The Tudor Society

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  • This week in history 12 – 18 February

    12th February:

    1554 – Executions of Lady Jane Grey and her husband Lord Guildford Dudley for treason. They were buried in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London.
    1567 – Death of Sir Thomas White, founder of St John’s College, Oxford, and former Lord Mayor of London, at his property in Size Lane, London. He was buried in St John’s College Chapel.
    1584 – Executions of five Catholic priests, including James Fenn. They were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn. Fenn was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929.
    1590 – Death of Blanche Parry, chief Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber, at the age of eighty-two. She was buried in St Margaret’s, Westminster, with funeral rites which were usually reserved for a baroness. She has a monument in St Margaret’s and also one in Bacton Church, her home village in Herefordshire, which bears an inscription of twenty-eight lines of verse recording Blanche’s service to her beloved Queen.
    1611 – Probable date of death of Sir Henry Lee, Queen’s Champion from c.1580 to November 1590. He was buried at Quarrendon in Buckinghamshire.

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  • A bench belonging to Catherine of Aragon? – by John Roberts

    Discovering new artefacts from Henry VIII’s era, and so far away from England, sounds highly unlikely, but I am an ex-Brit living on the west coast of Canada, and I think I may have found the ‘holy grail’ of pre-Elizabethan furniture.

    I am a retiree, and in December 2016 I was looking for historical items for my daughter, Melanie, who had recently purchased a two-piece upright cupboard with 1703 among the carvings.

    My latest find, a highly ornate wood-panelled bench, or settle (we’ll settle on the bench word from now on!), was at a weekly auction in Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. It was described as 19th century, and I was the winning bidder at a hammer price of $725 Canadian (415 GBP).

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  • This week in history 5 – 11 February

    5th February:

    1537 – Birth of diplomat Sir Henry Brooke, son of George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham, and his wife Anne Bray. Anne Bray was a lady in waiting to Anne Boleyn, and there is controversy over whether she was the “Nan Cobham” who was one of the Queen’s accusers in 1536. In Elizabeth I’s reign, Brooke was made a gentleman pensioner and carried out embassies to Spain, the Low Countries and France for her. In October 1579, Elizabeth appointed him as her resident ambassador in France, until he was replaced by Sir Edward Stafford in 1583.
    1556 – Treaty of Vaucelles between Philip II of Spain and Henry II of France. By the terms of this treaty, Henry II had to relinquish Franche-Comté to Philip, but the treaty was quickly broken.
    1557 – Death of Sir William Portman, Judge and Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from 1555. He was buried at St Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleet Street, London.
    1576 – Henry of Navarre, the future Henry IV of France, abjured Catholicism at Tours, rejoining the Protestant forces, following his escape from Paris on 3rd February.
    1605 – Death of Sir Edward Stafford, son of Sir William Stafford (Mary Boleyn’s second husband) and his second wife Dorothy Stafford. Edward was an MP and diplomat, and there is controversy over his “spying” activities during the Armada and exactly how much information he passed to Mendoza. He was buried in St Margaret’s, Westminster.

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  • This week in history 29 January – 4 February

    29th January:

    1536 – Catherine of Aragon was laid to rest in Peterborough Abbey, now Peterborough Cathedral. She had requested that she should be buried in a Chapel of her beloved order, The Observant Friars, but Henry’s dissolution of the monasteries meant that there were none left. She was buried as Dowager Princess of Wales, not queen.
    1536 – Queen Anne Boleyn suffered a miscarriage.
    1547 – Edward Seymour and Anthony Denny informed the young Edward VI that his father, Henry VIII, had died the day before.
    1559 – Death of Sir Thomas Pope, founder of Trinity College, Oxford, member of Parliament and Privy Councillor in Mary I’s reign, at Clerkenwell. He was buried at St Stephen’s Church, Walbrook. In 1556, Pope acted as a guardian for Princess Elizabeth at Hatfield House, and handled the correspondence when Eric of Sweden was interested in marrying Elizabeth.
    1577 – Death of Richard Harpur, Law Reporter and Judge of the Common Pleas. He was buried at Swarkestone Church in Derbyshire.
    1613 – Death of Sir Thomas Bodley, scholar, diplomat and founder of Oxford’s Bodleian Library at his house next to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. He was buried in Merton College chapel on 29th March.

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  • This week in history 15 – 21 January

    15th January:

    1522 – Death of Richard Fitzjames, Bishop of London, in London. He was buried in the nave of St Paul’s.
    1522 – Death of Sir John Heron, Treasurer of the Chamber to Henry VII and General Receiver to Henry VIII. He was buried at the Whitefriars, London.
    1522 – Death of Richard Fitzjames, Bishop of London, in London. He was buried in the nave of St Paul’s.
    1535 – Henry VIII declared himself head of the Church in England.
    1555 – Death of Jane Dudley, Duchess of Northumberland and wife of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. Jane died in Chelsea, London, and was buried there. She outlived her husband, who was executed in 1553 after Mary seized the throne from his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey.
    1559 – Coronation of Elizabeth I at Westminster Abbey. Click here to read more.
    1569 – Death of Catherine Knollys (née Carey), wife of Sir Francis Knollys and daughter of Sir William Carey and Mary Boleyn. Queen Elizabeth I was grief-stricken at the death of her cousin and friend, and gave her a lavish funeral at Westminster Abbey. Some believe Katherine to have been the illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII.

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  • Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk (1443-1524)

    Thomas Howard was a politician, English nobleman and lived to a ripe old age of 81! For someone who spent a lot of time in the English court, he also had very stable connections which kept him in his position, especially since he was the grandfather of two queens of England, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, making him the great-grandfather to Queen Elizabeth I. Serving four monarchs as both statesmen and solider, who was Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Surrey?

    Thomas Howard was born in 1443; he was the only son of Sir John Howard and Catherine Howard, daughter of Lord William Moleyns. Having been educated in Thetford school as he got older Surrey started a career as a henchman in court. In the service of Edward IV, Thomas, who was still a young man, took the king’s side when war began in 1469 and having taken the Kings side took sanctuary in 1470 when the king fled to Holland. After he sustained an injury in 1471, he was appointed as a knight in 1478 at the marriage of the king’s son. In the same year, he was appointed as a Knight of the Garter and became appointed to the privy council.

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  • This week in history 8 – 14 January

    8th January:

    1499 – Marriage of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany, widow of Charles VIII of France and the Queen Dowager. The couple had two surviving children: Claude, Queen of France, and Renée, Duchess of Ferrara.
    1543 – Burial of King James V of Scotland at Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh.
    1570 – Death of Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland, at Brougham Castle. He was buried at Holy Trinity Church, Skipton. Clifford’s career included serving Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, at Pontefract Castle, being made Knight of the Bath at the coronation of Anne Boleyn, serving as Carver to Henry VIII in 1540, and being appointed to the Council of the Borders and the Council of the North. He was married to Henry VIII’s niece, Eleanor Brandon.
    1571 – Burial of Mary Shelton (married names: Heveningham and Appleyard) at Heveningham Church, Suffolk. Mary was the daughter of Sir John Shelton and his wife Anne (née Boleyn), and wife of Sir Anthony Heveningham, then Philip Appleyard. Mary served Queen Anne Boleyn as one of her ladies.
    1586 – Death of Sir George Seton, 5th Lord Seton, politician, Scottish nobleman and loyal supporter of Mary, Queen of Scots. He was a member of Mary’s privy council. Seton was buried in Seton Church, East Lothian.
    1594 – Death of Sir Wolstan Dixie, merchant and Lord Mayor of London, in London. He was buried at the parish church of St Michael Bassishaw. Dixie served as Lord Mayor of London in 1585-1586.

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  • Cecily of York, Viscountess Welles

    Cecily of York was the third daughter of the first Yorkist king, Edward IV, and his consort Elizabeth Wydeville. She was born on 20 March 1469 at Westminster Palace in London. At the age of five, on 26 October 1474, the princess was betrothed to James, son of James III of Scotland, as a means of achieving an alliance between the traditionally warring kingdoms of England and Scotland. This betrothal ultimately came to nothing when Anglo-Scottish relations worsened to the extent that Edward IV prepared for an invasion of the neighbouring realm. Three years later, when Cecily was fourteen years of age, Edward died at Westminster. Cecily’s brother Edward was subsequently proclaimed king, but their uncle Richard of Gloucester seized the throne, and both Edward and their younger brother Richard were taken to the Tower of London. What became of the two ‘Princes in the Tower’ has never been revealed.

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  • This week in history 1 – 7 January

    1 January:

    1463 – Probable birthdate of Silvestro Gigli, diplomat and Bishop of Worcester, at Lucca in Italy. Gigli was nominated as Bishop of Worcester in December 1498, and enthroned in April 1499.
    1511 – Queen Catherine of Aragon gave birth to a son, Henry, Duke of Cornwall. His birth was met with celebrations throughout England – bonfires, wine flowing through the streets of London, cannons firing, pageants, banqueting and jousts. He died on 22nd February 1511, just fifty-two days after his birth
    1515 – Death of Louis XII of France, less than three months after his marriage to Mary Tudor, the sister of Henry VIII. He did not have a son, and so was succeeded by Francis I, his cousin’s son and the husband of Louis’ daughter, Claude. Louis was buried in Saint Denis Basilica.
    1537 – Marriage of James V of Scotland and Madeleine de Valois, daughter of Francis I, at Notre Dame in Paris.
    1540 – Henry VIII met his bride-to-be, Anne of Cleves, at Rochester. Following the great chivalric tradition, Henry disguised himself and attempted to kiss her, but a shocked Anne did not recognise him as King. It was a disastrous first meeting, and Henry was sorely disappointed that she could not recognise him as her true love.
    1556 – Nicholas Heath, Archbishop of York, became Mary I’s Lord Chancellor.

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  • Roger Ascham

    Scholar and royal tutor Roger Ascham is thought to have been born around 1515 and he was educated in the household of Sir Humphrey Wingfield, a lawyer and a man who served as Speaker of the House of Commons in the 1530s. When he was about 15, he was sent to St John’s College, Cambridge, where he chose to devoted himself to the study of Greek. He graduated BA in 1533/4 and was nominated as a fellow before graduating MA in 1537. At Cambridge, he met Sir John Cheke and he taught William Grindal, who would go on to be a tutor to Princess Elizabeth from 1544 to 1548.

    In 1548, Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII, insisted that Ascham become her tutor after the death of William Grindal from the plague. According to his biographer Rosemary O’Day, Ascham “contrived a classical and Christian curriculum for the princess that was designed to equip her for a leading role in the state”, and used his pioneering language teaching method on her, double translation. He wrote about this method in “The Scholemaster”, his famous and influential treatise on education. He carried on tutoring Princess Elizabeth during Mary I’s reign, and was impressed by the Princess’ intelligence, her language skills and her “political understanding”.

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  • This week in history 25 -31 December

    25th December:

    Christmas Day – Happy Christmas!
    1549 – Death of Stephen Vaughan, merchant, merchant adventurer, diplomat and administrator, in London. He was buried at London’s St Mary-le-Bow. Vaughan served Sir Thomas Cromwell as a diplomat between 1524 and 1539, and moved into Henry VIII’s service on Cromwell’s fall. He acted as the King’s Chief Financial Agent in the Netherlands from 1544 to 1546, and became Under-Treasurer of the Tower of London Mint in 1544.
    1553 – Birth of Thomas Thomas, Puritan printer and lexicographer, in London. He became the printer of Cambridge University in 1583, and concentrated on printing Protestant theology and education works. He is known for his Latin dictionary.
    1569 (25th or 26th) – Killing of Sir John Borthwick, soldier, diplomat and Protestant, near Bewcastle in Cumberland. He was killed by the Forster family as he was fighting on the side of James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray and the Regent, against Mary, Queen of Scots’s forces. Borthwick had served Edward VI as a diplomat, Elizabeth I as a military commander and Mary, Queen of Scots as a diplomat.
    1587 – Death of Brian Darcy, magistrate, Sheriff of Essex, witch-hunter and contributor to the 1582 “A true and just recorde of the information, examination and confession of all the witches, taken at S. Oses”. “A True and Just Recorde” argued for harsher punishments for those found guilty of witchcraft.
    1634 – Death of Lettice Blount (née Knollys, other married names: Devereux and Dudley) at the age of ninety-one. Lettice died at her home at Drayton Bassett and was buried beside her second husband, Sir Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in the Beauchamp Chapel of St Mary’s Church, Warwick.
    1596 – Death of Sir Henry Curwen, member of Parliament, Justice of the Peace and Sheriff. He served Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I loyally.

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  • This week in history 18 – 24 December

    18 December

    1555 – Burning of John Philpott, former Archdeacon of Winchester and Protestant martyr, at Smithfield. He had been imprisoned in London's coalhouse prison after writing letters to fellow Protestants to encourage them to stay strong in their faith. He was moved to the tower of St Paul's Cathedral, where he was put into solitary confinement before being condemned for heresy by Bishop Bonner.
    1575 - Nicholas Harpsfield, historian, Catholic apologist, priest and former Archdeacon of Canterbury, died in London. He had been released from Fleet prison four months earlier due to ill health.

    19 December

    Anne de Montmorency

    1562 – The Battle of Dreux between Catholics, led by Anne de Montmorency, and Huguenots, led by Louis I, Prince of Condé, during the first war of the French Wars of Religion. The Catholics were victorious, but both commanders were taken prisoner.
    1576 - Katherine Palmer, Abbess of Syon, died in Mechelen during exile in Elizabeth I's reign. Just over a month earlier, on 8th November, her convent had been broken into by a mob of Calvinists, and it is thought that confronting the mob had been too traumatic for her. She was laid to rest at Mechelen in the Church of the Augustinians.
    1578 (19th or 26th December) – Executions of Egremont Radcliffe and a man called Gray at Namur in Belgium. They were beheaded in the marketplace after being suspected of poisoning Don John of Austria.
    1583 – John Somerville, convicted conspirator, was found dead in his cell at Newgate Prison. Death was by strangulation, and it was said that his death was suicide. His body was buried in Moorfields, and his head was put on display on London Bridge. Somerville had been convicted of high treason for intending to shoot and kill Elizabeth I.
    1587 – Death of Thomas Seckford, lawyer and administrator, at Clerkenwell in Middlesex. He was buried at Clerkenwell, but then moved to the family vault at Woodbridge in Suffolk. Seckford served Mary I as Deputy Chief Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster and Elizabeth I as Master of Requests and Steward of the Marshalsea court.

    20 December

    1541 – A “very sickly” Agnes Tilney, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London after the fall of her granddaughter, Catherine Howard, begged Henry VIII for forgiveness. She also confessed to having another £800 hidden at Norfolk House.
    1558 – Death of John Holyman, Bishop of Bristol and Rector of Hanborough in Oxfordshire. He was buried at Hanborough Church, in the chancel.
    1559 – Burial of John Bekinsau (Beckinsau), scholar and theologian, at Sherborne St John in Hampshire. Bekinsau was the author of the 1546 tract De supremo et absoluto regis imperio in support of Henry VIII's supremacy.
    1562 – Death of Margaret Kitson (other married name Bourchier and née Donnington), Countess of Bath. She was buried at the church in Hengrave, near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, which was near Hengrave Hall, the Kitson family seat. Margaret was the second wife of merchant adventurer Sir Thomas Kitson.
    1571 – Death of Richard Butler, 1st Viscount Mountgarret and son of Piers Butler, 1st Earl of Ossory and 8th Earl of Ormond. He was buried in St Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny city.
    1583 – Execution of Edward Arden, conspirator, at Smithfield. He was hanged, drawn and quartered after being convicted of high treason for plotting with John Somerville to kill Elizabeth I. Like Somerville, his body was buried at Moorfields and his head displayed on London Bridge.
    1606 – Death of Richard Reynolds (Rainolde), clergyman and author, in Essex. His work included the 1563 “ A booke called the foundacion of rhetorike, because all other partes of rhetorike are grounded thereupon” and “ A chronicle of all the noble emperours of the Romaines … setting forth the great power, and devine providence of almighty God, in preserving the godly princes and common wealthes” (1571).

    21 December

    Jasper Tudor

    Jasper Tudor

    1495 – Death of Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford and 1st Earl of Pembroke, at Thornbury. He was laid to rest at Keynsham Abbey, near Bristol. Jasper was the second son of Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois, half-brother of Henry VI and uncle of Henry VII. It was alleged that he had an illegitimate daughter, Helen or Ellen, who was the mother of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester. Click here to read more.
    1505 – Birth of Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton, Lord Privy Seal and Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII. He was the eldest son of William Wriothesley, York herald, and his wife, Agnes, and cousin of Charles Wriothesley, the Tudor chronicler.
    1539 – Death of Sir John Shelton, uncle (by marriage) of Queen Anne Boleyn and Controller of the Joint Household of Mary and Elizabeth, Henry VIII's daughters from July 1536. He was buried at Shelton Church in Norfolk, in the chancel.
    1540 (or 1542) – Birth of Thomas Allen, mathematician, astrologer and antiquary, at Uttoxeter in Staffordshire. Allen is known for his knowledge of mathematics, history and antiquity, astronomy and astrology, and philosophy. He served as Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester's astrologer and the horoscope he cast for poet Philip Sidney can be found in the Bodleian Library's Ashmole manuscripts. His links with John Dee, Thomas Harriot and other mathematicians, combined with his knowledge of astrology, led to him being labelled a necromancer or magician.
    1545 - William Cecil, the future Baron Burghley, married his second wife, Mildred Cooke (1526-1589), eldest daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, Edward VI's tutor. Click here to read more.
    1549 - Marguerite of Navarre (also known as Margaret of Navarre, Marguerite of Angoulême and Marguerite de France) died in Odos in France at the age of fifty-seven. Marguerite was the daughter of Louise of Savoy and Charles of Orléans, Count of Angoulême.
    1584 – Probable date for the death of John Herd, physician, author and Rector of Waddington. He was buried at Waddington. Herd had acted as Physician to Archbishop Thomas Cranmer from c.1551 until August 1555. Herd wrote a verse history of England, covering the period 1461-1509, and was also said to have written a catechism of Christian doctrine for the young.
    1598 – Death of Thomas Owen, judge and member of Parliament. He was buried at Westminster Abbey. Owen served Elizabeth I as Serjeant-at-Law, Queen's Serjeant and Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.
    1608 – Death of William Davison, diplomat and administrator, at Stepney. He was buried there, in St Dunstan's Church. Davison served Elizabeth I as a diplomat, carrying out embassies to the Netherlands and Scotland, and as secretary. He is mainly known for his role in the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. Davison claimed that Elizabeth I signed Mary's death warrant and told him that she wished the execution to take place in the Great Hall of Fotheringhay Castle without delay. As instructed, Davison asked Sir Christopher Hatton, the acting Lord Chancellor, to seal the warrant with the Great Seal of England to validate it. Elizabeth, on the other hand, claimed that she had signed the warrant and then asked Davison not to disclose this fact to anyone. When she learned that it had been sealed with the Great Seal, she then asked Davison to swear on his life that he would not let the warrant out of his hands unless he had permission from her. After Mary's execution, the poor Davison was arrested, tried and sentenced to imprisonment in the Tower, and heavily fined.

    22 December

    Bishop Fisher

    Bishop Fisher

    1480 – Baptism of Sir Edward Chamberlayne, soldier, a leading member of Oxfordshire gentry and Commissioner of the Peace for Oxfordshire (1506-1539) at Weston in Northamptonshire.
    1534 – An imprisoned John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, wrote to Thomas Cromwell beseeching him to provide him with a shirt and sheet, neither of which he had, some food, some books “to stir his devotion more effectually” and a priest to hear his confession. He also asked Cromwell to intercede with the King and to “move” him to release Fisher from “this cold and painful imprisonment”. Fisher had been imprisoned for denying the King's supremacy.
    1541 - Several members of the Howard and Tilney family, plus their staff, were indicted for misprision of treason for covering up the “unlawful, carnal, voluptuous, and licentious life” of Queen Catherine Howard while she lived with the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk at Lambeth.
    1545 – Birth of George Bannatyne, compiler of the “Bannatyne Manuscript”, at Edinburgh. The “Bannatyne Manuscript” is an anthology of Scots literature and included poems by Bannatyne, Alexander Montgomerie, Alexander Scott, David Lyndsay, William Dunbar, Robert Henryson and King James I.
    1557 – Burnings of John Rough and Margaret Mearing, Protestant martyrs, at Smithfield for heresy.
    1558 (22nd or 28th) – Death of John Christopherson, Bishop of Chichester. He was buried at Christchurch, Newgate Street. He had been put under house arrest following his definition of Protestantism as “a new invention of new men and heresies” on 27th November 1558, preached in response to a sermon at Paul's Cross.

    23 December

    Henri de Lorraine

    Henri de Lorraine

    1513 – Birth of Sir Thomas Smith, scholar, humanist, colonialist diplomat (in Ireland) and political theorist, at Saffron Walden, Essex. He was the second son of sheep farmer, John Smith, and studied at Cambridge University and also in France and Italy. He served Edward VI as a Secretary of State, and was one of Elizabeth I's most trusted counsellors. He served her as a diplomat, Secretary of State and Chancellor of the Order of the Garter. Smith was the author of “De Republica Anglorum; the Manner of Government or Policie of the Realme of England” and “The Discourse of the Commonweal”.
    1556 – Burial of Nicholas Udall (Yevedale), schoolmaster, cleric, humanist and playwright, at St Margaret's, Westminster. His play “Ralph Roister Doister”, which combined Latin comedy and English tradition, is regarded as the first English language comedy. He played a part in Anne Boleyn's coronation in 1533, composing verses for the pageant, and in 1534 he published his Latin text book, “Floures for Latine Spekynge”. In 1541, Udall was imprisoned for a few months at Marshalsea after committing buggery with his pupil Thomas Cheney, but he was back in favour enough the next year to be leading a group of scholars in translating “The Paraphrase of Erasmus upon the New Testament” for Queen Catherine Parr.
    Udall's other works included translations of Erasmus's “Apophthegms”, Pietro Martire's “Discourse on the Eucharist” and Thomas Gemini's “Anatomia”, and the play “Respublica”.
    1558 – Queen Elizabeth I moved from Somerset House to Whitehall Palace, which became her principal residence.
    1558 – Death of Sir John Baker, administrator, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Under-Treasurer of England, in London. He was buried in Cranbrook Church in Kent.
    1559 – Death of Henry Morgan, Bishop of St David's, at Wolvercote in Oxfordshire. He had been deprived of his bishopric after Elizabeth I's accession because of his refusal to accept the religious changes of her reign. He was buried at Wolvercote.
    1568 – Roger Ascham, scholar and royal tutor, was taken ill, probably with malaria. He died on 30th December.
    1588 – The assassination of Henri de Lorraine, 3rd Duke of Guise and founder of the Catholic League, at the Château de Blois. He was killed by King Henry III's bodyguards, “the Forty-five”, in front of the King. His brother, Louis II, Cardinal of Guise, was assassinated the following day. The League had been controlling France, and the King was forced to act against it.
    1599 – Burial of Thomas Byng, civil lawyer, Regius Professor of the Civil Law at Cambridge and Master of Clare College, Cambridge. He was buried in Hackney Church, Middlesex.
    1607 – Death of Sir John Fortescue, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in Elizabeth I's reign.

    24 December

    1545 - King Henry VIII made his final speech to Parliament. Historian Robert Hutchinson describes it as “both measured and compelling”, and writes of how Henry wanted “to impart a stern message” to all of his subjects.
    1604 – Death of Sir Thomas Cornwallis, Comptroller of the household of Mary I and member of Parliament, at the age of eighty-six. He was buried at Brome in Suffolk. Cornwallis was active in putting down Kett's Rebellion in 1549 and in 1553, after originally proclaiming Lady Jane Grey as Queen in Ipswich, he swapped sides and swore allegiance to Mary I.

  • This week in history 11 – 17 December

    11th December:

    1577 – Burial of Benjamin Gonson, Treasurer of the Navy and son of William Gonson, Vice-Admiral of Norfolk and Suffolk from 1536 until 1543. Gonson was buried at St Dunstan’s Church.
    1589 – Death of Patrick Lindsay, 6th Lord Lindsay of the Byres, at Struthers Castle in Fife, Scotland. Lindsay was a supporter of the Protestant Reformation, and one of the lords of the congregation. He was one of Mary, Queen of Scots’ guardians when she was imprisoned at Lochleven and was a Privy Councillor after she was deposed as queen.
    1607 – Death of Roger Manners, member of Parliament and Constable of Nottingham Castle. He was buried at Uffington Church in Rutland.
    1608 – Burial of Douglas Sheffield (née Howard), Lady Sheffield, at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster. Douglas was the eldest daughter of William Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Effingham, and the wife of John Sheffield, 2nd Baron Sheffield. Before her marriage, she served as a Maid of Honour to Elizabeth I. After her husband’s death, she had an affair with Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, which resulted in the birth of a son, Sir Robert Dudley, the explorer and cartographer, born in 1574. Douglas claimed that she and Dudley had married in secret when she was pregnant in late 1573, but she could not provide any evidence to support this when her son sought to claim his father’s and uncle’s titles after Elizabeth I’s death. Douglas went on to marry Sir Edward Stafford in 1579.

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  • This week in history 4 – 10 December

    4th December:

    1506 – Birth of Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy of Chiche, courtier and administrator. He was the son of Roger Darcy, Esquire of the Body to Henry VII, and his wife, Elizabeth (née Wentworth). Darcy served as a Privy Councillor in Edward VI’s reign, and also Captain of the Yeoman of the Guard and Lord Chamberlain of the Household. He was arrested for supporting the Duke of Northumberland’s bid to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne, but was pardoned in November 1553.
    1514 – Death of Richard Hunne, merchant tailor and leading member of the Lollard community in London. He had been arrested for heresy, and imprisoned in “Lollards’ Tower” in St Paul’s Cathedral on 14th October after the discovery of a Wycliffite Bible at his home, and his body was discovered hanging in his cell from a silk girdle. It was claimed that he had committed suicide, but a coroner’s jury ruled that the hanging had been faked, and that he had been murdered.
    1531 – Execution of Rhys ap Gruffudd for treason. He was beheaded after being accused of plotting against the King, although his biographer, R.A. Griffiths, points out that his trial was a “show trial” consisting of contrived testimonies and coached witnesses.
    1555 – Papal sentence was passed on Thomas Cranmer in Rome, depriving him of his archbishopric “and of all ecclesiastical dignities”. Permission was also given for the secular authorities to decide on his fate.
    1557 – Death of Robert King, Abbot of Thame and Bishop of Oxford. He was buried in Oxford Cathedral. King was one of the judges who sat in judgement at the trial of Thomas Cranmer in 1555.
    1585 – Death of John Willock, physician and Scottish reformer, at Loughborough in Leicestershire. He was buried at his church, All Saints, in Loughborough. Willock became the Chaplain of Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset, and father of Lady Jane Grey, in the 1540s.
    1595 – Death of William Whitaker, theologian and Master of St. John’s College, Cambridge, at the master’s lodge after going to bed with a hot “ague”. He was buried at St John’s. His works included Liber precum publicarum (1569), Ad rationes decem Edmundi Campiani jesuitæ responsio (1581), responses to Nicholas Sander and Edmund Campion, Disputatio ad sacra scriptura and Adversus Thomae Stapletoni (1594).
    1609 – Death of Alexander Hume, Scottish poet and writer. He is known for his 1599 “Hymnes, or Sacred Songs”, which includes his great poem “Of the Day Estivall” which describes a summer’s day, from dawn until dusk.

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  • This week in history 27 November – 3 December

    27th November:

    1531 (some say 4th December) – Burning of Richard Bayfield, Benedictine monk and reformist, at Smithfield for heresy. Sir Thomas More caught Bayfield importing Lutheran books into England, and he was tried by John Stokesley, Bishop of London, at St Paul’s on 10th November 1531, and convicted.
    1544 – Death of Sir Edward Baynton, soldier, courtier and Vice-Chamberlain to five of Henry VIII’s wives, in France. His cause of death is unknown, but he may have been wounded while serving as a soldier in France. Baynton had arranged to be buried at Bromham, but it appears that he was buried in France.
    1556 – Death of Henry Parker, 10th Baron Morley, nobleman, diplomat, translator and father of Jane Boleyn (wife of George Boleyn), at his home, Hallingbury Place, Great Hallingbury, Essex. He was in his late seventies at the time of his death. He was buried at St Giles’s Church, Great Hallingbury. Click here to read more about this interesting Tudor man.

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  • How did the Tudors go to the toilet?

    Thank you so much to Oscar for inspiring this week’s Claire Chats with his question “What did the Tudors use to wipe their bottoms?”. In the following video, I answer that question and also talk about Tudor toilets.

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  • The Christening of Arthur Tudor by Kristie Dean

    Thank you so much to historian and author Kristie Dean for writing this article for us.

    When I was writing my last book, I spent time researching Elizabeth of York and her role as a bridge between the York and Tudor dynasties. While Henry may have married Elizabeth in order to help secure his throne, it seems clear that he grew to love her, or at the very least, considered her a partner. This may have partly stemmed from a shared sense of responsibility for their children. When Arthur was born, Henry seized the moment to display the strength of his dynasty.

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  • This week in history 13 – 19 November

    On this day in history…

    13th November:

    1536 – Murder of Robert Pakington, mercer and member of Parliament, at Cheapside, while making his way to mass at St Thomas of Acre Chapel.
    1537 – Burial of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife, at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Henry VIII’s daughter, Mary, acted as chief mourner.
    1553 – Lady Jane Grey, her husband Guildford Dudley, his brothers Ambrose and Henry, and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer were tried for treason at a public trial at London’s Guildhall. They were all found guilty as charged, with the men being sentenced to being hanged, drawn and quartered, and Jane to be burned alive, or beheaded.
    1601 – Burial of Lady Mary Ramsey (née Dale), famous philanthropist, at Christ Church in London.
    1612 – Death of Sir George Carew, administrator, member of Parliament and diplomat, from typhus at his home in Tothill Street, Westminster, London. He was buried at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster. Carew’s served as secretary to Lord Chancellor Hatton and served Elizabeth I and James I as an ambassador.

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  • This week in history 23 – 29 October

    On this day in history…

    23rd October:

    1545 – Death of Sir Humphrey Wingfield, lawyer, Speaker of the House of Commons (1533-36) and patron of humanist education, at Ipswich.
    1556 – Death of Sir John Gresham, brother of Sir Richard Gresham and Lord Mayor of London (1547). He was buried in the church of St Michael Bassishaw.
    1570 – Burial of John Hopkins, poet, psalmodist and Church of England clergyman, at Great Waldingfield. Churchman and historian John Bale described Hopkins as “not the least significant of British poets of our time”. Hopkins’ psalms were included in the 1562 “The whole booke of Psalmes, collected into Englysh metre by T. Starnhold, J. Hopkins & others”

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  • This week in history 16 – 22 October

    On this day in history…

    16th October:

    1532 – While Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII were lodged in Calais, the Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Derby and a group of gentleman met with “the great mayster of Fraunce” Anne, duc de Montmorency, and his men at the English Pale, six miles outside of Calais. This meeting was to plan where Henry VIII would meet Francis I.
    1555 – The burnings of two of the Oxford martyrs: Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, and Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London. Click here to read more.
    1573 – Death of Thomas Davies, Bishop of St Asaph, at Abergele in Denbighshire.
    1594 – Death of Cardinal William Allen at his home in the via Monserrato, Rome, while in exile. He was buried in Rome, in the English College’s Church.

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  • Happy birthday to Edward VI!

    Happy 480th birthday to King Edward VI who was born on this day in history, 12th October 1537. To commemorate his birthday, here is a mini-biography of him plus links to further resources.

    Edward VI was born on 12 October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace. He was the son of Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, who died twelve days after giving birth to him, probably of puerperal fever. He was tutored by scholars such as John Cheke, Richard Cox, Roger Ascham and Jean Belmain, and it appears that he was an intelligent child. By the age of twelve he was undertaking work on religious issues and controversies and had written a treatise about the Pope being the Antichrist.

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  • Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder

    As today is the anniversary of the death of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, poet and diplomat, on 11th October 1542, I thought it would be good to share a mini-biography of him. This article is adapted from an article I wrote for the Anne Boleyn Files a few years ago and an extract from my book On This Day in Tudor History.

    Sir Thomas Wyatt was born in c.1503 at Allington Castle, Kent. He was the eldest son of Yorkshireman Sir Henry Wyatt and Anne Skinner, daughter of John Skinner of Reigate, a woman famed for her hospitality. Henry Wyatt was a skilled soldier and financier. During the Wars of the Roses, he had been a Lancastrian and it is possible that he was involved in the Duke of Buckingham’s rebellion against King Richard III. He was certainly imprisoned in Richard III’s reign and a family story tells of how he was saved from starvation during his imprisonment by a cat who brought him pigeons to eat. He was released on the accession of Henry VII, who rewarded him with many grants and titles. Henry Wyatt became a privy councillor under Henry VII and acted as an executor of the king’s will on his death in 1509. He went on to serve the new king, Henry VIII, and was made a Knight of the Bath at his coronation in June 1509.

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  • This week in history 9 – 15 October

    On this day in history…

    9th October:

    1514 – The eighteen-year-old Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, married the fifty-two-year-old King Louis XII of France at Abbeville.
    1529 – A writ of praemunire was filed against Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in the court of King’s Bench.
    1536 – Pilgrimage of Grace: The rebels of Horncastle, Lincoln, dispatched their petition of grievances to the King and also north into Yorkshire.
    1547 – Baptism of Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. His actual birthdate is unknown.
    1573 – Death of Sir Thomas Wroth, courtier, politician and landowner. Wroth served Edward VI as a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and was with him when he died.
    1604 – Death of Sir William Peryam, Judge, at Little Fulford, near Credington in Devon. He was laid to rest at Holy Cross Church. Peryam was on the commissions at the trials of Mary, Queen of Scots, the Earl of Arundel, the Earl of Essex and Sir John Perrot, and served as Chief Baron of the Exchequer from 1593 until his death.

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  • This week in history 2 – 8 October

    On this day in history…

    2nd October:

    1452 – Richard III, the last Plantagenet king, was born at Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire.
    1501 – Catherine of Aragon arrived in England, landing at Plymouth in Devon. She had come to England to marry Prince Arthur, the heir to the throne of England.
    1514 – Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, set off from Dover to sail to France to marry King Louis XII. She was eighteen and he was fifty-two, and not in the best of health. They married on 9th October 1514, but the marriage was short-lived as Louis died in January 1515. Mary went on to marry Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, on the 3rd March 1515.
    1518 – Treaty of London – Cardinal Wolsey’s treaty of “Universal” peace between France and England was signed.
    1521 – Pope Leo X was given Henry VIII’s Assertio septem sacramentorum or “Defence of the Seven Sacraments” in Rome. This work led to Henry VIII being proclaimed Fidei Defensor or “Defender of the Faith”.
    1528 – Publication of William Tyndale’s “The Obedience of the Christian Man and How Christian Rulers Ought to Govern”.
    1536 – Start of the Lincolnshire Rising, the beginning of the Pilgrimage of Grace. It was sparked off by a sermon at evensong on the 1st October at St James’s Church, Louth, and by a visitation from a registrar on 2nd October.

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  • This week in history 25 September – 1 October

    On this day in history…

    25th September:

    1513 – Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the Spanish explorer, reached the Pacific Ocean. He was the first European to have discovered the Pacific Ocean from the New World.
    1525 – Explorer, navigator and naval administrator Stephen Borough (Burrough) was born at Borough House, Northam Burrows, Northam in Devon, to Walter Borough and his wife Mary Dough.
    1534 – Death of Pope Clement VII in Rome from eating a death cap mushroom. He was laid to rest in Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
    1554 – Death of Richard Sampson, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and former President of the Council of the Welsh Marches, at Eccleshall in Staffordshire. He was buried in the parish church at Eccleshall. Sampson had acted as the King’s Proctor at the fall of Anne Boleyn in 1536.
    1555 – The Peace of Augsburg, or Augsburg Settlement, was signed by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and the princes of the Schmalkaldic League at Augsburg.
    1558 – Gertrude Courtenay, Marchioness of Exeter, made her will. She died soon after and was buried in Wimborne Minster, Dorset. Gertrude was the mother of Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, who was imprisoned for his part in Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554. Gertrude, herself, was imprisoned in 1538, and her husband was executed for treason.
    1584 – Death of Thomas Copley, Roman Catholic, in exile near Antwerp. He had served Elizabeth I as Commissioner of the Peace for Surrey, and she was godmother to his son, Henry, but he lost royal favour when he converted to Catholicism in 1563. He left England in 1570, being unable to accept royal supremacy and Elizabeth I’s religious measures.
    1586 – Mary, Queen of Scots was moved to Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, and Elizabeth finally backed down and agreed to the appointing of 36 commissioners to act as judges in her trial.
    1594 – Death of Gregory Fiennes, 10th Baron Dacre, at Chelsea. He was buried in Chelsea Old Church.
    1602 – Death of William Redman, Bishop of Norwich, at the Episcopal Palace. He was buried in the cathedral choir.

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  • This week in history 18 – 24 September

    A miniature of Henry Brandon, 2nd Duke of Suffolk, by Hans Holbein the Younger.

    On this day…

    18th September:

    1501 – Birth of Henry Stafford, 10th Baron Stafford, at Penshurst in Kent. He was the son of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, and his wife Eleanor (née Percy), daughter of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland. Henry married Ursula Pole, daughter of Sir Richard Pole and Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, in 1519, and the couple had around fourteen children. Stafford served Mary I as a Chamberlain of the Exchequer and Elizabeth I as a Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire.
    1535 – Birth of Henry Brandon, son of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and his wife Katherine (née Willoughby). Henry Brandon died on 14th July 1551, at the age of fifteen, from sweating sickness. His younger brother, Charles, survived him by just half an hour.
    1544 – Henry VIII rode triumphantly through the streets of Boulogne after the French surrendered, ending the Siege of Boulogne.
    1556 – Death of Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, from a fever at Padua in Italy. He was buried there in the church of Sant’Antonio. Courtenay had been sent overseas after he was implicated in Wyatt’s Rebellion as a future husband and consort of Mary I’s half-sister, Elizabeth.
    1559 – The fifteen-year-old Francis II was crowned King of France at Rheims by the Cardinal of Lorraine, following the death of his father Henry II in July 1559 after a jousting accident. Mary, Queen of Scots was Francis’ consort.

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  • Sir William Kingston

    Sir William Kingston, Constable of the Tower of London, Knight of the Garter and comptroller of the King’s household, was born around 1476. His origins are unknown but historian Stanford Lehmberg believes that he was from a Gloucestershire family who were related to the barons Berkeley of Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, and also to Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham. Kingston had a brother named George.

    In 1497, Kingston was appointed as a yeoman of the chamber to Henry VII and served in this position until 1509. In 1506, he became a Justice of the Peace for Gloucestershire. At Henry VII’s funeral in 1509, he served as a gentleman usher. In 1511 and 1512, he served in the army of Henry VIII and in September 1513 he fought at the Battle of Flodden against the Scots. He was knighted in October 1513.

    In 1514, Kingston was made a king’s sewer and a sheriff of Gloucestershire, and in 1519, Cardinal Wolsey chose him to be a knight of the body in the privy chamber following Wolsey’s purge of the privy chamber in the Eltham Ordinances. He continued to serve the king as keeper of the king’s jewels and plate and then as a carver in 1521.

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  • This week in history 11 – 17 September

    A portrait of Heinrich Bullinger by Hans Asper

    On this day in history…

    11 September:

    1540 – Death of Thomas Kytson (Kitson) the Elder, merchant, Sheriff of London and builder of Hengrave Hall in Suffolk. He died at Hengrave and was buried in the church there.
    1561 – Mary, Queen of Scots began her first royal progress, visiting Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh Castle, Linlithgow Palace, Stirling Castle, Kincardine Castle, Leslie Castle, Perth, Dundee, St Andrews, Cupar, Falkland Palace and Edinburgh, between the 11th and 29th September.
    1572 – Pope Gregory XIII ordered a joint commemoration for the defeat of the Ottoman troops by the Holy League at the Battle of Lepanto on 7th October 1571, and for the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of the Huguenots in France, in August 1572.
    1581 – Death of Barnaby Fitzpatrick, 2nd Baron of Upper Ossory, at Dublin, in the home of a surgeon, William Kelly. In his youth, Fitzpatrick had been friends with Prince Edward (future Edward VI) and had been educated with him. He went on to serve his friend, when he became king, as a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber.
    1605 – Death of Sir Thomas Tresham the Younger, Catholic recusant politician, at his home, Rushton Hall, in Northamptonshire. He was buried at St Peter’s Church, Rushton.
    1613 – Death of Sir John Brograve, lawyer. He was buried at St Mary’s Church, Braughing, Hertfordshire in the Brograve Chapel. Brograve was one of the leading lawyers in the House of Commons in Elizabeth I’s reign.
    1614 – Death of Sir Edward Phelips, Elizabeth I’s Sergeant-at-Law and Speaker of the House of Commons in James I’s reign. He died at Rolls House, London, and was buried at St Catherine’s Church, Montacute, Somerset.

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  • This week in history 4 – 10 September

    On this day in history…

    4th September:

    1504 – Birth of Antoine de Noailles, soldier and French diplomat at the English court in Mary I’s reign, at Château de la Fage.
    1539 – William, Duke of Cleves, signed the marriage treaty promising his sister, Anne of Cleves, in marriage to King Henry VIII. The Duke then sent the treaty to England, where it was ratified and concluded by early October.
    1550 – Death of Sir Thomas Paston, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber in the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI.
    1588 – Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester died at his lodge at Cornbury, near Woodstock in Oxfordshire.
    He had been ill for some time with a recurring stomach ailment, and so had decided to travel to Buxton to take the waters, but he died on the way.
    1590 – Death of Sir James Croft, Lord Deputy of Ireland, member of Parliament and conspirator. Croft was one of the leaders of Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554, but although he was sentenced to death for treason, he was eventually released and pardoned. He served Elizabeth I as Comptroller of the Household, but was imprisoned briefly in her reign for negotiating with the Duke of Parma without permission. Croft was buried at Westminster Abbey, in the Chapel of St John the Evangelist.

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  • This week in history 28 August – 3 September

    On this day in history…

    28th August:

    1550 – Death of Thomas Magnus, administrator, Archdeacon of the East Riding of Yorkshire, member of the King’s Council and diplomat, at Sessay in the North Riding of Yorkshire. He was also buried there.
    1551 – Lord Chancellor Richard Rich, Sir Anthony Wingfield and Sir William Petre went to Copthall in Essex to see Edward VI’s half-sister Mary. The purpose of their visit was to deliver the King’s order that Mary and her household should desist from celebrating the Catholic mass, and that Wingfield should replace Robert Rochester, whom Edward’s council had removed, as Mary’s comptroller. Mary refused to obey them and they were forced to leave, having failed their mission.
    1553 – Death of Sir John Harington, administrator, in Bishopsgate, London. He was buried in Exton. Harington served Henry VIII as Esquire of the Body, Treasurer of War (1542 and 1543), Vice-Treasurer of the army for the 1544 French campaign and Treasurer of the expedition to France (1546).
    1583 – Burial of William Latymer, Chaplain to Queen Anne Boleyn, Dean of Peterborough, chaplain to Elizabeth I and author of the “Cronickille of Anne Bulleyne”, a biography of Anne Boleyn. He was buried in Peterborough Cathedral.
    1588 – Execution of William Dean, Roman Catholic priest and martyr, by hanging at Mile End Green, Middlesex. He was found guilty of high treason for being a Catholic priest.
    1588 – Execution of Franciscan friar and martyr, Thomas Felton, near Brentford, Middlesex. He was hanged, drawn and quartered for his beliefs, and for proclaiming that he could not accept a woman as supreme head of the Church.
    1588 – An ill Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wrote his final letter to his queen and childhood friend, Elizabeth I.
    1609 – Death of Sir Francis Vere (de Vere), soldier. He served in the English army in the Low Countries, and also in the 1596 Cadiz expedition. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

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