Wyatt coat of arms
Hello Cousins

People have been coming through the blog pages posting and seeking information on Wyatt ancestors and relatives in the U.S., U.K. and distant places.

That’s frustrating; whereas Facebook is the free and easy (and international) way to get together.

This is our GROUP page on Facebook – mix and mingle:
Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet Genealogy

This is our MAIN page on Facebook. I feed this one.
Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet


Last week an Irish Facebook friend and Tudor enthusiast suggested we put more art on Facebook. He asked me to post something about Hans Holbein. I began with Holbein’s famous painting of Henry VIII, but couldn’t resist – I had to share family members painted by the great man.

I’ve noticed some of the people who sat for Holbein seemed somewhat awkward about or uncomfortable with the situation. I am most haunted by our Sir Henry Wyatt.

Sir Henry Wyatt Knight

Sir Henry Wyatt Knight

His painting is oil on oak, only 15.4″ x 12.2.” According to Wikipedia, which does a nice job of documenting the art they share with us, it’s in the Louvre Museum, on the second floor, room 8.

This is the face that endured the application of horse barnacles during torture ordered by Richard III. He was only 23 when imprisoned and locked away until the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. He lived with that face for a long time.

“In the Louvre picture Sir Henry is represented at half-length, slightly turned to the right, wearing a black skull-cap over his long hair, and the customary overcoat with deep fur collar, and green under-sleeves ; from his shoulders hangs a large heavy gold chain, to which a gold cross is attached, which he grasps with his right hand, and holds a folded paper in his left. He is clean-shaven, and has a large rounded nose. The wrinkled face, the small tremulous mouth, and the tired eyes with the sadness of their expression, produce a very life-like effect of old age. The chain is put on with real gold, in a way which Holbein practised from time to time in England.” Hans Holbein the Younger: Volume 1 by Arthur Bensley Chamberlain

Susan Foister, author of Holbein in England, ISBN 1854376454 wrote “the sitter appears to have lost his teeth.”

Experts think it was painted around 1537 – around the same time as his son’s portrait and very near the time of his death. Sir Henry was born in 1460, died at 76 or 77 on 10 November, 1537.

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet …


He would have been around 34 in 1537. Wikipedia tells us this is “Black and coloured chalks, pen and ink on pink-primed paper, 37.3 × 27.2 cm, Royal Collection, Windsor Castle.” One of my books (Holbein by Jane Roberts) says it was “Black and coloured chalks and ink applied with pen and brush on pink prepared paper 37.1 x 27 cm.” We’re told Holbein also drew a profile portrait.

According to Holbein’s Drawings at Windsor Castle by Phaidon, “On a pale pink priming, 14 11/16 x 10 11/16”: chalks: black, red (face, patch at shoulder on left, another on chest), brown (beard); reinforced with the pen in indian ink (hair, beard). Eyes: grey-blue. Inscribed (gold and scarlet) in left upper corner Tho: Wiatt Knight. The face is considerably stained.”

Phaidon also mentions “Another portrait of Wyatt by Holbein is also lost. From it derive the small circular woodcut which appeared in Leland’s Naeniae in mortem ?Thomae Viati, 1542, and two circular paintings, in reverse to the woodcut, in the Bodleian Library and National Portrait Gallery.” I think this refers to the following image:

According to Wikipedia: “Portrait of Sir Thomas Wyatt. Oil on panel, 31.7 cm diameter, National Portrait Gallery, London. This oil portrait of Wyatt in a medallic profile composition derives from a lost drawing or painting by Hans Holbein the Younger of about 1540. Holbein’s woodcut for Leland’s Naenia presumably follows the original version. Four 16th-century copies by other hands survive, of which this is one of two at the National Portrait Gallery”

So then, what’s this? Wikipedia says “A high-quality copy of this drawing by another hand survives, perhaps from the Elizabethan period (K. T. Parker, The Drawings of Hans Holbein at Windsor Castle, Oxford: Phaidon, 1945.” (I don’t like it.)

Sir Thomas Wyatt by Holbein
Sir Thomas Wyatt was born in 1503 at Allington Castle; he died at a friend’s house, age 38 or 39, on 11 October, 1542.

This is Margaret Wyatt, Lady Lee – Sir Henry’s only daughter, Sir Thomas’ sister, dear friend of Anne Boleyn. Apparently Margaret was also known as Mary, so Wikipedia is confused about “which sister” was Anne’s loyal Lady in Waiting. She looks so different from her father and brother, I wonder if she took after her mother – Anne Skinner.

Lady Margaret Lee Large
Wikipedia dates it at about 1540, tempera on panel, 16.7 × 12.9″ – currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Margaret was the mother of Sir Henry Lee, Queen Elizabeth’s champion. (Check it out; I swear I can see some Wyatt in his painting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Henry_Lee)

Some think this Holbein may be Elizabeth Brooke, wife of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet.


According to Holbein’s Drawings at Windsor Castle by Phaidon, “The inscription is certainly incorrect, the features showing no resemblance whatever with the well authenticated drawing of Anne Boleyn in Lord Bradford’s possession… It is possible that there is indirect evidence of the sitter’s identity in the occurrence of various heraldic sketches on the reverse of the drawing, these being the coat-of-arms of the Wyatt family.”

Her brother was George Brooke, 9th Baron of Cobham. Do we see a resemblance? I think so, but it’s hard to say.


Sir Thomas Wyatt’s brother-in-law took part in the trail of Anne Boleyn and got caught up in his son’s rebellion against Queen Mary.

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger was born in 1521. He was about 15 or 16 when his grandfather died, 20 or 21 when his father died. He was one of the leaders of the rebellion opposing Queen Mary’s desire to marry Philip of Spain. Henry’s grandson was executed at 32 or 33 at Tower Hill on 11 April 1554.

This is a Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger by Holbein. Wikipedia says “Oil on circular panel: Diameter 12 5/8 in. (32 cm.) Painted circa 1540-42.”


“Provenance: Presumably commissioned by sitter’s father Sir Thomas Wyatt Senior (1503 – 1542), Thence likely by descent to sitter and dispersed with his property after his execution in 1554; With J. Tremlett Esq. by whom sold; Christie’s, 22 November 1974, lot 152”

Other close friends of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet were painted by Holbein, but let us not end this post without adding the Wyatt family’s powerful friend Thomas Cromwell.

Painted between 1532 and 1533, oil on oak panel, 30.9 × 25.4″.

According to Wikipedia, “Three early versions of this painting survive: this one, in the Frick Collection, New York; one in the National Portrait Gallery, London (see ‘other versions’ below); and one at Burton Constable, Yorkshire, England. Art scholar Roy Strong believed that all three were copies and, while the condition of all three is poor, that the Frick version is in the best condition. Art scholar John Rowlands, however, has since deduced from pentimenti (signs of alteration) revealed by X-ray photographs that the Frick version shows the hand of Holbein himself and is the original. He is followed in this attribution by art scholar Stephanie Buck. All three versions had scrolls painted above Cromwell’s head, but the scroll on the Frick version, which was painted after Cromwell’s execution, was removed during restoration. The painting has been over-restored, resulting in the removal of much of the surface subtlety characteristic of Holbein.”

Please join us on Facebook, where I regularly post articles of interest:


Bible of John Thomas Wyatt, born March 7, 1829 in Kanawha County, West Virginia; died November 11, 1859 in Henry County, Indiana. He was the son of Edward Wyatt Jr. and Mary “Polly” Tackett.

Link to the listing: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=191011882241&ssPageName=ADME:B:SS:US:3160

From the description:

“Pocket style, produced with pocket covering and strap, produced one year after the CIVIL WAR. Nicely kept black leather covers show some minor wear with a few nicks and scratches, functional with gilt title on spine and page edges gilt, although the front cover is nearly detached, only held by a single cord. Flap lacking catch, as shown.  Pocket Bible, about 3.5″ wide, 5″ tall. Pages all intact, all pages lightly used, somewhat browned, a few instances of foxing and damp staining, with minor rounding/wear to edges, decent interior shape. Yellow decorative EPs.  Inscribed in front a note mentioning the death in 1859 of John T Wyatt of Henry Co. Indiana.  Good luck:)”

Hope this finds its way back to its family! If this is your line and you purchase the bible, please let us know.

Merry Christmas cousins.


On the Bones of Saints


Pope Francis with the Bones of St. Peter

Pope Francis with the Bones of St. Peter


I’m not Catholic, but Pope Francis is such a blessing in our times. He marked the end of the Year of Faith by making (what are believed to be) the bones of St. Peter available for public display.

“The relics, normally kept in the private chapel of the Pope’s Vatican apartments, were presented to tens of thousands of pilgrims who gathered to catch a glimpse of the relics. The eight fragments of bone between two and three centimetres (around one inch) long were displayed on an ivory bed within a bronze chest on a pedestal in St. Peter’s Square.”


I was surprised to see saints’ bones continue to have such power in modern times.

From the article – “The bones were discovered in 1939 in an excavation of the Vatican Necropolis below the main altar at Saint Peter’s Basilica, which has been the consistent traditional burial place of the first Pope since antiquity. The excavation, ordered by Pope Pius XII, found the bones in a first century funerary wall creche, with a Greek inscription of ‘Petros eni’, or ‘Peter is here’. The bones were found wrapped in purple and gold threaded cloth.”

It made me think of our ancestor William the Bastard’s treachery with Harold Godwinson, his contender for Edward the Confessor’s throne. (Later Saint Edward the Confessor.)

William the conqueror from Beayeux Tapestry
There was no oath more binding than one on saints’ bones and William played it.

Simon Schama’s video on Edward the Confessor and William the Bastard – later Conqueror – tells the story better than I can.

If you have time, I urge you to enjoy the whole video. If not, start at 14:24


Sherborne Abbey

Our famous grandfather died 11 October 1542. I wonder if he’d be honored to be so well loved and so well remembered. Let’s look at his last three years.

The fates of families were intertwined in the Tudor court. Our family was tied to Thomas Cromwell, the second most powerful man in England.

Politics vs. romance

In 1540 Cromwell made the mistake of matching Henry VIII with Anne of Cleves. It was a political match for the good of the country; but the king’s head was bent on romantic ideals.

Cromwell’s impressive PR machine was his downfall. Holbein’s painting a little too appealing, encouraging the king to fall in love with a woman who did not exist. When he met her, he didn’t like what he saw, felt or smelt. Froude wrote

“The German alliance was already shaking at its base: the court was agitated and alarmed; the king was miserable.”

Unable to cancel the wedding without causing an international incident, Henry warned Cromwell” If it were not to satisfy the world and my realm, I would not do that I must do this day for none earthly thing.”

Henry’s EXTREME disappointment gave Cromwell’s enemies the edge they needed to effect his downfall.

In May of 1540, Wyatt (serving as ambassador to the Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor in Europe) nearly begged to be allowed to come home.

The historian Simonds refers to Cromwell’s letters in describing the power of their relationship. “It is to ‘my very loving friend’ that these documents are addressed, and in like fashion subscribed. In fact Cromwell had ever been ‘good lord’ to Wyatt, as the expression ran, and it was not improbable that the ruin of his powerful patron might involve his own.”

The fall of our most powerful family friend

[The following is mostly from Thomas Cromwell by Robert Hutchison, 2007 – link at bottom]

Cromwell stood and told those with him on the scaffold: ‘Pray for the prince and for all the lords of the council and for the clergy and for the commonalty [people]. Now I beg you again that you will pray for me’

Taking a last long look around, Cromwell spotted his old friend Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder in the front ranks of the shifting and pressing crowd. He called out: Gentle Wyatt, goodbye – pray for me. Wyatt imprisoned in the downfall of Anne Boleyn, immediately dissolved into tears. ‘ Do not weep’, Cromwell added, ‘for if I were no more guilty than you were when they took you, I should not be in this pass’.

With that, he told the executioner: “Pray, if possible, cut off the head with one blow, so that I may not suffer much’. It was a faint hope. The headsman was called Gurrea, ‘a ragged and butcherly wretch’ and moments later he botched the execution; some claimed he was deliberately chosen because of his lack of experience. It seems likely that his axe stroke missed Cromwell’s neck and bit deeply into the back of his skull; one account grimly talks of two executioners ‘chopping the Lord Cromwell’s neck and head for nearly half an hour’.

The arrogant Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey and the son of Cromwell’s arch enemy Norfolk, sneered: “Now is the false churl dead, so ambitious of others’ [noble] blood. These new erected men would, by their wills, leave no noble man a life.’ Trimuphantly, he pointed to the process of attainder, the Minister’s own personally devised weapon against traitors, as being the instrument of his eventual downfall : “Now he is stricken,’ he said, ‘with his own staff”

Awaiting the inevitable

After Cromwell’s execution, Wyatt returned to Allington. According to old accounts, his mistress Elizabeth Darrell was there, along with his son and daughter-in-law. (Elizabeth had been a loyal maid to Queen Catherine of Aragon.)

Bishop Bonner renewed old attacks on Sir Thomas; the powerful Cromwell wasn’t around to protect him any longer; and the king’s health was such that he was increasingly paranoid, more open to believing lies about loyal friends.

According to tudorplace.com – “Elizabeth Darrell was openly living with Wyatt, as his mistress, at Allington Castle in Kent, in Jan of 1541, when Wyatt was arrested. Because she was pregnant at the time, she was allowed to remain in one of Wyatt’s confiscated houses.”

(I’ll write the long and involved story of Bonner’s attacks and Wyatt’s response some other time. Just imagine how it felt to be so betrayed; again. He was not expected to leave Tower grounds alive this time!)

From prison he wrote his friend, Sir Francis Bryan:

SIGHS are my food : my drink is bitter tears.

Clinking of fetters would such music crave.

Stink and close air away my life it wears.

Pure Innocence is all the hope I have!

Rain, wind, or weather judge I by mine ears!

Malice assaults that Righteousness should have !

Sure I am, BRYAN ! this wound shall heal again

But yet, alas! the scar shall still remain!

In July of 1540 Henry annulled his marriage to the physically undesirable Anne of Cleves (on mutually acceptable grounds) and hooked up with a sweet young bubblehead. His new queen, Katherine Howard, was a cousin of Anne Boleyn and our Elizabeth Brooke.

Let it be said that the king was no prize. His old jousting wound had never healed and you smelled him before you saw him. Previous injuries restricted most activities except boffing and eating; he was immense and getting old before his time.

Naturally he was flattered to have an attentive young new queen on his arm. When she pleaded for Sir Thomas’ pardon, Henry allowed it. (She had pleaded on behalf of others and been denied.)

Conditional forgiveness

The king granted his release from prison on the condition that he would take his wife back. Understand that they had already been separated for about 15 years. Henry expected Thomas to live a “conjugal” life with her; if he didn’t – if he was found to have relations with others – he would suffer death and confiscation of property.

This was strange because men HAD mistresses, wives were sent away and couples lived openly in adultery. It was no big deal. Nicola Shulman (in Graven With Diamonds – link at bottom) says “Wyatt’s condition is the only example of its kind in his time.”

Shulman suggests Henry may have given in by pressure from the Howards – relatives of the Brookes, who wanted Thomas to accept financial responsibility for his estranged wife. They’d been after him to pay up for years.

Did he obey? According to Tudorplace.com; “following his release from the Tower, he returned to his mistress.”

Is it possible Henry gave him a wink and a slap on the back? If not, he was risking tremendous wealth for love. Because Henry did what he had done before after imprisoning his old friend for no good reason; he added to his estates and allowed him back into his circle of trust.

When Henry beheaded his young queen for adultery, Thomas acquired the lands of her lover, Thomas Culpeper.

At this time Marillac, the French ambassador described Sir Thomas as “one of the richest gentleman in England, having an income from his patrimony of six to seven thousand ducats a year.”

The final mission

The following year Henry refriended Spain and resumed war against France. Thomas accompanied the king at Dover and was made captain of 300 men in Calais, where he defended the city while new fortifications were built. Sir Thomas was expected to be named Vice-Admiral of the English fleet.

When the Spanish envoy arrived in Falmouth ahead of schedule, Sir Thomas rushed to meet him, changing many horses along the way. He was known to have crushing headaches. He wasn’t feeling well, the sun was bright and the weather unseasonably warm for October.

Shulman quotes his friend John Mason as gently accusing him of “having more regard for the royal mandate than his health.” Shulman says there was another reason for his speed. Elizabeth Darrell and their young son were nearby.

He collapsed of great fever at the house of his friend Sir John Horsey. Shulman hopes he sent for Elizabeth so they could say their final good-byes.

On 11 October, 1542 he died. Per Shulman, he “is thought to have become the first tenant of a family vault which Horsey was preparing for himself at the great church in Sherborne.”

The church register describes him as “‘vir venerabilis’. The ‘inquisitio post mortem’, dated 8 Jan 1542-3, enumerates vast estates in Kent
(34 Hen. VIII, Kent, m. 90).

We can pay our respects by visiting the abbey online:

(I see we have other ancestors buried at that abbey.)

Sir Tom’s two Elizabeths

Sir Thomas left some of his properties to Elizabeth Darrell with “right of reversion” to their son Francis. During the reign of Queen Mary, Elizabeth Darrell finally received the legacy left to her by her beloved Queen Catherine of Aragon. (It had been withheld by Henry VIII.) According to Tudorplace.com Elizabeth Darrelle married Robert Strowde in 1554.

Elizabeth Brooke – finally free – married Sir Edward Warner, Lord of the Tower. Warner was implicated in Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger’s rebellion; when Elizabeth became queen, she restored his position and family fortunes. Elizabeth and Edward died during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

Links to books quoted:

Thomas Cromwell by Robert Hutchison
From $4.77 used:


Graven with Diamonds by Nicola Shulman
From $5 used:


by Alexander Lloyd Wiatt

    by Alexander Lloyd Wiatt

Our cousin Alexander Lloyd Wiatt has written The Wiatt Family of Virginia, 2nd Edition. It begins with the ancient Wyatts of Yorkshire and Kent and traces his line’s descent from Conquest Wiatt of Gloucester Co. Virginia to present times.

By Alexander Lloyd Wiatt

By Alexander Lloyd Wiatt

The book includes:

Our Coat of Arms
The inscription from the Wiat Memorial in Boxley Parish
The Ancient Wiatt Family tree from the Virginia Historical Magazine
Selected descendants from John Wiatt (1732-1805)

Families histories include:

Julian Wiatt, Miller Wiatt, Newman Wiatt, Turner Wiatt, Baytop, Booth, Carter, Catesby-Cocke, Field, Jones, Rhodes, Sinclair, Stubbs and Todd

The photos and stories are wonderful.

Purchase information:

The Wiatt Family of Virginia, 2nd Edition is not available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc., it’s only available through him. $40 includes shipping, which is expensive.

(This is a heavy, 425-page hard cover book.)


To purchase, please send your check to:

Alex Wiatt
15491 Old Spotswood Trail
Elkton, Va 22827

If you prefer to pay online, he has a PayPal account.


Within our Wyatt line it is Elizabeth Brooke, wife of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet, who gives us our best (?) ties to the Vikings. Historians keep trying to find good things to say about the Viking transition from farmers to marauders, but it’s futile. “Fearless” and “ambitious” only go so far.

They did not fear death; they only feared dishonor.

They were not influenced by Roman culture and laws. Their ships were beautifully built and breathtakingly capable, but their intent was on taking what they wanted, from the gold and silver of English churches to the Irish and English people they captured and sold as slaves.

Eventually they took land and settled in. When the host talks about York – remember that’s where our medieval Wyatts lived.

Neil Oliver, the archaeologist featured in these videos is clearly passionate about his – our – ancestors. He ate what they ate and slept as they slept. He travels to their windswept places. He talks about how they lived over the centuries, the great distances they traveled, how they adapted to varied places and why they ultimately gave up Thor, Odin and their pagan gods for the one Christian God.

These videos are about one hour each; enjoy. [Oliver is also impossibly dreamy with that hair and accent! Ladies, settle in with a glass of wine and enjoy.]

Presented by Neil Oliver
Archaeologist, historian, author and broadcaster
Bio: http://www.neiloliver.com/

Who Were the Vikings, Episode 1

“Neil Oliver heads for Scandinavia to reveal the truth behind the legend of the Vikings. In the first programme, Neil begins by discovering the mysterious world of the Vikings’ prehistoric ancestors. The remains of weapon-filled war boats, long-haired Bronze Age farmers, and a Swedish site of a royal palace and gruesome pagan ritual conjure up an ancient past from which the Viking Age was to suddenly erupt.”


The Trading Empire, Episode 2

“Neil Oliver heads out from the Scandinavian homelands to Russia, Turkey and Ireland to trace the beginnings of a vast trading empire that handled Chinese silks as adeptly as Pictish slaves. Neil discovers a world of ‘starry-eyed maidens’ and Buddhist statues that are a world away from our British experience of axe-wielding warriors, although it turns out that there were quite a few of those as well.”


End of the Viking Age, Episode 3

“Neil Oliver explores how the Viking Age finally ended, tracing the Norse voyages of discovery, the first Danish kings, and the Christian conversions that opened the door to European high society. He also uncovers the truth about England’s King Canute – he was not an arrogant leader who thought he could hold back the waves, but the Viking ruler of an entire empire of the north and an early adopter of European standardisation.”


When I was done watching, I happened across my family tree DNA. It’s just so exciting when science confirms what we’ve found through research. Our report shows our lineage “has its roots in northern France. Today it is found most frequently within Viking/Scandinavian populations in northwest Europe …”

It’s hard to explain why we’re so proud of our Viking ancestry; but we are.