On the 13th August 1514 Mary Tudor was married to King Louis XII. The Duke of Longueville acted as proxy for the French king, accompanied by Johannes de Selve the President of the Supreme Court of Normandy and the French general Thomas Boyer. The wedding was held in the great hall at Greenwich, the hall was decorated with an arras of gold and laced with a frieze embroidered with the royal arms of England and France. King Henry VIII and Queen Katherine entered first followed by Mary and her ladies in waiting.  Mary wore a ‘petticoat of ash-coloured satin, and a gown of purple satin and cloth of gold in chequers; she wore a cap of cloth of gold, and chains and jewels like the Queen’.[66] Numerous ambassadors and members of the court attended the wedding. Noticeably the Spanish ambassadors were conspicuous by their absence.

The wedding was presided over by William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, first addressing the French representative in Latin. Johannes de Selve replied that Louis XII was ‘desirous’ to take Mary as his wife. After this the Bishop of Durham read the French authorization for the proxy wedding.

Next the,

‘Duke of Longueville, taking with his right the right hand of the Princess Mary, read the French King’s words of espousal (recited) in French. Then the Princess, taking the right hand of the Duke of Longueville, read her part of the contract (recited) in the same tongue. Then the Duke of Longueville signed the schedule and delivered it for signature to the Princess Mary, who signed Marye; after which the Duke delivered the Princess a gold ring, which the Princess placed on the fourth finger of her right hand.’ (Letters & Papers Vol. 1 3146).

A portrait thought to be Mary Tudor (but may be Isabella of Castile) and King Louis XII. (Images from Wikipedia)


Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1871).

Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 1509-47, ed. J.S Brewer, James Gairdner and R.H Brodie, (His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1862-1932).

Richardson, Walter C., Mary Tudor The White Queen (Great Britain: University of Washington Press, 1970).



Grimsthorpe Castle

Grimsthorpe Castle is located in Lincolnshire and was first thought to be built in the 13th century by Gilbert de Grant. However de Grant died in 1156 therefore the origins of the castle are much older and most likely date to around 1140. While called Grimsthorpe Castle the building is actually more of a large manor house than an actual castle. De Grant’s original building consisted of a square shape building built around a large courtyard with four varying size towers located on each corner of the building. The south east tower of the Castle is known as ‘King John’s Tower’ and this name may have led to the confusion that the castle was built during the reign of King John rather than a century earlier.

Upon Gilbert de Grant’s death much of his lands and estates went to Henry, 1st Lord Beaumont. Beaumont served Kings Edward I and II. Henry, 5th Lord Beaumont married Elizabeth Willoughby, daughter of William, 5th Bardon Willoughby de Eresby. Their grandson was William Willoughby, the 11th Baron Willoughby de Eresby who on the 5th of June 1516 married Maria de Salinas, maid of honour to Queen Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife. William was granted Grimsthorpe Castle by Henry VIII to celebrate the marriage.

William Willoughby died in October 1526 with only one living child, a daughter named Katherine. Katherine not only inherited her father’s title but also his vast estates and lands in Lincolnshire including Grimsthorpe Castle.

In March 1528 Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk bought the wardship of Katherine Willoughby from the King for a staggering £2,266 13s 4d. Brandon then married Katherine on 7th September 1533. With the marriage Brandon came into possession of Grimsthorpe Castle.

With the major rebellion in 1536 known as the Pilgrimage of Grace Henry VIII wanted to ensure that there was no further uprising in Lincolnshire. Sometime before May 26th the King ordered that Brandon permanently position himself within Lincolnshire to make the King’s presence known and to oversee the happenings in the county.

 Brandon used Grimsthorpe and set it up as his main residence in Lincolnshire. The Castle was built on a rise which affords a magnificent view of the surrounding area. Brandon began extensive work upon the Castle over the next few years creating a magnificent quadrangle building with a centre courtyard. The castle is made of warm grey stone and slate roofing. Also located by the castle was a large park perfect for hunting, one of Brandon’s favourite pass times. In 1541 Henry VIII honoured Brandon with a royal visit at Grimsthorpe Castle and the Duke spent the previous eighteen months frantically upgrading and extending the Castle using much of the materials of the dissolved Vaudey Abbey which was located nearby.

After Charles Brandon’s death on the 22nd of August 1545 Katherine married Richard Bertie, her gentleman usher. They had two children, a daughter name Susan and a son named Peregine. After Katherine’s death the Willoughby title and the castle of Grinsthorpe passed to her son. Grimsthorpe Castle has been in the hands of the Baron/Baronesses Willoughby de Ersey ever since.

By 1707 the north front of Grimsthorpe has been rebuilt in the classic style however in 1715 Robert Bertie, 16th Baron Willoughby de Eresby employed Sir John Vanbrugh to rebuilt the front of Grimsthorpe in the baroque style to celebrate Bertie’s elevation to the title of Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven. The front of Grimsthorpe was subsequently redesigned and there were plans to complete the other three facings of the castle in the same style however these were never carried out.

The south façade of the castle remains similar to that which Charles Brandon extended during his time at Grimsthorpe and which he would have been familiar with. The south west tower of Grimsthorpe Castle is known as the ‘Brandon Tower’.

Grimsthorpe Castle


Chilvers, A 2010, The Berties of Grimsthorpe Castle, Author House, Bloomington Indiana.

The Grimsthorpe & Drummond Castle Trust 2015, Grimsthorpe Castle, viewed 26th July 2015, <http://www.grimsthorpe.co.uk/&gt;.


The Badge of Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn’s badge of a crowned falcon upon a wood stump sprouting Tudor roses is quite famous, but what exactly does it mean? There is a great deal of symbolism embedded within the badge and it seems that each part was carefully chosen to signify something of importance.

Anne Boleyn Badge


In short the white falcon was adopted by Anne Boleyn as her badge sometime before or when her marriage to Henry VIII was announced. Eric Ives in his book ‘The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn’ suggests that she may have taken this bird from the heraldic crest of the Butlers which Anne’s father Thomas Boleyn was officially recognised as the heir. Claire Ridgway from ‘The Anne Boleyn Files’ also adds the significance of the falcon in Egyptian culture as majestic, powerful and of someone’s eagerness to set about the task at hand.

Tree Stump/Red and White Roses

Ives suggests that the tree stump with red and white roses bursting forth represents Henry VIII’s right to the throne, the white roses stating is claim to the Yorkist line through his mother and the red roses emphasising his right to the Lancastrian line through his father. The flowers bursting forth and the falcon landing on the stump may also represent Anne’s ability and willingness to bring new life to the Tudor line.

Crown and Sceptre

The crown and the sceptre in the crest not only represent Anne as Queen but also that her husband Henry VIII had authority within his Kingdom, authority to even reject the Pope in Rome and this authority was given to him from God.

All of these elements combined: the white falcon, the tree stump, the red and white roses and the crown and sceptre meld wonderfully together. The crest signifies Anne’s status as Queen and her willingness and her determination to not only act as Queen but to also bring a son (hopefully many sons) to further the Tudor lineage.; as well as emphasising her husband’s power and authority within the Kingdom.


Ives, E 2009, The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.

Grueninger, N 2010, Anne Boleyn Badges, Symbolism & Mottoes, viewed 5 August 2017, <http://onthetudortrail.com/Blog/anne-boleyn/anne-boleyns-falcon-badge/&gt;.


Thomas Wriothesley

Thomas Wriothesley (pronounced Riz-lee) was a prominent member of court during the reign of King Henry VIII and his son King Edward VI. Born on the 21st of December 1505, Thomas was the first child and oldest son of William Wriothesley and Agnes, daughter of James Drayton. The couple would go on to have three more children, daughters Elizabeth and Anne born in 1507 and 1508 respectively and a second son, Edward born in 1509.

Wriothesley was educated at St Paul’s School, London before he went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge in around 1522. One of his teachers was the famous Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester who would play a large role in the religious discussions of Henry VIII’s later years. His fellow students reported that Wriothesley was intelligent, had integrity of mind and was very handsome.

However Wriothesley never obtained his degree from Cambridge, instead he went on to forge a prosperous career in the court of Henry VIII. In 1524, when he was just nineteen years of age, Wriothesley was hired by Thomas Cromwell; another man who would become a prominent member of the King’s council in the 1530’s. Six years later Wriothesley was recorded as being the King’s messenger and then on May 4th of the same year he was appointed joint clerk of the signet under his old tutor Stephen Gardiner, who was at this time the King’s secretary. Clearly Wriothesley’s position was on the rise and he had a reputation at being efficient at his job.

Wriothesley and Gardiner had a good working relationship and Wriothesley was also close friends with Gardiner’s nephew Germayne, yet despite this the two did not always see eye to eye. Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester was a devout Catholic while Wriothesley was, at least on the surface, a reformer and strongly supported Henry VIII’s spiritual reform and changes to the Church. In addition to this in 1538 Wriothesley provided Thomas Cromwell with information about Gardiner’s household in order to discredit the Bishop. From this point onwards the relationship between Gardiner and Wriothesley became strained.

Wriothesley was also trusted to carry important messages overseas and he was dispatched to Brussels in December 1532, on what could have possibly been business relating to Henry VIII’s “Great Matter” – the annulment of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon. Working as chief clerk of the signet and as Thomas Cromwell’s secretary soon awarded Wriothesley Henry VIII’s favour

After the dissolution of the monasteries Wriothesley obtained through royal grant, several former religious manors and houses as well as three houses in London. Purchasing Titchfield Abbey Wriothesley made this is primary residence and transformed the building into a lavish home befitting his status as a member of the King’s court.

Thomas Wriothesley married a lady named Jane Cheney, daughter of William Cheney of Buckinghamshire. Jane outlived her husband and died on the 15th of September 1574 and was buried at Titchfield. The couple had three sons, William, Anthony and Henry. Tragically both William and Anthony died young and it was young Henry that would become his father’s heir. The couple also had five daughters, Elizabeth, Mary, Katherine, Anne and Mabel.

Wriothesley was deeply involved with the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to his fourth wife Anne of Cleves. Despite working for Thomas Cromwell, who had fought for the marriage, Wriothesley begged his master to free the King from the disastrous marriage. He also testified that the King did not consummate his marriage with Anne. Wriothesley was also part of the delegacy that was sent to Anne of Cleves to inform her that her marriage to the King had been annulled.

Despite the every changing face of courtly life and the fall of Henry VIII’s right hand man, Thomas Cromwell, Wriothesley star continued to rise. In April 1540 Wriothesley was appointed joint principal secretary to the King along with Ralph Sadler. In the very same month he was elected to the Privy Council and knighted. He was trusted to be part of the delegation that spoke with the King about the adulterous actions of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Katherine Howard, as well as being instructed to interview the Queen about her alleged affairs.

On the 29th of January 1543 Wriothesley had the great distinction of becoming joint Chamberlain of the Exchequer. Between 1542 and 1544 Wriothesley worked closely with the Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys to see an Anglo-Habsburg alliance formed between England and Spain against the common enemy France. Over the next year Wriothesley was trusted with taking messages to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor on behalf of Henry VIII. In 1542 Imperia Ambassador Eustace Chapuys described Wriothesley as one of ‘the two people who enjoy nowadays most authority and have the most influence and credit with the king’.

When England went to war with France in 1544 Wriothesley was appointed to Queen Katherine Parr’s (Henry VIII’s sixth wife) regency council. He held the position of treasurer of the wars and was responsible for raising money to fund the wars, a role which he found extremely difficult and draining.

On the 1st of January 1544 Wriothesley was elevated to the peerage as Baron Wriothesley of Titchfield. Then on the 23rd of April the following year he was elected a Knight of the Garter, the most prestigious order of chivalry in England. The very next day his youngest son Henry was baptised; the King himself acting as Godfather.

On the 3rd of May 1544 Thomas Wriothesley was granted the most prestigious position of Lord Chancellor. This position effectively made Wriothesley one of the most important men of the court and also made him responsible for the King’s Great Seal. One of his roles as Lord Chancellor was to open Parliament in 1545 and presided over the Upper House. In the Parliament of January 1547 Wriothesley was among a group of men that were authorised to sign acts on behalf of the ailing Henry VIII.

Wriothesley was devout in his religious beliefs and strongly enforced the King’s religious policies, willing to act harshly and even cruelly at times against those who he believed deserved to be punished. He actively sought out both Protestants and Catholics of whom he believed had broken the King’s and Church’s laws. One of his most famous victims was Anne Askew. Brought before him in May 1546 Anne was examined in the hopes that she would confess to her heretical beliefs and in the process expose Queen Katherine Parr. Refusing to confess anything Anne was taken to the Tower of London. Here she was racked personally by Wriothesley and Sir Richard Rich. Racking a woman was illegal at the time and yet no punishment seems to have befallen Wriothesley for his actions. Wriothesley attended Anne Askew’s execution, being burnt at the stake, on the 16th of July 1546.

In the last month of Henry VIII’s life Wriothesley was active in gathering the accusations made against the Earl of Surrey, accusations which accused the young man of seeking to take the throne from Henry VIII’s son Edward when the King was dead. Wriothesley also examined Surrey and was part of the jury in the Earl’s trial on the 13th of January 1547. Wriothesley witnessed the written confession of Surrey’s father, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk in which he was charged with seeking to put his son on the throne.

On the 27th of January 1547 King Henry VIII died. It was Wriothesley’s duty as Lord Chancellor to announce the King’s death to parliament. Not unsurprisingly Wriothesley benefited greatly upon Henry VIII’s death, being rewarded with £500 and being appointed as one of sixteen men to sit upon the council for the young King Edward VI. In addition to this he was created Earl of Southampton with an annual allowance of £20.

At Edward VI’s coronation Wriothesley had the great honour of carrying the new King’s sword of state however only a fortnight later he was suddenly confined to his home at Ely Palace. In addition to this the Great Seal was taken from him and he was fined £4000. Even more drastically he was removed from the new King’s council.

Wriothesley’s offence was that he had abused his position and authority, however this was only a façade and the real issue lay with his opposition of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Uncle to Edward VI. Upon Henry VIII’s death a council of sixteen men were set up to help govern England and young Edward VI. Both Seymour and Wriothesley were upon this council and members of the council quickly appointed Seymour as Lord Protector – effectively the head of the council. While he had authority he was supposed to support the majority decision of the council and his powers were limited. Wriothesley opposed Seymour’s new position and Seymour, supported by Baron Rich and Sir John Baker used the allegation of abusing his power against Wriothesley to see him removed from the council and effectively out of the way.

Wriothesley accepted his fall graciously, most likely to save himself as he realised he was greatly outnumbered on the council. On the 29th of June 1547 Wriothesley was released from house arrest and his fine cancelled. Surprisingly he was allowed back onto the King’s Council and also attended parliament regularly between 1547 and 1549.

In 1549 a move was made against Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and the Lord Protector. Wriothesley was part of a conservative religious group, including the 12th Earl of Arundel, which sought to see Seymour from power. The coup worked for a time and when Seymour was removed from his position Wriothesley obtained a measure of power, even having the honour of serving the King. However this did not last long and soon Wriothesley and Arundel were expelled from court.

In January 1550 Wriothesley was under house arrest once more and soon had his name removed from the council. However by now Wriothesley was ill and on the 30th of July 1550 he died at Lincoln House, London. He was buried in St Andrew’s Church, Holborn; however on the 3rd of August his body was reburied at Titchfield.

Thomas Wriothesley is a man difficult to define. Many of his contemporaries described him as intelligent, efficient and effective in his duties with great ambition. While others thought him to be too ambitious for his own good and easy to anger. His personal religious beliefs are equally as difficult to determine. He appeared to be a Catholic, opposing Edward Seymour’s evangelical pursuits; however he strongly supported the dissolution of the monasteries and the King’s position as the Supreme Head of the Church. It may simply be that Wriothesley was a man of his time, attempting to see which way the wind was blowing and positioning himself in such a way that he would stay in power. Sadly his strategy proved to be his downfall.

Thomas Wriothesley


Institute of Historical Research, WRIOTHESLEY, Thomas (1505-50), of Micheldever and Titchfield, Hants and Lincoln Place, London, The History of Parliament, viewed 5 May 2017, < http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1509-1558/member/wriothesley-thomas-1505-50&gt;.

Life of Thomas Wriothesley intrinsically linked to Hampshire’s history, Hampshire History, viewed 5 May 2017, < http://www.hampshire-history.com/hampshires-greatest-nobleman/&gt;.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Wriothesley, Thomas, first earl of Southampton  (1505-1550), Oxford University Press, viewed 5 May 2017, < http://www.oxforddnb.com/&gt;.

Henry Carey

On the 4th of March 1526 Mary Boleyn gave birth to a son she named Henry Carey. Mary Boleyn was a member of Henry VIII’s court, married to Courtier William Carey and older sister of Anne Boleyn who would become Queen of England. Mary Boleyn was also the mistress of Henry VIII from around 1522 – 1525.

Over the centuries there has always been a great deal of debate as to who Henry Carey’s father was. Henry Carey was conceived during 1525, the year that Mary’s relationship with Henry VIII was coming to an end. It may be possible that during the last few times the King slept with Mary she conceived. It has also been suggested that Henry would not have wished to share Mary with her husband, keeping her to himself during the entire period of their relationship.

During his life there were also rumours that Henry Carey looked quite a lot like Henry VIII and that Henry VIII gave Mary’s husband William Carey a series of grants and appointments around the time each child was born in an attempt to keep him happy. It has also been proposed that Queen Elizabeth was close Henry Carey; this must have been because they were in fact half-brother and sister rather than just cousins. Queen Elizabeth knighted Henry Carey and made him Baron Hunsdon; she also visited him on his death bed offering him the Earldom of Wiltshire (once owned by his grandfather Thomas Boleyn).

On the other hand there are just as many reasons proposed as to why Henry VIII was not Henry Carey’s father. It is just as plausible that during the time Mary was the King’s mistress she may have also been sleeping with her husband. Henry VIII never acknowledged Henry as his son, where he had acknowledged Henry Fitzroy, a son he bore with his previous mistress Bessie Blount.

It has also been proposed that Henry VIII may have had low fertility and thus there would be a low probability that Mary could become pregnant by the King. It has also been suggested that the grants given to William Carey could have simply been to keep him silent and happy about his wife sleeping with the King, as well as for his dedicated service to the King. Also the reason that Queen Elizabeth showed great favour to Henry Carey was simply because they were cousins.

Whomever Henry Carey’s biological father was it was William Carey, Mary’s husband, that acknowledged baby Henry as his son and heir. Henry Carey would grow up to become a prominent and impressive member at court.

On the 21st May 1545 Henry obtained a licence to marry Anne Morgan daughter of Sir Thomas Morgan. The couple would go on to have twelve children together – nine sons and three daughters.

During his early years Henry Carey became a diplomat, ambassador and a member of parliament. In 1546, during the reign of Henry VIII, Carey accompanied John Dudley, Viscount Lisle on an embassy mission to France. In the first year of Edward VI’s reign Carey was MP for the borough of Buckingham and during the reign of Mary I he was a carver of the privy chamber. In 1557 Carey was held in the Fleet prison for debts of £507 which had occurred in 1551 but was soon released on bond on the 19th May.

When Elizabeth I came to the throne Henry was knighted and on the 13th January 1559 he was created Baron Hunsdon and granted substantial lands in Kent, Hertfordshire and Essex which provided a yearly income of £4000, a huge sum at the time. On 31st October 1560 Henry was appointed as Master of the Queen’s hawks and then on 18th Mary 1561 he was created a Knight of the Garter, the highest order of chivalry in England. In 1564 Carey was granted the distinct honour of leading a mission to France where he presented the Order of the Garter to the French King Charles IX, on behalf of Elizabeth I. He also witnessed the sighing of the treaty of Troyes between England and France.

On the 25th of August 1568 Carey was appointed Governor of Berwick, a position which saw him protecting the north of England from Scottish invaders and any possible rebellions. One such rebellion took place on the 20th January 1570. Henry Carey and a group of around 1500 soldiers faced English rebel Leonard Dacre who was part of an uprising in the North of England. Carey and his men, although outnumbered, stood strong and managed to scatter the rebel army which quickly fled north along with Dacre. In response to his victory Elizabeth I wrote to her cousin declaring that: ‘I doubt much, my Harry, whether that the victory was given me more joyed me or that you were by God appointed the instrument of my glory’. For the country’s good the first suffices, but ‘for my heart’s contentment the second more pleased me’.

On 23 October 1571 Carey was appointed Warden of the East Marshes which afforded him even greater responsibilities in protecting the north of England. On the 16th of November 1577 Henry received the high distinction of being appointed as a member of the Privy Council. This provided him greater access not only to the Queen but to the administration of England’s policies. Carey focused the remainder of his years upon his work in the Privy Council, although there were four occasions between 1578 and 1588 that he was recalled north to protect the Northern boarders and to negotiate with the Scots. In fact Henry Carey was so influential in Scottish matters that he was seen as the leading member on the Privy Council in Scottish matters and the Scottish King, James VI wrote personally to Carey on several occasions.

During 1583 Elizabeth I re-appointed Henry as captain of the Gentlemen Pensioners and in July 1585 he was appointed as Lord Chamberlain of the household as well as continuing his privy councillor duties. In 1589 Carey was appointed as Chief Justice in Eyre South of Trent and on the 2nd of March 1592 he was appointed High Steward of Oxford for the remainder of his life. This appointment added to his other stewardships of Doncaster and Ipswich which had been granted to him in 1590.

Henry was active in political life until his death on 23rd July 1596 at Somerset House. Just as his sister Catherine, Henry Carey was buried at Westminster Abbey, the expenses of this paid by his cousin Elizabeth I. It is rumoured that on his death bed Elizabeth I offered Henry the Earldom of Wiltshire, a title held by his grandfather Thomas Boleyn. However Henry refused the title stating that if Elizabeth did not think him worthy of the title while he was alive he would not accept it now that he was dying.

Henry Carey was a hardworking, dedicated servant and courtier of his cousin and Queen, Elizabeth I. He proved himself both on the battle field and in political matters. Upon his death Carey was succeeded by his son George Carey who became 2nd Baron Hunsdon

Henry Carey

Henry Carey, 1st Baron Husdon


Licence, Amy. The Six Wives & Many Mistresses of Henry VIII, Amberley Publishing, Gloucestershire, 2014.

Wallace T. MacCaffrey, ‘Carey, Henry, first Baron Hunsdon (1526–1596)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Sept 2014 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/4649, accessed 6 June 2015]

Weir, A 2011, Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings, Ballantine Books, New York.

Wilkinson, J 2010, Mary Boleyn The True Story of Henry VIII’s Favourite Mistress, Amberley Publishing, Gloucestershire.