Thursday, 27 March 2014

The lucky fourth wife

Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of King Henry VIII, was the second of his divorces. However, this divorce was vastly different to his first. In hindsight, it was this wife who best survived Henry and his matrimonial games.

Henry's treatment of his previous wives Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn may have been known by Anne, and she would have feared the same; either a trial and beheading or a cruel banishment back to her home in Cleves, where she lived in fear of her brother. Therefore, when Henry demanded a divorce from Anne, she must have known that it was important how she responded to it. Like Queen Catherine, she could have refused him and insisted their marriage continue and involved foreign politics in the matter, concerning the relationship between England and Cleves. Yet, Anne chose to act humbly and admirably; she accepted the annulment of her marriage with grace. Her response to his request was one of respectful submission to his will, something which Henry clearly admired as he granted her a generous divorce settlement.

This letter was Anne's response to King Henry's request for an annulment;

Pleaseth your most excellent majesty to understand that, whereas, at sundry times heretofore, I have been informed and perceived by certain lords and others your grace's council, of the doubts and questions which have been moved and found in our marriage; and how hath petition thereupon been made to your highness by your nobles and commons, that the same might be examined and determined by the holy clergy of this realm; to testify to your highness by my writing, that which I have before promised by my word and will, that is to say, that the matter should be examined and determined by the said clergy; it may please your majesty to know that, though this case must needs be most hard and sorrowful unto me, for the great love which I bear to your most noble person, yet, having more regard to God and his truth than to any worldly affection, as it beseemed me, at the beginning, to submit me to such examination and determination of the said clergy, whom I have and do accept for judges competent in that behalf. So now being ascertained how the same clergy hath therein given their judgment and sentence, I acknowledge myself hereby to accept and approve the same, wholly and entirely putting myself, for my state and condition, to your highness' goodness and pleasure; most humbly beseeching your majesty that, though it be determined that the pretended matrimony between us is void and of none effect, whereby I neither can nor will repute myself for your grace's wife, considering this sentence (whereunto I stand) and your majesty's clean and pure living with me, yet it will please you to take me for one of your humble servants, and so determine of me, as I may sometimes have the fruition of your most noble presence; which as I shall esteem for a great benefit, so, my lords and others of your majesty's council, now being with me, have put me in comfort thereof; and that your highness will take me for your sister; for the which I most humbly thank you accordingly. 
Thus, most gracious prince, I beseech our Lord God to send your majesty long life and good health, to God's glory, your own honor, and the wealth of this noble realm. 
From Richmond, the 11th day of July, the 32nd year of your majesty's most noble reign. 
Your majesty's most humble sister and servant, Anne the daughter of Cleves.

She was to remain in England, but as long as she did she would live the life of a wealthy dowager. She was granted several estates, including Hever Castle, a yearly allowance of £3000-£4000 and she would there after be titled 'the King's sister' and would have precedence over all other women in England except for the king's wife and daughters. Anne's brother insisted that Anne return to Cleves, but this would not have been desirable to her due to his own actions towards her as well as the fact that once divorced, in a sense rejected, she would not be sought out for marriage by other ruling houses and she would have to live off her brother's generosity for the rest of her life.

Hever Castle
Anne never returned to Cleves, nor did she remarry. However, she enjoyed a close relationship with King Henry and his children, and was frequently at court with them. She received many visits from her step-daughters Mary and Elizabeth for the rest of her life and made a respected and well liked position and home for herself in her adopted country. Anne outlived King Henry, his dowager Queen Katherine Parr, her step-son Edward, and lived to see her step-daughter Mary become Queen. When Anne died in 1557, she was the only one of King Henry's wives, excepting Jane Seymour, who was buried in Westminster Abbey; a sign of the respect and love that existed between the Tudors and herself.


Thursday, 20 March 2014

The imprisoned Mary Grey

On the 16th of July 1565 Lady Mary Grey secretly married Thomas Keyes, a sergeant porter at court.

Lady Mary Grey
Mary Keyes

Thomas Keyes was imprisoned at the Fleet and Mary was sent to Chequers in the custody of William Hawtrey.
Mary would frequently write to William Cecil, chief advisor to Queen Elizabeth, asking him to intercede with the queen on her behalf. 

7 November 1565
Good master secrytery I canot but geue you most humbell thankes for that I understande by master hawtry you ar suche an ernest sutter to the quenes maieste for to gett me her maiestes fauor the whiche is in this worlde the greattest thynge that I desier althoughe I confes that I haue desarued greatte punneshement at her maiestes handes yett if it wolde plesse her maieste to receue me once agayne to her fauor as I haue hertofor sayed I must to behaue my selfe so ever ded any that was in the courte and therfor I moste humbly reguser you to be a contenuall meane for me to brynge me unto that moste hapy estate agayene as to be in maiestes fauor the whiche myghte I ones obtayne I trust neuer to lose whille I lyue for that now I fell the greatte greffe it is to haue the prences desplessuer the whiche I assuer you if I had all the good in the worlde I wolde gladly geue it to be made suer of her maiestes fauour and to com into her maiestes pressens agayen and thys for that I doute not but you will aplye my sutte when occacyone will sarue I take my leue moste humbly of you desieringe god to sende you a happy suxes in thys your cherytabell requeste from chekers the vii daye of nouember 1565
your porr frynde to comande durynge lyfe
Mary Graye

16 December 1565
Good master secrytary I haue receued your letter by thys bearer wherin I receue no lyttell comfort in that I perceyrie you arr so erneste a sutter for me to her maieste as I can desier and also I haue receued greatte greffe for that I understande your erneste sutte as yett can take no place in obtaynynge me her maiestes fauor the whiche allthoughe I cofesse I haue desarued the conterary yett for that I haue founde her maieste so marcyfull to me all thes whill I did truste to haue holly obtayned her maiestes fauor befor thyes tyme the whiche havinge once obtayned I truste nouer to haue loste agayne but now I perceue that I am so unhappy a cretur as I must yett be witheout that greatte and longe desiered well tell it plesse god to put in her maiestes harte to forgeue and pardonn me my greatt and haynusse cryme althoughe with as sorowfull a hartte as euer any pour subiectte did and not withe followinge your moste godly counssell for the whiche I geue you moste humbell thankes prainge to god to geue me grace to emober and obsarue to the uttermoste of my poure and thyes for wublynge you any forther for thyse tyme most humbly byd you farwell from chekers the xvi daye of deceber 1565
your pour frynde to comande duringe lyffe
Mary Graye

24 January 1566
Good master secrytary, I must craue pardonn at your handes for trublynge you so oftenn withe my rude letters, but I trust you conceue what a greffe the quenes maiestes desplessur is to me, whiche makes me to wyshe deathe rather thenn to be in thes greatte messery witheout her maiestes fauor and therfor I am forst to craue your help and goodnes to be a conteneweall meane for me to her maieste, to gett me her maiestes fauor agayen: trustynge if I myghte our obtayne it neuer to forgoo it, whill i lyue, so neerrly gently as I haue don god geuinge me his grace, whiche I truste hee will withe my conteneweall prayer for it and therfor as you haue begonn to forther me to her maiesty for her maiestes fauor so I truste you will contenewe untell you haue gotten it me, and thys I leue to trubell you for thys tyme, prayen god to send you good spede from chekers the xxiiii daye of jenuary 1566
yours to comande duringe my lyfe
Mary Graye

7 February 1566
Good master secretary, I haue receued your message you sente me by master hawtry, wherin I do parceue you ar in dout whether I do contenet in my foly stell or no; whiche I assuer you I do as muche repent as euer dyd any, not only for that I haue therby geuen occasyon to my enymyes to reioycs at my fond parte, but also for that I haue therbe incurred the quenes maiestes desplessur, whiche is the greattest greffe to me; for that the princes fauor is not so soon gotten agayn and I assure you to be without it is suche agreff to any true subiectes hartt as no turment can be greatter as I most wofull wreche haue to well tryed desiringe rather deathe then to be any longer without so greatt a iuch as her maiestes fauor sholde be to me. wherfor for god sake as you haue begun for to be a meane to her maieste in gettinge me thes greatt and longe desired tressure, so continew untell you haue made me so happy as to obtaye it for me and this I leue to trubell you any forther at this tyme paryinge to god to send you prossperus succes. from chekers the vii day of february 1566
yours to comande duringe my lyfe
Mary Graye


3 May 1566
Good master secrytary I am a shamed this often to trubell you withe my rude letters butt that the greatte messery and moste lamentabell lyff I do nowe suffer in beinge without the quenes maiestes fauor dothe make me the bolder to putt you in rememberance at thys presentte of my humbell sutte to her maieste for fauor and remssyon of that whiche is past in hope that herafter I shall neuer offende her maieste any mor butt accordinge to my dutey behaue myselfe to her maieste so well as that I shalle in greatter fauor then I haue byne in desplessar allthoughe I muste conffes that I haue despiruest greatte desplessur of her maieste fauor I wolde neuer lowes it agayn wherfor as my only trust is in you so for god sake forgett not to ... my petyfull sutte to her maieste to receue me into her fauor and presscribe agayne and this I leue to trubell you any further for thys tyme in hope you will not forgett me from chekers the iii daye of maye 1566
your assured pore frynde to comande duringe my lyffe
Mary Graye

6 September 1566
Good master secrytary I muste craue pardon of you for that I am nowe so bolde to trubell you withe this my rude letter trustinge you will concether that I haue byen a greatte whill in the quenese maiestes desplessur the whiche I muste confesse I haue dessarued butt yett when I concether her maiestes marcefullnes it makes me hope withe your good helpe to taste of sum parte of it and therfor I am so bolde at this pressente to trubell you and to requier you moste humbly to contenewe your accostomed fryndshepe towarde me and to gette me so muche coumfortt as that I maye see her maieste att my Lord wenjors whiche sholde be so greatte a comforte to me as I canot expresse for I haue contenewed in messery wetheoutt her maiestes fauor and prescence a greatte whill and nowe wolde be glade to haue a lyttell ioye after all my sorowe the whiche I do not doutt butt withe your good furderaunce to obtayne and therfor I leue to trubell you any further for this tyme trusting you will remember this my humbell sutte desieringe god that I maye obtayne it from chekers the vi daye of september 1566
your pore frynde to comande duringe my lyffe
Mary Graye

30 September 1566
Good master secrytary I am bold to truble you at this pressent withe this my rude letter trustinge you will thinke no thinge in me for my boldnes but will i hope concether my longe and greuos empresonment and as you haue hetherto byne my greate frynde so I trust you will contenew and moue my most lamentable estat unto the quenes maieste crauing moste humble pardonn of her maieste for me that it wolde plesse her maieste allthough I have desarued to haue her maiestes deplesur yett to showe her accostomed goodnes rewarde me and to rescue me into her maiestes fauor agayne the whiche if I myghte obtayn I wolde truste withe the grace of god to kepe my selfe out of her maiestes desplesur duringe my lyfe for now I fell what hartes sorowe it is to a trew suiectes harte to haue the princes aunger. the greffe wherof is so greate as I assur you I thinke no turmente to be compared to that payne and therfor for gods sake I craue it be an ernest sutter for me to her maieste for fauor and remess you and to remember whate a greate tyme of truble I haue had the whiche I truste withe your good helpe will so moue her maiestes harte that at the last her maieste will I trust udue compassyon on me anot receue me into her fauor and pressence agayne and this for trublying you ouer muche at this tyme I take my leue of you moste humbly from chekers the xxx daye of september 1566
your pore frynde to comande
Mary Graye

17 April 1567
Good master secrytary I must craue humble pardonn of you for thatt I haue nott befor this tyme rendered my selfe thankfull to you for the greatte goodnes and fryndshepe I haue founde in you and and also the greatte redynes you haue showed in mouinge my moste petyfull and lamentable suett to the quenes maieste for her maiestes moste gracyous fauor for me and also I truste you will rather impuett it to the wantt of a conneyent messenger then to my forgettfullnes of my partte who hathe hathe byen to muche bound to you to forgett my selfe so farr most humbly desiringe you also thatt as you haue begonn your goodnes towards me in beinge so erneste a suetter to her maieste for the obtayninge of her maiestes fauor for me so you will contenewe untell you haue made me so happy a crettur as thatt I maye be made in thatt good estatt thatt I was in when I hade her maiestes fauor the whiche unlesse by your good meanes I gett agayne do lyue in suche wofull easse as I had rather be outt of this worlde then to wantt to greatt a well as thatt sholde be to me and this trustinge you will still as occacyon dothe sarue moue her maieste for her moste gracyous fauor and remessyon I leue to trubell you any mor for this tyme desiringe god to sende you happy suksesse in all your affayrs from checkers the xvii daye of aperol 1567
your pore frynde to comande
Mary Graye

In August 1567, Mary was moved to lived with her step-grandmother Katherine, Duchess of Suffolk. However this only lasted for two years as in June 1569 Mary was sent to live with Sir Thomas Gresham and his wife Anne at Bishopsgate, and later on at their country house at Osterley.
Thomas Keyes was released from the Fleet in 1569, however during his years of imprisonment his health had declined and he died in September 1571, having never seen his wife again.

7 October 1571
Hauinge founde your lordshepe so muche allways my good lorde in furderinge my humble sutt unto her maieste for her moste gracyous fauor in this my greatt sorowfull estatt morfor I am nowe the mor imbolldened to putt your so agayne in rememberaunce of this your goodnes crauinge the contynewance therof in beinge still an erneste and humble sutter unto her maieste for her obtayninge of the same greatt and longe desiered juell for me and sems god hathe taken awaye the occacyon of her maiestes justly conceved despleassuer towardes me it myghte therfor pleasse her hyghenes of her wonttcote marcyfullnss to pardonn  this my greatt faulte cometted agaynest her maieste and receve agayn unto fauor the whiche if I myghte by your so good precurment once attayn I do nothinge doutt gods helpe butt to verse my selfe in suche humble and dutyfull sortt as her maieste shall thinke this her gracyoses clemency welbestowed on me hauing had suffycyentt warninge by this my greatt messery allredy suffered whatt waye to kepe my selfe for ever fallinge any mor into so greatt inconvenence or wreched lyffe agayne as to be in her maiestes despleassur whill I lyve and this havinge over weryed your to withe my rude lynes I comett you to the kepeinge of god whom sende your lordshepe healte and me shortly her maiestes fauor to my greatt comfortt from osterle the vii of october 1571
your lo assured frende
Mary Keys

Thomas Gresham

24 May 1572
My messerabell and wreched casse constrayneth to trubell you my good lorde withe thes my rude lynes to crave at your so handes thatt as you have byen my good lorde and frend in speakinge for me unto her maieste for the forgevenes of my fault hetherto so mor you will still contenew the same goodnes to me in this my trubell sorow. I understand by m gresham thatt her maieste is contented I should be att free leberty goo wher I wold and willed me to nam the place wher I thought to be receved butt conterary to my hope itt has perrys as he touht me he showed your lordshepe wher upponn I understand by hym you willed me yett to thynke on sum other surly even as I sayd then so now I am bouht to writt to your lo I nether can thynke or know any thatt I am so muche beholdinge unto wherfor my good lord even for god sake as you see my woofull and hevy statt so petty me as I maye receve sum greattor comfortt then this messerably to remayn voyd of all frends and speake unto her maieste thatt as itt hathe pleassed her maieste alltogether undessarved by my passed faulte to sett me att leberty so seinge that I am destetud of all frends butt only god and her maiesty so I maye by her moste gracyous apoyntent be in som place of reste also my lyvinge is no waye so greatt as your lo dothe knowe wherby I maye heavr my selfe thatt way into any place for I have butt fourscore pound ayere of her maieste of my onne I have butt twenty pound and as your lo knowethe ther is no body will bourd me for so lyttell as for my father in law I know he will geve me nothynge now for befor his mariage I had lytell and now I loke for less wherfor beinge in this messery I knowe nott to how to fly for sucker butt only unto her maieste by your lo good meanes to move her maieste to pety me and this for over weryinge your lo withe hearing of my grevous messery and trustinge on sum good comfortable newes from her maieste by your manes thatt I maye be outt of thvs extremety I comett your lo to god from gresham housse this xxiiii daye of maye
your lo to comande
Mary Graye

Mary remained with the Greshams for a further few months, but by February 1573 she had her own household in London. In 1577 Mary was back at court as a Maid of Honour to the Queen. However, Mary died on the 20th of April 1578 as heiress presumptive to the English throne. She was given a lavish funeral and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Friday, 14 March 2014

The musical Lupo family of Tudor England

In 1540, Henry VIII gave Thomas Cromwell the mission of finding European musicians to come to England to help improve music standards in England.
In November of that year six viol players were brought from Venice to England;
Ambrose, Alexander and Romano Lupo, Albert and Vincenzo of Venice and Juan Maria of Cremona.

The Viol Family


Ambrose was the eldest of the Lupo brothers and the patriarch of the family, born in 1505. 
The Lupo brothers were not Christians, but Sephardic Jews of Spanish origin. In 1542 when Henry VIII was persecuting Jews hiding their religion, the Lupo brothers returned to Venice for a few months. Ambrose and Alexandro did return to England later that month, however Romano died in 1542. Alexandro died in 1544. 
Ambrose played the viol at the funeral of Henry VIII as well as at the coronations of Edward VI and Elizabeth I. 
For New Years 1577-8, Ambrose gifted the Queen "a box of lute strynges", and the same a year later when he presented her with "a box of lute-strynge".
On March 17th 1589 a warrant was made to the Auditor of the Exchequer to make out the particulars of a lease in reversion of lands to the value of 20l per annum for Ambrosio Lupo, "one of the eldest of her Majesty's musicians for the vials". A further warrant in 1590 was made as it pleased the Queen to increase in value the grant given to him. 
Ambrose held his position of court musician until his death in 1591, being the longest serving of the six viol players brought to England in 1540. 
Ambrose had two sons with his wife Lucia who were also viol players, Peter and Joseph.


Peter, born in 1534 in Italy, was a craftsman of instruments as well as a viol player. He was admitted to the Musician's Guild in Antwerp in 1555, then started his career as a court musician in 1556. In 1567 he was employed by Robert Dudley, and later in 1570 became a musician at Elizabeth's court. On the 18th March 1578, Peter wrote to Robert Dudley offering to return to his service at court. 
For New Years 1599-1600, he gifted the Queen with "six bottles of sweete water". 
Peter played at Elizabeth I's funeral in 1603, along with other members of his family. 
Peter married Katherine Wickers in 1575, and they had nine children together; Mary, Elizabeth, Ferdinando, Jane, Katherine, William, Philip (1582-1668), Albiano (1579-1626) and Thomas - who was also a musician. His son Albiano, an adventurer and share holder in the Virginia Company, settled in America. He sailed aboard the ship The Swan in 1610, predating the Pilgrims. Peter's son Philip was a goldsmith in London, and visited Albiano in America in 1621, but did not stay. Peter died in 1608.

Signature of Peter Lupo


Joseph was born in 1537 and like his father became a viol player. He was admitted to the Musician's Guild in Antwerp in 1557. He became a court musician in 1563, and remained so until his death.  For New Years 1599-1600, he gifted the Queen with "one paire of pfumed gloves". He played at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth in 1603. 
Joseph married Laura Bassano, the daughter of a fellow court musician; Alvise Bassano, a recorder player. The Venetian Bassano family had been musicians at the English court since the 1520's, and were also Sephardic Jews like the Lupo family. Joseph and Laura had at least seven children together; Bridget, Joseph, Francis, Ambrose and Theophilus, as well as two sons who became musicians like their father; Thomas and Horatio. His son Francis, although not a musician, made instrument making his trade and by 1609 was living in Amsterdam with his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Sybil.
Joseph died in 1616.


Thomas was born in 1571, the son of Joseph Lupo, and became a violinist. Despite being a court musician, he in fact was unpaid from 1588 to 1591, however in 1592 he was given a paid position that would be his for life. For New Years 1599-1600, he gifted the Queen with "one paire of pfumed gloves". In 1603, he played at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. Upon the accession of King James, Thomas was made Musician to the King, and during the years 1610-12 he was a violinist in Prince Henry's household, and then in Prince Charles' household 1617-25. The position of 'Composer for the violins' was created for Thomas in 1619, for which he would be paid 40 marks a year, so that "they may be the better furnished with variety and choice for our delight and pleasure in that kind". In 1622 Thomas was granted £16 2s 6d a year for his livery. Thomas died in 1627.
With his wife Lydia, he had two daughters; Martha and Sarah, and a son, Theophilus, who also became a violinist. Theophilus was given a grant of 40l per annum for life, previously given to his father, on the 1st December 1628. On May 19th 1637, Lydia, now a widow, petitioned the king for the money owed to her husband at the time of his death as well as money owed to her son Theophilus; 48l was owed to Thomas for three years arrears of his livery out of the Great Wardrobe, and 32l owed to Theophilus for the same reason. She had previously petitioned the Master of the Wardrobe but his reply was that he could not pay the money owed without a warrant from the king. 


Horatio was born in 1583, the younger child of Joseph and Laura. On February 6th 1612, Horatio was granted the place of Musician on the Violin for life. In 1625 he became a musician in Ordinary on the violin, however he died only a year later. 
He married Mary Storye in 1616 and the couple had four children; George, Barbara, Elizabeth and William.


Thomas was the son of Peter Lupo, born in 1577 in England. For New Years 1599-1600 he gifted the Queen with "one paire of pfumed gloves". He became a court musician, playing the violin, under King James I, from 1603 until his death in 1642.

Ela; heiress, Countess, Sheriff, Abbess


Ela was born in 1187 to William FitzPatrick and Eleonore de Vitre (1164-1233), she was to be their only child and therefore their heiress. William was the 2nd Earl of Salisbury and Sheriff of Wiltshire, as was his father before him. Upon his death in 1196, the nine year old Ela became Countess of Salisbury.



In 1196, the same year she became Countess, Ela married William de Longespee, who was twenty years old. This marriage was arranged by King Richard I. William was the illegitimate son of King Henry II and his mistress Ida de Tosny, and was therefore the half-brother of kings Richard and John. William and Ela enjoyed a close relationship with the royal family, and the king regularly sent Ela gifts of venison throughout the 1220's, even after William had died. Upon their marriage, William assumed the title of Earl of Salisbury, and was granted the post of Sheriff of Wiltshire in 1198. 

The couple had eleven children together;
+ William Longespee (1209-50)  Died on Crusade
+ Richard Longespee                Canon of Salisbury
+ Stephen Longespee (1216-60) Seneschal of Gascony
+ Nicholas Longespee (d.1297)  Bishop of Salisbury
+ Isabella Longespee 
+ Petronilla Longespee
+ Ela Longespee (d.1297)
+ Ida Longespee
+ Ida Longespee
+ Mary Longespee
+ Pernel Longespee

William Salisbury.jpg
William de Longespee

William remained loyal to his brother King John during the Baron's Revolt, and was one of the leaders of the king's army in the south. For his loyalty, King John granted William the post of Sheriff of Wiltshire for life as well as Sheriff of Lincolnshire and Somerset.
However, in 1216 when Prince Louis of France landed in England in support of the rebels, William changed sides. This may have been done in reaction to his brother King John's attempts to seduce his wife Ela while William was being held captive in France after the 1214 defeat at Bouvines. However by 1217 William's allegiance had reverted back to the crown.
After the death of King John, and the accession of the young King Henry III, William held an influential position in government and was granted the position of High Sheriff of Devon (1217) and Staffordshire and Shropshire (1224).
William was sent on expedition in Gascony with King Henry's brother Prince Richard, but on his return to England in 1225 he was shipwrecked off the coast of Brittany. He then spent several months recovering at a monastery on the Island of Re in France. When William was shipwrecked, there were rumours that he had died at sea. It was then that Raymond de Burgh, the nephew of one of the most powerful men in England - the judiciary Hubert de Burgh - sought to make Ela his wife. Through his uncle, Raymond petitioned the king for his permission to marry Ela, which he granted upon the condition that Ela accepted him. Despite Raymond's flattery and promises, she rejected his proposal. Ela believed her husband was still alive, she told Raymond that she had received letters which confirmed this. She also told him that even if her husband was indeed dead, she would still not marry him due to their unequal rank. When William returned to England and was told of what Raymond had done, he went to see Hubert de Burgh and demanded reparations for his, and his nephew's, actions. Hubert gave his apologies, as well as gifts, and invited the Earl to dine with him. That evening of the feast at Marlborough Castle, it is said by some chroniclers of that time that it was at this dinner that William was poisoned, and this caused his death.
Only days after returning to England, William died on the 7th of March 1226 at Salisbury Castle.


After William's death, the post of Sheriff of Wiltshire was redistributed in 1226. However, a year later Ela was given the position of Sheriff 'at the kings pleasure' for the price of 500 marks. This post only lasted a year until she stood down from the post due to ill health. In 1231 Ela was again made Sheriff of Wiltshire 'for the remainder of her life'. This appointment was done at the approval of the king, local nobility and the Bishops of Bath and Salisbury. Ela went in person to account at the Exchequer at Michaelmas in 1236. She stepped down from the position in 1237. 
When William died in 1226, Ela had to surrender Salisbury Castle, however she bought back custody of it for life in 1231 for 200 marks.

Ruins of Salisbury Castle


Ela founded the Carthusian monastery at Hinton in 1227, as a continuation of her husband's wishes. 

"I, wishing for God's sake to complete what my husband had begun well, in my liege power and widowhood after his death have given and granted and by this my charter confirmed to the Carthusian order all my manor of Hinton, with the advowson of the church and the park and all its other appurtenances without anything reserved to me or my heirs, in exchange for the aforesaid lands. I have done this for my husband's soul, and the soul of Earl William my father, and for my salvation and that of my children, and for the souls of all my ancestors and heirs. Similarly I have granted all my manor of Midsummer Norton with the advowson of the church and all its other appurtenances, without any reservation to me or my heirs."

In 1229, Ela founded the Augustinian Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire. 

"I Ela and my heirs will warrant, defend and acquit to the nuns against all men and women for ever all the aforesaid manors, with the advowsons of the churches of Shrewton and Lacock, and with all their other appurtenances, as free and quit as any alms which can be given."

In 1237, the king granted the abbey a fair to last three days on the day, eve, and day after St Thomas the Martyr. Ela then entered as a nun in 1238, and in 1240 she was made Abbess of Lacock. 
Whilst Abbess, Ela obtained many rights for the abbey as well as the village of Lacock. In 1241, Ela was granted permission from the king to hold a weekly market, and another royal grant was for the abbess to have one cart of dead wood for fuel from the forest of Melksham once a week. Ela remained Abbess until 1257, when she stepped down. 

Lacock Abbey

Ela died on the 24th of August 1261 and was then buried in Lacock Abbey.
The Latin inscription on her tombstone;
Below lie buried the bones of the venerable Ela, who gave this sacred house as a home for the nuns. She also had lived here as holy abbess and Countess of Salisbury, full of good works
 Even after her death, Ela was remembered by the Abbey for her kindness and generosity. The anniversary of Ela's death was celebrated every year by the Abbey; on the 30th of November corn would be given out to the poor, and on the eve of that day, three poor people would be given food and drink. Ela's last surviving son, Nicholas, ordered that after his death his heart was to be placed at Lacock Abbey.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Queen Mary's 1554 pregnancy

Queen Mary Tudor married Prince Philip of Spain on July 15th 1554.

In the September of 1554, the court doctor told Queen Mary that she was pregnant. A Parliamentary Act was then passed which stated that if Queen Mary died in childbirth, Philip would act as Regent in England until the child reached the age of majority, however Philip would not be King of England.
At the end of April 1555, Lady Elizabeth was called to court in order to attend the imminent royal birth.
However, a letter written on the 25th April from Prince Philip to his brother-in-law Maximilian of Austria read;
"The queen's pregnancy turns out to not have been as certain as we thought"

On April 30th, false rumours were spread across England and Europe that the Queen had given birth to a son. However, there was no news from Hampton Court where the Queen was in confinement. Throughout the months of May and June, reports came from those inside Hampton Court, such as lady-in-waiting Susan Clarencieux, that the Queen no longer appeared pregnant. In June and July, Mary was said to be blaming her lack of child on the Protestant 'heretics' in her realm and that until she had rid her country of them, she would not be able to have a child.
In August 1555 Queen Mary came out of confinement, yet made no statement about the expected child. 
Her husband Philip left England later that month and would not return for two years. Lady Elizabeth remained at court until October, appearing to be back in favour as the heir presumptive to the throne. 

The following ballad was sung during the winter months of 1554, to celebrate the Queen's pregnancy being announced.
The Ballad of Joy

Now singe, now springe, our care is exiled.
Our vertuous Quene is quickned with child.

Nowe englande is happie, and happie in dede,
That god of his goodness, dothe prospir here seede:
Therefore let us praie, it was never more nede,
God prosper her highnes, god send her good sped.

How manie good people, were longe in dispaire,
That this letel englane, shold lacke a right heire:
But nowe the swet marigold, springeth to fayre,
That England triumpheth, without anie care.

How manie greate thraldoms, in englande were seene,
Before that her highness, was pwblyshed as quene:
The bewtye of England, was banished clene,
With wringing, and wrongynge, & sorrowes betwen.

And yet synce her highness was planted in peace,
Her subjects wer doubtful of her highness increase
But nowe the recofort, their murmour doth cease,
They have their owne wyshynge their woes do release. 

And suche as envied, the matche and the make
And in their proceedings, stoode styffe as a stake:
Are now reconciled, their malis doth slake,
And all men are wilinge, theyr partes for to take.

Our doutes be dissolved, our fancies contented,
The marriage is joyfull, that many lamented:
And suche as envied, like foles have repented,
The errours & terrours, that they have invented.

But God dothe worke, more wonders then this,
For he is Auther, and Father of blysse:
he is the defender, his working it is,
And where he doth favoure, they fare not amys.

Therefore let us praye, to the father of myght
To prosper her highness, and shelde her in ryghte:
With joye to deliver, that when she is lighte,
Both she and her people, maie Joye without flight.

God prosper her highnes, in every thinge,
Her noble spouse, our fortunate kynge:
And that noble blossome, that is planetd to springe,
Amen swete Jesus, we hartely singe.

Blysse thou swete Jesus, our comforters three,
Oure kynge, our Quene, our Prince that shal be:
That they three as one, or one as all three,
May govern thy people, to the plesure of thee.

Imprinted at London in Lumbarde strete
Signe of the Eagle, by
Wyllyam Ryddaell.