Tudor Thomases (Part Two)

In 16th century England, or Tudor court to be exact, there are both male and female names that we hear over and over.

We’ve been fortunate enough to have a guest writer contribute to our page with Tudor Marys and Katherines. Next to those two there should also be Elizabeths, Anne’s and Margarets as well. But today we are looking at the male version of those names. While the name Henry was very popular there was a fan request to look at all the Tudor Thomases. We already did a Part One and you can find it here.

While I know I’m not the first to participate in this subject I’m always willing to accommodate my followers requests.

Since there are so many Tudor Thomases I’ve had to break it down into a couple posts. Hopefully I am able to provide you with information in this post that I have not before. Enjoy!

Thomas Boleyn

Nick Dunning as Thomas Boleyn (Season 2 – episode 10) – Photo: Jonathan Hession/Showtime – Photo ID: tudors_210_0014

Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire, but best known as the father of Anne, George and Mary Boleyn.

Boleyn was born circa 1477 to Sir William Boleyn and Lady Margaret Butler, wealthy Norfolk gentry. His paternal grandfather was a former lord mayor of London and his maternal grandfather was a leading Anglo-Irish aristocrat by the name of Thomas Butler, Earl of Ormond.

Thomas Boleyn married Elizabeth Howard sometime in the 1490s – Elizabeth was the daughter of Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and sister of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk.

Boleyn escorted Henry VII’s daughter, Margaret Tudor to Scotland for her marriage to King James IV and in 1509 was knighted and named esquire of the body to King Henry VIII.

In 1521, Thomas Boleyn was appointed treasurer of the royal household and in 1523 was elected knight of the Garter. Then in 1525, he was raised to the peerage of Viscount Rochford which some believe coincided with Henry VIII’s affair with Mary Boleyn.

In 1529, when Boleyn’s daughter Anne was in the cross-hairs of Henry VIII he was created Earl of Wiltshire. He reached his pinnacle in 1530 when he was named Lord Privy Seal.

After the birth of his granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth, Thomas Boleyn spent most of his time at court.

Boleyn lost his the earldom of Ormond and the office of Lord Privy Seal after the execution of his children. There is no evidence that Thomas Boleyn tried to communicate with his daughter Anne while she was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Thomas Boleyn died on the 12th of March 1539, almost three years after the execution of two of his children.

 

Thomas Seymour

As the brother of Queen consort, Jane Seymour, Thomas Seymour had an amazing life and career ahead of him. Unfortunately he allowed greed, ambition and his emotions to end his life prematurely.

Born about 1508, Seymour was one of ten children of John Seymour and Margery Wentworth. His most notable siblings were his sister Jane and brother, Edward who would later become Lord Protector of the Realm for Edward VI.

Thomas Seymour had a way with women – his charisma so great and his looks so good that even Katherine Parr couldn’t help but fall for him. He was described as “…fierce in courage, courtly in fashion, in personage stately, in voice magnificent.”  Yet with all those wonderful attributes he did not marry until he was nearly forty years old.

It was after the death of Katherine Parr that things began to unfold for Thomas Seymour. His persistent wooing of Princess Elizabeth along with his constant influence over King Edward VI led him to his arrest and placement in the Tower.

 

Thomas Tallis

Born circa 1505, little is known about Tallis’ early years. He is best known as a leading musician and composer at the court of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.

By the year 1544, Thomas Tallis was working at the Chapel Royal as a singer, composer and organist – he remained in that position until his death in 1585. During his tenure he performed at daily liturgical services and special occasions such as royal coronations and weddings.

Tallis died in November 1585 and was buried in the parish church at St. Alfrege, Greenwich.

John Strype, an English clergyman, historian and biographer a brass plate with an engraving on it in 1720 – it read:

Entered here doth ly a worthy wyght,
Who for long tyme in musick bore the bell:
His name to shew, was THOMAS TALLYS hyght,
In honest virtuous lyff he dyd excell.

He serv’d long tyme in chappel with grete prayse
Fower sovereygnes reygnes (a thing not often seen);
I meane Kyng Henry and Prynce Edward’s dayes,
Quene Mary, and Elizabeth oure Quene.

He mary’d was, though children he had none,
And lyv’d in love full thre and thirty yeres
Wyth loyal spowse, whose name yclypt was JONE,
Who here entomb’d him company now beares.

As he dyd lyve, so also did he dy,
In myld and quyet sort (O happy man!)
To God ful oft for mercy did he cry,
Wherefore he lyves, let deth do what he can.

*There is no contemporary portrait of Thomas Tallis

Thomas Nashe

Born in November of 1567 in Lowestoft, England, Thomas Nashe was the second son of a minister, William Nashe and his wife, Margaret.

Nashe is best known as a controversial and satirical writer. Many of his pamphlets were implicated in what is now known as the Harvey-Nashe controversy.

In the early 1590s, Nashe produced an erotic poem called, The Choice of Valentines. This poem begins with a sonnet to “Lord S”. It has been suggested that The Choice of Valentines was written possibly for the private circle of Lord Strange). To check it out for yourself, click here.

“Most of the details of his life and death are unknown or mysterious at best, but from his extant texts and what little is known of his life, he appears to have been a remarkable and audacious character.”

The details surrounding Nashe’s death are uncertain. He died in 1601, aged 34, and various causes ranging from the plague to food poisoning to a stroke have been suggested. – Luminarium


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Tudor Thomases (Part One)

In 16th century England, or Tudor court to be exact, there are both male and female names that we hear over and over.

We’ve been fortunate enough to have a guest writer contribute to our page with Tudor Marys and Katherines. Next to those two there should also be Elizabeths, Anne’s and Margarets as well. But today we are looking at the male version of those names. While the name Henry was very popular there was a fan request to look at all the Tudor Thomases.

While I know I’m not the first to participate in this subject I’m always willing to accommodate my followers requests.

Since there are so many Tudor Thomases I’ve had to break it down into a couple posts. Hopefully I am able to provide you with information in this post that I have not before. Enjoy!

Thomas More

Thomas More

Thomas More, author of Utopia, friend of Henry VII and martyr, are just a few words to describe him.

More was the son of a lawyer and was educated at St. Anthony’s school in London. He served as a page in Cardinal John Morton’s household during the reign of King Henry VII.

Thomas also attended Oxford and then studied law at the Inns of Court. He began to practice law around 1501.

In 1504 he married, Jane Colt, who was the birth mother of his children, Margaret, Elizabeth, Cicely and John. She has been described as ‘quiet and good-natured’ by author Peter Ackroyd of The Life of Sir Thomas More. It was reported by Erasmus that Thomas wished to give Jane more of an education than she received prior to meeting him; He tutored her himself in both music and literature.

Jane died in 1511, and shortly thereafter More wed Alice Middleton, a wealthy widow.

Thomas’ political career began in 1515, when he was sent to the Netherlands on an embassy charged with renegotiating a trade agreement.

After the downfall and death of another Thomas, Thomas Wolsey, More became Lord Chancellor of England. It was while in this role that More felt conflicted with Henry VIII’s decision to divorce Katherine of Aragon. While More did not agree with the King he never spoke ill of him publicly. Ultimately, this was the beginning of his downfall and martyrdom. In May 1532, More resigned his position as Lord Chancellor after the Submission of the Clergy occurred.

Thomas More also refused to attend the coronation of Anne Boleyn and in 1534 was included in the Bill of Attainder that condemned Elizabeth Barton – the Nun of Kent, but was able to convince the House of Lords to remove his name.

After refusing to sign the Act of Succession, which removed the King’s eldest daughter from the line of succession, More was committed to the Tower of London on the 17th of April 1534.

Eventually More was condemned for treason when Sir Richard Rich made claims against him.

On 6 July 1535, Thomas More was beheaded.

Further Reading:
Ackroyd, Peter. The Life of Thomas More. 
Fox, Alistair. Thomas More
Guy, John. A Daughter’s Love: Thomas More and His Dearest Meg.
Marius, Richard. Thomas More.
Wagner, John A & Walters Schmid, Susan. Encyclopedia of Tudor England

Thomas Howard

Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk was the eldest son of another Thomas Howard (2nd Duke) and Elizabeth Tilney.

Duke of Norfolk

Norfolk was the leading military and political figure during the reign of Henry VIII. He was instrumental in the rise of his nieces, Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. Norfolk was a very ambitious man. When Anne Boleyn was Queen he was able to, with Anne’s assistance, marry his daughter Mary Howard to Henry’s illegitimate (yet acknowledged) son, Henry Fitzroy. This made her Duchess of Richmond.

Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk was considered a conservative who was uncomfortable with the countries religious reform but he stood behind the king in support of his niece becoming the next queen of England.

Norfolk acted as Lord Steward and presided over the trials of his niece and nephew, Anne and George Boleyn.

After the birth of Henry VIII’s long-awaited heir, Norfolk was made godfather to Prince Edward and was also commissioner at the funeral of Jane Seymour in November 1537.

Thomas Howard, along with Charles Brandon were chosen to meet Anne of Cleves at Dover in 1539 and in 1540 Howard was more than happy to see the downfall of Thomas Cromwell.

Thomas and his son, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, were sent to the Tower of London after it was alleged that Surrey had displayed the royal arms in his own heraldry. Surrey was executed but Norfolk was spared due to the timely death of Henry VIII.

Further Reading:
Head, David M.  The Ebbs and Flows of fortune: The Life of Thomas Howard, Third Duke of Norfolk.

Thomas Elyot

Thomas Elyot, son of Sir Richard Elyot (Wiltshire) and Alice De la Mare was one of the first people to write mainly in English.

Elyot was secured an appointment in 1510 by his father as a clerk of the assize.

Like, Thomas More, Elyot attended one of the Inns of Court in London and likely met the author of Utopia.

Around 1520, Thomas married Margaret á Barrow. Margaret was well-known for her education which was given to her by Sir Thomas More. The couple had three children today – John, Thomas and Richard.

In 1523, Elyot was appointed, through Cardinal Wolsey, as clerk of the royal council until he was dismissed in 1530 after the downfall of Wolsey. Elyot never advanced past the peerage of Knight.

Thomas Elyot published The Boke of the Governor which was well received at court and secured him an appointment as ambassador to Charles V. It was his job to convince Charles to accept Henry’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon – even though he himself did not agree with the matter.

In 1532, Elyot was replaced by yet another Thomas, Thomas Cranmer.

Further Reading:
Elyot, Sir Thomas. The Boke Named the Governour.
Kennedy, Teresa. Elyot, Castiglione, and the Problem of Style.
Lehmberg, Stanford E. Sir Thomas Elyot, Tudor Humanist

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Men’s Clothing in 16th Century Tudor England

mens-clothing-in-16th-century-tudor-england

“A man’s clothes were a matter of great public importance, a woman’s less so. With his clothes a man advertised his place in society, a fact that had serious consequences in Tudor England. Laws restricted a man’s rights to wear certain fabric and colours to those within particular social strata so thoughtless dressing could land a man in legal trouble” – Ruth Goodman

The use of cloth of gold and purple silk was reserved to members of the royal family and declared in the statute of 1483. The legislation of 1483 reserved cloth of gold of silk or purple silk to the King, the Queen, the King’s mother and the immediate royal family. The legislation of 1509-10 then applied the same to cloths used for horses.

Sumptuary laws were passed during Henry VIII’s first Parliament to preserve rank and ensure no subject dressed above their rank – these laws were passed and prohibited anyone below the rank of Knight of the Garter with the exception of certain Lords, Judges and those of the king’s council and the Mayor of London to wear velvet in their gown and doublet, or satin or damask in his gown or coat. Others with the title of Earl or higher could wear sable fur. With that being said, other furs could be worn by lower ranks.

There were also certain clauses that prohibited the wearing of foreign wools and furs, which protected local businesses and trade.

untitled-design-44

Tudor Men’s Hats

While styles of hats varied, common amongst the commoners of the time were the “flat caps” which had been in use for much of the Tudor reign. These might be made of wool, felt, or leather, and could be lined with linen. Amongst the nobility, tall hats similar to a modern top hat, but featuring a tapering crown, or an arched brim hat might be popular amongst both men and women. Italian style “bonnet” hats also were popular during the period, and any of these hats could be made of a fine fabric over a frame of linen stiffened with gum. Leather was also a popular material for the construction of fashionable hats. – Tudor Shoppe

varioustudor-menshats

Tudor Men’s Shoes

The legs were covered with hose, which had become two separate pieces. Upper stocks covered the top half of the leg, while lower stocks covered the bottom. The differentiation between the two pieces is particularly clear in Henry’s portrait. The emphasis on width is continued all the way down to the shoes, called duckbill shoes. Duckbill shoes were flat and square in front, made of leather, and could be slashed for decoration. – The Fashion Historian

 

GENTLEMAN'S SHOES, TUDOR STYLE Brown leather, wide rounded toes, brass side buckles, shoes from "Lederman Collection" purchased early 20th C & exhibited in Europe & USA, 4" x 10.5", unsure date these were made, (leather very worn & cracked,heels w/ cut out squares) fair.
GENTLEMAN’S SHOES, TUDOR STYLE
Brown leather, wide rounded toes, brass side buckles, shoes.

tudor-shoe

This leather thigh boot was found in the hold of the Mary Rose. It appears to have been lined, with a leather top lining and at least two different fabrics, and still has its bootstraps attached, allowing it to be pulled on with ease.
This leather thigh boot was found in the hold of the Mary Rose. It appears to have been lined, with a leather top lining and at least two different fabrics, and still has its bootstraps attached, allowing it to be pulled on with ease.

 


Sources/References:

Wooglar, C.M.; “The Great Household in Late Medieval England”
Goodman, Ruth; “How to be a Tudor – A Dawn to Dusk Guide to Tudor Life”
Mason, Emma; “What clothes did people wear in the Tudor period?” via History Today

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