I’ve never discussed this topic with you but have been wanting to write and article about it for the longest time.
Started as a blank notebook by Mary Howard, the Devonshire Manuscript is an anthology of courtly love poems made by members of Henry VIII’s court and Anne Boleyn’s inner circle.
Mary Fitzroy’s close companions Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of Margaret Tudor and niece of Henry VIII, and Mary Shelton, another cousin of Anne Boleyn, were actively involved in the manuscript’s making. Male courtiers, including Lord Thomas Howard and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, contributed to it too.
This volume has been described as ‘the richest surviving record of early Tudor poetry and of the literary activities of 16th-century women’. It also provides a unique insight into the precarious position of Renaissance women in, or close to, power.