Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Tudor England - A Fatal Lust for Power III

A New Queen

Margaret Audley, Duchess of Norfolk
Given that the Pope was unlikely to grant a dispensation of marriage and that Elizabeth was to restore the Protestant religion, Norfolk quietly married Margaret Audley at the end of November. In March 1559 parliament approved the marriage.

Overseeing the queen’s coronation was Norfolk’s responsibility as Earl Marshal[i], he also claimed and was given the role of Chief Butler. But first it fell to him to arrange Queen Mary’s funeral, which took place on 13th December. On 15th January 1559 the new Queen’s coronation took place. The new Duchess of Norfolk carried the new Queen’s train, while Norfolk walked before Elizabeth carrying her crown.

Before the coronation banquet Norfolk and his former father-in-law Arundel rode into Westminster Hall to announce each course[ii] and to announce the Queen’s champion. On the Tuesday at a joist in the Queen’s honour Norfolk rode with Sir Robert Dudley and Lord George Howard against adventurers.
Early Successes

Earl of Sussex
The queen’s unmarried state was a concern for her advisers and Norfolk, William Cecil and the Earl of Sussex[iii] were among those who felt that a foreign prince would help keep England safe; however the majority of her subjects believed that Elizabeth should marry an Englishman. She herself claimed that she had;
‘Taken a vow to marry no man whom she has not seen, and will not trust portrait painters.’[iv]
In the very short period before his marriage to Margaret Audley there had been some talk of Norfolk’s marrying the new queen, as the country’s most senior noble.

In the autumn of 1559, a year that saw Norfolk spending a lot of time on his estates on leave from court, he received a letter from his old master John Foxe, along with a copy of the first part of his Church History, which had been published in Basle in September. Norfolk was pleased to hear from his former tutor.
‘I have received your letter, my excellent master, from which I learn your affection for me, which is very acceptable…………For I wrote to them [Norfolk’s servants] they should so provide you with all things that you might speedily come to me.’[v]
Norfolk’s servants found lodgings for Foxe in Aldgate, where he was to start work on his Martyrology. Foxe’s health had suffered in exile and Norfolk later had him stay in the country and later found a post for him in Norwich.

A Royal Affair

Lord Robert Dudley
When Norfolk and his wife returned to London in November, it was to find the court aghast at the romance blossoming between the queen and Lord Robert Dudley [vi]. Dudley and Norfolk had been thrown together as Dudley was Master of the Queen’s Horse. Dudley was the Duchess of Norfolk’s ex-brother-in-law.

Norfolk looked down on Dudley, convinced that he was playing for the crown. In addition Dudley had been interfering in East Anglian affairs, a province Norfolk viewed as his own. Dudley had also been granted immunity by the queen from a parliamentary subsidy, assessed on the value of personal estates. Norfolk, as one of the great nobles of the land, owed more than most other of the nobility and he was further infuriated by this show of favour.
The Spanish Ambassador wrote to Philip II, following a conversation with Norfolk
‘The Duke of Norfolk is the chief of Lord Robert’s enemies, who are all the principal people in the kingdom and that he had said that if Lord Robert did not abandon his present pretensions and presumptions, he would not die in his bed……..I think his hatred of Lord Robert will continue, as the Duke and the rest of them cannot put up with his being king.’[vii]
Not long before Christmas 1559 Norfolk approached Dudley, recommending that the queen should marry a son of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. Dudley was furious, claiming that Norfolk was not a good Englishman for suggesting that the queen marry a foreigner, but then Dudley did have an ulterior motive.

A Brush with Scotland

Mary of Guise
On 25th December 1559 Norfolk was appointed Lieutenant General in the North. On 21st October 1559 the Scottish Protestant Lords revolted against the reign of the Catholic Mary of Guise, the second wife of James V of Scotland and regent for her daughter Mary[viii], next in line for the English throne.
From February to July 1560 Norfolk was commander of the English Army in Scotland, assisting the Lords of the Congregation against Mary. Elizabeth wrote to her commander;
‘Use all Meanes possible to comfort the Lords of Scotland, and to assure them that the Quene’s Majesty will never give over this Enterprise, until she have this revenged, and that Land sett at Liberty.’[ix]
Elizabeth was angered by the initial failures of the expedition as the joint armies floundered before Leith, held by the French. But Mary of Guise was dying and as their provisions were running low the French were prepared to come to a settlement.

In the Treaty of Edinburgh signed on 5th July the French agreed to recognise Elizabeth as queen of England and Ireland and that Queen Mary of Scotland would no longer use those armorial bearings. Mary of Guise had died 11th June at the age of 44. Henceforth her headstrong 17 year old daughter Mary would no longer have her mother to advise her.
Domestic Affairs

In 1561 Robert Dudley was conspiring with the Spanish Ambassador for support for his marriage to Elizabeth, in exchange for returning the country to Catholicism. Norfolk spent much of this period at Kenninghall, where on 24th August 1561 Margaret bore Norfolk’s third child, a boy named Thomas[x]. A girl, Elizabeth had been born the previous year, but she died in infancy.
The knowledge of Dudley’s double dealings can only have deepened the rift between the two men. Norfolk was in the queen’s bad books for his dislike of her favourite. According to the Spanish Ambassador the queen was

‘Determined to humble him when she can……..He [Norfolk] on his side is full of boasts, although I do not know how it will turn out when he has to carry them into effect.’[xi]

Lord Hunsdon
Early in March 1562 Norfolk was sent to Yorkshire, where he was joined by the Marquess of Northampton, the Earls of Huntingdon and Rutland and Lord Hunsdon[xii]. They were there under the pretext of involvement in a hare hunt; in reality the queen required them the keep the north quiet.
It was feared that the Catholic Lennox family might raise the north in support of Henry Darnley’s proposed marriage with Mary, Queen of Scots. Elizabeth wanted mother and son brought back to London. Lady Douglas was interred in the Tower, but her son escaped to Scotland.

Norfolk returned to London on 8th October to find the capital in crisis. The queen had smallpox and her life was in danger. Unable to nominate a successor due to her delirium the Privy Council fully expected to make that decision. Upon her return to consciousness Elizabeth begged the council, in the event of a future emergency to make Robert Dudley Protector of the Kingdom, with a £20,000 per annum salary[xiii].
Meanwhile Norfolk was haemorrhaging money on the upkeep of six magnificent houses. He saw it as his duty, as the most senior member of the nobility, to keep up appearances[xiv]. On paper Norfolk was the richest man in the country, but he had great difficulty living within his income and even the queen allowed him leeway in paying his debts to the crown. Norfolk claimed that his proposals to pay off his debts were not accepted;
‘I shall be driven to break up my house and sell £300 or £400[xv] of land for answering of my debt to others.’[xvi]
In his dealings with the Exchequer Norfolk was not the loser, but he felt angry that the £2,000[xvii] he had expended on the Queen’s business in the North had not been refunded to him, while William Cecil, who had joined him for less than a third of the time, had been awarded substantial grants of Crown lands and the exceptionally remunerative office of Master of the Wards[xviii].

Although premier peer of the realm; Norfolk had not hitherto been admitted to the Privy Council. On 20th October he and Robert Dudley were both made Privy Councillors; Norfolk being seen as a counter-balance to Dudley’s rising power.

Elizabeth circa 1563
During 1563 a rift occurred between Cecil and Norfolk, possibly engineered by Dudley, who may have still been hoping to marry the Queen[xix]. But the rift, caused by rumours at court was mended as the two were soon again pressing for Elizabeth to marry Archduke Charles of Austria.

Elizabeth and Mary – Jane Dunn, Harper Perennial 2003
Walsingham – Alan Haynes, Sutton Publishing 2004

Elizabeth I – Anne Somerset, Fontana 1992
Rivals in Power – ed. David Starkey, Macmillan London Ltd 1990

A Tudor Tragedy – Neville Williams, Barrie and Rockcliff 1964

[i] For which he received an annual fee of £123 14 shillings; or in 2010 worth £36,600.00 using the retail price index £571,000.00 using average earnings www.measuringworth.com
[ii] They had eaten before the banquet
[iii] Another cousin of Norfolk’s
[iv] Elizabeth - Somerset
[v] A Tudor Tragedy - Williams
[vi] The future Earl of Leicester
[vii] A Tudor Tragedy - Williams
[viii] In December 1557 a group of Protestant Scottish Lords objected to the marriage of Queen Mary of Scotland the Dauphin of France, the future Fran├žois II. Determined that Scotland would not remain a Catholic country they provided support to John Knox.
[ix] Elizabeth and Mary - Dunn
[x] The 1st Earl of Suffolk
[xi] A Tudor Tragedy - Williams
[xii] A cousin of both the Queen and Norfolk, Hunsdon’s mother was Mary Boleyn,
[xiii] At 2010 worth £5,220,000.00 using the retail price index or £65,500,000.00 using average earnings www.measuringworth.com
[xiv] The influx of monies from the New World was causing
[xv] As of 2010 worth £108,000.00 using the retail price index or £1,240,000.00 using average earnings www.measuringworth.com
[xvi] A Tudor Tragedy - Williams
[xvii] As of 2010 worth £563,000.00 using the retail price index or £6,910,000.00 using average earnings www.measuringworth.com
[xviii] Head of the Court of Wards and Liveries
[xix] His wife, of ten years, Amy Robsart died in September 1560 and he was high in the Queen’s favour

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Tudor England - A Fatal Lust for Power II

The Protestant Upstart

Lady Jane Grey
Desperate to retain power the Duke of Northumberland persuaded the young Edward to nominate Lady Jane Grey as his successor. Jane was a great granddaughter of Henry VII and was married to Northumberland’s son Guildford Dudley. Her accession to the throne was announced on 10th July 1553.

Edward had agreed that his Protestant cousin could be his successor, but had died before the prepared act could be placed before parliament in September. A Protestant successor, who stood waiting in the wings and had a much nearer claim on the throne, the Princess Elizabeth was ignored.

Mary Tudor, Edward’s half-sister was at Kenninghall Palace when she learned that Jane was to take the throne Mary assumed was rightfully hers. On 14th July Northumberland rode with an army to East Anglia, the new Queen having begged that her father stay with her; Northumberland answered
‘Since ye think it good, I and mine will go, not doubting of your fidelity to the Queen’s majesty, wh0m I leave in your custody.’[i]
In his absence the privy Council switched sides. On July 18th, following the desertion of many senior officials and nobility a warrant for the arrest of Northumberland was issued.

Mary Tudor
Mary moved to Framlingham Castle with its better defences. Northumberland hoped that the people of the lands he marched through would flock to his banner, but many seemed to prefer to support Mary, the old king’s daughter and the young king’s sister, rather than a remote cousin. The Protestant revolution was only just over twenty years old. Many must have felt that having a Catholic monarch would not be an issue.
Howards Resurgent

Mary rode up to London accompanied by the Duchess of Norfolk[ii]. On 10th August Norfolk was given back his Order of the Garter, having already been released from the Tower. And as Earl Marshal, Norfolk now in his eightieth year, was responsible for the preparations for Mary’s coronation. He was joined by his grandchildren. Northumberland was executed on 22nd August, with his son and heir.
The Duchess of Norfolk accompanied Mary’s litter in the procession from the Tower and carried her train in the Abbey. At the Coronation banquet in Westminster Hall the Duke was assisted in his ceremonial duties by his grandson and heir, the young Thomas.

In a letter to Mary Jane agreed that she should never have accepted the crown and had thereby done wrong
‘Not only to myself but to a good part of the realm……….it being known that the error imputed to me has not altogether been caused by myself.’[iii]
Jane and her husband were charged with treason; the two lambs were led to the slaughter. They were tried by a special commission on 13th November and the Duke of Norfolk was among the commissioners who convicted them, along with Thomas Cranmer and two of Dudley’s brothers.

Thomas Wyatt the Younger
On 12th February 1554 Lady Jane Dudley was executed. There had existed the possibility that she would be saved but her fate was sealed by the Protestant rebellion of Thomas Wyatt the Younger[iv] in January; an uprising her father the Duke of Suffolk had used to stir up the midlands against Mary’s proposed marriage.

Simon Renard
It was the ambassador from the Holy Roman Empire, Simon Renard, who helped seal Jane’s fate, persuading Mary that her reign would be destabilised by Jane’s continued existence. He also tried and failed to have the Princess Elizabeth executed too[v].
Mary’s relationship with her subjects was not assisted by her reliance on Simon Renard, whose principal job was to ensure that the marriage between Mary and the Emperor’s son Philip II of Spain went ahead. Emperor Charles V planned to expand the Hapsburg Empire to include England, to be ruled by Philip. The marriage produced no children and Philip spent little time with his elderly wife, whom he did not find attractive.

The Howards in Mary’s Reign

Stephen Gardiner
The Duke of Norfolk now took his grandchildren’s education in hand; he did not approve of the Protestant dogma that Foxe had been inculcating them with. Thomas joined the household of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor as a page. Thomas and Henry were then moved to study with John White[vi]. Thomas did stay in contact with Foxe, who left for the continent and safety shortly thereafter[vii]. The boys’ mother remarried and had little contact with them.

Thomas, as Earl of Surrey, was one of seven gentlemen of the chamber of Philip of Spain. He was present when Philip arrived in England and was in attendance at the marriage in Winchester.  
The New Duke

On 25th August 1554 the third Duke of Norfolk died and his grandson and namesake Thomas became the fourth Duke. He was to be a good landlord to his tenants, becoming known to later generations as ‘the good duke;’ perhaps inspired by Ket’s Rebellion. Not only did Thomas become Duke of Norfolk, he also inherited his grandfather’s role of Earl Marshal[viii]. At some point in 1554 the citizens of Cambridge made Norfolk High Steward of the city[ix].
As Earl Marshal, Norfolk was head of the College of Heralds and he decided to sort out the college which was suffering from internal dispute. In 1555 he obtained a new charter of incorporation from the queen and established the college in new surroundings at Derby House. Norfolk also put in place reforms of the college and instituted regular progresses of the provincial kings of Heraldry, Clarenceux and Norroy, into the counties. Norfolk’s reforms were embodied in constitutions covering;

‘The ancient manner and order of offices of arms.’[x]
Norfolk insisted on the highest standards of scholarship and record keeping, at a time when the records of monasteries had been taken to be used as scrap paper and priceless documents littered the High in Oxford.

Norfolk was now in a position where he could indulge a passion for precious objects. Kenninghall had been ransacked when his grandfather had been sent to the Tower, but much of what was taken had been recovered. Over the next few years Norfolk was to enrich and update Kenninghall, which was the first house in England recorded as having a room designated as a bathroom, hung with tapestries and where there were
‘Twelve pieces of copper, great and small, to bathe in.’[xi]
Encouraged by the example of his uncle John de Vere[xii] Norfolk revived his grandfather’s patronage in a dramatic company. In 1556 the Duke’s Company gave performances in Norwich and by 1559 had become one of the four principal dramatic companies in England.


Mary FitzAlan, Duchess of Norfolk
In 1556 Thomas married Mary FitzAlan, heiress to the Arundel estates after the death of her brother Henry. The wedding had been approved during his grandfather’s lifetime; as one of her wards Thomas had to obtain the Queen’s permission. Mary’s father the Earl of Arundel was Lord Steward of the royal household.
A special act of parliament was passed to allow Thomas sufficient monies to support his new bride. As a minor under the terms of his grandfather’s will he had £249[xiii] per annum; when he reached his majority he would have £2,489[xiv] a year.

Mary died the following year, eight weeks after the birth of her son Philip[xv] on 28th June 1559. All the heralds were present for the funeral.
‘With many banners and banner rolls borne about her.’[xvi]
the seventeen year old duchess was buried at St Clement Danes church in London in great state. Not long before Philip’s birth Norfolk had accidentally killed one of his manservant’s when a gun he was carrying discharged, killing Thomas Baynes;

‘A man well liked by and in good repute with him, sported with him in a friendly and joking manner.’[xvii]
Norfolk was pardoned for manslaughter at an inquest held later the same day.

Norfolk’s second choice of wife fell on a cousin of his, Margaret Audley an heiress. A papal dispensation was required for the two to marry and an emissary was sent to Rome in the spring of 1558. The Vatican was dilatory and negotiations were still ongoing when on 17th November 1558, Queen Mary’s poor tortured body gave up the fight and she died, possibly from cancer of the uterus. She was to be succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth.

Walsingham – Alan Haynes, Sutton Publishing 2004
The Boy King – Diarmaid MacCullough, Palgrave 2001

Lady Jane Grey – Alison Plowden, Sutton Publishing 2006
Mary Tudor – HFM Prescott, Phoenix 2003

Elizabeth I – Anne Somerset, Fontana 1992
Elizabeth – David Starkey, Vintage Books 2001

Rivals in Power – ed. David Starkey, Macmillan London Ltd 1990
A Tudor Tragedy – Neville Williams, Barrie and Rockcliff 1964

[i] Mary Tudor - Prescott
[ii] She and her husband had long been at odds over his treatment of her and his having a mistress living at Kenninghall
[iii] Lady Jane Grey - Plowden
[iv] The aged Duke of Norfolk was sent out against Wyatt’s men, but he was outnumbered and had to seek refuge in Gravesend.
[v] Mary was urged on a number of occasions to have her younger and once much-loved sister executed and each time she resisted the temptation.
[vi] Bishop of Lincoln
[vii] Norfolk became Foxe’s patron
[viii] Still headed by the current Duke of Norfolk as Earl Marshal
[ix] To obtain a powerful patron. Norfolk was also made High Steward of King’s Lynn and Yarmouth. Norfolk remained High Steward until 1569.
[x] A Tudor Tragedy - Williams
[xi] Ibid
[xii] 16th Earl of Oxford
[xiii] As at 2010 worth £60,700.00 using the retail price index or £950,000.00 average earnings www.measuringworth.com
[xiv] As at 2010 £607,000.00 using the retail price index or £9,500,000.00 using average earnings www.measuringworth.com
[xv] Philip was to inherit his maternal grandfather’s title of Earl of Arundel in 1580 and was made a saint by the Catholic Church in 1970.
[xvi] A Tudor Tragedy - Williams
[xvii] Ibid