber position was taken off him and he was put under house arrest, albeit temporarily. He was back in favour later that year, receiving a pension and being granted one of the former Lord Protector’s manor.

In 1553, when Edward VI was dying, Rogers was one of those who signed the king’s device for the succession, naming Lady Jane Grey as his heir, and he was vocal in his opposition to Mary I’s plans to restore England to the authority of Rome. He ended up being imprisoned in the Tower of London in February 1554 after being implicated in Wyatt’s Rebellion, but fortunately was released in January 1555 after paying a recognizance of £1000. A royal pardon was given in July 1555. It is not known where he went after this, whether he went into exile abroad for a time, but he was back in England in 1558 and ready to serve the Protestant queen, Elizabeth I. He was appointed Vice-Chamberlain, Captain of the Guard, and Privy Councillor in 1558, and then Comptroller of the Household in 1559. His biographer, Michael Graves notes that he was active and energetic, but that he began missing privy council meetings from1567, which suggests that he may have started suffering with his health. He died on this day in 1568 and was laid to rest in St John the Evangelist's chapel in Westminster Abbey.

Rogers served as a Justice of the Peace for Dorset in Henry VIII’s reign, and for Somerset in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth I. He was also a member of Parliament in the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.
In the 1520s, Rogers married Mary Lisle, daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Lisle of the Isle of Wight, and they had a son, George, and three daughters.

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3 May – A man who served 3 monarchs and kept his head