Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Catherine Willoughby, Queen of Poland

In June 1545 Elisabeth of Austria (b.1526), the first wife of Sigismund Augustus (1520-72), King of Poland, died, and therefore the Polish king was searching for a second bride. King Sigismund sent an ambassador to the English royal court of King Henry VIII a year later in 1546.


Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk by Hans Holbein the Younger.jpg
Catherine Willoughby

The Polish ambassador had come to the English court to offer a proposal of marriage to King Henry's eldest daughter Princess Mary. However, King Henry refused this match. The Polish ambassador then turned to the second choice of English bride for King Sigismund, Catherine Willoughby, the Duchess of Suffolk. Catherine's husband Charles Brandon had died in August 1545 and as a woman of only twenty seven years old and having had two sons already, she could be considered an ideal bride for a king needing an heir. 

The match between the King of Poland and Catherine Willoughby did not proceed, whether Catherine refused the idea or the Polish king did not find her to be of high enough status, is unknown. 
King Sigismund married in 1547 in secret to his mistress Barbara Radziwill (1520-51). And later in 1553 he married for a third time to Catherine (1533-72), the younger sister of his first wife Elisabeth.

In 1555 Catherine Willoughby was forced to flee England due to the Catholic rule of Queen Mary I. Catherine and her second husband Richard Bertie (1516-82) were of the Protestant faith and therefore faced persecution if they remained in England. Taking their daughter Susan with them, as well as Catherine being pregnant at that time with their son Peregrine, the couple fled to Protestant mainland Europe. The Berties fled to Germany, however there were warrants for their arrest for heresy from Queen Mary which followed them wherever they went.


A portrait of Sigismund II Augustus, in a black hat with a white feather, a white ruff on his neck, and an ornate gold chain around his neck.
King Sigismund Augustus of Poland

King Sigismund was highly tolerant of religious differences, and managed to maintain a successful balance between the Catholics and Protestants in his kingdom throughout his reign. His second wife Barbara was a Calvinist. 
In 1557 King Sigismund heard about the Berties' situation through Jan Laski, the reformer, and gave the family refuge in his kingdom. In addition to this, he named Catherine regent of the province of Samogitia - modern day Lithuania - which gave the couple rank and status during their exile. Samogitia was a largely Protestant area at this time, and the Berties were given a castle in the county of Crozan to live in. He also granted Richard Bertie the Earldom of Crolan as well as the position of Governor of Samogitia. The Bertie family lived quite contentedly in Samogitia, and the education of Catherine and Richard meant that their rule of the province was successful. The Berties returned to England in 1559 after the accession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth I.

In 1624 playwright Thomas Drue (1586-1627) wrote a play called 'The Duchess of Suffolk', which incorporated the story of the King of Poland courting Duchess Catherine. The play was a heavily biased and emphasised Catherine's Protestant beliefs as well as her second marriage to Richard Bertie, who had previously been a servant in her household, after being sought out by many noblemen for her hand in marriage. By describing the perils which Catherine survived due to Protestant persecution, having to flee her country, travel through storms and be hunted down across Europe, only served to criticise Catholics and their actions. 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Barlow Brides of Bishops

William Barlow (1500-68) was the Bishop of Winchester under Queen Elizabeth I.
William was Bishop of St Asaph and St David's in 1536, then in 1548 he became Bishop of Bath and Wells. William Barlow and his family can be seen as key players in promoting the religious changes in England during the Tudor period.

William Barlow was the first Protestant Bishop in England. His elder brother Thomas had been chaplain to Queen Anne Boleyn. A third Barlow brother, John, who was also a chaplain, was also a friend to Queen Anne Boleyn. John was involved in the Great Matter, the divorce of King Henry VIII from his first wife Queen Catharine of Aragon. In 1528, it was John Barlow who discovered evidence that Cardinal Wolsey had betrayed the king whilst in Rome discussing the matter with the Pope. This only strengthened Anne Boleyn's hatred of the Cardinal and aided in his downfall in the following year.

William Barlow was the first English Bishop to marry, before marriage was an option for clergymen in England. By 1553 William had married Agatha Wellesbourne (1505-95), and due to clerical celibacy being a requirement for Catholic bishops, William resigned his bishopric when Queen Mary I succeeded the throne in 1553. He and his family were forced to flee to Germany and Poland for the duration of Queen Mary's reign, and only returned to England after her death in 1558.

Children of William and Agatha's marriage include;

+William Barlow (1544-1625) After attending Oxford University, William took Holy Orders and eventually became Treasurer of Lichfield Cathedral in 1588. In the reign of King James I he became chaplain to the king's son Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, and later in 1615 he was made Archdeacon of Salisbury. He married a woman called Julia and the couple had six children together. William left university with a keen interest in mathematics, and developed key theories about magnetism.

+John Barlow (d.1634)
+Arthur Barlow (1550-1620)
+Hugh Barlow
+Marmaduke Barlow
+Thomas Barlow (d.1558)

William and Agatha also had five daughters, all of whom went on to marry bishops.

+ Anne (d.1597) m1. Augustin Bradbridge (d.1567)
                           m2. Herbert Westfaling (1531-1602), Bishop of Hereford (1586)
                            + Herbert Westfaling
                            + Anne Westfaling m. William Jeffries
                            + Margaret Westfaling m. Richard Edes, Dean of Worcester
                            + Elizabeth Westfaling m. Robert Walwyn

Herbert Westfaling

+ Elizabeth (1538-75) m. William Day (1529-96), Bishop of Winchester (Nov 1595- Sept 1596)
Children of Elizabeth and William were;
                                      + William Day
                                      + Richard Day
                                      + Thomas Day
                                      + Susan Day m. Mr Cox
                                      + Rachel Day m. Mr Barker
                                      + Alice Day m. Thomas Ridley
                                      + Elizabeth Day

+ Margaret (1533-1601) m. William Overton (1525-1609), Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (1580)
                                         + Susan Overton m. Thomas Playsted
                                         + Valentine Overton (1565-1646) m. Isabel Higgenson

Tobie (or Tobias) Matthew from NPG.jpg
Tobias Matthew

+ Frances (1551-1629) m1. Matthew Parker (1551-74), son of Archbishop Parker
                                       + Matthew Parker (1575-6)
                                      m2. Tobias Matthew (1546-1628), Bishop of Durham (1595), Archbishop of York (1606)
                                       + Tobie Matthew (1577-1655) MP
                                       + John Matthew (b.1580)
                                       + Samuel (d.1601)
When Tobias was given the post of Dean of Durham in 1583, the couple moved to the north of England so that he could take up the posting, this move did not please Frances and she wished to return to the south as soon as possible. Frances and Tobias fell out with, and later disinherited, their eldest son Tobie due to his conversion to Roman Catholicism. Tobias eventually forgave his son in 1623, however Frances never did. Frances also fell out with her son John, however she raised John's two daughters Frances and Dorcas. Frances had a reputation in Durham for the education of young girls. Frances' pride in her family was reflected in her memorial which read in part that 'a bishop was her father, an archbishop her father-in-law; she had four bishops her brethren and an archbishop her husband'. 

+ Antonia (1552-98) m. William Wickham (1539-95), Bishop of Lincoln (1584), Bishop of Winchester (1595)
William Wickham preached at the funeral of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1587.
Children of Antonia and William were;
                                  + Henry Wickham (d.1641), Archdeacon of York
                                  + Thomas Wickham
                                  + Barlow Wickham (d.1617)
                                  + William Wickham (b.1598)
                                  + Frances Wickham m. Thomas Wolriche
                                  + Susan Wickham
                                  + Anne Wickham
                                  + Elizabeth Wickham

Agatha Barlow, nee Wellesbourne, died in 1595. She was extremely proud of her achievement of marrying all of her daughters to bishops. This was reflected in her memorial.

"Barlow's wife, Agatha, doth here remain Bishop, then exile, Bishop again. So long she lived, so well her children sped. She saw five bishops her five daughters wed". - St Mary's, Eaton, Hampshire

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Execution of a Prince

On the 19th March 1330, Edmund, Duke of Kent (b.1301), the youngest son of King Edward I of England was executed for treason.

The crime which Edmund accused of was that he believed his brother King Edward II, who had died in 1327, was in fact still alive. He was described as being part of a plot to rescue Edward II from Corfe Castle in Dorset. It would appear that Edmund had been convinced by someone that his brother was alive and well, and his wife wrote letters to Edward which were intercepted and used as evidence against Edmund. By writing to his brother, Edmund had performed a treasonous act against the current king, his nephew Edward III, through his disloyalty to him in his offer to help his brother to regain his throne.

The Earl and Countess of Kent, Prince Edmund of Woodstock and Margaret Wake, Baroness Wake of Liddel
Edmund and Margaret

On the 14th March the arrest warrant for Edmund's wife Margaret Wake and their children was issued. Margaret and their three children - Edmund (1326-31), Margaret (1327-52) and Joan (1328-85) - were imprisoned at Salisbury Castle with only two maids to attend on them. It was there that Margaret gave birth to the couple's fourth child, John (d.1352), on the 7th April.

On 16th March, Edmund's confession was read out in Parliament. Edmund offered to walk barefoot from Winchester to London with a rope around his neck as punishment for his actions, however this request was denied.

"The will of this court is that you shall lose both life and limb, and that your heirs shall be disinherited for evermore, save the grace of our lord the king".

On the morning of the 19th of March, Edmund was taken to the scaffold wearing only his shirt. The executioner who had been employed for that day had fled and could not be found. The search to find a replacement executioner took several hours as it was proving impossible to find someone willing to execute a royal prince, especially considering the charges brought against him were viewed by many as nothing more than trumped up charges to rid Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer of a political enemy. The offer was made to all prisoners who had been sentenced to death themselves, that if they were to step forward and perform the execution, they would be granted a royal pardon. A latrine cleaner who was awaiting execution stepped forward and offered to execute the prince in exchange for his own life.

It was this execution which led to King Edward III seizing power from his mother Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, a few weeks shy of his coming of age in October 1330. In the Parliament of November 1330 King Edward passed a Bill posthumously pardoning Prince Edmund of all charges. Which indicates that the truth was that the charges had been fabricated and exaggerated to suit Isabella and Roger's aims. King Edward took on the responsibility of the family that Edmund had left behind; the children were raised at the royal court and Edmund's daughter Joan became a favourite of Edward's queen, Philippa of Hainault.

Through his daughter Joan, Edmund was the grandfather to King Richard II, as well as the ancestor to King Henry VII and all subsequent monarchs of England.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Henry Carey's Venetian son

Emilia Bassano (1569-1645), the illegitimate daughter of Venetian court musician Baptiste Bassano (d.1576) and Margaret Johnson (d.1587), became the mistress to Henry Carey, Baron Hunsdon (1526-96), in 1587 when she was just eighteen years old.

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Kathy Emerson\Documents\My Web Sites\Kateemersonhistoricals\httpdocs\bassano,emilia(resized).jpg
Emilia Bassano
Emilia was noted as having black hair and black eyes. She had inherited her father's musical talent and she played the virginals. After the death of her father Baptiste in 1576, Emilia went to live in the household of Susan Bertie, Countess of Kent. It was in the Bertie household that Emilia received a Humanist education, as Bertie believed in educating girls to the same level as boys. Later, she lived in the household of Margaret Clifford and her daughter Anne Clifford.
Whilst living as his mistress, Carey gave Emilia a pension of £40 a year, as well as frequent gifts of jewels.

In 1592 Emilia found she was pregnant with Carey's child. Emilia was quickly married off to her first cousin Alphonso Lanier (1567-1613), another court musician, on October 18th 1592. Carey gifted Emilia with a sum of money on this occasion. Her marriage to Lanier appears to have been the end of her relationship with Henry Carey. The following year in 1593, Emilia gave birth to a son, named Henry Lanier, after his biological father.
Emilia's marriage was not a happy one, and the couple only had one child together; a daughter, Odillya (1598-9).

It appears that Henry Lanier inherited the musical talent of his mother's musical Bassano family; trained by his uncle Andrea Lanier (1582-1660), he played the flute and became one of the king's flautists in September 1629.
Henry Lanier married in 1623 to Joyce Mansfield, and they had two children together;
+ Mary (b.1627) m. Henry Young in 1652
+ Henry (b.1629)

In 1611 Emilia published a book of poems entitled "Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum", at which time she was the first woman in England to have done so. In 1613 her husband Alphonse died, and Emilia set up a school to provide for herself and her family. However due to the school gaining a bad reputation due to arrests over rent prices in 1617 and 1619, the school lasted less than ten years.

Due to her connection with Henry Carey, the patron of the Lord Chamberlain's Men theatre company, it has been suggested by historians that Emilia was in fact Shakespeare's 'Dark Lady'. It has also been suggested that Emilia's mother Margaret Johnson was a relative of Robert Johnson, a lutenist who joined Shakespeare's company.

Henry Lanier died in 1633. Due to his death, his mother Emilia was providing financially for her two grandchildren in 1635. Emilia died in 1645.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Anne Stanhope and Catherine Grey

Anne Seymour, nee Stanhope, (1510-87) had inherited Hanworth Palace in Middlesex from her husband Edward Seymour (1500-52) after his death. Hanworth had originally belonged to King Henry VIII's last queen, Katherine Parr and after her death had passed to her last husband Thomas Seymour, and when he was executed it fell into the hands of his brother Edward.
It was at Hanworth Palace in 1553 that a romance began between Anne Seymour's eldest son Edward and Lady Catherine Grey.
Jane Seymour, the eldest daughter of Anne Seymour became close friends with Catherine Grey; a friendship which Catherine's cousin Queen Mary I encouraged. Jane Seymour constantly suffered with illnesses throughout her life. Anne Seymour was living at Hanworth with her second husband, Francis Newdigate, and her children at this time, and Catherine would frequently go and visit Jane at Hanworth.
It was during one of these visits to Jane at Hanworth in the summer of 1558 that Catherine spent time with Anne's elder brother Edward. The young couple had a surprising amount of things in common with each other; both of their father's had been executed for treason, both were reported to have been quite attractive and both were still without a sure footing in the world due to their lack of marriage proposals.
The relationship between Catherine and Edward must have been clear to see by those at Hanworth as his mother Anne began to ask him about his intentions towards Catherine. He told her that he enjoyed visiting with Catherine, and that his mother should not worry about Queen Mary giving permission for the pair to marry as the fact that the queen had sent Catherine to live at Hanworth, and therefore her feelings on the matter were clear in that she supported it. However, the fact that Queen Mary approved of the couple's relationship no longer mattered as Mary died in November 1558. Elizabeth Tudor was now queen and her bad relationship with Catherine was well-known.
The couple still continued their romance, with the gentle encouragement of Jane Seymour, and in December 1560 they finally married. The marriage took place in secret, with Edward's sister Jane as their only witness. In July 1561 the couple were discovered as Catherine would hide her pregnancy no longer, and both were sent to the Tower. It was impossible for Catherine to prove that her marriage to Edward had been legal as their witness Jane had died of tuberculosis in March 1561. 
After Catherine and Edward were imprisoned in the Tower, Anne wrote the following letter to William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth's right hand man.

22 August 1561. Anne, Duchess of Somerset, to William Cecil.

good master secretary heryng a great brute that my lady kateryne gray yt in the tower and allso that she shold say she it maryed allredy to my sonne I coulld not chouse but troble yo in my adres and sorow therof and allthough I myght upon my sonne ernest and often protestying unto me the contrary desyre yo to be an humble sutor on my behalf her talet myght not be redyted before my sonne dyd answer yet in stede therof my fyrst and theyf sute yt that the quenes maty wyll thynke and juge of me in thys matter accordyng to my desere and menyng and of my sonne have so moch forgotten her highnes rallying hym to honor and so moch ovor thatte hys bounden dutye and so serve abused + her maty beuyguytey yet never was his mother prevy or consentyng ther unto. I wyll not fyll my letter how moch I have skooled and persuadded hym to the contrary nor yet wyll desyer that yowth and feare maye help expense or lessen hys faute but only that her highnes wyll have that opynyon of me as of one that nether for chyld nor frend shall wyllyngly neglect the dutye of a faythfull subject and to conserve my credyte in her maty good master secretary stand now my frynd that the wylfulnes of myne unruly chylde do not mynysg her maty favor towardes me and thus so parplexyd in this dyscomfortable rumor I end not knowyng how to procede nor what to do therin and therfor good master secretary let me understand somme comfort of my gryef from the quenes maty and some consell from yor selfe and so do love yo to god
your asuryd frynd to my powre,
Anne Somerset



Edward was only released from the Tower after Catherine had died; in 1568 he was sent, with his eldest son, to live with his mother Anne. Anne Seymour supported John Hales' 'Discourse on the succession', which was written in favour of Catherine Grey's claim to be Queen Elizabeth's heir. Although this was not successful, the support that she gave to it demonstrates at least a level of support and affection for her daughter-in-law. Although, another reason for her support may have been that she thought it would advance the suit of her grandsons and their claim to the throne of England.

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Farriner family of the Great Fire

It was in the Farriner's bakery on Pudding Lane that on the morning of the 2nd September 1666 that the Great Fire of London began. Farriner was appointed Conduct of the King's Bakehouse and was the provider of bread for the Royal Navy during the Anglo-Dutch war that was being fought at the time.

Marriage record of Thomas Farriner and Hanna Matthews, 1637

The baker, Thomas Farriner, a widower, lived there with  his three children; Thomas (d.1677), Hanna (1643-71) and Mary. Thomas (1615-70) had married on the 9th July 1637 to Hanna Matthews, who had died the year before in 1665.
During the fire, although Thomas and his three children escaped from the house that was then alight, their housemaid was too afraid and perished in the flames. After the Great Fire, Thomas Farriner rebuilt his house and bakery, and returned to work as a respected baker. Thomas Farriner, his son Thomas and daughter Hanna were signatories on the Bill against Robert Hubert, the man accused of starting the Great Fire in their bakery. Hubert was hanged at Tyburn on 27th October 1666 for his crime of arson.
When Thomas Farriner died on the 20th December 1670, he left one hundred pounds to be paid over four years to each of his daughters, and with exception of a few small bequests, the remainder of his estate was left to his son and heir Thomas.

Hanna married on the 18th July 1667 to Nicholas Day (d.1695), a baker. The couple had the following children;
+ Thomas Day (1668-9)
+ Hanna Day (b.1670)
+ Thomas Day (b.1671)
Hanna died shortly after giving birth to her third child on the 13th August 1671. Nicholas Day later remarried.

Marriage record of Thomas Farriner and Martha Towse, 1671

Thomas Farriner, the younger, married Martha Towse on the 30th November 1671.
It appears that Thomas and Martha had no surviving children at the time of Thomas' death in December 1677.
Thomas had been an apprentice baker to his father, and later inherited the bakery to run himself. In his Will of 1677 Thomas left his baking and residential premises to firstly his wife Martha, and after her death they were to pass to his sister Mary Halford. As well as this, he left Mary one hundred pounds which was owed to him from the Marquis of Dorset, and also five pounds for Mary and her husband Thomas to buy mourning clothing.
It would appear that there was a disagreement over the Will of Thomas Farriner, as in 1677 Martha, now a widow, took Mary and Thomas Halford to the Chancery Court.

Mary Farriner also married a baker, Thomas Halford (d.1705) early in 1666 and was therefore not living with her father at the time of the Great Fire.
Mary and Thomas had the following children;
+ Thomas Halford (b.1672)
+ Hanna Halford (b.1673) m. John Willett (a baker)
                                           + Hanna Willett
                                           + Mary Willett m. Walter Reily
                                           + Martha Willett
+ John Halford (1676-81)
+ Martha Halford (1678-1682)
+ Thomas Halford (b&d.1681)
+ Thomas Halford (b.1683)

Mary died before 1695, and her husband Thomas remarried.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Queen Elizabeth's two Blanches

Blanche Parry (1508-90) was the daughter of Harry Myles, Sheriff of Herefordshire, and his wife Alice Milborne (b.1475). The family were a Welsh speaking household, as Harry Myles was a Welshman, and Blanche is sometime recorded by her Welsh name; Blanche ap Harry.

Tomb of Blanche Parry (left) kneeling to Queen Elizabeth I
The children of Harry and Alice were;
+ Blanche
+ Symond - never married but had four illegitimate children; Myles, John, Elizabeth and Jane (who                         married Griffith Jones).
+ Myles m. Elinor Scudamore
               + Joan m. Watkyn Vaughan
                            + Rowland Vaughan (1559-1629)
               + Elizabeth m. Rowland Vaughan
+ Elizabeth m. Thomas Vaughan
+ Olive m. William Cecil (d.1598)
+ Sybell
+ John

Blanche Parry aided her relatives with positions at court; her great-nephew Rowland Vaughan (b.1559) spent time at the royal court in the 1590's. Blanche's sister Olive married a member of the Cecil family, a connection acknowledged by William Cecil, Lord Burghley, as he often referred to Blanche Parry as 'cousin'.

Alice Milborne was the eighth of thirteen daughters, and heiresses, to Simon Milborne (1435-1522) and his wife Jane Baskerville (b.1451) of Herefordshire. On both her paternal and maternal lines of descent, Alice Milborne was able to trace her family back to knights who had come over with William the Conqueror from Normandy.
Simon and Jane's children included;
+ Alice m. Harry Myles m2. Thomas Baskerville
+ Blanche m1. James Whitney m2. Sir William Herbert
                  + Robert                    + Charles
                  + James                     + Thomas m. Anne Lucy
                  + Watkin
                  + Elizabeth m. Mr Morgan
+ Anne (b.1465) m. William Rudhall
+ Catherine (b.1466) m. Thomas Barton
                                   + Griffin Barton
+ Joyce (b.1467) m. Thomas Hyett
                             + James Hyett
+ Sybil (1468-1537) m1. Richard Hackluyt m2. John Breynton
+ Margaret (1480-1522) m. John Bishop
                                         + Anthony Bishop
+ Juliana (b.1485)
+ Eleanor (1493-1530) m. John Moore
+ Agnes (b.1480) m. Thomas Walwyn
+ Joan (b.1484)
+ Jane (1498-1535) m. Richard Cornwall
+ Elizabeth (1470-1514) m1. Thomas Mornington m2. John Whittington
+ Henry (1482-1520)

As Simon's only son Henry had predeceased him two years earlier, his fortune was inherited equally between his thirteen daughters, and if they had died, their portion would pass to their oldest living child; as seen in the case of his daughters Catherine, Joyce and Margaret.

It was Simon's daughter Blanche Milborne, Lady Troy who brought her niece, and goddaughter, Blanche Parry to the royal court. Blanche Milborne was a close friend of Queen Anne Boleyn through Elizabeth Somerset, Countess of Worcester. In 1533 she recommended a Welshwoman, Mrs Pendred, as wet nurse for Queen Anne to employ for Princess Elizabeth, a decision which was later overruled by King Henry VIII. Therefore, it follows that Blanche would be involved in the Tudor princess' life. Due to her position as Mistress of the Household for all three children of King Henry VIII, her niece Blanche Parry knew Princess Elizabeth from the time she was a baby, and would continue to serve her loyally throughout her life until her own death in 1590. Blanche Herbert finished her term as Lady Mistress of the royal children's household in 1545, and from a letter written by Roger Tyrwhitt it can be surmised that Blanche Herbert had trained her niece Blanche Parry to be her successor, however the position was instead given to Kat Ashley. Despite her retirement, Blanche Herbert was paid a pension by Princess Elizabeth as late as 1552; she received 70 shillings twice a year, which was half the amount of her wage when she was employed.
Blanche Milborne's daughter Elizabeth Whitney married a Mr Morgan, and the couple were the parents of Anne Morgan. Anne Morgan married the queen's cousin Henry Carey; a prestigious marriage.