2nd Millennium, 16th Century Events, 1540-1543 Catherine Howard and Cromwell's Execution

1540-1543 Catherine Howard and Cromwell's Execution is in 16th Century Events.

2nd Millennium, 16th Century Events, 1540-1543 Catherine Howard and Cromwell's Execution, Arrest and Attainder of Thomas Cromwell

On 10 Jun 1540 Thomas Cromwell 1st Earl Essex (age 55) attended a Meeting of the Privy Council where he was arrested. It isn't entirely clear why he was arrested but his role in the King's recent failed marriage to Anne of Cleves Queen Consort England (age 24) is likely to have played a part. Either Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk (age 67) or William Fitzwilliam 1st Earl of Southampton (age 50) tore off Cromwell's (age 55) St George of the Order of the Garter; the source of this story unknown? He was imprisoned in the Tower of London [Map].NOTEXT

Earl Essex 6C 1540 and Baron Cromwell of Wimbledon in Surrey forfeit.

PAINTINGS/UNKNOWN/Thomas_Cromwell.jpg PAINTINGS/HOLBEIN_YOUNGER/William_Fitzwilliam.jpg

Letters and Papers 1540. After 10 Jun 1540. Burnet, iv. 415. 60. Not printed in the Statutes at Large. [c. 62]. Attainder of Thomas Crumwell, Earl of Essex (age 55), whom the King has raised from a very base and low degree to the state of an earl, and who nevertheless, as is proved by many "personages of great honor, worship, and discretion," has been the most detestable traitor that has been seen during the King's reign, and has of his own authority set at liberty divers persons convicted of misprision of treason and others apprehended upon suspicion of treason; and also has, for sums of money, granted licences for the export of money, corn, &c., contrary to the King's proclamations; and also has appointed commissioners in important affairs without the King's knowledge; and also "being a person of as poor and low degree as few be" within this realm, has said publicly, "That he was sure of you" (i.e. the King), and it is detestable that any subject should speak so of his sovereign; and also has give passports to divers persons to go over sea without search; and also, being a detestable heretic, has dispersed into all shires false and erroneous books, many of which were printed beyond seas, tending to the discredit of the blessed sacrament of the altar and other articles of religion declared by the King by the authority of Parliament, and has caused parts of the said books to be translated into English, and although the report made by the translator thereof has been that the matter was expressly against the sacrament of the altar, has, after reading the translation, affirmed the heresy so translated to be good; and also has obstinately maintained that every Christian may be a minister of the said sacrament as well as a priest; and also, being the King's vicegerent to reform errors and direct ecclesiastical causes, has, without the King's knowledge, licensed heretics to preach and teach, and has actually written to sheriffs in sundry shires, as if it were the King's pleasure, to set at large many false heretics; and also upon complaints being made to him of heretics, has defended the said heretics, and rebuked the credible persons, their accusers, &c.; and moreover, 31 March 30 Henry VIII., in the parish of St. Peter the Poor in London, upon information made to him against certain new preachers, as Robert Barnes and other, whereof part be now in the Tower for preaching against the King's proclamations, did arrogantly say in defence of their preaching, "That if the King would turn from it, yet I would not turn; and if the King did turn and all his people I would fight in the field in my own person with my sword in my hand against him and all other," and held up his dagger saying, "Or else this dagger thrust me to the heart if I would not die in that quarrel against them all; and I trust if I live one year or two it shall not lie in the King's power to resist or let it if he would," and affirming the words by a great oath, &c.; and moreover by bribery and extortion he obtained innumerable sums of money, and, being so enriched, has held the nobles of the Realm in great disdain, "and being put in remembrance of others of his estate which your Highness hath called him unto offending in like treasons," said, 31 Jan. 31 Henry VIII., in the parish of St. Martin in the Fields, Midd., "That if the lords would handle him so, that he would give them such a breakfast as never was made in England, and that the proudest of them should know." To suffer as a heretic or traitor, at the King's pleasure, and forfeit all property held since 31 March 30 Henry VIII. Saving clause excepting the deanery of Wells from forfeiture.

Letters of Thomas Cranmer. 11 Jun 1540. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (age 50) writes to King Henry VIII on behalf of Thomas Cromwell 1st Earl Essex (age 55) who had recently been arrested. The letter is not extant but was printed originally in Edward Herbert, Baron of Cherbury’s The Life and Raigne of King Henry VIII in 1649.

"I heard yesterday in your Grace’s Council, that he (Crumwell) is a traitor, yet who cannot be sorrowful and amazed that he should be a traitor against your Majesty, he that was so advanced by your Majesty; he whose surety was only by your Majesty; he who loved your Majesty, as I ever thought, no less than God; he who studied always to set forwards whatsoever was your Majesty’s will and pleasure; he that cared for no man’s displeasure to serve your Majesty; he that was such a servant in my judgment, in wisdom, diligence, faithfulness, and experience, as no prince in this realm ever had; he that was so vigilant to preserve your Majesty from all treasons, that few could be so secretly conceived, but he detected the same in the beginning? If the noble princes of memory, King John, Henry the Second, and Richard II had had such a counsellor about them, I suppose that they should never have been so traitorously abandoned, and overthrown as those good princes were: I loved him as my friend, for so I took him to be; but I chiefly loved him for the love which I thought I saw him bear ever towards your Grace, singularly above all other. But now, if he be a traitor, I am sorry that ever I loved him or trusted him, and I am very glad that his treason is discovered in time; but yet again I am very sorrowful; for who shall your Grace trust hereafter, if you might not trust him? Alas! I bewail and lament your Grace’s chance herein, I wot not whom your Grace may trust. But I pray God continually night and day, to send such a counsellor in his place whom your Grace may trust, and who for all his qualities can and will serve your Grace like to him, and that will have so much solicitude and care to preserve your Grace from all dangers as I ever thought he had…


Letters of Thomas Cromwell. Thomas Cromwell (age 55) to King Henry VIII. 12 Jun 1540. [B.M. Titus B. i, 273, TNA xv no. 776].

Most gracious King and most merciful sovereign, your most humble most obedient and most bounden subject and most lamentable servant and prisoner, prostrates at the feet of your most excellent majesty. I have heard your pleasure by the mouth of your Comptroller [William Kingston (age 64)] which was that I should write to your most excellent highness, such things as I thought mete to be written concerning my most miserable state and condition, for the which your most abundant goodness, benignity and license the immortal God there and on reward, Your Majesty. And now, most gracious Prince, to the matter. First whereas I have been accused to your Majesty of treason, to that I say I never in all my life thought willingly to do that thing that might or should displease your Majesty and much less to do or say that thing which of itself is so high and abominable offence, as God knows who I doubt not shall reveal the truth to your Highness. My accusers your Grace knows God forgive them. For as I ever have had love to your honour, person life, prosperity, health, wealth, joy, and comfort, and also your most dear and most entirely beloved son, the Prince his Grace, and your proceeding. God so help me in this my adversity and confound me if ever I thought the contrary. What labours, pains and travails I have taken according to my most bounden duty, God also knows, for if it were in my power as it is God’s to make your Majesty to live ever young and prosperous, God knows I would, if it had been or were in my power to make you so rich, as you might enrich all men. God help me, as I would do it if it had been, or were, in my power to make your Majesty so puissant as all the world should be compelled to obey you. Christ, he knows I would for so am I of all other most bound for your Majesty who has been the most bountiful prince to me that ever was king to his subject. You are more like a dear father, your Majesty, not offended then a master. Such has been your most grave and godly counsels towards me at sundry times in that I have offended I ask your mercy. Should I now, for such exceeding goodness, benignity, liberality, and bounty be your traitor, nay then the greatest pains were too little for me. Should any faction or any affection to any point make me a traitor to your Majesty then all the devils in hell confound me and the vengeance of God light upon me if I should once have thought it. Most gracious sovereign lord, to my remembrance I never spoke with the Chancellor of the Augmentations [Richard Rich 1st Baron Rich (age 43)] and Throgmorton [Michael Throckmorton] together at one time. But if I did, I am sure I spoke never of any such matter and your Grace knows what manner of man Throgmorton has ever been towards your Grace and your preceding. And what Master Chancellor [Thomas Audley 1st Baron Audley Walden (age 52)] has been towards me, God and he best knows I will never accuse him. What I have been towards him, your Majesty, right well knows I would to Christ I had obeyed your often most gracious, grave counsels and advertisements, then it had not been with me as now it is. Yet our lord, if it be his will, can do with me as he did with Susan1 who was falsely accused, unto the which God I have only committed my soul, my body and goods at your Majesty’s pleasure, in whose mercy and piety I do holy repose me for other hope then in God and your Majesty I have not. Sir, as to your Commonwealth, I have after my wit, power and knowledge travailed therein having had no respect to persons (your Majesty only except) and my duty to the same but that I have done any injustice or wrong wilfully, I trust God shall bear my witness and the world not able justly to accuse me, and yet I have not done my duty in all things as I was bound wherefore I ask mercy. If I have heard of any combinations, conventicles or such as were offenders of your laws, I have though not as I should have done for the most part revealed them and also caused them to be punished not of malice as God shall judge me. Nevertheless, Sir, I have meddled in so many matters under your Highness that I am not able to answer them all, but one thing I am well assured of that, wittingly and willingly. I have not had will to offend your Highness, but hard as it is for me or any other meddling as I have done to live under your Grace and your laws, but we must daily offend and where I have offended, I most humbly ask mercy and pardon at your gracious will and pleasure. Amongst other things, most gracious sovereign, Master Comptroller showed me that your Grace showed him that within these 14 days you committed a matter of great secret, which I did reveal contrary to your expectation. Sir, I do remember well the matter which I never revealed to any creature, but this I did, Sir, after your grace had opened the matter first to me in your chamber and declared your lamentable fate declaring the thing which your Highness misliked in the Queen, at which time I showed your Grace that she often desired to speak with me but I dared not and you said why should I not, alleging that I might do much good in going to her and to be playing with her in declaring my mind. I thereupon, lacking opportunity, not being a little grieved spoke privily with her Lord Chamberlain [Thomas Manners 1st Earl of Rutland (age 48)], for the which I ask your Grace mercy, desiring him not naming your Grace to him to find some means that the Queen might be induced to order your Grace pleasantly in her behaviour towards your thinking, thereby for to have had some faults amended, to your Majesty’s comfort. And after that, by general word of the said Lord Chamberlain and others of the Queen’s Council, being with me in my chamber at Westminster for license for the departure of the strange maidens. I then required them to counsel their masters to use all pleasantness to your Highness, the which things undoubtedly warn both spoken before your Majesty committed the secret matter unto me only of purpose that she might have been induced to such pleasant and honourable fashions as might have been to your Grace’s comfort which above all things as God knows I did most court and desire, but that I opened my mouth to any creature after your Majesty committed the secret thereof to me, other then only to my Lord Admiral, which I did by your Grace’s commandment which was upon Sunday last in the morning, whom I then found as willing and glad to ask remedy for your comfort and consolation, and saw by him that he did as much lament your Highness’ fate as ever did a man, and was wonderfully grieved to see your Highness so troubled, wishing greatly your comfort. For the attaining whereof, he said for your honour saved, he would spend the best blood in his body, and if I would not do the like and willingly die for your comfort I would I were in hell, and I would I should receive a thousand deaths. Sir, this is all that I have done in that matter and if I have offended your Majesty, therein prostrate at your Majesty’s feet. I most lowly aske mercy and pardon of your Highness. Sir, there was also laid unto my charge at my examination that I had retained, contrary to your laws, Sir. What exposition may be made upon retainers I know not, but this will I say, if ever I retained any man but such only as were my household servants but against my will God confound me, but, most gracious sovereign, I have been so called on and sought by them that said they were my friend that constrained thereunto. I received their children and friends, not as retainers, for their fathers and parents did promise me to friend them and so took I them not as retainers to my great charge and for none evil as God best knows interpret to the contrary who will most humbly beseeching your Majesty of pardon if I have offended therein. Sir, I do acknowledge myself to have been a most miserable and wretched sinner and that I have not towards God and your Highness behaved myself as I ought and should have done. For the which, my offence to God while I live I shall continually call for his mercy and for my offences to your Grace which God knows were never malicious nor wilful, and that I never thought treason to your Highness your realm or posterity. So God, help me in word or deed, nevertheless I prostrate at your Majesty’s feet in what thing soever I have offended I appeal to your Highness for mercy, grace and pardon in such ways as shall be your pleasure beseeching the almighty maker and redeemer of this world to send your Majesty continual and long health, wealth and prosperity with Nestor’s2 years to reign, and your most dear son, the prince’s grace, to prosper reign and continue long after you, and they that would contrary, a short life, shame, and confusion. Written with the quaking hand and most sorrowful heart of your most sorrowful subject and most humble servant and prisoner, this Saturday at your Tower of London.

Thomas Crumwell

Note 1. The Book of Daniel – a Hebrew wife named Susanna was falsely accused by lecherous voyeurs.

Note 2. Nestor from the Iliad, known for wisdom and generosity, which increased as he aged.

House of Lords Journal Volume 1 29 June 1540. 29 Jun 1540. Item Billa Attincture Thome Cromwell, Comitis Essex (age 55), de Crimine Heresis et Lese Majestatis, per Communes de novo concepta; et assens. et simul cum provisione eidem annexa.

Note. This is the confirmation of the attainder of Thomas Cromwell 1st Earl Essex (age 55).

Letters of Thomas Cromwell. Thomas Cromwell (age 55) to King Henry VIII. 30 Jun 1540.

This letter survives in two forms, as a heavily mutilated draft (British Museum Otho C. x f.247), and a finished copy (Hatfield House, Cecil Papers, 124-7)

To the king, my most gracious Sovereign lord, his Royal Majesty.

Most merciful king and most gracious sovereign lord, may it please the same to be advertised that the last time it pleased your benign goodness, to send unto me the right honourable Lord Chancellor, [Thomas Audley 1st Baron Audley Walden (age 52)] the Right Honourable Duke of Norfolk [Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk (age 67)], and the Lord Admiral [William Fitzwilliam 1st Earl of Southampton (age 50)] to examine, and also to declare to me, diverse things from your Majesty, amongst the which, one special thing they moved and thereupon charged me as I would answer, before God at the dreadful day of Judgement and also upon the extreme danger and damnation of my soul and conscience, to say what I knew in the marriage and concerning the marriage between your highness and the queen, to the which I answered as I knew, declaring to them the particulars as nigh as I then could call to remembrance, which when they had heard, they, in your Majesty’s name, and upon like charge as they had given me, before commanded me to write to your highness the truth as much as I knew in that matter, which now I do, and the very truth as God shall save me, to the uttermost of my knowledge.NOTEXT

First, after your Majesty heard of the lady Anne of Cleves’ arrival at Dover and that her journeys were appointed towards Greenwich, and that she should be at Rochester on New Year’s Eve at night, your highness declared to me that you would privily visit her at Rochester upon New Year’s Day, adding these words "to nourish love," which accordingly your Grace did upon New Year’s Day as is abovesaid. And the next day being Friday, your Grace returned to Greenwich where I spoke with your Grace and demanded of your Majesty how you liked the lady Anne. Your highness answered, as I thought heavily and not pleasantly, "nothing so well as she was spoken of." Saying further that if your highness had known as much before as you then knew, she should not have come within this realm, saying as by way of lamentation what remedy, unto the which I answered and said I knew none but was very sorry. Therefore, and so God knows, I thought it a hard beginning, the next day after the receipt of the said lady and her entry made into Greenwich and after your highness had brought her to her chamber, I then waited upon your highness in your privy chamber, and being there, your Grace called me to you, saying to me these words, or the like, "my lord, is it not as I told you, say what they will, she is nothing so fair as she has been reported, howbeit, she is well and seemly." Whereunto I answered, saying, "by my faith, Sir, you say truth," adding thereunto that yet I thought she had a queenly manner, and nevertheless was sorry that your Grace was no better content, and thereupon your Grace commanded me to call together your Council, which were these by name: the Archbishop of Canterbury, [Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (age 50)] the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk [Charles Brandon 1st Duke of Suffolk (age 56)], my lord Admiral, my lord of Durham [Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall (age 66)] and myself, to common of those matters, and to know what commission the Agents of Cleves had brought as well, touching the performance of the covenants sent before from hence to Doctor Wootton [Nicholas Wotton (age 43)] to have been concluded in Cleves, as also in the declaration how the matters stood for the covenants of marriage between the Duke of Lorraine’s son [Francis Lorraine I Duke Lorraine (age 22)] and the said lady Anne. Whereupon, Olisleger and Hoghestein were called and the matters purposed, whereby it plainly appeared that they were much astounded and abashed and desired that they might make answer in the next morning, which was Sunday. Upon Sunday in the morning, your said Councillors and they met early, and there again it was proposed unto them, as well touching the omission for the performance of the treaty and articles sent to Master Wootton, and also touching the contracts and covenants of marriage between the Duke of Lorraine’s son and the lady Anne, and what terms they stood in. To the which things so proposed, they answered as men much perplexed that as touching the commission they had none to treat concerning the articles sent to Mr. Wootton, and as to the contract and covenant of marriage they could say nothing but that a revocation was made, and that they were but spouseless, and finally after much reasoning they offered themselves to remain prisoners until such time as they should have sent unto them from Cleves, the first articles ratified under the Duke, [William La Marck Duke of Jülich Cleves Berg (age 23)] their Master’s, signature and seal, and also the copy of the revocation made between the Duke of Lorraine’s son and the lady Anne. Upon the which answers, I was sent to your highness by my lords of your said Council to declare to your highness what answer they had made, and came to your highness by the privy way into your privy chamber and declared to the same all the circumstances, where your Grace was very much displeased, saying I am not well handled, insomuch that I might well perceive that your highness was fully determined not to have gone through with the marriage at that time, saying unto me these word or the like, in effect that, "if it were not that she is come so far into my realm, and the great preparations that my states and people have made for her, and for fear of making of a ruffle in the world, that is to mean to drive her brother into the hands of the Emperor and French king’s hands, being now together, I would never have nor marry her," so that I might well perceive your Grace was neither content with the person nor yet content with the preceding of the Agents. And after dinner, the said Sunday, your Grace sent for all your said Councillors, and in repeating how your highness was handled as well as touching the said articles and also the said matter of the Duke of Lorraine’s son, it might, and I doubt not, did appear to them how loathe your highness was to have married at that time. And thereupon and upon the considerations aforesaid, your Grace thought that it should be well done that she should make a protestation before your said Councillors, and notaries to be present, that she was free from all contracts which was done accordingly. Thereupon, I repairing to your highness, declaring how that she had made her protestation, whereunto your Grace answered in effect the words, or much like, "there is none other remedy but that I must need against my will, put my neck in the yoke," and so I departed, leaving your highness in a study or pensiveness. And yet your Grace determined the next morning to go through, and in the morning which was Monday, your Majesty, preparing yourself towards the ceremony, there was some question who should lead here to church and it was appointed that the Earl of Essex [Henry Bourchier 2nd Earl Essex 3rd Count Eu] desist, and an earl that came with her should lead her to church, and thereupon one came to your highness and said unto you that the Earl of Essex was not yet come, whereupon your Grace appointed me to be the one that should lead here. And so I went unto her chamber to the intent to have done your commandment, and shortly after I came into the chamber, the Earl of Essex had come, whereupon I repaired back again in to your Grace’s privy chamber and showed your highness how he had come, and thereupon your Majesty advanced towards the gallery out of your privy chamber, and your Grace, being in and about the middle of your chamber of presence, called me unto you, saying the words or the like in sentence, "my lord, if it were not to satisfy the world and my realm, I would not do that I must do this day for no earthly thing." And there, with one brought your Grace’s word that she was coming, and thereupon your Grace repaired into the gallery towards the closet and there paused her coming, being nothing content that she so long tarried as I judged then, and so consequently she came, and your Grace afterwards proceeded to the ceremony, and then being finished travelled the day, as appertained, and the night after the custom. And in the morning on Tuesday, I repairing to your Majesty in to your privy chamber, finding your Grace not so pleasant as I trusted to have done, I was so bold to ask your Grace how you liked the queen, whereunto your Grace soberly answered, saying that I was not all men, surely my lord as you know I liked her before not well but now I like her much worse. For to quote your highness; "I have felt her belly and her breasts and thereby as I can judge she should be not a maid, which struck me so to the heart when I felt them that I had neither will nor courage to proceed any further in other matters," saying, "I have left her as good a maid as I found her," which me thought then you spoke displeasantly, which I was very sorry to hear. Your highness also, after Candlemas, and before Shrovetide, once or twice said that you were in the same case with her as you were before and that your heart could never consent to meddle with her carnally. Notwithstanding, your highness alleged that you, for the most part, used to lie with her nightly or every second night, and yet your Majesty ever said that she was as good a maid for you as ever her mother bore her, for anything that you had ministered to her. Your highness showed me also in Lent last passed, at such time as your Grace had some communication with her of my lady Mary how that she began to wax stubborn and wilful, ever lamenting your fate and ever verifying that you had never any carnal knowledge with her, and also after Easter your Grace likewise at diverse times. In the Whitsun week. in your Grace’s privy chamber at Greenwich, exceedingly lamented your fate and that your greatest grief was that you should surely never have any more children for the comfort of this realm if you should so continue, assuring me that before God you thought she was never your lawfully wife, at which time your Grace knows what answer I made, which was that I would for my part do my uttermost to comfort and deliver your Grace of your affliction, and how sorry I was, both to see and hear your Grace. God knows your Grace diverse times since Whitsuntide declared the like to me, ever alleging one thing, and also saying that you had as much done to much the consent of your heart and mind as ever did man, and that you took God to witness, but ever you said the obstacle could never out of your mind, and gracious prince, after that you had first seen her at Rochester, I never thought in my heart that you were or would be contented with that marriage, and Sir, I know now in what case I stand in, which is only in the mercy of God and your Grace, if I have not to the uttermost of my remembrance said the truth and the whole truth in this matter, God never help me. I am sure as I think there is no man living in this your realm that knew more in this then I did, your highness only except, and I am sure my lord Admiral, calling to his remembrance, can show your highness and be my witness to what I said unto him after your Grace came from Rochester, and also after your Grace’s marriage, and also now of late since Whitsuntide, and I doubt not but many and diverse of my lords of your Council, both before your manage and since, have right well perceived that your Majesty has not been well pleased with your marriage, and as I shall answer to God I never thought your Grace content after you had once seen her at Rochester, and this is all that I know.

Most gracious and most merciful sovereign lord, beseeching almighty God, whoever in all your causes has ever counselled perceived, opened, maintained, relieved and defended your highness so he now will save to counsel you, preserve you, maintain you, remedy you, relieve and defend you as may be most to your honour, wealth prosperity, health and comfort of your heart’s desires. For the which, and for the long life and prosperous reign of your most royal Majesty, I shall, during my life and while I am here, pray to almighty God that He of his most abundant goodness, will help aid and comfort you, and after your continuance of Nestor’s1 years, that that most noble Imp, the prince’s grace, your most dear son, may succeed you to reign long, prosperously and felicitously to God’s pleasure, beseeching most humbly, your Grace to pardon this, my rude writing, and to consider that I am a most woeful prisoner, ready to take the death when it shall please God and your Majesty. Yet the frail flesh incites me continually to call to your Grace for mercy and pardon for my offences and in this, Christ save, preserve, and keep you. Written the Tower, this Wednesday the last of June, with the heavy heart and trembling hand of your highness’ most heavy and most miserable prisoner and poor slave.

Most gracious prince, I cry for mercye, mercye, mercye

Thomas Crumwell

Note 1. Nestor from the Iliad, known for wisdom and generosity, which increased as he aged. The comparison was considered a compliment

Hall's Chronicle 1540. 19 Jul 1540. The xix. day of July, Thomas Lord Cromwell (age 55), late made Earl of Essex, as before you have hard, being in the counsel chamber, was suddenly apprehended, and committed to the Tower of London [Map], the which many lamented, but more rejoiced, and especially such, as ether had been religious men, or favoured religious persons, for they banqueted, and triumphed together that night, many wishing that that day had been seven years before, and some fearing least he should escape, although he were imprisoned, could not be merry. Other who knew nothing but truth by him, both lamented him, and heartily prayed for him. But this is true that of certain of the clergy, he was detestably hated, and specially of such as had borne swinge, and by his meanes was put from it, for in deed he was a man, that in all his doings, seemed not to favour any kind of Popery, nor could not abide the snoffing pride of some prelates, which undoubtedly whatsoever else was the cause of his death, did shorten his life, and procured the end that he was brought unto which was that the xix. day of the said month, he was attainted by Parliament, and never came to his answer, which law many reported, he was the causer of the making thereof, but the truth thereof I know not. The Articles for which he died, appear in the Record, where his attainder is written, which are too long to be here rehearsed, but to conclude he was there attainted of heresy, and high treason.

2nd Millennium, 16th Century Events, 1540-1543 Catherine Howard and Cromwell's Execution, Execution of Thomas Cromwell

On 28 Jul 1540 Walter Hungerford 1st Baron Hungerford Heytesbury (age 37) was beheaded at Tower Hill [Map]. He, together with his chaplain, a Wiltshire clergyman named William Bird, Rector of Fittleton and Vicar of Bradford, who was suspected of sympathising with the pilgrims of grace of the north of England, was attainted by act of parliament. Hungerford was charged with employing Bird in his house as chaplain, knowing him to be a traitor; with ordering another chaplain, Hugh Wood, and one Dr. Maudlin to practise conjuring to determine the king's length of life, and his chances of victory over the northern rebels; and finally with committing offences forbidden by the 1533 Buggery Act.

Hall's Chronicle 1540. And the xxviii. day of July [28 Jul 1540] was brought to the scaffold on the Tower Hill, where he said these words following.

I am come hither to die, and not to purge myself, as may happen, some think that I will, for if I should so do, I were a very wretch and miser. I am by the Law condemned to die, and thank my Lord God that hath appointed me this death, for mine offence: For sithence the time that I have had years of discretion, I have lived a sinner, and offended my Lord God, for the which I ask him heartly forgiveness. And it is not unknown to many of you, that I have been a great traveller in this world, and being but of a base degree, was called to high estate, and sithens the time I came thereunto, I have offended my Prince, for the which I ask him heartily forgiveness, and beseech you all to pray to God with me, that he will forgive me. O father forgive me, O son forgive me, O holy ghost forgive me. O three persons in one God forgive me. And now I pray you that be here, to bear me record, I die in the Catholic faith, not doubting in any article of my faith, no nor doubting in any Sacrament of the Church. Many hath slandered me, and reported that I have been a bearer, of such as hath maintained evil opinions, which is untrue, but I confess that like as God by his holy spirit, doth instruct us in the truth, so the devil is ready to seduce us, and I have been seduced: but bear me witness that I die in the Catholic faith of the Holy Church. And I heartly desire you to pray for the King’s Grace, that he may long live with you, in health and prosperity. And after him that his son Prince Edward, that goodly imp, may long reign over you. And once again I desire you to pray for me, that so long as life remains in this flesh, I waver nothing in my faith.

And then made he his prayer, which was long, but not so long, as both Godly and learned, and after committed his soul, into the hands of God, and so patiently suffered the stroke of the axe, by a ragged and butcherly miser, which very ungoodly performed the office.

Wriothesley's Chronicle. This yeare, the 28th dale of Julie [28 Jul 1540], Sir Thomas Crumwell (age 55), Earle of Essex, was beheaded at the Tower Hill, and Walter Lord named Hungerforde (age 37) was beheaded with him, also for treason of boggery,d their heades sett on London Bridge, and their bodies were buried within the Tower of London; they were condemned by the whole bodie of this last Perliament,e Thomas Cromwell for heresie, treason, I and fellonie, and extortion.f

Note d. Lord Hungerford (age 37) at the hour of his death seemed so unqoiet that many judged him rather frenzied than otherwise; he suffered, as it was said, for buggeiy. Stow.

Note e. The unanimity of Parliament is attested by the entries on the Journals, "Hodie (June 19) lecta est pro secundo et tertio, villa attincturs Thorns Comitis Essex, et communi omnium procerum tunc prssentium concessu, nemine discrepante, expedita est."

Note f. The summary process of an attainder without a trial, which Crumwell had first devised against the aged Countess of Salisbury (age 66), was resorted to against himself. He was declared by his peers a manifold traitor and detestable heretic, but his real crime was having urged his royal master, as a means of advancing his grand Protestant scheme, to solicit the hand of Anne of Cleves.

Life of Henry VIII by Edward Herbert. And thus the 28 of July [28 Jul 1540], (being four days after the Dissolution of the Parliament,) he was brought‘to the Tower-Hill, where, after Profession that he would die in the Catholike Faith, his head was cut off; And to this end came Cromwel, who from being but a Blacksmiths son, found means to travel into divers forraign Countries, to learn their Languages, and to see the Wars (being a Souldier of Bourbon at the sacking of Rome); whence returning, he was received into the Cardinal Wolseys service: To whom, he so approved himself, by his fidelity, and diligence, That the King after his fall, voluntarily took him for his servant; in which place,he became a special Instrument for dissolving the Abbeys, and other Religious Houses, and keeping down the Clergy; whom in regard of their Oath to the Pope, he usually termed the Kings half Subjects: And for expelling the Monks, he said it was no more, then a restoring them to the first Inftitution of being lay, and laboring Persons: Neither did it move him, That so much strictness and austerity of life was injoyn’d them in their several Orders, since he said they might keep it, in any condition: But as thefe Reasons again were not admitted by divers learned and able persons, so he got him many enemies, who at last, procured his fall; but not before he had obtained successively the Dignities of Master of the Rolls, a Baron, b Lord Privy Seal, c Vicegerent to the King in Spiritualities, d Knight of the Garter, e Earl of Essex, Great Chamberlain of England, &c. He was noted in the exercise of his places of Judicature, to have used much moderation; and in his greatest pomp, to have taken notice, and been thankful to mean persons of his old acquaintance, and therein had a vertue which his Master the Cardinal wanted: As for his other descriptions, I leave them to be taken out of Cranmers Letter formerly mentioned, with some deduction; For it seems written to the King, in more then ordinary favor of his ancient service.

Letters of Thomas Cromwell. 28 Jul 1540. Thomas Cromwell 1st Earl Essex (age 55) Scaffold Speech.

I am come hither to die, and not to purge my self, as some think peradventure that I will. For if I should so do, I were a very wretch and a Miser. I am by the Law condemned to die, and thank my Lord God, that hath appointed me this death for mine Offence. For sithence the time that I have had years of discretion, I have lived a sinner, and offended my Lord God, for the which I ask him heartily forgiveness. And it is not unknown to many of you, that I have been a great Traveller in this World, and being but of a base degree, was called to high estate, and sithence the time I came thereunto I have offended my Prince, for the which I ask him heartily forgiveness, and beseech you all to pray to God with me, that he will forgive me. And now I pray you that be here, to bear me record, I die in the Catholic Faith, not doubting in any Article of my Faith, no nor doubting in any Sacrament of the Church. Many have slandered me and reported that I have been a bearer of such as have maintained evil Opinions, which is untrue. But I confess, that like as God by his holy Spirit doth instruct us in the Truth, so the Devil is ready to seduce us, and I have been seduced; but bear me witness that I die in the Catholic Faith of the holy Church; and I heartily desire you to pray for the Kings Grace, that he may long live with you in health and prosperity; and that after him his Son Prince Edward that goodly Imp may long Reign over you. And once again I desire you to pray for me, that so long as life remaineth in this flesh, I waver nothing in my Faith.

O Lord Jesus, which art the only health of all men living, and the everlasting life of them which die in thee; I wretched sinner do submit my self wholly unto thy most blessed will, and being sure that the thing cannot Perish which is committed unto thy mercy, willingly now I leave this frail and wicked flesh, in sure hope that thou wilt in better wise restore it to me again at the last day in the resurrection of the just. I beseech thee most merciful Lord Jesus Christ, that thou wilt by thy grace make strong my Soul against all temptations, and defend me with the Buckler of thy mercy against all the assaults of the Devil. I see and knowledge that there is in my self no hope of Salvation, but all my confidence, hope and trust is in thy most merciful goodness. I have no merits nor good works which I may allege before thee. Of sins and evil works, alas, I see a great heap; but yet through thy mercy I trust to be in the number of them to whom thou wilt not impute their sins; but wilt take and accept me for righteous and just, and to be the inheritor of everlasting life. Thou merciful Lord wert born for my sake, thou didst suffer both hunger and thirst for my sake; thou didst teach, pray, and fast for my sake; all thy holy Actions and Works thou wroughtest for my sake; thou sufferedst most grievous Pains and Torments for my sake; finally, thou gavest thy most precious Body and thy Blood to be shed on the Cross for my sake. Now most merciful Saviour, let all these things profit me, which hast given thy self also for me. Let thy Blood cleanse and wash away the spots and fulness of my sins. Let thy righteousness hide and cover my unrighteousness. Let the merit of thy Passion and blood shedding be satisfaction for my sins. Give me, Lord, thy grace, that the Faith of my salvation in thy Blood waver not in me, but may ever be firm and constant. That the hope of thy mercy and life everlasting never decay in me, that love wax not cold in me. Finally, that the weakness of my flesh be not overcome with the fear of death. Grant me, merciful Saviour, that when death hath shut up the eyes of my Body, yet the eyes of my Soul may still behold and look upon thee, and when death hath taken away the use of my Tongue, yet my heart may cry and say unto thee, Lord into thy hands I commend my Soul, Lord Jesus receive my spirit, Amen.

2nd Millennium, 16th Century Events, 1540-1543 Catherine Howard and Cromwell's Execution, Marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine Howard

2nd Millennium, 16th Century Events, 1540-1543 Catherine Howard and Cromwell's Execution, 1541 Creation of Garter Knights

In 1541, probably around St George's Day, 23 Apr 1541, King Henry VIII of England and Ireland (age 49) created four new Knights of the Garter:

306th. Edward Seymour 1st Duke Somerset (age 41).

307th. Henry Howard (age 25).

308th. John Gage (age 61).

309th. Anthony Wingfield (age 54).

2nd Millennium, 16th Century Events, 1540-1543 Catherine Howard and Cromwell's Execution, 1541 Executions

Hall's Chronicle 1541. 17 May 1541. In the beginning of this yere, five priests in Yorkshire began a new rebellion, with the assent of one Leigh a gentleman, and nine temporal men, which were apprehended, and shortly after in diverse places put in execution, in so much that on the seventeenth day of May, the said Leigh and one Tattersall, and Thornton, were drawn through London to Tyburn [Map], and there were executed. And Sir John Neville (age 53) knight was executed for the same at York.

Hall's Chronicle 1541. 27 May 1541. On the same day was Margaret Countess of Salisbury (age 67), which had been long prisoner in the Tower [Map], beheaded in the Tower, and she was the last of the right line and name, of Plantagenet.


On 27 May 1541, after some two and a half years of imprisonment, Margaret Pole Countess Salsbury (age 67) was executed at Tower Green, Tower of London [Map] for her role in the Exeter Conspiracy.

Baron Montagu 3C 1357 and Baron Montagu 1C 1299 forfeit.

Letters and Papers 1541. 29 May 1541. 868. Marillac to Francis I.

What has here happened since he wrote last, on the 22nd, gives matter to write. To begin with, a case more worthy of compassion than of long letters, the countess of Saalberi (deceased), mother of Cardinal Pol (age 41) and the late lord Montaigue, was yesterday morning, about 7 o'clock, beheaded in a corner of the Tower [Map], in presence of so few people that until evening the truth was still doubted. It was the more difficult to believe as she had been long prisoner, was of noble lineage, above 80 years old, and had been punished by the loss of one son and banishment of the other, and the total ruin of her house. Further reflections upon this. The manner of proceeding in her case and that of a lord who was executed at the same time (who is not yet named, but is presumed to be lord Leonard de Clidas (age 62), formerly the King's lieutenant in Ireland) seems to argue that those here are afraid to put to death publicly those whom they execute in secret. It may be added that yesterday all the heads which were fixed upon the bridge of the river which passes by this town were taken down; in order that the people may forget those whose heads kept their memory fresh, if it were not that this will people the place with new, for Marillac hears from a good place that, before St. John's tide, they reckon to empty the Tower of the prisoners now there for treason.

The talk of going to the North continues, and provisions are already being sent; which are the greater as the company will be 4,000 or 5,000 horse, as well because the King (age 49) wishes to go with more magnificence (as he has not yet been there) as to be secure against any seditious designs. They will be gentlemen of these quarters of King (Kent), whom he trusts most. The 50 gentlemen of the house will each have tent and war equipment, as also will several other young lords; so that it will be rather like following a camp than going to the chase.

As instructed in last packet of the 20th, will write to no one of affairs here. Would not have done it in the past had he known Francis's pleasure, but was only written to to address all he wrote to Francis, not that he should not write to others. Will write affairs concerning war or peace to Mons. de Vendosme, as long as he is in Picardy, and in his absence a word to M. du Bies, to prevent them thinking better or worse in the absence of news. Is not spoken to about the Cauchoide nor about the conversation he wrote last in cipher.

Letters and Papers 1541. 10 Jun 1541. 897. Chapuys (age 51) to the Queen of Hungary.

If the affair is mentioned, will follow her instructions in her letter of the 28th ult. Expects to be summoned before the King (age 49) two days hence. Is vexed at not having received the copy of her answer to the King, referred to in his despatch of 26 May. The news since that date is that on the 27th three of the chief conspirators in the North - an abbot and two gentlemen - were hung and quartered. About the same time took place the lamentable execution of the countess of Salisbury (deceased) at the Tower [Map] in presence of the Lord Mayor and about 150 persons. When informed of her sentence she found it very strange, not knowing her crime; but she walked to the space in front of the Tower, where there was no scaffold but only a small block. She there commended her soul to God, and desired those present to pray for the King, Queen, Prince, and Princess. The ordinary executioner being absent, a blundering "garçonneau" was chosen, who hacked her head and shoulders to pieces. A most virtuous lady nearly 90 years of age. When her death was resolved on her nephew (grandson) (age 21), the son of lord Montague, who had been allowed occasionally to go about within the Tower, was more strictly guarded. It is to be supposed he will soon follow his father and grandmother. London, 10 June 1541. Original at Vienna.

On 15 Jun 1541 John Neville of Chevet (age 53) was executed for having failed to report a conspiracy.

On 20 Jun 1541 Thomas Fiennes 9th Baron Dacre Gilsland (age 26) was tried for the murder of John Busbrig, servant of Nicholas Pelham (age 24) on whose land they were poaching on 30 Apr 1541. Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk (age 68) was appointed Lord High Steward for the trial.NOTEXT

On 29 Jun 1541 he was hanged at Tyburn [Map]. He was buried at St Sepulchre without Newgate Church. Baron Dacre Gilsland 1C 1321 forfeit. His son Gregory (age 1) would be restored to the title in 1558.

Note. Hall's Chronicle says strangled.


Hall's Chronicle 1541. [20 Jun 1541] In this season was arraigned and condemned three gentlemen, called Mantell, Roydon, and Frowdes, and were hanged at Saint Thomas of Wateringes. Likewise was Thomas Fiennes (age 26) Lord Dacres of the South, arraigned before the Lord Audley of Walden (age 53), then Chancellor of England, and that day High Steward of the same at Westminster, and there before the said Lord Chancellor and his Peers, he confessed the inditement, and so had judgement to be hanged. And so the twenty and nine day of June , being Saint Peter’s day at afternoon, he was led on foot, between the two Sheriffs of London, from the Tower through the city to Tyburn, where he was strangled, as common murderers are, and his body buried in the Church of Saint Sepulchres. The cause of the death of this noble man, and the other gentlemen, was a murder of a simple man and an unlawful assembly made in Sussex. Great moan was made for them all, but most especially for Mantell, who was as witty, and toward a gentleman, as any was in the realm, and a man able to have done good service.


Letters and Papers 1541. 02 Jul 1541. 954. Chapuys (age 51) to the Queen of Hungary.

Almost immediately after Chapuys's return the King (age 50) gave the people of Dunkirk permission to buy here a quantity of wood for their own use for curing herrings, and he has frequently reminded Chapuys of the favor, saying he was surprised that the town had not sent a deputation to say how much wood they required. The deputation has arrived, and now, after being kept 13 days without an answer, they have been told that it is mere loss of time to solicit such things till the Queen has promised to release the harness, copper, and war ammunition purchased by the King some time ago at Antwerp.

On St. Peter's eve lord Leonard (age 62), uncle of the Marquis of Osceter (age 24) (Dorset) and of the Chancellor's (age 53) wife, was beheaded in front of the Tower [Map]. Hears he was accused of letting his nephew (age 16), the young Earl of Kildare, escape to France and thence to Liege.

That afternoon two gentlemen were hung, one of whom had an income of over 12,000 ducats a year, and was the handsomest and best bred man in England [Note. Not clear as to who this is? If anyone has information on the identity of this person I'd be grateful if they would email Christopher Smith.], only 25 years old and married to a niece of the Duke of Norfolk (age 68). He was sentenced for having belonged to a set of eight rakish youths, one of whom had killed a poor old man in an unpremeditated fray. For the same cause lord Dacres (deceased) also, son1 of the Duke of Norfolk's (age 68) sister, and cousin of this Queen (age 18), 23 years old and possessing a property of about 5,000 ducats a year, was hung from the most ignominious gibbet, and for greater shame dragged through the streets to the place of execution, to the great pity of many people, and even of his very judges, who wept when they sentenced him, and in a body asked his pardon of the King. But the thing which astonished people most was, that, the same day lord Dacres was hung, another young man (age 28), son of the Treasurer of the Royal household (age 56), who was one of those present at the old man's death, was freely pardoned, though he had been already tried for some like misdemeanour.NOTEXT

At the same time in the North, Sir John Neville (deceased) and about 60 more, among whom at least 25 were ecclesiastics, were executed for the conspiracy of which Chapuys wrote some time ago. Has just heard of the arrival of a Polish gentleman with eight or ten servants. Will endeavour to discover who he is and what he comes for. London, 2 July 1541. Original at Vienna.

Note 1. Thomas Fiennes 9th Baron Dacre Gilsland (deceased), Lord Dacre, was the grandson of Anne Bourchier Baroness Dacre Gilsland who was the maternal half-sister of Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk (age 68); Anne and Thomas' mother was Elizabeth Tilney Countess of Surrey.

Hall's Chronicle 1541. [Before 28 Jul 1541]. During this season, the commissioners that before were sent into Ireland, to inquire of the lord Gray (age 62), certified twenty articles of high treason against him, whereupon he was arraigned and tried by knights, because he was a Lord of name, but no Lord of the Parliament. Howbeit he discharged the jury, and confessed the inditement, and thereupon was judged, and after beheaded at the Tower Hill, where he ended his life very quietly and godly.

On 28 Jul 1541 Leonard Grey 1st Viscount Grane (age 62) was executed at the Tower of London [Map] for having allowed Gerald "Wizard Earl" Fitzgerald 11th Earl of Kildare (age 16), his sister Elizabeth's (age 44) son, to escape capture at Tower of London [Map].

2nd Millennium, 16th Century Events, 1540-1543 Catherine Howard and Cromwell's Execution, Catherine Howard Trial and Executions

2nd Millennium, 16th Century Events, 1540-1543 Catherine Howard and Cromwell's Execution, Catherine Howard Trial and Executions, Catherine Howard Trial

Around Apr 1541 Queen Catherine Howard of England (age 18) wrote to Thomas Culpepper (age 27) ...NOTEXT

Master Culpeper,

I heartily recommend me unto you, praying you to send me word how that you do. It was showed me that you was sick, the which thing troubled me very much till such time that I hear from you praying you to send me word how that you do, for I never longed so much for a thing as I do to see you and to speak with you, the which I trust shall be shortly now. That which doth comfortly me very much when I think of it, and when I think again that you shall depart from me again it makes my heart die to think what fortune I have that I cannot be always in your company. It my trust is always in you that you will be as you have promised me, and in that hope I trust upon still, praying you that you will come when my Lady Rochford (age 36) is here for then I shall be best at leisure to be at your commandment, thanking you for that you have promised me to be so good unto that poor fellow my man which is one of the griefs that I do feel to depart from him for then I do know no one that I dare trust to send to you, and therefore I pray you take him to be with you that I may sometime hear from you one thing. I pray you to give me a horse for my man for I had much ado to get one and therefore I pray send me one by him and in so doing I am as I said afor, and thus I take my leave of you, trusting to see you shortly again and I would you was with me now that you might see what pain I take in writing to you.

Yours as long as life endures,


One thing I had forgotten and that is to instruct my man to tarry here with me still for he says whatsomever you bid him he will do it.

On 01 Nov 1541 Henry VIII (age 50) received a warrant for Catherine Howard's (age 18) arrest from Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (age 52) at Chapel Royal Hampton Court Palace [Map].NOTEXT


In Dec 1541 Francis Dereham (age 28) and Thomas Culpepper (age 27) were tried for adultery with Queen Catherine Howard of England (age 18). The former for adultery before Henry and Catherine's marriage, the latter for adultery after the marriage.NOTEXT

Both were found guilty and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Both men pleaded for mercy. Culpeper, presumably because of his former closeness to the King, received a commuted sentence of beheading only.

2nd Millennium, 16th Century Events, 1540-1543 Catherine Howard and Cromwell's Execution, Catherine Howard Trial and Executions, Catherine Howard Tyburn Executions

On 10 Dec 1541. At Tyburn [Map] ....

Francis Dereham (age 28) was hanged, drawn and quartered. He was buried at St Sepulchre without Newgate Church.

Thomas Culpepper (age 27) was beheaded. He was buried at St Sepulchre without Newgate Church.

2nd Millennium, 16th Century Events, 1540-1543 Catherine Howard and Cromwell's Execution, Catherine Howard Trial and Executions, Catherine Howard Tower of London Executions

On 13 Feb 1542 Queen Catherine Howard (age 19) and Jane Parker Viscountess Rochford (age 37) were beheaded at Tower Green [Map]. Henry Howard (age 26) attended. They were both buried at St Peter ad Vincula Church, Tower of London [Map].NOTEXT

Mary Boleyn (age 43) was the heir of Jane Parker Viscountess Rochford (age 37) being the sister of her deceased husband George Boleyn Viscount Rochford.

2nd Millennium, 16th Century Events, 1540-1543 Catherine Howard and Cromwell's Execution, Battle of Solway Moss

On 25 Nov 1542 Thomas Wharton 1st Baron Wharton (age 47) commanded the English forces at Battle of Solway Moss at Solway Moss [Map]. John Thynne (age 27) fought. Of the Scottish army Malcolm Fleming 3rd Lord Fleming (age 48), Gilbert Kennedy 3rd Earl Cassilis (age 27) and Laurence Oliphant 3rd Lord Oliphant fought.

William Graham 3rd Earl Menteith (age 42) was captured. He was ransomed in 1453.

William Cunningham 4th Earl Glencairn (age 49) was captured and committed to the custody of Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk (age 69). He was released on payment of a ransom of a thousand pounds and subscribing by his own hand to support Henry VIII's (age 51) project of a marriage between the young King Edward VI of England and Ireland (age 5) and the Mary Queen of Scots.NOTEXT

Malcolm Fleming 3rd Lord Fleming (age 48) was captured.

In 1544 Thomas Wharton 1st Baron Wharton (age 49) was created 1st Baron Wharton for his success at the Battle of Solway Moss. Eleanor Stapleton Baroness Wharton by marriage Baroness Wharton.

2nd Millennium, 16th Century Events, 1540-1543 Catherine Howard and Cromwell's Execution, Death of King James V of Scotland

On 14 Dec 1542 King James V of Scotland (age 30) died at Falkland Palace [Map]. His daughter Mary Queen of Scots succeeded I Queen Scotland. She was six days old.

PAINTINGS/LYON/James_V2.jpg PAINTINGS/LYON/James_V.jpg PAINTINGS/CLOUET/Mary_Queen_Scots.jpg PAINTINGS/UNKNOWN/Mary_Queen_Scots.jpg PAINTINGS/UNKNOWN/Mary_Queen_Scots2.jpg PAINTINGS/MADOXBROWN/Execution_Mary_Queen_Scots.jpg