The Battle of Bramham Moor.
Henry Percy had played his part in the usurpation of King Richard II and aided Henry Bolingbroke, later Henry IV in his successful attempt to gain the crown of England. By 1402 however, the Percy's had changed their allegiances and on the 19th February, faced the king's army, under the leadership of Yorkshireman Sir Thomas Rokeby, just south of Wetherby in Yorkshire at Bramham Moor.
"The exact sizes and compositions of the contending armies is not recorded but they were certainly far smaller than the thousands engaged at Shrewsbury three years earlier and little detail of the actual engagement survives. It is likely that the action followed the course of many medieval battles where the armies and generals were evenly matched. Lord Percy is said to have positioned his men carefully and awaited Rokeby’s arrival at 2.00 p.m. when battle was instantly joined and, though not long in duration, was said to be sharp, furious and bloody. It is generally believed that the English longbow, the ultimate weapon of its day (as evidenced at Agincourt seven years later), thinned the rebel lines before the English charged the northern forces and violent hand-to-hand combat ensued in a huge melee, probably with little tactical direction " (1)
Henry IV's army defeated Percy's forces, in the final battle of the “Percy Rebellion”. This victory removed the threat of a rebellion in the north.
Charles Tennyson d'Eyncourt
Charles Tennyson d’Eyncourt, and his older brother George Clayton Tennyson, had been brought up with the story of their connection to the ennobled family of d’Eyncourt. This tale greatly impressed Charles, who would spend the rest of his life trying to obtain the right to the d’Eyncourt name and the peerage that went with it.
By 1831 Charles was employed as Clerk of the Ordnance, an inferior position that he considered did not fit his social status. As part of a government reshuffle, he was persuaded to leave this post with an offer of a position as a member of the privy council, gleefully he wrote to his father.
‘... this rank is the nearest to a peerage, and given the title of Right Honourable is a distinction for life.’
With a change of his position in government and a step closer to his heart's desire Charles Tennyson pestered his father to change the family name to d’Eyncourt, but he would not. He did succeed however in getting his father to add a codicil to his will so that he could be called Charles Tennyson d’Eyncourt and on the death of his father, he added d’Eyncourt to his name. Four years later he petitioned government for permission to officially use the name, but he was refused. At the same time, he had begun work on a ‘grandiose building programme’ on his house in Tealby, turning it into an ‘extravagant Gothic castle.’
Charles’ delusions of grandeur I think are rooted in his childhood and his father’s dislike, and disinheritance of his brother George.
One reason for the name change could be that he saw himself superior in person, and in rank, to George who was living as a rector of the parish of Somersby, but pride they say comes before a fall, and Charles’ fall was the jealously he felt regarding the achievements of his nephew.
Alfred Tennyson’s success as a poet irritated him, but it was the rewards that came with it that angered him the most, especially when he was granted the prestigious post of Poet Laureate, but what really made him seethe was the offer of the one thing he desired above anything else - a peerage.
Charles Tennyson d’Eyncourt would never receive a peerage, his lowly brother’s son however would become Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
‘... this rank is the nearest to a peerage and given the title of Right Honourable is a distinction for life.’
In 1587 Elizabeth I made Robert Deveraux the Earl of Essex, Master of the Horse, six years later in 1593 she made him a Privy Councillor. That year he led a successful attack on the Spanish port of Cadiz. Three years later he returned home a hero.
Deveraux was intelligent and charming and he thought by flattering the aging queen he could get away with anything, the events of this day in 1601 would prove him wrong.
While Deveraux was away changes within Elizabeth's court affected his standing, his major problem was the promotion of Robert Cecil who Deveraux regarded as an enemy, in fact, Robert Deveraux was his own worst enemy - for making peace in Ireland against the order of the queen he was banned from court and thus financially ruined, was this the reason behind his rebellion?
On the morning of the 8th February in 1601, Deveraux and his followers, notably the Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton, made their way through the city of London in, it is thought, to plead with the queen, Robert Cecil however thought otherwise and sent a message to the London's mayor. Deveraux was publicly denounced as a traitor and eventually captured, he would be tried for treason before the month was out.
So, was Robert Devereaux a real threat to the monarchy? Was the queen in real danger and what really motivated William Cecil to see off the Earl of Essex?
This rebellion is nicely played out in the 2011 film Anonymous, and here you can see Robert Deveraux (Sam Reed) persuading Henry Wriothesley (Xavier Samuel) that the plot couldn't fail!
Hampton Court Statues
During renovations in 1910, an original 16th century heraldic shield was found at the bottom of the moat of Hampton Court Palace that has been dated to around the time of the marriage of Henry VIII to Jane Seymour. The shield would have been held by a lion, which is thought to have represented the king himself. It would have stood on the bridge that leads into the palace.
At the centre of the shield is the image of the hawthorn bush topped with a crown, they are highly symbolic representations of both the Battle of Bosworth - the end of the Plantagenet dynasty and the beginning of the new reign under the Tudors.
It is interesting isn't it, that even thirty years into the Tudor reign this dynasty was still trying to justify their weak claim to the throne of England.
There is more about the finding of this shield on the History Royal Palaces website
Agnes Tilney - Duchess of Norfolk
In the last week of November in 1541, Catherine Howard was imprisoned in Syon Abbey for adultery with Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpeper, her world was falling apart, but she was not the only one, other members of the Howard family also found themselves incarcerated.
In the months following Catherine's arrest, at least four of her family were imprisoned in the Tower of London for not disclosing what they knew of Catherine's past, one of them was Agnes, the sixty-four-year-old Duchess of Norfolk, she was Catherine's grandmother's cousin. All were charged with 'concealing the evil demeanour of the Queen, to the slander of the King and his succession' they were sentenced to life imprisonment and loss of goods.
After a search of the duchess's property, and the questioning of her servants, a charge was brought against her which was that she had opened the aforementioned Francis Dereham's private chest and destroyed documents, she admitted nothing. However, Agnes' main concern was the loss of her goods, when asked where she kept her money, she dropped to her knees weeping, asking God to save the king and give him a long and prosperous life.
Eventually, she admitted to hiding money in the private chamber of her home. When an inventory of Agnes' belongings was made there a vast amount of money, about three hundred and fifty pounds in today's money was found. The money was 'confiscated' and taken to Westminster Palace. Where it ended up, well, your guess is as good as mine!
On the 10th of December, the day that both Dereham and Culpeper were executed, Agnes was questioned again and this time she owned up to having prior knowledge of Catherine's wrongdoings at the time she was being put forward as a bride for the king, that she persuaded Catherine to bring Dereham to court and that she did burn his letters.
It was deemed that Agnes was too old to stand trial. After having spent another six months in the tower she was released. She died four years later at her home in Lambeth.
Following his departure from Plymouth in the November of 1577, strong winds and fog in the English Channel hampered Sir Francis Drake's first attempt to reach the Americas. This bad weather had forced Drake into the Cornish port of Falmouth from where his fleet returned to Plymouth to make repairs.
It was today that Drake, once again, set sail as captain of the Pelican, which would be renamed the Golden Hind on a voyage in the August of 1578.
Drake's fleet contained five ships, the Pelican and the Elizabeth were the larger ones. The Elizabeth, who was captained by John Winter, was separated from the fleet at the Straits of Magellan. The three other smaller vessels were the Marigold, Swan, and Benedict. Only Drake's Golden Hind completed the voyage.
As captain, Sir Francis Drake was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world, he returned home to England on the 26th September 1580 with a cargo hold of spices and enough treasure to pay off the country's foreign debt.
Drake's journey was classed as the 'Secrets of the Realm' and those involved were sworn to secrecy on the pain of death!
Sir Francis Drake was rewarded a year later with a knighthood and a miniature painting, by court artist Nicholas Hilliard, which is now known as the 'The Drake Jewel.'
Death of Eleanor of Castile
On the 28th November in 1290 in the Nottinghamshire village of Harby, Eleanor of Castile, the beloved wife of Edward I died.
It is thought that Eleanor had not properly recovered from catching malaria a few years earlier, and it was on her journey to pray at the Shrine of St Hugh in Lincoln Cathedral that she became ill. On the 13th November, once parliament had concluded at King’s Clipstone, the royal party began their journey into Lincolnshire, but Eleanor's health deteriorated so they stopped at Harby, the home of Richard de Weston, in the hope that she regain her strength. According to Edward’s itinerary, they arrived at Harby on the 20th November, it was here eight days later that Eleanor died. The king was with her at her request, Oliver Sutton, the Bishop of Lincoln, and Harby’s parish priest, William de Kelm were also in attendance.
Eleanor’s body was conferred to St Catherine’s Priory in Lincoln where it was embalmed. The queen's viscera were buried in Lincoln Cathedral, where Edward would place a copy of her Westminster Abbey tomb.
King Edward’s grief at the loss of his wife is well known as is the fact that at each place his queen's body rested on her journey to London he erected crosses, all different and all beautifully ornate. The first one placed was at St Catherine’s, sadly nothing but a stump remains, and this can be found in the grounds of Lincoln Castle.
At Harby, a chantry chapel was established in 1294 where prayers were said for the queen's soul and this was done until the dissolution, however the building itself survived until 1877.
We were at Harby last year, it was a cold and wet day, much like the day in 1290. The manor house in which Queen Eleanor died is long gone, but you can walk to the site on which it stood, also to be seen are the remains of the moat that once surrounded it.
The aforementioned Chantry Chapel once stood behind the iron railings, on the spot where the above was taken.
Henry VIII Receives a Note
In the October of 1541, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was told by John Lascelles, a member of Thomas Cromwell's household, that he had knowledge that Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII had had intermate relations with three men while living at Chesworth House, a place where she had spent her childhood.
Cranmer disliked Thomas Howard, Catherine's grandfather, and used this information to discredit the Howard family by informing Henry of Catherine's teenage activities. He left the king a note as he celebrated All Souls Day in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court. In this note, Cranmer wrote that Catherine Howard had been accused of
"dissolute living before her marriage with Francis Dereham, and that was not secret, but many knew it."
Events soon escalated with the arrest and torture of the so-called lovers of the queen. This was followed by the execution of Dereham, along with Thomas Culpepper, on the 10th of December and Catherine went to her death on the 13th of February the following year. The third man accused was Henry Manox, he was fortunate to escape death.
What of the troublemaking John Lascelles, the instigator of this affair? He would be burnt at the stake for the crime of heresy on the 12th of July 1546. Cranmer would suffer the same fate in 1556.
Death of King Athelstan
King Athelstan is considered by many to be the first king of England; he was the grandson of Alfred the Great. He died on this day in 939 and was buried in Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire.
Athelstan, says the Anglo-Saxon chronicles was 'the lord of warriors and patron of heroes" and by the time of his death, he had secured England’s borders and introduced new laws.
Of Athelstan's funeral, 12th-century chronicler William of Malmesbury wrote that 'many gifts in gold and silver were carried before the body, as well as many relics of saints, bought in Brittany, for such were the objects on which he expended the treasure accumulated and left untouched by his father.' William of Malmesbury also viewed the king's remains and of what he saw he wrote 'the king as not above the average height, slim in build with fair hair 'as I have seen for myself in his remains, beautifully intertwined with golden threads.'
Ferdinand and Isabella of Aragon
On this day in 1469, the marriage of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon.
This marriage had been previously arranged, but Isabella would only consent if she met with the future king of Aragon before the marriage took place, this meeting had been organised for the 11th of October. The young man that Isabella first set eyes on was a dark-haired, seventeen-year-old with chubby cheeks and full lips who she must have found attractive.
Isabella was a year older than Ferdinand, they also were second cousins. The marriage of second cousins was illegal and therefore there were consanguinity issues, however documentation, dated five years earlier, had been found that decreed that Ferdinand could marry within the third degree of consanguinity, and this papal bull legalised their marriage.
The wedding took place at the Palacio de Los Vivero (Palace of the Nurseries) in the city of Valladolid in Castile and their first child, a daughter, Isabella, was born just under a year following their marriage.
Isabella and Ferdinand went on to have another six children, the most famous, from an English point of view, was Catherine, the wife of Prince Arthur and later his brother Henry.
Isabella and Ferdinand's marriage paved the way for the unification of Aragon and Castile into a single country that we now know as Spain.
After ten years in the workplace I became a mother to three very beautiful daughters, I was fortunate enough to have been able to stay at home and spend my time with them as they grew into the young women they are now. I am still in the position of being able to be at home and pursue all the interests I have previously mentioned. We live in a beautiful Victorian spa town with wooded walks for the dog, lovely shops and a host of lovely people, what more could I ask for.
All works © Andrea Povey 2014. Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Andrea Povey.
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