Book Review: “The Boy King” by Janet Wertman

The review was written and shared by Heidi Malagisi of Adventures of a Tudor Nerd

In 1547, young Prince Edward is having the time of his life studying and hoping to one day take part in a tournament. He has not a care in the world. That is until his beloved father King Henry VIII passes away, and the 9-year-old boy is now Edward VI, King of England. He must navigate family drama between his older half-sister Mary Tudor and his uncles, Edward and Thomas Seymour while maintaining order throughout the kingdom. To top it all off, he is trying to reform the entire country and convert Catholics into the Protestant faith. His short life and reign are portrayed in Janet Wertman’s third book in The Seymour Saga, “The Boy King”.

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Tudor Rivals: The Scorned Rose and England’s Precious Jewel

Guest article by Anthony Ruggiero 

The Tudor Dynasty of England, spanning from the late fifteenth century into the early seventeenth century, was a fascinating drama, filled with intrigue, lust and murder. The dynasty’s monarchs were its main characters whose relationships impacted the country socially, economically and politically. Such relationships included Queen Mary I and King Edward VI. Mary Tudor, the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, ruled over England from July 1553 to her death in November 1558. Her reign as Queen was marked by her steadfast effort to convert England back to Catholicism from Protestantism, which had been established under her father twenty years earlier and then further intensified during the reign of her younger brother, King Edward VI.

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The Other Seymours: Sir Henry Seymour

Written by Rebecca Larson

The most recognizable Seymours at the court of Henry VIII were: Edward, Thomas, and Jane Seymour. Other than Elizabeth Seymour, who married Gregory, the son of Thomas Cromwell, there was another Seymour brother who occasionally spent time at court and is often overlooked, his name was Henry. Not to mention their youngest sister, Dorothy. But today we are going to look at Henry, in particular.

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Hugh Latimer’s Slander of a Dead Man

This post was originally made on my Thomas Seymour Society blog.

I recently picked up The Reign of Edward VI by James Anthony Froude and started looking for information on Thomas Seymour. It was while searching that I came across some new information.

On page 77, in the section of the book about the Protectorate, I found this line:

the admiral had seduced and deserted at least one innocent woman, who fell into crime and was executed.

The source for this statement is merely listed as “Latimer’s Sermons before King Edward”. So, of course, I went looking for this story in Latimer’s sermons. Unfortunately for me Froude did not give a more specific location in Latimer’s sermons. Luckily for me, the book is available online and I could do a search within it to find the reference to this woman.

The book is titled Sermons by Hugh Latimer, sometime Bishop of Worcester, Martyr, 1555, and I found the reference on page 164 (Latimer’s fourth sermon preached before Edward VI).

“I heard of a wanton woman, naughty liver. A whore, a vain body, was led from Newgate to the place of execution for a certain robbery that she had committed, and she had a wicked communication by the way. Here I will take occasion to move your grace, that such men as shall be put to death may have learned men to give them instruction and exhortation. For the reverence of God, when they be put to execution, let them have instructor; for many of them are cast away for lack of instruction, and die miserably for lack of good preaching. This woman, I say, as she went by the way, had wanton and foolish talk, as this: “that if good fellows had kept touch with her, she had not been at this time in that case.” [And amongst all other talk she said that such an one (and named this man) had first misled her: and, hearing this of him at that time, I looked ever what would be his end, what would become of him. He was a man the farthest fear of God that ever I knew or heard of in England. First, he was the author of all this woman’s whoredom; for if he had not led her wrong, she might have been married and become an honest woman, whereas now being naught with him, she fell afterward by that occasion to other: and they that were naught with her fell to robbery, and she followed; and thus was he the author of all of this.

After reading all that I was left wondering: Who was this woman? Did this really happen or was it fabricated by Latimer to further tarnish the reputation of Seymour to the King?

This got me thinking…how well did Latimer know Thomas, or the Seymour family at that. I found online, “Hugh Latimer; a biography” and in Chapter Four it states that Latimer was in Wiltshire from 1531 to 1535. During that time Thomas Seymour was employed by Francis Bryan at court.

If you are not familiar with the Seymours, their home at Wolf Hall was in Wiltshire. In the book “Ordeal by Ambition” by William Seymour, states that their home was in Burbage. Hugh Latimer was preaching at West Kington. I used Google maps to see what kind of distance were between the two locations and it appears to be about 36-38 miles, a bit far for the family to attend mass. In “Hugh Latimer; a biography”, the author states that while Thomas Seymour was in the Tower he requested that “Mr. Latimer might come to him”. The author believed that Seymour had heard countless praises of Latimer from his late wife, dowager queen Kateryn and that Latimer had converted Parr to the Protestant faith. Latimer visited Seymour in the Tower and may have attended him the day of his execution.

Latimer, indeed, without mentioning Seymour’s name, assumed that his audience “knew what he meant well enough.” But there were many who doubted his guilt; Latimer’s words were consequently much censured; and in his next sermon before the Court, on March 29, he deemed it necessary to defend himself by narrating all that he knew of Seymour’s death.

Latimer was also the person who reported the small notes that Seymour had written:

The man being in the Tower, wrote certain papers, which I saw myself. They were two little ones, one to my Lady Mary’s Grace, and another to my Lady Elizabeth’s Grace, tending to this end, that they should conspire against my Lord Protector’s Grace; surely, so seditiously as could be.

These notes were reported to Latimer by his servant and were found in Seymour’s shoe. The notes were sewn between the soles of a velvet shoe. He also goes on to mention how creative Seymour had been in creating ink to write. “He made his ink so craftily and with such workmanship, as the like hath not been seen.” “He made his pen of the aglet of a point, that he plucked from his hose, and thus wrote these letters…

Image Courtesy TheCostumeWardrobe – Etsy

John Lingard of Lingard’s History of England was no fan of Latimer or Somerset. He said that Latimer was merely staying on the good side of Somerset with his sermons.

So, from all this we can determine that Thomas Seymour may have known, or at least known of Latimer through his late wife. We can, if we believe Lingard, determine that Latimer was a man who understood he had to appease the Lord Protector.

I have been been unable to corroborate Latimer’s sermon about the wanton women who was executed because of Thomas Seymour. But it is my belief that Hugh Latimer’s sermon was fabricated to further slander Thomas Seymour’s name – many of the King’s subjects had become sympathetic to his story after his execution, just as they had with Anne Boleyn.



Hugh Latimer; a biography. by Demaus, R. (Robert), 1829 -1874; Tract Society, London. Publication date [1881]
Lingard’s History of England by Dom Henry Norbert Birt, O.S.B.. London. George Bell & Sons [1903].
The Reign of Edward VI by James Anthony Froude. Published by J. M. Dent & Company [1926].
Sermons by Hugh Latimer, sometime Bishop of Worcester, Martyr, 1555. Publisher Cambridge : Printed at the University Press [1844].
Ordeal by Ambition: An English Family in the Shadow of the Tudors by William Seymour. Published by
Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd [1972].

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The Life of Edward VI of England (Part Three)

Prince Edward was the long-awaited, and much celebrated, son of Henry VIII. He is arguably the least talked about of all the Tudor monarchs. We know him as King Edward VI. In case you missed the first two parts you can find them here.

Read Part One

Read Part Two

As we continue on our journey to tell the story of King Edward VI life, we will start at the time of the execution of his uncle, Sir Thomas, Baron Seymour of Sudeley and Lord High Admiral.

Thomas Seymour was placed in the Tower of London in January 1549 and was executed by Act of Attainder on the 20th of March of the same year. This meant that he had no trial and was condemned to death by Parliament.

As someone who has spent the last couple of years researching Thomas, I’m always torn at Edward’s response to his uncle’s death:

‘The Lord Sudeley, Admiral of England, was condemned to death and died the March ensuing.’

Once again, the young King reported the death of his uncle in such a cold fashion, as if it was someone he had not know at all. It is possible that Edward knew his writing would be viewed by others and wanted to sound ‘kingly’. I’m torn on this because the King’s uncle Thomas was the one who was helping him when he needed money. Where he always seemed annoyed with his uncle Ned, but in all fairness his uncle was also acting in the role as father as well.

What does this tell us about the young king, if anything at all?

After the execution of his uncle Thomas, the position of his surviving uncle Edward, Duke of Somerset was diminishing. It is now evident that allowing the execution of his brother also diminished his own power – makes you wonder how the young King saw it all unfolding…did he have any idea that his uncle Somerset would also fall due to the fact that the King allowed the execution of one uncle?

Downfall of Somerset

By the summer of 1549 Somerset had begun to lose favor with the English subjects as well as his council and John Dudley, Earl of Warwick saw it as an opportunity as Somerset’s behavior grew more and more erratic.

Book of Common Prayers/Kett’s Rebellion

The new Book of Common Prayer was first used in service on Whit Sunday at the parish church of Sampford Courtenay, which was on the northern edge of Dartmoor. There was little resistance to the new prayer book. But by the following day rebellions against Somerset, the Lord Protector had reached that town as well. It reached a fever pitch when a local gentleman attempted to resolve the situation. He was ‘seized and hacked into pieces, his remains being hastily buried in the churchyard’.

When news reached Tudor court, Somerset was ‘very much grieved and in great perplexity’. It appears that he was horribly out of touch with the English people and sent Lord John Russell to Sampford Courtenay to contain the rebellion.

The rebels carried the same banner as had been carried during the Pilgrimage of Grace, the Five Wounds of Christ. They gathered all the Prayer Books and burned them…probably a similar sight to book burnings by Thomas More a decade earlier.

Somerset’s guy, Paget warned him that he worried ‘that coming which i have now feared of good time, the destruction of that goodly young child, my sovereign Lord, the subversion of the noble realm of England, and the ruin of your Grace’. Paget told Somerset he worried about this happening and was concerned for the King.

Things were changing in England, in July 1547 the council banned candles and shrines, and on the 28th of February 1548, images in stained-glass, wood, and stone. This caused an uprise in the west.

Even with this all going on, Archbishop Cranmer produced a uniform vernacular service of worship in the Book of Common Prayer – and in June, because of this action it caused uprisings and revolts in the west country and elsewhere. These revolts signalled the beginning of the end for Somerset’s rule. He no longer had the people’s trust, as well as local gentry.

The English subjects now appeared to hold all the power and were making demands, Paget tried to convince Somerset to heed his advice and to not be so gentle with the rebels. But Somerset continued with leniency against the rebels.

In the meantime, the young King was not completely unaware of the events and the fact that there were rumors he had been deposed, which he had obviously not. Because of the rumors, ‘Edward rode through London in a procession on 23 July – removing his cap each time he passed by men in the crowds’. I am not sure who ordered the procession but assume it was Somerset.

By the end of July, Somerset had finally understood that his leniency was not working and that ‘Sharp justice must be executed upon those sundry traitors which will learn nothing but by the sword.’

Around the same time as all the uprisings against religion in the west country and elsewhere, Kett’s Rebellion began to unfold.

Did you know that Kett was a tenant of John Dudley? Interesting, right? Not only was Kett familiar with Dudley but so was Sir Richard Southwell, a friend who was accused (by Sir Edward Knyvett) ‘to have been one of the authors of this rebellion’. Is it possible that Dudley was behind the rebellion?

It was discovered that Dudley’s friend Southwell had be secretly funding the rebellion, but not with his money but with the King’s own coffers. You see, Southwell was treasurer for the king’s forces. And the plot thickens…

Most of the time, the Lady Mary is blamed to Kett’s Rebellion, but it is possible that it was Dudley and not Mary at all. For, in the end, it all benefited Dudley the most from it.

By August, Somerset named John Dudley, Earl of Warwick Lieutenant General, an error that he would soon regret. As I’ve suspected for quite some time, Dudley was willing to see the Seymour brothers fall in order to achieve his goals. Whether or not he intended it to turn out the way it all did we may never know.

During the uprising, Dudley claimed illness so he would not be involved, however, he eventually returned to London and court, that is, until the day before the Lieutenant General, Marquis of Northampton was defeated. At which point he departed with 500 men to an undisclosed location.

Eventually Dudley had built an army of 5000 men and offered the rebels a choice: They could continue in their ways and risk death, or they could be pardoned for their offenses. They appear to have chosen the first which angered Dudley and he no longer felt in a mood of compromise. Those who resisted were hanged, but even that did not stop the rebels.

He began to scheme and plot the overthrow of Somerset – just Somerset had whispered in the hallways with Paget during the dying hours of King Henry VIII, Dudley did the same to gain the agreement of the Council. They road to Hampton court to confront Somerset in person upon his return there.

When Somerset arrived, Council business continued as usual. But when Dudley refused to attend court, Somerset was sent into panic when he discovered men/troops were joining Dudley at Ely Place in Holborn.

In all the panic and confusion of the rebellion against Somerset, the King wrote in his diary: ‘That night, with all the people, at nine or ten o’clock at night, I went to Windsor, and there was watch and ward kept every night’. He believed his uncle’s worries and made his way on horseback, carrying a small sword, which was drawn, saying, “My vassals will you help me against those who want to kill me!”

Instead of fighting to the death for his position as Lord Protector, Somerset was urged to submit to Edward in front of council. In a last ditch effort Somerset asked his nephew, the King, to save him. That day Edward, the King wrote this:

“As far as our age can understand…we do lament our present estate being in such an imminent danger; and unless God do put it into the hearts of you there to be as careful to bring these uproars unto a quiet…we shall have cause to think you forget your duties towards us, and the great benefits which the King our lord, and father, of most noble memory, hath employed on every one of you. For, howsoever you charge our said uncle with wilfulness in your letter…we trust that both you and he may continue…without superstition, by a friendly determination and agreement among yourselves…Each man hath his faults; he his and you yours; and if we shall hereafter as rigorously weigh yours, as we hear that you intend with cruelty to purge his, which of you all shall be able to stand before us?” (page 144)

How insightful for the young king to say that.

Somersets loyal friends, Paget, Cranmer and Sir Thomas Smith begged the Lords to spare Somerset’s life saying, ‘Life is sweet, my Lords, and they say you seek his blood and his death…we beseech you again and again, if you have conceived any such determination, to put it out of your heads, and incline your hearts to kindness and humanity, remembering that he hath never been cruel to any of you; and why should you be cruelly minded to him?” (page 144)

On the 8th of October the Lords issues a proclamation without the royal authority denouncing Somerset as Protector. Three days later guards arrived at Windsor and removed Somerset from his lodging which was located next to the King’s and was then placed in Beauchamp Tower, he was under arrest and under close watch.

The guards then entered the King’s chamber to his horror. Somerset had previously warned his nephew that there were those who ‘minded to destroy the king’, and to ‘never to forget it, but to revenge it’. Edward was not in danger and was soon calmed once he understood he was safe.

When these men of the council tried to convince the young king that his uncle wish to kill him, Edward replied: ‘The Duke never did me any hard,’ ‘He went to the Tower of his own will, it is a sign that he be not guilty.’ (page 150) They continued to try and persuade the King of his uncle’s intentions to which the king insisted on seeing his uncle. The king then pardoned his uncle and all had to go along with it to achieve favor with the king. Somerset would live but would no longer be Lord Protector.

On the 2nd of February, Dudley was granted the office of Lord Great Master of the chamber and Lord President of the Council. These appointments allowed Dudley the authority he needed to become the head of the king’s government. Dudley was now in control.

Rule under Northumberland

Dudley, as Lord President of the Council, allowed Somerset to return to the council. He must have recognized that there were many sympathizers to his cause and that a place on the council might placate them. Little did Dudley understand but there was a growing resentment toward him that would eventually cause him to seek more power, by being created Duke of Northumberland in 1551. Surprisingly, the Duke of Somerset participated in the ceremony. But merely five days later Somerset was once again arrested on rumors of plots to have Dudley killed.

Somerset was convicted of raising any army without license and for plotting to kill Dudley, Northampton and others to a banquet at which they would be killed – allowing Somerset to gain control. In October Somerset was once again arrested and like his brother Thomas, an act of attainder was passed by parliament and he was executed on 22 January 1552.

King Edward document the execution by reporting, ‘the Duke of Somerset had his head cut off upon Tower Hill between eight and nine o’clock in the morning’.

There is no record of the King attempting to pardon his uncle.

It does, however, appear to show that the young king blamed himself for not saving his uncle’s life – in John Hayward’s “Life and Raigne of King Edward Sixth”, it is reported that:

“Upon the death of the Duke albeit the King gave no token of any ill distempored passion, as taking it not agreeable to majesty openly to declare himself, and albeit the Lords had labored with much variety of sports, to dispell any dampy thought, which the remembrance of his uncle might raise, yet upon speech of him he would often sigh and let fall tears, sometimes holding opinion that his uncle had noe noting, or if he had it was very small and proceeded rather from his wife than from himself, and where then said he was the good nature of a nephew? Where was the clemency of a Prince? Ah how unfortunate have I been to those of my blood, y mother I lewe at my birth and since have made way two of her brother, and happily to make away for others against my self, was it ever known before that a king’s uncle, a lord protector one who fortunes had much advanced the honor of the realm, did lose his head for felony; for a felony neither clear in law, and in fact weakley proved. Alas so how falsely have I been abused? How weakly carried? How little was I master of mine own judgement, that bothhis death and the envy there of must be laid upon me.” (Loach, page 103-4)

Now, with that being said, I have to agree with author Jennifer Loach of Edward VI – that it is uncertain of the validity of the unpublished text in Hayward’s writing because it contradicts the normal impression of the lack of ‘personal warmth’ by the young king. Loach states that this was the only documentation that describes a confused young king who blames himself.

Moving on with the story of Edward we will talk about a possible marriage and the death of the last illness and death of the king.

Were you aware that Edward VI retained his father’s court jester, Will Somers after his death? Me either.

Were you also aware that Edward surrendered Boulogne to the French in 1551? Boulogne was the French city that was taken by his father a few years earlier.

In exchange for returning Boulogne to the French King Henri II, Edward received a ‘ransom’ and six hostages were exchanged, the Englishmen were mostly Edward’s school friends. Part of this agreement was that England would leave Scotland alone. This meant abandoning the marriage prospect of Edward with Mary, Queen of Scots but instead to look to a marriage alliance with France. The eldest daughter of the French king was available, her name was Elizabeth of Valois. After much negotiation over a dowry and push back from the Pope, it was agreed upon on 19 July 1551. By the following January, Edward had sent Elizabeth a ‘fair diamond’ from Kateryn Parr’s collection.

Sadly, the marriage would never happen because Edward would die before it could come to fruition.

Things began to look grim for the young king in February 1553 when he contracted a feverish cold. By the 1st of March he was forced to open the new parliament at his current residence of Whitehall instead of the normal Westminster.

By the middle of March he was reported as appearing ‘very weak and thin’. By the time Easter arrived Edward was still battling with excessive mucus and a bad cough. But by April he was well enough to move to Greenwich by boat, to the sound of gun salutes from the Tower of London. His health still remained poor and he only appeared in public only once for the remainder of April.

The young king’s health appears to have fluctuated and his during his sister Mary’s reign the Venetian ambassador stated that he had suffered from a malady called consumption. While there were many accounts of the description of the king’s sputum, there was no mention of blood that would have been coughed up if he suffered from the disease. On the 15th of June the imperial ambassador noted that Edward:

“Is never free from fever, but on the 11th…he was attacked by a violent hot fever, which lasted over 24 hours, and left him weak and still feverish, though not so much so as at first. On the 14th, the fever returned more violent than before…he is at present without the strength necessary to rid him of certain humours which, when he does succeed in ejecting them, give forth a stech. Since the 11th, he has been unable to keep anything in his stomach, so he lives entirely on restoratives and obtains hardly any repose. His legs are swelling, and he has to lie flat on his back. (spanish letters)

It was only a few days later that is was reported that the king had given up hope and that he believed he could not resist death any further.

The symptoms just described: fever and coughing up the smelly mucus suggest that Edward developed an infection which turned into acute bilateral bronchopneumonia and would have been nearly impossible to cure without modern antibiotics.

“The weakened bronchi dilate and fill with pus and secretions, giving rise to bronchiectasis. As the inflammation spreads into the lungs, abscesses develop, and from these, foul purulent sputum is coughed up.” The infection eventually grew so bad that his:

“Vital parts were mortaly stuffed, which brought him to a difficulty of speech and breath, his legs swelled, his pulsed failed, his skin changed color, and many other horrid symptoms appeared.” (Hayward)

Ultimately the young king succumbed to his illness on the 6 of July 1553 between eight and nine in the evening.

And there ended the life of the third Tudor monarch. I often wonder how things may have been had he lived a long life, if he had married Elizabeth of Valois – how would England, and the world, for that matter have changed?

The Life of Edward VI of England (Part Two)

This is Part Two in my series on the life of King Edward VI. If you missed Part One, click Here.

If you would prefer to listen to this article instead of reading it, you can do so by clicking this image that will bring you to my podcast:

King Henry VIII

It was at Westminster that King Henry VIII took his last breath.

He had reigned in England since his fathers death in April 1509. When he came to the throne he was a young, athletic and by all accounts attractive man. The man Henry VIII was just before his death in January 1547 was much older, obese and smelled of leg ulcers. Not the catch he once was.

The Kings legs eventually became so swollen, and his pain so severe, that he had to be carried around, room by room, in a chair. I wonder how many men could carry him? I wonder what the chair looked like? If you know, please send me a message because quick Google searches did not render any results for me.

Okay, so, not only did Henry VIII have swollen legs but as I mentioned earlier he had an issue with leg ulcers. He had more than one and they smelled of bacteria infested puss. Cuz thats what it was. I honestly feel bad for Henry.

Using red-hot irons the doctors regularly cauterisedthe Kings ulcers to close the wound. Its no wonder he was so cranky and unruly.

So anyway…Henry VIII had been sick in bed for while and had decided to finalize his will. The will was dated December 30, 1546. It was signed at the top and at the bottom. Historian Suzannah Lipscomb states in her book, The King is Dead that King Henry had not signed his own named since September 1545, so it comes as no surprise that a stamp had been used on his will.


Titles Warranted – Ceremonies

So that brings us back to Edward VI. Three weeks after the death of Henry – the titles warranted, per his will, were delivered to its recipients, who included: Edward Seymour, William Parr, John Dudley, Thomas Wriothesley, Thomas Seymour, Richard Rich, William Willoughby and Edward/Edmund Sheffield.

On that Thursday after the late Kings burial, on the 18th of February 1547, all the temporal lords gathered at the Tower of London wearing their robes of estate.

Leading off this ceremony was Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford and Lord Protector and uncle to the King. He was wearing his kertell and was led from the council chamber to the Kings presence with all pomp and circumstance.

Edward Seymour, Lord Protector

If youre like me, you are probably asking yourself, What is a kertell? With the help of my friend, Susan Abernethy, she helped me to visualize it a bit better. A kertell was like a gown, a short gown for men. We might compare it to a tunic. Under it they wore tights. The portrait of Henry VIII with his barber surgeons is a perfect example of a kertell.

Edited version of: Henry VIII and the Barber Surgeons by Hans Holbein

As Edward Seymour entered into the Kings presence chamber he was led in by The officers of arms in their coats of arms, two and two.

The Garter, baring his letters patents.

The Earl of Derby (Edward Stanley), baring his mantle.

Then on the right hand of him the earl of Shrewsbury (Francis Talbot), baring the rod of gold; and on the left hand the earl of Oxford (John de Vere), baring the cap of estate with the crown.

The earl of Arundell (Henry Fitzalan), baring the sword, the pomell upward.

Then the said earl [of Hertford] led between the duke of Suffolk (Henry Brandon) and the marquess Dorset (Henry Grey).

“All these lords aforesaid being also in their robes of estate.

And thus in goodly order proceeding, after they entered into the chamber of presence, they made three (iij) reverent obacyens to the Kings highness, and when they came to the cloth of estate the Lords stayed standing while Edward Seymour knelt down. Then the Garter delivered the letters patents to Master Secretary, William Paget. Paget then delivered them to the King, the King, in turn, handed them back to Paget and had them read them openly.

The King then placed on Edward Seymour, his mantel, and then put about him a band/sash, over one shoulder and under the opposite arm. Following that he put on his cap, or crown and then delivered to Seymour his rod of gold.

Following that William Paget, the Master Secretary read the patents which contained the creation of Seymour to become Duke of Somerset, Earl of Hertford, etc.

William Paget

With this patent he was given a gift of a thousand pounds of land yearly; and after which Paget delivered the said letters patents to the Kings Majesty, and his highness gave them to the said Duke of Somerset, and the said duke, after thanks given to his highness, stood on the side to assist the Kings majesty to the creation of other estates; and the rest of the lords and the officers of arms returned to conduct the other estates in like manner.

Once Somersets ceremony had concluded they moved on to the next, in order of rank. Each mans ceremony was like that of Somersets.

With Edward Seymour being raised to Duke of Somerset, he would have been the only duke created that day. So, by rank, he was the first to go.

After duke comes Marquess, which there was but one: William Parr, Earl of Essex. He was led between the Marquis Dorset (Henry Grey) and the Earl of Arundell (Henry Fitzalan). He was then created Marquess of Northampton and Earl of Essex in similar fashion.

William Parr, sketch by Holbein

After Marquess comes Earl, there were two men raised to Earl on this day, the first was John Dudley, Viscount Lisle. Dudley was led between the Earl of Derby (Edward Stanley) and the Earl of Oxford (John de Vere). He was then created Earl of Warwick and Viscount Lisle, etc. And also given a patent for the office of the Great Chamberlain of England (a position vacated by Somerset after being created Lord Protector).

John Dudley; Knole National Trust

The second man to be raised to Earl was Thomas Wriothesley, Lord Chancellor of England. Created Earl of Southampton. Wriothesley and Somerset had very different views – especially when it came to Somerset being Lord Protector. He did not think it right. It should come as no surprise that not long into the new kings reign he was relieved of his duties as Lord Chancellor and removed from the privy council as well.

Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton by Holbein Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.

Following Wriothesley were the newly created barons (four of them) entered, starting with the brother to Somerset and uncle to King Edward. Sir Thomas Seymour, Knight, entered in his kertell and was led between two barons in their robes of estate. A baron before him baring his mantell, Garter baring his letters patents.

Thomas Seymour

“As the words of investimus (to clothe/to cover), the King put on him his robes, and at the delivery of his patents to the Kings Majesty in manner as aforesaid by the secretary, after it was read, then the Kings majesty gave the said lord his letters patents, which contained the creation of him to be Lord Seymour of Sudeley; and at the same time the Kings Majesty delivered unto him another patent for the office of High Admiral of England.

For someone who has been researching Thomas for quite a while this was a wonderful discovery. This proves that Thomas was given both titles at the same time. When I first began researching him I had read that he was given Lord Admiral after complaining he did not have enough power as uncle to the king. My tip- keep looking until you find a contemporary report. One written during the lifetime of your subject. You can form your own opinions from there.


Following Seymour was Sir Richard Rich. Rich had the same ceremony as previously listed and was given his patent containing the creation of him to be a baron of Parliament. He became Baron Rich of Leez.

Richard Rich, sketch by Holbein

Then came in Sir William Willoughby who was created Baron of Parham.

Lastly, Edward or Edmund Sheffield, created Lord Sheffield.

After that was completed then the King restored and delivered unto:

  • Lord St. John, Lord Great Master;
  • Sir Thomas Cheyne, Lord Warden Treasurer [of Household],
  • and Sir John Gage, Comptroller.
  • They were presented with their stavis of their offyces.

Then the group proceeded, all in their robes of estate, and the dukes, marquesses, earls and barons with their caps of estate on the heads, in like order as they were created, to the council chamber to dinner.

As they left for dinner, the trumpets began to blow. The men were led from the room, by officers of arms who walked two by two, then the Garter led out the Duke of Somerset who was followed by the rest of the peers.

When they arrived at the dinner chamber the peers removed their mantels and hoods and sat in their kertells for the dinner.

When the second course arrived, Somerset herald, because at that time Garter was horrse, proclaimed all the peers newly created, with the fees given by them to the heralds.

And after dinner the men changed into other apparel, and some went to give thanks and to attend on the Kings Highness, and the other at their pleasure.



Order of the Garter

Then, that afternoon at about 3 oclock, the King and the knights of the noble Order of the Garter, gathered in the Kings closet, and there kept chapter; The King, and the knights of the said Order of the Garter presented, with one voice, to elect the following men into the order:

the lord marquis Dorset, the earl of Darby, the Lord Seymour of Sudeley, and Sir William Paget secretary, and delivered unto each of them the same time a George and a garter, and the same time the Kings Majesty wore his George about his neck and his Garter about his leg which had been delivered to him by the Lord Protector.

These men were able to become members of this exclusive and member-capped club due to four vacancies made that year: King Henry VIII (who died), Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk (who was degraded and in the Tower), King Francis I of France (who died) and lastly, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (who was degraded & executed). Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (degraded & executed).

The ceremony is referenced in Jessie Childs book, The Last Victim of Henry VIII when she describes the ceremony for Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey.

Immediately after being elected he would give a speech of thanks and then kiss the cross that was offered to him. Then the Garter was buckled to his left leg with the words:

Sir, the most friendly Companions of this Order denominated from the Garter have now admitted you their Friend, Brother and Companion, in faithful testimony of which, they impart and give you the Garter, which God grant that you deservedly receiving it, may rightly wear and use to the glory of God, the honour of the most famous Order and of your own. (Literary Remains of Edward VI)

But that wasnt it – in order to officially become a Knight Companion you would also need to take possession of your stall at St. Georges Chapel”.

This actually turned out to be a busy few days of ceremonies. The following day, the King left the Tower for the first time since arriving and began his coronation procession through the city of London. His destination, Westminster. The following day his coronation would be held at Westminster Abbey.

The occasion is described in The Literary Remains of King Edward VI:

On this occasion, Edward rode on horseback. His uncle, the Lord Protector on his left side; a state canopy carried by six knights, BUT Edward rode a little ahead of the canopy so that the people might the better see him.

His highness was richly appareled with a gown of cloth of silver, all over embroidered with damask gold, with a girdle of white velvet wrought with Venice silver, garnished with precious stones, as rubies and diamonds, with true-lovers knots of pearls; a doublet of white velvet according to the same, embroidered with Venice silver, garnished with like stones and pearls; a white velvet cap, garnished with like stones and pearls; and a pair of buskins of white velvet.

Public Domain – Coronation of Edward VI of England. Illustration (verso, page 34) from The Masque of the Edwards of England, published in 1902.

At various states of his progress pageants with speeches and songs were exhibited before him; and in St. Pauls churchyard he was detained for a good space of time in order to watch the performances of a rope-dancer, a native of Aragon, for whom a cable was stretched from the battlements of the steeple to a great anchor at the deanery gate. He was quite amused.

The King appears to have slept at Whitehall that evening.

The following day was the coronation of Edward VI, it was Shrove Sunday, 20th of February. The noblemen were summoned to be in attendance by the early hour of seven in the morning.

The procession of King Edward VI. from the Tower of London to Westminster, Feb. XIX, MDXLVII, previous to his coronation. Basire, John James / Copyright: Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2017. All Rights Reserved

During the ceremony there were three crowns, each place on the Kings head. The first being King Edwards crown, followed by the imperial crown of England and then a very rich crown which was specifically made for Edward.

Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury performed the ceremony and announced: Sirs, here I present unto you King Edward, the rightful inheritor to the crown of this realm. Wherefore all ye, that be come this day to do your homage, service, and bounden duty, be ye willing to do the same? to which all the people cried with a loud voice, and said, Yea, Yea, Yea; and cried, King Edward; and prayed, God save King Edward.

Well known Tudor chronicler, Wriothesley described the events after the coronation as such:

“a great feast kept that day in Westminster Hall which was richly hanged, his Majesty sitting all dinner with his crown on his head; and, after the second course served, Sir Edward Dymmocke, knight, came riding into the hall in clean white complete harness, richly gilded, and his horse richly trapped, and cast his gauntlet to wage battle against all men that would not take him for right King of this realm, and then the King drank to him and gave him a cup of gold; and after dinner the King made many knights, and then he changed his apparel, and so rode from thence to Westminster Place.”

The following day, at one o’clock in the afternoon royal jousts held at the Palace of Westminster. King Edward and the Lord Protector, as well as other noblemen were present in his highness’ gallery to witness the jousts. The joust had six challengers and twenty-five defender. The challengers were: Sir Thomas Seymour, Baron of Sudeley and Lord High Admiral, Sir Richard Devereux, Sir Anthony Kingston, Sir Peter Carew, Francis Knollys and Mr. Shelly. The challengers ran against every one of the defenders.

“And so they passed forthe that day with great valyantnes, and so nobly behaved themselves on ether party, that, thankes be to God, there was nether man nor horse hurt; and brake many speres so redyly, that yt was to their great honour, and praise of all the people there assembled, as the were well worthy.”

That evening, after the events had concluded, they all returned in ‘goodly order’ to the house of the Lord Admiral (Seymour Place), where they had a “goodly” supper prepared for them, with great feasts and thanks.

Then on the following day, the King dubbed fifty-five men Knights of the Carpet. From Wikipedia:

A so-calledcarpet knightwas a person who had been awarded a title ofknighthoodby theking of Englandon a holiday occasion (or in time of peace),[1]as opposed to knighthoods awarded for military service, or success in tournament games.

One can almost imagine how spectacular all of these events were. I’m hoping that through descriptions and pictures I have been able to bring some of it to life.

Read Part Three!



Lipscomb, Suzannah. The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII. December 20, 2016. Pegasus Books. Page

Childs, Jessie. Henry VIII’s Last Victim: The Life and Times of Henry Howard, Earl of SurreyHardcover December 10, 2007.Thomas Dunne Books. Page 151

Memorials of Archbishop Cranmer by John Strype, Vol. II, Oxford 1848 – page 204


Childs, Jessie. Henry VIII’s Last Victim: The Life and Times of Henry Howard, Earl of SurreyHardcover December 10, 2007.Thomas Dunne Books.

Lipscomb, Suzannah. The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII. December 20, 2016. Pegasus Books.

Literary Remains of King Edward the Sixth, Edited from His Autograph Manuscripts, with Historical Notes and a Biographical MemoirEdward VI (King of England, page xvic

Strype, John. Memorials of Archbishop Cranmer by John Strype, Vol. II, Oxford 1848.

Wriothesley, Charles, Hamilton, William Douglas. A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, from A.D. 1485 to 1559; Camden Society, 1875-77

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