Gerald Fitz Gerald, the 11th Earl of Kildare died on the 16th November 1585, his life can be viewed through the fall out of the failed Kildare rebellion of 1534.
At just twelve, Gerald Fitz Gerald had received the Earldom of Kildare following the aforementioned unsuccessful rebellion against King Henry VIII by the Silken Thomas, the 10th Earl of Kildare. Silken Thomas was Fitz Gerald's half-brother, he and his uncles James, Oliver, Richard, John and Walter Fitz Gerald, the sons of the 8th Earl of Kildare by Elizabeth St John were all hanged in the first week of February 1537 at Tyburn. At this time Fitz Gerald was raised under the guardianship of his aunt. He later fled to Belgium and Italy returning only after the death of Henry VIII.
Fitz Gerald himself had been accused of treason numerous times and had been twice imprisoned in the Tower of London, he had survived Henry VIII's attempt to capture him and lived through the reign of Edward VI and Mary and was fortunate to have the favour of Elizabeth. He died in London at the age of sixty, Mabel, Countess of Kildare lived for another twenty-five years.
Fitz Gerald first came to my notice as the husband of Mabel Browne, the great great granddaughter of my ancestor Thomas Browne. Mabel, according to tradition met Fitz Gerald at a masked ball and she immediately fell in love with him, and why wouldn't she, he could speak at least two languages, was highly intelligent, and a man who had used his time wisely, he learned and experienced much while in exile. Fitz Gerald also dabbled in alchemy, this 'hobby' caused concern to those less enlighted and just like his father and his father before him, he was quick-tempered, clever and charismatic.
On the 9th November in 1841 Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert was born at Buckingham Palace, he would
turn out to be a better king than everybody thought he would be, J B Priestley wrote of him:
"He had a tremendous zest for pleasure but he also had a real sense of duty."
Edward life has been compared to that of Henry V, it was Benjamin Disraeli who seems to be the first to say so. In 1883 speaking to fellow guests at a country house he stated
"in the big voice of Henry V - to whom I mentally compare him - only he didn't say such clever things"
and Jane Ridley in her biography suggests that he even had his own Falstaff in Daisy Warwick, she rejected him when he came to the throne just as he Prince Hal abandoned Falstaff.
The self-indulgence of his younger days has also not gone unnoticed when comparing him with that of the 15th-century king.
By the time both Henry V and Edward VII were kings of England they were popular with their people, and certainly, Edward brought his England out of the darkness into the light. Many may argue that Henry V did just the same, however, I feel that that point is debatable.
Jane Ridley's The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince was published by in 2013
Henry Percy, first Earl of Northumberland was, according to Shakespeare:
"the ladder upon which the mounting Bolingbroke ascends the throne.”
This statement reflects the rise of the Percy family during the reign of Richard II and the subsequent usurpation of the throne by Henry Bolingbroke.
Henry Percy was born on this very day, the 10th November in 1341/2.
The first two decades of Percy's life were unremarkable, however the twenty years following his father's death lead Percy to great heights of power and influence, not only in his own stamping ground but in the country as a whole. Henry Percy headed a family that included his sons Henry 'Hotspur' and Thomas, all three were guardians of the English boarder with Scotland. As Lords of the North, and as the previous statement states, they were involved in the future Henry IV taking the crown of England. However, siding with Henry had its problems, and the Percy's would soon regret helping Bolingbroke take his seat on the throne of England.
We cannot think of the Percy family without considering the part they played in the Wars of the Roses. Many believe that the First Battle of St Albans, in 1455, was as much about the ongoing squabble between the Percy's and their nemesis the Neville's, as it was about the wider squabble, that of the House of York and Lancaster. It cannot be doubted that this battle, for the individual members of these two northern families, was very personal, each trying to destroy the other under the guise of a greater cause.
The origins of Percy/Neville squabble had it roots in land, or the loss of it, bitterness turned to anger, discussion to litigation, skirmishes into outright warfare that initiated 'the beginning of the greatest sorrows in England."
Henry Percy died a traitor at Bramham Moor, the last battle of the Percy's rebellion, on the 19 February 1408 and as was the norm for a traitor, his head was decapitated and sent to London, placed for all to see on London Bridge, it was reunited with his quartered remains and eventually buried in York Minster.
On the 30th November 1601, Queen Elizabeth, at the age of sixty-eight gave what has come to be known as The
Farewell Speech or Golden Speech to Parliament.
We have heard your declaration and perceive your care of our estate. I do assure you there is no prince that loves his subjects better, or whose love can countervail our love. There is no jewel, be it of never so rich a price, which I set before this jewel: I mean your love. For I do esteem it more than any treasure or riches; for that we know how to prize, but love and thanks I count invaluable. And, though God hath raised me high, yet this I count the glory of my Crown, that I have reigned with your loves. This makes me that I do not so much rejoice that God hath made me to be a Queen, as to be a Queen over so thankful a people. Therefore I have cause to wish nothing more than to content the subject and that is a duty which I owe. Neither do I desire to live longer days than I may see your prosperity and that is my only desire. And as I am that person still yet, under
God, hath delivered you and so I trust by the almighty power of God that I shall be his instrument to preserve you from every peril, dishonour, shame, tyranny and oppression, partly by means of your intended helps which we take very acceptably because it manifesteth the largeness of your good loves and loyalties unto your sovereign.
Of myself I must say this: I never was any greedy, scraping grasper, nor a strait fast-holding Prince, nor yet a waster. My
heart was never set on any worldly goods. What you bestow on me, I will not hoard it up, but receive it to bestow on you again. Therefore render unto them I beseech you Mr Speaker, such thanks as you imagine my heart yieldeth, but my tongue cannot express. Mr Speaker, I would wish you and the rest to stand up for I shall yet trouble you with longer speech. Mr Speaker, you give me thanks but I doubt me I have greater cause to give you thanks, than you me, and I charge you to thank them of the Lower House from me. For had I not received a knowledge from you, I might have fallen into the lapse of an error, only for
lack of true information.
Since I was Queen, yet did I never put my pen to any grant, but that upon pretext and semblance made unto me, it was both good and beneficial to the subject in general though a private profit to some of my ancient servants, who had deserved well at my hands. But the contrary being found by experience, I am exceedingly beholden to such subjects as would move the same
at first. And I am not so simple to suppose but that there be some of the Lower House whom these grievances never touched.
I think they spake out of zeal to their countries and not out of spleen or malevolent affection as being parties grieved. That my grants should be grievous to my people and oppressions to be privileged under colour of our patents, our kingly dignity shall
not suffer it. Yea, when I heard it, I could give no rest unto my thoughts until I had reformed it. Shall they, think you, escape unpunished that have oppressed you, and have been respectless of their duty and regardless our honour? No, I assure you,
Mr Speaker, were it not more for conscience' sake than for any glory or increase of love that I desire, these errors, troubles, vexations and oppressions done by these varlets and lewd persons not worthy of the name of subjects should not escape without condign punishment. But I perceive they dealt with me like physicians who, ministering a drug, make it more
acceptable by giving it a good aromatical savour, or when they give pills do gild them all over.
I have ever used to set the Last Judgement Day before mine eyes and so to rule as I shall be judged to answer before a higher judge, and now if my kingly bounties have been abused and my grants turned to the hurt of my people contrary to my will and meaning, and if any in authority under me have neglected or perverted what I have committed to them, I hope God will not lay their culps and offenses in my charge. I know the title of a King is a glorious title, but assure yourself that the shining glory of princely authority hath not so dazzled the eyes of our understanding, but that we well know and remember that we also are to yield an account of our actions before the great judge. To be a king and wear a crown is a thing more glorious to them that see
it than it is pleasant to them that bear it. For myself I was never so much enticed with the glorious name of a King or royal authority of a Queen as delighted that God hath made me his instrument to maintain his truth and glory and to defend his kingdom as I said from peril, dishonour, tyranny and oppression. There will never Queen sit in my seat with more zeal to my country, care to my subjects and that will sooner with willingness venture her life for your good and safety than myself. For it is my desire to live nor reign no longer than my life and reign shall be for your good. And though you have had, and may have, many princes more mighty and wise sitting in this seat, yet you never had nor shall have, any that will be more careful and loving.
'For I, oh Lord, what am I, whom practices and perils past should not fear? Or what can I do? That I should speak for any glory, God forbid.' And turning to the Speaker and her councilors she said, 'And I pray to you Mr Comptroller, Mr Secretary and you
of my Council, that before these gentlemen go into their countries, you bring them all to kiss my hand.'
It has been said that those who listened to those words in person ever forgot them, copies of Elizabeth's speech were
printed and delivered to all parts of her realm.
It was on this day in 1590 that George Talbot, the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury died.
Talbot was the fourth husband of Bess of Hardwick and it was under their care the exiled Mary Queen of Scots lived for fifteen years.
The time and effort involved with their high profile prisoner took its toll on Talbot's marriage, as Bess was suspicious about
the amount of time Talbot spent with Mary and resorted to spreading rumors that he had been more than her jailer. By the
time of Mary’s execution Talbot's reputation was in tatters, his finances in ruin, and his health had deteriorated too.
By the end of 1587, Talbot was a broken man, from this time and up to his death he lived quietly at Handsworth Manor with Eleanor Britton, a servant in his household.
George Talbot was buried in the Shrewsbury Chapel of Sheffield Cathedral, where there is a magnificent
monument dedicated to him.
When Simon de Montfort returned to England from France, he perceived Henry III to be a weak king and with the barons aching for a fight, it was de Montfort who stepped in to take charge.
In 1258 this action culminated in the Provisions of Oxford, a law that served to limit Henry’s power. Henry’s refusal to
accept the Provisions of Westminster the following year saw Montfort’s power base grow rapidly, and by 1263 he was all
but wearing the crown.
The following year at the Battle of Lewes, Henry, his son the future Edward I, and Richard, Duke of Cornwall were taken prisoner but another year later the tables were turned. At the Battle of Evesham, Simon de Montfort died a grisly death, but Henry's troubles were not over yet.
By 1267 the problems between Henry and his barons, that were based on the 1258/9 provisions, had still not settled down
and a new set of laws were needed. On the 18th or 19th of November 1267 in a Parliament at Marlborough the twenty
nine chapters, that made up the Statute of Marlborough, was passed. Of this parliament Walter of Gisborough, a 14th century chronicler and priest form the Augustinian Priory in Yorkshire wrote:
“And the King held his parliament in the octave of St Martin at Marlborough, where on the advice of discreet persons
and by the unanimous voice of his great men he made many statutes for the betterment of his realm and the manifestation
of common justice, which are called the Statutes of Marlborough.”
In 2014, over seven hundred years after these laws were passed only two are in force, one, that bans an individual from seeking redress for non payment of debts without approval of the law, the second stops tenants from selling off their land.
On the 11th November 1100 Edith, or as history knows her Matilda, married Henry I of England.
Their marriage followed the death of Henry's brother William Rufus in the New Forest just three months before.
It is unknown if Henry had met Matilda before their marriage, but the suggestion is that he may have first seen her at William's court. Previous to her marriage, Matilda had resided in Romsey Abbey in Hampshire, living there under the guidance of Christina, her 'wicked' aunt. Christina had been Abbess of Romsey since 1086 and was Matilda's mother, Margaret of Scotland's sister. Following this Matilda lived at Wilton Abbey, a Benedictine convent in Wiltshire, where she was well educated.
Because Matilda's home for the previous fourteen years had been a convent there was a worry that she had taken vows and was a nun, however any objections to the marriage came to nothing and the marriage went ahead.
Matilda gave Henry two children, William, whose death in 1120 plunged the country into what has become known as The Anarchy in which Matilda's daughter, also Matilda was embroiled in power struggle with her cousin Stephen over the empty throne of England.
Henry I was, to put it politely, a bit of a ladies-man, having numerous illegitimate offspring and as many mistresses, I have often wondered if Henry's philandering was the reason Matilda's children were born in the first four years of their eighteen
year marriage. However, it is more than likely that the lack of other children was a result of a difficult birth.
Another thought is that following her fourteen years in a convent she believed, as she was taught, that sex was for the procreation of children and not for pleasure and returned to a life of celibacy or was it the other way around, maybe Matilda's
lack of interest in the bedroom was part of the reason Henry went looking else where.
Of course, a wife of a king had to accept that his affections were often given to other women and the medieval woman didn't
necessarily see sex as a sin, whatever the real reason by her death in 1118 Matilda had only one surviving child but
was regarded by her people as a good and saintly woman.
In June 1553, Edward VI's Devise for the Succession was signed by one hundred and two members of the royal council, in it he named his cousin Lady Jane Grey as his heir, and disinherited his half sisters Mary and Elizabeth.
In the chaos following Mary being proclaimed queen, the signatories stated that they were forced to sign the document by
John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland.
According to Jehan de Scheyfye, imperial ambassador, Edward feared John Dudley, and with his uncle Edward Seymour,
a gentler, less imposing character dead and in the ground for over a year, the young king was right to do so.
Northumberland, as Jane's father in law and Jane's parents, Francis and Henry Grey, were the epitome of grasping, self serving nobles who were not afraid to use and abuse their offspring if it meant getting what they desired.
In Northumberland's case his intention was to be chief puppeteer, with a wish to make England dance to his tune, and no
better way to start than organising marriges, to the benefit of himself, to high ranking nobles within the royal court.
Guildford, Catherine and Katherine were all married on the same day, the 25th May 1553.
With Edward's illness beginning in the February and three dynastic marriages taking place less than a
month before the king became ill, it's difficult to believe that Dudley's only concern was king and country. As the court
watched the king's life slipping away, Northumberland was quick to realise that the plans for his families rise to greatness
was heading for the grave along with his sickly king. It most certainly had not slipped Dudley's mind, that on Edward's
death, the Grey family members were at the top of Edwards list of heirs. It was still possible that Francis Grey could give Suffolk a son, and that would be disastrous for Dudley, he knew that whoever was at England's helm it would be Henry Grey who would be pulling the strings.
All Northumberland needed to do was to whisper in the kings ear that it was in 'countries' interest that he declare
Jane Grey his heir and then sit back and watch as the plans for his new 'dynasty', plans that had been in the making
since at least 1525, come to fruition.
The question has to be asked if Northumberland was a schemer, it has been said he was 'morally bankrupt'
and 'the subtlest intriguer in English history.' However, there are those who would argue that Dudley was the Tudor
dynasty's saviour in a time of in fighting, religious upheaval and rebellion, and if this was the case then perhaps the
Duke of Northumberland was the right man for the job, however Dudley had much to gain and for me, this counteracts everything else.
It has been suggested that the change to the succession was Edward's own idea and his own doing, and that this boy
wasn't a pawn in the machinations of his protectors at all, but an intelligent, if somewhat sober, young man. However, at this point in time he was weak and vulnerable, would a boy so sick, whose body was swollen and covered in ulcers, who was suffering from a high fever and in great pain from bedsores, be able think about such a change? After all he had already made his decision and drafted it to his satisfaction, excluding his sister on the grounds of religion and illegitimacy, important
reasons to him. No, Northumberland saw an opportunity and he took it.
Edward made the changes to the succession, altering 'L Janes heires masles' to L Jane AND her heires masles' as you can see in the text below.
On the 21st June, the Devise for the Succession of King Edward VI was signed, and on Edward's death on the 6th July,
Jane Grey became queen. Never crowned, she 'reigned' for just nine days.
Jane's story is a tragic one, she along with her husband, Guildford Dudley were tried for treason in November 1553 and executed on the 12th of February 1554. Henry Grey was executed ten days later.
In August, just two weeks following Mary's triumphant ride through the streets of London, John Dudley was one of the
first to climb the steps of the scaffold.
What doe's that tell you?
Plymouth sits at the head of the estuary where the Rivers Plym and Tamar meet, and as the second largest city
in the south-west its history has been influenced by shipbuilding and seafaring.
Once called Tamerworth by the Saxons and listed as Sudtone in the Domesday Book, compared to its neighboring manor Plympton which was made up of forty-seven households, it was a very small settlement, having only seven households. In 1066 the manor was held by Edward the Confessor and by 1086 it had continued to be a royal manor held by the Conqueror himself. By 1135 the town was in the hands of the Vallatort family, who in turn granted a portion of it to the
Augustinian Priory at Plympton. Seventy-six years later, in a pipe roll dated 1211, we see Plymouth being mentioned
for the first time as 'Ply Mouth' in reference to it geographical location.
The part of the town that had been given to the priory at Plympton was granted a charter in 1253 giving it the right to
hold a market. The following hundred and fifty years saw Plymouth grow in size and a licence to crenellate was granted to
'the King's lieges lately dwelling at Plymouth' in 1404. Although a large town, and hemmed in by its new wall, it was still
under the control of the Priors of Plympton Abbey. Objecting to this, the towns people petitioned the king applying for self governing status but nothing came of it. However, on the 12th November 1439, Parliament passed an Act making
Plymouth a borough, it was the first time that Parliament had granted such powers. The following year Henry VI
issued another royal charter that granted the town permission to hold fairs and feasts along with its market.
This charter was celebrated with a change of name and since that day Devon's county town has been known as Plymouth.
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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