ANST - FW: Musing on November 9 -- No Mo' Howard
jyeates at realtime.net
Sun Dec 3 11:53:57 PST 2000
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From: Ellsworth Weaver [mailto:astroweaver at yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 09, 2000 23:57
To: 2thpix at surfari.net
Subject: Musing on November 9 -- No Mo' Howard
On November 9, 1541 Henry VIII finally believed all those horrid
that his young fifth wife, Katherine Howard, was enjoying herself a
little too much with gentlemen of her court.
Katherine was born about the year of 1525. She was Anne Boleyns
and was the step-granddaughter of the Duchess of Norfolk. She was but
young child when her mother died and she was handed over to her
grandmother to raise. Grandmother was not the kindest nor the most
attentive of caregivers.
Katherine, like the rest of the children in the rather sprawling and
unkempt household of the Duchess, was housed in a dormitory with
waiting women. These attendants were of rather loose morals and much
imagination. It is said that one of these women encouraged Katherine
get "involved" with Henry Mannox, a music teacher, who was supposed
be teaching virginal not taking virginities.
Poor Katherine, she was a little like Cinderella and it did not take
much to impress her. Sir Francis Dereham, a distant relative, was her
next suitor. He brought her an artificial flower, which she could not
have afforded, and bowled her right over. Won her heart, he did. When
Grandma Norfolk caught them "embracing" she walloped Francis,
Katherine and then kicked Katherines maid. It was unseemly that she
should just walk in on these young folks. Where was their discretion?
Back at the court of Henry VIII, things had gone rather downhill
Jane Seymour died giving birth to Edward. Henry got talked by Thomas
Cromwell into marrying Anne of Cleves. It was a political match and
neither found the other the least attractive. On September 4, 1539
Henry and Anne had become betrothed. On October 6, 1539 Henry and
signed the marriage papers. On January 6, 1540, Henry and Anne were
officially married. Annes Flemish court decided to leave England
then and Anne needed some ladies-in-waiting. Duchess Norfolk had just
the candidate and sent her teenage granddaughter, Katherine. By April
1540 Henry VIII swore he was smitten by Katherine Howard.
It would probably be unkind to claim that Katherine was deliberately
staked out in front of the King -- like a goat when hunting for lions
- -- in the hope that she would captivate him in the interests of the
Norfolk faction. Maybe it is unkind but it was clear that Henry got
hooked and Katherine was told that she should hold out for a ring
before letting the King... you get the idea.
Henry and Anne got their marriage annulled on July 9, 1540 This one
was easy. Henry and Anne both attested that the marriage was never
consummated. And as you know: no consumé no soup, its the law.
Katherine and Henry were married very quietly at Oatlands, in Surrey
July 28, 1540. It was the same day that Henry had Thomas Cromwell
executed for treason. We all can do the math here: Katherine was
probably about sixteen at her wedding. Henry was thrilled. He was in
his fifties and suddenly felt sprightly. It was off to the hunt,
and nods, public groping for His Majesty.
With all that in mind, why the quiet wedding? Where was the royal
splendor? Fact was Henry had pretty much spent what he had on
weddings, buying stuff to keep up with Francis I of France, the usual
things kings find to spend lavishly upon. Plus Henry was feeling his
age. He had a sore on his leg that would not heal, he also had gout.
Long ceremonies would have been very trying.
Now Katherine was young, nubile, and suddenly Queen of England. What
did her blushing bridegroom bring to bed? Well, he was old, gouty,
overweight, and had this running, stinking sore on his leg; hardly
girls dream date. Poor Henry called Katherine his "rose without a
thorn." The rest of England was not so sure. This lady was really a
commoner and a Catholic. Then there was the issue about her "past,"
a sixteen year old could have a past.
Katherine did remember her former "friends" and appointed Sir Francis
Dereham as her private secretary less than a month after she and
got hitched. The less than virginal Henry Mannox was her private
musician. There was her kissing cousin, Thomas Culpepper who received
lavish gift or two from the new queen.
Anyone married to Henry VIII must have known about what happened to
Anne Boleyn. Surely she would not have risked the block for a little
dalliance. Maybe or maybe not. She was sixteen, hot-blooded, and
disgusted with her husband. Francis Dereham later said that Katherine
and he had exchanged promises of marriage when she was living with
Grandma. Still, he maintained, all contact of that sort stopped once
she married Henry.
There was talk of impassioned love letters written by Katherine
although none were ever produced. Fact is, Katherine was not much on
reading or writing and could scarce sign her name. It seems obvious
that Katherine had been innocently flirting, suddenly rich and
powerful, unused to the intrigues of the court. She was Catholic and
had not gotten Henry another male heir.
On November 1, 1541 Henry was planning some romps with Katherine for
All Souls Day. He was discretely pulled aside by his archbishop and
informed that the Queen was unfaithful to him. Henry denied it and
two men thrown in the Tower for saying anything bad about Katherine.
Within a few days on November 9, Henry did a complete turn around. He
was willing to believe the most monstrous things about that young
Understand that this was no repeat of Anne Boleyn, whom Henry wanted
be rid of, Henry appeared to dote on his new bride. Some blame
medical condition. There were rumors of Henry having syphilis and
leading to a dementia. We do know he had tuberculosis which was
destroying him. It may be that he saw evidence we will never know
about. He did not face Katherine with any of his suspicions, he
away from Hampton Court and left her to the mercies of his Archbishop
Cranmer who could hardly help being prejudiced against Catherine on
account of her Catholic religion. The Archbishop volunteered to look
into matters for the King.
Thomas Culpepper and Francis Dereham were arrested and questioned.
of the questioning involved pulling teeth. Nothing more came of the
evidence except that all parties admitted that Francis and Katherine
had kissed when she lived with her grandmother and had called each
other husband and wife in jest. Katherine was never allowed to speak
her own defense. Further evidence came out that Katherine may have
a dalliance or two before she had met the King. Shocked, Henry pushed
for a speedy and damning trial.
Both Dereham and Culpepper were found guilty of treason and executed
Tyburn. Dereham suffered the long-drawn-out death, he was hanged,
and quartered; Culpepper simply hanged, because of his closer
relationship with the Howards; but both their heads were exhibited,
spikes, on Tower Bridge.
Katherine was beheaded within the Tower, at the same place and on the
same block as Anne Boleyn on February 13, 1542. She did not go
executed with her was the wife of Anne Boleyn's brother George, Lady
Jane Rochford. The irony of it was that it was Lady Rochford who had
accused Anne of incest with George. Now she was facing the same ax
because she had supposedly helped Katherine betray the King.
On May 5, 1542, Henry released Grandma, the Duchess of Norfolk after
investigating her part in the scandal.
Katherines ghost is now said to haunt a gallery in Hampton Court. I
would not be the least surprised.
What have we learned here? New queens should be very careful to
above reproach? Old kings are liable to believe themselves cuckolds?
Some churchmen may not be as unbiased as they might be? How about
get caught fiddling with the music teacher? In all honesty, I feel
very sorry for Katherine Howard; she was a pawn in some nasty
If you are out there tuning your virginal, sharpening your ax,
promising true love to a guy 35 years older than yourself, or just
haunting a gallery and you wish to forward these missives, please do
so. Remember to keep my name and sig. attached.
Accusing no one of anything,
SCA Sir Balthazar of Endor
AS Polyphemus Theognis
TRV Sebastian Yeats
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