13th February, 1542: The Execution of Katherine Howard

 

Portrait of a Young Woman (Catherine Howard), ca

Katherine Howard: The rose among thorns

Of all of the Tudor queens, it is Katherine Howard that I have the most empathy for.  It seems her whole life, albeit a very short one, was filled with predatory men taking advantage of her circumstances. At a young age, she was forced to go and live with her step-grandmother – Katherine’s father had fallen into debt, and had to do a bunk out of the country before his debtors caught up with him. So she was sent to the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, who, if I’m honest, was utterly shit and apparently well out of her depth at taking care of the young women in her protection.

In my professional* opinion, Katherine had significant attachment issues because of this, which rendered her vulnerable and extremely likely to accept the attention of anybody willing to give it; queue the gross, rapey, sex-pest-esque, Tudor fuckwits, who preyed upon young girls to get their thrills…men like Henry if were being entirely honest. As you can probably see already – I am on Katherine’s side in all of this!

It was in the Dowager Duchess’s care that Katherine had her first sexual encounters; one of which would testify against her, and the other would face his death as consequence. However, this blog is about Katherine’s execution, not the gobshites who caused it, so I shall put a link to a page about them at the bottom of this piece if you are interested in knowing about their part in it all.

Katherine was only 17 when she was stripped of her title as Queen, and sent to the block. She was executed because she had been seduced by yet another little buttmunch, Henry’s Privy Council pal, Thomas Culpepper. Thomas was seemingly yet another self-entitled piece off work, who managed to talk his way into Katherine’s knickers when the King was out of town. Though if certain history books are to be believed, it was Katherine that did the seducing.

The affair was aided by Katherine’s lady-in-waiting, Lady Rochford, who helped Thomas and Katherine to meet in secret and get their rocks off. Not content with simply being aware of the affair, but actively encouraging and supporting it, Lady Rochford implemented herself in the treasonous act. When Henry found out the affair, the intimate details of Katherine’s sexual past were investigated and all the unfortunate misgivings of her past were aired out like knickers on a clothesline. He immediately set to work summoning Katherine’s past conquests and gathering evidence against his young bride.

Katherine was defenceless. She had all but been caught red-handed and the evidence was overwhelming. Both she and Lady Rochford were sentenced to death. Henry, despite being a massive pig-dog of a man, was smitten with Katherine and her betrayal hit him hard. Henry had entered the marriage believing that Katherine would be the bride that his previous wives had not. Despite being 49, partially lame and riddled with cock-rot, Henry’s hyper-inflated ego meant that he thought he was irresistible to all women, even the 16 year old Katherine. There was no way his new Queen would look elsewhere right? I mean, what girl in their right mind would look elsewhere when they have to put up with an obese, stinky dad-man, with a pustulous leg and breath like a dead hookers minge, gyrating his syphilitic ramrod against her kirtle?!  I mean, the very idea of such a catch has me wiping my chair as I write… oh wait, no. No it doesn’t, and Henry was both naive and arrogant to think that Katherine would find him to be the man of her dreams, regardless of his status.

Execution of Catherine Howard

The execution of Katherine Howard 

The main sticking point for Henry was that he thought Katherine was a virgin when he married her. He had undoubtedly also boasted to his privy boy-gang about deflowering her, and felt like a knobhead when he found this to not be true. In fact, Katherine had been with a couple of men prior to Henry, to one of which she had promised herself to be his wife. This was a man called Francis Dereham. When Henry learned about her relationship with Dereham, a man now in employment at the royal palace, he went fucking mental and ordered that Dereham, along with Culpepper, be sentenced to a traitor’s death. Culpepper was able to talk his way out of such a fate, but Dereham was not so lucky. Nor was Katherine or Lady Rochford.

On the night on 12th February, 1542 Katherine awaited her execution. Being a Sunday, it was postponed until the next morning. The extra day’s wait must have been agonising for the young girl. Katherine spent her last evening preparing for her death by practicing placing her head on the block so she didn’t fuck it up the following day. At 7am the following morning, dressed in a black velvet gown and weak from emotion, she was escorted to Tower green: the very place her cousin, Anne Boylen, had met her fate at the hands of Henry just less than five years earlier. She was accompanied by Lady Rochford.

After mustering the courage to address the crowd, she placed her head on the block and was executed with one swift blow of the axe. Lady Rochford followed, kneeling in the blood of her former Queen as she too was beheaded. Their bodies were taken to St. Peter-ad-Vincula within the grounds of the Tower, and covered in Quicklime. Interestingly enough, during renovations of the church in Victorian times, the bodies of the women were never uncovered, although they do say her ghost haunts the halls of Hampton Court.

So there it is, the sad tale of Henry’s ‘Rose without a thorn’. May her ghost shit on the heads of all who sailed in her. If you are interested in the executions of Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpepper, you may like this Tudorial here.

 

 

 

 

*I feel that I am allowed to say ‘in my professional opinion’ as I work with young people with such issues and recognise the pattern…plus it’s a no-brainer…plus it’s my blog so that surely makes me qualified *ahem*!

Haddon Hall, Henry Vernon and the Runaway Bride.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Chapel

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

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

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The church alter

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

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

The Banqueting Hall

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

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The banqueting Hall in all it’s glory.

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

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

The Kitchens

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

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

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

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

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

The Great Chamber

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

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

 

The Gardens

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

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

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

 

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

 

Upstairs

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

28th July,1540: Henry Takes a Child Bride

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

16th July, 1546: The Horrific Death of Anne Askew

16th July marks the anniversary of the death of Anne Askew, the last martyr to be executed under the reign of Henry VIII, one of the first English women to ask for a divorce and the only woman on record to have been tortured in the Tower of London… Oh, and one of history’s biggest bad asses.

(c) National Trust, Tatton Park; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Anne Askew: Gave zero fucks about patriarchy, religion or pain.

Anne was born into a noble family, in Lincolnshire in 1520. Her Dad, William Askew, was a prominent courtier and landowner and pals with Henry VIII, whilst her two brothers were the Sherriff of Lincoln, and Henry’s cup bearer (which sounds like a shit job but was actually considered an honour, mostly because the Tudor courtier were the biggest bunch of brown-nosers in history, and fought to get close to the King, so much so that wiping the Kings fat, shitty arse was considered one of the highest positions a man could hold. Can you imagine telling your friends that is your job nowadays??

Anne was very well read and witty, and a devout protestant. The shit all started when Anne was fifteen and her sister, Martha, died.  So as to ‘save money’, Anne’s father arranged for Anne to marry the man her sister had been betrothed to, a local landowner, a vile scumbag called Thomas Kyme. Kyme was a strict catholic and didn’t approve of Anne’s protestant faith. He obviously though he could change her ways, but soon came to realise that he had bitten off more than he could chew when Anne refused to take his name and refused to refer to him as her husband.

In my opinion, Anne was the ultimate Tudor feminist, giving not one toss about society’s expectations of women of that time. Anne’s marriage was unhappy and abusive, and despite having two children with Kyme, Anne used the introduction of the reformation as a way to seek a divorce from her cock-wiff husband. Kyme grew tired of Anne’s belligerence and, under the advice of the local priest, and much to Anne’s pleasure, he kicked her out. Anne, being the indomitable rebel that she was, saw this as an opportunity to head down to London and spread the word according to the protestant bible.

Because he was a massive scrotum-faced fuckwit, in 1543 Henry VIII ruled that it would be illegal for all women and men of minor gentry and lower to read the bible. This was a bit to take back some control and hopefully forge some sort of relationship with the Holy Roman Empire. It was therefore seen as heresy to be somebody who would stand in towns reciting the bible for the ordinary folks who may not ordinarily have access to such texts, or a gospeller as they were named. For Anne there was no other way. She had been attending bible meetings in London, where groups would get together in secret to study the protestant text, and this was the next step for her. The people of London wanted to hear it and she felt duty bound to deliver it.

Anne was an amazing gospeller. The people flocked to hear her recite the protestant texts, and were enamoured that a noble woman of such high ranking would come to the streets to give the poor, uneducated and bible-less povvers faith and inspiration; plus she was easy on the eye, which I’m sure helped. She soon earned the name the ‘Fair Gospeler’ and became somewhat of a Tudor celebrity. Anne knew she was breaking the law but gave zero fucks about all that noise.

At one point she was arrested and her divorce request rejected, she was sent back Lincolnshire and imprisoned but escaped and returned to London to continue her good work. This is when the shit really hit the fan.

One of Henry VIII’s most trusted politicians, the militant Catholic Bishop of Winchester, was a snidey little gobshite called Stephen Gardiner. Gardiner didn’t take kindly to Anne Askew educating the poor with the protestant text and went out of his way to put an end to it by putting an end to her. At this point in time, Henry VIII was onto his last wife Katherine Parr, a beautiful, well-educated and very tolerant woman who also happened to be a devout protestant and a bit of a free thinker. Gardiner didn’t like the queen and so decided that there may be a way to kill two birds with one stone.

 

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Stephen Gardiner and his massive bollock of a face.

 

Anne was good pals with a high ranking noble woman called Catherine Brandon, the Duchess of Suffolk. Catherine Brandon was also the queens BFF so Gardiner, seeing a connection decided that was his way in. He had Anne arrested and sent to the Tower, then he had the Queen and her ladies arrested under suspicion of heresy. Katherine Parr, being the brain box that she was, had the foresight to burn all of her protestant literature prior to the arrest when she got a wiff of Gardiners plans.

Whilst Anne was imprisoned in the Tower of London she was asked to name all of the women that she knew who heretics were. Anne said nothing. Ordinarily what would happen next would be that the prisoner would be shown a man undergoing torture on the rack, with the threat of ‘this will be you if you don’t comply’, but because Anne was a woman, and one of high birth at that, it was deemed inappropriate for her to see a naked man, so instead, and with rather questionable moral benchmarks, Gardiner decided that the middle man should just be cut out and Anne would go straight to the rack in an attempt to get her to name her conspirators.

Anne was eventually condemned to be executed by burning, but Gardiner still needed Anne to implicate the Queen. Now, as I hope you are now seeing, Anne was nobody’s mug, and being the heroine that she was decided to write accounts of her time in the tower. According these these accounts Anne was stripped down to her shift, tied to the rack and stretched until she was taught and raised five inches from the table. She passed out from the pain, but was revived and the whole process was repeated twice more. The Tower constable, a man named Anthony Kingston, could not bear to see the torture and ran to the King to demand it be stopped.

The problem was that the two men who ordered the torture were Gardiner’s right hand men. These two utter fucking wankstains were named Tom Wriothesley and Richard Rich (which in hindsight is probably why they were angry men). Rich and Wriothesley ignored the gaolers request to end the torture of Anne and instead took hold of the reigns and decided that if the torturer wouldn’t do it, that they would simply do it themselves. The violence only ended when Anthony Kingston returned from Henry with a royal demand to get Anne off the rack and leave her the fuck alone until her execution. As I have already said, Anne was the only woman ever recorded to have been tortured in the Tower, and still she didn’t name one other person as an accomplice. What an absolutely amazing lady she was. The Queen and her ladies were released due to a lack of evidence, and also because of Anne’s silence.

On 16th July, 1546 Anne was put to death by being burnt at the stake, the standard, yet friggin horrific death reserved for heretics and martyrs. The problem was the Anne had been tortured so much that she couldn’t stand. She had been stretched on the rack until her tendons had snapped, her wrists, ankles, elbows, hips and knees had all dislocated and her muscle fibres stretched to beyond repair. These vile bastards had really gone to town on her to the point where Anne had to be carried to the stake on a chair. She was then tied with chains to a separate chair which was attached to the woodpile, which was then set alight. As if this wasn’t enough, the fire was set to burn slowly, ensuring that Anne endured as much pain in her last moments as the men could cause.

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The martyrdom of Anne Askew

It is thought that somebody who took pity on Anne, covered her in gunpowder to ensure a swift end, other accounts suggest that the fire burnt for over an hour and people flocked to see the burning of the Fair Gospeler. One thing is consistent though, and that is that Anne maintained her dignity and courage until the very end.

At the time of Anne’s execution, a motherfucker of a thunderstorm rolled into London. It was believed that this was a display of Gods wrath at the murder of innocents. I like to think of Gardiner, Rich and Wriothesley sat there shitting themselves, cry-wanking into a pulpit begging for forgiveness at the sound of weather, but I doubt they did.

It is unknown whether Anne and the Queen were in the secret protestant club that Gardiner had invented, or if they even ever met at all. One thing is for certain though, Anne Askew’s story is one of the saddest yet most empowering in Tudor history, so much so that in Victorian times interest in her peaked and a special ‘Anne Askew doll’ was created, (which came complete with a rack and stake… real talk). Apparently one can still be seen today in Leeds toy museum… though quite why you would want to make a special trip to see a vintage murder doll is beyond me.

Anne was the last martyr to die under the reign of Henry VIII. She was only 25 when she died.

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!

17th April 1534: Thomas More is sent to the Tower

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On 17th April 1534, The kings right hand man, Thomas More, was sent to the Tower of London to await a trial for charges of treason. More was one of henry VIII’s best chancellor and lawyers, and at one time the two were super pally, but More had over stepped the mark by refusing to give into the King and go against his own better judgement. More, being a strict catholic man, had refused to acknowledge Henry as the head of the church, and as far as henry was concerned this meant that More was proving to be a right pain in the royal hoop.

The trouble all came about when Henry decided that he wanted to divorce his wife of nearly 24 years, in order to bend his member up his fancy piece, Anne Boylen. The Pope was all like ‘ Hell no boy, that ain’t happening, Us Catholics don’t do divorce, or maybe you missed the scroll’. Henry was not in the slightest bit happy bout this so decided to sack off the Pope and make himself the head of the church in England. As you can imagine, this caused a bit of tension and people were pissed off at the idea that their king, who was previously kept in line only by the Pope, was now taking the liberty to make himself even more important and powerful by moving the moral goal posts and putting himself in charge of that aspect of English law too. So, like a spoilt little shit, Henry sought the council of his closest pals to go about binning off the Pope.

More wasn’t having any of Henry’s bullshit. He was Catholic like everyone else at that time, and like everyone else he too recognised that the Pope was the boss…not Henry. What gave Henry the right to make himself the head of a new church? How could Henry be so arrogant to assume that he is the best person for that job anyway? How did he have the nerve to piss off Rome in such a spectacular way that the whole country would suffer and Catholicism would be shaken to its very core? All because the King could’t keep his dick in his pants. Fuck. That. Noise. More wasn’t buying into that shit at all. So, like the predictable, overindulged twat that Henry was, he had More arrested for treason.

Henry was worried that More’s resistance to the idea of him running his own religion illuminated the fact that the Parliament were sceptical of it too, and if parliament had doubts that they dare to voice, then the public wouldn’t be on board either, putting a spanner in the works for Henry’s knobbing. More had to go. Henry found him guilty or treason and sentenced him to death.

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Thomas More’s decapitation at Tower Hill and a rather pleased executioner. Obviously not a fan of the Catholics.

On 6th July, 1535 More was beheaded at Tower Hill. To be fair he got off lightly: the standard form of execution of traitors was to be hung, drawn and quartered, but since Henry and Thomas were once friends, Henry thought he would be kind and lessen the punishment. What a kind ‘friend’ he was. Henry didn’t really want to kill More, he pushed and pushed for more to retract his statement and recognise Henry as the new gaffer, but More wasn’t budging. He was a moral man and knew that there was NO WAY Henry was entitled to  govern the church and break from Rome. More told Henry where to go, he told Henry’s men that he believed  that ‘no temporal man should be the head of spirituality’, (which is a confusing sentence from a man who heavily supported the Pope…another temporal man at one time).

So there we are, another one of Henry’s friends murdered so that the King could get his way. You have to admire Thomas More for committing to his beliefs and having the bravery to tell such a spoilt king to shove his Oath of Supremacy up his arse. The sad thing is that after More’s death Henry soon grew bored of Anne Boylen too, (who suffered the same fate as More).

Thomas more’s head was spiked and placed on London Bridge. It was there for a month or so, rotting away, until it was decided that it would be thrown into the Thames to make space for the heads of other traitors to the crown. Mores daughter, Margaret Roper, decided that she did not want to see her fathers rancid, decaying face sink to the bottom of the murky water so bribed one of the guards to pass it to her and brought it home to save as a relic. It is now presumed to be locked in the Roper family vault at St Dunstan’s church,  Canterbury.

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More’s daughter rescuing her Dad’s head from the spikes at London Bridge. There are better things to inherit.

 

 

 

December 10th 1541: The Executions of Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpepper

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Katherine Howard

If you’re not familiar with the names Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpepper then fret not; all will be explained. These are the chaps partly responsibly for the execution of Henry VIII’s fifth bride, Katherine Howard.

Young Katherine was only 19 when she was executed for treason. She had been found to be shagging a member of the King’s Privy council, a strapping young lad named Thomas Culpepper. To be fair,  You can’t really blame her when she was married to a fat 50 year old king, who stank of pus from his ulcerated leg and insisted on letching over the poor girl at any opportunity going.

Katherine’s start to life was far from that of a future queen. Although she was Ann Boleyn’s cousin, she had not been graced with the same upbringing and social status.She had been dumped in the care of her Grandmother because her parents, though noble, were too skint to raise her, so there she stayed, in a dorm with other unwanted girls. Her education was limited and she was by no means as intelligent as the other women that had graced Henry’s bed. She was however pretty and charming.

She came to court around 1539 to serve as a lady in waiting to Anne of Cleeves. Henry had married Anne but didn’t like her and so was desperate to get rid when young Kitty Howard caught his eye. To cut a long story short, he divorced Anne and married Katherine.He described Katherine as his ‘rose without thorns’ and was completely smitten. However, fairly soon into their marriage it became apparent that Katherine was not as innocent as Henry was led to believe.

At the time there were people at court who knew of Katherine’s past and the shit she got up to whilst living at her Grandmother’s. Basically Katherine had been getting frisky with her music teacher, Henry Mannox and had then gone onto have a relationship with a bloke called Francis Dereham. Now you may be thinking that there is nothing odd about that, a young girl having a boyfriend, but the problem was that she had declared her love for Dereham in front of God, which technically made them married, referred to themselves as man and wife and more than likely consummated the marriage, (who am I kidding, they defo shagged – Katherine later admitted that she knew her way around a man’s cock without getting preggers…not the words of a virgin).

Katherine thought she could hide her past and move on, be a queen and become the most important woman in the land. The problem is that when you are rich and have the world at your feet, it takes one dirty little bastard from your past to lay down a little blackmail for it all to come crashing down around you. Soon after she became Queen, Katherine found  that one of her old pals from back in the day, Joan Bulmer, had requested to come to court to serve as a lady in waiting. Joan was pure poison – she had dirt on the queen and was prepared to use it for her own gain, what could Katherine do? Joan was swiftly followed by  Dereham, who came knocking on Katherine’s door asking for a position of power. Katherine gave Dereham the position of her secretary, possibly to keep tabs on him and stop him running his mouth, keep your enemies close and all that.

Dereham wasn’t the only bloke at court to get close to Katherine. Whilst the King was ill earlier in 1541, Katherine had began a smoking hot affair with a dashing young chap named Culpepper, (but please don’t get a vision of a Tudor ‘Darcy’ type character in your head, this prick had not long before raped a gate keepers wife, then killed the gate keeper and got away with it like a slimy fucker… though some historians speculate that this was actually his brother, also called Thomas). It’s fair to say Katherine loved Culpepper, (who, incidentally was her distant cousin), very much and the whole affair was assisted by Katherine’s Lady in waiting, Lady Jane Rochford. Things were certainly complicated for Katherine, but she was young and naive, and spoiled by the king, who was besotted with her (and bragged constantly about the hot sex he was getting from the girl more than half his age).

Anyway, shit got real on November 2nd 1541, when the King was passed a letter pointing out that the queen was far from ‘a rose without thorns’ and had actually been married and was now shagging one of his pals behind his back. He went fucking mental. Everything went on lock-down and all parties were questioned. The ladies in waiting were sent to the tower and questioned, Henry Mannox was called in (the letter stated he knew of a ‘private mark’ on the queens body), Culpepper was tortured and confessed, as did Dereham.

Culpepper and Dereham were arrested as traitors and condemned to death. Mannox was allowed to go, he had gained his carnal knowlege of the Queen before the King had rocked up. Dereham had deflowered the Queen, and for that Henry could not forgive him. Katherine denied her marriage to Dereham (if she had admitted it, she would’ve been in a contract with another man and her life may have been spared). It was no good, she had not only made Henry look a right mug, but because she had now gained the reputation of a whore, any kids she had would have their paternity questioned, and since these kind were would be kings that shit wouldn’t fly.  She had to go.

Katherine was condemned to death, along with Lady Jane Rochford (who went mad, literally) and the whole of the Howard family. This however, is the story of Thomas Culpepper and Francis Dereham. Culpepper, being an old pal of the kings, got away lightly with beheading, Dereham on the other hand suffered a far worse fate, He was sentenced to a traitors death. That was some cold, bad shit about to come his way.

Dereham faced a traitors death, which consisted of: hanging, membering, disembowelling, beheading and quartering. In that order. It feels a little unfair that Dereham was handed this death whist Culpepper, who worked for the King, had been trusted by the King and was still bending his rapey little cock inside the Queen, got the easy option. Dereham had popped the Queen’s cherry long before Henry had a whiff of it, this pissed Henry off more than anything.

Dereham’s death was long, excruciating and humiliating.He was taken to Tyburn where he was hung but cut down before death, he than had his cock hacked off and his intestines ripped out and burned before him whilst made to watch. He was then beheaded and quartered. The Queens execution happened the following year, her last words being ‘I die here a queen, but I would have rather died the wife of Culpepper’.

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A traitors death: a jolly good show for all the family. No seriously, this was a day out in Tudor times.

29th November 1530: Suicide, Illness or Divine Intervention?

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The death of Cardinal Wolsey

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was, at one time, Henry VIII’s right hand man. He was the Pope’s representative in England, held a ridiculous amount of power and influence, and was the second richest man in the country next to the King, (Hampton Court Palace was actually commissioned by, and built for Wolsey – not Henry VIII, as most people believe). This dude was untouchable.

He died in 1530 after what can only be described as a ‘fucking nightmare’. Henry decided that Wolsey was to blame for everything that was going wrong with Henry’s love life, and that the only way to rectify this matter was to execute him. A common and predictable theme in Henry’s life.

It all started when Henry decided he had had enough of his wife of almost 24 years, and wanted to bin her off. He had found some bullshit clause in the bible which he reckoned made his marriage to Katherine of Aragon null and void in the eyes of God. The fact that Katherine had failed to give him a male heir, and that Henry was (almost)  wetting his end in the cock-tease Anne Boylen, had driven Henry’s desire to push for this annulment. His theory was that because Katherine had been married to his brother before him, the couple were doomed for failure and living in sin in the eyes of the Catholic church. Henry now needed Wolsey to pop and see the Pope and get an annulment.

Wolsey was rather stupidly confident that he could get this sorted so off he went. The Pope inevitably said something along the lines of ‘are you fucking mental? It’s not happening my friend’ (paraphrasing slightly), so Henry’s annulment was denied. Knowing what we know about Henry, you can just imagine how this went down. To cap it off Anne was now spouting a load of bollocks about Henry wasting the best of her youth by keeping her hanging on at the promise of marriage. Henry was not a happy chappy.

The problem was that the Pope was Wolsey’s boss, so Wolsey had to do as he was told, and the Pope was in turn told what to do by his boss, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V…Katherine’s nephew. There is no way that Charles was having it that a bell end like Henry was going to screw over his fab Aunt Katy and use Gods name as an excuse to do it. Wolsey could only do as he was told, and so sided with Katherine, Charles and the Pope. It was a bit of a rock and a hard place situation for the poor bloke.

wolsey  Anne now hated Wolsey, so decided that she would chip away at Henry in order to take matters into their own hands. Henry, who was now desperate to bend it up the manipulative genius that was Anne, was all about this and so decided that Wolsey was going down. How dare he fail to get the annulment and make him look a mug!

Henry had decided that because Wolsey could not secure the annulment, had cock-blocked him from Anne and had been a bit too chummy with Katherine, he should be accused of treason. Wolsey, who was now in York, was sent for. He was to come to London to explain why he couldn’t deliver the goods (and to ultimately be put to death).

At this time Wolsey had a new best pal, a bright young thing who went by the name of Thomas Cromwell. They were travelling together to London when Wolsey took ill. He rested in Leicester and it was quickly becoming apparent that he wouldn’t be able to continue the journey. Wolsey died of a bowel infection and was laid to rest in the Abbey at Leicester. Cromwell,  gutted at the death of his friend, still carried on to London to protest Wolsey’s innocence.

The curious thing about Wolsey’s death was that it happened just before he was obviously about to walk into a massive shit storm. If Wolsey had of made it to London he would have been greeted with accusations & public ridicule; his reputation pulled to shreds by the King’s concubine, a long stretch in the Tower and ultimately a humiliating and painful execution. In a lot of ways his death was conveniently well-timed. I don’t for one minute think that Wolsey would have committed suicide: he was devout Catholic after all. So was it illness, or something else all together? What if Wolsey’s death was the act of a kind friend  sparing the Cardinal his reputation at court, and preventing his public execution?

Before coming into Wolsey’s service, Cromwell was a mercenary who had travelled extensively, fought in wars and was ultimately a freaking genius. He was a lawyer and a badass, and exceptionally loyal to Wolsey. Its not implausible to think that he could’ve poisoned the Cardinal in order to maintain his innocence. By doing this he would also ensure the cardinal was comfortable in his remaining days and still able to get his affairs in order? Now I’m just speculating and there is pretty much no evidence for this, but a man like Cromwell was well-placed to protect his friend and take away the grief and worry the Cardinal would’ve undoubtedly had felt. It would also remove the need for suicide and bowel infections are synonymous with poisoning after all.

Whether it was illness or mercy that killed Wolsey, one thing remains for sure, Cromwell deeply missed the Cardinal and maintained his innocence for the rest of his life. Of course, it was Cromwell that later brought abut the downfall of Anne Boylen, and what happened to Henry in all of this? Well he just carried on being Henry.

 

If you fancy reading a bit more about Cromwell give this one a go: A Massive Fall Out

14th November 1501: Prince Arthur Tudor marries Katherine of Aragon.

Katy and Arthur…did they or didn’t they?

Arthur looking about 46, but actually aged 15.

Arthur looking about 46, but actually aged 15.

The very beautiful Katherine of Aragon

The very beautiful Katherine of Aragon

So today is the 514th wedding anniversary of Prince Arthur Tudor (the son of Henry VII and Catherine of York), and Katherine of Aragon. The wedding took place at St Paul’s Cathedral after Henry VII had gone all bridezilla and planned the festivities to the point of perfection. Katherine had been betrothed to Arthur since being 3 years old, so anticipations for the day were high.

Henry was super exited about the union of his son and the Spanish Princess. It mean an alliance with Spain and a fuck-tonne of cash for his treasury. Katherine brought with her a massive dowry and the security of a future baby for the Tudor dynasty. Katherine was the daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabelle I of Castile. Ferdinand had made Henry promise that she would be treated as his daughter, never neglected and always shown the utmost respect. Henry had asked in return that Katherine did not show up with a gang of mingers as her ladies in waiting.

Katherine arrived in England after a ridiculous 3 months at sea to be greeted with masses of affection and a shit load of gifts. The public loved her, (after all this would hopefully mark the next generation of security for the throne and after the Wars of the Roses a few years previously, this is what the public craved). Its fair to say that the whole country celebrated the arrival of the beautiful Spanish princess and could not wait until the wedding.

The wedding itself was a grand affair: Henry VII had arranged street pageants and celebrations for the public to get involved with. He had even arranged a fountain outside  the Cathedral which flowed with wine in order to keep the public in high spirits, (though this turned out to be a fucking nightmare, as the treasury refused to foot the bill, so it had to come out of Henry’s own pocket. Since everyone in Tudor times liked a drink it cost a small fortune).

The Cathedral itself was draped with rich scarlet fabrics and the best tapestries that money could buy. The wedding itself took pace on a raised platform and was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury whilst a chorus of trumpets sounded to announce the couples joyous day, (though probably not as the service took place as I image that to be quite distracting…not that many people would understand it anyway, what with it all being in Latin).

To make sure the day went well, Henry had enlisted the service of a holy gang: 19 English bishops and abbots (you never can have enough), to the 1 token member of the Spanish clergy there to represent Katherine. Good effort Henry. One weird thing was that the 16 year old Katherine was escorted to the alter by her soon to be brother-in-law, the most ostentatious ten year old in the country, The prince Henry Tudor.

Henry VIII as a young boy looking like a knob. Power and money aside, how did he manage to bag the ladies? seriously, how?! There are no words for this painting.

Henry VIII as a young boy looking like a knob. Power and money aside, how did he manage to bag the ladies? seriously, how?! There are no words for this painting.

After the ceremony the couple retreated to a banquet and that good old favourite Tudor past time of consuming so much meat and ale that their liver turned into a type of human foie grais. The festivities continued late into the night: both at the palace and in the streets. There was dancing, drinking and the odd pageant. The couple were said to be truly into each other (to be fair even if you wasn’t, you would do a good job of pretending, especially when your new father in law had a reputation as a bit of a badass and was partial to a bit of the old head removal).

After the celebrations the couple were then sent to bed. Katherine’s ladies got her ready and prepared the new bride for what was about to come next, (to be honest what they were to prepare her for was a rather sickly 15 year old boy, so they were probably telling her not to get her hopes too high). Arthur was sent into the room and the newly weds were left alone.This was a night that would later come back to be  proper pain in the arse for Katherine later in her life.

The following April the young prince Arthur died, possibly of something like sweating sickness or TB, but this meant that Katherine was widowed only a few months into her marriage. This left a problem for Henry VII, as he needed to keep her dowry and if Katherine went back to Spain  he would have to give it back to Ferdinand. After a few years, Katherine had become as good as  prisoner in the Tudor household. She was kept in squalor and treated badly. In order to keep her about the place,  Henry decided to marry her off to his younger son, Henry, (he had contemplated marrying her himself after the death of his wife…how grim is that?!).

I like to think this was a Tudor time equivalent to a tarot reading, predicting Katherines second marriage to an over excitable, ginger animal.

I like to think this was a Tudor time equivalent to a tarot reading, predicting Katherines second marriage to an over excitable, ginger animal.

Contrary to what you may think, Henry and Katherine were very much in love in the early days and were a couple not to fuck with. Henry would pop off for a war and Katherine would stay at home and rule the country. However, after 24 years and a distinct lack of sons Henry’s eyes began to wander. That’s when he met Anne Boylen.

Now this bitch was all up in Katherine grill, stealing her man and making a right mug out of her, so much so that Henry sought after a divorce. What does this have to do with Katherine’s marriage to Arthur? I hear you ask… well remember I said their wedding night would play an important part in Katherine’s future? This is where that comes in.

Henry had found a bit in the bible which stated something along the lines of ‘if you marry your brothers wife, bad shit will happen and you will encounter a fuck load of bad luck’. Henry used this to suggest that was the reason that the couple had never had a son and a load of children that had died in infancy. This was his grounds for divorce. Katherine countered it by saying that she had never consummated her marriage to Arthur so it was never actually ‘a marriage’ in the first place and therefore Henry was talking a load of old bollocks (just for a change).

Whether Katherine and Arthur did actually ‘hop on the good foot to do the bad thing’ we will never know. You can find evidence to suggest either, for instance Katherine was devout catholic and would never have lied in case she pissed off God and lost her place in line at the pearly gates. It was also common that Tudor youngsters, such as Katherine and Arthur on the night of their wedding, were dissuaded from shagging as it was feared that it lead to ill health, (so much so that Katherine was nearly kept in England as Arthur was sent to Ludlow in Wales, for fear of them having sexy fun times). In the other camp however, Arthur was noted to have come from the bedroom in the morning with a real thirst because he has ‘been in the midst of Spain’, which in itself makes me thing of a boasting teenager and also makes me want to vom. To be fair in a time where sexual education was either a quick chat 30 second prior to it happening, or rape, anything could’ve happened. My thinking is that if Katherine was as beautiful as records say, she could’ve done something as simple as brush her nightgown accidentally on his leg and he would’ve gone off like a firework…but who knows?

It didn’t matter either way though, because Henry took it upon himself to make himself the head of the church and therefore divorce Katherine regardless, (apparently the new religion was for the good of the people and definitely not because Henry was a fucking idiot with a wandering cock). So, I will leave you pondering whether 514 years ago, at maybe even this exact moment, the young prince Arthur was getting his end wet or not.

Happy anniversary to Katherine and Henry

Nobody actually knows if Katherine and Arthur consummated their marriage.

October 30th 1485: Henry Tudor, What A Genius…(oh and his coronation!)

Henry VII: Looking as smug as he should do

Henry VII: Looking as smug as he should do

Henry VII was crowned king on 30th October, 1484, after kicking the shit out of his predecessor, Richard III, a few weeks earlier at the battle of Bosworth (which you can read about here).  Now let’s not be under any pretence: Henry had about as much claim to the English throne as Richard did, actually less of a claim, and there were many people who would see the throne return back to the York’s if they had their way. Henry was nobody’s fool though and did everything within his power to make sure that this didn’t happen. Actually this is more of a story about a very clever man, than the coronation of a King.

As you probably already know, Henry married Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV and niece of Richard III. This was an attempt to unite the houses of Lancaster and York in order to seal his claim to the throne and suggest that the recent wars and battles were over. Although the pair were betrothed, henry didn’t marry Liz until the following January (nearly 3 months after his coronation). This was to ensure nobody could claim that henry only had the throne through his wife’s claim TO IT. He managed to delay the marriage by writing to the Pope to ask for special permission for the marriage to happen – the couple were distant relatives, though that didn’t usually stop folks back then. Henry knew however that it would take fucking ages for the letter to get to the Pope and for a reply to be sent, buying him a bit of time to squeeze his coronation in.

His next genius move was to set the date of his assentation to the throne to the day before the battle of Bosworth so that he could claim anybody supporting Richard was a traitor and seize their lands. By seizing their lands he was not only showing them that they really shouldn’t fuck with him, but also making himself incredibly wealthy in the process. I think the whole wealth thing would’ve come as a bit of an alien concept to Henry. He had been so used to moving around and living in relative poverty in France, (I say ‘poverty’…he was poorer than his birth right would suggest, don’t feel too bad for him, he wasn’t a council estate in Tory Britain type of poor, more of a Kate Middleton after forgetting her purse kind of poor), then suddenly he finds himself rich with a whole army, a treasury and a shit tonne of land to his name.

Henry also learned from Bosworth that nobody could be trusted, (his step Dad had given him the run around at Bosworth and a few of the other noble men had shown themselves to be a bunch of fickle dick heads). Henry’s answer to this problem was to make a law that no man should have his own army. This stopped anybody rising up against the King and reduced the power the noblemen had. Henry wasn’t thick.

His next act of pure genius was to be crowned before the first meeting of parliament, so that nobody could argue the legitimacy of his claim to the throne. After all who is going to tell the King that he is not king? Especially if that King has just seen to it that the last man who pissed him off has an axe put through his head and his knob and bollock paraded about on the back of a horse for all to see before being shoved under a future car park?!

His actual coronation itself took place at Westminster Abbey. It must have been an emotional day for not only Henry, but for his Mum, Margaret Beaufort. Margaret had not seen her boy for 17 years. She had Henry when she was 13 and childbirth near killed her. She never had another child, and despite being scary as balls, I think she loved him very much. She sent him into exile for his own protection: being an heir to the throne of the house Lancaster at a time when the throne was occupied by the York family was pretty dangerous, (think Montague and Capulet if you need a perspective), and had Margaret not sent henry away he would’ve almost certainly been killed as a child.

Of course, Henry’s ‘unofficial’ coronation took place on Bosworth battle field, when Lord Stanley dragged Richard III’s crown out from under a bush and placed it upon Henry head. Henry knew that he had to have a proper coronation, one that ‘was under the eyes of God’ (i.e. in a church and not on Gods actual face), in order to cross it off the ‘reasons to kick henry off the throne’ list. By holding a coronation at Westminster Abbey and presenting his standards at St. Pauls cathedral, Henry was saying to the world ‘Look God chose me so I must be King…I’ve put my flag up and everything’. It worked. A couple of years late and nobody even questioned henry’s claim (well, apart from the pesky Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck posse’s that is, but that’s a story for another Tudorial).

Henrys 'unofficial' coronation at Bosworth. Apparently this picture is based upon a tapestry, and not a crap colouring in book bought from a National Trust property.

Henrys ‘unofficial’ coronation at Bosworth. Apparently this picture is based upon a tapestry, and not a crap colouring in book bought from a National Trust property.

Henry went on to reign for 23 years, 7 months and 28 days. His reign brought about peace to what had been a really shit past few decades, and also marks the birth of the Tudor reign. Henry always strikes me as an amazing bloke and the more I read about him, the more he becomes a contender for the ‘my favourite Tudor Sovereign’ spot.

How did people hide and share their religion in the Tudor times?

a typical priest hole: its not what your thinking

This was a question I was asked to do a video for. To be honest I found it really hard to answer; there is just so much to explain. Anyway, apologies for the rambling chat and gormless expressions, but hope you enjoy it regardless. Because I’m good to you too, below is a link to a blog about the Harvington Hall Priest holes, a good read if you’re interested.
How Tudors Hid their religion

Priest holes of Harvington Hall

The Revolution House, Derbyshire

What was Tudor Underware like?

 

well it wasn’t like this

 
Did Tudors wear knickers? What’s a codpiece all about? What about periods and hygine? I know these are all questions you have been having sleepless nights over so watch this and learn the answers, and Put those niggling questions to bed once and for all.
Oh PS, I also meant to tell you this nugget of gold too: the costume designer for the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall was told to tone down the size of the codpieces used on set, just in case the American viewers got offended. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5j_gy7Y1UDI&feature=youtu.be
 

Henry VIII’s quite frankly, fucking ridiculous codpiece, on view for all at the Tower of London.

 

4th September 1539: Anne of Cleeves is betrothed to an idiot.

Anne of Cleeves is betrothed to an idiot.

A hashed together piccy of the  'happy' couple

A hashed together piccy of the ‘happy’ couple

Anne was Henrys fourth wife and without a shadow of any doubt by far the luckiest. She was a young girl from Germany who had been promised to the Duke of Lorraine at the age of 12, but that all fell through and eventually she found herself in the Tudor Court.

This was all set up by a man called Thomas Cromwell, who was Henry’s BFF, but we will get to him in good time.
In the year 1537 Henry’s most favourite wife Jane Seymour died of Pleural fever (which was basically septicaemia or child-bed fever as it was known back in the day). Pleural fever was pretty much down to shit midwives and dirty septic stuff at childbirth, (that and a dose of the odd placental remains left in the mothers uterus).
 Henry stayed single and alone growing more and more cantankerous  for 2 years after her death. This isn’t really all that surprising when you consider his situation: he was 3 wives in, with only 1 male heir, (who to be honest was a bit weak and sickly),  it was starting to look like his lack of children despite his shagging any and every maid at court, was down to his knob-rot and not his wives. To cap this off the one wife he actually gave a shit about had taken the piss and died before she had time to annoy him sufficiently and be executed. Cromwell decided to get him a new wife. A pretty young protty that would give him a son and make him a bit less of a miserable old cunt. Enter Anne of cleeves, aged 24.
In 1539 Cromwell had heard about these hot two Young girls of the Duke of Cleeves. He was a protestant too and since Henry had ripped the country apart two wives previously in order to bend it up Anne Boleyn, he didn’t have many friends outside of Rome. By marrying a girl of Cleeves he could form some powerful allies away from the Catholic Church. Anne was good loyal girl when Henry sent his favourite painter Hans Holbein to paint her and her sister Amelia. He wanted to pick them from their pictures and guarantee he got the fittest of the sisters. Much too Anne’s dismay (and with a little influence from Cromwell), Anne was chosen.
Anne...

Anne…

...or what we think is Amelia?

…or what we think is Amelia?

Now whilst it’s every girls dream to be classed as the most gorgeous lady about, particularly over your sister, you can’t help but feel sorry for and and think that actually Amelia, who was apparently the less attractive of the two, actually got the better deal as she was spared the mess that was Henry.
Cromwell took the pictures to Henry and laid it on a bit thick. Henry wasn’t in any frame of mind to be marrying after the death of his much beloved Jane but is privy council were just like ‘well you need to get your knob doing some work and filling some cradles and if this doesn’t work out we’ll just get another’, so that was Henry and Anne’s betrothal in the bag. Now Although today is The anniversary of the betrothal, (or more specifically the day the Duke of Cleeves signed his daughter over to a fat Lecherous old man), it would be a shame to end the story there so let’s take a look what happened next.
Thomas Cromwell.Like a boss.

Thomas Cromwell.Like a boss.

Anne’s boat was late to arrive in England due to the shit weather and she was holed up in Calais for ages, tired and fed up. When she eventually did arrive in England she was taken to Rochester to rest up before travelling onward to London, to eventually meet the King. Henry however had other ideas and being the ‘trickster’ he was he was going to dress as a tramp, barge in on Anne at Rochester and surprise her. Bear in mind Anne had never even seen a picture of Henry so had no idea what he looked like. What could go wrong?!
So off he went to surprise Anne. Dressed like a bell end, he jumped out on her at court. Anne was not impressed at all, didn’t bow and recoiled from him, as you would if a strange tramp tried to grab you. Henry went wild with rage from the embarrassment that he had been made to look, (or rather made himself look), like a complete twat. How could she not find the fact that she was a) marrying King of the hobo’s, b) at the command of her dad, and c) have the impossible task of procreating with this prick hysterical? I often catch myself wondering this.
 The king being one spoiled little bastard took umbrage at this and decided that he didn’t like the first woman ever to not instantly piss her side open at the Kings wank japes. Henry then went into the mother of all tantrums, acting like a mardy teenager calling Anne a Flanders mare, (the best insult he could come up with). Henry was mortified with their first meeting and decided that he wasn’t all that into Anne, but it was tough shit, stuff had been sorted for their wedding and he was just going to have to suck it up. Being betrothed in those days was as good as married, so the marriage went ahead the following January.
On their wedding night Henry came to Anne’s chambers to consummate the marriage. He couldn’t though. His knob wouldn’t work. This was obviously Anne’s fault so a few weeks later she was told to leave court. Annes dismissal from court obviously had nothing to do with the fact that by now Henry was already poking his rancid cock into the young Katherine Howard, who was 34 years his junior and brought to court as eye candy for the king whilst serving as Anne’s lady in waiting.
Henry felt humiliated by his lack of performance with Anne so had done the honourable thing and blamed her because she was so repulsive to him. What a dick Henry was. He could not kill her off cos she had done nothing wrong, but had the marriage annulled anyway based on her previous betrothal to the Duke of Lorraine, (remember I said betrothal was as good as marriage? well that’s the rule he used…that and the fact that he had decided he wanted to marry Katherine Howard).
Henry paid Anne a shit load of cash and gave her a tonne of houses to fuck off and stay quiet. He also agreed to refer to her as ‘the Kings sister’ making her the second most important woman in the country after any new queen Henry decided to take. Anne had a lucky escape. She became good friends with her step daughter Mary, had bagged herself a load of wealth and had escaped Henry VIII relatively unscathed, (aside from her first time with a man resulting in having a fat useless cockwomble rub his floppy rotten bell end on her). Life after Henry came and went for Anne, and at one point there was talk of a second betrothal to him but luckily that fell on its arse and she had her second lucky escape. Anne was reportedly an amazing woman: she looked after her servants well and treated everyone with kindness and regard. She outlived Henry and eventually reverted back to Catholicism under the reign of her step daughter and best bud Mary Tudor. She was the only one of Henrys wives to have avoided penetration by Henry’s rancid man member and yet also the only one to be graced with the honour of burial at Westminster Abbey.
And what of Cromwell? Well Henry had him executed for bringing him a ‘minger’ to court…Im surprised you had to ask.
You can read about life for Anne after Henry here: https://thetudorials.com/2015/07/16/july-16th-1557-anne-of-cleeves-death-and-life-after-henry/
and also about Henry’s fall out with Cromwell here:https://thetudorials.com/2015/06/10/10th-june-1540-a-massive-fall-out/

22nd August 1485: the Battle of Bosworth, The Tudor dawn and the King in the car park.

boswroth

So the Battle of Bosworth, the first day of the 118 year reign of the Tudors. Quite a significant day really. It’s the day where Richard III got his arsed well and truly kicked by Henry Tudor. In fact it wasn’t even kicked – his head was smashed in, a sword ran through his brain and his body paraded around Leicester like a teddy on The Generation Game. Richard lost, big time.

First, some back story: The shit all started because of a Royal family feud. There was the Lancaster side and the York side, both related to long-dead Edward III, and both thought this gave them a claim to the throne. The Lancastrian Henry VI, AKA ‘The Mad King, had a nervous breakdown and so his cousin Richard of York became the protector of the realm. This did not go down well with Henry’s mental bitch Queen Margaret of Anjou, and she promptly rallied around to try and take the throne back.  Rainbow fans may remember that Richard of York Gave Battle In Vain – this is where that came from.

 Well anyway, Richard’s son Edward took the crown and was declared King of England. The English subjects didn’t mind because Henry VI was crazy as balls and they hated his French wife. By way of contrast, Edward IV was a young bit of totty who actually went on to do a fairly good job. There were a few incidents where Henry won the throne back and the crown swapped hands a few times but then Henry died.

 How does this all relate to the Battle of Bosworth I hear you ask? Well listen up and you will see. Henry VI’s only son lost his head at the Battle of Tewksbury so Henry Tudor became his heir. This made Edward IV a little nervous and Henry was exiled to France for his own protection. Henry Tudor however kept in regular contact with his Mum, Margaret Beaufort, one of the most formidable women in Tudor history.

Margaret was a fiercely loyal Lancastrian, and she hated the Yorkist King Edward with a passion. Margaret had very cleverly married Lord Stanley 1st Earl of Derby. She had sniffed him out because, although he was a bit of a scrote-face, he was notorious at having a finger in every pie. Margaret had quite rightly figured that because Stanley was central to the Yorkist camp, he was well placed to help her put her son Henry on the throne. Stanley had sworn loyalty to Yorkist’s but this meant precisely fuck all when shit got real.

Henry VII's Ma, Margret Beaufort and her best 'do not fuck with me' face

Henry VII’s Ma, Margaret Beaufort and her best ‘do not fuck with me’ face

The hottie King Edward IV died, and was succeeded by his son, the imaginatively named Edward V. As the new Edward was only 12, the old Edward had entrusted his brother Richard to be The Lord Protector until he came of age.

Richard subsequently had his nephew, the new boy-king, put into the Tower of London with his younger brother (you heard of The Princes in the Tower? this is them), to prepare for the coronation. This wasn’t too weird at the time because the tower was a royal palace, but a short time later the boys vanished. They were presumed murdered, though no bodies were ever found*. I don’t want to go on a tangent about who killed the boys in the tower because it’s something I could write about all day, but Richard was conveniently next in line, and became King Richard III

princes-in-the-tower

A painting of the princes in the tower and a man with a bowl cut who is obviously the culprit of their murder.

Whilst all this was happening Henry was still in exile in France gathering an army with his Uncle Jasper, (a Welsh badass training Henry to be equally as bad ass). Henry got funding from King Charles VIII of France, who wanted the English distracted while he seized Brittany Sneaky bastard. He gave Henry a shit load of cash and a small army to go fuck up the usurper King Richard.

Richard only ruled England for two years and it’s fair to say that he had pissed a lot of people off – especially his former sister-in-law, Elizabeth Woodville, mother to the missing Princes in the Tower. Elizabeth actually started to conspire with Margaret Beaufort, despite the fact that they previously loathed one another’s guts. Seriously, these women pure hated each other, they were sworn enemies but when you both want to see Richard dead what can you do? They plotted together to marry off Elizabeth Woodville’s daughter (the beautiful Elizabeth of York), to Henry VII once he had destroyed Richard. This would unite the Yorkist and Lancastrian houses and remove all doubt that Henry was true king; Elizabeth of York was after all Edward IV oldest child.

Henry was happy with this. Providing he wasn’t brutally murdered in the field he would not only inherit the throne of England, Wales and Ireland but also get to wed and bed the fittest girl in the lands, like a boss. However, like all good stories, there is a twist. Richard III was also widely rumoured to be smitten like a pubescent 14 year old boy over her, even though she was his niece. Grim. Gossip was flying that the two were already secretly shagging and he wanted to marry her, much to the dismay of his wife Anne Neville (the Queen, as she was then).

Anne Neville, Richard III's wife - Hot

Anne Neville, Richard III’s wife -Hot 

Liz of York -also hot (though this painting does make it look like she has a thyroid problem)

Liz of York -also hot (though this painting does make it look like she has a thyroid problem)

These rumours were only made worse when Elizabeth rocked up to court in clothes so smart she made Anne look like a right tramp. Richard danced with Elizabeth, wined her and dined her all, under the nose of his wife. Anne was pretty good looking herself, but Elizabeth was just so hot that all the men at court loved her.

Shit got real when, in March 1485, Anne died. Rumours flew everywhere that Richard had bumped her off with poison to clear the way for Elizabeth. Hearing the news in France Henry went fucking wild. If he still wanted to bag the English throne AND his smoking young bride then he had no choice – he had to invade straight away, bringing us to the Battle of Bosworth.

By this point Margaret Beaufort had been placed under house arrest for suspected treason. Her husband was placed in charge of making sure she didn’t cause any shit. If this already sounds like a dumb idea, then remember that her husband Lord Stanley was planning to see which side would benefit him best, despite telling Richard he would fight for him.

Lord Stanley’s brother, William, had already told Richard he couldn’t make the battle due to ‘ill health’. Richard was so pissed off about this he declared him a traitor. Thomas Stanley’s son was also taken to the tower as hostage, saying he would execute him on the battlefield if the Stanley’s didn’t turn up. What a prick, using the ‘ha, I’ve got your kids’ approach.  Apparently Thomas’ response was ‘I have other sons…’ Stone cold. The Stanley brothers though to be fair were on a win-win; they had 6000 men and were set to be key in deciding who would be King

Henry finally landed on the Welsh coast on August 7th, 1485 with 2000 men, most on loan from the French King, and picking up another 500 badass Welsh men up for a scrap on the way. They then started the 200 mile march to kick some Yorkist arse all over the shop.

Richard was at Nottingham castle at the time and really didn’t give a shit. Like a cocky mother trucker he stayed an extra night and ordered an enormous banquet to celebrate his victory (albeit prematurely, like a chump). What did he care; he had 10,000-12,000 men (though 6000 were the Stanley families army), was competent in battle, already had the throne and this was by no means his first rodeo, unlike the scruffy nomad Henry Tudor who was new to all this. Things did look a little bleak for Henry, and although he had bollocks of steel he must’ve been pure shitting himself.

In the early hours of 22nd August 1485 the two armies met on the battlefield: Richard at the top of the hill and Henry stuck in a shitty marsh down at the bottom. Henry had brought with him some long bow men from France, who ripped into Richards men no problem, and Richard opened cannon fire. Both sides took a pasting. The Stanley brothers, Thomas and William, sat on the hill with their army watching the fight, waiting to join in when the opportunity was in their favour: sly but totally clever.

A massive amount of Richards’s men simply placed their swords into the ground and refused to fight. By this point there had been more than 30 years of conflicts over the throne and the knights and squires were pissed off with fighting for spoilt rich bastards who couldn’t stop scrapping like dogs over a bone The men who surrendered made a difference but it was a stones drop in the ocean and Richard advanced on Henry, who refused to back down.

Richards’s men came dangerously close to royally fucking Henry up (in every sense) but his bodyguards managed to protect him. Then, suddenly, Stanley’s army swooped down to join the battle – on Henry’s side. Richard found himself right in the centre of the deepest shit storm in The Plantagenet history (and there were loads, this family couldn’t have a shit without an execution, some treason or a slice of betrayal).

Why did the Stanley’s side with Henry? Well, what did they have to lose? William was already accused of treason and Richard would’ve killed The young Stanley Lord regardless, Thomas stood to be ‘father’ of the King should Henry win, and in all honesty they were both sick to shit of Richard. The prospect of uniting Yorkist’s and Lancastrian’s seemed appealing as it would finally see peace in the country. Richard gave the orders to execute Thomas Stanley’s son – whose name, incidentally, was Lord Strange which is awesome – but his men resisted, saying they were too far into war and they would do it after. They were clearly thinking about handing him over to the new King as a bargaining chip in case Henry won, crafty like ninja foxes.

As the Stanley’s troops advanced on Richard, he was offered a horse to flee battle, to which he replied ‘I will die here a king or live’ and charged into battle. Richard was not a popular King but nobody could call him a coward. He was soon dragged to the ground and brutally killed.

 DeathRichardIII

It’s not obvious that the men of that era were able to recognise when a man was dead because they drove an axe (or a halberd if you want to be technical), into his skull, stabbed the shit of his face and then for good measure and to make absolutely certain Richard was dead, they shoved a sword through the base of his neck up into his brain. I’m not an expert myself, but I will go out on a limb and say Richard of York, Duke of Gloucester was definitely dead after this. After death the brutality just kept coming. He was stabbed through the buttock, damaging his pelvis and stabbed in the side fucking up his rib cage. I think its fair to say the Lancastrians meant business.

Lord Stanley then, like a massive creep, picked up Richards crown from under a bush and placed it upon Henry’s head, proclaiming him as the new King of England. Richard III was the last king of England to die in battle, and the first to be found buried under a car park. The battle was over by lunchtime, which I’m sure some of the men would’ve found convenient as they probably had eating and raping to do in the local taverns.

Henry went on to marry Elizabeth of York and the two ruled in relative peace, before eventually having a child who grew to be a more familiar character to us: Henry VIII.

Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. I like how she has sneakily popped in a white rose of York.

Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. I like how she has sneakily popped in a white rose of York.

*just as a little foot-note, two children’s skeletons were uncovered in the Tower of London during a renovation.  They can never be identified as the princes though because Queens’s approval is needed for a DNA test to be conducted and she won’t allow it

Do I think Richard killed the princes? No. Do I shit. Evidence holds that he was a boss Uncle and loyal to his brother. Do I think Shakespeare was responsible for him being portrayed as a tyrant? Hell yes. Do I think he killed his wife? Nah,she could’ve died of 101 things, it was the 15th century and the country was like an opened clinical waste Petri dish. Do I think he would’ve married his niece had he won? Fuck yes, she was hot as shit.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04:  A television screen displays the skeletal remains of what is believed to be King Richard III during a press conference at Leicester University on February 4, 2013 in Leicester, England. The University of Leicester has been carrying out scientific investigations on remains found in a car park to find out whether they are those of King Richard III since last September, when the skeleton was discovered in the foundations of Greyfriars Church, Leicester.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

July 16th 1557 Anne of Cleeves’ death (and life after Henry)

Recent x-rays have revealed a longer nose under the top layer of paint. Now at St. John's College Oxford

Anne of Cleeves

I know I’ve wrote about Anne of Cleeves before but today is the 458th anniversary of her death. She died on 16th July 1557 (possibly of cancer), aged 41. She outlived Henry VIII and all of the other wives, and went on to live a fantastic, luxurious lifestyle as the ultimate single lady upon the finalisation of her divorce.

Anne of Cleeves had been suggested as a wife to Henry by Thomas Cromwell and pals (He was Henry’s fave lawyer and well renowned for getting him out of the shit with Anne Boleyn amongst other things). Henry didn’t really like her and was a complete knob to her. To cut the story down, it basically went like this:  when they first met he dressed as a tramp and ‘surprised’ her at court and them took offense when she looked disgusted, he then couldn’t get a stiffy on their wedding night and so this somehow became her fault and she was labelled ‘a flanders Mare’ for all the court to take the piss out of. Not only that but Henry has his eye on Katherine Howard, her young 17 year old Lady in waiting, so he wanted rid of his new wife ASAP. Their marriage only lasted 7 months and Anne only survived because she went without fuss. Henry paid Anne a boat load of cash and gave her a shit load of houses and awarded her with the title of ‘Kings sister’ making her the most powerful and well respected woman in the country aside from the queen and princesses (who had both been declared bastards by this point). Anne embraced this new found sense of freedom knowing she had a lucky escape. She started signing letters ‘Daughter of Cleeves’ and not ‘The Queen’ and did everything she was told by the King. It must have been terrifying for Anne to come so close to pissing Henry off.

After their divorce Anne was paid a massive annuity, more than likely to keep her quiet. She lived well and was always welcome back to court. During his marriage to Katherine of Howard, Henry invited Anne to court; this must’ve given him some sort of sick kick surely? Anne went and it was all lovely. This went on for some time, even after Katherine Howard’s death and long into his last marriage to Katherine Parr. Henry would visit her frequently and the two would have all kinds of fun. By now Anne had become slightly more British, by this I mean she had let her strict piousness lax a little and now enjoyed a gamble and a booze up (welcome to England eh). She was minted. She loved her servants and was a fab boss, and they loved her. The whole of this period she remained close to the kings daughters (princesses) Elizabeth and particularly Mary who was only a year younger than herself. She even bought a pet parrot. Things were good.

mor_mary_tudor_1554_prado

Mary Tudor: Anne’s step daughter and BFF

Upon henrys death, his son Edward took over the throne as a mere young wipper snapper at the age of 9. Now Anne was no longer the Kings sister (now she was his aunt), so her importance, and with it her annuity, dropped and Anne quickly found herself in debt. Edward had also suggested that Anne should marry his Uncle Thomas Seymour, but she wasn’t keen and Tom was already secretly plotting to marry Katherine Parr, Henrys 6th wife and Edwards step mum…nice and incestuous like.  The King was fairly good to her though, but it didn’t matter anyway because in 1553 he died.

Upon his death there was the whole business with Lady Jane Grey inheriting the throne and being kicked off by Mary I. Anne loved this. Mary had been her step daughter and more importantly her Bessie. Anne found herself back in royal favour. She even ditched her strict protestant faith in favour for ‘the old religion’ of Catholicism, as Mary had requested. Anne took centrepiece next to the new Queen and her sister Elizabeth at Mary’s coronation to show the world how ace she was.

Upon her death, Mary ordered that she would have a grand funeral ‘fit for her status’. She was carried on a massive hearse through London to Westminster Abbey. She lay in state for just over two weeks and was draped in the finest funeral attire. Her funeral was conducted under Catholic rites, as Anne had wanted, (though let’s be honest this was possibly an action devised to keep Mary on side…nobody wanted to piss that bitch off!). She was the only one of henrys wives to be honoured with a burial at the Abby.

Anne is by far the luckiest of henrys wives. She not only profited from him, but survived him, outlived him and prospered from him. Getting that divorce was the best thing she ever did.

Thomas Cranmer: Lover, bishop, martyr, badass.

2nd July 1489 – Thomas Cranmer is born

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Ive always thought of Thomas Cranmer as a bit of an obscure Tudor, in that he did a lot to shape the country during Henry VIII’s reign and yet never seems to take much of a centre stage despite his importance. He was born in 1489 under the reign of Henry’s dad, Henry VII (they liked the name Henry back then), and rose to fame as the archbishop of Canterbury before being executed by Henry’s daughter Mary at the ripe old age of 67 for the crime of heresy, (I always think it hardly seemed worth executing anybody above 50 in Tudor times as being left to the ravages of old age was probably a far shittier punishment).

Thomas was born to parents of minor gentry and sent off to University in Cambridge to become a priest. However before qualifying, he fell in love and married his first wife Joan so the University kicked him out, (the Catholics didn’t like married priests, but priests were allowed to take a mistress….I don’t get it either).  Anyway within the year Joan died during childbirth and the University, being the understanding bunch that they were, reinstated Cranmers fellowship allowing him to qualify as a priest and eventually a ‘Doctor of Divinity’, which has to be up there amongst the best titles ever. Eventually Cardinal Woolsey (the Popes right hand man in England), came sniffing about for bright young Cambridge scholars to work in Spain as ambassadors to the Pope and Cranmers name cropped up, so off he went.

Meanwhile, Back in England in the 1520’s, Henry VIII was growing fed up with his first wife Katherine. She had not only failed to produce an heir (how selfish), but she had also produced a long list of miscarriages and still born babies. The king was now shitting himself that he would have no heir so turned his attentions to the idea of a new wife to chuck out some boys. In order to do this he needed an annulment (to get around the problem of divorce shitting on the face of the Pope). In order to get an annulment Henry needed a good lawyer,( just like every corrupt noble), and he figured it might be a good move to find somebody from the clergy willing to justify Henry’s actions  to the Pope. Henry chose Thomas Cromwell as his lawyer, and in 1527 he interviewed Thomas Cranmer and decided he was exactly the man he needed to get him out of his 24 year marriage. The men became good pals and decided between them that Henrys marriage contradicted a passage in the bible which stated that you must not marry your brother’s wife. They added evidence to this claim stating that the marriage was cursed and the failure to produce a male heir was proof (they neglected to mention henry’s syphilis). This did not stick in the slightest and they were told by the Pope that it was basically tough shit. He chose to marry Katherine and to abandon her would be an act of heresy and result in excommunication.

In 1532 Thomas found himself in Rome as the ambassador to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Katharine’s nephew. He was not happy about the annulment either. Anyway, whilst following Charles around Europe, Thomas met his second wife Margarete. He loved her so much that he decided to sack off celibacy (its shit anyway) and his vows to the church and marry her anyway. Shortly after this he got a letter from henry VIII ordering him to return to England to become the Arch Bishop of Canterbury. This was a bit of a fucker for Thomas so he decided that he would hide his wife in exile.

Back in England Henry was still trying desperately to get his annulment from his wife (it went on for 6 years). In 1532 he dropped a massive bollock by getting Anne Boleyn knocked up, (he had promised to marry her in order to bed her, so now the need for divorce was greater than ever). In January 1533 Henry secretly married Anne (and did not tell Cranmer till 2 weeks after, possibly so as not to piss him off whilst working on the annulment bullshit and also so he didn’t get into a hot mess for being a fat arsed bigamist). Anyway all was good when Cranmer came through for Henry in May of the same year, declaring his marriage void.

As you can imagine this did not fly with the pope, so henry went to Cranmer again for help. The two decided they would sack off Catholicism and invent a new religion where Henry could be boss and Cranmer could re-write Holy passages which basically allowed Henry to do what he wants and be thought of as equal to the Pope (in that he was the head of the church of England as the pope was the head of the Roman catholic church).

Cranmer remained faithful to Henry and a load of other less interesting stuff happened: Henry executed Anne after just 3 years of marriage, got remarried to a bird called Jane who gave him his heir and died in the process. He also married Anne of Cleeves and decided he didn’t like her so Cranmer helped the king ditch her only to go  forward to marry a girl of 19, (when he was 49 like a dirty old bastard), called Katherine Howard. Katherine was his ‘rose without thorns’…his words, and he was besotted with her, giving her wealth beyond her wildest dreams and bragging about all the sex they had been having (imagine the poor girl having that fat oink writing on you with his old body and stinking, ulcerated leg. Not exactly a turn on).

Being a girl of 19 in a court full of hot young lads, It didn’t take long for Katherine’s eyes to wander and they fell upon the youthful face of Thomas Culpepper (member of the Kings privy council). They began an affair and it also came out that she had shagged a couple of dudes before she had met the king and not quite been the virgin he had taken her to be. Nobody wanted to tell the king of his new wife infidelities so the job was handed to Cranmer. Cranmer, being the brave, fearless man he was, slipped a note informing the king of all Katherine’s shenanigans under his chair at mass. The king upon finding this note was most pissed off and decided to send wife number 5 to the block at the tender age of 19.

The execution of poor Katherine Howard

The execution of poor Katherine Howard

When Henry VIII died in 1547, Cranmer was all about Protestantism. He gave so few fucks about what the Catholics thought that he almost seeming only purpose went out of his way to piss them off. Under the Reign of the boy king Edward VI, who was also a big fan of Protestantism, (after all it had assisted his dad in binning off 2 wives prior to knobbing his Ma and spawning the sickly lad), Thomas Cranmer was allowed to run wild. He was given free reign to the changed he though necessary to the church in order to make it a bit less catholic and also write two books of prayer.

When Ed died Thomas supported his successor, the protestant ‘nine day queen’ Lady Jane Grey. The thought of Lady Jane inheriting the throne pissed loads of people off. Edwards sisters, (Princess’ Mary and Elizabeth), had both been declared bastards by Henry and moreover, if Mary (who’s turn it was next) inherited the throne she would try and make the country Catholic again…she was having none of Edward Protestant bullshit. Likewise, Edward wasn’t about to risk the Catholics coming back and the Pope laying some smackdown on his country or losing the gold looted from the monasteries some years earlier by his Dad, so he did the sensible thing and named their cousin Jane as the next sovereign.

Long story short, Mary went fucking mental, rallied an army, marched on London like a banshee, told Jane she would be spared if she converted to Catholicism, Jane told her to cock off so was totally executed. This meant Mary inherited the throne of England and Cranmer swiftly ran out of allies.

And so to poor Thomas’ end. Mary was a psycho bitch. She fucking HATED Protestants and loved nothing more than torturing, hanging and setting fire to them. Thomas Cranmer being the King of the Protty’s now found himself in deep shit. Mary had Cranmer arrested and put on trial for the crime of heresy, he was told that if he recanted all would be OK, so he did. He basically told the court that Protestantism was crap and Catholicism was amazing, but they did not believe him, (can’t think why), so Cranmer was sentenced to death.

Upon his death took back his recantation, stating that the Pope was the antichrist and that he had cleared his conscience before his death, basically stating that because he had nothing to loose he was going to let the world know his thoughts about the catholic reign. He was then tied to the woodpile with chains and set alight. Thomas then did something totally fucking awesome and shoved his first recantation (the one which said he now likes Catholics), into the fire first, held it there whilst the paper burnt (and his hand with it), and said ‘this unworthy right hand’, before being consumed by the flames.

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After surviving Henry VII, HenryVIII, Edward VI and Lady Jane Grey, Thomas was executed by the hand of Mary I at the ripe old age of 67.

Thomas Cranmer…religious badboy.

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