Haddon Hall, Henry Vernon and the Runaway Bride.

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Haddon Hall is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved Tudor houses in the country. It was originally built in the 12th century, and was occupied right up until the 1700’s. Its history is vast and overwhelming, and you could literally spend a day there, learning about the house’s occupants. During the Tudor period however, the house was owned by a favourite of Henry VII; a nobleman called Henry Vernon. The house has passed down his family line ever since.

During the War of the Roses, Henry Vernon proved himself to be a rather clever bloke. The throne changed hands more that the bed sheets in a knocking shop and so, like any wise nobleman of the time, Henry learned to keep his nose clean and just say ‘yes’ when needed. He was however a Yorkist supporter at heart, so quite how he ended a favourite of Henry Tudor is a bit of an oddity.

There are probably a few contributing factors to Vernon’s rise. Firstly, he managed to avoid most of the battle-fields during the wars of the Roses. He was also summoned by Richard III to attend Bosworth, but there is no evidence of him either being there, nor of him sending any troops. Had Richard won, Vernon would’ve royally fucked himself with this act of defiance. Luckily for Vernon, Richard got his arse handed to him, and Henry Tudor nicked his throne.

It would’ve also helped Vernon’s cause that he was married to Anne Talbot; the daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury, who was a staunch Lancastrian. He was at Bosworth, and kicked the shit out of the Yorkists on behalf of Henry VII, who would’ve rewarded him and his family after his ascension. Henry VII was also in the forgiving game after Bosworth, and those who had now ditched their Yorkist ways and pledged allegiance to him, were pardoned. Henry VII needed pals after all.

Now the country seemed settled, and the wars were apparently over, Henry Vernon apparently leapt at the chance to embrace the stability that the new crown offered, and set to making his house the Tudor jewel that it is today. Vernon was so well thought of by Henry VII, that he was made the treasurer and governor to Henry VII’s son, Prince Arthur. His son George was also appointed as Arthur’s tutor, and Arthur was apparently a frequent visitor to the house. In fact, Henry Vernon was so loved by Henry VII that he was knighted, and even invited to Arthur’s wedding to Katherine of Aragon, and allowed to locally go by the title of ‘King of the Peak’, (Peak referring to the Peak district…obvs).

The Vernon family stayed in favour with the Tudors throughout their reign, and seemed to manoeuvre their way through shit like the reformation, and Mary Tudors attempts to thwart the Protestants, relatively unscathed.

One of the most famous events that (possibly) happened at Haddon was the scandalous marriage of Henry Vernons great-granddaughter, Dorothy.  As the legend goes, in 1563, Dorothy Vernon did a legger and ran off with a bloke by the name of John Manners. It’s thought that Dorothy’s father, George, disapproved of Dorothy’s love for John, who was the son of the Earl of Rutland – the smallest county in England.

Dorothy, clearly not giving two shits what her dad thought, left Haddon amidst a great ball that kept the occupants of the house distracted long enough for her to leave the house and meet her beloved John. The couple then fucked the party right off and went and ‘eloped’, much to George’s dismay. I say ‘eloped’ in that sarcastic way because according to records, they were either married in Haddon chapel, which is about 20 meters from the banqueting hall where the great feast was happening, or the village of Bakewell, which is about 2 miles away.

All must have been forgiven, because two years later, George Vernon died; Dorothy and John inherited the house and, in similar style to her great-grandfather, went to town decorating the shit out of it, and putting both hers and John’s family sigils on just about every bit of wood and plaster in the place. Credit to them though because it looks mint.

The house has been home to the Earl of Rutland from then on, with many of its Tudor features remaining intact. Because the house is so fucking amazing, it’s used in pretty much any and every TV program and film about the Tudors, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s bloody gorgeous and if you get the chance to go, you totally should. However, in case you can’t go, here is a special Tudorials tour of the place, with facts and crappy mobile pictures, and all.

The Chapel

The chapel is the oldest part of the house, with parts of it being built during William the Conquerors reign. It’s chatted about in the doomsday book, when Bakewell village had a fucking huge population of 32 – I am informed that this was actually massive for a village of that time.

The chapel has the most impressive medieval wall drawings that I have ever seen. They’re understated, intricate and beautiful, and were painted in the 15th century. They were painted in a special kind of mould-proof powder, and later painted over during the reformation. Over the years, as the covering paint came away, the mould-proof powder protected the works, which is why we see them in all their original glory today.

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The church alter

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I have no idea whats happening here. No idea at all. I’m going to pretend its pirates, on a boat, on grass. That seems about right.

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So, this hideous painting is called the ‘trois mort’. The skeletons have rosemary in their mouths which was commonly associated with death as it stopped the smell of rotting flesh from corpses wafting around the place. Exactly what you need to be reminded of during one of your 5 daily prayer times.

The Banqueting Hall

The banqueting hall at Haddon is just full of stories. When Dorothy and John Manners inherited the hall, they built a minstrel gallery for the performers to entertain their guests, at one end of the hall. The minstrel gallery is basically a posh balcony that would’ve faced the head table, which is raised from the other tables by a daïs. The daïs was basically a small, passive aggressive step whose purpose was solely to point out the fact that those sat on it are wealthy and important, and those not sat on it were a bunch of shit-houses who should know their place.

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The banqueting Hall in all it’s glory.

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The daïs, or ‘posh twat step’ as I have just renamed it, over which hangs a tapestry from the reign of Edward IV (badman). It bears Edward’s coat of arms and was given to the Vernons by Henry VIII.

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If you ever go to Haddon, try and spot the ‘sobriety manacle’ in the banqueting hall. It was put there in medieval times to chastise anybody who had not had their daily quota of alcohol. Apparently, if you weren’t pissed up you were a heretic, and you would be cuffed whilst liquor was poured down your sleeves. There is some tenuous link to Jesus’ first miracle being turning water into wine, but I think they were just piss heads. I bet fucking nothing got done, and we could’ve had the TV centuries sooner if our medieval ancestors had sorted their shit out.

The Kitchens

The kitchens at Haddon freak me out. There is something about them – you can just imagine a maniacal Tudor cook coming running at you with a butcher’s hook and a dead swan, threatening to burn you alive if you don’t turn the spit. Ok, Ok, they’re not that scary, but still, you get the picture.

The most terrifying of the kitchen rooms is the butchery, with its blood drain and meat hooks. However, in the actual main kitchen itself sits a trough used to keep live trout for the house. This particularly freaks me out because I hate fish; they are slimy little fuckers with beady eyes, so the thought of having big fucking trout ambling about my kitchen on one side and cows being literally murdered alive on the other makes me want to shit with fear.

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The butchery, or ‘meaty murder room’ as I call it. Complete with its blood drain, original feature meat hanger and axe marked chopping block…not gross at all.

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One of the kitchen rooms. Looks quaint doesn’t it? Well now imagine it with live fucking trout in that tub on the floor! Not so quaint now is it?!

  • Fun Fact: During feasts, the whole of the kitchen and banqueting hall would have been draped in fine clothes, as this showed how rich the family was. During a feast, servants would wash the hands of the top table prior to their meal and then place their napkins over their left shoulders. They did this because the Tudors didn’t use forks, just their knives and hands, so when their hands were soaked in food grease, they  could easily just wipe them clean on their cloths without cutting into too much scoffing food time.
  • Another fun fact: women servers were not allowed in the banqueting hall at all during the feast, in typical Tudor misogynistic bullshit style.
  • A third fun fact: Tudors ate early so they didn’t have to sit in the dark. Makes sense really

The Great Chamber

This room is absolutely draped in Tudor arse-kissery. There are wall-to-wall carvings and paintings of Tudor roses and portraits. Above the fireplace is a carving of the Tudor coat of arms, with the initials ‘E.P.’ serving as a little fanboy nod to Henry VIII’s son, Prince Edward. Henry Vernon was no stupid man, he clearly realised that by praising the apple of Henrys eye, he would obviously score favour with the big man. There are also some small carvings on the wall of Henry VII and Elizabeth or York, and also, rather curiously, one of Will Somers; Henry VIII’s court fool.

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The carvings in the Great Chamber are awesome. The boar is the Vernon’s sigil and on the ceiling is painted a Tudor rose, as standard, and a small dog. The dog is the Talbot’s sigil; Henry had it painted as a little nod to his wife’s (rather influential) father.

 

The Gardens

Now, I don’t like gardens that much so I didn’t take any pictures of them. This is for a couple of reasons; the first being that they mean that I have to go out in the cold. Secondly, they are constantly being changed, and dug up and moved,  and thirdly, if I take pictures of flowers, I will be expected to name them, and I don’t have time for that shit. I can barely point out daisy’s so would stand no chance with the proper shit they have in stately homes and such.

Having said that, the gardens at Haddon are well worth a visit. They seem to have a lot of Rosemary, (which is morbid really given the trois mort in the chapel), but they are really pretty, and people seem to like to go and paint them. Since I didn’t take any picture of the gardens, I thought I would treat you to some shots of the exterior of the hall, which is fucking great as well.

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These are called the ‘Lady Manners steps’, as it is said that this is where  Dorothy made her escape when she ran off with John. I appreciate they are not that interesting, but they are well worth stopping off at  for a few minutes if you go to the Hall. Here you can laugh at the hilarity that is every Mum who comes across them, trying to resemble a ‘Tudor rose’, whilst screeching  ‘take the picture!’ at her husband, before somebody comes and stands behind her.

 

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This is the courtyard. It is the part of the house that is shot on every programme or film ever made. Please appreciate this shot, I waited forever for everyone to fuck off out of the way so that I could take it.

 

Upstairs

The parts of Haddon that are open to the public are tiny in comparison to the full size of the house. The house was only reclaimed by the Rutlands in the 1920’s, and they have been living there since then so vast parts of it are no go areas. There are only a few rooms open upstairs, and none of them are bedrooms, (though I swear I went in the bedrooms there as a kid which makes me wonder why they are now out of bounds… how much house do the Rutlands need!?).

Of the rooms that are up there, the Long Gallery is the most impressive – the other rooms are ace, but this one really is shit hot. The chances are that if you go to Haddon, and you have seen literally anything Tudor based ever, you will recognise this room. It seems to be THE ONLY place to film court scenes, but it’s not hard to see why. It’s reputedly built by Smythson, who built Hardwick Hall. I say reputedly because there is no actual evidence, but you just have to have 5 minutes nerding out about the plaster work and design of both houses to see that it clearly WAS built by him.

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The Long Gallery: Unlike the courtyard, I could not get people to move. In the slim chance you happen to be in this picture, then congratulations! You’re famous.

In Elizabethan times, it was popular to have a long gallery in your house, not only for entertaining, but also for ‘exercise’ (mincing about), when it was raining or cold outside. The Long Gallery at Haddon is chock full of peacocks and boars – in fact, who am I kidding – the whole house is. These were the family sigils of the Vernons and the Manners, and Dorothy and John had them created and stuck up to show their love and unity. It’s sweet really.

 

 

There is an absolute shit-tonne of stuff I have left out of this piece, because to be quite honest, I could write about Haddon all day. You will just have to either visit it yourself, or drop me a message, and I will geek out trying to answer any questions.

 

The house itself is just outside the village of Bakewell in Derbyshire. Bakewell itself is worth a visit because you can grab yourself a proper Bakewell tart, which is not anything like that Mr. Kipling bullshit that masquerades as one, and is made in fucking Stoke or some nonsense.

Also, if you go to Bakewell, you can pop into the church and see the rather grand grave of Dorothy and John Manners.

Haddon Hall’s admission is around £15 adult, free to under 16’s, and £3 for the car park. Please check opening hours before you go, as it operates on a seasonal calendar and may close for weddings etc. You can have a look at the website here. I should also say too, that the staff at Haddon are amazing.

Bakewell’s All saints Parish Church is open every day, 9-5 and is free to visit. You can view their web page

The Tudorials’ Whistle-stop Guide to the Tudors… (try and keep up)

So…It all starts back with a beef within a family who had been scrapping for years about who the throne really belonged to. They were all related, but they were also a collective bunch of gobshites, and the family split into two sides: Lancaster and York. Thus began a series of scraps called ‘the Wars of the Roses’.

Anyway, this civil war went on for aaaaages, and the throne swapped back and forth between the houses. Most of the men in England were killed in the fighting, and people were getting pissed off. It all only came to a head in 1485, when both sides put up their front men, neither of which really deserved to be King.

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The Battle of Bosworth

On the Lancastrian side there was Henry Tudor; (a distant relation to the current King, and who had previously been exiled in France), and on the other side, Richard III; the current reigning King, who had nicked the throne from his nephew, (noticed I didn’t say killed his nephews in the tower…that’s cos I believe that to be some straight up bullshit).

Anyway, it all kicked off at the Battle of Bosworth when Henry Tudor kicked arse, thanks to his Mum’s husband. His mum was a crazy biatch called Margaret Beaufort, who had married a bloke with an army, called Henry Stafford. This prick Stafford had already vowed an allegiance to Richard III, and promised the reigning King his army. With this in mind, Margret had tried to win him over, saying shit like, ‘if you fight for Henry and win, you will be the step-father to a King, rather than a noble married to a traitor’s mum, with a small shit army’. This gave him much to ponder on.

Stafford  was a man with an interest in his own advancement, so not knowing what to do or who to fight for,  he sat on a hill  with his army, whilst the battle took place, watching and waiting until last minute to pick a side. It was in this last minute, quite literally, that he decided to rush in, switching sides, coming through for his step-son, Henry Tudor. This was the main reason that Henry won the battle of Bosworth. Think Jon Snow – Ramsey Bolton style, GoT Battle of the Bastards,  when the Arryn army came swooping in…which is clearly where that shit was nicked from.

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Richard III: King of the Car Parks

So, Richard III was dead, and the throne swapped back to the Lancastrians. This time it was different though, because Margaret had secretly plotted with the previous Yorkist Queen, a pure badass called Elizabeth Woodville. The women had planned that if Henry won, he would marry Elizabeth’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth of York, and thus unite the houses, and bring about peace.

It’s worth pointing out three things here: 1). Elizabeth Woodville had been married to Edward IV, Richard III’s brother. When Edward died, Richard sort-of nicked the throne from Edwards’ son , so Elizabeth hated him and could not wait to fuck him over. 2) Rather grimly, Richard was in love with his niece, Elizabeth of York and they may have been having a secret romance.  3) Using fact 2 to her advantage, Elizabeth Woodville had also secretly agreed to marry the princess to Richard, should he win the battle of Bosworth. This would guarantee her families safety and Yorkist success, and since she  hated Margret Beaufort, she didn’t give too much of a shit about fucking her over… Woodville was nobodies bitch.

So it went…Henry won, married Elizabeth of York, made the Tudor rose to represent the combined houses, ending the civil unrest, and ruling for ages. Their first kid, Arthur (the heir), was married at 15 to a Spanish princess called Katherine of Aragon. When Arthur died a few months after the wedding, Katherine was kept in the country so Henry didn’t lose her dowry. When Elizabeth of York died, Henry was going to marry her himself but eventually, nine years later, married her off to his youngest son, Prince Henry (soon to become Henry VIII).

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Henry VII and his newly-won wife, Elizabeth of York

Henry and Katherine were SOOOOO IN LOVE. She was a badass too, but had about 9 miscarriages and only produced 1 living child, a girl called Mary. After twenty odd years of marriage, Henry met Anne Boleyn, and decided to cast Katherine aside to marry Anne instead; firstly because he felt he needed a male heir to guarantee Tudor succession and Katherine was now too old to bear children; and secondly because he was a cunt.

Henry appealed for divorce to the Pope, saying his marriage to Katherine was ‘unfruitful’ because he had married his brother’s wife, and God was angry at him so had refused him boys.  The pope was like ‘nice try, now fuck off’ and that was that. Since the Pope was the only man above Henry in the pecking order, Henry decided that he had to go, and that he start to make his own rules.

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I don’t think this gobshite needs any introduction, but just in case you are not familiar with him, this is Henry VIII, one of the reasons that the Irish hate us Brits.

By coincidence, Lutheranism was kicking off in Germany, so Henry used this as his excuse to break away from the Catholic Church. He started to use the new movement to get the people of England on side, stating that the Pope had too much control, and that by sacking him off, they would all prosper. And so began the Reformation.

Once Henry broke from Rome, he was free to do whatever the fuck he liked. He kicked off by dissolving the monasteries and reclaiming their lands and monies, making him self an even richer man, and now having the lands to bribe the nobles at court with. He also officially sacked off Katherine, and married Anne Boleyn, who was now preggo.

He declared his first daughter, Mary, a bastard, and said that his kids with Anne would instead be first in line in succession. However, Anne also gave Henry a daughter, a girl called Elizabeth, and after just two years of marriage, he decided to move on from Anne. He now had his eyes on  wife number 3, and in order to get her knocked up with a legitimate heir, Henry had Anne executed on trumped-up chargers of incest and treason, and their daughter Elizabeth also declared a bastard.

Like a massive prick, Henry announced his engagement to his third wife, Jane, the day after Anne’s execution. Jane went on to give Henry his son, Edward, but she died of sepsis after childbirth. Henry was gutted and went into a deep mourning, wearing black for three months, giving the illusion that he actually had feelings of some sort.

Cromwell, his best lawyer, decided that Henry needed to get his shit together, and what better way to do this than yet another wife, (though why the fuck you would think that after Henry’s less-than-glittering track record is beyond me).

Cromwell found Henry a lovely, reformed lady by the name of  Anne of Cleves. She believed in the new religion and was the daughter of the Duke of Cleves, a highly reputable man, so this looked good. Upon meeting Anne, Henry, thinking he was hysterical (and lacking the self-awareness that would’ve told him his courtiers just humored him under worry of losing their heads), had decided to dress as a tramp and jump out on Anne. Not realising the stinking old man was actually the King, Anne told him where to go. If we are absolutely honest here, she probably struggled to hold it together when he did reveal himself to her, because by this point his looks had started to go, he was on the slippery slope to becoming a lard-arse, and his ulcerated leg would have stank. Not exactly a catch.

The wedding went ahead anyway, but embarrassed by their initial meeting, Henry made out that Anne was so ugly that he couldn’t perform in the bedroom on the wedding night. He likened Anne to a ‘Flanders Mare’, and obviously took no blame for the whole sorry event. Anne, living in a foreign country and surrounded by dickheads, carried on with best behavior as Queen, more than likely shitting herself that Henry was looking to do her in at any minute. The whole experience, though not exactly ideal,  did however give Henry a taste of the game again, and it wasn’t long before he was back on the letch.

It wasn’t long before he turned his attention to what was basically a child; a young maid called Catherine Howard. Catherine was a cousin of Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, but she was also his current wife’s 17 year old lady in waiting,. Henry decided to ditch Anne of Cleves by asking her for a divorce, offering her a massive settlement as an incentive. Anne was like ‘yes bitch’, and retreated to her new massive house, with her new title of ‘the Kings Sister’, leaving Henry to crack on with  marrying his poor, abused child bride.

Henry was now 54, fat and vile, and it wasn’t long before his teen wife, Catherine, started to shag one of Henry’s best men. Catherine was a beautiful girl and had always had a fun streak. She had also had a fucking awful past that involved lots of neglect and sexual exploitation, so Catherine was no stranger to men. The bloke who Catherine risked it all for was a young man named Thomas Culpepper,  (he also happened to be a rapist, and her second cousin, but that is a different story). Eventually, Cromwell found out about his wife’s affair and told Henry, who obviously executed Catherine, Culpepper AND Cromwell, (as well as some other blokes who had been responsible for having ‘relations’ with Catherine prior to her marriage to Henry…)

Henry plodded on, getting older, fatter, stinkier and ever more cantankerous, until he married wife number 6, a rich widow called Catherine Parr. Henry knew that it was unlikely that Catherine would give him a child, but married her anyway, possibly just for company. Catherine was amazing to Henry and their marriage, albeit short, was happy. Then in 1547, Henry died, leaving England to his son, Edward.

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The annoying little cockweasel that was Edward VI. Seriously, I’m not just being harsh. This little shit ripped the head off a falcon for no good reason, (though I don’t know what would constitute as a good reason of any kind to decapitate birds).

Edward was really young, so was governed by his Uncle, also called Edward. He was an utter shit… if you think Henry was bad, Edward was way fucking worse – but, fortunately, he died when he was 15. Edward, knowing he would likely die young because he was so completely sickly and pathetic, decided to make a will. He wanted his badass protestant sister, Elizabeth, to inherit the throne because she believed in the same shit as him. The problem was that  Henry had declared her a bastard, and Edward knew that to undo that would mean his big sister, Mary, be ‘undeclared’ too. This would then put Mary ahead of Elizabeth in the line of succession, and Mary was a mental Catholic who would flip the country back to it’s old ways… the last thing that Edward wanted. To get around it he appointed his cousin, Jane Grey, also a protestant and close to Edward, as heir.

Jane’s mum, who was Henry VIII’s niece, was ahead of her in line to the throne, but stood down to make way for her daughter. This was the plan that had been made, but Jane’s family saw the situation for what it was: an opportunity to use Jane as a puppet to further their own gains. Jane’s parents married her off to a proper little womanising cunt called Guildford Dudley.

They did this because Guildford’s  dad, The Duke of Northumberland, had approached them with a plan. The Duke had been appointed as the Protector of the Realm after Edward’s Uncle had been sacked but, knowing that upon Edwards death his services would be no longer needed, he was desperate to keep his power. By marrying his son to the future Queen, the parents could manipulate the couple, and rule to country by proxy.

Jane didn’t want to be queen, and HATED Guildford with a passion. There was no fucking was she would be their puppet. In terms of being Queen she was in luck as her rule only lasted 9 days. This was because Mary came in like a badass, with her gang of supporters, correctly stating that she was the rightful heir. Jane was all like ‘yeah take the throne, I’m married to a dick, and never asked for it anyway’. At first, Mary was sympathetic to Jane. she had Guildford and his twatsack of a father executed, but had no choice other than to send her to the tower in order to send a message to her subjects, and quash any potential uprisings.

Mary told Jane that if she would convert to Catholicism she would escape the axe. Jane was an intelligent, and devout protestant, and there was no way she would do this. She would literally rather have died for her faith than convert. Mary begged and was desperate to spare her, but after an unsuccessful rebellion by some protestant subject, it became clear that whilst Jane was alive, the reformists had hope. Also, Mary’s soon-to-be husband, Phillip of Spain, kicked off good and proper, more than likely giving Mary the ultimatum of ‘Jane or me’, so Mary had Jane executed.

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The Execution of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche (1833). The saddest picture in existence, (if you ask me). There are no jokes for this shit…its stone cold, outright heartbreaking.

So came the rule of Bloody Mary. Mary married Phillip, and the pair tried very hard to convert the country back to Catholicism. The problem was that her subjects liked the new religion and the freedom that it brought, times were changing and they didn’t want to go back. Mary’s response? Burn the protestants. She was not the most popular Tudor monarch.

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Mary I and Phillip of Spain – I like to think he really did have a massive head and chicken legs.

Mary’s reign wasn’t particularly successful. Her husband was a controlling dickhead, who fucked off and left her alone for long periods of time. She also had a phantom pregnancy that seemed to last forever, and made her a bit of a laughing stock. After 5 years of rule she died in 1558, possibly of ovarian cancer. Which brings us nicely to Gloriana: the reign of Elizabeth I.

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The Virgin Queen, (with a fancy bow over her faff to prove it).

The interesting thing to note here is that, had her father not been so hell-bent on having a boy, Elizabeth may never have been the successful monarch that she was. She came to the throne aged 25 and reigned for 45 years, getting shitloads done in the process. She was a total diva who made her ladies-in-waiting wear black and white so as not to outshine her. She kept the country in it’s protestant faith, held lotteries, won wars and crushed rebellions. She was freaking hardcore.

Upon her death in 1603, she named her cousin’s son, James VI of Scotland, as her heir, thus uniting England and Scotland. It’s interesting that the Tudor era started with two plotting, badass women, and ended with one pure and total legend of a queen. No wonder Henry felt threatened by the lack of males.

…and the rest,as they say, is (Jacobean) history.

May 5th, 1547: Wife Number Six Marries Husband Number 4.

In Tudor times, being the daughter of a nobleman would guarantee you one thing, and that was being married off to a rich, older gobshite, who would want to do nothing but squirt kids into you from day one… A thrilling notion I’m sure you will agree, and for a young Catherine Parr, things were no different.

Catherine’s first marriage was to Lord Edward Burgh. Although not that old, (which I imagine Catherine was grateful for), he was sickly and only four years after their marriage, he went and died.

For her second husband,

Catherine wasn’t so lucky in the age department. John Neville, AKA Lord Latimer, was 42 and so more than twice 19 year old Catherine’s age, and she was stuck with him for nine years. On the plus side though, when he died he left Catherine wealthy – and I mean WEALTHY. Like shitting out gold bars wealthy.

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Lord Latimer- As old as balls

 

Catherine was now one of the most eligible women in England, and it didn’t take long before she caught the eye of a young scal named Thomas Seymour (though in actual fact it’s quite possible that they had their eyes on each other prior to Catherine being made a jolly widow).

Tom Seymour was the brother of Henry VIII’s favourite queen, his family were in favour, and all the girls were wet for him – but he only had eyes for Katherine, and unsurprisingly she fancied him right back. The pair started courting, but never really got out of the honeymoon period before Catherine caught the eye of the biggest (well, fattest) shark in the pond, Henry VIII.

Henry had just removed the head of wife number 5 and was on the prowl, when he met Catherine. She was rich, favoured the reformation and not a child like Katherine Howard, his bride before – so that was it,  and anything between Catherine and Tom was put on hold because yet again, the King needed a wife.

Henry’s marriage to Catherine was possibly his most stable. The pair seemed to enjoy each other’s company, and Catherine was popular as Queen, both with Henry’s children and his subjects. All seemed good.

Catherine, pretending that Henry doesn’t make her want to chunder.

Henry died in January of 1547, leaving Catherine with the title of dowager Queen and the protection of the young Princess Elizabeth in her care. Catherine and Tom were now free to start shit up again, and they didn’t fuck about. Within a few months the pair were married.

“Wait, this all seems very lovely and romantic, what’s your problem?!” I hear you say. Well, before you go thinking Tom is some sort of Tudor Patrick Swayze, who waltzes in and take Catherine out of her metaphoric corner, let me lay some truths down on you.

Firstly, Thomas Seymour was already trying to find himself a royal match, even before he got back with Catherine. His nephew, Edward VI, was after all now King, so things could work in his favour. He asked the Princess Elizabeth, but she called him out as a nonce and told him to get to fuck. He allegedly also asked her sister, Mary Tudor, she shat laughing at the suggestion and called him a ‘ridiculous cunt sack’ (ok, she probably didn’t… but she should have).

Secondly, he had been bribing the King’s guards to chat all kinds of lies to the young boy, encouraging them to push him towards Thomas, and away from Edward Seymour; Thomas’ brother, and the young King’s Lord Protector. These goons must’ve gave quite the sales pitch, because the young boy was easily manipulated by his Uncle.

Thomas Seymour sporting a massive ginger beard

When it became apparent that Thomas was getting nowhere with the royal princesses, he went straight to Catherine. Let’s not forget that Thomas was smokin’ hot, despite being a massive jizz-stain on the royal court. Catherine agreed, and snapped him up before Henry’s rotten corpse had time to cool.

The pair kept their marriage a secret for a while, creeping about like a pair of adolescent nightmares, pretending to be mourning by day, and getting their shag on by night. Catherine would ask her guards to ‘accidentally leave the gate open’ at night so Thomas could slip in, (forgive the pun).

Thomas had now gained such influence over the young King Edward that he went to talk him into marrying the dowager Queen Catherine. Surprisingly, Edward agreed, and wrote to his step mum to inform her. Catherine, made up, acted all surprised and coy, and selflessly agreed to the young King’s idea. The sly bastards.

The pair seemed to genuinely love each other, so you could almost forgive his initial ambition… However, within a year of their marriage, Thomas was full-on kiddie-fiddling the 14 year old Princess Elizabeth, whilst his pregnant wife sat and stressed about the whole thing.

Eventually in order to protect her step-daughter, and more than likely her own reputation too, Catherine sent Elizabeth from her household. The really wank thing is that Catherine and Elizabeth had been exceptionally close, and because of Thomas Seymour, this was the last they saw of each other as Catherine died in childbirth in 1548.

Thomas went off the rails like a full on mentalist, and in 1549 was executed on grounds of treason by his nephew, King Edward VI. Their daughter, Mary Seymour, was sent to live away, eventually falling into historical obscurity.

You can read more about Thomas Seymour, (and what happened to his nephew’s dog) Here

10th April, 1550: Edward Seymour Returns to Parliament, (though this is more about how he fucked it up in the first instance).

So, this whole saga starts back in 1547, with Henry VIII’s death, and the possible tampering of his will. Henry had an inkling that he was on his way out, which made him shit himself because his whole life had been about producing male heirs to succeed him to the throne, and despite shagging anything and everything that had a minge, his rancid, syphilis-filled, dick-hole had only manged to spaff out one legitimate boy, Prince Edward,  and even he was only nine at the time of the King’s death.

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Edward VI: Henry VIII’s only son, (he was a right spoilt little shit despite how he looks here).

 

 

Now, Henry was a lot of things, but stupid he was not. He knew that upon his death, the nobles would all seek to make power plays for the boy King, trying to monopolise him for their own advancement, and not actually giving a fuck about the crown or realm, so he decided to take action and get it jotted down in his Will before it was too late.

Henry decided that he would name, in his Will, 16 members of a privy council that would govern and advise his son, until he came of age to rule alone. He selected a mixture of conservative Catholics and new reformists, people he had trusted all his life, and people who would guide the new King in the ways of the new reformist faith. Each man would have equal say, and that way nobody would be in full control. That was the idea anyway, but it didn’t go anything like that.

Now here is where it gets a little weird. Edward Seymour, Henry’s old brother-in-law and Prince Edwards uncle, wasn’t named in Henry’s Will as a member of the Privy Council; he was originally appointed as an assistant to one of the councillors, but some historians believe that Henry’s Will was tampered with after it was written – it appeared that amendments had been made which  seemingly favoured the reformers, primarily the removal of  Stephen Gardiner, and the Duke of Norfolk, the two most militant Catholics at court, (though to be fair to Henry, the pair were both utter fucktwats who had not long since tried to have Catherine Parr arrested as a heretic, so it’s also quite feasible that Henry did just bin them off).

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Edward Seymour, looking rather judgey I have to say.

 

There were other slightly odd things about the Will; the main thing being that Henry never actually signed it himself. Henry was far too important to waste his time actually signing any old crap, like his own Will for instance,  so created a ‘dry stamp’ of his signature so his minions could just sign shit off. He did this with most of his documents in his last few years, and just trusted that the job would be done. The thing with his Will was that the dry stamp was dated weeks after it was made, giving any would be fraudsters a good window of opportunity for things to be added or changed, and let’s be honest if the King is on his way out, and you could stand to profit, why would you not get your heads together and change the future of history to suit you? Especially if you’re a high ranking Tudor noble and naturally predisposed to a being a selfish shitehawk.

Anyway, whether the Will was altered or not, the members of the council all benefited from Henry’s death, making successful grabs for land and wealth until it got stupidly out of control. When they realised they needed to stop fucking about, and actually do their jobs, they decided that they should override the Will and appoint somebody to lead the motley crew of jebends in assisting the boy king in ruling the country. That job then remarkably fell to Edward Seymour.

The theory is that Seymour made deals with the council members, promising wealth and powerful positions that they would not have otherwise had, in order to get their vote, and get their vote he did. The whole council present that day voted to make Edward the Lord Protector of England, ruling for the King until he reached age.

Seymour, who had by now also given himself the title of ‘Duke of Somerset’, had his work cut out for him. Henry had left the country near bankruptcy, with food shortages, increased poverty and crime, a distinct lack of jobs and a constant threat of peasant uprisings…(so not totally unlike Conservative governed England in present day). There was also a constant threat of invasion from France and Scotland, just for a change, and Edward needed to make some cash and quick.

He decided to start by using his new power to scrap the Heresy Act, and throw in some protestant favoured changes such as allowing Latin scriptures to be published in English, incorporating some protty god stuff into the prayer books.

Seymour then decided that there was no real need for chantries, as they were expensive and a bit wank and pointless. The chantries were priests hired to sing for the souls of deceased people, usually their founders. How fucking ridiculous is that?! They were given estates and gold so it made sense to Seymour to get rid, seize their gold and melt it down to make money. Also, so as to make things a bit sweeter for the church, he gave permission for priests to marry, obviously thinking that if their dicks were kept wet they might not whinge about the whole reformation stuff, and therefore keep him in business.

Ok, so far so good; these changes may have had ‘reformist’ written all over them, but surprisingly they didn’t cause too much friction which was good. Seymour hadn’t wanted to rock the boat too much between the two faiths, but had wanted to let the people know that the reformation was still in full swing and going nowhere. The only people who kicked off about it were Gardiner and another staunch influential Catholic called Bonner, but they were both told to cock off and Bonner was soon shipped to the tower.

It was a balancing act alright, but up to now Seymour had been winning. However, whist bridging the gap between the old religion and the new, (even though they were all but the exact same fucking thing), he had taken his eyes off the bigger problem – the divide between the rich and the poor.

Seymour realised that it was pointless to raises funds by raising taxes – you can’t get blood out of a stone after all – so decided the next best option would be to sell more of the church property to nobles and get everyone possible into work in a bid to boost the economy. With that in mind he created ‘The Vagrancy Act’. This was to be about the most stupid thing he did. The Vagrancy Act was yet another one of Seymour’s new proclamations which stated that any able-bodied man who had been out of work for three days or more, would be sold into slavery for 2 years, and branded with a ‘V’. Not a popular proclamation as you can imagine. It caused mayhem and the authorities and peasants began to lose faith in their new boss, which in turn made the Privy Council start to think twice about Seymour’s competency.

Seymour made 77 proclamations in his short time as Lord Protector, on average this worked out as more per year than Henry had made. Some of them were so inflammatory that he had to write new ones to compensate for his previous ones. He did rash stuff like tax people on sheep ownership, causing landowners to build fences and hedges on their common ground to keep their sheep in, in turn causing villagers to burn the fences because IT WAS FUCKING COMMON GROUND. The wedge between rich and poor was widening and widening, and the government seemed to be pissing petrol onto an already rampant fire.

Tensions were starting to bubble, and some authorities refused to enforce the act. To counter any possible uprisings from subject, Seymour then decided to ban football and mass public gatherings, (Tudor football to be fair was a mass public gathering, with whole villages playing and more people dying football-related deaths than sword related ones, so I imagine in Seymour’s defence, that there was always scope for it to all kick off… forgive the pun). Anybody found guilty of ‘unlawful assembly’ would be shipped off to the Navy to clean shit up on deck. Again, not a popular decision, and now tensions were going through the roof.

Unsurprisingly, the poor were going batshit mental about the new Lord Protectors proclamations, because let’s face it, they were a fucking car crash of ideas all shitting out of one man’s brain who wasn’t even supposed to be in charge in the first place. It really didn’t take long before rebellion broke out in Devon, Cornwall and East Anglia, and there was fuck all Seymour could do. He had spent what bit of gold he had managed to collect on defending the county from Scotland and France, well, more saving face and trying to show that now the mighty ‘Henry’ was dead, that he was no pushover.

In Norfolk, the rebellion was running a real risk of becoming something serious. A man called Robert Kett had gathered forces 16000 strong, and was about to lay some serious smack down on Seymour’s plans. Kett had a list of demands that the people wanted enforced in order to establish a fairer society, and eventually Seymour had to put his hands in his pockets, dig deep and fork out for reinforcements to go to Norfolk to quash the rebellion. This cost the treasury dearly as they had to hire German mercenaries to accompany what little of an army they had. After three days of fighting, 3000 deaths and 50 hangings, (which was actually a very low figure because Seymour didn’t want to look like a complete cuntsack), Kett was arrested and the rebellion fell apart. Seymour also had to send out gold to local councils to supress the smaller uprisings.

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The Kett rebellion – bet you didn’t expect it to look like that!

 

The Privy Council decided that enough was enough and The Lord Protector had to go, and with that a unanimous vote was cast and Seymour was out. But like a complete tit, in a last ditch attempt to protect himself, Seymour seized the King himself, and fled to the fortified Windsor Castle, asking the people of London to protect him from the mean men who were chasing him. That shit didn’t fly, and on 14th October, 1549, Edward Seymour was taken to the tower, where he confessed to all charges and was stripped by act of parliament of his position of Lord Protector, a post which then conveniently fell to a complete cockweasle called John Dudley who had coincidentally been instrumental in Seymour’s downfall.

On 10th April, 1550, Edward Seymour was allowed back to parliament, though not as Lord Protector, that was now John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland’s post, and Dudley was beginning to think that Seymour wanted his old job back – which to be fair, he did. There are two things to know about John Dudley: 1) he was a complete bastard who sought after power and influence and didn’t give a shit who he hurt to get it, and 2) he was really good at it. So the long and short of it was that an incompetent bloke like Edward Seymour stood no chance.

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John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland. What a total prick.

 

 

 

On 16th October 1551, Dudley had Seymour arrested on partly fabricated charges, claiming that Seymour had been overheard plotting to invite Dudley and his cronies to a banquet and having them killed either there or on their way there. Prior to this, Dudley had been doing some ground work too; brown nosing the 14 year old egocentric King by pretending to be full of the faith of reformation, (as Edward VI was), and treating him like an equal rather than a King in waiting. Edward VI’s was totally won over by Dudley’s manipulation of him.

Seymour was executed at the hand of his nephew, the King, on 22nd January 1552, but to what extent Edward VI was maneuvered into signing his Uncles execution warrant is unclear. The execution document had additions made to it after the time of signing, but this time by the young King’s own hand, and the only other dude who could agree the sentence was the chancellor, and one had been newly appointed by Dudley that day. Maybe Edward VI was encouraged to change the warrant, maybe not, who knows?

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Seymour’s execution – curiously he is still referred to here as Lord Protector. 

 

 

At his execution crowds rushed forward to soak up his blood in handkerchiefs and rags, believing that Seymour was innocent of any charge and a victim of foul play. He might have pissed the people off as Lord Protector, but they didn’t want to see him dead.

I’m not sure if Seymour was such a bad bloke, I think he was just more one of those men that tries to do what’s best but cannot help but fuck it up by making rash and stupid decisions, and pretending to know what he’s doing but not actually having a fucking clue. One thing we can say for sure is that he was certainly incompetent and greedy, but then most of the men of the chamber were led by their own selfish desires, so he wasn’t really any different in that respect.

The following year, the King himself was dead too, which was probably for the best because he was a psychotic gobshite too, evenmore so than his Dad. What of Lord Dudley? Well he got his just deserts, but that’s another story which you can read here.

On an interesting side note, Edward Seymour had two siblings: Jane (Henry’s fave wife), and Thomas. The fact that Jane did herself a favour and died before Henry got bored of her was the reason the two brothers were in favour with the crown. Thomas was another fucking mentalist, and Edwards’s main rival to the position of Lord Protector, which is a fucking amazing story in itself. You can get on that here.

8th March, 2018: It’s International Women’s Day so Let’s Learn About Cutpurse Moll!

 

It’s International Women’s Day, and to celebrate I planned on writing a Tudorial about  one of my fave ladies from the Tudor period, Moll Cutpurse. To be honest she was more a Jacobean badass than a Tudor one, but she was born at the end of Elizabeth’s reign, and it’s my page, so that’s that.

Left hand for smoking, right hand for killing.

 

 

Moll was not a Tudor queen or a courtier, and she wasn’t a member of the gentry or nobility. She didn’t have a fancy house or posh clothes, and didn’t hold a title. She was an ordinary paupers child, turned pickpocket, highway woman, pimp and total legend.

She was born in London around 1583 to parents who doted on her; her dad made shoes and her mum was a housewife, teaching Moll sewing and other boring woman’s work of the day. However, despite the loving family, Moll grew up mean. She became such a pain in the arse, beating up boys and gobbing off, that she was sent to live in the newly colonised Newfoundland in an attempt to straighten her out.

That shit simply didn’t fly with Moll, who escaped and just took herself off home again. It is said that she jumped off the ship and swam back to shore, but I think that’s doubtful as most people could not swim at that point. Anyhow, that was the real birth of Moll Cutpurse.

Moll’s real name was Mary Frith, but she was known as Moll Cutpurse because she spent her days hanging out around St. Paul’s, cutting the money pouches off peoples pants and liberating the contents. She also had a stint of robbing on the road, a bit of a ‘Highway Woman’, if you like. This ended when she picked the wrong punter and was caught after shooting him, (not fatally), and his horses (super fatally), after he refused to hand over his cash. Shooting him made him change his mind about objecting to Mills request of his gold, and Moll rose off with a small fortune, but was eventually apprehended and sent to Newgate which scarred her forever, both literally and metaphorically.

After Newgate, Moll re-established herself as a pimp and a dealer of stolen goods. She not only found the odd mistress here and there for dirty old men, but did a roaring trade in supplying randy old rich women with strapping young men, in order to ‘blow the cobwebs away’ shall we say?!

I love Moll Cutpurse; she gave ZERO fucks. Constantly slated for not acting like a lady, she thought ‘fuck it, if I’m not a lady I must be a man’ and so dressed as a man, smoked a pipe and reaped all the privileges that women of the time were deprived of.

She was obviously arrested for this, as it was seen as inappropriate and perverse to dress as a member of the opposite sex at the time, but that didn’t stop Moll. Of course, like anybody who does not  conform to societies norm, she was persecuted by the people.  She was called ‘ugly’ and  rumours spread that she was a hermaphrodite because no dress suited her – but let’s be sensible about this, history writes its characters as it wants them to be remembered. She dressed as a man so therefore she was ugly… It’s insane to think how little we have moved on in 500 years. I like to think that she was too hot to handle, and her beauty intimidated the men of the time by giving them ‘confusing feelings’ about their sexuality, and that’s why she was shamed.

Moll died of dropsy, which we now call Oedema, in 1659. She deserves to be the celebrated lady on my page today because although her life may not have been on the straight and narrow, she was a strong woman who faced the adversity of the time with her middle finger in the air. Nobody fucked with Moll!

Nothing says ‘badass’ quite like a smack bird and a pilfer monkey.

 

 

If you would like to read a bit more about Moll (or indeed any other amazing ladies of the East-end), you might like to visit the East-End Women’s Museum page, HERE

…or, for a more detailed account, get onto the exclassics page, found HERE!

24th January, 1536: Henry VIII Becomes More Of A Prick

1536 was a pretty busy year for Henry VIII, though its events were disasters he brought about himself because he was naturally a bit of a wanker, they all had a significant impact on Henry’s life. They changed the way he acted, the way the people saw him and the nervous constitution of both his subjects and his privy council. It was in this year that Henry lost yet another child, and had two wives die and married his third.  I personally believe that this year marked the end of the young, handsome, athletic king, and the start of the fat, cantankerous old shite-meister that everybody was so afraid of.

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Henry VIII…pre 1536

 

One of the most significant events of 1536, and indeed Henry’s life, happened on 24th January when Henry was thrown from his horse in a jousting accident that would change his life. Henry’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon, had passed away a couple of weeks previously, and despite celebrating this event with his now pregnant wife Anne, their relationship was starting to crack.

The story goes like this: Henry, clad in magnificent amour, was jousting at a tournament at Greenwich palace when his opponent delivered such a fierce blow that Henry was flung from his horse and lay unconscious for two hours. Anne Boleyn looked on in horror as she was told to brace herself for the king’s death, an event that is said to cause her to miscarry her baby.

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Henry VIII…post 1536

 

It’s not clear whether this was a true account of what happened, we only have 2 contemporary records that outline the events, and neither say who Henry’s opponent was. What is clear however, is that the accident fucked him up royally, (forgive the pun), and that Anne did indeed miscarry their son and heir.

The miscarriage itself makes an interesting story as it coincidentally happened on the day of Katherine of Aragon’s funeral…the people, and possibly Henry, must’ve seen it as a sign. Though I’m not sure that I believe that Anne being told the king might die was the trigger of the miscarriage; predicting the king’s death was considered treason, and if the king’s physiologist wouldn’t even do this as Henry drew his last breath was Anne really told to prepare herself for the news?! I think this part of the story was brought about by Anne’s supporters as reason for the miscarriage, because it was becoming increasingly obvious that Henry was getting pissed off with her, and they knew losing a baby without reason would be her undoing.

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This is Henry’s joust in 1511, with Katherine of Aragon looking on.

Back to the Joust. Henry, being the self-obsessed turd factory that he was, was so eager to take part that nobody, not his wife or the council, could talk him down. He had jousted as a boy, when he was the ‘spare’ not the ‘heir’, and loved it. It’s also possibly because nobody would dare to win him so he always came out as the victor, thus, in his mind at least, reinforcing his image of him being a powerful king. This accident must have been horrifically embarrassing for him; not only had he been publicly battered but now he would never joust again. He was 44, and it was all downhill from there on in.

 

In May of the same year, Henry had Anne put to death and went on to marry his third wife Jane. Meanwhile his leg became more and more ulcerated, causing him pain and discomfort. As time went on and the leg festered, it became puss filled and needed constant draining. It would’ve stank like shit and disabled him greatly. This would’ve lead to Henry’s weight gain, irritability and deteriorating health, and when you throw in the mix Henry’s fucking terrible life choices and the prospect of possible brain damage caused by the accident, as some historians believe, there is little wonder why he was such a cunt in his later years.

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29th October, 1618: Love, Pirates, Execution and an Embalmed Head.

Walter Raleigh; to my mind the best pirate in history. It seems there was never a dull moment in Walter’s life. He was introduced into Elizabeth I’s court as a young man, by Elizabeth’s governess, Kat Ashley, who was Walter’s Great Aunt. He had such an interesting life as a young man, dropping out of Uni, picking fights with Catholics and criticising the way that military operations were conducted in Ireland. It was the latter that got him noticed by the Queen – having a big mouth sometimes goes a long way – she fell for his charms, and knighted him in 1585.

Walter quickly became one of Elizabeth I’s absolute faves. She gave him lands and wealth, and he was a regular at court. Elizabeth had it bad for Walter, but Walter only had eyes for one; the Queens favourite lady in waiting, Elizabeth, (we will call her Bess), Frockmorton.

Bess and Walter were in love, and not love by Tudor standards which is forced and misogynistic at best, but proper love. They just couldn’t get enough of each other and it wasn’t long before Bess became pregnant. Let’s just keep in mind though that this was the Tudor era and any woman who conceived out of wedlock was considered a whore. Walter wanted to do the right thing and marry Bess, why wouldn’t he? She was smokin’ hot, having his child and he loved her immensely.

The problem was that anyone wishing to marry for love was pretty much deluded; All aristocracy and nobles were political pawns and needed the Queen’s permission to marry. There was no chance that Liz would let Raleigh marry her bestie, especially since he was HER favourite, (next to Robert Dudley, obvs). They had embarrassed her by cavorting about like a pair of teenagers behind her back, like some sort of bad Eastenders plot line, and If Liz couldn’t have Walter, then Bess certainly couldn’t.

It didn’t matter. Walter and Bess were so in love that they married in secret in 1591, regardless of the consequences that they clearly knew there would be. Their marriage became public knowledge when their baby was born in 1592, when the Queen heard the news she went fucking batshit mental, sending them both to the Tower for embarrassing her, abusing their status, and marrying without permission.

Walter, being the wheeler dealer that he was, was already minted at this point as he had set himself up as a trader, when I say ‘trader’, read ‘posh pirate’. It was because of this he was able to pay their fines and buy their way out of prison. He wasn’t invited back to Elizabeth’s court, which suited him as it allowed him to take the opportunity to get back to his adventures.

Off he trotted to the Americas where he ‘found’ Virginia, and named it after the Queen in an attempt to butter her up and win back a bit of favour, (I say ‘found’ – obviously there were already native Americans there…so not really, but he gets the credit nonetheless). When he returned from Virginia he brought back tobacco, which he introduced to the English nobles, and potatoes which he planted on his estate in Ireland.

Upon Elizabeth’s death, Raleigh served under James I, who didn’t fall for Raleighs charms. In 1603 Raleigh was accused of being involved in a plot to assassinate James I and sent to the tower for a second time, this time with a death sentence hanging over his head. However, James I wasn’t stupid, and kept Raleigh in the tower knowing that Raleighs experience in pioneering and privateering may eventually serve a purpose to the realm.

That purpose came about in 1616, when King James sent Raleigh to bring home some gold from El Dorado. The trip went tits up and Raleigh found himself in a tad of bother with the Spanish; exactly what James had told him to avoid. Furthermore, James had already sent Raleigh to bring home riches from El Dorado previously, with his pal and councillor, Cecil, fronting the bill. Raleigh had returned with sweet frig all, leading King James and Cecil to assume he had hid the riches for himself. After this they were out for blood, so when the second trip failed King James enforced the death sentence that he had initially served to Raleigh in 1603.

Raleighs execution was carried out on 29th, October 1618 when he was beheaded at Westminster Palace. On the scaffold he called out James I for making such a bullshit decision, highlighting all of his charges and debunking them all. On the run up to his execution Raleigh feigned illness and madness, and even plotted his escape, but eventually came to terms with his fate and went to his death ready and willing.

Raleigh took a tobacco pouch to the scaffold with him. On it was inscribed ‘He was my companion during that very unhappy time’. A sentiment echoed by my mother-in-law.

Upon his execution, Bess had his head embalmed and is said to have kept it in a velvet bag about her person at all times, (I seriously hope my husband never expects this of me upon his death, because he will be very disappointed). Bess allegedly carried her husbands head until her death in 1647, when it was passed down to their son, Carew, (like a grim, fucked up family heir loom), who was buried with it in Walters grave.

Bess campaigned to restore Raleigh’s reputation after his execution; being sentenced to death as a traitor meant that his sons could not inherit his lands, (which I imagine were full of potatoes by this time), and In 1628 a Bill of Restitution was passed allowing Raleigh’s assets to finally pass to their son.

I love Walter Raleigh. Not only did he have wit, charm and charisma, but he was a badass, a pioneer and a straight up, fucking Tudor pirate.