The Ladies Who Served: Kateryn Parr

Kateryn Parr was the sixth and final wife of Henry VIII. They were married from 1543 until the King’s death in 1547 – nearly the same amount of time that Henry was married to Anne Boleyn.

Here is a list of the majority of ladies who served, Kateryn Parr - This list could not be shared with you without the amazing research by Kate Emerson of “A Who’s Who of Tudor Women”. Her research has allowed me to compile the below list into one post to share with you. Please take the time to check out her site: A Who’s Who of Tudor Women.

Great Ladies of the Household those Women Closest to the Queen:

Mary Arundell, Countess of Sussex

Mary was the daughter of Sir John Arundell and his second wife, Catherine Grenville.

Mary Arundell was 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 Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel on the 19th of December 1545, as his second wife.

Mary Arundell

Anne Calthorpe, Countess of Sussex

Anne Calthorpe was the daughter of Sir Philip Calthorpe and Jane Blennerhassett.

She married Henry Radcliffe, 2nd Earl of Sussex, she was his second wife and they were married prior to 21 November 1538.

Anne was the mother of Egremont, Maud, and Frances Radcliffe.

Anne was at court when Kateryn Parr was queen and shared her Protestant beliefs. She was among a group of ladies at Tudor court that were implicated in the heresy of Anne Askew.

No available portrait.

Joan Champernowne, Lady Denny

Joan Champernowne was the daughter of Sir Philip Champernowne and Catherine Carew. J

oan came to court as a maid of honor to Katherine of Aragon and remained at court during the tenures of Henry VIII’s next five wives.

In February 1538 she married Sir Anthony Denny. The couple had ten children: Honora, Anne, Mary, Arthur, Douglas, Charles, Edmund, Henry, Anthony, and Edward.

While Kateryn Parr was queen, Joan was accused of sending 8s. to Anne Askew but nothing was proven against her. In 1547, she retired to Cheshunt but her service to the Crown was not yet over. In May 1548, Princess Elizabeth and her household were sent to stay there with the Dennys and remained until autumn. Some accounts say Elizabeth’s governess, Katherine Champernowne Astley, was Joan’s younger sister. Others believe they were only distantly related.

No available portrait.

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.²

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.²

Margaret Douglas

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 father’s ward, John Dudley. They had thirteen children: Henry, Thomas, John, Ambrose, a second Henry, Mary, Robert, Guildford, Katherine, and four others—Charles, Margaret, Frances, and Temperance—who 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 husband’s 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 Northumberland’s 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.²

Jane’s 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

Anne Stanhope, Lady Hertford

Anne Stanhope was the daughter of Sir Edward Stanhope and Elizabeth Bourchier.

Elizabeth Bourchier, her mother, was sister of the Earl of Bath and was also a descendant of King Edward III.

Anne Stanhope was the only child of Sir Edward Stanhope and Elizabeth Bourchier and was born in 1510. Unfortunately, when she was about one year old her father died. There is little evidence that remains about Anne’s childhood – it is, however, believed that she was a maid-of-honour to Katherine of Aragon.

Her mother did eventually marry again, this time to Sir Richard Paget, who was also well-connected to King Henry VIII. Paget was a gentleman of the Privy Chamber for King Henry and also Vice-Chamberlain in the household of Henry Fitzroy.

Depending on who you read the following information varies regarding the marriage of Edward Seymour to his second wife, Anne Stanhope.

David Loades says they married on the 9th of March 1535, while Antonia Fraser says it was sometime in 1534 before Katherine Fillol’s death and Margaret Scard says by the 9th of March 1535. So we don’t know for certain if it was before or after the death of her first wife. We can assume from the three authors that they were definitely married by the 9th of March 1535.

Anne managed to stay on good terms with both Princess Mary and Queen Katherine Parr but her religious leanings were Protestant. She sent aid to Anne Askew in 1545.

Her husband, Edward, Duke of Somerset was arrested for a second time on the 16th of October 1551, accused of plotting against John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. This time he was executed. Anne was also arrested and remained a prisoner in the Tower of London until 30th of May 1553, even though she was never charged with any crime.

Under Mary Tudor, three of Anne’s daughters were at court. Her oldest son, Edward, was restored in blood. Anne was granted a number of Northumberland’s confiscated properties and Hanworth, Middlesex, where she chose to live. It was at Hanworth that a romance secretly blossomed between Anne’s son Edward and Lady Catherine Grey, younger sister of Lady Jane Grey. When the young couple eloped in 1560 and were subsequently confined in the Tower of London, Anne was careful to distance herself from them. The next year, Anne married Francis Newdigate (October 25, 1519-January 26,1581/2), who had been Somerset’s steward. When her son was released from the Tower, Anne was given custody of him and also of the older of the two sons he had with Lady Catherine Grey. Anne tried to advance Lady Catherine’s claim to the throne by backing John Hales’s Discourse on the Succession but met with little success. Although she was rarely at Elizabeth’s court, on one visit she had with her nineteen servants, including a chaplain and seven stable lads.

Anne Stanhope, Duchess of Somerset

Catherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk

Catherine Willoughby was the daughter of William Willoughby, 10th Baron Willoughby d’Eresby and Maria de Salinas.

When Catherine’s father died she became the ward of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and was raised with his children of his previous wife, Mary Tudor, dowager queen of France.

The original plan was that Catherine was to marry Suffolk’s son, Henry, but after Mary Tudor died in 1533, Suffolk married Catherine himself on 7 September 1534. When they married Catherine was 14 and Suffolk was 49.

The couple had two sons, Henry and Charles.

Catherine spent a lot of time at court during the reign of Henry VIII and Kateryn Parr.

In 1548, when Kateryn Parr died after giving birth to her daughter Mary, the child was placed in Catherine’s care.

Catherine lost both of her sons to an epidemic of “the sweat” in 1551, when they died within hours of each other. In 1553, Catherine took as her second husband the man who had been her first husband’s steward (some sources say gentleman usher). Richard Bertie (December 25,1517-April 9,1582) shared Catherine’s religious views. In 1554, their daughter Susan (d.1596+) was born. By that time Mary Tudor was queen and had restored Catholicism to England. Richard Bertie went into exile first and on New Year’s Day 1555, Catherine and Susan followed him. A son named Peregrine (October 12,1555-June 25,1601) was born during their travels abroad. They ended up in Poland, where King Sigismund offered them the governorship of Lithuania. They remained there until after Mary Tudor’s death, returning to England in the late spring of 1559. Under Elizabeth Tudor, the Berties were not significant figures at court, but Catherine was entrusted with the keeping of Lady Mary Grey for a time after that young lady’s elopement. Mary was in her step-grandmother’s household from August 7, 1567 until June 1569.

Catherine Willoughby

Gentlewomen of the Privy Chamber and Bedchamber

Elizabeth Oxenbridge, Lady Tyrwhitt

Elizabeth Oxenbridge was the daughter of Goddard Oxenbridge and his second wife, Anne Fiennes.

Elizabeth was at Tudor court in the household of Jane Seymour in 1537, then after the queen’s death she resided with Mary Arundell, Countess of Sussex.

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

It is probably at this time that her book of prayers was written. Her husband was Kathryn’s master of horse. Both she and her husband remained with the queen dowager after Henry VIII’s death and Elizabeth, in testimony before the Privy Council, gave an eyewitness account of the queen dowager’s death on September 5, 1548. Elizabeth’s dislike of Kathryn Parr’s new husband, Lord Admiral Thomas Seymour, comes through clearly in this report. A short time later, Sir Robert and Lady Tyrwhitt were put in charge of Princess Elizabeth at Hatfield, following the removal of the princess’s longtime governess, Kat Astley, on suspicion of plotting to marry her young charge to the widowed Lord Admiral. Upon Lady Tyrwhitt’s arrival, the princess locked herself in her room and declared that she did not need a governess. Sir Robert was of the opinion that she needed two and Lady Tyrwhitt stayed on even after Kat Astley’s return to the household.

No available portrait.

Maud Parr, Lady Lane

Maud Parr was the daughter of William Parr, Baron Parr and Mary Salisbury.

She married Sir Ralph Lane in 1523, although they did not live together as man and wife until 1527. The couple had three sons and seven daughters, including Laetitia, Robert, Ralph, Frances, Mary, Jane, Dorothy, Katherine, and William.

In 1543, she entered the service of her cousin, Queen Katherine Parr. She shared evangelical religious views with several other of the queen’s ladies and was at one point in danger of arrest. In the past, several historians misread Lady Lane as Lady Jane and thought that Lady Jane Grey was part of Katherine Parr’s protestant circle when she was queen, but Lady Jane would have been too young at that time. Maud Lane survived Henry VIII’s reign and retired to Horton until her death in 1558 or 1559.

No available portrait.

Mary Wotton, Lady Carew

Mary Wotton was the daughter of Sir Robert Wotton and Anne Belknap.

It is possible that Mary was the Mistress Wotton who was a chamberer to Mary Tudor, queen of France, in 1513.

She married first, Sir Henry Guildford. Her second husband was Sir Gavin Carew and they married in July 1540.

Mary was at court in 1543 as one of Queen Kateryn Parr’s ladies.

Mary Wotton

Chamberers:

Dorothy Fountain

Not a great deal is known about Dorothy Fountain. She has been identified by Susan James in Catherine Parr as nurse first to Margaret Neville, daughter of Lord Latimer and the queen’s stepdaughter, and later as nurse to Edward Herbert, Anne Parr’s son, when he lived at Chelsea Manor in 1547. From 1543 until Margaret Neville’s death in 1546, Dorothy was at court as Margaret’s servant. In 1547, she was listed as one of the queen’s chamberers. She married William Savage, another of the queen’s household, at around that time but they both disappear from the records after the death of the queen dowager in 1548.

No portrait available.

Mary Woodhull

Mary Woodhull (often written Odell) was the daughter of Nicholas Woodhull and Elizabeth (or Alice) Parr.

Her grandfather was Lord Parr of Horton, making her a cousin to Queen Katherine Parr, Horton’s niece. She came to court as a chamberer in 1543 when she was about fifteen and had been promoted to gentlewoman of the queen’s chamber at a salary of five shillings by 1547.

Mary remained with Kateryn Parr after Henry VIII’s death. It was noted that sometimes she shared a bed with Parr for warmth.

In June 1550, Mary married David Seymour, a distant relation of Lord Protector Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset, who had also been in Queen Katherine’s household. They had three children, William, Edward, and Anne.

No portrait available.

Maids of Honor:

The list of maids of honor is vague at best – Anne Bassett, Dorothy Bray, a daughter of Sir Anthony Browne’s, a Carew girl, a Guildford girl, a relative of Dr. Robert Huicke and a Windsor girl.

Mother of Maids:

Margaret (or Anne) Foliot, Mrs. Stonor

Paintrix:

Lavina Bening, Mrs.Teerlinc

The eldest of five daughters of Simon Bening, an illuminator, and Katlijne Scroo, Lavina  was born in Bruges.

Between 1540 and 1542, she married George Teerlinc. It was as Lavina Teerlinc that she became well known as a limner and miniature painter.

She and her husband arrived in England in early 1545 and she was sworn into the queen’s Privy Chamber. The following year, her husband became one of the king’s Gentlemen Pensioners and Lavina became one of the king’s artists at £40 per annum.

Under Queen Mary I, Lavina continued to receive the £40 annuity as a “paintrix” but this salary was not paid.

Lavina continued to be a court painter under Queen Elizabeth I and in 1562 presented the queen with “the Queen’s personne and other personages, in a box finely painted” as a New Year’s gift.

Laundress:

Christian Murset (wife of William)

Other Women in Unspecified Positions:

Mistress Barbara ?
Elizabeth Bellingham, Mrs. Hutton
Anne Blechingham or Blechington
Eleanor Browne, Lady Kempe
Jane Cheney, Lady Wriothesley
Mrs. Eglionby
Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Mrs. Garrett
Margery Horsham, Lady Lister
Anne Jerningham, Lady Walsingham
Mistress Kendal
Margaret Neville
Anne Sapcote, Lady Russell
Elizabeth Slighfield, Mrs. Huicke (wife of Dr. Robert Huicke)?
Lucy Somerset
Elizabeth Stonor, Lady Hoby
Mistress Syllyard

Once again this list could not be shared with you without the amazing research by Kate Emerson of “A Who’s Who of Tudor Women”. Her research has allowed me to compile the below list into one post to share with you. Please take the time to check out her site: A Who’s Who of Tudor Women.

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The Ladies Who Served: Anne of Cleves

When Anne of Cleves came to England she had brought along a group of her own ladies to serve her as queen. The French ambassador at the time is quoted as saying:

She brings in her suite twelve or fifteen damsels as maids of honor, all dressed in the same fashion and with same vestments which she herself wears – a thing which has seemed rather strange in this place.

The ladies that Anne of Cleve brought with her were less attractive than Anne herself and dressed in what was considered unattractive fashion, by English standards.

Not long after being in England a large number of Anne’s ladies were sent home and replaced by roughly thirty English ladies to serve her. Here is the list of ladies who served Anne of Cleves. This list could not be shared with you without the amazing research by Kate Emerson of “A Who’s Who of Tudor Women”. Her research has allowed me to compile the below list into one post to share with you. Please take the time to check out her site: A Who’s Who of Tudor Women

Great Ladies of the Household

Mary Arundell, Countess of Sussex

Mary was the daughter of Sir John Arundell and his second wife, Catherine Grenville.

Mary Arundell was 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 Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel on the 19th of December 1545, as his second wife.

Mary Arundell

Frances Brandon, Marchioness of Dorset

Frances was the daughter of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and Mary Tudor (sister of Henry VIII).

Frances married Henry Grey, Marquess of Dorset in 1533. The couple had three daughters, Lady Jane, Lady Catherine and Lady Mary as well ashad a girl and a boy who died young.

Frances was a prominent figure at court during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.

After the deaths of her father and half brothers, her husband was granted the Suffolk title, making Frances Duchess of Suffolk and creating occasional confusion with her stepmother, Catherine Willoughby.

Frances is believed to have been an active participant in the plot to marry her daughter Jane to John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland’s son, Guildford Dudley with the plot to place them on the throne in place of Mary Tudor. Whether or not this is true may never be known. When Mary Tudor took the throne back from Lady Jane Grey after the death of her brother, Edward VI, Frances Brandon was not imprisoned. Her husband and daughter were eventually executed and Frances was spared.

On the 9th of March 1554, Frances married Adrian Stokes who was her master of horse. It is believed that they had three children who died young.

Frances retired from public life after her marriage. She had suffered from poor health since at least the summer of 1552. She was at Sheen in October of 1559 when the earl of Hertford approached her for permission to marry her daughter, Catherine. Frances gave it, but she did not live to see the disastrous result. When she died, her two daughters and several close friends were with her.

Frances Brandon

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

Elizabeth Grey, Lady Audley

Elizabeth Grey was the daughter of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquis of Dorset and Margaret Wotton.

On the 22nd of April 1538, she married Thomas, Baron Audley of Walden. The couple had two daughters, Margaret and Mary.

In her widowhood, Elizabeth lived at Audley End, near Saffron Walden. Her daughter Margaret, who had become duchess of Norfolk by her marriage, came to her there to give birth to each of her children.

Further reading: Elizabeth Grey, Lady Audley

Elizabeth Grey

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 Mary’s 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

Eleanor Paston, 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

 

Privy Chamber:

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 father’s ward, John Dudley. They had thirteen children: Henry, Thomas, John, Ambrose, a second Henry, Mary, Robert, Guildford, Katherine, and four others—Charles, Margaret, Frances, and Temperance—who 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 husband’s 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 Northumberland’s 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.

Jane’s 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

Susanna Hornebolt, Mrs. Gilman

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

Susanna’s father and brother, Lucas, were among the king’s 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.

Susanna Hornebolt

Isabel Legh, Lady Baynton

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

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 served Anne 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 in The Women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, she was also part of Queen Mary’s household in 1554-7.

There are no portraits of Isabel Legh

Jane Parker, Lady Rochford

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 Howard’s 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

Catherine St. John, Lady Edgecumbe

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, Jane Dernford. In 1524-5, Sir Peter and his wife Catherine were sent three gallons of wine “at their first homecoming.” In November 1531, her stepson, Rhys ap Gruffydd, 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 in Attendance:

Jane Ashley, Lady Mewtas

Jane Cheney, Lady Wriothesley

Elizabeth Seymour, Lady Cromwell

Catherine Skipwith, Lady Heneage

Maids of Honor (6)

Anne Bassett
Dorothy Bray
Catherine Carey
Catherine Howard
Mary Norris
Ursula Stourton

Mistress of the Queen’s Maids:

Mother Lowe
Margaret (or Anne) Foliot, Mrs. Stonor

Sources:

Emerson, Kate; A Who’s Who of Tudor Women
Evans, Victoria Silvia; Who’s Who at the Tudor Court
Evans, Victoria Silvia; Ladies in Waiting: Women Who Served at the Tudor Court

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The Ladies Who Served Anne Boleyn

Tudor court at the time of Anne Boleyn’s rise must have been a very exciting place to be – if you were a supporter of Henry’s new love that is. When Anne Boleyn began to build a household the excitement must have been palpable. So much youth restored at court once again – laughter, love and other courtly adventures.

Today we take a look at the ladies who served Anne Boleyn. This is not all the ladies, only the ones I was able to find with the help of the wonderful Kate Emerson and her website: Index to A Who’s Who of Tudor Women. Her website is well researched and organized for anyone to use and I’d highly recommend you take some time to check it out.



 

Jane (Joan) Ashley

Jane is listed as a maid of honor to Anne Boleyn in January 1534. She was definitely a maid of honor to Queen Jane Seymour, and then married Peter Mewtas (Meautas, Meautys, de Meautis) in 1537 (before October 9). In 1540 and 1541,

Jane was apparently in the household of Prince Edward. Henry VIII’s household accounts list the expense of 10s for “a dozen handkerchiefs garnished with gold” in each of those years.

Jane’s husband was knighted in 1544. Their children were Cecily, Frances, Henry, Thomas, and Hercules.

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Mary Aucher

A lady called Anne Boleyn’s “old nurse” is believed to be Mary Orchard/Aucher, who later became a chamberer in Anne’s household and was with her at the end of her life in the Tower of London.

The identity of this woman is unknown, as is her marital status, but it seems likely that she was a connection of the Boleyn family through the marriage of Isabel Boleyn (d. April 23, 1485), Anne’s father’s paternal aunt, to Henry Aucher of Otterden, Kent. The name is also spelled Orcher. According to Alison Weir’s The Lady in the Tower, Mrs. Orchard was in the gallery at the trial of Anne Boleyn when the Duke of Norfolk condemned Anne to be burned or beheaded at King Henry’s pleasure. At those words, she “shrieked out dreadfully.”

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Isabel Agard

Isabel Agard was a member of the Agard family of Foston, Staffordshire. She married John Stonor (1480-1550). She may be the Mrs. Stonor who was with Anne Boleyn in the Tower of London in 1536 and/or the Mrs. Stonor who was Mother of Maids under Henry VIII’s next four queens. See the entry for Isabel’s sister-in-law, Margaret Foliot for more speculation on this identification. Isabel was the mother of Francis Stonor (1520-1564) and Henry Stonor. Retha Warnicke identifies Mrs. Stonor as “perhaps the wife of John, the king’s sergeant at arms,” in her The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn.

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Mary Boleyn

Mary was the older sister of Anne and also George Boleyn, Lord Rochford. She accompanied Princess Mary Tudor to France in 1513 and afteer the death King Louis XII of Frances Mary served the next queen consort, Queen Claude.

Learn more about Mary Boleyn by reading these earlier posts about her:

Mary Boleyn - Guest post by Susan Abernethy

Mary Boleyn Loses First Husband to Sweating Sickness  by Rebecca Larson

The Downside of Marrying for Love: Mary Boleyn by Rebecca Larson

The Tudors Dynasty Podcast: The Sisters Boleyn with Christine Morgan

Mary Boleyn

*Portrait: there is no authenticated portrait but six versions exist of one in the school of Hans Holbein that is called Mary Boleyn, including copies at Hever Castle and Holyroodhouse; a miniature is also unconfirmed.



Anne Bray

The daughter of Edmund Bray, 1st baron Bray and Jane Hallighwell, Anne Bray was married to George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham.
Barbara Harris in her work on aristocratic women names Anne, Lady Cobham as one of Anne Boleyn’s first accusers but M. St. Clare Byrne argues that Lady Lisle’s man in London, John Husee, would not have referred to a noblewoman as “Nan Cobham” and therefore he must have meant some other person, probably someone lower on the social ladder. Lady Cobham was in Anne Boleyn’s coronation procession and was one of Queen Jane Seymour’s ladies. According to David McKeen’s A Memory of Honour: the life of William Brooke, Lord Cobham, Lady Cobham was at Cobham Hall in July 1545 but shortly afterward joined her husband in Calais. They lived in the Lord Deputy’s residence there for the next five years. In 1554, when her husband and sons were imprisoned in the Tower of London after Wyatt’s rebellion, Lady Cobham was given permission to visit them there.

Public Domain Image – Tomb of George and Anne Brooke, Baron and Baroness Cobham, in St Mary Magdalene parish church, Cobham, Kent

Elizabeth Browne

Elizabeth Browne was the daughter of Sir Anthony Browne and Lucy Neville. She married by 1527, Henry Somerset, 2nd earl of Worcester.

Elizabeth was at court in the household of Anne Boleyn and seems to have been a friend of queen’s. It was noted that on the 8th of April 1536, she borrowed £100 from the queen. At the time of Anne Boleyn’s arrest Elizabeth Browne had not repaired her.

An unsubstantiated story has Elizabeth taken to task for immorality by her brother, Sir Anthony Browne (1500-1548) and responding that she was “no worse than the queen.” One variation on this story identifies Elizabeth as King Henry VIII’s former mistress and has her specifying that her brother should talk to Mark Smeaton and one of the queen’s gentlewomen called Marguerite for details on the queen’s misconduct. Another version has Lady Worcester issuing the reprimand and an unidentified woman comparing herself to the queen. The source appears to be a poem dated June 2, 1536 and written by Lancelot de Carles, a member of the French embassy to England. Gossip prevalent at the time of Queen Anne’s arrest did mention Lady Worcester as a source of some of the accusations against her, but specifics are elusive. Similarly, comments Queen Anne made during her imprisonment are open to various interpretations.

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Nan Cobham

It is still uncertain who Nan Cobham could be. There has been speculation over the years regarding her identity but no concrete answers to solve the mystery.

According to a letter from John Husee, viscount Lisle’s man of business in London, dated 24 May 1536, “the first accusers” against Queen Anne Boleyn were “the Lady Worcester, and NanCobham and one maid more.” Lady Worcester was Elizabeth Browne, wife of the earl of Worcester, but “Nan Cobham” is more difficult to identify. As M. St. Clare Byrne points out in The Lisle Letters, it seems unlikely that Husee would refer to Anne Brooke (née Bray), Lady Cobham so familiarly. So who is the “Mrs. Cobham” among the queen’s gentlewomen who received a New Year’s gift from the king in 1534? Is she the same “Anne Cobham” who was one of Katherine Parr’s gentlewomen in 1547? Or was that Anne Bray? There was an Anne Cobham, widow (not Anne Bray) who, in 1540, was granted some of the lands formerly belonging to Syon Abbey. There was also a Cobham family in Dingley, Hampshire. An Anne Cobham from there married John Norwich (c.1497-before 1553) around 1518. And yet another Anne Cobham (1467-June 26, 1526) was the wife of Edward, 2nd Lord Borough. Just to complicate matters, members of the Brooke family sometimes used Cobham as a surname. The practice was not unique. It is also found in the Fiennes/Clinton, West/de la Warr, and Sutton/Dudley families. RethaWarnicke, in The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn, suggests that Nan Cobham may have been the queen’s midwife. In the January 1534 list of Anne’s ladies, Mrs. Cobham is listed eighth after the “mistress of the maidens” and the seven names before hers are those of maidens, not married women, but that may or may not be significant.

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Frances de Vere

Frances de Vere was the daughter of John de Vere, 15th earl of Oxford and Elizabeth Trussell. Frances married Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey in April 1532. Frances and Henry lived apart until 1535 because of their youth.

Alison Weir in Henry VIII: The King and his Court, states that Anne Boleyn arranged the match over the objections of the duchess of Norfolk and that Frances was at court as one of Anne’s ladies from 1533.

Frances was also noted to have been at the court of Katherine Howard, however, there is no evidence of her at court after the queen’s execution. Katherine gave her a brooch set with tiny diamonds and rubies.

According to one of her grandsons’ biographers, Frances also wrote poetry (like her husband the Earl of Surrey). Her children were Jane, Thomas, Catherine, Henry, and Margaret. Frances miscarried in 1547, the year her husband was executed for treason. She was ill for some time afterward.

They lived at the manor of Earl Soham near Framlingham Castle, returned to her from her first husband’s estate by Edward VI. She was granted nine manors by the duke of Norfolk, her father-in-law, after his restoration in 1553. They were worth £353/year. In July 1554, Frances represented Queen Mary at the christening of the French ambassador’s son and in December 1557 she was chief mourner at the funeral of her sister-in-law, Mary Howard.

Frances de Vere, Lady Surrey

 

Elizabeth Holland

Elizabeth Holland was the daughter (some sources say the sister) of John Holland of Wartwell Hall in Redenhall, Norfolk and a kinswoman, probably a niece, of John Hussey, 1st baron Hussey of Sleaford.

John Holland was the duke of Norfolk’s secretary and one of his stewards and Elizabeth, known as Bess, was also part of the ducal household at Kenninghall in 1526. At that time, Thomas Howard, 3rd duke of Norfolk noticed her and she became his mistress.

Because of the letters left by the duchess of Norfolk (Elizabeth Stafford), there is a good deal of confusion about Bess Holland. Since she was a gentlewoman, she was probably not a laundress in the household, or the children’s nurse. She may have been their governess. She was certainly on good terms with Mary Howard, Norfolk’s daughter.

When Anne Boleyn was created Marquess of Pembroke, Bess Holland was one of her maids of honor and she was still at court in 1537, when she rode in the funeral cortege of Queen Jane Seymour.

The records left by the duchess of Norfolk paint Bess Holland as a villainess and the duke as a monster, but the truth is probably less dramatic. Bess was his mistress for some twenty years. In December 1546, however, when both the duke and his son, Henry Howard, earl of Surrey, were charged with treason, Bess gave evidence against them. She probably had no choice.



 

Margery Horsman

Margery Horsman was a maid of honor to Henry VIII’s first three queens and a member of the households of the last three, although in some accounts of Anne Boleyn’s life, she is identified as “of the queen’s wardrobe.”

In the January 1534 list, hers is the seventh name after Mrs. Marshall, “mistress of the maidens.” If there were only six maids of honor, this may indicated she held another position. Or not. She was probably the “one maiden more” who was the third of three women to make accusations against Anne Boleyn in 1536. Edward Baynton recorded that “Mistress Margery” first assisted him and then became uncooperative, which fits with a report by Sir William Kingston that suggests she was loyal to the queen. Margery may also be the “Marguerite” mentioned as a witness in some reports. And she may have been with Anne Boleyn in the Tower. What is certain is that when Jane Seymour was queen, Margery offered advice to Lady Lisle about placing her daughters at court and appears a number of times in the Lisle letters. In particular, she advised that Anne Bassett, Lady Lisle’s daughter, was too young at fifteen to serve as a maid of honor to Queen Jane. Margery married Sir Michael Lister of Hurstbourne, Hampshire (d.1551), as his second wife, on June 27, 1537 and with her husband served jointly as Keeper of the Queen’s Jewels. She had two children, Charles (d. November 26, 1613) and Lawrence. Portrait: The portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger labeled Lady Lister is probably Margery’s mother-in-law, Isabel Shirley, but I include it here on the off chance it is Margery instead.

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Mary Howard

Mary Howard was the daughter of Thomas Howard, 3rd duke of Norfolk and Elizabeth Stafford. By birth she was part of two very noble families in the realm, the Howards and the Staffords.

Mary was a maid of honor to her cousin, Anne Boleyn and married Henry Fitzroy, duke of Richmond (illegitimate, yet acknowledged son of Henry VIII) at Hampton Court on 26 November 1533.

For more reading about Mary Howard, see our previous post about here:

Mary Howard: Bold Disobedience by Rebecca Larson

Tudors Dynasty Podcast: Too Wise for a Woman

Mary Howard

 

Elizabeth Isley

Elizabeth Isley was the daughter of Sir Thomas Isley and Elizabeth Guildford.

Her first husband was Richard Hill who was a wine merchant and master of Henry VIII’s wine cellar. It is believed that Elizabeth had ten or eleven children. Among them were Mary, Margaret, Frances, Anne, and Richard.

“Mrs. Hillis” is listed as one of Anne Boleyn’s ladies in January 1534 and it is tempting to think that this may have been Elizabeth Isley.

After the death of her first husband, Elizabeth remarried in 1540 to Sir John Mason who served in a number of civic posts, including ambassador to the court at Brussels under Mary Tudor.

Elizabeth was with him when he served in France. Together they had one son, Thomas.

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Grace Newport

Grace Newport was the daughter of John Newport and Mary Daniel. Married at the age of eight to Henry Parker (on May 18, 1523, Grace was the mother of Henry, 9th baron Morley, Charles, Edmund, Mary, Margaret, and Ann (or Amy).

According to Alison Weir’s Henry VIII: The King and His Court, she was one of Anne Boleyn’s ladies in waiting from 1533. Portrait: Grace is generally accepted to be the subject of the Holbein drawing inscribed “The Lady Parker.”

Grace Newport, Lady Parker

Mary Norris

Mary Norris was the daughter of Sir Henry Norris (who was executed 17 May 1536) and Mary Fiennes and was born around 1526.

It is believed that Mary was was a maid of honor to Anne Boleyn (she would have been fairly young in that position). It is more commonly believed that she served Jane Seymour – most definitely to Anne of Cleves and probably to Katherine Howard.

It was also noted that there was a Mary ‘Norice’ in Elizabeth Tudor’s household around 1536, and this may also be the same woman.

By February 1, 1541, Mary married Sir George Carew, Vice Admiral of the English fleet and was at Southsea Castle with the king in 1545, watching the ship her husband was aboard, the Mary Rose, when it suddenly rolled over and sank. Lady Carew fainted. In armor, her husband had no hope of surviving. I

Mary married a second time in 1546 to Sir Arthur Champernowne. She brought jointure lands worth £65/year to the marriage. With Sir Arthur she had five sons and one daughter: Gawen, Elizabeth, Philip, Charles, George, and Edward.

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Jane Parker

Jane Parker was the daughter of Henry Parker, 8th baron Morley and Alice St. John but she is best known as Lady Rochford, wife and then widow of George Boleyn, Queen Anne’s brother, to whom she was married in 1525. 

Further reading on Jane:

Jane Boleyn: Victim of History by Rebecca Larson

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Anne Savage

Anne Savage was the daughter of Sir John Savage and Anne Bostock and born around 1496.

Anne’s description at TudorPlace.com.ar is a woman “of middling stature, with a comely brown complexion, and much tender-hearted with her children.” She was at court and apparently in the household of Anne Boleyn before Anne Boleyn was queen. She was one of only four or five people to witness Anne Boleyn’s marriage to Henry VIII on January 25, 1533 and was Anne Boleyn’s trainbearer.

For more on Anne being witness to the secret wedding read this previous post:

Witness to a Secret: Anne Savage by Rebecca Larson

Anne Savage did not remain long at the new queen’s court. In April 1533, she married Thomas, 6th Baron Berkeley, known as “the Hopeful.” They had a daughter, Elizabeth (1534-September 1, 1582) and nine weeks after her husband’s death, Anne gave birth to his son and heir, Thomas, 7th Baron Berkeley.

Lady Berkeley was an avid letter writer, and was written about as well. A number of these missives are still extant, including one to Lord Cromwell on May 1, 1535 to complain about the Court of Wards, which opposed the release of her jointure. A letter from John Barlow, dean of Westbury College, to Lord Cromwell, also in 1535, complains about Lady Berkeley’s interference in his attempt to prosecute a number of men who were caught playing tennis “in service time” (in other words, when they should have been in church). The incident occurred near where she was living in Yate, Gloucestershire and she actively rallied opposition to Barlow’s charges. Barlow had earlier had a run in with Lady Berkeley over some religious books found in her house, but since both Catholic and radical Protestant texts were equally frowned upon at this time, it is difficult to say what Lady Berkeley’s beliefs might have been. 

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Jane Seymour 

Jane Seymour was the daughter of Sir John Seymour and Margery Wentworth. She was the sister of Edward, Thomas, Henry, Elizabeth and Dorothy Seymour and mother of KIng Edward VI.

Jane came to court as a maid of honor under Katherine of Aragon and then to the household of the new queen, Anne Boleyn.

For more reading on Jane Seymour:

Jane Seymour’s Rise to the Throne by Rebecca Larson

Portraits of a Queen: Jane Seymour 

Jane Seymour

Margaret Shelton 

Known as “Madge,” Margaret Shelton was the daughter of Sir John Shelton and Anne Boleyn, who was the sister of Queen Anne Boleyn’s father, Thomas. Madge came to court as a maid of honor to her cousin, Queen Anne around 1535.

It is commonly believed that Madge Shelton had a brief affair with Henry VIII while he was married to her cousin.

Kimberley Schutte, in her biography of Lady Margaret Douglas, describes Madge Shelton as a “pretty girl with dimples . . . very gentle in countenance” and “soft of speech,” but she also seems to think Margaret and her sister Mary were the same person and further identifies Madge as the “handsome young lady at court” who may have been the king’s mistress in 1534.

The name “Mistress Shelton” next crops up in connection with the king in 1538, as both a potential mistress and in describing Christina of Milan, who was said to resemble her.

It is unlikely King Henry was considering making Margaret his mistress again in 1538, since she was by then married to Thomas Wodehouse or Woodhouse.

Margaret “Madge” Shelton

Mary Zouche

Mary Zouche was the daughter of John Zouche, 8th baron Zouche of Harringworth and his first wife, Dorothy Capell – she was born around 1512.

In about 1527, she wrote to her cousin, Sir John Arundell of Lanherne (Mary’s grandmother was Margaret Arundell, Sir John’s aunt), asking to be taken into royal service because her new stepmother (Susan Welby) was cruel to her. The letter was probably written before 1529. It is dated only “at Notwell, the 8th day of October.”

Mary Zouche was at court as a maid of honor possibly to Katherine of Aragon, but certainly to Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour.

A number of accounts say Mary never wed, but the will of Robert Burbage, identifies his late wife as “the eldest daughter of John Zouche, knight, Lord Zouche, Saint Maur and Cantelupe.” It would appear that they married shortly after the 1542 payment of her annuity, when Mary was about thirty years old. They had one daughter, Anne Burbage, who married William Goring in 1563.

Mary Zouche

Source:

An Index to a Who’s Who of Tudor Women by Kate Emerson

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The Mistresses of Henry VIII

Photo of ladies courtesy of OntheTudorTrail.com

When we think of Henry VIII as a man the image that generally comes to mind is the overweight and smelly man who was filled with rage. Well, at least in his later years.

In this article we will be looking back at the younger version of that man who was actually considered attractive. Back then, Henry was a romantic – if we look at Anne Boleyn, who was technically his mistress because he was still married to Katherine of Aragon while he was pursuing Anne and trying to get her to sleep with him…we can use his love letters as an example of how passionate he was when he found a woman he wished to possess.

Here is love letter number four, which should give you a great idea of who he was during his push to get Anne into bed:

My Mistress and Friend, my heart and I surrender ourselves into your hands, beseeching you to hold us commended to your favour, and that by absence your affection to us may not be lessened: for it were a great pity to increase our pain, of which absence produces enough and more than I could ever have thought could be felt, reminding us of a point in astronomy which is this: the longer the days are, the more distant is the sun, and nevertheless the hotter; so is it with our love, for by absence we are kept a distance from one another, and yet it retains its fervour, at least on my side; I hope the like on yours, assuring you that on my part the pain of absence is already too great for me; and when I think of the increase of that which I am forced to suffer, it would be almost intolerable, but for the firm hope I have of your unchangeable affection for me: and to remind you of this sometimes, and seeing that I cannot be personally present with you, I now send you the nearest thing I can to that, namely, my picture set in a bracelet, with the whole of the device, which you already know, wishing myself in their place, if it should please you. This is from the hand of your loyal servant and friend,

H.R.

Henry wanted what he wanted and most of the time women did not say “no” to their king. Anne’s own sister did not say no. I’m certain she wasn’t aware that she could or maybe she was not as cunning as her smart sister.

Anne Hastings

In 1509, not long after becoming king, Henry is said to have had an affair with a noble lady who was married – her name was Anne Hastings. Hastings was a Stafford by birth and her brother was Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham.

Here is a  little insight on Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and the scandal of his sister which caused havoc with the relationship of Edward Stafford and King Henry VIII.



A letter was exchanged between two subjects of King Ferdinand II of Aragon that explained what was happening at Tudor court – as you probably recall, this story would be important since Henry’s wife, Katherine was the daughter of King Ferdinand.

What lately has happened is that two sisters of the Duke of Buckingham, both married, lived in the palace. The one of them is the favourite of the Queen, and the other, it is said, is much liked by the King, who went after her. Another version is that the love intrigues were not of the King, but of a young man, his favourite, of the name of Compton, who had been the late King’s butler. This Compton carried on the love intrigue, as it is said, for the King, and that is the more credible version, as the King has shown great displeasure at what I am going to tell. The favourite of the Queen (Elizabeth Stafford) has been very anxious in this matter of her sister, and has joined herself with the Duke, her brother, with her husband and her sister’s husband, in order to consult on what should be done in this case. The consequence of the counsel of all the four of them was that, whilst the Duke was in the private apartment of his sister, who was suspected [of intriguing] with the King, Compton came there to talk with her, saw the Duke, who intercepted him, quarrelled with him, and the end of it was that he was severely reproached in many and very hard words. The King was so offended at this that he reprimanded the Duke angrily. The same night the Duke left the palace, and did not enter or return there for some days. At the same time the husband of that lady went away, carried her off, and placed her in a convent sixty miles from here, that no one may see her. The King having understood that all this proceeded from the sister, who is the favourite of the Queen, the day after the one was gone, turned the other out of the palace, and her husband with her. Afterwards, almost all the court knew that the Queen had been vexed with the King, and the King with her, and thus this storm went on between them. I spoke to the friar about it, and complained that he had not told me this, regretting that the Queen had been annoyed, and saying to him how I thought that the Queen should have acted in this case, and how he, in my opinion, ought to have behaved himself. For in this I think I understand my part, being a married man, and having often treated with married people in similar matters. He contradicted vehemently, which was the same thing as denying what had been officially proclaimed. He told me that those ladies have not gone for anything of the kind, and talked nonsense, and evidently did not believe what he told me. I did not speak more on that subject.

So, the whole matter with Anne Hastings was to be kept quiet it appears – but obviously many new what had happened between the king and Lady Hastings.

Étiennette de la Baum

The next time we hear anything about a mistress is after Henry’s war with France in 1513. When Henry left for France he made Katherine of Aragon regent in his place – she in turn went on to defeat the Scots, who believed England to be undefended with the king in France and in turn their king, James IV was killed in battle. Katherine was victorious and Henry had also won his battles in France but was most likely out shined by his queen which would have bruised his ego.

There was great celebrations after winning his battles in France that Henry VIII went to the court of Margaret of Austria (daughter of the Emperor) to celebrate their joined victory – it was there that his apparent love affair with Étiennette de la Baume happened.

Étiennette de la Baume was a Flemish woman who was a maid of honor at the court of Margaret of Austria, Archduchess of Savoy and Regent of the Netherlands, she enjoyed the attentions of King Henry VIII during his visit to Lille in 1513.



The reason it is believed that Étiennette was mistress to the king is because in August 1514, when she was about to marry, she wrote to the Henry VIII, sending him “a bird and some roots of great value” and reminding him that he had promised to give her ten thousand crowns as a wedding present.

It is unclear whether or not Henry sent her the gift or whether is confirmed as his former mistress – some believe her letter is a sign that she was indeed a lover of the king.

Bessie Blount

Also in 1514 is when it appears that the marriage between the king and queen was weakening due to Katherine’s lack of a living child. In this year it is believed that Henry may have begun his affair with Bessie Blount, according to authors Kelly Hart and Philippa Jones.

His relationship with Bessie, a maid-of-honor to the queen, was his first big affair – it is believed that he truly loved her. Bessie was considered his ideal woman – young, beautiful, intelligent, musical, a great dancer and an enthusiastic rider…all the things that Henry appreciated the most in a woman. The affair lasted five years and only ended because Bessie became pregnant. Henry then married her off but everyone knew that she was carrying his son. This indeed taught him a lesson – to only sleep with women who were already married as not to cause scandal when they became pregnant. When

Bessie gave birth to a son on the 15th of June 1519, the king was ecstatic and acknowledged the boy, who would be called Henry Fitzroy. The son of a king. He would leave Fitzroy on the back-burner, but well raised, in case his wife would not give him a son.

Jane Popincourt

The earliest reference of Jane Popincourt shows up in the Privy Purse expenses of Elizabeth of York in 1498.² Kathy Lynn Emerson, creator of “Who’s Who of Tudor Women” states that Jane was a French-speaking lady assigned to teach the language to Henry VII’s daughters, Margaret and Mary, through “daily conversation.” Nothing is known of her background. Some records identify her as French, others as Flemish.¹ Author Philppa Jones of “The Other Tudors” says that Jane was attached to the household of Princess Mary from nearly the time of her birth and her job was to teach Mary, and there is no mention of Margaret.

In 1512 was a member of Katherine of Aragon’s household.

She became notorious during the stay of Louis d’Orléans, 2nd duc de Longueville at the English court as a prisoner of war.  Longueville was captured at the Battle of the Spurs and sent to England as a prisoner of war to wait for his ransom (100,000 crowns) to be paid. While in England he took Jane as a mistress.

When Queen Anne of France died, Longueville took an active role in negotiating the marriage of Louis XII of France and Henry VIII’s sister, Mary, and served as proxy bridegroom at the wedding at Greenwich Palace. The following day, his ransom having been paid, he left for France.

Jane had expected to journey to France as an attendant to Princess Mary. It is believed that she hoped to be reunited with her lover there, but her name was struck off the list at the last moment by King Louis XII – he had supposedly discovered that Jane had been the mistress of Longueville, whose wife was at the French court.

Jane stayed in England for a time after and is said to have had a brief affair with Henry VIII until King Louis XII died in January 1515. When the French king died Henry gave her a gift of £100 and Jane returned to France to be with Longueville who then unfortunately died in 1516.

Mistress Parker

It is believed that before Henry found Mary Boleyn that there was a lady by the name of Mistress Parker who had a short tryst with the king. It is unknown exactly who this woman was but there are some thoughts on the matter: Author Kelly Hart writes, “it has been suggested that this was Arabella Parker, a merchant’s wife, or Margery Parker, a member of Princess Mary’s household.” “It could also refer to Jane Parker” who later married George Boleyn.

Author Philippa Jones also makes the same suggestions but seems to lean a little more toward Margery Parker since she was in his daughter’s household and this would have given him easy access to her. However, since Jane Parker was also the same masque as Anne Boleyn in 1522, it is possible that he noticed her there as well.

Mary Boleyn

Around the same time or shortly after “Mistress Parker” Henry took on Mary Boleyn as a mistress – Historian, Susan Abernethy states:

“While we don’t know the exact date of the commencement of King Henry’s affair with Mary, it is likely to have begun about 1522. Mary participated in a pageant during a celebration for the Spanish ambassador in March of that year and may have caught the eye of King Henry with her dancing.

It is possible that Mary did not go the King’s bed willingly, wanting to honor her marriage vows. Whatever happened, Mary and Henry began an affair which may have lasted until 1525.



The affair between King Henry VIII and Mary Boleyn was conducted so secretively the few people probably knew about it and the evidence for the affair is scarce. There is no doubt there was an affair, even if we don’t know the exact dates or details. During Mary’s marriage to William Carey she was to have two children: Katherine, born in March or April of 1524, and Henry, born c. March 1525. There is evidence indicating a strong probability that Katherine was Henry VIII’s child although he didn’t acknowledge her as his daughter. Because Mary was married at the time of the births of her children, they were legally considered William Carey’s children.”

“Very Handsome Young Lady”

On the 27th of September 1534, Chapuys had reported that Henry had…

“Renewed and increased the love he formerly bore to another very handsome young lady of the court; and whereas the royal mistress (Anne Boleyn) hearing of it, attempted to dismiss the damsel from her service, the king has been very sad and sent her a message to this effect: that she ought to be satisfied with what he had done for her, for, were he to commence again, he would certainly not do as much; she ought to consider where she from and many other things of the same kind. Yet no great stress is to be laid on such words….Anne knows perfectly well how to deal with him.

Kathy Lynn Emerson of “Who’s Who of Tudor Women” believes this lady may have been Elizabeth Hervey/Harvey who was referred to as Bess. Henry would have turned to Bess during Anne’s pregnancy in 1534.  It is known that the lady was a friend of Lady Mary (Henry’s daughter). Queen Anne attempted to remove her competition with the help of her sister-in-law, Lady Rochford but their mission failed and Rochford was instead dismissed from court for a time.

David Starkey’s Six Wives recounts that Bess Hervey/Harvey was in service to Anne Boleyn and on “friendly terms” with Sir Francis Bryan. She was sent away from court in 1536, although she claimed she did not know why. If she was the “handsome young lady,” she had lost the king’s interest by then.

According to Carolly Erickson in Bloody Mary, an Elizabeth Harvey was one of Catherine of Aragon’s women in 1536. After Catherine died she asked to be placed in Mary’s service and was refused. In 1539, however, she was part of a group of court ladies who visited Portsmouth to tour the king’s ships, at Henry VIII’s special invitation. She was also among the ladies in Anne of Cleves’s household, as “Elsabeth Harvy.”

She was not appointed to Catherine Howard’s household, but during Catherine’s tenure as queen, Catherine gave Bess the gift of a gown.

Starkey also suggests Bess was Thomas Culpepper’s paramour. 

Mary Shelton

Some have believed that Anne Boleyn herself had convinced her cousin, Mary Shelton to become a mistress of the king. If his mistress was a family member then Anne would certainly remain secure on her throne.

The love affair merely lasted six months and then it was over – Anne Boleyn’s plot had been foiled.

After Mary Shelton and before the execution of Anne Boleyn, Henry was courting Jane Seymour.

There were other ladies who were rumored to be the king’s mistresses: Mary Berkeley, Jane Pollard, Joanna Dingley, Anne Bassett and Elizabeth Cobham – but we’ll leave those ladies’ stories for another day.

Becoming a mistress to the king meant that favor was brought to you and usually your family. To be chosen may have been flattering to some and a curse to others. For Anne Boleyn it made her a queen, for her sister, well, she did not have the fantastic life her sister had but she did find true love and she did outlive all of her siblings. That’s has to account for something, right?

WANT TO LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE OF MY PODCAST?

**If you’re interested in my post on “Illegitimate Children of Henry VIII“, please click HERE**

References:

Hart, Kelly; The Mistresses of Henry VIII 

Jones, Philippa; The Other Tudors – Henry VIII’s Mistresses and Bastards  

Emerson, Kathy Lynn; A Who’s Who of Tudor Women

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