Tudors Dynasty


Katheryn Howard: Part One

The story of Katheryn Howard intertwines with many other notable figures of the time but none more than Anne of Cleves and Thomas Cromwell. We’ll start with Katheryn’s childhood and attempt to chronologically move through time until her execution in 1542. After writing Part One, I realized her story deserves multiple parts. Part One, will start from Katheryn’s childhood up to her marriage to King Henry VIII. Part Two will cover her downfall. That part of her life definitely deserves a lot of attention.

There isn’t a whole lot of information about Katheryn’s childhood, so I’ll tell you what we do know. Katheryn Howard, according to author Gareth Russell was born around 1522 at Lambeth to Edmund Howard and Joyce Culpeper.

Joyce Culpeper

Joyce Culpeper was married twice, first to Ralph Leigh when she was twelve years old – the couple had five children together. When Joyce’s husband died around 1509, Joyce became a wealthy widow. She also inherited either land or money from her father after his death, but I do not have a date for that.

Joyce’s second husband was Edmund Howard – the couple were about the same age when they married. What it came down to was the fact that Joyce had money and Edmund Howard needed it. Joyce’s mother never trusted her son in law and they tried everything in their power to make sure Edmund didn’t have access to their money or land. We’ll delve more into Edmund in a moment.

The five half-siblings Katheryn had by her mother’s first marriage were: John, Ralph, Isabel, Joyce and Margaret Leigh. We’ll hear about Isabel a little later on in this story.

Katheryn’s full siblings were: Henry, Charles, Margaret and Mary.

Joyce died around 1528 or 1529 and left behind a husband and ten children.

Edmund Howard

Edmund Howard was the third surviving son of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk. He wasn’t always the pathetic man he later became, at one time he was said to have the athletic abilities of his brothers but that he lacked their social intelligence.

As a young boy, Edmund spent time at the court of King Henry VII as a page boy – a great place for the third son of the Duke of Norfolk to start his career.

At forty years old Edmund married Joyce Culpeper -this was his first marriage and as we’ve already discovered, Joyce’s second.

When Katheryn Howard was born her father, Edmund could not have been thrilled to have another daughter – another dowry to provide for a marriage. You see, Edmund had a problem with money….he didn’t have any. He often borrowed from friends and didn’t pay them back.

When Joyce died Edmund didn’t have the money to support this large household – the elder daughter’s of his late wife, Isabel and Margaret as well as his own children, Charles, Henry ,George, Katheryn, Margaret and Mary were all still living in his house. Katheryn’s eldest half-brothers, John and Ralph had moved out when Katheryn was a small child. John had inherited a manor in Stockwell from his grandfather and Ralph had a trust fund to help pay for his schooling to become a lawyer in London. Katheryn’s half-sister Joyce was also married and out of the house.

Keeping all of this in mind, when Edmund Howard wrote a letter to Wolsey asKing for financial assistance he mentioned that he had ten children to support, when we now know that he definitely did not. As author Gareth Russell states, “debt seldom stimulates a compulsion toward honesty”. Isn’t that the truth.

Edmund Howard, being of the Howard clan, behaved as though he resented being from such a notable family. He claimed that his money problems could not be solved by getting another  job. The thought of doing so would bring great reproach and shame to him and his blood. So Edmund believed getting another job to help pay for his expenses would bring shame on his family. Interesting – like being in debt wouldn’t bring a greater shame on your family name.

After the death of his first wife Joyce he married again to the not so kind, but wealthy widow Dorothy Troyes – we know she wasn’t so kind when we look back at the letter that Edmund wrote to Honor Grenville, Lady Lisle during his time in Calais – if you follow my website and Facebook page you already know this story, but for the rest of you, get ready to laugh.

“Madame, so it is I have this night after midnight taken your medicine, for the which I heartily thank you, for it hath done me much good, and hath caused the stone to break, so that now I void much gravel. But for all that, your said medicine hath done me little honesty, for it made me piss my bed this night, for the which my wife hath sore beaten me, and saying it is children’s parts to bepiss their bed.

Okay, so let’s talk about his wife Dorothy and the fact that Edmund states in the letter that she beat him and scolded him for wetting the bed….the poor guy had kidney stones and accidentally wet the bed. What kind of wife would treat him that way? On the other hand….I get the impression that Edmund liked to play the victim in his life, especially if we look at all the times he complained about being a Howard and how hard it was to be part of such a prestigious family.

Luckily for Edmund, his marriage to Dorothy did not last long since there is evidence that she made out her will in 1530.

Later, when Edmund’s niece, Anne Boleyn was Queen of England she was able to assist her hapless uncle by getting him a position as Comptroller of Calais. The timing was perfect for Edmund to leave the island and cross the channel to get away from his debt-collectors.

It was at some point after Edmund got the position in Calais that his household was broken up in England and his daughter Margaret was married to Thomas Arundell while his step-daughter Isabel was married to Sir Edward Baynton. The rest of the children who were still in his household were at the age where they could continue their education in another family’s household – Katheryn and her brother Henry were invited to become wards of the dowager duchess of Norfolk.

Edmund Howard died in 1539 before he could see his daughter become Queen. Imagine how his life would have improved…or maybe he would have gotten himself into hot water and been executed. We’ll never know.

Here is another quote by Edmund that sums up his life: “If I were a poor man’s son, I might dig and delve for my living.” Instead, Edmund found himself with few friends and ‘beaten by the world,”

Ward of Dowager Duchess

Katheryn arrived at Chesworth House south of Horsham in 1531 – her life would never be the same.

Most have assumed that Katheryn was not educated in the household of the dowager duchess, however, it does appear that she was able to read and write – Katheryn was most definitely better educated than most English women but because she could read and write does not mean she was educated. Especially not like her cousin, Anne Boleyn.

The dowager duchess had many young women in her household. If you compare to today’s standards it would be similar to having a handful or two of teenage girls together in a large room. The girls were actually housed in an attic dormitory or maiden’s chamber, as it was called. While the young men were housed in a separate area. It would only be a matter of time before trouble ensued. Such was the case in this household.

There were also young men in the household – we all know what teenage hormones are like so it understandable that at night one of the girls, whether it was Katheryn or another, would sneak into the bedroom of the dowager duchess and steal the key to the dormitory – once they received it they could unlock the door the allow the young men to enter their room. Now, before we go too far into that part of the story that’s discuss Katheryn’s so called relationship with her music tutor, Henry Manox. Manox and Katheryn were flirtatious with one another and it is believed that the two had secret meetings with one another. There was kissing between the two and Manox later said that they had not slept together but that he had seen her private parts.

It is believed that Manox fell in love with the young Howard girl who was much above his own standing and that others had noticed. For Katheryn, being with Manox made her feel grown-up and protected, she thought she loved him as well. Unfortunately, for the couple one of Katheryn’s roommates, Mary Lassell approached Manox and told him his relationship with Katheryn was inappropriate. What she didn’t say is that she also had a crush on him – so there may have been some jealousy on her part. Mary warned Manox that he would never be able to marry Katheryn because she came from such a noble house and the marriage would never be approved.

Manox, the pig he was, responded by saying,“Marry her? My designs are not quite so honorable. And from the kisses the girl allows me, I shall soon achieve my purpose.” 

Mary quickly informed Katheryn of what he had said and Katheryn was disgusted. Katheryn confronted Manox and he responded by smoothing her over with something to the effect that he can’t control his feelings around her. Katheryn, surely flattered, continue her so called relationship with Manox. Eventually the relationship ended – we don’t know what happened but I’m sure Katheryn realized there were other men in the household who wanted her attention and she liked it. It’s possible that the relationship ended after the dowager duchess caught the two alone. Katheryn received two or three blows from her grandmother and the couple were told that they should never be alone together again.

Later in interrogations Katheryn said this about Manox: At the flattering and fair persuasions of Manox being but a young girl I suffered him and sundry times to handle and touch the secret parts of my body which neither became me with honesty to permit nor him to require.

It wasn’t long after the relationship with Manox ended that Katheryn fell in love with Francis Dereham, a more serious candidate for her hand since he, unlike Manox, had sufficient status and wealth to marry Katheryn. Dereham was an usher for the dowager duchess, and like Manox was older than Katheryn. Dereham frequently visited the girl’s dormitory at night and most definitely consummated his relationship with young Katheryn.

Dereham always claimed that he considered them married or precontracted – they called one another husband and wife. This by the standards of the 16th century was enough – other’s had heard them call each other by those titles and were aware that they were sleeping together.

Author David Loades believes the couple’s relationship lasted from 1537 to 1539. While contraception at the time was primitive, Katheryn clearly had a good grasp on how to prevent pregnancy.

Henry Manox became very jealous of the couple and wrote an anonymous letter to the dowager duchess to inform her of the goings on at night in the dormitory. After reading the note the dowager Duchess caught the lovebirds together and was furious. Dereham departed shortly after to Ireland with an understanding that he would wed Katheryn when he returned to England.  Little did he know that by the time he returned everything would have changed for the couple.

While Francis was in Ireland Katheryn Howard moved closer to court staying at her uncle’s house (Duke of Norfolk). This is when she met Thomas Culpeper. Thomas was a gentleman of the King’s privy chamber and he was also a distant cousin to Katheryn’s through her mother. His position in court was considered very important since it allowed him personal access to the King. Katheryn fell deeply in love with Thomas.

Eventually, Katheryn was welcomed to court as a lady in waiting to the queen.  It was  while she was a lady in waiting to Anne of Cleves in March 1540 that she caught the eye of the King Henry VIII. The King had be invited to dinner at the home of Bishop Gardiner on the River Thames and he graciously accepted. It was while the King was watching the dancers that he noticed the young, auburn-haired Katheryn Howard smiling, laughing and dressed in the french fashion. It wasn’t long after the event that Henry began showing more interest in Katheryn.

Once the King eyed you there was no going back. There was nothing she could do but accept his advances. At this time she was still in love with Thomas Culpeper, but adored the attention that the King gave her…along with the prospect of becoming queen of England.

The King was attracted to Katheryn’s beauty and youthfulness – and of course, he believed she was a virgin, unlike his current wife, Anne of Cleves .

Henry and Anne of Cleves continued playing the part of husband and wife for the first few months of their marriage with only the King’s closest advisors knowing his true intentions. Thomas Cromwell had been Henry VIII’s closest advisor since the downfall and death of his predecessor, Cardinal Wolsey. Cromwell had the King’s ear in all matters and pretty much was running the show. When the Cleves marriage backfired Cromwell was rightfully concerned about his position with the King, however, in April 1540 Henry raised Cromwell to the earldom of Essex. He also created him Lord Great Chamberlain. From an outsider’s perspective this looked as though Cromwell was safe from the wrath of the King.

A plan was already in motion because Henry wanted out of his marriage with Anne so he could be with Katheryn Howard, and if Cromwell could not do it, then he would find someone who could, but in the meantime he’d make Cromwell believe he was still his closest advisor – this is how Henry VIII worked.

By the 24th April 1540 Henry gave Katheryn Howard lands seized from a felon and a few weeks later she received an expensive gift of quilted sarcanet. It is possible that their relationship was consummated around this time because this is when Henry was urgent to annul his marriage to Anne of Cleves.

With Katheryn, the King believed he was getting all her couldn’t have with Anne of Cleves.

Thomas Cromwell

The end of favor came for Cromwell when was arrested, on the 10th of June 1540. The scene played out as Cromwell was leaving the parliament building to head to dinner – a sudden gust of wind blew his hat from his head and it fell to the ground. Normally, when a gentleman lost his it was customary for everyone to remove their hats as a sign of respect. When Cromwell bent down to pick up his hat, no man showed him the respect that was warranted. At which Cromwell replied dryly: “A high wind indeed must it have been to blow my bonnet off and keep all yours on.” The men around him pretended not to hear what he had said and carried on to dinner.

During dinner no man spoke to Thomas Cromwell. Once dinner was over all the lords proceeded to the council chamber where they would carry out their daily business. When Cromwell finally reached the chamber all the men were already seated, at which he said, “you were in a great hurry, gentlemen, to get seated.” Once again his words were ignored – and as he went to sit in his chair Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk yelled out – “Cromwell, do not sit there; that is no place for thee. Traitors do not sit amongst gentlemen.” At this point Cromwell was furious with his treatment said, “I am not a traitor.” And as he spoke those words the captain of the guard entered the chamber and arrested him. The arrest of Thomas Cromwell was a shock to many – he had been the King’s closest advisor for many years.

Unfortunately for Cromwell his downfall was greeted with much happiness all over England, for there were those who believed the absence of Rome in their life and the dissolution of the monasteries were solely his fault. They felt he finally got what was coming to him. For Henry VIII it allowed him to continue to move forward with his divorce from Anne of Cleves – the awful marriage that was Cromwell’s idea. Now Henry was a step closer to being with Katheryn Howard.

End of Marriage for Anne of Cleves

In the early hours of the 6th of July 1540, the King sent a messenger to inform Anne of Cleves of his concerns about their marriage. The following day, after they were summoned to Westminster, the convocations of York and Canterbury among other leading clergy, declared the marriage null and void after hearing Gardiner speak against the validity of the King’s marriage.

That very day a group of men appointed by the King went to Anne to inform her that her marriage was no more and that henceforth she would be called, “the King’s sister”.

Henry Was Free to Marry

Now that his marriage to Anne of Cleves was over, Henry VIII was free to marry Katheryn Howard. On the 28th of July at the mildly obscure Oatlands palace, Henry and Katheryn were married. Some believed that the location of the wedding and the smaller court presence was due to the fact that Katheryn was pregnant. This was most definitely untrue. Katheryn was very petite and her small frame would have made a pregnancy obvious. Those who dressed her would have noticed and most definitely gossiped – it seems that’s all most of the ladies did at court. 😉

King Henry was obsessed with his young bride. He was so turned on by Katheryn that he could barely keep his hands off her. After the failed consummation with Anne of Cleves this is exactly what Henry needed. Now he behaved as a teenage boy obsessed with his girlfriend. This would prove to the court that he was the same young Henry he always was….or so he believed.

How had Henry not noticed that his wife was not a virgin? This is something I’ve often wondered. Clearly Katheryn had experience in the bedchamber, was she smart enough to “act the part” of a virgin or was Henry so enamored that he overlooked such an obvious thing. He believed Katheryn to be his “Rose without a Thorn” so my guess is that he was ignorant to the truth.

On the same day that Henry and Katheryn married, Thomas Cromwell was executed.

I’ll end this article with some of Thomas Cromwell’s final words (very fitting for this article) and return here next week for the rest of Katheryn Howard’s story – see you next week:

Gentlemen, you should all take warning from me, who was, as you know, from a poor man made by the King into a great gentleman and I, not contented with that, not with having the Kingdom at my orders, presumed to a still higher state. My pride has brought its punishment.

Continue with Katheryn Howard: PART TWO

YOU CAN FIND MORE PODCASTS AT: http://Patreon.com/tudorsdynasty/posts

Further Reading:

Russell, Gareth; Young and Damned and Fair – The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of Henry VIII (2016)

Loades, David; The 6 Wives of Henry VIII (2014)

Licence, Amy; The Six Wives and Many Mistresses of Henry VIII (2014)

Fraser, Antonia; The Wives of Henry VIII  (1994)

Weir, Alison; The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1991)

Kizewski, Holly K.; Jewel of Womanhood: A Feminist Reinterpretation of Queen Katheryn Howard (Thesis 7/30/14 – University of Nebraska – Lincoln)

Hutchinson, Robert; Thomas Cromwell (2007)

Katheryn Howard (Guest Post)

Katheryn Howard

Guest post by Lissa Bryan

Of all of King Henry VIIIs queens, Katheryn Howard is viewed with the least sympathy. If not technically guilty of adultery, shes at least seen as having deserved her fate because of her immoral lifestyle. One recent historian referred to her as an empty-headed slut. Others have described her as a good-time girl or a frivolous young woman only interested in pretty dresses and boys.

Down through the centuries, our view of many of Henrys queens has changed as historians re-interpret the records and old myths are debunked. Anne Boleyn has her fierce partisans; perhaps its time we also swept away the layers of cobwebs from Katheryns memory, too.

Katheryn had a terribly neglected upbringing. In the Tudor age, the only value a woman had was in the alliances her marriage could bring her family. Though high in bloodline, Katheryn was from the poor side of the Howard family, and had little to no dowry. No one expected much of her.

Her mother died around 1528 when Katheryn was about five years old. She was eventually sent to the house of her grandmother, the dowager duchess of Norfolk, who fostered a number of young aristocratic ladies, as was common in that era for those of noble blood. Children would be sent to the home of another noble – preferably superior in rank – to finish their education and learn the social graces. Unfortunately, the dowager duchess does not seem to have taken her responsibility to the young ladies in her charge seriously, and their supervision was lax at best.

Katheryn was pretty, very small in stature, with the auburn hair that seems to have run in the Howard family. She was kind-hearted, and viewing her behavior from a modern psychological standpoint, it appears she had an understandable longing for attention and affection.

As a very young girl – possibly only thirteen or fourteen, she was touched inappropriately by her music teacher. Though today we would consider this sexual abuse, in that era it was considered a black mark against her character. The music teacher, Mannox, bragged about it to other members of the household in very crude terms. When the dowager duchess learned what had happened, she slapped Katheryn twice, and ordered her to never be alone with the teacher again. It’s somewhat chilling to imagine the poor girl having to continue lessons with the man who had groped her and bragged about it to others.

A few years later, Katheryn stole the keys to the young ladies dormitory from her grandmother and opened the door for young men who brought wine and cheer, for them. She engaged in a sexual relationship with Francis Dereham.


Though Katheryn later steadfastly denied a marriage to Dereham had taken place, she did admit to allowing Dereham to call her his wife in front of others and then having sexual relations with him, which constituted a legally binding marriage by church and civil law. Katheryn doesnt seem to have believed this was true. In her mind, they were just playing, young lovers having fun calling one another by pet names.

The dowager duchess knew about their relationship. She once slapped Katheryn and Dereham because she caught them kissing. When asked where Dereham was, the dowager duchess would say, I warrant you if you seek him in Katharine Howard’s chamber ye shall find him there.When she learned of the young men visiting the girls chamber, she lectured Katheryn that she would hurt her beauty if she spent late nights drinking.

(c) Walker Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

In November or December 1539, Katheryns uncle secured her a position at court as Queen Anna von Kleefess maid of honor, and Dereham decided to go off to Ireland to attempt to make his fortune. He gave Katheryn money to hold for him, and secured a promise from her that she would never swerve from her devotion to him.

The kings immediate interest in Katheryn was so obvious that ambassadors were commenting on it even before his marriage to Anna was annulled. By spring, the king was sending her a steady stream of gifts. Anna was a very intelligent woman and took the deal Henry offered in dissolving their marriage.


Henry was reportedly obsessed with Katheryn, more in love with her than any of his previous wives. He couldnt keep his hands off her, even in front of the court – notable behavior for the prim king who had always found public displays of affection distasteful.

The Howard family seems to have come to a silent consensus that no one would say anything about Katheryns relationship to Derham, or what had occurred earlier with the music teacher. Certainly many of them were aware that Katheryn was not a virgin and that the level of the Dereham relationship made any marriage to the king questionable without a dispensation being issued, but none of them said a word as Henry VIII married Katheryn Howard on July 28, 1540.

Katheryn Howard wasnt raised for the role like Katharine of Aragon, nor highly-educated like Anne Boleyn, nor ambitious like Jane Seymour, but she tried to be a good queen. Despite her youth, terrible upbringing, and lack of preparation, Katheryn took her role seriously, with the spirit of reconciliation in mind. She tried to make friends with everyone across religious divisions.

She tried to use her influence with the king for good purposes, and urge him toward mercy. Researcher Conor Byrne says in his biography of her that she interceded on behalf of at least four prisoners, including Thomas Wyatt and Countess Pole. It is interesting, because neither of these people were partisans or friends of Katheryn – she got no political or personal reward from trying to help them.

Katheryn also made it a point to show kindness to her neglected cousin Princess Elizabeth. Perhaps it was because she knew what it was like. Katheryn wouldnt really get any benefit from this generosity, since Elizabeth was currently still in disgrace with her father, and as an unfavored bastard, she had little dynastic value.

Katheryn directed that the Elizabeth be brought to court and seated directly across from her at the dinner table, the position of honor. Shes also noted as having sent the princess small gifts from time to time.

She also reached out to Princess Mary, who reportedly didnt think much of her new stepmother. Katheryn and Anna von Kleefes also exchanged gifts, and danced with one another when Anna was at court.

The king certainly lavished gifts on his pretty young queen, but Katheryns own expense books show she spent more on trying to help others than she did on herself. One of her biggest purchases was the fur-lined clothing she bought for the elderly Countess Pole who was suffering from the cold and damp during her imprisonment in the Tower.

Dereham got the shock of his life upon returning to England, expecting to take Katheryn as his wife, but discovering she was now Queen. Katheryn made a terrible mistake in appointing him to be one of her secretaries. It would later be alleged that she had done so with the intent of continuing her “sordid life” with him.

By the time Dereham returned, Katheryn’s attentions were taken up by another of the king’s courtiers, Thomas Culpepper, whom Dereham thought had “succeeded him in her affections.” But some historians have theorized that it’s entirely possible that Katheryn was being blackmailed by Culpepper into meeting with him to keep quiet about her past.

That past came to light when a proposed lady in waiting refused to serve Katheryn because shed been at the dowager duchesss home and had seen that Katheryn was light in living and condition. The comment triggered an investigation, at first dismissed by the king as vicious gossip, but when confronted with evidence shed been sexually active before her marriage, the king screamed and cried, demanding a sword be brought to him. He vowed she would suffer more in death than shed ever experienced pleasure in her lovers arms.

Only a few days prior, he had given a public prayer of thanksgiving that he had finally found such a perfect wife. He had long held himself up as an expert on women, able to determine whether or not a woman was pure just from looking at the firmness of her body. Katheryn had not only broken his heart, she had made a fool of him, as well.

Katheryn’s meetings with Culpepper would be investigated, but she was doomed for death as soon as Henry discovered she’d been “impure” when she came to his bed. Both Katheryn and Culpepper would swear that the relationship never became sexual, but Culpepper admitted he would sleep with the queen if shed been willing. One of the major pieces of evidence against her was an undated letter Katheryn had written to Culpepper in the florid language of the day. Adultery was never proven despite the intense efforts put into the investigation. All the indictment could allege was intent.

The Imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, spoke to Katheryn’s uncle, the Duke of Norfolk. Its interesting to speculate about what Norfolk knew of his nieces sexual history when she came to court. Surely his mother, the dowager duchess, told him about the difficulties shed had with her ward when they discussed sending Katheryn to court.

Did Norfolk decide it was best just to pretend none of it had happened in the interest of finding Katheryn a husband? Of course, he never imagined that Katheryns husband would be the king. Did he panic at the thought of how the king might react when he discovered his bride wasnt a virgin?

Now that the secret was out, Norfolk was eager to disavow this second niece who had married the king and fallen from favor. Chapuys says that Norfolk told him hed liked to see Katheryn burned at the stake. The French ambassador also wrote of it and said, “Norfolk says she shall die, and specially because the King could not marry again while she lives.”

Ultimately, Katheryn was guilty of nothing but having sexual experience before she married the king. Adultery was never proven, only the possibility of intent. Katheryn was being punished because her husband was heartbroken that his “perfect jewel of womanhood had been touched by others before him. His condemnation of her became historys judgment.

Perhaps had her reign been longer, we would have seen more of Katheryn’s kind spirit in action and her historical reputation would be different. But it was not to be. Katheryn wasnt queen long enough to make a delible mark. She wasnt a passionate advocate for education like Katharine of Aragon, nor a religious reformer like Anne Boleyn, but it appears she took her role seriously and attempted to be a good queen to her people. But her sexual experiences cast a large enough shadow to blot out the good she had done, and history would dismiss her as an empty-headed and sexually voracious girl who deserved what she got.

Katheryn would spend her last hours in her chamber with the execution block, practicing laying her head on it so she would bring no further disgrace to her family by fumbling it. Her last words are not recorded as Anne Boleyns were, but witnesses were impressed that the pale, frightened young girl made such a godly and Christian end that ever was heard tell of (I think) since the worlds creation.

Her legacy would be a new law which made it treason for a woman to conceal her sexual history from the king if he expressed an interest in marrying her, and treason for anyone who knew of the brides sexual history not to reveal it within 20 days of the kings marriage.

About the Author:

Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot … though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing. She is the author of three novels. Ghostwriter is available throughThe Writer’s Coffee Shop, Amazon,iTunes, andKobo.The End of All Things is available through TWCS, Amazon, and iTunes. Under These Restless Skies is available through Amazon,iTunes,Barnes & Noble, and directly from thepublisher.

She also has a short story in the Romantic Interludes anthology, available from TWCS, Amazon and iTunes, or can be purchased separately from Amazon. A short story collection featuring the characters from The End of All Things is also available from Amazon.

Find Lisa on Facebook at:https://www.facebook.com/LissaBryan.Author


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The Ladies Who Served: Katherine Howard

Katherine Howard’s time as Queen of England was short-lived but even so she also had many ladies who served her.

It makes one wonder if Katherine could foresee her future or if she was naive enough to think that Henry’s love would always be hers – she knew if she had the king’s favor that she would remain continue to receive gifts and affection from him.

How did it all begin? We don’t often speak of this and I’d like to share this quote with you:

Katherine Howard met Henry VIII the first time at a banquet given by Bishop of Winchester to celebrate the king’s marriage with Anne of Cleves, and afterwards at the house of Gardiner. The king took such a fancy to her that it was not long before he secured her appointment as maid of honor to the queen.

It is believed that the queen consort chose her ladies and the king would, on occasion, interfere with his own choices after suggestions from those close to him. When choosing the ladies who would serve in their privy chamber, a Tudor queen would look for a lady who was well-educated, attractive and aristocratic women.

There were different groups of women who served the queen and we’ll briefly explain them here:

Privy Chamber – these ladies attended to the queen’s daily needs such as washing, dressing and serving at the table.

Chamberers – performed more menial tasks such as arranging bedding and cleaning the queen’s private chambers.

Maids-of-Honor – attended the queen in public and carried her long train. They were also responsible for entertaining her by singing, dancing and reading. These girls were unmarried and were supervised by “Mother of Maids”.

Ladies in Waiting – these women were sometimes connected to the privy chamber and held their position due to their experience or their husband’s position at court.

When these women joined the queen’s office they had to swear the ceremonial oath. This oath was used to form a bond of allegiance between the ladies and their queen.

Great Ladies of the Household :

Lady Margaret Douglas

Margaret Douglas was the daughter of Margaret Tudor (sister to Henry VIII) by her second husband, Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. Margaret was half sister of James V of Scotland and granddaughter of Henry VII of England.

Margaret was born at Harbottle castle in England because her mother, Margaret Tudor was fleeing from Scotland, seeking shelter with her brother, Henry VIII.

When she was barely fifteen, she was appointed chief lady in waiting to her cousin, Princess Mary. Only three years later, she was at court as one of Anne Boleyn’s ladies.

Margaret Douglas was in and out of trouble all her life. She formed two unacceptable romantic alliances with English suitors and was confined for a time after each incident. She may actually have married Thomas Howard (1512-October 29, 1537), one of the Duke of Norfolk’s half-brothers. Thomas died in the Tower of London, where he had been imprisoned for his liaison with Margaret. Margaret remained close to Thomas Howard’s niece, Mary Howard, duchess of Richmond, who had been married to Henry FitzRoy.

On the 6th of July 1544, Margaret married Matthew Stuart, Earl of Lennox. The couple had two sons who survived to adulthood, Henry, Lord Darnley and Charles, Earl of Lennox.

Shortly before the death of Henry VIII, Margaret argued with the king over a matter of religion (she remained a devout Catholic all her life) and was disinherited.

Margaret was high in favor under Queen Mary, but under Queen Elizabeth she was under arrest on three separate occasions, once on suspicion of witchcraft and treason, once because her son, Lord Darnley, had married the queen of Scots, and once because she conspired to marry her other son, Charles, to Elizabeth Cavendish.

Margaret Douglas

Mary Howard, Duchess of Richmond

Mary Howard was the daughter of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk and Elizabeth Stafford.

Mary was a maid of honor to her cousin, Anne Boleyn and was married to Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII with Bessie Blount. The couple married on the 26th of November 1533, but they never lived together.

Henry VIII tried to use non-consummation of the marriage as an excuse not to support Mary in her widowhood, however, by 1540, she had been granted a number of former church properties and had an income in excess of 744 per annum.

Following the death of her husband, Mary lived mostly at Kenninghall when she was not at court.

Mary Howard was part of the household of Catherine Howard but send back to Kenninghall in November 1541 when the queen’s household was disbanded.

There was talk of a marriage with Thomas Seymour, as early as 1538 and the idea was revisited in 1546. Mary’s brother, Surrey was opposed to the idea and Mary as well was not too keen to the idea of marriage with Seymour.

In December 1546, when Marys father and brother were arrested on charges of treason, she was forced to give evidence against them, but managed to say very little of use. After Surrey was executed, Mary was given charge of his children. She established a household at Reigate and employed John Foxe to educate them. Unlike most of the rest of the Howards, Mary adopted the New Religion, which meant she fell out of favor when Queen Mary came to the throne. She did remain close to her father, however, and when he died he left her 500.

Mary Howard

MaryArundell, Countess of Sussex

Mary was the daughter of Sir JohnArundelland his second wife, Catherine Grenville.

MaryArundellwas a maid of honor to Queen Jane Seymour before she married Robert Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex on January 14, 1537 – she was his third wife.

Mary remained at court as one of Queen Jane’s ladies after her marriage until the queen’s death and returned as one of the Great Ladies of the Household to Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard.

Mary had two sons by the Earl of Sussex, Henry (the king’s godson) and John. After the death of her husband she married HenryFitzalan, Earl of Arundel on the 19th of December 1545, as his second wife.

Mary Arundell

Margaret Gamage, Lady Howard

Margaret was the daughter of Sir ThomasGamage and Margaret St. John.

She was a maid of honor to Queen Anne Boleyn and was married William Howard, who was created Baron Howard of Effingham in 1554.

According to one source, to celebrate their wedding, on June 29, 1533 in the chapel at Whitehall, King Henry VIII mounted a small battle on the Thames for entertainment. One man drowned and two more broke their legs while jousting. Since other sources give April 23, 1535 as the date of death of Katherine Broughton, first wife of William Howard, the 1533 date seems to be an error for 1535. According to Eric Ives in his biography of Anne Boleyn, it was during the late summer progress of 1535 that Lady Howard, one of Anne’s ladies who had not gone with the reduced court, was a ringleader in a demonstration at Greenwich in support of Mary Tudor. He says the matter was hushed up but that Lady Howard was sent to the Tower. This is highly speculative. The only evidence is a report by the Bishop of Tarbes to theBaillyof Troyes in October of 1535, which states that “citizens’ wives and others, unknown to their husbands” protested Princess Mary’s removal from Greenwich and some were placed in the Tower. A handwritten note in the margin says only “MillordeRochesfortetMillordde Guillaume.”

Margaret was seen at court in the Spring of 1536 when Margaret Douglas had confided in her that she had secretly agreed to marry Lord Thomas Howard. Not long after, in November of the same year Lady Margaret Douglas was sent toSyonand Lord Thomas to the Tower. He would eventually die there.

Margaret was one of Queen Catherine Howard’s ladies. When the queen was arrested, both Margaret and her husband were arrested for misprision of treason. They were tried and found guilty of concealing herunchastityand later pardoned.

Agnes Tylney, dowager Duchess of Norfolk

Agnes Tylney was the daughter of Hugh Tylney and Eleanor Tailboys (or Talbot). She was first at court at fifteen. She married Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey as his second wife on the 17th of August 1497.

Agnes and Thomas had many children: Dorothy, Thomas, William, Anne, Katherine, Elizabeth, Richard, and two sons and four daughters who died young.

Agnes waited on Catherine of Aragon during Catherine’s marriage to Arthur, Prince of Wales in 1501-2. In 1503, she went with Princess Margaret to Scotland for Margaret’s marriage to James IV. In 1514, she accompanied Princess Mary to France for her wedding to King Louis XII. By then Agnes’s husband had been elevated in the peerage to duke of Norfolk. In 1516, Agnes was one of Mary Tudor’s godparents. In 1520, she was one of the few noblewomen who did not attend the Field of Cloth of Gold. Her husband was left behind to defend England and Agnes, together with her daughters Dorothy, Katherine, and Elizabeth, remained with Princess Mary at Richmond. As a widow, the dowager duchess of Norfolk lived mostly at Horsham and at Lambeth. Her household always included a number of young relatives. Her daughter, Lady Daubeney, for example, sent all three of her daughters by Rhys ap Griffith to be raised by her mother. In June 1528, during an epidemic of the sweating sickness, Agnes wrote to Cardinal Wolsey with advice on curing those who fell ill. She recommended treacle and “water imperial” and setwell for the stomach and advised that those who fell victim to the disease fast for sixteen hours and stay in bed for twenty-four hours. As precautions, she suggested isolating sufferers for an entire week and putting vinegar, wormwood, rosewater, and crumbs of brown bread on linen and sniffing it, but warned that this mixture must not touch the face. She also took advantage of the occasion to begin to lobby for the wardship of one of the daughters of Sir John Broughton, which she eventually obtained. In 1529, she gave evidence that Catherine of Aragon had been Prince Arthur’s wife and later she took part in the coronation of Queen Anne Boleyn, daughter of one of her Howard stepchildren. The deposition was given on June 16, 1529 in the Cluniac priory at Thetford. Agnes was godmother to Princess Elizabeth. When King Henry VIII began to court Catherine Howard, one of the young girls who had been brought up at Horsham, Agnes said nothing to discourage the match. When Catherine’s past misconduct was revealed, therefore, Agnes was held accountable and arrested in late 1541. She was pardoned the following May 5thand released.

Agnes Tilney Howard


Ursula Stourton, Lady Clinton

Ursula Stourton was the daughter of William Stourton, 7th Baron Stourton and Elizabeth Dudley. She married Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln sometime before the 15th June 1541.

The couple had two children, a daughter Frances and a son, Henry.

It is noted by Kate Emerson, author of “Who’s Who of Tudor Women” that Ursula served Queen Katherine Parr.

There are no portraits of Ursula Stourton

Ladies of the Privy Chamber

EleanorPaston, Countess of Rutland

Eleanor Paston was the daughter of Sir William Paston and Bridget Heydon.

She married Thomas Manners, Earl of Rutland, as his second wife, sometime before 1523. The couple had eleven children: Anne, Elizabeth, Gertrude, Henry, Sir John, Frances, Roger, Sir Thomas, Oliver, Isabel, and Catherine.

In between giving birth, she participated in the ceremony creating Anne Boleyn marchioness of Pembroke and accompanied the new marchioness and the king to France in October 1532. She was on the summer progress of 1536 and was one of the chief mourners at the funeral of Jane Seymour. She may have been part of Anne Boleyn’s household. She was definitely a lady of the privy chamber to Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, and Catherine Howard.

Eleanor was quarantined at her manor in July 1537, after a member of her household came down with the Sweating Sickness. She was back at court the following month, just in time to take Catherine Bassett, stepdaughter of Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, under her wing and look after her until Catherine was awarded a post in the household of Anne of Cleves in August 1540. T

Eleanor Paston

Jane Parker, LadyRochford

Jane Parker was the daughter of Henry Parker, 8th Baron Morley and Alice St. John.

Jane is best known as Lady Rochford, wife and then widow of George Boleyn, brother to Anne. The couple were married in 1525 and had no children.

She gave evidence to help King Henry VIII annul his marriage to Anne of Cleves, but during the tenure of Queen Catherine Howard, it was Jane who helped the young queen betray her husband. Just how involved Jane was, and whether she was the villainous creature history has painted her, are subject to much debate. Her own evidence in interrogations in 1541 is disjointed and contradictory and she is said to have run mad when she realized she would be executed along with the queen. It was a letter in Catherine Howards handwriting that condemned her. The queen wrote to Thomas Culpepper to come when my Lady Rochford is here, for then I shall be at leisure to be your commandment.

Further Reading: Jane Boleyn: Victim of History

There are no portraits of Jane Parker

IsabelLegh, LadyBaynton

Isabel Legh, sometimes called Isabel Howard, was the daughter of Ralph Legh and Joyce Culpepper and thus a half sister of Queen Catherine Howard.

She married Edward Baynton on the 18th of January 1531 and had by him three children, Henry, Francis and Anne.

Her husband was vice chamberlain to several of Henry VIII’s queens. It is believed that Isabel servedAnne Boleyn, Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves. The History of Parliament entry for her husband says that by the 14th of March 1539, the couple had replaced Lady Kingston in supervising the joint household of Mary and Elizabeth Tudor.

Isabel was also at court during the tenure of her half sister, Catherine Howard.

When Queen Catherine was sent to Syon House in the autumn of 1541, she was allowed to choose her own female attendants, on the condition that Isabel was one of them. Isabel also accompanied Catherine to the Tower. She was later a lady of the household extraordinary to Kathryn Parr.

According to Charlotte Merton inThe Women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, she was alsopart of Queen Mary’s household in 1554-7.

There are no portraits of Isabel Legh

Catherine St. John, LadyEdgecumbe

Catherine St. John was the daughter of Sir John St. John and Sybil Morgan.

Her first marriage was in 1507 to Sir Griffith ap Rhys. The couple had a daughter, Mary Griffith.

Her second husband was Sir Piers Edgecumbe – she was his second wife as well.

Her second husband had three sons and four daughters by his first wife, JaneDernford. In 1524-5, Sir Peter and his wife Catherine were sent three gallons of wine “at their first homecoming.” In November 1531, her stepson, RhysapGruffydd, was attainted for treason but her jointure was protected. She was receiving about 72/year in 1532. There was an outbreak of measles in the household in March 1534. Catherine was executor of her husband’s will in 1539. M. St. Clare Byrne identifies Catherine as the Lady Edgecumbe who was a lady of the Privy Chamber to Anne of Cleves in 1540. Although other sources say that was Winifred Essex, her stepson’s wife, Winifred may not yet have been married and in any case would not have been Lady Edgecumbe because her husband was not knighted until 1542. The “Lady Edgecumbe” who served Catherine Howard in the Privy Chamber was probably also Catherine Edgecumbe, for the same reasons. Catherine made her will on December 4, 1553, at Cothele, Cornwall and it was proved on December 12, 1553. In it she names a daughter Mary Luttrell (wife of Sir John Luttrell), to whom she leaves the household goods at Dunster, Somerset, that had belonged to Sir Griffith ap Rhys.

There are no portraits of Catherine St. John

Gentlewomen of the Privy Chamber

Anne Parr, Lady Herbert

Anne was the daughter of Sir Thomas Parr and Maud Green.

Her mother, Maud Parr, was a lady in waiting to Katherine of Aragon and Anne became a maid of honor to Queen Jane Seymour.

In early 1538, Anne married William Herbert.

Anne should not be confused with Lady Herbert of Troy (Blanche Milborne) who carried Elizabeth Tudor’s train at the christening of Prince Edward, or Mrs. Fitzherbert, who was chief chamberer to Queen Jane and rode in her funeral cortege in 1537. Anne was also in the cortege, but she was not yet Mrs. Herbert.

As Lady Herbert, she was keeper of the queens jewels to Catherine Howard, although she left court briefly to give birth to her first child, Henry (d.January 19,1601), in 1540. She was back at court in time to attend the disgraced queen at Syon House and in the Tower.

When her sister Katherine Parr became Henry VIIIs sixth queen in 1543, Anne returned to court.

The couple had two more children, Edward and Anne and used Baynards Castle as their London residence. For the birth of her second son, Anne’s sister loaned her the manor of Hanworth in Middlesex for her lying in.

At the time of her death, Anne Parr was one of Princess Marys ladies. She died quite unexpectedly at Baynard’s Castle and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral next to the tomb of John of Gaunt. Her memorial there reads: “a most faithful wife, a woman of the greatest piety and discretion.”

Anne Parr by Holbein

Elizabeth Oxenbridge, Lady Tyrwhitt

Elizabethwas the daughter of GoddardOxenbridgeand his second wife, Anne Fiennes.

She was at court in the household of Queen Jane Seymour in 1537 and after the queen’s death resided with MaryArundell, countess of Sussex.

Elizabeth was married to Sir Robert Tyrwhitt by the 4th of August 1539, when she and several other gentlewomen wrote a letter to King Henry from Portsmouth, where they had gone to view the royal fleet.

When Catherine Howard became queen, Elizabeth was a gentlewoman of the privy chamber and during Anne Parr Herberts absence from court to have a child, temporarily took over her duties as keeper of the queens jewels. She was also a lady of the privy chamber to Kathryn Parr and shared the queens views on religion.

Memorial of Elizabeth Oxenbridge

SusannaHornebolt, Lady Gilman

Susanna Horenboult was the daughter of Gheraert Horenboult and Margaret Sanders.

Susanna’s father and brother, Lucas, were among the kings painters at the court of Henry VIII. Lucas was employed in 1525 and Gerard by 1528. Susanna herself was an illuminator and miniature painter who had gained recognition on the Continent before coming to England around 1522 to work as an artist for Henry VIII. She was assigned to the queen’s household rather than being listed as an artist.

Around 1526, Susanna married John Parker, who was Yeoman of the Wardrobe and Keeper of the Palace of Westminster. When they married she may have stopped painting professionally.

The same year her husband died, Susanna lost her place in the queen’s household due to the death of Jane Seymour and by 1538 she was in serious financial difficulties. She had no children by Parker.

On the 22nd of September 1539, Susanna married John Gylmyn or Gilman in St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster. He was a widower with a young daughter and a freeman of the vintner’s company, as well as holding a position at court. Two weeks later, Susanna was sent to Anne of Cleves as a personal ambassador from King Henry, and possibly as a spy. She was supplied with 40 for travel expenses and issued livery and was gone from England for three months. She joined the household of Anne of Cleves in Dusseldorf and accompanied the future queen to England. Anne made Susanna her chief gentlewoman and provided her with servants of her own.

At Calais in December, delayed by bad weather, “Mrs. Gylmyn” taught Anne of Cleves to play a card game called Cent (an early form of piquet). Susanna remained in Anne’s household as a gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber until Anne’s marriage to Henry VIII was annulled.

The couple had two sons and at least two daughters, including Henry and Anne. In 1543, Susanna was back at court as part of Katherine Parr’s household. She remained at court under Edward VI.



Katherine Tylney

Katherine Tylney was the daughter of Sir Philip Tylney and Elizabeth Jeffrey and the niece of Agnes Tylney, Duchess of Norfolk. Through her mother, she was also related to the Brandon family and thus to the Duke of Suffolk.

She was a member of the dowager Duchess of Norfolk’s household at Horsham in Sussex and at Lambeth, along with her sister-in-law, Malyn Tylney (ne Chambre), Dorothy Baskerville, Margaret Benet, and Alice Wilkes, at the same time Catherine Howard was in the duchess’s care. After Catherine became queen, Katherine Tylney and Alice Restwold were among her chamberers, as was Margaret Morton, who had also been at Lambeth. While the queen was carrying on with her lover, Thomas Culpepper, everyone but Lady Rochford and Katherine were barred from Catherine’s bedchamber. When the whole sordid story came out, Katherine was interrogated about events at Lambeth, particularly how much the duchess knew about them and, on November 13, 1541, was questioned about more recent events at court, particularly at Lincoln on the recent progress and at Hampton Court. Katherine insisted that she’d never seen who it was the queen met in the wee hours of the morning.

On the 22nd of December 1541, Katherine pleaded guilty to knowing of the wicked life of Katherine Howard before her marriage and concealing it from the king. She was sentenced to imprisonment in the Tower of London and the seizure of all she owned. As a single woman, she did not actually own much of anything, certainly no lands or tenements. How long she was held is uncertain, but it was probably not for an extended period of time. The duchess was freed in May 1542. Katherine later married John Baker of Cambridge.

There are no portraits of Katherine Tylney

Margaret Morton

Margaret Woodford was the daughter of William Woodford and Anne Norwich.

When her father died, she inherited the manors of Brentingby, Wyfordby, Freeby, and Garthorpe. She was also the principal heir of her grandfather, Sir Ralph Woodford.

Margaret’s first husband was John Turville who died soon after their marriage. Margaret then married his brother, William Turville. This marriage was found to be irregular – interesting after what Henry VIII did to Katherine of Aragon after she had been married to his brother. Once it was annulled, Margaret married in about 1495 to Thomas Morton who was a widower with a son.

There are no portraits of Margaret Morton

Maude Luffkyn

Maude Luffkyn is believed to have been one of the women who attended Queen Catherine Howard on the scaffold.

It is thought that Luffkyn was the servant who caught sight of Thomas Culpeper trying to sneak into the queen’s bedchamber, forcing him to hide until the coast was clear.

There are no portraits of Maude Luffkyn

Joan Acworth

The daughter of George Acworthand Margaret Wilberforce.

Joan married William Bulmer at an early age, then left his house to go into service with the dowager duchess of Norfolk (AgnesTylney). Joan was involved in a love affair with EdwardWaldegraveof Rivers Hall, Essex at the same time Catherine Howard was living in that household. When Catherine married King Henry VIII, Joan was at court as a chamberer and was called upon to testify against the queen when the scandalous behavior of her early life was revealed in 1541. Both Joan and EdwardWaldegravewere arrested and held for several months. At the time of Catherine Howards trial and execution in 1542, Joan Bulmer was listed as a widow, but in fact her husband was still alive. She could not marryWaldegraveuntil June 1556.

There are no portraits of Joan Acworth

Alice Wilkes

Alice Wilkes was a servant in the household of Agnes Tylney, Duchess of Norfolk at the same time as Katherine Howard and was aware of that young womans sexual hijinks.

Alice’s future husband, Anthony Restwold of the Vache, Buckinghamshire was also part of that household, but it is unclear exactly when they married. Later she would testify that she was “a married woman and wist what matrimony meant and what belonged to that puffing and blowing” she heard behind the bed curtains when Francis Dereham, a gentleman pensioner in the service of the duke of Norfolk (stepson of the dowager duchess) was with Katherine.

After Katherine Howard became the wife of Henry VIII, Alice came to court. Some accounts say she was there as a chamberer, but unlike most of those young women, Alice has the word “gentlewoman” added after her name in some records.

There are no portraits of Alice Wilkes

Ladies and Gentlewomen Attendants

Jane Guildford, Lady Dudley

Jane Guildford was the daughter of Sir Edward Guildford and Eleanor West.

In late 1525 or early 1526, she married her fathers ward, John Dudley. They had thirteen children: Henry, Thomas, John, Ambrose, a second Henry, Mary, Robert, Guildford, Katherine, and four othersCharles, Margaret, Frances, and Temperancewho died under the age of ten.

Jane was successively Lady Dudley, Viscountess Lisle, Countess of Warwick, and Duchess of Northumberland. Although she did not take an active role in her husbands political career, she was at court as a lady of the Privy Chamber to Anne of Cleves and Katherine Parr and during the reign of Edward VI.

After the failure of Northumberlands attempt to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne of England in place of Mary Tudor and Northumberland’s execution, Jane went to live with her daughter, Mary Sidney, at Penshurst, Kent, until Queen Mary granted her the use of her Chelsea dower house.

Janes son Guildford (husband of Lady Jane Grey), was executed in 1554 while her other sons remained prisoners in the Tower. On the 2nd of May 1554 she herself was pardoned.

That summer Jane was at court a lot to petition the release her sons. The eldest, John, was released from the Tower in early October 1554. Ambrose, Robert, and Henry were released by early 1555, before their mother’s death at Chelsea.

Jane Dudley

Margaret Howard, Lady Arundell

Margaret Howard was the daughter of Lord Edmund Howard and Joyce Culpepper, as well as sister to Queen Katherine Howard.

Sometime between 1530 and 1533, Margaret married Sir Thomas Arundell.

Margaret Howard

Jane Cheney, LadyWriothesley

Jane Cheney was the daughter and heiress of William Cheney and Emma Walwyn.

She was taught to read and write and owned a copy of the 1532 edition of Chaucer, in which she later wrote “this ys Jane Southampton boke.”

Before 1533, possibly as early as 1527, she married Thomas Wriothesley, who was created Earl of Southampton in 1547.

Jane Cheney, Lady Wriothesley

CatherineSkipwith, LadyHeneage

Catherine Skipwith was the daughter of John Skipwith and Catherine Fitzwilliam.

In 1515, she married Sir Thomas Heneage, a gentleman pensioner.

The couple only had one child, a daughter named Elizabeth.

Catherine rode in the funeral procession of Queen Jane Seymour and was a gentlewoman in attendance on Queen Anne of Cleves in January 1540 and later served in the household of Catherine Howard.

Elizabeth Seymour, Lady Cromwell

Elizabeth Seymour was the daughter of Sir John Seymour and Margery Wentworth and the younger sister of Edward, Henry, Queen Jane, Thomas and Dorothy.

By 1530, she was married to Sir Anthony Ughtred. Some sources have said that Elizabeth, as Lady Ughtred, was at court when Anne Boleyn was queen, but Jane Seymour’s biographer, Elizabeth Norton, contradicts this, saying that Elizabeth lived primarily in the north, away from both court and family.

In March of 1537, after her sister Jane was married to King Henry, the widowed Elizabeth, living in poverty in York, wrote to Lord Cromwell to ask for the grant of some of the goods from one of the dissolved monasteries. Instead, Cromwell proposed that she marry his son, Gregory. The couple wed on August 3, 1537.

The couple had five children together: Henry, Frances, Catherine, Edward, and Thomas.

In 1551, when Elizabeth’s brother, Edward Seymour, then Lord Protector, was arrested, Elizabeth was given charge of his four younger daughters. Later that year, Gregory Cromwell died of the sweat and Elizabeth was also ill, at Launde Abbey in Leicestershire, but recovered. She gave birth to her last child after her husband’s death.

Elizabeth Seymour, Lady Cromwell

Jane Ashley, LadyMewtas

Janes parentage is unknown but she had a brother named JohnAsteleywho was a mercer in London.

It is possible that Jane was a maid of honor to Anne Boleyn in January 1534, but she was definitely a maid of honor to Queen Jane Seymour.

Jane married PeterMewtasin 1537.

Author Agnes Strickland believed that Lady Mewtas was in the household of Katherine Howard but Kate Emerson believes she was in the household of Prince Edward in 1540-41.

The couple had five children: Cecily, Frances, Henry, Thomas and Hercules.

Jane Ashley, Lady Mewtas

Maids of Honor

Lady Lucy Somerset

Lucy was as an English noblewoman and the daughter ofHenry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester. Who her mother was is still uncertain, it was either the first wife of her father,Lady Margaret Courtenayor his second wife,Elizabeth Browne.

She served as a maid of honorto Katherine Howard.

In 1545, she marriedJohn Neville, 4th Baron Latimer, the stepson of King Henry’s sixth consort KaterynParr. Lacy was also a Lady in Waiting to Parr.

There are no portraits of Lucy Somerset

Anne Bassett

Anne Bassett was the third daughter of Sir John Bassett and his second wife, Honor Grenville. After the death of her father, her mother married Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, who was Lord Deputy of Calais and the illegitimate son of King Edward IV.

Anne was mostly raised in Calais and was sent to a French family to be educated. In 1537 she obtained a post at court as one of Queen Jane Seymours six maids of honor, having been told in 1536 that, at fifteen, she was too young for the post.

After the death of Jane Seymour, she was placed in the household of her cousin, MaryArundell, Countess of Sussex, to await the kings next marriage.

With close connection to other court families she later resided with Peter Mewtas and his wife Jane Ashley (see above)and then with a distant cousin, Anthony Denny, and his wife JoanChampernowne.

Henry VIII took interest in Anne and it was suspected that she was his mistress and possible future wife after his divorce from Anne of Cleves and after the execution of Katherine Howard.

Upon the King’s marriage to Anne of Cleves, Anne resumed her position as a maid of honor and she also held this post under Katherine Howard.

There are no portraits of Anne Bassett

Elizabeth Fitzgerald

Elizabeth Fitzgerald was born in 1527, in Ireland to Gerald Fitzgerald, 9th Earl of Kildare and his wife Elizabeth Grey. Elizabeth Grey was the daughter of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquis of Dorset. Dorset was the son of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen to King Edward IV, by her first husband, John Grey.

In 1533, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, her mother and one of her sisters movedto London when her father was accused of treason or corruption charges and put in the Tower of London. After her father died in the Fall of 1534 (in the Tower), she was raised at English court alongside her cousin Princess Elizabeth Tudor.

In 1537, her half-brother Thomas Fitzgerald, 10th Earl of Kildare, and five FitzGerald uncles (James, Oliver, Richard, John and Walter) were executed at Tyburn for treason and rebellion. Thomas hadrenounced his allegiance to Henry VIII. On 3 February 1537, Elizabeths brother, who had been imprisoned for sixteen months, and her uncles for eleven months, were executed as traitors at Tyburn. They were hanged, drawn and quartered.

After the execution of her half-brother and uncles, Elizabeth was sent to Lady Mary Tudors household at Hunsdon. Her younger brothers, however, were raised alongside Prince Edward Tudor. Elizabeths oldest remaining brother, Gerald, who became11th Earl of Kildare upon the execution of his brother, had gone on the run in Ireland.

Around that same time,at the age of ten, she became immortalized in a sonnet by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. This is where she picked up the nickname,The Fair Geraldine. Since Elizabeth was so young it is not believed to be a love sonnet by any means, it was more of a way for Surrey to show men at court what a great catch she would be in the future. She needed all the help she could get after her familys name was tarnished by the above noted scandal.

The truth was, she was an impoverished noblewoman dependent upon the Tudors. Other sources date the poem in November 1541 and say Elizabeth was a maid of honor to Catherine Howard at the time, but there is no evidence to support this. She may, however, have been at court while Catherine was queen, however, author Agnes Strickland listed her as a maid of honor in the household of the queen.
In 1543, at the age of sixteen, Lady Elizabeth married a forty-something year oldSir Anthony Browneand subsequently became stepmother to his eight children.

Five years after they were married, on 6 May 1548, Sir Anthony died Elizabeth was left a widow at the age of twenty-one. She had two children by Sir Anthony, but they had both died young.

Elizabeth Fitzgerald

Mary Norris

Mary Norris was the daughter of Sir Henry Norris and Mary Fiennes.

Mary was a maid of honor, possibly to Anne Boleyn, most likely to Jane Seymour, definitely to Anne of Cleves, and probably to Katherine Howard.

Mary married Sir George Carew, Vice Admiral of the English fleet sometime before February 1541.

She was atSouthseaCastle with the Henry VIII in 1545, watching the ship her husband was aboard, theMary Rose, when it suddenly rolled over and sank. Lady Carew fainted. In armor, her husband had no hope of surviving.

There are no portraits of Mary Norris

Other Ladies Listed by Agnes Strickland as Maids of Honor

Mrs. Garnyshe
Mrs. Cowpledike
Mrs. Catherine Stradling
Mrs. Stonor [Mother of Maids]
Dorothy Bray


Strickland, Agnes; Queens of England [Page 423]

Emerson, Kate; Who’s Who of Tudor Women

**Please be sure to check out Emerson’s website***

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The Manipulation of Catherine Howard

The Manipulation of Catherine Howard (1)

Guest article written by: Catherine Hunt
With minor edits by: Rebecca Larson

A Tudor Fanatics Take on Catherine Howard

Catherine’s downfall at the hands of her uncle, Duke of Norfolk, was, metaphorically speaking, like a hangman’s trap. He pulled the lever and down and she fell! Why was it so easy to do?Why was he so confident she would be pliable?

One has to think of Catherine herself. She was in the care of her great-aunt, dowager Duchess of Norfolk, with a view to furthering her education, but she rapidly fell behind in her studies, being hopeless at reading and writing but skilled in music and dance. It is also thought that she had knowledge of herbs and their medicinal uses. However ,unknown to her crafty uncle and his mother, but well-known to the girls with whom she shared a room,there was one subject she certainly excelled in SEX!!

Duke of Norfolk
Duke of Norfolk

Norfolk had one great ambition, excluding all others, which was to have a Howard on the throne of England and he believed that Catherine was the means to achieve this. Catherine already had a small taste of court life in all its glory as she had been a Maid to Henry’s fourth wife who he couldn’t stand, calling her his Flanders Mare as he found her so repulsive, he could not or would not consummate the marriage. At this time Catherine then left court. Why didn’t Henry notice Catherine then. Well he was too busy trying to get the marriage annulled, so, when Anne agreed, Norfolk went post-haste to his Mother and sent for Catherine.

He didn’t want her in the role of mistress but that of Queen. Now to Catherine herself what did that mean? Court meant finery, jewels and dancing. She had never seen the King naked but only loaded down with silk, stains and jewellery so that is what she imagined a Queen would be given.She knew nothing at all about the politics and etiquette involved. That’s why she lied when her uncle asked if she was a virgin.Why did he believe her ? He took the word of his mother,who did not know what went on upstairs,as she herself was elderly ,often dozing and when lessons were over,her charges basically did as they wished .

Catherine had two lovers well the two we know of anyway !Henry Mannox ,music teacher and another member of the staff Frances Dereham .She caught her niece kissing the former but didn’t know that Frances shared Catherine’s bed on many occasions and that they intended to marry.However he went away on business for a while and found his little darling was Queen on his return.

The King was besotted with his new little wife but what a disappointment he was to her. On her wedding night she saw an old wrinkled body with a suppurating leg and worse than that he couldn’t consummate the marriage.

catherine howard 5After a while Norfolk was becoming agitated as there was no sign of a pregnancy.

Catherine too was agitated, but for a different reason.Dereham more or less blackmailed her into making him her secretary, arriving suddenly at court with letters of recommendation from the Dowager Duchess. Fear started as he would definitely have revealed all, had she turned him away.
Then enter Thomas Culpepper, the King’s most favored servant. Young, handsome and more to the Queens taste. They fell in love. The King was so besotted with Catherine, that he did not notice, but it came to the attention of Lady Rochford who was a natural spy and told Norfolk.

Surprisingly he told her to aid and abet the affair. Why? Well in the hope she would become pregnant! Wasn’t this a risky thing for him to do ? Well the king must have had occasional sex with his wife as he was heard to ask her from time to time if she was pregnant.

What went wrong? Dereham was known to drink a little too much and blabbed!

Catherine was ceasing to try to hide her affair with Culpepper and one day the king received an anonymous letter telling all. Norfolk tried to find out from his nieces old roommates what they knew but he had been preempted and of course they told all fearing for their own lives.

How did it all end? Catherine and Lady Rochford went to Syon House then to the dreaded tower. Inspite of all her screams and pleas the King refused to see his wife. She tried to save herself by saying that Dereham had raped her and that she and Culpepper had never gone all the way, but, Norfolk needed her head to try to save his own .So Dereham was hung drawn and quartered Culpepper Lady Rochford and Catherine all beheaded.

One would have thought that once death sentences what’s left to manipulate,the speech from the scaffold of course which Norfolk obviously wrote and she would have had to learn it parrot fashion because she had no skills to compose such a thing herself!

He even had to blow his own trumpet then as she had to start it with saying she was aHoward. He had had the decency to grant her request of being given a block to practice on so she wouldn’t feel so strange on the day. Big deal I don’t think. She was so young she didn’t even know the exact year of her birth, she used both C and K to spell her name. She had been Queen for just 18 months and could have been only 19 when she died.


They are mostly my own thoughts but my key factual ones would be (although I don’t always agree} would be the three authors listed here who have written on the Tudors: Alison Weir, Antonia Fraser and David Starkey.

There is also the most fascinating novel I have ever read which took Margaret George four years to research which is:The Autobiography of Henry eighth with notes by his fool Will Somers

About the Author:

My name is Catherine Hunt and I am a retired nurse practitioner plus Bereavement/Cancer Counseller who was born in Lancashire, but now live in Essex – so why this Tudor obsession?Well it all started with me in tears! At age five and a half the school discovered I had a reading age of 11 and I was put up a year and cried as I wouldn’t be in the same class as my friend.My test passage as it were was about a King I had never heard of who had 6 wives and cut off two of their heads . I asked my parents to tell me more and several books were purchased for me.I was hooked from then on! Now at age 69 I am also in the process of writing my first novel.It may seem odd to start writing so late but it’s ill health, which like other late starting authors, has given me more time as my physical activities have curtailed quite a bit.I would go so far as to say I am addicted to the Tudors even to the point of have a set of teaspoons with cameos of Henry and his wives on the handles.

Further Reading Suggestion – Tudors Dynasty Owner, Rebecca Larson:

meIf you are interested in further reading on Catherine/Katherine Howard, I’d highly recommend – Katherine Howard: A New History by Conor Byrne (2014). I am currently reading this book and it contains a lot of new information on her life.

From Amazon.com:

In this new full-length biography of Katherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Conor Byrne reconsiders Katherines brief reign and the circumstances of her life, striping away the complex layers of myths and misconceptions to reveal a credible portrait of this tragic queen.

By reinterpreting her life in the context of cultural customs and expectations surrounding sexuality, fertility and family honour, Byrne exposes the limitations of conceptualising Katherine as either whore or victim. His more rounded view of the circumstances in which she found herself and the expectations of her society allows the historical Katherine to emerge.

Katherine has long been condemned by historians for being a promiscuous and frivolous consort who partied away her days and revelled in male attention, but Byrne’s reassessment conveys the mature and thoughtful ways in which Katherine approached her queenship. It was a tragedy that her life was controlled by predators seeking to advance themselves at her expense, whatever the cost.

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Dishing with the Tudors: My Adventures in Renaissance Comedy

Guest Article by: JoAnn Spears

Dishing with the Tudors: My adventures in Renaissance comedy

I am one of those people who reads out a subject or author of interest.

That took some doing with Jean Plaidys canon of eighty-odd historical fiction novels. Having started in on the task at the age of twelve, with The Captive Queen of Scots, I was actually able to exhaust all that Plaidy had to offer before I was out of my twenties.

jean plaidy book


My favorite subjects in those wonderful novels were Henry VIIIs six wives and their Tudor relatives. Eventually, I read the Tudors out too, both in fiction and in biography. From Norah Lofts and Mary M. Luke down through Alison Weir, I read anything that was going about Henry VIII and his clan. When I ran out of biographies of the heavy-hitting Tudors, I read bios of the supporting Tudor cast, such as Bess of Hardwick and Arabella Stuart.

yellow catherine the queenelizabeth book









I still remember the day that I stood in front of a Tudor shelf at Barnes and Noble, looked at everything that was on offer, and felt that Id seen it all before.Its high time, I thought, for something different. Enough tragedy, excuses, and apologies. Henrys six wives need to come out on top for a change!

completely different

At around the same time, I spent an evening in a hot tub in Vermont, chatting with a friend who was working on a book. She knew that I did a lot of report writing in my professional life, and asked me if I didnt have an idea for a novel. She dared me to tell it to her. And for the first time, I gave voice to that something different that I wanted to see in the Tudor world.

It was scary, talking out loud about an idea that had heretofore lived only in my head. Maybe it was the hot tub ambience, or more likely the wine, but out the idea came.

I wanted to write about Henry VIIIs six wives. My heroine, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, would meet the Big Six somewhere on the other side, after losing consciousness. Shed join the Tudor women for a night of revelation and vindication on their part, and of self-discovery on hers. Shed return to the real world a wiser girl for her time with the Tudors.

Once I started in on writing about Henry VIIIs six wives, things flowed easily for a while. The Katherine Parr and Ann of Cleves alternative histories were low hanging fruit. Jane Seymours and Catherine Howards subplots took a bit more researching, but they did come together next. The Anne Boleyn and Katharine of Aragon subplots emerged only after a spell of cluelessness and the shedding of some blood, sweat, and tears, but eventually, emerge they did. And best of all, because of the fantasy setting, I got to have the six wives interacting with each other, as well as with my heroine. It was a Tudor history buffs dream come true.

The wives stories as created for Six of One are obviously outr and entirely a product of my fevered Tudor imagination, but they were carefully researched and made plausible to give the reader some food for thought. What if, even if only in imagination, each of these women had a secret that took her from victim status to victory over Henry VIII? Might such secrets make for a satisfying, albeit brief and fictional, experience for the jaded Tudorphile? Might my book inspire Tudor neophytes to want to learn more about these fabulous women?

six of one

Since my six wives subplots were so very offbeat, I felt that the best way to approach the entire novel was to take it as a comedy. Clare Boothe Luces The Women inspired me here, with its all-girl cast, girls night in feel, and comic sass and dishing.


Seven Will Out, my second novel, brings the comic corrective recapitulation and the hen party atmosphere to the stories of the latter generation Tudors and their associates. It addresses the complicated family dynamics between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots, Bess of Hardwick and Arabella Stuart, and Bloody Mary and Jane Grey, to name a few.

seven will out

Of course, it is for the reading public, and ultimately individual readers and Tudorphiles, to determine if my experiment is a success, and if there is indeed a place for comedy in the chaotic and execution-laden realm of the Tudors. My Amazon reviews tell me that some readers are all for it (Go girls! Great new take. Humorous her-story. Great romp through 16th century England. Weird at first, but it grabs you. Oh Henry! What a hoot.) Other reviews tell me that readers prefer their Tudors straight up, serious, and traditional (I couldnt. Dont bother. This book was a little silly. Great idea in theory. Not for me. Too lightweight for my tastes.)

In Claire Ridgways review of Six of One, she says you need to not mind your favourite wife being made fun ofthis Kindle book made me laugh. I love spoofs and can handle misrepresentations of historical characters when they are presented in a way which is clearly a spoof and not to be taken seriously. On the other hand, I have had a reviewer say It seems the author doesn’t really like Anne Boleyn with all the snide remarks made throughout the book. (Just for the record, I do not hate Anne Boleyn.)

So, what do you think? Would you try your Tudors with a comic, fantasy, revisionist twist? Or do you prefer them familiar and traditional? Id love to know what you think!

JoAnn SpearsAbout the Author: JoAnn Spears

Author of Six of One, a Tudor Comedy, and the upcoming sequel, working title Seven Will Out. It’s the most fun you can have with your nightdress on!