The Prebendaries Plot – A Crisis in the Life of Thomas Cranmer, by Derek Wilson

March 21, 2015 in Guest Writers, News by Beth von Staats

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Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury (Photo Credit: Jesus College, Cambridge)

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury
(Photo Credit: Jesus College, Cambridge)

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The Prebendaries Plot – A Crisis in the Life of Thomas Cranmer

Derek Wilson

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There are some events which, because they lack high drama or obvious significance, tend to receive scant attention in history books but which, on closer examination, prove to have been of great consequence. The failure of Archbishop Cranmer’s enemies to encompass his destruction in the autumn of 1543 is one such. The story ends in anticlimax. The conspiracy against him had been well-planned, involved several agents and seemed to be on the verge of success. Then, at the eleventh hour King Henry intervened and it was all over. What has been called the ‘Prebendaries Plot’ was a flop and, therefore, has merely been accorded a wry footnote in some accounts of Henry VIII’s final years. It is only if we pause to ask ourselves ‘What if’ that we truly grasp the monumental significance of Cranmer’s escape. The failure of the conspiracy bought Cranmer another dozen years of life – years that saw the Archbishop set up the theology and liturgy of the reformed English church. If the forces of Catholic reaction had triumphed in 1543 the politics of Henry’s last years and the brief reign of young Edward VI would have been very different. It is unlikely that England would have become a Protestant state. Mary Tudor, coming to the throne in 1553, would have had little difficulty in returning her realm to papal obedience. And Elizabeth I? Lacking the zeal of her half-brother and his evangelical councillors, it is unlikely that she would have rekindled the fires of religious revolution. So, there is ample reason to take a closer look at the Prebendaries Plot.

In the 1530s the reform movement had been led by Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer, the former giving the forces of change legislative teeth; the latter providing the theological meat for it to chew on. They had seemed unstoppable. Then the fiasco of the Cleves marriage gave the Catholic clique the opportunity for a counter-attack. Cromwell’s fall in July 1540 was sudden and complete. One charge against him was that he was an extremist religious radical and a supporter of known heretics. Over the ensuing months the Catholic group on the Council, led by Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester and Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, made the most of their advantage. They took every opportunity to block moves by Cranmer and his supporters to press on with the work of reform. The gloves were definitely off as both sides used any and every weapon that came to hand.

The initiative swung Cranmer’s way in the autumn of 1541 when it was revealed that Queen Catherine Howard (Norfolk’s niece) had been foolishly cuckolding her husband. Cranmer played a leading role in unmasking her adulteries and for this Norfolk never forgave him. The hatreds between the rival camps was intense. Gardiner was denounced from several pulpits as a supporter of the pope and the bishop, for his part, was rumoured to have said that he would give six thousand pounds to pluck down the Archbishop of Canterbury. His spies were busy everywhere sniffing out heretics, while evangelical agents were just as assiduously unmasking suspected papists. By 1543 feather and furs were flying in all directions.

The campaign against Cranmer was pursued on several levels. Throughout the country and particularly in his Kent diocese preachers acting with Cranmer’s licence were watched carefully and any suspected of unorthodox views were hauled before the magistrates. At the royal court Cranmer’s friends and supporters were under close observation. The number of evangelicals in the king’s household was growing. They included his physician, Dr. Butts, and his head of the privy chamber, Sir Anthony Denny. The king’s illness and pain were making him more and more reclusive and the companions he trusted (like Cranmer) were in positions of increasing influence.

The spearhead of the campaign against Cranmer was in Canterbury. The cathedral prebendaries (senior clergy) were bitterly divided into pro and anti-Cranmer camps. An incident in late May indicates the depth of feeling stirred by religious controversy. Prebendary Richard Champion, one of Cranmer’s supporters, died and was buried in the cathedral. At the end of the ceremony another official jumped down into the grave and emptied hot coals from a censer onto the coffin – a symbolic burning of the heretic. One of the prebendaries was Germain Gardiner, Stephen Gardiner’s nephew. He acted as messenger and information-gatherer for his uncle and, in the spring and summer of 1543, was compiling a list of the archbishop’s ‘heresies’ with the names of his evangelical protégés. At Easter he preached an incendiary sermon in the cathedral, in which ‘he did inveigh against preachers … and … made such exclamations, crying out “Heretics! Faggots! Fire!”’ [Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic of Henry VIII, 18, ii, 546] Around the end of April Germain Gardiner’s ‘little black book’ was given to the king and Cranmer’s enemies noted with satisfaction that Henry was distancing himself from his archbishop.

Emboldened by their progress, the conservative faction embarked on a major inquisition of evangelical sympathisers. Several suspects were thrown into prison and most recanted under pressure. Now the Catholic strategists were ready to focus their attention on members of the king’s entourage. They carried out a purge of evangelicals in the town of Windsor and the staff of the royal castle. Five men were arrested and taken to the Marshalsea prison, close to Bishop Gardiner’s Southwark palace. There they were interrogated and every effort was made to make them implicate their superiors in the king’s household. Three of the prisoners were burned at the end of July.

At the same time, Richard Turner was brought in for questioning. Turner was a member of the Chapel Royal at Windsor, rector of Chartham, Kent, where he attracted crowds to his evangelical sermons, and a personal favourite of Archbishop Cranmer. He, too, was taken to London for an interrogation carried out, in person, by Stephen Gardiner. The noose around Cranmer was tightening.

However, accusations were one thing; getting the king to act on them was quite another. Henry watched and listened and kept his cards close to his chest. He must have been weighing up in his mind whether or not to sacrifice his archbishop. He will have remembered how he had been persuaded to throw Cromwell to the hounds, only to regret later losing ‘the best servant I ever had’. He resolved not to make the same mistake again. The exact chronology of events in the autumn of 1543 is not clear but John Foxe in his Acts and Monuments of the Christian Religion recorded two incidents reported to him by Cranmer’s secretary, Ralph Morice. The first took place aboard the royal barge moored off Lambeth. Henry, out for a pleasant trip on the river, summoned Cranmer to join him. He produced the evidence gathered against the archbishop. ‘Now I know who is the biggest heretic in Kent,’ he said. It must have been a heart-stopping moment for his passenger. But Henry went on to point out that if erroneous doctrines were being preached in Cranmer’s dioceses then a full investigation must be carried out. And who better to head that investigation than the Archbishop himself! [Foxe, VIII, pp 28] By this one act (the sort of dramatic gesture Henry loved) the judicial initiative changed hands. The prisoner in the dock became the judge on the bench. Now all suspect preaching could be brought under review – papist as well as evangelical. One result was the examination of the anti-Cranmer conspiracy. Prebendary Gardiner’s lodgings were ransacked and incriminating evidence discovered. His uncle hastened to disassociate himself from his relative’s actions and, the following March, Germain Gardiner suffered a traitor’s death at Tyburn on dubious charges of denying the king’s supremacy over the English church.

Desperate situations call for desperate measures and the conservative leaders made one more determined attempt to destroy Cranmer. It was intended to be a re-run of the events which had brought Cromwell down. They obtained the king’s permission to confront the archbishop at the Council board and detain him for examination. Henry allowed them to go ahead but, once again, intervened by having a private audience with Cranmer. The archbishop responded that he was prepared to have his opinions placed under the microscope. At this, Henry upbraided his naivety. Once his enemies had him in confinement, the king pointed out, they would produce false witnesses to ensure his conviction (an indictment of the Tudor justice system from the horse’s mouth!). He gave Cranmer his ring, with instructions to produce it when his enemies tried to proceed with his arrest. That is precisely what happened at the next day’s Council meeting [Foxe, VIII, pp 256]. Gardiner, Norfolk and Co. were completely outmanoeuvred and hurried to the royal apartments to beg forgiveness of Henry and his archbishop. ‘Nevermore after, no man durst spurn [Cranmer] during the King Henry’s life.’ [Narratives of the Days of the Reformation, p 258]

These dramatic and often violent events form the background to my recently published novel, The Traitor’s Mark (under my pseudonym, D.K. Wilson). It is fiction but I do not believe I have done violence to the known facts. Rather, I have tried to look beyond them in order to create an impression of the incredibly tense atmosphere affecting people at all levels of society in 1543 – an atmosphere seldom evident from a straight reading of the records. ‘Whose readeth, let him understand.’

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Derek Wilson

Derek Wilson

Derek Wilson is a self-described highly prolific historian of  “fact, faith, fiction and fantasy”. A graduate from Cambridge in 1961, Derek spent several years travelling and teaching in Africa before becoming a full-time writer and broadcaster in 1971.Derek’s body of work of both fiction and non-fiction work is exhaustive, and we strongly urge you to visit his website of an amazing chronology of biographies, general history books, and historical fiction novels at Derek Wilson: Historian of Fact, Faith, Fiction and Fantasy. Under the pen name D.K. Wilson, Derek  authored The First Horseman and the recently released The Traitor’s Mark, both featuring lead protagonist Thomas Treviot, young goldsmith drawn into a religious conspiracy.

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The Traitor’s Mark (Content from the author’s website):

FACT

In the autumn of 1543, Hans Holbein, the leading European portrait painter, disappeared in London. What happened to him remains a mystery. At the same time a plot was afoot to bring down Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. Were these events linked?

STORY

Thomas Treviot is again plunged into the murky world of Tudor politics and religion when his friend, Hans Holbein, disappears and his assistant, Bart Miller, is charged with murder. Thomas and friends who will be familiar to readers of The First Horseman are drawn into the political world of a sick and unstable Henry VIII and a nation torn apart by ruthless, rival factions determined to shape England’s identity. Publication 14 March 2015. Available as ebook now.

Derek Wilson is a self-described highly prolific historian of  “fact, faith, fiction and fantasy”. A graduate from Cambridge in 1961, Derek spent several years travelling and teaching in Africa before becoming a full-time writer and broadcaster in 1971.Derek’s body of work of both fiction and non-fiction work is exhaustive, and we strongly urge you to visit his website of an amazing chronology of biographies, general history books, and historical fiction novels at Derek Wilson: Historian of Fact, Faith, Fiction and Fantasy. Under the pen name D.K. Wilson, Derek has authored The First Horseman and the recently released The Traitor’s Mark, both featuring lead protagonist Thomas Treviot, young goldsmith drawn into a religious conspiracy.

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The Traitor’s Mark

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England’s Lonely Rose, The Story of Mary Tudor. Final Part

June 19, 2014 in Hall of Crowns (Mercy Rivera), News, Queens of World History by Mercy Rivera

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The citizens of London woke up one morning with terror in their eyes.  Troops carrying the banners of the Marian Crusade against Heretics and Enemies of the Catholic Faith surrounded the city.  By the Law of Her Majesty Queen Mary I,  for the crime of heresy, the penalty was to burn at the stake until death.  If you were noble, poor, woman, child, that would not matter. If the person was found guilty, he or she would be sentenced to death and with him or her, the rest of their families.   The Queen wanted results as soon as possible, but this was just in the beginning.  By her side was also a prominent and fervent Catholic. His name was Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London.   This man was thirsty for revenge towards the Protestants and like the Queen, he had a strong desire to return the Real back to the Holy Catholic Faith.   He was in charge of the hunt for heretics, and one of the firsts to fall under his wrath was John Rogers. He suffered a painful death on the stake on February 4th 1555.

Soon, the names of Rogers, Sanders, Taylor, Hooper, Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer were call for the hunt. Members of those families started to flee from England. Some were lucky, while others only found their way to the Tower of London.  Fear was the key in the initial success of there persecutions. Those who wanted to be spared from the burnings became informants for Gardiner and Bonner so, for those who wanted a path of freedom, sadly only found themselves trapped by traitors.

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But while terror was in command of the realm, the Queen was happy inside her Castle Walls, dreaming of the unborn child inside of her.  There was not an evidence of her pregnancy but… the Queen showed all the symptoms, and her physicians did not dare to speak against it.  To the surprise and joy of her ladies in waiting and servants, Her Majesty was slowly “showing” her delicate condition. Her belly was swollen, she had cravings, gaining of weight, a glow in her presence, and her breasts were producing milk.  Everyone was at this moment sure that the Queen was with child, and soon the realm would have a legitimate Catholic Heir to the throne.   For Mary this was a blessing, one that she would soon share with her husband.  In her mind, the birth of her baby was not only a miracle, but also a sign that her husband would grew to love her as much as she loved him.  But while the Queen was dreaming with a happy life, England was in the deep end of darkness.

The streets of England were contaminated with the stench of burnt flesh. It is said that the air was so thick with smoke and putrid odor, that it was almost difficult to breathe outside.  The screams of the victims of the fire chilled the blood, and this was just the start of all.  Now, it was the turn of two prominent men to face the fire of the Marian Persecutions, their names: Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley. 

Hugh Latimer was a man of importance during the reign of Henry the VIII, and once he was Bishop of Worcester.  Soon the troops of Queen Mary reached him, and when he was arrested, his words towards the Captain of the Guard were:  “My friend, you are a welcome messenger to me; and in passing through Smithfield, where so many of the martyrs of Jesus had been burned alive… Smithfield, hath long groaned for me.”  This man suffered a long and cruel imprisonment in the Tower of London.  He was stripped from almost all his clothing, and the cold of the night was killing him. It was so unbearable, that he told to his jailors:  “I will certainly escape the hands of my enemies, because before I fall in thy hands, I will perish from cold and starvation”.

While this man suffered in his cold cell in the Tower, Queen Mary was ready for her confinement. All preparations were made and now, it was time to wait and see.  But time passed, and nothing happened. Her physicians started to think that the child inside the Queen’s belly was death but they wanted to wait, since there was still some days before the due time to be completed.  The time for the birth arrived, and nothing happened. The Queen however was willing to wait, and wait, but all came to nothing.  Rumors of the birth of a healthy son filled the city but, when no royal delegation came from Hampton Court to affirm it, it was clear that it was just a lie.  A few days later, the queen slowly recovered her tiny waist, and all her dreams were once again dead.

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She wept for a long time. She cursed the heretics and blamed them for her tragedy. In her sorrow, she accused them of poisoning her and her baby with their abominable practices and wishes to see her death.  Her phantom pregnancy became a national joke, and even in the corners of Hampton Court the courtiers mocked about it.   The Queen was alone, sad, angry, and very frustrated.  But once again, she used all that and concentrated it only in her goal to destroy the heretics.  It was now the turn of Nicholas Ridley to know her rage.

Ridley was locked in the Tower shortly after Mary was crowned. He was aware that poor Latimer was his neighbor, and this kept him in calm even with his difficult circumstances.  But suddenly he was removed from the Tower and transported to a common prison in Oxford.  There, he was interrogated and strongly bullied by the Queen’s delegates and some papists.  They wanted to force him to renounce to his Faith and Embrace the Catholic Faith.  But the promises of pardon and mercy did not make him change his mind.  This treatment was only a tactic from the Catholic Church and especially the Pope, to find an example for the heretics, someone willing to renounce to the Heresy and return to the Catholic Faith so other could follow this and make the conquer easier.  Sadly for the Pope and the Catholic Faction, with Nicholas Ridley, this was not working at all.

When he was insulted, he made strong remarks“The Lord being my helper, I will to maintain so long as is my tongue shall wag, and breath is within my body, and in confirmation thereof seal the same with my blood.”  When he was finally told that he would not receive the Queen’s mercy, he replied:  “Do therein as it shall please you. I am well contented with that, and more than that the servant is not above his Master. If they dealt so cruelly with our Saviour Christ, as the Scripture maketh mention, and he endured the same patently, how much more doth it become us, his servants?” 

His words reached the ears of Queen Mary. In her rage she ordered the total humiliation of Ridley.   He was forced to go to the Catholic Mass, and being among the priests wearing the official trinkets and clothes of a Catholic Man of God.  But he was a fervent Protestant, and was determined to go against this.  He vehemently spoke against the Bishop of Rome, calling him anti-Christ, and the apparel foolish and abominable.  Because of this, he was hold and forced to hear and witness the rest of the mass, his words while this was happening were:  “O Lord God, forgive them this their wickedness.”   This only increased the rage of the priests, papists and delegates of the Queen, and unfortunately, sealed his fate earlier than it was expect it.

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On the following day, October 16th, 1555, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were brought to the stake, which was prepared in a hollow, near Baliol College, on the north side of the city of Oxford.  According to a witness, Latimer was the first to be tied, and here is a description of how he looked after all the time in prison:  “A remarkable change was observed in his appearance; for whereas he had hitherto seemed a withered, decrepit, and even a deformed old man, he now stood perfectly upright, a straight and comely person”. 

Then it was the turn of Ridley to be tied on the stake beside Latimer, once he was chained to it, he said:  “O heavenly Father, I give unto thee most hearty thanks, for that thou hast called me to be a professor of thee, even unto death: I beseech thee, Lord God, take mercy upon this realm of England, and deliver the same from all her enemies.” 

Finally, the executioner started the fire, as the flames rose, Ridley with great courage cried out loud:“Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit,” and often he repeated in English, “Lord, receive my spirit!” Latimer on the other cried: “O Father of heaven, receive my soul!”   Perhaps by vengeance, lack of care or simply the mere intention to show the English people the terrible consequences of being away from the Catholic flock and the domain of Queen Mary, the fire that was consuming the bodies of Ridley and Latimer was kept very low. This was increasing the agony of these poor souls in a very cruel and barbaric way.

These kind of actions started to make the people think about if their Queen was a woman of justice and Faith or if she was a twisted soul in seek of revenge and blood.  The commoners started to call her “Bloody Mary” and her right hand in all these persecutions shared her motto, because he was also called: “Bloody Bonner”.   Edmund Bonner had no pity, and under his command in the hunt of heretics, women, children, nobles and commoners were burnt with no possibilities of pardon or mercy from Her Majesty.  They were guilty as charge, with no defense.   For a long, long time, Latimer and Ridley suffered the painful touch of the ill flames, until a guard, mercifully increased the fire, ending their torture once and for all.

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The Queen never witnessed the executions, and the reports given to her were not always complete in details.  It is believed that she was not totally aware of the cruel ways of those in charge of the burnings in her name.  Even with this little lack of information given to her, Queen Mary was satisfied with the outcome.  She was sure that England was little by little be cleaned of enemies, and her faith would be secure forever.   Her Majesty continued with her task, but now she had more reasons to be content, her husband, the King, was back in England, and now it was time to join him and start again with her plans of motherhood.

Phillip showed great respect and kindness towards Mary, of course, she was expecting more than that from her husband but at least, she felt happy with his return.  She refused to believe in the rumors that he had mistresses, and that he had even set eyes upon many of her ladies in waiting. But that fact that she refused to believe that did not mean she was willing to allow him to take a mistress under her roof.   She changed all of her ladies wardrobes and ordered them to wear black. Their gowns were modest but proper to show their status as companions of the Queen.   But while the Queen was taking measures to preserve her marriage, the Marian Persecutions continued. Now it was the turn of one of the Queen’s highest enemy in England, Thomas Cranmer — the man in charge of dissolving the marriage of Mary’s parents, the one she always believed responsible for her downfall as Princess of England, (alongside Anne Boleyn of course), the man who helped to change all the once loved and cherished.

Between the end of January and mid February 1556, Thomas Cranmer made four recantations, submitting himself to the authority of Queen Mary and recognizing the Pope as the head of the church. On the 14th February his priesthood was taken from him and his execution was set for the 7th March because Edmund Bonner was not satisfied with Cranmer’s admissions. Cranmer then made a fifth recantation, fully accepting Catholic theology, repudiating Reformist theology, stating that there was no salvation outside of the Catholic Church and announcing that he was happy to return to the Catholic fold. He participated in the mass and asked for sacramental absolution, and he received it.   With this alone he was supposed to be absolved of all charges, but the Queen had an immense dark grudge against him, and she had no intention to let him live.

Mary has in her mouth the sweet taste of revenge, and she was enjoying it.  The Queen made clear to the Council Members that his execution would go ahead.   On the 18th March, he made his final recantation but his execution date was set for the 21st. On the date of his execution, he was given the opportunity to publicly recant at the University Church, Oxford.  But Thomas Cranmer decided to do something different of what was expected from him. Instead of recanting, Thomas Cranmer opened with the expected prayer and exhortation to obey the King and Queen, and then, to the surprise of everyone, he renounced his recantations, saying that the hand he had used to sign them would be the hand that would be punished first. 

Thomas Cranmer went even farther and said: “And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy, and Antichrist with all his false doctrine,  and as for the Sacrament, I believe as I have taught in my book against the bishop of Winchester, the which my book teacheth so true a doctrine of the Sacrament, that it shall stand at the last day before the judgment of God, when the papistical doctrine, contrary thereto, shall be ashamed to show her face.”

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Thomas Cranmer had no chance to say anything else. He was taken away to suffer his painful execution.  Thomas Cranmer was quickly hurried to the stake, prepared on the spot where Latimer and Ridley had suffered five months before. After a short prayer,  he put off his clothes with a cheerful countenance and willing mind, and stood upright in his shirt, which came down to his feet. His feet were bare. His head, when both his caps were off, appeared perfectly bald, but his beard was long and thick, and his countenance so venerable, that it moved even his enemies to compassion. Two Spanish friars, who worked hard in obtaining his recantation, continued to exhort him; till, perceiving that their efforts were vain, one of them said, ‘Let us leave him, for the devil is with him!

It is said that Thomas Cranmer endured the painful touch of the flames with great determination and composure.  He blamed his right hand for the signing of something that it went against his beliefs and because of this feeling, as soon as the flame arose, he held his hand out to meet it, and retained it there steadfastly, so that all the people saw it sensibly burning before the fire reached any other part of his body, and often he repeated with a loud and firm voice, “This Hand Hath Offended! This Unworthy Right Hand.” Thomas Cranmer stood immoveable as the stake to which he was bound, and it is said that his heart was found intact and unburned among the ashes.

The Queen had her revenge on the man she hated for a long, long time.  It is expected that at this point, Queen Mary is a satisfied woman with her Crusade against the Protestants. Well, she was not.   There is still no heir, and her marriage and her lack of action towards the prosperity of the Kingdom was killing the trust and devotion of her subjects. Everyone now was seeing her as a cold, cruel and dark figure.  And while she was once again rejected and unloved, her half sister Elizabeth was gaining admiration and followers.   In 1554 Queen Mary sent her to the Tower of London on suspicion of treason. For Mary, this was a lesson of fear for her little sister, she wanted to experience the terror of being there, she wanted to make Elizabeth think about her mother’s bloody fate, more than a tactic of self protection against a powerful and potential claimer to her crown, Mary wanted to make Elizabeth feel terror and respect towards her.

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But now, things were different. She could not prove anything against her sister, and yet, she was still a silent shadow covering the light she shortly enjoyed as Queen.   Mary Tudor was many things, but she was not stupid and much less deaf.  She was well aware about the rumors about her sister, she knew she was strong, bright and wise.  Elizabeth inherited the charms of her mother, those charms that were powerful enough to capture a King and change the world under her command. Once again Mary felt diminished.  She needed an heir soon or all would be lost for her. If she died without an heir the Kingdom would fall in the hands of Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, the raven that destroyed her mother and her entire youth.  The Marian Persecutions continued, but the people of England started to show their disgust towards it and towards the Queen.  Hundreds of lives were lost on the stakes of fire. Here is a list of those who died during the Marian Persecutions, by the order of Queen Mary I:

*John Rogers –   preacher, biblical translator, lecturer at St. Paul’s Cathedral

*Lawrence Saunders preacher, rector of London church of All Hallows –

*John Hooper–  King Edward-era bishop of Gloucester and Worcester

*Rowland Taylorrector of Hadleigh in Suffolk –

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1555

William Hunter,  burnt 27 March, Brentwood

Robert Ferrar, burnt 30 March, Carmarthen

Rawlins White, burnt, Cardiff

George Marsh, burnt 24 April, Chester

John Schofield, burnt 24 April, Chester

William Flower, burnt 24 April, Westminster

John Cardmaker, burnt 30 May, Smithfield

John Warne, burnt 30 May, Smithfield

John Simpson, burnt 30 May, Rochford

John Ardeley, burnt 30 May, Rayleigh

Dirick Carver of Brighton, burnt 6 June, Lewes

Thomas Harland of Woodmancote, burnt 6 June, Lewes

John Oswald of Woodmancote, burnt 6 June, Lewes

Thomas Avington of Ardingly, burnt 6 June, Lewes

Thomas Reed of Ardingly, burnt 6 June, Lewes

Thomas Haukes, burnt 6 June, Lewes

Thomas Watts

Nicholas Chamberlain, burnt 14 June, Colchester

Thomas Ormond, burnt June 15, 1555Manningtree, Buried in St. Micheals & All Angels Marble placed in 1748

William Bamford, burnt 15 June, Harwich

Robert Samuel, burnt 31 August, Ipswich

John Newman, burnt August 31, Saffron Walden

James Abbes Shoemaker, of Stoke by Nayland burnt at Bury St Edmunds August 1555

William Allen, Labourer of Somerton burnt at Walsingham September 1555

Robert Glover, burnt 20 September at Coventry

Cornelius Bongey (or Bungey), burnt 20 September at Coventry

Nicholas Ridley, burnt 16 October outside Balliol College, Oxford

Hugh Latimer, burnt 16 October outside Balliol College, Oxford

John Philpot, burnt


1556

Agnes Potten, burnt 19 February, Ipswich, Cornhill

Joan Trunchfield, burnt 19 February, Ipswich, Cornhill

Thomas Cranmer, burnt 21 March, outside Balliol College, Oxford

Thomas Hood of Lewes, burnt about 20 June, Lewes

Thomas Miles of Hellingly, burnt about 20 June, Lewes

John Tudson of Ipswich, burnt at London

Thomas Spicer of Beccles, burnt there 21 May

John Deny of Beccles, burnt there 21 May

Edmund Poole of Beccles, burnt there 21 May

Joan Waste, 1 August, burnt at Derby


1557

William Morant, burnt at end of May, St. George’s Field, Southwark Blanchard (1844), p.272

Stephen Gratwick, burnt at end of May, St. George’s Field, Southwark

(unknown) King, burnt at end of May, St. George’s Field, Southwark

Richard Sharpe, burnt 7 May, Cotham, Bristol

William and Katherine Allin of Frittenden and five others, burnt 18 June at Maidstone

Richard Woodman of Warbleton, burnt 22 June, Lewes

George Stevens of Warbleton, burnt 22 June, Lewes

Alexander Hosman of Mayfield, burnt 22 June, Lewes

William Mainard of Mayfield, burnt 22 June, Lewes

Thomasina Wood of Mayfield, burnt 22 June, Lewes

Margery Morris of Heathfield, burnt 22 June, Lewes

James Morris, her son, of Heathfield, burnt 22 June, Lewes

Denis Burges of Buxted, burnt 22 June, Lewes

Ann Ashton of Rotherfield, burnt 22 June, Lewes

Mary Groves of Lewes, burnt 22 June, Lewes

John Noyes of LaxfieldSuffolk, burnt 22 September

Joyce Lewis of Mancetter, burnt at Lichfield on 18 DecemberRichings, R (1860) The Mancetter martyrs: the suffering and martyrdom of Mr Robert Glover and Mrs Joice sic Lewis (London: pp xiii/xiv).


1558

Roger Holland, burnt at Smithfield with seven others

William Pikes or Pickesse of Ipswich, burnt 14 July, Brentford with five others

Alexander Gooch of Melton, Suffolk, burnt 4 November, Ipswich Cornhill

Alice Driver of Grundisburgh burnt 4 November, Ipswich Cornhill

P Humphrey, burnt November, Bury St Edmunds

J. David, burnt November, Bury St Edmunds

H. David, burnt November, Bury St Edmunds

Colchester Martyrs, burnt 2 August, Colchester

 This list is incomplete. According to the accounts of John Foxe, almost 300 people were executed for their faith under the Rule of Queen Mary I.  But there is a fact that is not often showed about Queen Mary and her Marian Persecutions.  Indeed she did something before the full development of the persecutions, that for once could placed her as a figure of forgiveness when it was justified under her conscience.   Between February 22 and 23 1554, before the Marian Persecutions were totally planned and unleashed, Queen Mary pardoned 400 rebels that raised against her.  A large number of rebels, brought to Whitehall bound with nooses around their necks, were pardoned as they knelt before the Queen. This was an effort from her part to show that she could be lenient on this matter, and perhaps it was also an attempt to bring back the Catholic Faith by peaceful means.

For those closer to Mary during her youth and time before she became Queen, it was certain that she despised brutality and as it was presented in this article before. Most of the details of the executions never reached her eyes.  We can not know with certainty if she allowed the ill fires, slow burnings and long tortures at the stake or if these cruel acts were done behind her back, even when her signature approved them.   It is said that pregnant women were burnt at the stake, and they sometimes went in to labor while burning. Stories of how children were burnt beside their parents. These stories marked her as Bloody Mary. 

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Under all this carnage for the protection of her crown and her Faith in England, the Queen was losing precious moments and people she loved.  Her King abandoned her, and returned to Spain. Even when she was convinced once again that she was pregnant, this did not stopped him from leaving her.   Phillip was tired of Mary. He did not love her, and she became intolerable. By this point she was paranoid. Mary feared for her life, and everyone around her seemed a potential assassin in her eyes.  Besides, her rage, frustration and hysterics attacks were consuming her to the point she was less attractive to him more and more.

Mary’s fear towards Elizabeth became an obsession. Gardiner constantly reminded her of the dangers for the realm if Elizabeth became Queen.  But Mary was sure of her pregnancy, and she ordered that the news were spread in all England.  Every bell on every Church and Tower rang announcing the happy news.  The Queen genuinely believed she was pregnant, to the point that once again the symptoms appeared.  She was overjoyed, and everyone around her followed her lead but… to everyone it was clear that it was a false alarm again.  Her ladies in waiting knew every single detail of the Queen’s life and natural courses.  The King stopped visiting her bedchamber months before he left England, so to them, it was impossible for the Queen to be with child.

This happy news however, did not erase another failure in the records of Mary as Queen of England.  Just before the departure of her husband back to Spain, England lost the City of Calais, a trophy that shined in the hands of England since 1347. Here is the story of that huge loss:  In August 1556 Philip left England on business in the Netherlands, returning in March 1557. England declared war on France shortly after his return with Philip heading up forces into France and taking the town of St. Quentin and its surrounding lands. But in a turn around, France won the city of Calais, England’s last holding on the Continent.  In any case, the Queen filled the minds of everyone with her pregnancy, but as was expected, slowly the symptoms started to fade away, and the Queen found herself again with an empty womb and a lonely life.

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Mary stopped feeling as a Queen after this second failure in her extreme desire to become a mother.  For her Chancellors, her desire was in the name of the realm, but for Mary, motherhood was something she wished for herself, just as much as her mother wanted to fill the Kingdom’s nursery with many Princes and Princesses.  But like her mother, she failed on that.  But what really happened to Mary?  Why she was unable to have a child?  Well, from the start, Mary showed many menstrual problems.  She was very irregular, and her periods were sometimes heavy and very painful.  She was used to fast a lot, and that weakens the body of a woman in the beginning of puberty.  Besides, the Tudor line suffered from a lot of weaknesses in the ranks of fertility and the survival of children.  Some people dared to say that the Queen said she was pregnant only to keep the King with her and for political advancement but, to those who knew her on daily basis were clear:  “She really believed in her condition, neither deceit nor malice in the matter, but mere error.”  And this was true, because many of her ladies in waiting described openly of how they saw her sitting on the floor with her knees drawn up to her chin, weeping inconsolably.

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Some historians believe that Queen Mary suffered from Ovarian Cancer. Women with this condition sometimes present symptoms that are similar to a pregnancy, but it is highly improbable that this could be the reason for her phantom pregnancies, since is impossible that Mary would survive all those years with a condition as lethal as this, and more during that era. Another suggestion points towards ovarian dropsy, a condition that occurs when an ovary fills with fluids. It is very uncomfortable, but not generally fatal. Ovarian dropsy would account for Mary’s distended belly, but there is no way to explain why it vanished, leaving her as slim as ever.  It is rumored that Queen Mary miscarried her first child during the first weeks of the pregnancy, and that she wanted to conceal it and kept it as a secret.  Others created the rumor that the Queen gave birth to a full term stillborn child, and that she made it disappear.  But this is just impossible, since the Queen was surrounded by physicians, midwives and ladies that for sure would not keep that as a secret, and less hide it.

The most accepted theory in the tragedy of Mary’s imaginary pregnancies is the pseudocyesis, or phantom pregnancy. This condition occurs when a woman wants a child so badly, she actually creates the symptoms of pregnancy with her mind. Mary probably stopped her menses because she was at the onset of menopause. Unable to face this explanation, she convinced herself that she was pregnant.  But whatever the reasons, the result was only one:  Queen Mary was devastated.  She dreamed all her life with the crown, but she also wanted a life. She wanted love and children. She desired to recover the love of her people, the respect of her relatives in Spain, the land of the roots of her beloved mother.  She wished to restore England to the time when she was happy, beautiful and full of life — but all that was vanished. It died with her last chance of being a mother.  All the will she had to live and endure, was also fading away.

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Queen Mary became a reclusive, and she barely went out of her chamber.  A reduced number of her ladies in waiting stayed with her.  She spent hours praying, and hiding her tears from the eyes around her.  The Queen, rather than a figure of highness, became a symbol of sadness and weakness. But her pride was still alive, and she refused to receive comfort from her ladies. They knew that a mere look of pity towards her would for sure send them to their deaths. Her servants respected her pain, and just waited for her to ask for them.  Queen Mary’s health began to decline from that point on.  In August 1558, Mary contracted a fever, and although she was able to fight that off, she was reported to be suffering from“dropsy” at the end of September. At the end of October she made an addition to her will, and although she did not name Elizabeth, her half-sister, she did confirm that the throne would go to the next lawful heir, and that was Elizabeth. The Duke of Feria arrived at the English court on the 9th November and reported to his master, Mary’s husband Philip II of Spain, on the 14th November:

 “There is… no hope of her life, but on the contrary each hour I think that they will come to inform me of her death, so rapidly does her condition deteriorate from one day to the next.”

In the last days of her life, Queen Mary spoke of visions of angels, and the word Calais came out of her mouth many times.   This word was also found written in her chest, close to her heart after her death.  The Queen received the Viaticum, the special Holy Communion for the dying on November 17th. She was able to make the proper responses to the ceremony and after that, she fall unconscious and never opened her eyes again.  Her death was not even noticed, and the time was never recorded.  Her life was stormy, hard, sad and tragic, but death was kind to her, and took her in a peaceful sleep. She was only 42 years old.

Her husband was not there with her. In death she was also alone, no blood relatives were with her, and for sure only a few would cry for her with true sorrow.  Later the same day, Reginald Pole, maybe one of her few true friends, also died, probably from influenza. At her funeral service, John White (the Bishop of Winchester) praised Mary: “She was a king’s daughter; she was a king’s sister; she was a king’s wife. She was a queen, and by the same title, a king also.”

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Mary Tudor, the first Queen who ruled England in her own right, daughter of great Kings, with ancestors that created their own glory.  All this and she never had a chance to show how good she could have been as Queen.  She suffered much, especially in the years when affection, support and security are important in the life of a human being.  She was born to be a princess, and suddenly was reduced to a servant. The father she loved and admired neglected her, and she was separated from her mother, the only figure that always gave her strength.

This cruel treatment erased all her kindness, all her brightness. She enjoyed only small moments of happiness in her adulthood, and then again, the fear, the rejection and the jealousy took over her heart and twisted it. We must think before we call her Bloody Mary. Yes, she allowed many acts of cruelty against her own people. She sent them to their deaths because they had different believes and that is cruel and abominable.  But she acted according to her new nature, a cold nature that was built upon her by those who were supposed to love her and protect her.  Even Catherine of Aragon was to blame in her daughter’s sorrowful life.  Her pride and her stubbornness sent Mary to the darkness, because if she as mother would have placed her daughter’s interests and inheritance above her own pride as Queen and wife, for sure King Henry would have kept her as Princess, and maybe Anne Boleyn would have even treated her better.

John Knox attacked Queen Mary in The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, published in 1558, and she was prominently featured and vilified in Acts and Monuments, published by John Foxe in 1563, five years after her death. Subsequent editions of the book remained popular with Protestants throughout the following centuries and helped shape enduring perceptions of Mary as a bloodthirsty tyrant.

Personally, I think Mary Tudor was a woman shaped by sadness, and ruled by her beliefs.  She acted wrongly many times, but I think that she was not in control of her life and mind when the crown was placed upon her head.   Even with her failures, Mary Tudor is well remembered.  Sadly not for her triumphs as Queen of England but for her dark actions in the name of her own sorrows, bitterness and desires of personal retribution. Mary never learned from the mistakes of her parents. She made her own based on the devastation that those mistakes caused in her life.  All the glorious potential she carried inside of her was diminished and erased in those twisted phased of her life.  She was a tormented soul, and she ruled in the same way.

 

THE END

Mary-1544-portrait

SOURCES:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Protestant_martyrs_of_the_English_Reformation

http://theonemediator.com/Catholicism/Inquisitions%20Persecutions/Inquisition%20General/sufferings_protestans_under_qn_mary.htm

https://suite.io/debra-l-stang/3y5220r

http://newbiescience.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/bloody-mary-and-the-phantom-pregnancy/

http://info.olsonb.com/index.php?p=Marian%20Persecutions

http://ancile.se/english-monarchs/mary-tudor-philip-of-spain/?lang=en

http://timesoftudors.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-marian-persecutions.html

http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/the-execution-of-thomas-cranmer/

http://mary-tudor.blogspot.com/2010/05/queen-marys-big-belly-phantom-pregnancy.html

http://blog.leandadelisle.com/post/77490520938/today-in-1554-mary-tudor-pardoned-400-of-the

http://www.historynet.com/mary-tudor-a-most-unhappy-queen.htm

http://tudor-family.tripod.com/id36.html

 

Holbein’s Greatest Masterpiece (Tudor Y Writer’s Group)

April 28, 2014 in 2014 May Tribute to Queen Anne Boleyn, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn, Tudor Y Writer's Group by ADMIN: Royal Squire

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King Henry VIII, by Hans Holbein the Younger

King Henry VIII, by Hans Holbein the Younger

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King Henry VIII 

I pace through my chamber like a frustrated lion, caged. I should be hunting, spending time with my sweet Jane. “God’s Blood Master Cromwell! Do you think sir that I keep you for what is easy? Must I do all myself?”

Even the Duke of Norfolk quails before my rages, but this lad from the smithy merely bows his head. I approach him, my spittle would spray into his eyes were he only to raise them. “I said all of them! Every sketch, every copy, every damnable trace of that treacherous woman!” He murmurs some assurance, and I turn away.

He raises his head and says, “Master Holbein…” I fling my finely wrought silver cup at the abomination on the wall as I turn and roar, “Enough! Tell Master Holbein he will have opportunity to paint my likeness again soon enough!”

Sweating in the warm spring air, I tug at my silks. Sitting heavily, I rub my leg. It is ulcerous again, damn doctors. Catherine knew a poultice, ah but she is gone too, the old harridan. Master Secretary begins again, “His Grace the Archbishop..”

I raise my hand, quieted at the thought of Cranmer, how heavy his heart is, and why not? To hear all this sins of that woman would weigh on anyone’s soul. “I will speak to the Archbishop myself. He must be made to see that it is right. That I am right. She wove her spells around him too, and we must bring him around.”

Cromwell is smiling, he too is fond of my Archbishop. “You talk to him to, Tom. Ah, Tom! My most devoted Cromwell, we will bring him around, won’t we? Surely? In time?”

I am exhausted. I am not the man I was three years ago. That witch and her treasonous lovers have seen to that. But now there is Jane. And soon it will be as if Anne Boleyn never existed. “Go now, Master Secretary. Do not tarry. See to this affair quickly, and quietly. And do not rest until it is done!”

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The Ambassadors, by Hans Holbein the Younger

The Ambassadors, by Hans Holbein the Younger

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Secretary Thomas Cromwell

I stand upon the spot I must to illuminate the spectacle. Underneath the two Frenchmen, the ambassadors who forever lurked upon the Queen’s favor, there it be — the damn skull, upon the flooring that Kings are crowned upon no less. That oddity was the Lady Anne’s idea, yes the Lady Anne. All titles stripped today at trial, the wench is just that, a woman who bedded His Majesty and gave him a bastard, just like her sister. Once she conjured up this insanity, His Grace chimed in. He always does. “Master Holbein, if Her Majesty insists on the skull, do at least hide it. ‘Tis of the devil.” Those two when together, the Archbishop and the Queen, forever made my head ache mighty, partners in crime I do swear. Their reformation? Feed every vagrant and urchin in Christendom. Noble yes, but the riches belong to the crown, how spent His Majesty’s pleasure. How was I to counsel him to part with riches so easily begot? Who do these two think I be? A wizard? Do they think I wave a mystical wand like Merlin to move the King’s mind? Good God, man. Get real. King Henry VIII knows his own mind. And now his pleasure be to erase the Lady Anne Boleyn from this earth, all signs of her gone. I think this painting can be salvaged, but the other — God forgive me, the masterpiece straight from God’s hand to Holbein’s — must go.

“Just paint the damn thing, Master Holbein. Many a crown to you if His Majesty favors. Mayhaps he will take you on as court artist.” Master Hans Holbein, he be a genius, God’s talents blessed upon him. His Majesty took one look at the two frogs in their finery standing there, the globes, the quadrant, the torquetem, the sundial, the Lutheran book — my idea that — the lute, His Grace’s crucifix from Cambridge, and even the damn skull, and did hire the brilliant man from Augsburg just like that. “My devoted Tom, call that man to court. I want a portrait just as this be, with my Queen big with my heir in her belly and me in my finest cloth of gold. Go now, no tarrying good man.”

The portrait, the most beautiful portrait ever painted in Christendom, do we really have to burn it? My God, sinful that. The portrait of the Frenchmen hanging over yonder be a sketch in comparison. Well I be heading to hell in any case says the Bishop of Rome, so best be me do the deed — but how do I tell His Grace? I cannot allow he first learn from the King. The man be prone to tears, and best they not fall upon His Majesty. The letters from Master Morice, they tear at mine heart that His Grace suffers, riddled with heartbreak, riddled with guilt, riddled with shame. Need I go to Lambeth to break this gently? Mayhaps so. Yes the man is a quandary at times, but at court we really do just have each other. There be no one else I trust save His Grace and Sadler, and if he be smart, after Morice, there be best no one beyond me. God, if anyone smells his Lutheran bed warmer be his wife and not merely his favorite lay, the man’s head will roll same as those that shall in the morn’.

As I head out to the docks, I look upon His Majesty’s barges. Yes, it still stings. The Lady Anne gifted His Grace a beautiful barge upon his consecration. She gifted him prayer books, gold chalices, a jeweled cross on a heavy gold chain, even a necklace for his bed warmer. Does the Lady Anne know? Did he trust her with that? Mayhaps, she would hold it close — for him. The Lady Anne always did like him better them me. Always studying scripture together, reading Tyndale together, joking together, laughing together, praying together, supping together, and His Majesty never did bat an eye. Truthfully he had no need to. His Grace does love the Lady Anne — not in a romantic way, as his cherishes his wife, but more like a kindred spirit. In all ways spiritual, they think as one. I was out numbered on that, well, until His Majesty and I, who in all ways governance think as one, decided the Lady Anne must go.

The ebb and flow of the barge, rowers in unison pushing us all down the Thames, brings me back, yes back to the creation of the exquisite portrait, yes back to a time when His Majesty loved her, yes back to a time when all seemed to be going as planned. My mind is full of them, Master Holbein, His Majesty, His Grace, and the Lady Anne…

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A Replica of King Henry VIII's Barge

A Replica of King Henry VIII’s Barge

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King Henry VIII

The king is in high spirits today.”Good Day Master Secretary! Master Holbein! Shall we set this affair in motion?” We bow, and he quickly raises us up.”Where is the queen? Trying yet another gown, I’ll warrant. No matter, there is something I would discuss with you before she arrives.”

Retrieving a small box from one of his gentleman, he remembers something, “Norris, go fetch me my father’s dragon, you know the one, the silver one from my chamber. I would have it in this portrait.”

Turning back , he smiles conspiratorially, “Now, gentlemen, I know that the queen has been forever changing her mind about her jewels, so I have had something new prepared for her.” Opening the box, he beams,” See how the table diamond in the center and the emeralds catch the light?’

He turns serious a moment ,”We must do all we can to please her in this. Anything she wishes, just do it. The fancies of a woman with child can be quite capricious! Still, she is carrying your prince, and I will not have her upset.”

Extending his royal hand, he addresses the artist, “Master Holbein, I have this ring that my father wore in his likeness. I would like it quite visible, a symbol of the past here in this portrait of the future.” And again, his good mood emerges, shaking his finger in mock reproach.

“Master Cromwell! I see your stack of papers, sir! Oh no, so this is your plan! To hoist your business upon me while I am trapped in pose!”

Secretary Thomas Cromwell

Master Holbein, oh how he humors me. The man gives me a glare, his opinion of the King’s command made plain. He then walks up to His Majesty and takes the gaudy ring, hovers over the table set with cloth of silver adorning it, and plops the thing willy-nilly. As he fumbles around sorting out where to place the accumulating barrage of special trinkets, I nod my head to acknowledge the King’s chide and smile broadly. “Why yes, Majesty. Sign and stamp the parchment towards the end, and I be Duke of Wellington, just like that.”

We both laugh at such a silly thought, and even the ever serious Master Holbein snickers, the dog. I add… “Yes Majesty, the last parchment anoints Will Somers Bishop of Pembrokeshire. What say you sign these, and I be off then?”

King Henry VIII

“Pembrokeshire you say? What says his Grace to that? I can see that you have me pinned down, Master Secretary. I suppose we can do some work, but the queen and I are composing a sonnet together, and I fear her wrath far more than yours!”

His face lights up as he spies his beloved, “Oh! there she is now! Anne, sweeting! Your beauty outshines the sun my dear! Come, see what I have for you!”

Secretary Thomas Cromwell

Sweetling? I hold back a moan, just barely. His Majesty is brilliant, but the Queen’s manner be far from pleasing. As she approaches, the ever present maids in tow, I bow deeply in respect. I am good at that, bowing and removing my hat to the Lords and Ladies with royal blood — and the Boleyns. They know who really holds the winning hand. That’s all need be. The Queen replies with a glare and smug nod. What else be new? Does she forget who put her on the throne?  Whose pen made her reign law? I think not. Her dismissive treatment of me lays bare before all. I care not. After all, she is but a woman, and I be not my beloved Cardinal.

Anne, the Quene

As the queen enters, she smiles to her Lord and husband, “My darling… your words always touch my heart. I must say you look dashing and strong as always.”

Queen Anne looks at the table, and her eyes are lost in the magnificent jewels that are placed there. “My Love… it is not difficult to understand that those magnificent pieces are tokens of your love for me. I feel pleased…thank you my darling”.

Her Majesty carries a book in her hands, her illuminated prayer book. She passes the beautiful book to one of her ladies in waiting, Lady Wyatt. As soon as she takes the book from the Queen, both ladies smile to each other. After a nod from her Majesty, Lady Wyatt walks towards Cromwell. The Queen glares at him with pride, “There Master Cromwell. This is a token of my Faith to be preserved, and a symbol of our duty with this realm, to restore and keep the truth of God.”

Secretary Thomas Cromwell

I nod in acknowledgment and hand the exquisite prayer book to Master Holbein. “Do decide where you would like this placed good man.” He gives me the damn evil look of his in obvious annoyance. “Your Majesty, the prayer book is enchanting, as is your exquisite gown and jewelry.”

King Henry VIII

The king is like a child, pleased that he surprised the queen once again. His Majesty likes surprises, and of course, he delights in the sighs and coos of his wife. He beckons Norris, holding out his hands to receive the Tudor dragon. “Very good, Harry! Pray, did you encounter my Lord Archbishop?”

Norris murmurs something, and the king turns to ask,”Master Secretary, you did summon him like I commanded?” He nods affirmatively. “Good. He must be delayed then. If it were any other man, I would guess it is a woman who keeps him long so often.”

Setting the dragon on the table, the King glances around for his warship — yes, a warship. The Mary Rose, pride of his navy is to be included in this masterpiece of Tudor symbolism. “Please set the scene as you would see it Master Holbein.”

Secretary Thomas Cromwell

I laugh at the King’s words of the Archbishop. “Aye, yes Majesty. His Grace was summoned indeed. I do believe he gets caught up in his vestments rather than wenches.” We all laugh heartily at that, even the Queen.

Then, I need say this, as I know the King suffers much. “Majesty, I am touched by your tribute to your sister, our beloved Queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk. I pray her health improves each night before I rest my head.”

His Majesty, nods. “I pray a’mighty too, my devoted Tom. I pray a’mighty, too.”

Master Holbein pokes me, the poignant moment interrupted, and murmurs in my ear, “This will cost you dearly for all these additions to the plan, Master Cromwell. I do not work for farthings.” Holbein then huffily heads back to arrange all the treasured items. Returning back to me, he whispers, “This not be what we agreed to. These people make my head throb.”

“Just do as they ask. You’ll have your crowns, ” I chide.

Anne, the Quene

Queen Anne is enjoying the moment, now standing beside her husband. She watches as the treasures to be immortalized in the painting are carefully arranged. “This for sure will be Master Holbein’s greatest masterpiece.  It will be something more than just a painting, for there is much of us in it… There will be profound meaning.”

The queen smiles then she looks with curiosity as the usher enters. When she sees who approaches after him, the Queen smiles again with more joy. “Finally, His Grace is here. Welcome… welcome.”

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

His Grace, always in good spirits, bounds into the inner chambers with great pleasure. He bends a knee, and the Queen bids he rise. “Majesties, do forgive my tardiness. I came upon a poor urchin, so I prayed for and blessed the child.”

His Grace looks around the room, taking in the beauty of their Majesties’ finery and the treasures Master Holbein so oddly arranged. “The Lord is pleased, Majesties. Never have I seen such beauty.”

He peers over to Master Holbein. “This will be a masterpiece for the ages — from God’s hand to yours. Lord make it so.”

He smiles broadly, takes the Queen’s hand in his and gently kisses it. “Your beauty and grandeur will be set plain for all through the ages, dear friend — my consort to the greatest King in Christendom. God’s will be done.”

King Henry VIII

“Well met Your Grace! I want that you would bless this endeavor of ours. Call the eyes of God to the image of His will!”

From a pocket, King Henry produces a beautiful jeweled rosary.”‘T’was my mother’s,” he smiles, laying it reverently across the bow of his model ship.

The King is blind to the ironic glances between the rest of us. His Grace frowns slightly at the remnant of Papist superstition. Still, the King adored his mother. It is fitting. “Anything else? Are we ready?” His Majesty is impatient to begin, to be done and off hunting with Brandon, no doubt. “Shall we begin? Anne darling, have you nothing else to add? Only say it, my queen, and it shall be done.”

Anne, the Quene

The Queen gently takes the hand of her husband in hers and smiles to him. “Nothing else my love…all that means and represents us are already well presented.” After one glace of love and a smile, Queen Anne looks at Master Holbein with a smile on her face. “We are ready Master Holbein. We are under your guidance now.”

Secretary Thomas Cromwell

Master Holbein walks slowly over to His Majesty and motions with his hand with grand flair that the King stand just behind and aside a beautifully carved wooden chair. I stifle a laugh as His Majesty follows Holbein’s directive gesture as if commanded. “Like this Master Holbein?”

The artists shakes his head. “No! Move over just like this, Majesty,” he chides to my great entertainment. “There, very good.”

On cue, His Grace takes the Queen’s arm and guides her to the chair. Her maids brush back the flowing cloth of silver and cloth of gold gown so she may sit more comfortable. “Majesty, allow me to guide your way, ” says the Archbishop.

She looks to him and smiles warmly. “Thank you, Your Grace.”

Master Holbein commands once more. “Your Majesty, place your hand upon the Queen’s shoulder. Yes, just like that. Now, relax and stay as you are.”

His Grace comes back with me. The sight before us takes our breath away. He whispers, “My heart is full, Master Secretary. The Lord fills the room, fills them whole.” I nod in agreement. His Grace speaks truth.

King Henry VIII

“Wait! We have forgotten! My son will be head of his church as his father is! Your Grace, please, something of yours, it would be a great favor.”

The King loves Cranmer. The man can do no wrong. Never once has he born the brunt of a tirade, nor the icy cold of Henry’s displeasure. The king encourages, “If you would be so kind, Your Grace.”

Secretary Thomas Cromwell

His Grace bows at His Majesty, “You honor me, Your Majesty. I am touched.”

What is he doing? His Grace turns to me and says in quiet sincerity, “Your ring, Thomas. Please, good man.” I struggle to pull the thing off and hand it to him. His Grace, oh how he humbles me. He walks over to the table and looks at the display carefully. Gently he opens the Queen’s prayer book, finding the page of the scripture he so desires. Once satisfied, he rests my ring upon it.

Holbein murmurs, “I like that. I like it much.”

I snicker quietly, “That be Wolsey’s ring, good man.” Holbein laughs in his sleeve. “Does His Grace know?”

“Hush man, I will tell him later… after the portrait be done.” He laughs lightly. “Shhhh…. the Queen, she notices it not. Say nothing.”

We wait for the king to react. Holbein and I dare not breathe. The king loves Cranmer, and Wolsey was as a father to him before he fell.  “I know that ring. Thomas, your master is with us still sometimes, do you feel him?”

I glace at the Queen smugly, “Oh yes, Majesty. He is with us always. I learned all I do and all I not do from His Eminence.”

As if it were not he, but some other monarch who hounded my Lord Cardinal to his death, the king states, “It is good, very good. We are ready.”

Anne, the Quene

The Queen’s reply is a mere smile, one that is not of joy, but the smile that a Queen always gives in the name of duty rather than personal satisfaction. “What can I say? What pleases his majesty pleases me as well. We are indeed ready”.

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

His Grace adds simply, “Bless the King and Queen of England and their heir growing strong, and grant your artistry flow through Master Holbein abundantly.”

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Thomas Cromwell, by Hans Holbein the Younger

Thomas Cromwell, by Hans Holbein the Younger

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Secretary Thomas Cromwell

“Master Secretary! Master Secretary!!!” I am startled upright by Ralph Morice, calling me as the barge is tied to the dock by Lambeth’s beautiful spring gardens.

“Good afternoon, Master Morice,” I say simply. He guides me off the barge and we begin walking through the gardens towards Lambeth Palace, the scent of irises whiffing through the light spring breeze.

“Do tell me, good man. How be His Grace?” I ask.

Ralph Morice places his hand on my arm, my cue to stop walking before entering the Palace. “He be distraught, Master Secretary. Thanks be to Lady Margarete. Her strength builds him so he can do what he must. His Grace pines for the Lady Anne, and he be dwelling on gaining His Majesty’s blessing to hear her last confession.”

“The King will allow it,” I offer. “His mind is set to destroy all signs of her, though. This morn’ I was commanded to arrange the destruction of all with her emblems, her gowns, her silver, her tapestries, even the two Holbein portraits… you know, the one of the Queen in the black velvet… and God forgive me, the masterpiece of them both.”

Morice looks back at me stunned, swallowing deep to compose himself. “That portrait be of God’s own hand, Master Secretary. To burn it is of Satan.” I nod in agreement.

“You came to tell him?” I nod again and offer, “I thought it best. His Majesty is in mind to, but let the tears flow before the King speaks his peace.” Looking to the ground in shame, I add, “The portraits are burned already, done before the Archbishop could talk me out of it, before talking me into what would risk us both. Reginald Pole calls me the Emissary of Satan. Mayhaps I am.”

Sketch by Hans Holbein the Younger

Sketch by Hans Holbein the Younger

“And what of the Archbishop’s Godchild? What then shall the child have of her mother?” Morice chides.

I open the rolled parchment from under my arm, nestled to keep it safe. “Here, Master Morice. I done brought this for His Grace to hold for Elizabeth. God forgive me, it be the best I could do. Guard it close, and God in heaven, keep it as secret as the Archbishop’s wife.”

“Lady Margarete thinks you a rouge, Master Secretary. His Grace knows different. I think him wise.”

~~~~ Fade To Black ~~~~

Written by: Beth, Cyndi and Mercy

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God’s Kingdom Awaits (King Henry VIII, June 28,1491 to January 28,1547)

January 28, 2014 in Beth von Staats (REVELATION), Tudor Y Writer's Group by Beth von Staats

King Henry VIII (June 29, 1491 to January 28, 1547)

King Henry VIII (June 29, 1491 to January 28, 1547)

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It is time for the Lord to act; they have frustrated Your law.  ~~~ Psalm 119:126

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26 January 1547

“Denny broke the news to His Majesty today, Your Grace. The King’s suffering nears its end. We feared to wait for you, for even traveling from Lambeth may lead to His Majesty passing from this world unknowing, unable to make peace with his God.”

I look to Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, his words said with gentle softness, and nod. Sir William Paget rests his hand on my shoulder as I speak. “Sir Anthony is a blessing to His Majesty, his task noble. O Lord do strengthen him in these dark days, I pray.”

Sir Anthony Denny

Sir Anthony Denny

Sir Anthony Denny, how can ever we thank his noble service? The loving care he provides His Majesty is saintly, though an evangelical he is in truth. Master of the Stool to a dying monarch, though an honored title, is thankless indeed, no earthly reward sufficient. This man’s services to the realm are as taxing as any warrior, as any a ghastly vocation in all Christendom. Not many would abide it if the truth was known. Who could blame? His Majesty’s wounds ooze pitifully I am told, the stench bending to spew many a man. Though riches and property are Denny’s earthly rewards, God will reward him further still. Yes, we are justified by the Lord by our faith alone, but there must be God’s cherished love for the likes of this. After a quiet moment of reflection for His Majesty’s  trusted servant, I startle slightly, Sir William Paget, my closest layman ally since dearest Cromwell, my Earl of Essex died, breaking the blaring silence.

“Your Grace, my Lord of Hertford and I know you pain more than any man. We see it plain. You look exhausted from prayer, obviously not taking time for nourishment or to direct your privy servant to shave your growing stubble. Even thus, we must speak plain and plan for dear Prince Edward’s ascendancy to kingship.”

His Majesty no longer able to chide me, I shall never shave again — a clean face the vestments of clergy governed by the Antichrist. Do I admit my stubble is of my choice? No, let the tongues wag later. I look up and swallow hard. “Though the task heartbreaking, yes we must. Do carry on, good man.”

My Lord of Hereford readies to speak, and I rise my hand to halt him. I desire first to hear from dearest Paget, a man with no blood between my beloved Godson and the crown. He begins to falter, stumbling on his words. “Master Secretary, speak what you must. You are among the trusted few you can.”

“Your Grace, the Council His Majesty has commanded… It is doomed to failure I fear. We must find a way around it.”

The poor man seems relieved to finally speak his peace. I’ll allay him further. “Yes, you state the obvious, dear man. Per His Majesty’s expressed commands, no man must ever resign the council, no man ever relieved of duty, no matter the travesty. This shall lead to chaos I fear, one man against another, turmoil and manipulations rather than good judgement ruling this very realm.”

I look to both men who are nodding in agreement. I venture on. “Here is our chance gentlemen, our chance we long awaited to rid this realm of idols, relics, the very Eucharist itself. This must not be delayed by the indecisiveness that ruling by council would bring. Souls are in the balance.”

Both men are stunned cold, Paget’s mouth hung open wide. My trusted secretary Ralph Morice instead smiles knowingly.

“Hear! Hear! You changed your stance on the Eucharist, Your Grace? Since when did you reach this revelation?” asks my Lord of Hertford.

I am determined these men finally know my mind, but the particulars need not be so clear. Bishop Ridley, my beloved personal chaplain and I decided finally upon it. That be that. “Dearest Cromwell, may he rest with the peace of what is to come, did teach me, and these be his very words. ‘There be no need for reformist martyrs, Your Grace. Wait for the opportunity, then seize it. Until then, keep your thoughts and ambitions close.’ He spoke truth, because here I still stand despite the great efforts of myne enemies, now much to accomplish for God’s glory, for the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Sir William Paget

Sir William Paget

Both men smile broadly, my words most welcome indeed. My Lord of Hertford tries to speak once more. I again raise my hand to stifle him, then placing my finger before my lips to make my point. “Master Secretary what are your recommendations then?”

“Despite His Majesty’s expressed commands, this realm must have a Lord Protector. I know his mind. The king fears the power of one man may undermine the ascendancy of a child, lest we forget the poor sons of King Edward, fourth of that name.”

Both Hertford and I nod in agreement, as he speaks truth. I motion Paget continue.

“His Majesty is wise to think such, but I see no other way. The boy is but nine years old. Governance cannot be frozen nine long years by the inevitable debates and posturing of several men who lack like mind while we wait for Prince Edward to mature from child to king. I urge the realm be ruled by a Lord Protector, with a supporting Privy Council, the very men His Majesty trusts as he made known.”

Before Herford can speak, I cut him off. The idea put forth must not be viewed as his, as to do so may later unravel his very credibility. Does Hertford not know why I stifled him thus far? “His Majesty is wise, but I do agree with you, dear man.”

I look to Hertford once more and inquire with all earnestness. “My Lord of Hertford, of all the men in this realm, you are most suited to be Lord Protector. You share the very blood of our beloved Prince soon king. You adhere to the true religion, and you are wise of governance.”

He smiles broadly, but I am not done. “Before I thrust my wholehearted support, do tell me what your goals as Lord Protector would be?”

He squirms just a little, good. I am Archbishop of Canterbury, duty bound to His Majesty still. If I sway from the king’s intentions once God takes him home, I must be sure all be in the best interests of Prince Edward, who I then owe my full allegiance and submission, as is God’s Holy Word in the Book of Solomon.

“Your Grace, myne foremost goal and obligation is to raise Prince Edward to be our Empire’s first great Protestant King, of course. You may select his religious scholars, while I will attend to his worldly education. He is a bright child, with much potential to be the grandest king in all Europe, in all the world. I desire most to bring England to the true religion, while also growing our wealth and knowledge among the people. We must also prepare for any wars upon our shores. Alas, I believe we owe to the poorest in the realm, the wretched souls. They suffer much.”

Ah, the man speaks true, though I knew he would. “And what would you need from me and the clergy, my Lord?”

“The liturgy for the Church of England, stated common in all religious houses throughout this glorious realm, ever church, every abbey, all clergy sermonizing same. O Lord make it so.”, says Lord Hereford with all conviction.

Paget and I smile broadly. Dearest Cromwell held great hope for this young man, not without just cause I do see. I ask my dearest secretary, Ralph Morice, whose gracious silence holds my utmost trust, to pour us all some wine. With His Majesty on his death bed, this be no time for toasts. I merely sip upon the claret, and speak most humbly. “You have my support, dear man. My Lord, all you ask I will do most diligently. God is my witness.”

Hertford leans over, placing his hand gently upon my arm. “And what then do you need from me, Your Grace? If the council agrees, and I become Lord Protector of this realm as you suggest, what may I do to ease your way as head of the clergy?” he asks in devout sincerity.

I pause. This must not go unsaid. My promise is my solemn oath, our vows God’s truth. I try and speak casually, as if what I state next is as mundane as discussing abbey finance. I breathe in deep, blow the breath out and begin. “I do confess I already wrote to my wife Margarete in Nuremburg and stated my desire she prepare to come home to me, along with my daughter. Both I pine pitifully for since the Six Articles became His Majesty’s truth.”

I stunned Hertford and Paget again, catching both completely off their guard. Hertford’s eyes grow wide, while Paget nervously smiles. What skips through their minds is known but to them and God. I sigh, and dear Ralph Morice motions I be out with it. “All I ask for me and for the clergy of this realm is that my family finally be allowed to live our lives openly, as example to the world of God’s scriptural truth, and as the greatest desire of myne  heart.”

Ralph Morice smiles approvingly. My confidences he holds close, bless his soul. My Lord of Hertford shakes his head disbelievingly and clears his throat as we all await a response to my simple request of basic dignity.

“Of course, Your Grace. Celibacy is of pagan thought, not God’s. It has no place in England’s clergy. We shall build a truly evangelical realm, together.”

The weight lifts off my shoulders, carried these many years. “Thank you, my Lord,” I say with the sincerity of a small child who trusts all and knows no evil.

Hertford rubs his fingers through his beard and adds, “I had no idea Your Grace, none. You kept your secret close indeed. My spies had no word of it.”

Both Ralph Morice and I then smile broadly, releasing the tension thick in the midst of us. I motion to Morice. “Besides my trusted secretary, only dearest Cromwell knew, and he took the secret of my wife and daughter with him to the scaffold.”

I offer with a nervous laugh in all good humor and chide, “The Lord Privy Seal’s spies be much better than yours, my Lord.”

Sir Edward Seymour, then Earl of Hertford

Sir Edward Seymour, then Earl of Hertford

The King’s Secretary, always astute and thorough, chimes in to break the moment of my humble confessions. Mayhaps he desires the subject closed, awkward that it be. Paget, yes he is wise. Let’s do move on, O Lord I pray.

“Your Grace…. My Lord, we must not forget the dog in the Tower. What do we do with Norfolk if His Majesty is called home to the Lord before the execution? His Majesty is fading, and the deed is not set for two days hence,” states Paget.

I allow my Lord of Hertford to speak his peace. If he is going to be Lord Protector, let him start now. Norfolk, both he and Gardiner, along with Bonner and their lot did upend my dearest Cromwell, and nearly me but for the grace of His Majesty’s heart, his warnings and his signet ring gifted to save me. I wish the toad dead. God forgive me.

“I pray His Majesty lives so his commands unfold, but if God calls him home, I do think we move cautiously. Blood on the hands of new governance will not sit well with the people of this realm. Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, will languish in The Tower until he shrivels and rots on to death. To kill him outright may spurn insurgency. We need that not.”

My disappointment is obvious, but I say nothing.

“I am sorry, Your Grace. Revenge must not be our priority. The time is not right. With any luck, Norfolk will give us just cause later, once we secure the trust of Parliament and the people.”

I nod approvingly. “Yes, no decision best be made in anger. My resentment and desire for revenge I will atone. I shall seek God’s loving forgiveness this night in my prayers.”

I look to these three fine men, one the King’s trusted secretary, another mine, and God willing of council agreement, yet another my beloved Prince Edward’s, soon king, steadfast protector and say simply, “God’s will be done.”

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Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

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In the midst of life, we are in death… Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, Lord most holy… Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be like unto his glorious body.  ~~~ Thomas Cranmer, The Book of Common Prayer

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28 January 1547

“Your Grace, Praise the Lord you are here. His Majesty is fading quickly. Though he speaks not, he lives still.”

I place my hand gently on the arm of Sir Anthony Denny. The man looks racked, as if languishing in Tower many a year, tortured without end. “Go take rest, good man. God knows you need it.”

He drops his eyes to the floor. “His Majesty asked for you, Your Grace, near his last words. He desires your presence when he slips on to God.”

My beloved Sir Anthony, without his intercession along with mine trusted secretary, I would surely had been devoured by the wolves long by now. I tap his shoulder. “Look at me, good man.”

As he raises up his gaze, I say simply, “The King and I weathered many a trial and tribulation together. I need no words to know his heart.”

Denny attempts a faint smile, and I gaze through to his soul. “This be God’s will, aye God’s will, dear man. From all evil, from all sin, from all tribulation, the good Lord will surely deliver him. Have faith, and His Majesty will too.”

I sigh as I pat his arm gently. “Now let me go do what must be done.” 

He nods and motions toward the door. I find my courage with God’s loving grace and quietly enter. The rank stench of His Majesty’s wounds hits me like the blunt end of a lance in a joust. I seek quickly a piss pot, spewing forth all within. My innards not satisfied, dry heaves overcome my every being.

“Your Grace… Your Grace…,” I hear through my misery.

Finally, I look up and one of His Majesty’s tormenting doctors begins helping me to my feet, whilst another washes my face and stubble with a wet cloth.

“Rub this pungent poultice under your nose, Your Grace. It will help what ails you by masking the odors.”

I gladly comply and trade one putrid scent for another, but it be bearable, thank the Lord. A tad weak at the knees still, I look around. Six men gaze upon me as if I am Jesus Himself. I venture, “Is there any more you can do to ease the king’s suffering?”

They sway their heads to and fro, looking down as if ashamed of their incompetence. I wave them off dismissively. “Then go, please. No more is needed for now. God be with you.”

One of the doctors offers, “I wish to stay and attend to you, Your Grace. This room sickens the strongest of men.”

Although this portrait depicts Henry VIII's deathbed, in actuality he died instead holding the hand of Archbishop Cranmer.

Although this portrait depicts Henry VIII’s deathbed, in actuality he died instead holding the hand of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.

I say softly, thankful for his kindness, “His Majesty and I must be alone, but you may wait just outside, good man. I will gratefully call upon you if need be.”

I smile as he nods and the doctors retreat, and then turn to His Majesty. My heart fills with both love and mourning at the sight of the great man, God’s king on earth. Grotesquely swollen, liquid leaching from every pore, my stomach readies to spew once more, but the Lord lovingly intervenes and I settle.  A comfortable chair placed beside the king’s majestic bed for my benefit, I sit upon it and then rest my hand upon one of his, my fingers resting upon the very signet ring that once saved myne very life. “I am here, Majesty. It be mine honor  you beckoned I come.”

I feel him hold on to my hand, though weakly, with purpose. His Majesty, he knows I am with him. Praise be to God. If he knows I am here, surely he knows God is too. Surely he will trust in the Lord in his last moments. His Majesty’s soul will be saved with my help, and with a grateful heart my last service will be done onto him.

Though His Majesty did once make me promise in a small moment of weakness after Queen Jane passed over to the Lord, there will be no last rites, no extreme unction. We are brought to the Lord by our faith and faith alone.  For the last fortnight, I dwelt, worried, and prayed most earnestly. Do I follow His Majesty’s expressed wishes? Do I keep my promises to him? In the morning light of conscience last night, God gave me His answer. Yes, we are brought forth to the Lord by our faith and faith alone. This is God’s truth, and no man can overrule Him, not even my noble Majesty to whom all else I submitted, even at the expense of myne own values and conscience, his word always supreme.

Overcome with emotion, tears well. I am unashamed. His Majesty saw my tears before, the last time when first meeting after dear Cromwell breathed his last, brought forth to the Lord by his faith and the ax. Few words were spoken. The letter already written and sent, he knew my heart. “Your Grace, what is done I had to do. From this day forth, I rule the council. I trust no man but you, no man.” From that day on, I lived in fear I would lose that trust and tread with the caution of a man hunted, my faith and truth kept close to save my very skin to await what now lays ahead — a new day, a new dawn, a Protestant England.

I venture carefully, speaking softly as a church mouse. We are alone with God, but are we really? “Majesty, as scripture says in the Book of John, ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’ Do you trust in our Lord God?”

Silence blares as loud as canon fire. No sign tells me. “Please Lord, let him hear me. Let His Majesty answer, Lord. I beseech you.”

I try once more. “Majesty, with all your heart and soul, do you trust in our Lord God, all faith in him?”

God and His Majesty answer my prayers. The King squeezes my hand, weakly yes, but his answer clear. Relief washes over me. His Majesty’s soul is saved through the strength of his faith by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. God be praised.

“Do pray with me Majesty if you can. Thoughts be words, and whether old Greek, Latin, German or English, whether Tyndale, Erasmus, Luther or the Bishop of Rome, all say the same from God’s Holy Word. ‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them’.”

Henry VIII Coat of Arms

Henry VIII Coat of Arms.

I find my courage once more. No papal prayers will come from my mouth. No Roman Catholic leanings will taint His Majesty in his journey to the Lord. I look to the holy oil, chalice, wine, bread and rosaries left on the night table for my use. No, there is no need for them. There will be no penance, no anointing, and O Lord I praise you, no final Eucharist. I stand, bending so I may still hold His Majesty’s hand and pray simply. That is all one needs, nothing more.

“Almighty God, look on this your servant, Henry, Eighth of this name, King of England, Wales, Ireland and France, Defender of the Faith, lying in great weakness, and comfort him with the promise of life everlasting, given in the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

I look down upon His Majesty, emotions rising to the surface. Still weak at the knees and stomach churning from the stench of this dreadful place, I bend down further still and kiss his hand and then the signet ring that binds us. I whisper, “I will submit humbly to and serve with all earnestness and love my dear beloved Edward, Prince of Wales, your longed for and blessed begotten heir as I ever did you, Majesty. That is my solemn promise and vow.”

Swirling through my mind come memories of our kinship though both trying times and glory, submission to his will often at the expense of my own, sometimes even at the expense of God’s. Tears of both mourning and relief flow freely. My heart bleeds, yet finally rests with the knowledge that what comes next is God’s will. I wipe my eyes with the sleeve of my vestments and compose myself before saying what I must. Alas, there be no point to fighting death any longer. God waits patiently. His Majesty’s suffering long now many years, his faith is professed, his salvation assured. I say simply, as mayhaps he just needs a prod, “Now be the time to let go, Majesty. God’s kingdom awaits.”

~~~~~ Fade to Black ~~~~

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King Henry VIII Tudor Dynasty

King Henry VIII

Lusty Youth Should Us Ensue

Lusty Youth should us ensue,
His merry heart shall sure all rue.
For whatsoever they do him tell
It is not for him, we know it well.

For they would have him his liberty refrain,
And all merry company for to disdain.
But I will not do whatsoever they say,
But follow his mind in all that we may.

How should Youth himself best use
But all disdainers for to refuse?
Youth has as chief assurance
Honest mirth with virtue’s pastance.

For in them consists great honour,
Though that disdainers would therein put error.
For they do sue to get them grace,
All only riches to purchase.

With good order, counsel, and equity,
Good Lord grant us our mansion to be.
For without their good guidance
Youth should fall in great mischance.

For Youth is frail and prompt to do
As well vices as virtues to ensue.
Wherefore by these he must be guided,
And virtue’s pastance must be therein used.

Now unto God this prayer we make,
That this rude play may well betake
And that we may our faults amend
And bliss obtain at our last end.
Amen.

~~ King Henry VIII ~~

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This lasting gift to the world from King Henry VIII is Pastime with Good Company, also known as The King’s Ballad (The Kynges Balade). It is an English folk song written by King Henry VIII in the first years of the 16th century, shortly after being crowned. It is performed by Gryphon.

King Henry VIII’s lasting poetry gift to world above Lusty Youth Should Us Ensue was penned at some point between 1510 and 1515.

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