Funeral of Catherine of Aragon is in 1536-Death of Catherine of Aragon and Execution of Anne Boleyn and her Co-accused, Marriage to Jane Seymour.
Letters 1536. 21 Jan 1536. Great preparation is made for the Queen's burial, which, as Cromwell sent to inform me, will be so magnificent that even those who see it all will hardly believe it. It is to take place on the 1st February. The chief mourner will be the King's niece (age 17), daughter of the Duke of Suffolk (age 52); the Duchess of Suffolk (age 16) will be the second; the third will be the wife of the Duke of Norfolk's son. of others there will be a great multitude; I think they mean to dress in mourning about 600 persons. Nothing is said yet of the lords who are to be present. Cromwell again, since I wrote to your Majesty, has twice sent to press on my acceptance the mourning cloth which the King wished to give me, and would gladly by this means bind me to be present at the interment, which the King greatly desires, but following the advice of the Queen Regent in Flanders, of the Princess, and of several good personages, I will not go, since they do not mean to bury her as Queen. I have refused the said cloth, saying simply that I did not do it of any ill intention, but only because I was already provided. The King had intended, or those of his Council, that solemn exequies should be made at the Cathedral Church of this city, and a number of carpenters and others had already been set to work to make preparations, but, since then, the whole thing has been broken off; I do not know if it was ever sincerely intended, or if it was only a pretence for the satisfaction of the people, to remove sinister opinions.
In your letter I see it is the King's pleasure that we should be ruled by the advice of Mr. Controller when he repairs to Kimbolton, and declare to him our proceedings since I left London. Please let Mr. Controller know how the household is to be ordered, after the interment of the Princess Dowager. The gentlewomen claim divers apparel as given them by the lady Dowager, and the officers divers stuff as their fees. It would not be honorable to take the things given in her lifetime. Kimbolton, Saturday, 22 Jan.
Send letters to my lord Audley, the master of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Warram, the prior of Martin; to be here at the beginning of the term that we may proceed in the assurance of the King's exchanges with them. Hol., p. 1. Add.: Secretary. Endd.
Bishop John Hilsey preached, alleging that, in the hour of death, she had acknowledged that she had never been Queen of England.
Eleanor Brandon Countess Cumberland (age 17) was Chief Mourner. Henry VIII (age 44) refused their daughter Mary (age 19) permission to attend. On the same day Queen Anne Boleyn of England (age 35) miscarried a child.
William Harvey (age 26) attended; the only officer of arms to do so.
Note c. In the Abbey Church, which Henry VIII afterwards converted into a Cathedral. The circular letter addressed by the King to many persons of quality, requiring their attendance in the conveyance of the corpse from Kimbolton to Peterborough, will be found in MS. Harleian. 540, fol 52b.
Letters 1536. 10 Feb 1536. Vienna Archives. 282. Chapuys to Charles V.
Wrote on the 29th ult. The same day the Queen (deceased) was buried, and besides the ladies whom I mentioned, there were present four bishops and as many abbots, but no other man of mark except the comptroller of the King's Household. The place where she is buried in the church is far removed from the high altar, and much less honorable than that of certain bishops buried there; and even if they had not taken her for princess dowager as they have done in death and life, but only as simple baroness, they could not have given her a less honorable place, as I am told by men acquainted with those matters. Such are the great miracles and incredible magnificence which they gave me to understand they would put forth in honor of her memory as due alike to her great virtues and to her kindred. Possibly they will repair the fault by making a becoming monument in some suitable place.
Letters 1536. Vienna Archives. 284. Death and Burial of Katharine of Arragon.
The good Queen (deceased) died in a few days, of God knows what illness, on Friday, 7 Jan. 1536. Next day her body was taken into the Privy Chamber and placed under the canopy of State (sous le dhoussier et drapt destat), where it rested seven days, without any other solemnity than four flambeaux continually burning. During this time a leaden coffin was prepared, in which the body was enclosed on Saturday, the 15th, and borne to the chapel. The vigils of the dead were said the same day, and next day one mass and no more, without any other light than six torches of rosin. On Sunday, the 16th, the body was removed again into the Privy Chamber, where it remained till Saturday following. Meanwhile an "estalage," which we call a chapelle ardente, was arranged, with 56 wax candles in all, and the house hung with two breadths of the lesser frieze of the country. On Saturday, the 22nd, it was again brought to the chapel, and remained until the masses of Thursday following, during which time solemn masses were said in the manner of the country, at which there assisted by turns as principals the Duchess of Suffolk (age 16), the Countess of Worcester (age 34), the young Countess of Oxford (age 18), the Countess of Surrey (age 19), and Baronesses Howard (age 21), Willoughby (age 24), Bray, and Gascon (sic). NOTEXT
25 Jan 1536. On Tuesday1 following, as they were beginning mass, four banners of crimson taffeta were brought, two of which bore the arms of the Queen, one those of England, with three "lambeaulx blancs," which they say are of Prince Arthur; the fourth had the two, viz., of Spain and England, together. There were also four great golden [standards]. On one was painted the Trinity, on the second Our Lady, on the third St. Katharine, and on the fourth St. George; and by the side of these representations the said arms were depicted in the above order; and in like manner the said arms were simply, and without gilding (? dourance), painted and set over all the house, and above them a simple crown, distinguished from that of the kingdom which is closed. On Wednesday after the robes of the Queen's 10 ladies were completed, who had not till then made any mourning, except with kerchiefs on their heads and old robes. This day, at dinner, the countess of Surrey held state, who at the vigils after dinner was chief mourner. On Thursday, after mass, which was no less solemn than the vigils of the day before, the body was carried from the chapel and put on a waggon, to be conveyed not to one of the convents of the Observant Friars, as the Queen had desired before her death, but at the pleasure of the King, her husband, to the Benedictine Abbey of Peterborough, and they departed in the following order:—First, 16 priests or clergymen in surplices went on horseback, without saying a word, having a gilded laten cross borne before them; after them several gentlemen, of whom there were only two of the house, "et le demeurant estoient tous emprouvez," and after them followed the maître d'hotel and chamberlain, with their rods of office in their hands; and, to keep them in order, went by their sides 9 or 10 heralds, with mourning hoods and wearing their coats of arms; after them followed 50 servants of the aforesaid gentlemen, bearing torches and "bâtons allumés," which lasted but a short time, and in the middle of them was drawn a waggon, upon which the body was drawn by six horses all covered with black cloth to the ground. The said waggon was covered with black velvet, in the midst of which was a great silver cross; and within, as one looked upon the corpse, was stretched a cloth of gold frieze with a cross of crimson velvet, and before and behind the said waggon stood two gentlemen ushers with mourning hoods looking into the waggon, round which the said four banners were carried by four heralds and the standards with the representations by four gentlemen. Then followed seven ladies, as chief mourners, upon hackneys, that of the first being harnessed with black velvet and the others with black cloth. After which ladies followed the waggon of the Queen's gentlemen; and after them, on hackneys, came nine ladies, wives of knights. Then followed the waggon of the Queen's chambermaids; then her maids to the number of 36, and in their wake followed certain servants on horseback.
In this order the royal corpse was conducted for nine miles of the country, i.e., three French leagues, as far as the abbey of Sautry, where the abbot and his monks received it and placed it under a canopy in the choir of the church, under an "estalage" prepared for it, which contained 408 candles, which burned during the vigils that day and next day at mass. Next day a solemn mass was chanted in the said abbey of Sautry, by the Bishop of Ely, during which in the middle of the church 48 torches of rosin were carried by as many poor men, with mourning hoods and garments. After mass the body was borne in the same order to the abbey of Peterborough, where at the door of the church it was honorably received by the bishops of Lincoln, Ely, and Rochester, the Abbot of the place, and the abbots of Ramsey, Crolain (Crowland), Tournan (Thorney), Walden and Thaem (Tame), who, wearing their mitres and hoods, accompanied it in procession till it was placed under the chapelle ardente which was prepared for it there, upon eight pillars of beautiful fashion and roundness, upon which were placed about 1,000 candles, both little and middle-sized, and round about the said chapel 18 banners waved, of which one bore the arms of the Emperor, a second those of England, with those of the King's mother, prince Arthur, the Queen of Portugal, sister of the deceased, Spain, Arragon, and Sicily, and those of Spain and England with three "lambeaulx," those of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, who married the daughter of Peter the Cruel, viz., "le joux des beufz," the bundle of Abbot of arrows, the pomegranate (granade), the lion and the greyhound. Likewise there were a great number of little pennons, in which were portrayed the devices of king Ferdinand, father of the deceased, and of herself; and round about the said chapel, in great gold letters was written, as the device of the said good lady, "Humble et loyale." Solemn vigils were said that day, and on the morrow the three masses by three bishops: the first by the Bishop of Rochester, with the Abbot of Thame as deacon, and the Abbot of Walden as sub-deacon; the second by the Bishop of Ely, with the Abbot of Tournay (Thorney) as deacon, and the Abbot of Peterborough as sub-deacon; the third by the Bishop of Lincoln (age 63), with the Bishop of Llandaff as deacon, and that of Ely as sub-deacon; the other bishops and abbots aforesaid assisting at the said masses in their pontificals, so the ceremony was very sumptuous. The chief mourner was lady Eleanor (age 17), daughter of the Duke of Suffolk (age 52) and the French Queen, and niece of King Henry, widower now of the said good Queen. She was conducted to the offering by the Comptroller and Mr. Gust (Gostwick), new receiver of the moneys the King takes from the Church. Immediately after the offering was completed the Bishop of Rochester preached the same as all the preachers of England for two years have not ceased to preach, viz., against the power of the Pope, whom they call Bishop of Rome, and against the marriage of the said good Queen and the King, alleging against all truth that in the hour of death she acknowledged she had not been Queen of England. I say against all truth, because at that hour she ordered a writing to be made in her name addressed to the King as her husband, and to the ambassador of the Emperor, her nephew, which she signed with these words—Katharine, Queen of England—commending her ladies and servants to the favor of the said ambassador. At the end of the mass all the mourning ladies offered in the hands of the heralds each three ells in three pieces of cloth of gold which were upon the body, and of this "accoutrements" will be made for the chapel where the annual service will be performed for her. After the mass the body was buried in a grave at the lowest step of the high altar, over which they put a simple black cloth. In this manner was celebrated the funeral of her who for 27 years has been true Queen of England, whose holy soul, as every one must believe, is in eternal rest, after worldly misery borne by her with such patience that there is little need to pray God for her; to whom, nevertheless, we ought incessantly to address prayers for the weal (salut) of her living image whom she has left to us, the most virtuous Princess her daughter, that He may comfort her in her great and infinite adversities, and give her a husband to his pleasure, &c. Fr., from a modern copy, pp. 6.
Note 1. This would be Tuesday, 1 Feb., if the chronology were strict; but the latest Tuesday that can be intended is 25 Jan.
On that very day the good Queen of England's (deceased) burial took place, which was attended by four bishops and as many abbots, besides the ladies mentioned in my preceding despatches. No other person of rank or name was present except the comptroller of the Royal household. The place where she lies in the cathedral church of Peterborough [Map] is a good way from the high altar, and in a less honourable position than that of several bishops buried in the same church. Had she not been a dowager Princess, as they have held her both in life and death, but simply a Lady, they could not have chosen a less distinguished place of rest for her, as the people who understand this sort of thing tell me. Such have been the wonderful display and incredible magnificence which these people gave me to understand would be lavished in honour and memory of one whose great virtues and royal relationship certainly entitled her to uncommon honours.
Perhaps one of these days they will repair their fault, and erect a suitable. Monument or institute some pious foundation to her memory in some suitable spot or other.
Calendars. 06 Mar 1536. 35. Dr. Ortiz to the Empress.
His last letter, announcing the death and martyrdom of the Queen of England, was dated the 30th of January.
Since then he (Ortiz) has received one, dated the 19th of January, [from Chapuys?], informing him that the Princess (age 20) (Mary) was in good health. The Queen before dying showed well what her whole life had been; for not only did she ask for, and receive, all the sacraments ordained by the Church, but answered the questions put by the priest with such ardour and devotion that all present were edified. Some of those who were by her bedside, having suggested that it was not yet time to receive the sacrament of Extreme Unction, she replied that she wished to hear and understand everything that was said, and make fitting answers. She preserved her senses to the last, &c.
They say that when the king of England (age 44) heard of the death of his Queen, dressed in mauve silk as he was at the time, and with a white feather in his cap, he went to solace himself with the ladies of the palace. In fact it may well be said of him and of his kingdom what the Prophet Isaias says, cap. lvii., "Justus periet, et non est qui recogitet in corde suo, et viri misericordia colliguntur quia non est qui intelligat."
Her Highness the Queen was buried with the honors of a Princess [dowager], 18 miles from the place where she died, at an abbey called Yperberu [Map] (Peterborough), the King having only sent thither some ladies of his Court to attend the funeral. The King and the concubine (age 35) were not in London, but at a place on the road called Octinton [Map] (Huntingdon).
Anne Bolans (age 35) is now in fear of the King deserting her one of these days, in order to marry another lady.
The King having sent his ambassadors into Scotland to persuade the king (age 23) of that country to separate from, and refuse obedience to, the Apostolic See, it happened that the very day and moment when the English were delivering their embassy a storm arose, and a most tremendous clap of thunder was heard, at which king James (age 23) horrified rose from his seat, crossed himself, and exclaimed, "I scarcely know which of the two things has caused me most fear and horror, that thunder and lightning we have just heard, or the proposition you have made me." After which, and in the very presence of the English ambassadors, he ordered unconditional obedience to the Church to be proclaimed throughout his dominions.
Here, at Rome, when the news of the good Queen's death arrived, the Papal bull excommunicating king Henry for his iniquitous conduct, and depriving him of his kingdom, was already sealed and closed. Since then nothing further has been done in the matter, but the executory letters (executoriales) in the principal cause have actually been taken out, though with no small trouble.-Rome, 6 March 1536.
Since the above was written I have had a letter from the Imperial ambassador in France, in date of the 15th ultimo, intimating that, according to news received from England, the King wished to marry the Princess to a gentleman of his kingdom, and that king Francis had told the Imperial ambassador that in consequence of a fall from his horse king Henry had been two hours unconscious without speech1; seeing which Ana Bolans (age 35) (Boleyn) was so struck that she actually miscarried of a son. Great news these, for which we are bound to thank God, because, were the Princess to be married as reported, she may at once be considered out of danger; for her marriage may hereafter be dissolved and declared null, as it would effectually be owing to the violence used, and the evident fear the Princess has of her life, should she not consent to it. At any rate, it must be owned that though the King himself was not converted like St. Paul after his fall, at least his adulterous wife (age 35) has miscarried of a son.
Note 1. Que el Rey de Inglaterra auia caitlo con su cavallo, y estado mas de dos horas sin habla, de lo qual la Ana (age 35) tuvo tan grande alteracion que movió un hijo."
Letters 1536. 06 Mar 1536. The Queen was buried as princess, at an abbey 18 miles from where she died, called Yperveru (Peterborough). The King only sent some ladies to assist in the interment. No exequies or honors were performed in London, but only at a town on the road (de camino) called Octuiton (?).