Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The day Cardinal Wolsey went to Hell

In January 1531, two months after the death of Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Boleyn - father of Anne Boleyn - invited to his London home French Ambassador Claude la Guische. For this evening, Thomas Boleyn and Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, put together a performance to be acted out especially for the ambassador.
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey
Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys wrote of the event;

"invited to supper Monsieur de la Guische, for whose amusement he caused a farce to be acted of the Cardinal going down into Hell"

This play was a farce entitled 'The going to Hell of Cardinal Wolsey' which depicted the deceased Cardinal's journey down to Hell.
The two men wanted to show off their own new positions as important court figures now that Wolsey had gone, as well as to emphasise that Wolsey's reign is over and that his methods and influences were in the past and a new era had begun; a Howard era. The inclusion of having a Cardinal, a man of the Catholic church, being abused and sent to hell was a euphemism for the growing hatred King Henry held for the Catholic church and the Pope, which had arisen due to the Pope's refusal to grant Henry a divorce.
The fact that this was performed specifically for the French ambassador is also of significance; immediately before Wolsey's downfall the French were plotting with him, as the two had shared a 'special relationship'. Also, Boleyn and Howard saw this as an opportunity to present themselves to the French as the possible new intermediaries between the French and King Henry.

The French ambassador was not amused by the spectacle - Chapuys wrote that;

"he much blamed the earl, and still more the Duke for his ordering the said fare to be printed"

Following the performance Thomas Howard gave the order to have the play printed so that the sentiments expressed in it could be spread to many others at court.
The play was later performed at the royal court for the king; Wolsey being played by the court jester and the devils dragging him down to hell by four noblemen.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Adrian Stokes, Father of the King?

A mere three weeks after the execution of her husband Henry Grey, Frances Grey (nee Brandon) married her Master of the Horse Adrian Stokes (1519-86) in 1554, and the couple were together for four years until her death in November 1559.

Frances Brandon
As seen by the disaster of the attempt to crown Jane Grey as queen, King Henry VIII's Will still had a strong hold over the succession even years after his death. By this Will, which was made law, the descendants of Princess Mary Rose Tudor - meaning Frances and Eleanor Brandon - would inherit the throne should King Henry's children die without an heir. Queen Mary died in 1558, married but without a child, and her unmarried sister Elizabeth took the throne. As it stood Catherine Grey - Lady Jane's sister - was the heir to the throne should Elizabeth die. However, if Frances Brandon produced a son, this child would be a legitimate male heir to the throne of Elizabeth.

Frances' marriage to Adrian Stokes could be seen as scandalous considering his status was much lower than hers, however her close family seemed to have all followed the trend of marrying a man of lower status yet probably for love; her mother Mary Rose Tudor was Queen of France and married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, her two younger daughters both made love matches and secretly married. Frances was close to her stepmother Catherine Willoughby, who also married a man who was beneath her in social status, Peregrine Bertie.

This marriage may have also had political reasons for Frances; there was rumour that she would marry Edward Courtenay - a fellow possible heir to the throne - and to avoid this marriage or any other which would bring her into the foreground of political intrigue and plots, she married Adrian Stokes. The trauma of having her eldest daughter Jane named queen and then imprisoned and executed, all due to her royal blood and an ambitious marriage, it is possible that Frances wanted to avoid going through something like that again.

Frances had three children with Adrian Stokes, but unfortunately none of them lived very long.
+ Elizabeth Stokes, stillborn on the 20th November 1554
+ Elizabeth Stokes (16 July 1555 - 7 February 1556)
+ Son Stokes, stillborn in December 1556

Had any of these children survived, they would have been considered as heir to Elizabeth, especially if it had been a son; then Elizabeth would have had a male, Protestant, Tudor heir. In 1556, at the time of her stillborn son, there were no males of the Tudor line - that were not descended from Princess Margaret Tudor - also, Elizabeth was by law illegitimate and therefore it could be argued that this Stokes-Brandon son would have a more legitimate claim to the throne of England than either of Mary or Elizabeth. In this hypothetical situation, Adrian Stokes would have transformed himself from Master of the Horse of a Dowager Duchess to the Father of the King of England.

Friday, 8 November 2013

A Carey on the throne of Scotland?

George Carey (1547-1603) was the eldest son and heir of Henry Carey (1526-96) and his wife Anne Morgan (1529-1607). George Carey was therefore the nephew of Catherine and Francis Knollys, Catherine being Henry Carey's elder sister. This Henry Carey was first cousin to Queen Elizabeth through their Boleyn mothers being sisters; Anne and Mary Boleyn. George Carey was therefore a Boleyn and Howard relation with familial connections to the Queen.

George Carey, 1601

In May 1568 Mary, Queen of Scots fled to England and was presently placed into the custody of Francis Knollys. In October of this year, it was proposed that Mary be married to a member of the English nobility, as this would permit for English help to be given to Mary for the restoration of her throne, with the security of future friendship with England. Queen Elizabeth specifically told Mary that she could not marry unless the match had the majority of approval of the English nobility, as well as her own consent. At the conferences in York concerning this matter, Francis Knollys put forward his nephew George Carey for the match.
On the 15th October 1568 Francis Knollys wrote to the Duke of Norfolk, mentioning the possibility of marriage between his nephew and the Scots queen, with wording of a manner which indicated that the idea of this marriage initially came from the Duke of Norfolk;
"my Lord of Hunsdon would be offended by my marrying his son in this behalf, and therefore I pray your Grace to use the matter thereafter"

Francis Knollys wrote to William Cecil on 20th October 1568 asking George Carey's name to be mentioned when discussing the future of Mary of Scots.
Francis Knollys also wrote to his brother-in-law Henry Carey on the 27th October 1568 discussing the matter.
"I thought this Queen, to have her Majesty's favor, would not stick to marry one of her Majesty's near kinsmen of the mother's side, if she liked the person and quality of the man. And I assure you I suppose she would be well content to match in this case with my cousin, George Carey; or if her Majesty like not of an elder brother, I think she would not refuse one of his younger brethren, if her fancy could like of his person and other circumstances." —Bolton, 27 Oct. 1568. 

This suggestion however was not favoured by George Carey's father Henry Carey, nor by the queen, and Francis Knollys had the blame for the match placed upon him.

George Carey, 1581

Two years later in 1570 the queen had changed her mind; this marriage would prevent Mary from marrying a foreign power or a nobleman in England with great power, such as the Duke of Norfolk. Therefore, Queen Elizabeth offered Mary her freedom from imprisonment on the condition that she marry George Carey and name him King consort of Scotland. William Cecil made the journey to Chatsworth in October of 1570, where Mary was living at this time, in order to persuade the Scottish Queen to accept the marriage to George Carey. Mary of Scots refused this match.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Perrot-Hatton-Jones illegitimacy web

Sir John Perrot (1528-92) was rumoured to be the illegitimate son of Henry VIII; apparently resembling him physically, however this suggestion was mostly enforced by Perrot's grandson-in-law.
Sir John Perrot
John Perrot went on to have several illegitimate children of his own; James (1571-1637), John and Elizabeth Perrot and another daughter who married David Morgan.
Sir John's son James had for a mother Sibyl Jones, who herself was an illegitimate daughter of Thomas Jones; who was in fact Sir John's stepfather having become the second husband of Sir John's mother Mary Berkeley.
Sir John's daughter Elizabeth was his daughter by Elizabeth Hatton, another illegitimate child, fathered by Sir Christopher Hatton (1540-91).
Sir Christopher Hatton
In 1583 Sir John was commissioned to sketch out a map of Galway Town in Ireland, and during this commission he is describes as a servant to Sir Christopher Hatton. Their professional relationship furthered during 1585 when they worked together in County Mayo; Perrot was the Lord Deputy in 1584 and made Hatton the Sheriff of County Mayo. At this time they appear to have a close relationship and this was probably when Perrot met Hatton's daughter Elizabeth, giving their child a birth date between 1583-88 as by 1591 Perrot was certainly back in England as he was arrested for treason.
The affair between John Perrot and Elizabeth Hatton was a source of tension between Sir John and her father Christopher Hatton; Hatton declared Perrot his enemy due to the fact that he had seduced his daughter.

There is a record from 1589 which states the gifts of horses to several men which included; the horse colts to go to Sir John Perrot and two mares to go to Hugh Butler of Johnson. It is probably this Hugh Butler that married Elizabeth Perrot.
Elizabeth Perrot married Hugh Butler of Johnston who was the Sheriff of Pembrokeshire around 1600, and together the couple had seven children;
+ Thomas Butler m. Lettice Butler (9 children)
+ Elinor Butler m1. James Philipps (2 children), m2. John Philipps (5 children)
+ Jane Butler m. Harry Morgan
+ Dorothy Butler m. John Jordan (3 children)
+ Cecily Butler
+ Frances Butler
+ Lettice Butler m. William Hanker