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.

Lord Latimer-As Old As Balls

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

Advertisements

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.

Edward_VI_of_England_c__1546

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).

243px-Edward_Seymour

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.

00kett

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.

John_Dudley_(Knole,_Kent)

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?

92a9c3a66e1b0c8aae10e8a180c7740a

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.

henry8unknown4

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.

8194a21d2aa3e2972048168039ffeba2

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.

5f32779c9391b59dd0a1acbc49182a1b

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.

download

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.

8th August, 1503: The Rose and the Thistle

On 8th August, 1503, Henry VII’s eldest child, Margaret Tudor, married James IV of Scotland – uniting the quarrelling nations of England and Scotland for all of about five minutes, (I say ‘five minutes’, I actually mean ‘ten years’, but still…)

KingJamesQueenMargaret-e1406215886172

The decision that the thirty year old Scottish King would marry the fourteen year old Tudor princess came about in 1495, after a bit of a shit storm, and a genius tactical play by the Scottish King.

In 1495 Henry VII had been ruling for a few years; however there were still people who thought his claim to the throne was dubious to say the least, and wanted him gone. This led to a couple of people pretending to be Richard Plantagenet, the Duke of York, one of the ‘Princes in the Tower’. If it was found that the Princes were still alive, Henry’s claim to the throne wouldn’t be worth shit, and all that he had fought for would be thrown into question, and the country plunged back into civil war. Queue Perkin Warbeck.

Perkin was a pretender to the throne of England, claiming he was Richard, Duke of York. His claim was supported by Henry’s enemies, especially those in France, Ireland and Scotland, where Henry was hated the most, so when Perkin arrived in Scotland seeking help, King James was only too happy to oblige. James saw it as an opportunity to dangle a threat of uncertainty over the English, so kept Perkin close, gave him a salary of £1200 per annum and married him to Catherine Gordon, the daughter of a noble courtier. James was nobody’s fool, he was one of the brightest Kings in history; I don’t really believe that James thought that Perkin was who he claimed to be, but he was a handy man to have around.

Now that James had a trump card in his pocket, Henry shit himself and decided it might be a good idea to form an alliance with Scotland, by betrothing his then six year old daughter to the Scottish King, and approached the King with the suggestion.  Eventually Perkin used his income to invade England… but fucked it up, like a massive tit, and was finally captured by Henry VII – but the betrothal continued none-the-less. What harm could it do to keep your enemies close? Both kings saw the potential of the marriage, and both had their eyes on the greater prize of picking up another country through any heirs produced.

download

Perkin Warbeck: Gobshite

On 24th January, 1502, both James and Henry agreed to sign a contract to confirm that they wouldn’t try and dick each other over anymore, and so the catchily-titled ‘Treaty of Perpetual Peace’ was created… ‘perpetual’ meaning ‘until you piss me off’ in this case. On the same day, after waiting ages for the Pope to decide if the couple were indeed not so incestuously-related that they would produce gompy, inbred heirs, (James and Margaret were distant cousins), the two kings also confirmed that James would marry Margaret in order to cement the friendship, (I use the term ‘friendship’ loosely here), so the plans for a wedding were drawn up.

On 25th January, 1503 Margaret was married by proxy to James IV at Richmond palace. Proxy weddings weren’t unusual at this time, but I don’t believe for one minute that people didn’t find them hysterical and ridiculous even then. Margaret’s proxy marriage basically meant that she had the usual customary wedding ceremony, but with one of James’ pal’s, a bloke called  Patrick Earl of Bothwell, standing in as the groom because James couldn’t make it, while everyone else stands like gormless idiots, pretends this is a normal thing to do, and definitely not fucked up in the slightest. In fact, proxy marriages were so stupid that when Mary Tudor, Henry VII’s other daughter, married the King of France by proxy years later, she had to ‘consummate’ her marriage by touching naked ankles with the pseudo-groom, though Margaret was spared this fucking ridiculous spectacle.

The proxy marriage was treated as a real marriage, and Margaret was known as Queen of Scotland from that day one, a fact that pissed off Margaret’s younger brother, The Prince Henry (later to be Henry VIII), as it now meant that she had greater titles and wealth than him and consequently received greater privileges at court, like being announced first at dinner, and sitting in a higher position to him. The fat little shit hated not being centre of attention, and outshined by his sister, and had to be warned to rein it in by his parents.

NPG D23868; Prince Henry aftwerwards King Henry VIII published by William Richardson

Prince Henry as a pube haired, spoiled brat of a child, with cold, dead eyes; ruining his sisters weird, groomless wedding with his sour fucking temper, like a little moonfaced shithouse.

The ceremony itself was followed by an enormous banquet and several days of celebrations, including jousting, dancing and pageantry. Margaret, although only fourteen, was the life and soul of the court. She rocked being a princess, she loved to dance and play music, and was fucking obsessed with fine clothes. Both Margaret and the Earl wore cloth of gold to the ceremony, and she was given a new wardrobe to match her new status.

Due to her young age, Margaret wasn’t allowed to travel to Scotland to meet James for the best part of a year. Her Grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, had been forced to marry a man when she was twelve, and was so completely and utterly fucked up by her own experienced of marriage and child birth at such a young age, that she advised against a proper shagging consummation until Margaret was a little older.

Margaret set off for Scotland in June 1503, with a 30000 gold noble dowry; chaperoned by the Earl of Surrey and his wife, and a procession of well-dressed courtiers. Her carriage was kitted out in blue velvet and cloth of gold, and draped in bear skin. Margaret eventually arrived in Scotland on 1st August after three weeks of travelling, and was greeted by the Scottish Lords and the Archbishops of Glasgow, before being escorted to Dalkeith Castle, where she met James IV for the first time, (there had been a stable fire which had killed some of Margaret’s horses, so James had come to console his new wife like a proper sweetheart).

On 7th August, James and Margaret rode into Edinburgh, and Margaret was introduced to the people as their new Queen. Despite hating the English, the people of Scotland were made up to meet their new Queen. James was now thirty and despite being a complete womaniser, had never shown any signs of wanting to marry, which caused uncertainty as to who would inherit the throne upon his death. Now that worry was over, though this may also have something to do with the shit-tonne of wine that James supplied to the city in honour of his wife’s arrival.

James IV & Margaret Tudor-marriage procession

Margaret and James’ wedding procession through the streets of Edinburgh.

Both James and Margaret upped their spouse game by wearing matching outfits of cloth of gold trimmed with black fur, and trotting into the city ahead of a train of horsemen, trumpeters, minstrels and dancers. James kept his arm around his young bride’s waist for most of the day and Edinburgh was in its element. The next day the pair had a proper ceremony at Holyrood Castle to officiate their marriage. Once again, they wore matching ‘his and hers’ outfits, both made from white damask with crimson trimmings, and James, who was known for having the best beard in the kingdom, shaved it off for the event, as Margaret wasn’t a fan and he wanted to win her over big time.

The celebrations went on and on. James had spent a quarter of his annual living allowance on wine for the wedding and was desperate to show the visiting English nobles how rich the Scottish were. The English tried to pass it off as if it was nothing, but were obviously secretly impressed. James’ court was the place to be, and James was one fucking amazing King.

James IV became King after his father was murdered by a man pretending to be a priest as he fled from battle. James was then brought up by and groomed to be King by the very men who had defeated his father. He lived with this guilt all his life, and wore an iron chain around his waist at lent as penance for his dad’s death.

James was incredibly intellectual, and very generous. He spoke fluently in seven languages, including Celtic and had travelled far and wide. He met regularly with his people (including the Celts), and was a much loved King. In those times it was almost expected that kings would have mistresses, and James was no exception, only James seemed to treat his mistresses better than most monarchs, and seemingly never did the dirty on them. He was a womaniser, there is no doubt, but the women who were taken as mistresses by him were treated as queens, and of the several bastard children he had by these women, all were acknowledged and raised as princes and princesses, accessing the best education money could buy.

Shortly after arriving in Scotland, James took Margaret on a tour of his country, there she met all of his children who were being raised and taught together as a family and children of the king. Margaret wrote to her father to tell him about her time with James and commended him being such a fucking good Dad to his illegitimate kids, and whilst initially Margaret told her family that she was homesick, over time the couple came to love each other greatly.

However, Margaret Tudor was not the great love of James’ life. Prior to marrying her, James took a mistress, also called Margaret just to cause confusion, and apparently married her in secret. The problem was, or so the theories go, that James wouldn’t agree to his marriage with Margaret Tudor because of his love for Margaret Drummond, his favourite mistress. The Pro-English noblemen of the Scottish court apparently were having none of this shit, after all a king should marry a princess and stop pretending a mistress in anything more than a bit of fanny, and so decided to bump off Margaret Drummond in order to clear the way for James to marry the Tudor princess.

Margaret Drummond was poisoned at breakfast, along with her two sisters, in 1501 and died. She was given a tomb bestowing a queen and James mourned her death greatly. A few years later, Margaret Tudor wrote of the incident in letters to her family, condemning the Scottish nobles for their actions. Although Margaret eventually came to enjoy the Scottish court she could never really get her head around the women being so outspoken and liberal, but in spite of this her love for the Scottish people grew all the same.

Since James was the biggest Romeo around, he was well practiced in keeping women happy, and knew exactly what to do to make sure he won Margaret’s heart. He was known country wide for his warmth and generosity, he kept taxes low, spent cash when it needed to be spent and bought shit-hot gifts when they needed to be bought. For Margaret this must have been a bit of a change, as her Dad was a known tight arse and didn’t part with a penny unnecessarily. James lavished Margaret with the finest gifts*, and she was every bit the Scottish Queen he had made her. The pair had six children, though sadly only one that lived through infancy, a boy they called James after his father. Aside from the loss of their children the couple were very affectionate and loving and had ten years of happy marriage.

 

NPG D23905; King James IV of Scotland probably by Isaac Taylor

James Iv: Pulling out all the smooth moves on Madge.

In 1509, Margaret’s father, Henry VII, died and her brother Henry VIII came to power. In true Henry VIII style, he went into his reign like a bull in a china shop and decided that in 1513 he would go and cause some shit in France, after all it had been quiet for a while and the French were only a stone’s throw away over the Chanel. This proved to be a problem for James IV, he had a sworn allegiance with France and now his cock-end brother-in-law had decided to go lay waste to them. James decided that there was only one course of action to take: to break the treaty of Perpetual Peace and invade England whilst Henry was away.

There was one thing that James hadn’t banked on though, and that was the fact that Henry had left his wife, the total BAMF and uber heroine, Queen Katherine of Aragon, in charge. Katherine wasn’t having her sister-in-laws hubby invade on her watch and sent her army to lay waste to James, and that’s exactly what they did.

220px-Michel_Sittow_002

Katherine of Aragon looking like butter wouldn’t melt. Well let me tell you, butter very much does melt…

James was killed at Flodden by the troops of the Earl of Surrey, the very man who had brought his Wife to him ten years earlier. His body was sent to Katherine of Aragon as proof of his death, who, like a total bad-ass then decided to send his blood stained clothes to Henry in France to use as a war banner, and not so subtle message, to the French.

Sword and Dagger of James IV, and Two Knights' Banners, used at the Battle of Flodden Field

Margaret was gutted at James’ death, and understandably fucked off with her brother, but then all is fair in love and war, and Margaret had to dust herself off and act as regent to their seventeen month old son, the new King of Scotland, James V. Margaret wasn’t even allowed to bury her husband, as her sister-in-law had his body. Ordinarily he would have been buried in a royal grave, but James had been excommunicated the day he decided to break the Treaty of Perpetual Peace, so to bury him in consecrated ground would be like jizzing in the eye of God. So, instead he was shoved in the woodshed at Sheen Abbey and left to rot.

There has been much speculation over James IV’s body. It is believed that it became detached from his head as it lay rotting in the Abbey until it eventually ended up getting dumped in a charnel pit in London. The exact site of the pit has now gone and a pub sits in its place, it is believed that James’ head is still underneath.

‘And what of Margaret?’ I hear you cry. Well she went on to lead a life of up’s and downs, marrying twice more, holding a coup, being a general mother bear and becoming Great Grandma to the one King that eventually did manage to untie the two countries, James VI.

marriage

James IV and his beautiful wife, Queen Margaret, (though I say beautiful, she looks like a 1980’s headmistress in this painting, which is pretty shit considering she is meant to be fourteen).

 

*Some of the gifts can still be seen. For instance, a kick-ass illustrated bible called ‘The Hours of James IV’, (I say ‘kick-ass’ but if my husband gave me a bible nowadays there would be words, like actual harsh murder words), which can be seen in a museum in Vienna, and also a recently found, monogrammed wedding chest is on public display in Scotland. The monograms on the chest are identical to the ones that James commissioned to be put on the tiled floor at Linlithgow castle.

 

28th July,1540: Henry Takes a Child Bride

ABF1-208x300

The very beautiful Katherine Howard.

On 28th July, 1540, Henry VIII married his fifth wife, the child bride Katherine Howard, (OK, OK, she wasn’t *technically* a child bride, but he was nearly 50 and she was around 17 years old, so its pretty fucking grim, even by Tudor standards).

Katherine’s life is a sad tale; riddled with abandonment, a lack of affection and constant occurrences of sexual abuse. It’s fucking heartbreaking reading it as a woman in the 21st Century. It really all started when her Mum, Jocasta Culpepper, died in 1531. Jocasta, or Joyce as she was known (because lets face it, Jocasta is a fucking stupid name*), had around fifteen children: ten from her marriage with Edmund Howard, Katherine’s Dad, and five from a previous marriage. Joyce was a strong and empowered woman; however Katherine’s Dad was the opposite in every way.

Edmund Howard was brother to Thomas Howard, the third Duke of Norfolk, who was powerful and prominent politician at court. Edmund forever lived in his brothers shadow, failing to gain any importance (and fucking it up when he did), and racking up a shit load of debt, so when Joyce died and he was left with fifteen kids, he shit himself.  To get himself out of the financial turd he was in, he decided the only course of action was to ditch some of the kids onto rich relatives, and being a Howard, there was no short supply of those. So that was it, off Katherine went to live with her step-Grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk.

Now don’t get it twisted – this wasn’t like going to stay with your Nan and having cake every day. This woman already had several girls in her care, and her guardianship was lax to say the least. Actually, scrap that, her guardianship was some pure, stone cold bullshit, because whilst Katherine was there she was pursued by her music teacher, Henry Manox, which incidentally was only discouraged due to him being a lower rank than Katherine, and then preyed upon and sexually exploited by the Dutchess’s man servant, Francis Dereham. These events would eventually come back to haunt Katherine and lead to her death a few years later.

In 1539, Katherine was sent to court to become a lady-in-waiting to the new queen, Anne of Cleeves. Now it will hardly be a spoiler when I tell you that Henry VIII didn’t really like his forth wife, Anne, and neither will it come as a shock when I say that he wanted to get his kicks elsewhere. Henry couldn’t get ‘aroused’ by his new queen, (which apparently had everything to do with her being supposedly smelly and ugly, and nothing to do with him being a vile old cunt who was rife with Syphilis, and dented pride), so when Katherine was brought to court, and waved in front of the King’s nose by her pimp-like Uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, it was no surprise that Henry had to have her.

Poor Katherine, she must have thought all her birthdays had come at once, the King and her Uncle offering her centre-stage at court, and allowing her to believe it was because she was special and neither had anything to gain. Conversely, poor Anne; newly arrived in a foreign country, called names by a fat pig of a King, and then to be embarrassed at court as he paraded his young mistress around like King of the peados.

8194a21d2aa3e2972048168039ffeba2

Henry VIII giving Rolf Harris a run for his money.

A few months after Henry’s annulment to Anne, he decided to wed his young bride, Katherine. Little is known about the actual ceremony, Henry had been so eager to impress everyone and pull out all the stops for his marriage to Anne, that he had managed to break the treasury and so decided to have a ‘low key’ affair with Katherine. The service was held at the chapel in Oatlands Palace, which he had built to rival Hampton Court as a gift for Anne of Cleeves… and then married her lady-in-waiting in it.

The pair were married by Bishop Bonner, but it is unknown who else was in attendance. After the ceremony, the wedding appears to have been kept quiet for a short while as Katherine was not announced as Queen until 8th August, when prayers were said for her at Hampton court – not that they did her much fucking good, prayers couldn’t save you from Henry. There is no record of plans for her coronation immediately after the wedding, which is unusual, but nobody could deny that Henry wasn’t smitten with his new bride, groping and grabbing at her constantly, and bragging about their bedroom exploits to his band of twats. The ceremony itself took place as Henry was having Tomas Cromwell executed for Treason for crimes only known to Henry, and after the pair went on a hunting holiday honeymoon around Surrey and Berkshire… how romantic.

Palace_-_Oatlands

Oatlands Palace

You probably already know how the story ends: Katherine began an affair with a member of Henry’s council, Thomas Culpepper, then Francis Dereham rocks up demanding a place by her side, so she gives it to him possibly out of fear, and then everyone finds out everything and all involved lose their lives, including Katherine and Henry Manox, the music teacher. You can read more about their deaths by following the link at the bottom of this page, (I hated writing about it, as it’s depressing as fuck and makes me want to set fire to things).

As with everything ever EVER, I have opinions about the whole Katherine and Henry thing, (aside from him being a cretinous, lecherous jizz-sack of a man). I often find myself questioning whether Henry Manox actually deserved to die. Apparently he was totally in love with Katherine, but was banned from seeing her, and when he got wind of the slime bag Dereham sneaking into her dorms at night, he alerted the Dowager Duchess, who did fuck all about it. As for Dereham and Culpepper?… fuck them. They were equally as much the sneaky little shit holes as Henry was a dirty old mongrel of a man. Having said that,  some historians believe that Katherine and Tom Culpepper were in a relationship before Katherine became involved with Henry, but it never really went anywhere, because they argued like a couple in IKEA on a bank holiday Monday, but either way he was accused of raping a woman and continued to pursue Katherine after she was married, so he can go fuck a knife.

Now lets think about Henry…This old prick had his BFF executed on the day that he married his new bride. Thomas Cromwell was once the Kings closest and most trusted adviser, yet like the cruel bastard he was, Henry sent him to death and still managed to make it a day of celebrations. This wasn’t the first time Henry pulled shit like this. He married Jane Seymour the day after Anne Boleyn’s execution, and made a point of wearing yellow on the day of Katherine of Aragon’s death. I don’t know why Henry did this; possibly to illustrate his power, possibly to hide the feeling of guilt, though doubtful.

And so that brings us to Katherine, a child abandoned by her family and left with a woman who can only be likened to Miss Hannigan, the evil woman from Annie, only to crave affection and find it in the arms of those who would take advantage of a young girl. If it was modern day, she would be protected by social services and a Child Sexual Exploitation case would be opened. However, it wasn’t modern day, it was Tudor time, so instead she was branded a whore, and put to death. Tudor men were fucking cunts at times.

katherine howard

Katherine Howard, looking smug because all said and done, death was preferable to  shagging Henry.

 

 

If you want to know more about Katherine’s downfall you can read about it here

Also, you can read about Anne of Cleeves’ betrothal to Henry here and about how she ultimately won the long game here.

If you want to know more about Thomas Cromwell and the events that led to his demise, you can find out here.

 

 

 

*Apologies to any readers who may be called Jocasta. I was showing off and it wasn’t big or clever. Jocasta is a great name and I’m sure you don’t ever get questioned about it.