June 6th, 1520: The Field of Cloth of Gold, (a.k.a. Histories most expensive dick measuring contest).

Back in 1518, when tensions between European countries were high, and each nation was acting like a chief to the next, declaring wars and generally being cunts to their neighbours, Henry VIII’s right hand man, Cardinal Wolsey, hatched a plan.

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Wolsey- more than likely hatching a cunning plan.

The idea was to invite all of Europe’s great monarchs to London for a sort of less shit, medieval G8 summit, where they would all sign ‘the Treaty of London’. The treaty was an agreement that stated that all those who signed would maintain peace in Europe, and if a country decided to break the treaty, war would be declared upon them by the others. It all sounded good in principal, but took less than a year to go tits up.

It all kicked off when Francis I of France and The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V of Spain had a spat. Spain and France were the most powerful countries in Europe at the time, so shitting themselves both sought to form an alliance with England, the third most powerful. Whilst Henry must have loved all this attention, he was in a bit of a tricky situation: He was married to a Spanish princess, and the Aunt of Charles V, Katherine of Aragon, meanwhile France lies next door and could cause a potential shit storm for Henry.

Henry decided to meet Francis to talk shit through and try to ‘strengthen relations’. I feel it is important to say at this point that Henry fucking hated Francis, Francis was arty, rich and handsome, and knocked around with the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci , whilst Henry was athletic, spoiled and egocentric. The pair had one thing in common though, they were both competitive as fuck.

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The rather dashing Francis I of France, serving the painter come to bed eyes and a little coy smile.

 

They decided to meet at Balinghem, in the then English owned area of France known as the Pale of Calais. Henry took half the bloody country with him; he had around 5000 noble men and women, 3000 horses and a shit tonne of wine. Some of the noble’s had literally had to re-mortgage to be able to attend, but they wouldn’t have missed it for the world… to be fair would you? it was essentially front row tickets to see two kings make themselves look like right royal pricks (pun intended), in a display of self-provoked public humiliation. So off they all trotted, popcorn and front row tickets at the ready, off to France.

The whole event lasted nearly seventeen days, during which time each king tried to upstage and outshine the other. These cunts were so insistent on making the other look like a chump that they both nearly bankrupted their treasuries. Henry had a mock castle made to house him, which was draped in cloth made from real gold, (hence ‘the Field of the Cloth of Gold’). He had the finest, most expensive tapestries taken across, along with the most monumental feasts. There was dancing, jousting and archery tournaments and the whole thing became geared up to discover which country held the most wealth and power. It was less of a celebration of unity and more of a cock fight, (with Henry and Francis acting like big fucking cocks alright).

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‘I’ve got a tent’… ‘well I have a church’…’well I have a castle’… ‘WELL I’VE GOT A FUCKING DRAGON!’

The whole thing ended in tears when Henry challenged Francis to a wrestling match. Henry, who was built like a brick shit house, was no stranger to wrestling and confidently thought he could take the weedy, art loving ‘Renaissance Prince’, Francis. He was wrong, and to put a long story short, Francis owned his arse. Some say that Francis tripped Henry and therefore only won by cheating, but these ‘some’ would be English, and I like to think that Henry got pwned by a nerd.

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There is definitely no tripping to be seen in this instant replay still.

Henry, being the utter spoiled sore loser that he was, skulked off, and with that the Field of the Cloth of Gold was over. The whole event, which was designed to strengthen relations between the two nations, failed miserably. On his way home with his freshly bruised ego, Henry popped in to see Charles V and forged an alliance against France. Two years later England and Spain were at war with the French King and the Treaty of London went out of the window.

I love the story of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. It sounds like it should be a majestic and bromantic tale of two men finding peace, when actually its about a massive fucking mard arse with a big wallet having a pop at another massive fucking mard arse with a big wallet. I like to imagine that after the event Henry told Katherine, ‘you know what dear, I think as a way of showing my undying, eternal love to you, we will go and help out Charlie after all…’, and that’s why he decided to become allies with Spain. I’m pretty sure it was not because he was actually seething out pure venom from his sweat glands at the thought of a two stone when wet through, French as fuck hipster, kicking his hoop all over a posh field whilst his subjects look on… and then having to pay for the privilege as well. That would be childish.

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Henry VIII and Charles V, The Holy Roman Emperor…probably planning a dish of smack down for Francis. 

 

If you enjoyed this Tudorial, you may also like the Drunk Histories version of events told by Tiff Stevenson, which can be found here. Enjoy!

2nd June, 1572: Thomas Howard Is In The Shit.

On June 2nd, 1572, the 4th Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard, was executed for treason under the order of Elizabeth I. Thomas was born into one of the noblest families in England. Thomas’ family had been powerful for some time. His Grandfather, (also called Thomas Howard since the Tudors only had about 3 names), was a powerful politician during Henry VIII’s reign. This overambitious prick was the uncle of Anne Boleyn, and one of the main reason she found herself in the mix with the fat, spousicidal twat of a king in the first place.

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Thomas Howard,4th Duke of Norfolk…

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…who, to my utter amusement, looks like my friend Oisin.

Thomas’s Dad, Henry Howard, was a bit more vanilla than his father. However, he was still executed under Henry VIII’s orders for suspected treason. Thomas Boleyn senior was also due to be beheaded, but as luck would have it Henry VIII died the day before the order was to be carried out, so he managed to dodge his sentence… and still it was only women who were accused of witchcraft!

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Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk (the Grandad)

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Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (the Dad)

Anyway, after the king’s death, his daughter, Mary Tudor, took the throne with her very catholic and very Spanish, dick of a husband, Phillip of Spain. Mary had Thomas Howard Snr. released from the Tower and reinstated as Duke of Norfolk, a title which passed to his grandson on his death in 1554. Thomas junior was now the 4th Duke of Norfolk and in royal favour, which was still the case when Elizabeth I inherited the throne upon Mary’s death.

Elizabeth thought very highly of Thomas, she referred to him as ‘her cousin’, (Anne Boleyn and Henry Howard were first cousins, and Elizabeth liked to think that she and Thomas were also very close). Thomas might have been close to the queen, but he was still no comparison to Elizabeth’s favorite, Robert Dudley. It was said that Thomas Howard was jealous of Dudley because Dudley could influence the queen’s decisions, whereas he could not, despite being the richest bloke in the country. That aside, she still relied on him to do her bidding, and sort out the unholy shit storm that her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, had caused when she came to England to seek refuge.

The catholic Queen Mary had basically run away from all kinds of mess that she had been tied up in back in Scotland. She was hoping that her cousin would help her, but Elizabeth, quite rightly, saw her as a threat to her throne. Mart was catholic, the country had just reformed, Mary had a family link to the English throne, ergo she was a massive threat, and she now being in England brought about the threat of rebellion against Liz. So off went Thomas Howard to sort it out.

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Mary Queen of Scots – doing the ‘shady moon’ face.

Howard was all for laying some smackdown on Mary, until he met her Secretary of State, a slimy dude called Maitland. Maitland not only convinced Howard that Mary was innocent of any ill intent towards Elizabeth, but he also convinced Howard that it would be a good idea if he married Mary and then tried to blag Elizabeth into naming Mary as her successor to the English throne upon her death. Talk about being played like a fiddle, but Howard was stupid enough to go for it. The problem was that he didn’t have the bollockss to actually put the idea to Elizabeth, so, like a deluded fuckwit, he kept it a secret and but carried on making plans to wed the Scottish Queen regardless.

Because Howard suspected Elizabeth wouldn’t go for the idea, and because he shat himself at the prospect of being the one to put it to her, Maitland and Howard decided that Maitland would approach Elizabeth and make the suggestion. After all he had been able to chat shit to Howard and convince him of the shit idea in the first place. In the meantime, the plans for Howard and Mary to wed continued to be hatched.

When Elizabeth found out,  was had none of it. Why the fuck would she hand the throne to her knob head cousin, who had literally THE WORST track record with men in History*, and who would seek to restore England back to Catholicism with the help of that snivelling cunt, and  Elizabeth’s sworn enemy, Prince Philip of Spain? So as you can imagine, Howard’s plans started to look a tat premature, and a lot ridiculous.

For acting like a knob and going behind her back, Elizabeth had Howard was arrested and imprisoned in the tower. Elizabeth didn’t quite have the same blood thirst as her father and didn’t want the PR nightmare that sending Howard to trial would cause, so when shit settled down, he was eventually released from the tower. However, this is not where the story ends, because like an utter fucking spafftool, Howard continued to write to Mary, who wrote back chatting all kinds of love shit, and kissing him up via letters. This eventually lead to Howard getting himself involved in a fucking stupid idea with the shitehawk, Phillip of Spain and his cunt faced, London based banker pal, (yep, they were around being fuckheads in Tudor England too), Roberto Ridolfi.

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Phillip of Spain: Elizabeth’s ex bro-in-law and a right cunt.

The ‘Ridolfi Plot’, as it is now known, was basically a plan hatched by the men to free Mary, marry her to Howard, boot Elizabeth off the throne and restore England to its catholic glory with the help of Spain. Can you imagine?! What a misled knobweasle Howard had become.

The perpetrators of the plot had not counted on three things: firstly, Howard’s incompetence, Secondly, the pure badassness of Elizabeth’s spymaster, Walsingham (think Varys from Game of Thrones),  and finally, the fact that Howard’s servant sang like a bunch of shitbirds when put to the rack.

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Walsingham the spymaster, like a boss

Howard had also mistrusted one of his servants to convey messages between himself, Phillip and Ridolfi. The servant had then found a merchant to do the dirty work, taking letters and money between the parties. The merchant was found out pretty sharpish as his sacks weighed more than they were supposed to, arousing the suspicion of the port guards, so he was arrested and questioned and he too spilled the beans on Howard.

Meanwhile, back at home, Howard’s servants had been arrested and tortured, during which time they told their captures that Howard had been squirrelling away letters about the plot under one of his roof tiles at one of his many properties.

Elizabeth was beside herself when she found out. How the fuck did Thomas Howard find himself mixed up in all this bullshit? He had always maintained his loyalty to Elizabeth and, to a certain extent, she believed him. She did not want to condemn him to death, signing and retracting his death warrant several times, until eventually parliament stepped in and insisted she should stop fannying about and just get it over and done with.

Thomas Howard’s death warrant was eventually signed and he was sent to his death for being a treasonous prick, just like his father and Grandfather, on June 2nd, 1572. He is now buried in the church of St Peter and Vincula at the Tower of London, a dumping ground for headless Tudor traitors. ‘And what of Mary?’ I hear you cry. Well she continued to plot and scheme once she found out that Elizabeth would not name her as heir to the throne. In 1586, Walsingham uncovered enough evidence to have her sentenced to death, and in 1587 she met a very sticky end.

*If you need proof of Mary’s terrible choice in men, or you want to know more about her rather shitty execution, you may be interested in this plots-execu:https://thetudorials.com/2015/07/17/july-17th-1586-tions-treason-and-the-dick-end-men-in-mary-queen-of-scots-life/

 

April 21st, 1509. Executions: Start as you mean to go on.

After his father’s death on April 21st 1509, Henry VIII inherited the throne of England and Wales, but wasn’t acknowledged until 2 days later, on the 24th April 1509. His father had brought well needed peace to the country for the past 23 years, ad Henry wasn’t about to let that change. However, his father was extremely unpopular by the people of the country, in particular the rich who he had full raped of their cash. Long gone were the days where nobles were flush and wealth, Henry VII had ensured that. He had inherited a country in debt and so to counter this has decided it pointless to increase taxes on the poor, rather it better to take it from the wealthy who could afford it, and had more than likely been milking the system for years. My kind of man I have to say.

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Henry VII: Like butter wouldn’t fucking melt…

Obviously this had rendered him very unpopular with the nobles; if they were seen to be flashing the cash Henry would take it for the royal treasury, if they were seen to be struggling financially, he assumed they were hiding their cash, and tax them harder.

Henry VII would not have been so successful at pissing off the rich nobles if it hadn’t have been for his ‘Council Learned in Law’, a dodgy government body set up by two of his right-hand men, Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. Empson was born around 1450 and Dudley around 1462, both had earned the trust and respect of the king and shot to power quickly. Empson had gained popularity under Yorkist rule, but most of Henry’s council had, keep your enemies close and all that.

Henry VIII basically made the men his chief tax collectors. The two penny pinching Scrooge’s made it their business to go around and collect debt from the rich and give them to the king, (an interesting sort of love child hybrid between Robin Hood and The Sherriff of Nottingham if you will). These men were seriously good at their job. The nobles could not stand the money grabbing little shits, and Empson and Dudley gave NO FUCKS about this whatsoever.

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Empson and Dudley acting like a medieval Marley and Marley, taking orders from the King and conspiring to shaft the rich like shady fuckers.

All was going well, the rich were being royally fucked over and the treasury was growing nicely, until Henry VII died on 21st April. On 24th April, 1509 it was announced that the King was dead and the throne would pass to the new King, Henry VIII. The new young King was the polar opposite of his father. He had grown up being ‘the spare to the heir’, so to speak. Prior to his older brother, Arthur’s, death Henry had led the fun filled life expected of a young, rich, carefree prince. He was a complete attention seeking gobshite, and enjoyed nothing more than basking in the lime light and being loved arse licked adoring fans, (to be fair, not much changed after Arthur’s death, he still liked to be the centre of attention then). The problem he now faced however, was that the nobles were so glad to be rid of the Miser, Henry VII, which it was apparent that they didn’t want to risk another king bringing down financial hardship on them, and enforcing the same exploitative taxation laws on their pockets.

Henry basically shat himself: If the people didn’t trust him how could they love him and if the people didn’t love him, what would happen to his massive ego? He had to take action to distinguish himself from his father, and fast. His first order of business was to arrest Dudley and Empson and show his new subjects that the frugal reign of his father was well and truly over. The two men were arrested on Henrys first day at work and sent to the tower on trumped up charges of treason.

The actual charge brought against the men was ‘constructive treason’. Henry had decided that the men had called their pals to rally arms encase the king died, that and they had been dipping their own hands into the kings penny jar. Actually, the real reason they were arrested was to show to the public that Henry VIII was going to be a fun and generous king, who supported the plight of the rich, and would end the totally wank reign of his stingy as balls father. A popularity vote for the new party king if you like.

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A young Henry VIII, posing like a ponsy twat end.

The men were sent to the tower and left there. Dudley planned an escape, but it looked like they would be exonerated. They were not. Dudley even wrote an arse kissing book called ‘The Tree of Commonwealth’ in which he yaks on about how great the new monarch is, and how the commonwealth is a massive tree built on godliness, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, it didn’t work. Henry basically was having too much fun in his new job, and when he remembered they were there decided to set an example. On 17th August, 1510, the men were sent to Tower Hill and executed.

 

Oh, and FYI…

You may recognise the name Dudley. Edmund Dudley was the father of John Dudley, who became the 1st Duke of Northumberland under Edward VI reign. He too was executed at Tower Hill 43 years later after conspiring to usurp Henrys VIII’s daughter, Mary Tudor, and placing Jane Grey and his son Guilford on the throne. John Dudley was also the father of Robert Dudley, Elizabeth I’s ‘favourite’, (and by ‘favourite’ I mean the bloke that made her basement flood, wink, wink). It was all very complex at Tudor court, but one thing is certain, there was no room for grudges against the monarch’s.

 

21st April, 1509: The king is Dead; Long Live the King!

At 11pm on 21st April 1509, (though some historians believe it was 22nd), King Henry VII died at Richmond Palace. His death wasn’t a surprise to anybody because he’d been ill on and off for the past two years, and had locked himself away at Richmond due to the decline of his condition. Since Henry had been away from the public eye, it was able to be kept secret for the following two days until arrangements for succession had been made.

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Henry VII’s death bed. Apparently the 2 men on the right are holding piss pots to collect his urine…and I thought my job was wank.

Henry had had a turbulent life, for starters he was born to a fierce as fuck, 13 year old Lancastrian noble girl and his father had died before his birth. Then, for a long time after that, his life was blighted by The House of York who thought Henry was a threat to their throne, (and to be fair they had a point). Prior to his ascent to the throne his life went like this: He lived in exile because of the Yorkist’s, He rallied against the Yorkist’s, he scrapped with the Yorkist’s, he killed a Yorkist king and then married a Yorkist princess.

His marriage to Elizabeth of York was said to be a happy one, despite the initial circumstances that led to their union. The idea was that when Henry kicked arse at Bosworth, and killed King Richard, the young Lancastrian king would then marry the beautiful York princess in a bid to unite the houses and end the wars…and it worked. I like to think of it like a bit of a Romeo and Juliet story, (and in my head its set to a West Side Story backdrop but with mincing Tudors instead of not very threatening New Yorkers).

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Henry VII, the Miser King and his Smokin’ hot wife, Elizabeth of York. Punched above his weight, that one.


His life settled somewhat after he had secured the throne… well I say that but  there were a couple of hiccups, and a couple of kids claiming to be Elizabeth’s long lost brothers / royal heirs to the throne which must have been awkward, but nothing he didn’t handle. He ruled successfully for 23 years, but wasn’t particularly popular with his subjects who saw him as a tight arse and a miser, but to his credit he took the country out of bankruptcy and got shit done so it goes to show you can’t have it all.

His death was announced to the Kings Garter at their annual feast of St. George on 23rd April, then publically on the 24th. The throne was left to his 17 year old son, Henry, who, despite being the polar opposite to his father and a big fat misogynistic tool, also did a pretty good job of keeping the country ticking over*.

Henry is buried next to his wife in Westminster Abbey, in a chapel of his own making. He placed the Tudor’s on the throne and started a dynasty that lasted for 118 years…Good work I’d say.

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Elizabeth of York and Henry Tudor’s tomb: they even look good in all gold.

*I had a hard time writing that sentence. I initially wanted to remain unbiased, but that was never going to happen. Then I was going to put ‘also did a pretty good job of upholding the peace’, but then I though about the break from Rome, the reformation and the total annihilation of the monasteries, let alone scrapping in Scotland and France. So I settled with ‘ticking over’…I basically just see all of them as keeping it warm until Elizabeth came to sort shit out.

 

 

Hardwick Hall; More Glass Than Wall

Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire is one of my most favorite places on Earth. Growing up around the corner from it, with a mother whose knowledge on all things history makes David Starkey look like a fucking amateur, and a National Trust card that has had more use than a mattress in a knocking shop, meant that there were days in my childhood that I spent more time there than at home. It feels only fitting then, that it is the first place I write about for The Tudorials.

When people talk about Hardwick they tend to mean the new Hall, but there are actually two at the site, (rather annoyingly the old hall is owned by English Heritage and the new one by The National Trust so if you want the full Hardwick experience it costs a fucking fortune). The old hall was purchased by Elizabeth Talbot (or Bess of Hardwick as she is better known), in 1587 and renovations started immediately.

Bess was married George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, at this point. It was her fourth marriage and she had begun to fucking hate him. The pair had been charged with keeping an eye Mary Queen of Scots by Elizabeth 1, it was supposed to be a temporary thing but Elizabeth managed to roll it out for sixteen years, much to Bess’s dismay. This put strain on the couple, and on their bank account, (though to be fair they were ridiculously wealthy). Bess bought Hardwick and decided to move in, estranging herself from her husband who was living down the road at Chatsworth House.

When Talbot died in 1590, Bess became the richest woman in the county next to the Queen. She had been married four times, each time marrying a man richer than the last. I have to be honest, as far as Tudor women go, Bess was a true Beyoncé style independent woman.  A woman of Bess’s social standing needed better digs, so before the old hall was complete, she decided that she would build a new hall that faced the original. The new hall would reflect her wealth and compliment the old hall; so in order to get her shit on lock-down, she enlisted the help of the notorious architect Robert Smythson. Since there was a tax on glass what better way to flash her cash that to make the new hall have the biggest windows about, hence ‘Hardwick Hall; more glass than wall’.

Bess had another agenda with the new hall. She had hoped that if she provided her granddaughter, Arbella Stuart, with a palace fit for a queen, then Elizabeth would name her as a successor upon her death. Bess had decided that because her pal, Elizabeth I, had no heir, if she placed Arbella as a front runner and lavished her in riches then she would be named as next in line to the Queen. Arbella had royal blood in her, but not enough to place her that high on Elizabeth’s list of potential rulers, so the claim was dismissed.

The hall was finished in 1597, and passed to her son William Cavendish, in 1608. The new hall is now owned by the National Trust, and stands facing the ruins of the old hall. The property is definitely worth a visit, though I am biased, and I would recommend that you walk from the hall down the lane to the pub at the bottom. Anyway, here are my favorite Hardwick facts:

 

  • The house has three floors, each floor has a ceiling higher than the one below. Why? Because why not?
  • Bess also owned Bolsover Castle and Chatsworth House, but Hardwick was her favourite.
  • Hardwick was used to film some of the scenes used as Malfoy Mansion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallowes.
  • There is a bedroom at Hardwick called ‘the Mary Queen of Scots room’ even though she died three years before building work started there, and pissed Bess off no end.
  • The aptly named ‘long gallery’ in the new hall is home to some frigging amazing Tudor portraits, including a painting of Elizabeth I wearing a dress lavished in sea creatures and flowers which was used to illustrate her power at land and sea, as well as her ‘natural beauty. It is believed that Bess came up with this idea herself… I can’t think why.

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    Elizabeth I in her fucking ridiculous dress. This shit was meant to be complementary, no wonder she didn’t let Arbella inherit the throne when her Nan imagines her dressed like a fucking fish pond.

  • Although the old hall is in ruins, you can still see some of the original features, including some absolutely gorgeous plaster work which would’ve been above the fireplaces in what you can only imagine would’ve been a spectacular room.

    Temporarily used for contact details: The Engine House, Fire Fly Avenue, Swindon, SN2 2EH, United Kingdom, Tel: 01793 414600, Email: archive@english-heritage.org.uk, Website: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk

    The plaster work in the old hall. image stolen from English Heritage yet again, (they take good photo’s, what can I say).

 

 

Address: Hardwick Hall, Doe Lea, Chesterfield S44 5QJ

For visiting information:

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardwick-hall

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/hardwick-old-hall/

 

 

February 3rd, 1537: Silken Thomas, Henry’s Irish Problem and the Ironic Death of the Earl of Kildare.

On the 3rd February, 1537 a rather overambitious lad by the nick name ‘Silken Tomas’ was put to death at the hands of His Majesty, Henry VIII. Now you may be thinking ‘Silken Thomas?? What kind of a stupid name is that?! He sounds like a right twat!’, and you would be correct.

Before I tell you about Silken Thomas, let’s look at his family and how he came to be so important. His Dad, Gerald FitzGerald -I shit you not – had been in and out of favor at the court of Henry VII for years. He later married Henry VII’s cousin, Elizabeth Zouch , and the pair had a son called Thomas. Henry made FitzGerald the 9th Earl of Kildare, and sent him to govern his home country of Ireland. It went tits up a few times, but in 1534 he was summoned to England by order of the King, now Henry VIII, to account for several offences; some of which were pissing off Wolsey’s Friend, The Archbishop of Dublin, who just so happened to be English, and plotting with local Irish ‘chiefs’ against the King, among other things.

FitzGerald though ‘fuck it’ and sent his wife to account for his crimes, to be fair his speech had started to go and he had sustained significant injuries from a recent skirmish . Whilst his wife was away, FitzGerald seized the opportunity to stockpile ammunition, gunpowder and weaponry from Dublin Castle and ‘secure it’ in his own personal care.

Henry wasn’t buying any of this horseshit and  summoned the Earl to London as a matter of urgency. FitzGerald now had to go or suffer the consequences. He decided that in his absence, he would leave his now 21 year old son, Thomas, in charge and named him as the Deputy Governor of Ireland, to serve in his absence. FitzGerald was taken to the Tower in June 1534. This is when it all kicked off for Silken Thomas.

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Thomas FitzGerald, a.k.a. Silken Thomas. He is supposed to be 24 in this picture…not 54 as the image would suggest.

It wasn’t long after FitzGerald had arrived in the capital that Thomas heard the vicious rumour that his Dad had been sent to the Tower, awaiting execution.Thomas had been having his ego massaged by his fathers peers, who were actually doing nothing more than manipulating the young deputy into starting a rebellion against the English. England had undergone a reformation and the King was finding it difficult to persuade his Irish subjects to ditch the Catholic faith. With Thomas being so ambitious and eager to stamp his own mark on the country, the Irish peers grabbed the opportunity to rebel with both hands.

Thomas marched to St. Mary’s Abbey in Dublin with a small army of men, known as the Gallowglasses. These men were utter bad-asses; Gaelic-Norse mercenaries who literally gave no fucks, none whatsoever. Seriously, you would not mess with these guys. They were from Scottish and  Irish clans, and of Viking descent, but that didn’t stop them embracing their inner haberdashers and donning a silk fringe on their helmet…hence the nickname ‘Silken Thomas’. Nobody was about to take the piss though, these guys would fuck you up.

Anyway, Thomas and the Gallowglasses marched into the Abbey, where Thomas went mental. He threw down his Sword of State in front of the Kings council and openly declared rebellion. He was hoping that he could use the reformations as a way of buying the support of the Irish people, rid the country of British rule, and take charge himself under the pretense that he was ‘freeing Ireland’ or some shit…and definitely not because he was a power hungry, overambitious gobshite. He exiled the English, or executed them if they refused to leave, and seized lands and goods.

The Archbishop of Dublin, who was a sworn enemy to the family, shat himself and ran off. He managed to get his hands on a small boat but didn’t get very far before it ran around in Dublin Bay. Now I’m  no mariner, but I do know that to flee Dublin or England, and end up in Dublin Bay is pretty shit. What a chump, you could swim it and hardly get wet. As predicted, he was caught and taken to Silken Thomas, who had him ‘brained and hacked into gobbets’. Nice.

Back in England, Henry VIII was going BATSHIT. He sent for Thomas, who obviously refused to leave, and so ordered the Mayor of Dublin to arrest him. Thomas was holding the city captive: he cut off the citizens water supply and held the children hostage. The Constable of Dublin Castle was appalled about all of this shit and ordered supplies to be delivered to the castle to see the people through the rebellion. After hearing this, Thomas got his knackers in a twist and instigated a siege on the castle.

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The Siege on Dublin Castle

After a bit of of a scrap, it became evident that Thomas had dropped a bollock. Henry had appointed a new Lord Deputy of Ireland to replace the traitor, and had appointed a bloke called Leonard Grey as head of the army, with clear instructions to get the mess sorted out. The rebellion lasted nearly four months, in which time vast parts of the city had been left with large numbers of fatalities, both caused by the fight, and the plague, which was rife at that time.

Silken’s men had had enough and most of them deserted him, bargaining deals for their lives with the English. Silken had no choice, he wrote a letter of submission to Lord Grey, who promised him his life if he would return to England with him to answer to the King. In 1535, he arrived in England and was thrown into the Tower, there he sat for eight months, neglected, starved and abandoned. He was eventually executed, along with his six Uncles who had egged him on,  by ‘hanging and beheading’ on February 3rd 1537.

The rebellion was over but it was a slap in the face for Henry, who quickly came to realise the Irish were not going to play by his rules. The whole ‘Silken Thomas’ affair had cost him £25,000, and Henry had decided that from then on,only Englishmen could be trusted to govern Ireland. Royal’s were no longer allowed to marry an Irish match; he did not want to run the risk of anybody with high status leading a rebellion again, and appointed Leonard Grey as the new Lord-Justice of Ireland, (who was also later executed for treason)

The funny thing was that Gerald FitzGerald was never executed in the Tower. It is said that he died of a broken heart upon hearing the news of his sons rebellion. You have to laugh.

 

 

 

January 31st, 1547: One Out, One In.

It was January 31st, 1547 and the King, Henry VIII, had been dead for 3 days. It was now time to tell the world, and announce the new Sovereign; King Edward VI…What a shit storm this caused.

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Henry VIII and his gobshite little son, Edward VI.

Shortly before he died,even when it was obvious he was about to croak it, nobody had dared tell Henry VIII that he was on his way out. To do so would be treason, and nobody really fancied being remembered as the idiot who sent himself to the gallows. Instead, the privy council secretly making preparations – and by this I mean making power grabs for anything and everything they could get their vulture-like talons into, like a shower of cunts.

Henry’s only son and heir was about to inherit the throne, but he was only 9 and therefore vulnerable to manipulation by the Kings ‘finest’ men. Henry was on it though; prevent his one and only son becoming a puppet to the greedy bastards at court, he set up a privy council of 16 of his most trusted pals to act as governors to the young King until he came of age – which was a long way off, lets be honest.

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Henry’s deathbed: The young prince is sat next to the dying king whilst a member of the Klan looks on, (not really, its Thomas Cranmer)

It didn’t really work though; the men all had different religious and political views, and all were desperate for power. One of the main problems was that Henry’s will seemed to have been poorly thought out, and titles and lands had been handed out to peers like biscuits at your Nan’s house. This had whipped up the already over-ambitious council members into a state, and it was now apparent they needed some sort of leader. Henry had not foreseen this, and had neglected to name someone to lead of the pack of pricks he had chosen, and so something had to be done.

The council reluctantly agreed that they were incapable of aiding a small child without tearing each others faces off, and decided to appoint a leader. On 4th February the council had a vote and decided the job would be best suited to the new Kings Uncle, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset. I say  “had a vote”  but what more likely happened is that Somerset bought the men’s votes, and brokered deals to buy  power; he had after all just inherited a fuck-tonne of land from Henry’s will so had the cash to gamble with…the sneaky shit.

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Edward Seymour, the 1st Duke of Somerset: Protestant, protector, proper prick shaft.

To Somerset, becoming the Lord Protector of the Realm was the ultimate prize.It meant that he could effectively rule England for the next eight or so years, puppeteering the new King until he came of age. On paper, Somerset probably was the best placed to do the job; After all he was the King’s Uncle, a war hero, extremely wealthy AND  a staunch protestant, just like the young King himself. Obviously he accepted the position graciously.

 

There is much I could write about Somerset, and indeed his brother Tomas, who was also somewhat of a cunt, but this thread is about Henry’s succession, so you will have to take my word when I tell you that he was a massive dick-end. Needless to say met a sticky end. In 1549 he tried to abduct the King, in a fashion, and was removed from power. He was later executed in 1552 for being a massive twat (it did not say this on the execution papers – it said ‘Treason’ – but everyone knew the real reason).

What of the new king? If tales are to be believed, King Edward was a nasty little shit. Wrapped up in cotton wool and spoiled rotten,  he grew to emulate his fathers tyranny. Some even think that had he had survived his adolescence he would’ve been worse – can you fucking imagine that shit?. He apparently once ripped the head off his pet falcon because he had been scolded in the school room. He did keep the protestant faith, but was a sickly little weasel and died young, at only fifteen years old; just over a year after his Uncle’s execution, and the only time TB has ever been welcomed.

Knowing he was dying, and not wanting the country to return to Catholicism (as it would if the throne passed to his eldest surviving sibling, Mary), Edward named his cousin, Jane Grey, his successor – using the excuse that  Mary  had been declared a bastard, therefore removing her and his other sister Elizabeth from the line of succession. This went tits up too, but that too is a story for another time…

If you do fancy reading about Thomas Seymour you can check this snippet out: Tom and the Spaniel. And what of the Lady Jane Grey? Well you can read a bit about that unfortunate business here: Lady Jane marries a proper dick