Monday, 16 January 2017

A Tudor Poet – Henry Howard III


Princess Mary
Marriage in Mind

Anne Boleyn supported the idea of her cousin Henry marrying Princess Mary; Anne may have thought that the marriage would dilute Mary’s threat to any children Anne might have if and when she married the king.

In the summer of 1529 rumours of the proposed marriage were circulating through the court to the effect that Norfolk was trying to push the marriage through. This may also be correct, as having a Howard married to Henry VIII’s heir would place the family in a very powerful position. And that, taken with Anne’s position as queen in waiting would make Norfolk almost unassailable.

In October 1529 Chapuys reported to his master;

‘This king is so blindly and passionately fond of his Anne that he has, at her persuasion, consented to treat of a marriage between the Princess Mary his daughter, and the son of the Duke of Norfolk.’[i]

Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby
But shortly thereafter Anne changed her mind; she had come to understand that Norfolk would put the good of the family above her needs, a prophetic insight into her uncle’s mind. She now stood between an alliance that would benefit the Howards but do nothing for her.

In 1530 Norfolk arranged a marriage between his younger son Thomas and his ward Elizabeth Marney, heir to John, Lord Marney. The couple wed in 1533 when Thomas was thirteen. On 21st February 1530 Norfolk, having married his eldest daughter Katherine to the under-age Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby, was obliged to seek the king’s pardon;

‘For the abduction of Edward Earl of Derby and [his] marriage to Katherine daughter of the said Thomas without royal licence.’[ii]

It was only a few weeks thereafter that Chapuys was informing his royal master that Lady Katherine had died suddenly of the plague. To ensure that the Stanley connection not be lost to the Howard family, Thomas arranged for Derby to marry his half-sister Dorothy Howard.

Marriage Contracts

Mary Howard
Despite her opposition to the marriage between Mary Tudor and Henry, Anne was prepared to press Henry VIII for a marriage between Fitzroy and Henry’s sister Mary. The king’s agreement to this marriage of his beloved son was finagled by Anne Boleyn. That the Howards were not required to provide a dowry for Mary indicates the strength of Henry VIII’s love for Anne. Later Norfolk was to claim;

‘The marriage was made by his [the king’s] commandment, without that I ever made suit therefor, or yet thought thereon, being fully concluded then with my Lord of Oxford[iii].’[iv]

Mary’s mother preferred the Oxford alliance but her wishes were overruled by Anne. The marriage agreement was finalised in the spring of 1531 and the formal engagement was to take place in June 1533 when Fitzroy was thirteen.

In lieu of Henry’s proposed marriage to the Princess and, possibly, to make up for the loss of Mary to Fitzroy, in April 1532 Norfolk agreed to a marriage between his eldest son and Frances Vere, daughter of Earl of Oxford. Chapuys was not impressed with Norfolk’s choice of daughter-in-law;

Frances Vere
‘The Duke must have had very urgent reasons for acting thus[v]…..the Lady is neither rich nor a very desirable alliance otherwise.’[vi]

In January Norfolk endowed Henry with £300 per annum[vii] while Oxford settled four thousand marks[viii] on his daughter. This princely sum was to be paid in instalments of two hundred marks on the day of the marriage and the remainder in six monthly sums of one hundred marks. Each father was to provide for his child’s personal clothing; the marriage took place in 1535 or 6 at Kenninghall. The young couple were deemed too young to be setting up a household and the bride returned home with her parents while Henry went back to Windsor. Before this happened the young couple sat for Hans Holbein who drew their portraits.

The great divorce too was taking longer than expected. A new mission had been sent to Rome in 1531, the matters to be covered had been agreed by the king, Stephen Gardiner, the Lord Chancellor and Bishop of Winchester, and Norfolk. By 1532 Parliament, under Cromwell’s management, was developing a bias against Rome. The king was also activating intellectual support for his position on the abuses of the church. Sadly none of this procured the desired effect.

A French Adventure

Francois I
In October 1532 Henry and Fitzroy accompanied the king on a trip across the Channel to France[ix]. Also at the king’s side was his paramour and over three thousand nobles, knights, pages and servants who travelled in the king’s train. It took only five hours before the walls of Calais were sighted.

Henry was here to meet François I, the two kings met at Boulogne and Henry was in the party that rode there on 21st October. The get-together lasted four days and then the two kings rode to Calais to continue the summit.

Throughout the visit to the Calais Pale Henry VIII did his best to outdo the French hospitality[x], spending £6,000[xi] on the visit. On 27th October there was bull and bear baiting, which must have pleased Henry and Fitzroy. It was followed by a banquet of one hundred and seventy dishes; the Venetian ambassador, who had not been invited to the party, sniffed at the expense.

‘A superfluous expenditure – entertainments, pageants and nothing else.’[xii]

He was wrong; the two kings agreed an alliance against the infidel Turk while two French cardinals were to leave immediately for Rome to press for Henry VIII’s divorce from his queen. It was also planned that François would arrange to meet Pope Clement somewhere in France with an English representative[xiii] (possibly Norfolk whose pension from the French had just been raised to three thousand crowns[xiv]).

Henry VIII’s gratitude was such that he wrote off the debt the French owed him for the ransom of François’ sons who had been taken hostage after the French defeat at the Battle of Pavia[xv]. In return Fitzroy and Henry were to live at François’ court, an extension of their visit that certainly surprised Fitzroy as he spent his last day in Calais hastily arranging for the disposition of his servants left in England.

To Paris

Chateau of Chantilly
In November 1532, while still in Calais[xvi], Henry contracted a fever which was to hang around for about a month. He was well enough to travel after a few days. He and Fitzroy were accompanied by sixty servants on the journey. Fitzroy’s almoner Richard Tate, reporting back to England, wrote;

‘My Lord of Richmond and my Lord of Surrey in all their journey towards the French court hath been very well welcomed and in all places have had presents of wines with other gentle offers.’[xvii]

François and his court started the return journey in advance of the king’s young guests and Henry and Fitzroy caught up with the court at Chantilly at the end of the month. The two young men were greeted with pleasure by François. A few days later the court moved on to Paris where Henry and Fitzroy were put up in the Dauphin’s lodgings in the Louvre Palace.

The French court was a licentious place where Henry VIII would not have felt out of place. But it was not only licentiousness that the court was renowned for; François was erudite and a man of letters and set up one of the greatest libraries in Europe. A generous patron to the like of the Humanist Guillaume Budé, François attracted refugee academics from Italy after the fall of the Republic of Florence, including the poet Luigi Alamanni. He must have been an inspiration for Henry who was more academic than Fitzroy.

Bibliography

Henry VIII’s Last Victim – Jessie Childs, Vintage Books 2008

The Ebbs and Flows of Fortune – David M Head, University of Georgia Press 2009

House of Treason – Robert Hutchinson, Phoenix 2009

Henry VIII – Robert Lacey, Weidenfeld & Nicholson & Book Club Associates 1972

The Earlier Tudors – J D Mackie, Oxford University Press 1992

Bastard Prince – Beverley A Murphy, Sutton Publishing 2001

Rivals in Power – David Starkey, MacMillan London Ltd 1990

The Six Wives of Henry VIII – Alison Weir, Pimlico 1992

www.wikipedia.en

[i] Henry VIII’s Last Victim - Childs
[ii] Bastard Prince - Murphy      
[iii] Norfolk and Oxford had agreed a marriage between Mary and Lord Bulbeck, Oxford’s son and heir
[iv] Bastard Prince - Murphy
[v] It has been suggested that Anne had realised that a marriage between Henry and Princess Mary would mean the loss of her uncle’s support for her own wedding. She was fast becoming very unpopular with the English who supported their Spanish queen
[vi] Henry VIII’s Last Victim - Childs
[vii] In 2015 the relative: historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £162,100.00 labour earnings of that income or wealth is £2,027,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £5,653,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £77,950,000.00 www.measuringworth.com
[viii] In 2015 the relative: historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £2,161,000.00 labour earnings of that income or wealth is £27,030,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £75,370,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £1,039,000,000.00 www.measuringworth.com
[ix] Norfolk was already over in France acting as Henry VIII’s agent making the arrangements for the summit
[x] Echoing the rivalry of the Field of the Cloth of Gold twelve years earlier
[xi] In 2015 the relative: labour cost of that project is £40,540,000.00 economic cost of that project is £1,559,000,000.00 www.measuringworth.com
[xii] Henry VIII’s Last Victim - Childs
[xiii] The meeting was made moot by Anne’s pregnancy in December see http://wolfgang20.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/the-importance-of-being-thomas-vi.html
[xiv] In 2015 the relative: historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £324,200.00 labour earnings of that income or wealth is £4,054,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £11,310,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £155,900,000.00 www.measuringworth.com
[xv] Part of the Italian War 1521-6 between the French and the Hapsburgs
[xvi] The wind was in the wrong direction for Henry VIII to return home
[xvii] Henry VIII’s Last Victim - Childs

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A Tudor Poet – Henry Howard II

Thetford Priory
A Death in the Family

Norfolk passed the post of Lord Treasurer on to his son in 1522. Two years later the old duke died in May 1524, having served four kings and his son Thomas was elevated to his father’s position. The Howards had kept their place in the royal courts with a ruthlessness that was unrivalled. The hereditary post as Earl Marshall transferred to the new duke at the old duke’s death. Henry became Earl of Surrey in his father’s place.

In June 1524[i] Henry and the rest of the family arrived at Thetford for the funeral and elaborate ceremonies transferring the Howard responsibilities from the second to the third duke at the Priory where all the Howards were buried. The service and ceremonies were conducted by the Bishop of Ely.

Earl of Oxford
Thomas inherited an annual income that varied from £3,000 - £4,000[ii]; an amount greatly in excess of the average peer’s income of £801[iii]. Life at Thetford Hall became increasingly more complex; the new duke took on many of his father’s retinue along with his half-sister Anne, Lady Oxford, relict of the 14th Earl, who had been dispossessed of her possessions by the new Earl of Oxford, a second cousin of her husband’s.

Christmas that year was celebrated with ducal magnificence and so many people arrived that Tendring Hall was overcrowded. Thomas decided to transfer his main home to Kenninghall and employed an army of builders to expand and extend the house into an H shaped building with upwards of seventy rooms.

Changes

The poor and indigent were not ignored by the new duke; hermits and gypsies were welcomed at the Howard table. But Thomas retained in many of his lands the villenage of his predecessors, much to the disgust of his bondsmen who complained that the duke treated them;

‘With much more extremity than his ancestors did.’[iv]

From 1527 onward Norfolk was afflicted by an undiagnosed illness that was to plague him for the rest of his long life[v]. He was prone to discussing his ailment with the king and council, giving them details of his bowel movements. It possibly made him more cranky and remote from his children

Butley Priory gatehouse
Henry’s education now expanded to include subjects approved by the Humanists. His studies were focussed on the liberal arts; rhetoric, Latin, moral philosophy, history, literature and the scriptures. His favourite authors were Virgil and Martial. As a future courtier Henry learnt French, Spanish and Italian, dancing and singing. Henry was a precocious student and Norfolk often gloated over his son’s Latin translations when at court.

Henry loved hunting and his father indulged him while, at the same time, teaching his heir his future responsibilities. Henry accompanied his father while Norfolk undertook his duties as duke. On 16th September 1526 Norfolk went hunting with his sons at Scuttegrove Wood in East Suffolk, spending the night at nearby Butley Priory. On the following day Henry was with the duke when he ordered the desalination of the salt marshes at Hollesley.

The King’s Private Matter

Charles V
Thomas Howard was a hard man; he had to be to survive the vicissitudes of the Tudor court; for over a decade he had been jousting for power with the low-born Thomas Wolsey and generally losing. When his niece Anne Boleyn[vi] became the king’s latest infatuation Thomas found himself in favour and returned as a royal counsellor and companion.


Anne was canny enough not to give in to the king; she had no desire to be one of his discarded mistresses. Even then she may have had marriage in mind putting her in direct opposition to Wolsey who, even then, was considering a divorce for his royal master. Rather than a scion of the Howard family, Wolsey had his eye on a French princess to replace Queen Katherine whose continued failure to produce an heir, other than Princess Mary, was of concern to both king and minister.

Wolsey asked the pope Clement VII for an annulment of the marriage, but the pope was not inclined to overturn the judgement of his predecessor[vii]. The matter rumbled on until Katherine’s nephew’s troops sacked Rome where they found the pope in hiding. The Holy Roman Emperor’s control of the pope meant that his aunt’s annulment was not the done deal that both Wolsey and the king had hoped. This failure to produce a divorce from the faded and aging queen was to cost Wolsey dear. Wolsey’s fall was to produce opportunities for one of his greatest enemies.

The King’s Son

Henry Fitzroy
At the tail end of 1529 Norfolk won what he must have felt was a coup; the king entrusted him with the care of his only son Henry Fitzroy[viii] Duke of Richmond and Somerset. Henry was to be a companion and someone for the young duke to emulate. Norfolk confided in Eustace Chapuys, Charles Vs ambassador, telling him that;

‘I told you that I was on many accounts delighted to see my son making so much progress in his studies and following the path of virtue. The King has entrusted to me the education of his bastard son, the Duke of Richmond….that he may obtain knowledge and virtue, so that a friendship thus cemented promises fair to be very strong and firm.’[ix]

Henry was more likely to impress the young Fitzroy with his prowess in the hunt or on the tennis court rather than with his scholarship; Fitzroy had not inherited his father’s erudition and was not one for books.

The meeting of the two boys who were to be best friends took place at Windsor in the spring of 1530. Fitzroy was eleven to Henry’s thirteen. Norfolk intended that Henry’s bonding with the young boy, who was believed to be intended for high office, would strengthen Howard ties with the throne.

At Windsor

Both boys were hot-headed and very competitive with a tendency towards an arrogance born of their high stations in life. The two boys shared a love of sport and ogling pretty women at court. The boys played Real Tennis together and, if there were females in the spectators’ gallery, they would strip off to display their manly torsos as Henry later wrote[x];

‘’The palme-play [tennis court], where, despoiled [stripped] for the game,

          With dazed eyes oft we by gleams of love,

          Have miss’d the ball, and got sight of our dame,

          To bait her eyes, which kept the leads above….’[xi]

Real Tennis Court Hampton Court
At dances the two boys would often act in tandem, each pleading the other’s case to the desired belle and would later compare notes, no doubt giggling like the adolescent boys they were. Although these two boys were among the most eligible  youths in the country, their advances were frequently rejected and upon occasion being on the receiving end of ‘looks that tigers could but rue‘, They shared chambers in the castle, hung with tapestries, some with a chivalric theme, one depicted the story of Paris and Helen.

The two boys started their military training at Windsor. They practised their jousting skills in the tiltyard and learnt to use a sword on foot and on horseback with and without armour. Their trainers encouraged a friendly rivalry between the two boys. Fitzroy and Henry went hunting as often as possible.

Bibliography

Henry VIII’s Last Victim – Jessie Childs, Vintage Books 2008

The Ebbs and Flows of Fortune – David M Head, University of Georgia Press 2009

House of Treason – Robert Hutchinson, Phoenix 2009

Henry VIII – Robert Lacey, Weidenfeld & Nicholson & Book Club Associates 1972

The Earlier Tudors – J D Mackie, Oxford University Press 1992

Bastard Prince – Beverley A Murphy, Sutton Publishing 2001

Rivals in Power – David Starkey, MacMillan London Ltd 1990

The Six Wives of Henry VIII – Alison Weir, Pimlico 1992

www.wikipedia.en


[i] The duke had lain in state in the chapel at Framlingham Castle for a month
[ii] In 2015 the relative: historic standard of living value of £3,000 is £1,855,000.00 labour earnings of that income or wealth is £17,000,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £59,780,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £894,000,000.00. In 2015 the relative: historic standard of living value of £4,000 is £2,473,000.00 labour earnings of that income or wealth is £22,660,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £79,710,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £1,192,000,000.00 www.measuringworth.com
[iii] In 2015 the relative: historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £495,300.00 labour earnings of that income or wealth is £4,538,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £15,960,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £238,700,000.00 www.measuringworth.com
[iv] Henry VIII’s Last Victim - Childs
[v] He died in 1554 at the age of 81
[vii] Allowing for the marriage between Henry VIII and Katherine, despite her prior marriage to Henry’s brother Arthur
[ix] Henry VIII’s Last Victim - Childs
[x] A poem written while in the Tower
[xi] Rivals in Power - Starkey