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Archive for the ‘Sir Henry Wyatt Knight’ Category

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 …

STWLargebyHolbein

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:

STWOilonPanel
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.

ElizabethbBrooke

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.

GeorgeBrooke9thBaronCobham

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.”

STWtheYoungerLargebyHolbein

“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.

Cromwell,Thomas
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.”

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Henry VIII at Coronation

Henry VII had it all – wealth and connections that helped secure his unsteady throne – and the essential heir and a spare.

Unfortunately Arthur – Henry’s oldest prince – died in 1502. The king’s beloved queen Elizabeth of York died in 1503. She had been a kind and loving wife and mother. Henry, the younger son, had been groomed for a different path and an aging, widowed and grieving father didn’t have many years to prepare him for the throne.

Henry VII died of tuberculosis at Richmond Palace on 22 April, 1509. In Cassell’s Illustrated History of England (with text by William Howitt) the author describes how the English felt about his reign. “While his father had strengthened the throne, he had made himself extremely unpopular. The longer he lived the more the selfish meanness and the avarice of his character had become conspicuous and excited the disgust of his subjects.”

Edward Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1583 to 1648) was much like Sir Thomas Wyatt in that he was a poet, diplomat and soldier. His book England Under VIII was published the year after his death and is still read today.  According to Lord Herbert …

“Nothing is so easie as to reign, if the body of government be well framed.”  

Henry VIII was crowned April 22, 1509 at 18 years of age. He took the throne unopposed, a tribute to his father’s zeal. The Tudor reign was secure.

His father’s stinginess left him very well off but he would need guidance. His grandmother Lady Margaret Beaufort knew what her son Henry VII would have wanted.

Howitt wrote “His grandmother, the countess of Richmond and Derby, was highly esteemed for her virtue and prudence, and Henry appeared quite disposed to be guided by her sage experience in the conduct of national affairs. By her advice he continued in his council the men who had been the counsellors of his father. Warham, the archbishop of Canterbury, the earl of Shrewsbury, lord Herbert, Sir Thomas Lovel, Sir Edward Poynings, Sir Henry Marney, Sir Thomas Darcy, and Sir Henry Wyatt, surrounded his council-board, and occupied the chief offices of the state.”

Lord Cherbury listed the ten men in this order:

William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Chancellor of England
Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester, Secretary and Lord Privy-Seal
George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, Lord Steward of the King’s Household
Sir Charles Somerset, Lord Herbert, of Gower, Chepstow, and Rayland, Lord Chamberlain
Sir Thomas Lovel, Master of the Wards and Constable of the Tower
Sir Henry Wyat
Thomas Ruthal, Doctor of Law
Sir Edward Poynings, Knight of the Garter, Controller
Sir Henry Marney, Lord Marney
Sir Thomas Darcy, Lord Darcy

“The frame of this council was of scholars, chiefly, and soldiers…” These were not “men of the law” – but they called for experts when needed. Their job was to “impartially advise, but often modestly contest with him in any thing for his good… this held up the majesty of the council.” Lord Herbert tells us that “The first office perform’d by these counselors, was mix’d betwixt piety to their deceas’d prince, and duty to their new.”

Lady Margaret expected them to “deliberate well among themselves” so that the young king would not be “distracted by difference of opinions.” They behaved as Margaret expected til her death; which came shortly thereafter.

Henry VIII had lost his brother, his mother and now his father. He was a sensitive young man. He left Richmond, where his father had died, for the Tower of London. There he learned the true state of the kingdom from his council and sought to “avoid those salutes and acclamations of the people … till the lamentations and solemnity of his father’s funeral were past. He thought not fit to mingle the noises.”

Henry Wyatt was knighted – along with others – at Henry’s coronation.

Recommended reading:

Winter King – Henry VII and The Dawn of Tudor England
by Thomas Penn.
http://tinyurl.com/c8xf5y6 

 

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Catherine_Aragon_Henri_VIII_Wikipedia

R.I.P. – 16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536

I will light a candle for this dear lady tonight. She was a descendant of John of Gaunt – as are we.

Most queens were glorified breeders; prince mills. This princess’ parents raised their girl with love and honor. They were the power couple of their time – Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain.

Katherine was Catholic, pious and fully prepared to do all that her new Tudor family asked. She had a terrifying journey from Spain to England – and then Prince Arthur died within months of the wedding. His father the king had promised her parents he would treat her as his own child – but he began to treat her as a bargaining chip.

She didn’t fit in on her own. She wore funny clothes and didn’t know how to dance and laugh. Her fate in that strange new land was in his hands and he wasn’t certain she was the best bride for his spare heir. Best bride, of course, meant whichever alliance would yield the most money and power.

Katherine was on the short list because she had already been shipped in by her parents, Henry wouldn’t have to pay her travel expenses. On the downside, if he found a better bride, he would have to return her dowry.

Yes, he was that cheap.

When her parents’ stars began to fade, he sent her to live “in rags” over the stables with not enough money for food nor funds to pay her servants.

When Henry died of tuberculosis, not many mourned. In Cassell’s Illustrated History of England, William Howitt states: “While his father [Henry VII] had strengthened the throne, he had made himself extremely unpopular. The longer he lived the more the selfish meanness and the avarice of his character had become conspicuous and excited the disgust of his subjects.”

After the king’s death, his mother – Lady Margaret Beaufort – chose counselors for her grandson, including our Henry Wyatt; and Katherine found her first (and last) years of true happiness. Henry VIII was a kind and loving husband for a time; but she was older than Henry. Through all the miscarriages she was only able to produce one living princess – not a prince. Henry could barely conceal his disappointment.

Menopause came early in those days. When it was obvious Katherine could not produce a son, the king set his sights on Anne Boleyn. Note that while Queen Katherine was losing Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas was losing Anne Boleyn to his friend Henry VIII. At least our Sir Tom had the good sense to step aside.

He wrote …

Whoso List to Hunt

Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, hélas, I may no more.
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
I am of them that farthest cometh behind.
Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore
Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
Sithens in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I may spend his time in vain.
And graven with diamonds in letters plain
There is written, her fair neck round about:
Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am
,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.

Katherine’s days as wife and queen were numbered. Towards the end of 1527 she commanded Wyatt to translate Petrarch’s “remedy of yll ‘fortune’ – or Book II of De remediis utriusque fortunae. It was a massive undertaking that contained 132 dialogues. He completed some of it before deciding to substitute Plutarch’s short essay The Quiet of Mind instead. This would be his holiday gift to the queen.

His signature states that with her encouragement this work might lead “this hande / towarde better enterprises.” He dated it “the last day of Decembre. M.D. XXVII” and presented it to her as a New Year’s gift.

According to Patricia Thomson, author of Sir Thomas Wyatt and His Background, “This was indeed a poignant moment in Catherine’s life, to which both the work she commissioned of Wyatt and the one she got are appropriate.”

Thompson also suggests that “it is quite possible that, coming at this moment, Wyatt’s learned offering marks his swift revulsion of feeling against Anne’s values and in favour of those for which Catherine stood.”

Sir Thomas fell in love with Katherine’s servant, Mistress Elizabeth Darrell. They would be together until his end.

Henry VIII wanted a divorce so he could marry Anne. He hoped Katherine would be compliant – he needed her to be accepting because he feared angering her nephew, Emperor Charles VI. When Katherine stood her ground, Henry viciously destroyed her from within. He prevented her from seeing her only child and sent her to ever distant, colder, damper castles. Katherine wrote her nephew the Emperor:

‘My tribulations are so great, my life so disturbed by the plans daily invented to further the king’s wicked intention, the surprises which the king gives me, with certain persons of his council, are so mortal, and my treatment is what God knows, that it is enough to shorten ten lives, much more mine.’

In May of 1534 Katherine was sent to Kimbolton Castle, where she became a prisoner in the southwest corner. She spent most of her time in prayer and was attended by a few loyal servants – including Lady Darrell; Katherine left her £200 for her marriage, “though none was in prospect.”

(Henry VIII was malicious in preventing Lady Darrell from receiving the funds; she finally received them from Queen Mary after his death.)

“When Catherine’s body was cut open for embalming, the undertakers discovered that her heart had turned black, with a hideous growth on the outside. De la Sa was certain she had been poisoned and the accusation was later used against Anne Boleyn. But no one had access to the queen except for her most faithful ladies. Modern medical historians are certain she died of cancer. Its’ interesting in the light of current ‘new age’ thinking about the relationship between illnesses people get and their emotional condition: Catherine of Aragon died of something very close to a broken heart.” From Karen Lindsey’s Divorced Beheaded Survived; a feminist reinterpretation of the wives of Henry VIII

Henry found Anne Boleyn was more willful than Katherine – and just as unlikely to produce a male heir. I’ve read that Anne thought her life was in danger so long as Katherine was alive; the opposite was probably true. He couldn’t discard her because the emperor would
expect him to take his aunt back.

When Katherine died, Anne was condemned (through treachery) and Henry had already found her replacement. She was waiting in the wings. He nearly slipped the ring on her finger as the French swordsman sliced Anne’s head off her little neck.

Henry arrogantly assumed he was in a favorable position to reopen the lines of communication with the emperor. So guess who he sent as ambassador. Can you imagine calling upon the Holy Roman Emperor on behalf of the monster who killed his aunt?

I can’t.

Please join us on Facebook – Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet

(This was mostly from memory – and opinion – so please write if you note errors.)

 

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“Edward IV used to say that he had three mistresses ‘which … diversely excelled; one the meriest, the other the wyliest, the thirde the holyest’ harlot in the Realm.”

He would have been like a father to his little brother, since Richard was only nine when their father died. In 1483 Edward honored Richard by granting him the city and castle of Carlisle, wardenship of the West Marches and 10,000 marks. Still the king chose to keep his ambitious brother at a distance, “somewhat outside” the official circle.

Edward openly favored his queen’s family – the Greys and the Woodvilles; as a result, they had many enemies.

In March Edward became ill with fever and shivering fits. He was only 41 years old when he took to his bed at Westminster. Authors debate the nature of his illness. Some believed he was upset by the deceit of Louis IX; others said he was suffering the final effects of “drink and debauchery.”

Five hundred archers were on hand to keep the peace, if necessary. Some feared a coup by the queen’s family while others worried about what Richard would do.

Edward IV died April 9.  The once beautiful body of the king lay bloated, naked to the waist, for some hours before being taken for exhibition to several locations. In describing his reign, Sir James Henry Ramsay writes that “twenty-two years of government turned him from the most trustful to the most suspicious of men; yet he was always true to those who served him well.”

Edward died with his kingdom in a good place. He had recovered Berwick in the war against Scotland.  The country had been peaceful since the death of his brother Clarence and his court was filled with faithful, knowledgeable servants.

The transition to his 13-year-old son should have been easy, but it wasn’t. There was a deadlock over who would assume guardianship of the new king. Guardianship of the king was the same as control of the kingdom. The boy was then living in the care of his Uncle Rivers. The lords of the council wanted to establish a Regency Council until he was of age; instead, the queen “unwisely claimed it for herself.” He added “In the deadlock a rush was made to secure points of vantage.” Sir Edward Woodville assumed command of the king’s ships. Dorset invaded the tower and helped himself to the king’s private coffer.

Arrangements were made to bring young Edward to London for the crowning ceremony, which was scheduled for May 4. His Uncle Rivers would arrange for the journey but internal suspicions led to disputes as to how many men the young king could have in his escort. Ramsay writes “Impartial men were amazed at the idea of limiting the number of followers that a King should bring with him to his Coronation.”  The queen settled it by writing a letter telling her son he could bring no more than 2,000 men.

The moment Richard learned of the king’s death he leaped into action. He wrote the queen swearing devotion to her son as king; then he went to York to publicly mourn his brother’s death. He even exacted oaths of allegiance from the northern gentry on his nephew’s behalf.

On his way to London Richard was joined by his powerful accomplice, the Duke of Buckingham. At the same time Rivers and his friend, Sir Richard Grey, were en route with the young king. Rivers left the boy in Stony Stratford and the two men went to Northampton to pay their respects to Richard and “consult his wishes.” A pleasant evening was enjoyed by all.

The next morning Rivers and Grey were on their way back to Stony Stratford when they were seized and sent north. Richard had possession of his nephew.

The queen received the awful news the next day. We can imagine her anguish as she rushed her children into sanctuary at Westminster. Ramsay says the town “was greatly agitated” with men choosing refuge, either with the queen at Westminster or the Lords of the Council in the city.

Surprisingly, Richard’s behavior was impeccable and the boy’s coronation went as planned. Edward wore blue velvet; Richard wore black “like a mourner.” Ramsay writes “Gloucester gained golden opinions by his deferential attitude towards his young charge.”

He had stolen the role of protectorate and nobody had the courage to question his motives. When the privy council met, Archbishop Bourchier told those present that he had taken the late king’s most important effects, including the great seal, the privy seal and the signet.  This move sidestepped Archbishop Rotherham, who was for the queen.

By May 14 members of the court were addressing Richard as “Protector;” his power grew quickly.  He named the Duke of Buckingham Justiciar and Chamberlain of North and South Wales, Constable of all royal castles and more; obviously Buckingham’s loyalty was a priority.

On May 19 the young king’s friends suggested he be moved to a place where he could enjoy more freedom. Several places were recommended, but Richard chose to move him to the Tower. Richard was ready to finish what he had started. On 16 June Richard went “in force” by water to Westminster to take the other boy. “To their endless disgrace” Cardinal Bourchier and Chancellor Russell convinced the queen to surrender her younger son.

Both boys – his nephews, sons of his brother the deceased king – were declared illegitimate.

As of August 1483, they were never seen playing on tower grounds again.

According to Thomas More, Richard had the boys smothered in their bed.

Our Henry Wyatt was probably still in prison in Scotland at the time, but change was in the wind. The assumed death of the boys turned popular opinion against Richard and his days were numbered.

Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry Tudor, worked behind the scenes to form alliances on behalf of her son.

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Sir Henry Wyatt, Knight

Sir Henry Wyatt, Knight

 

These blogs are previews of my book as a work in progress.  This is painstaking stuff, so please honor my copyright – mickisuzanne©

Henry Wyatt was born in Yorkshire, England in 1460. His parents were Richard Wyatt and Margaret, the daughter and heir of William Bailiff.

Both Henrys were born during the War of the Roses – a series of battles between two rival branches of the Royal House of Plantagenet. The houses of Lancaster were later signified by a red rose, the houses of York were later signified by a white rose.

Henry Tudor’s Mother

Lady Margaret Beaufort was 12 years old when she was married to Edmund Tudor – aged 27. She was only thirteen when Henry Tudor was born and the delivery was so difficult she was told she probably couldn’t have more children. Then she was widowed before her son was born. Edmund was captured by Yorkists and imprisoned at Caermarthen. Plague broke out and he died two months later.

Lady Margaret became an intelligent, ambitious woman. Despite other marriages, Henry remained her only child. She would exert a powerful influence on him and his all of her life.

Henry Tudor’s Father

Henry Tudor’s father Edmund and his Uncle Jasper were borne of a scandalous affair between Queen Katherine of Valois and Owen Tudor, her Welsh Clerk of the Wardrobe. It is said that the dowager queen had married him in secret.  Whatever – Henry VI, legitimate heir to the throne, made his half-brothers earls.  Edmund became Earl of Richmond and Jasper became Earl of Pembroke. Both were dedicated to the Lancastrian side of the War of the Roses.

Henry Tudor spent years in exile. Henry’s grandfather, Owen Tudor, was executed by Yorkists. Other Beaufort relations died in bloody battles against the House of York. In 1471 his half-uncle, King Henry VI was captured and murdered after the Battle of Barnet. The next closest heir in the Beaufort line was Henry’s mother Margaret; since a female heir was unacceptable under those circumstances, her son Henry was in grave danger.

The Beaufort Issue

Lady Margaret Beaufort was the great granddaughter of John of Gaunt. (We share this ancestry through Lady Elizabeth Brooke.) John of Gaunt was a member of the House of Plantagenet, the third surviving son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault. He was called “John of Gaunt” because he was born in Ghent (in today’s Belgium), then called “Gaunt”.

In terms of ascendancy, there was a big problem with the Beaufort line. It started with a young girl Katherine who was made third wife to Hugh Swynford, a Lincolnshire knight. After his death she a widow for many years. During that time she became the mistress of John of Gaunt. Their four children were surnamed Beaufort. After they finally married in January 1396, their children were retroactively legitimized by the Pope and Richard II. HOWEVER: Henry IV had added a provisio that no Beaufort should ever succeed to the throne.

When Edward IV died in 1483, he left his throne to his twelve-year-old son, Edward V. Edward ruled for two months, with the “help” of his Uncle Richard, who was named “Lord Protector”.

The Tyranny of Richard III

Richard would come to be known as one of England’s most irredeemably evil kings.  Shakespeare, Thomas More and others described him as deformed – but that was a time when deformity and evil were thought to be one in the same.
Shortly after Edward IV’s death in April, a propaganda campaign insinuated that Edward’s marriage had been invalid and his sons were therefore bastards, ineligible for the throne.

In June the claims were endorsed by an assembly of lords and commoners. On June 26 – the day after the assembly – Richard began to rule. In July he was crowned Richard III.

In August, both of Edward’s sons disappeared.

If you vaguely remember a story about the two princes who “mysteriously disappeared” from the tower, this is that. The boys were 12 year old Edward V and his nine year old brother Richard, Duke of York. They disappeared in August of 1483, two months after Richard was crowned. It was widely assumed that if Richard didn’t kill them himself, he had it done. Their bodies have never been found.
That same year, Jasper won support for an invasion scheme. The timing seemed right, but the weather was against them. Around this time Henry Wyatt stepped up by taking part in the Duke of Buckingham’s failed revolt against Richard III.

In “A Sketch of the Life of Sir Henry Wiat” (written in 1963 by Eric Norman Simons) the author wrote that Henry was “…remarkable because, though Yorkshire born, he supported the cause of Henry Tudor, the Lancastrian who claimed the throne of England. For this he had been jailed in Scotland in ‘stocks and irons’ for two years by Richard III, who is said to have watched him undergo torture.”

Tortures were designed to allow the prisoner to live long enough to confess pretty much anything they wanted confessed before the individual died. The medieval arsenal for infliction of agony was beyond imagination; in coming years it would play a starring role in the Spanish Inquisition.

Henry was racked; that involved being tied across a board and bound by the ankles and wrists. Rollers would pull the body from opposite directions, resulting in stretching and extreme pain. The severity of the torture depended on the “crime” and social status of the victim.  In prolonged use, limbs would be dislocated or torn from their sockets.  Henry was also tortured with “barnacles”. The victim’s upper lip was pulled through a noose, tightened and twisted until the prisoner was in absolute agony. In some cases, it resulted in mutilation.

Judging from this painting of Sir Henry years later, it appears that may have been the case.

Henry was steadfast through all of it. According to tradition, Richard lamented that his own servants “had not such fidelity.”

Sir Henry’s “Caterer”

During his imprisonment Henry was on the verge of starvation, sleeping in tattered clothing on a thin straw mat in a cold room. Simons shares one account of a family legend. “Among other things, he was forced to swallow mustard and vinegar, and was on the verge of death from starvation. Then, so the story went, he made a pet of and fondled a stray cat, whom he ‘laid … on his bosom to warm him’. Puss grew so attached to him that each morning she deposited at his feet a pigeon pilfered from a neighbouring dovecote, which was later cooked for him by his compassionate jailer.

The family of Wyatt cherished for many years a half-length portrait of Henry in his cell. There in the picture, sure enough, is the cat, dragging through the grating of the cell a pigeon, which she is about to deliver to the prisoner. The painting is, however, not contemporary, having been produced long afterwards. It is, nevertheless, recorded that thereafter Henry Wiat ‘would ever reck much of cats’.

In fact, as a token of gratitude, he introduced to the dovecotes of Allington castle a strain of brown pigeons from Venice, which are as numerous there today as in his own time.”

Henry Tudor had not forgotten his friend.

In August of 1485 Henry Tudor and his forces landed in South Wales and headed east to do battle with Richard. Henry was sorely outnumbered at Bosworth, but Richard suffered a personal defeat – several of his most important lieutenants defected.
One account states: ”When the Standard of the fugitive Earl floated on the field of Bosworth, Wyatt found means to join it. When the Usurper had fallen on Bosworth field, one of the first acts of Henry VII was to liberate Henry and raise him from the private gentleman to the highest honours at Court.”

Agnes Conway describes what happened afterwards in “Henry VII’s relations with Scotland and Ireland”:
“The Earl of Richmond anon after he was crowned King entertained (Henry Wyatt) then coming out of imprisonment and affliction in Scotland first with most gracious words unto himself and then with this speech unto the Lords. Both I and you must bid this Gentleman heartily welcome, had not he above human strength or example also shewed himself our constant friend, neither had I enjoyed now the Crowne, nor you that Peace and prosperitie, and honour which you now possess.”

It is said that the king told Henry “Study to serve me and I will study to enrich you.” And that’s exactly what happened.

Success

In 1492 he was appointed Esquire-of-the-Body, King’s select Bodyguard. He sold “Hall in the Village Solhange” (South Haigh or Upper Haigh) that he had acquired through his first marriage to Margaret, daughter and heiress of Richard Bailiff of Barnsley.
Henry purchased and restored Allington Castle; Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey visited him there.

In 1502 Henry married his second wife, Anne Skinner, daughter of John Skinner of Reigate in Surrey. (One record suggests she was a sister of the Earl of Surrey, but we have no proof.)  At the time of their marriage Henry would have been 43 – that was OLD in medieval times.

His famous son, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet was born the following year.

There’s a lot more to it than this. Over the course of his life Sir Henry received titles and honors from Henry VII and Henry VIII. That information will be in the book.

Sir Henry Wyatt’s tomb in Boxley reads (in part):

To the Memory of Sr HENRY WIAT of ALINGTON CASTLE

Knight Bannert descended of that Ancient family who was imprisoned and tortured in the Tower in the reign of KING RICHARD the third kept in the Dungeon where fed and preserved by a Cat. He married ANN daughter of  THOMAS SKINNER of SURREY Esqe was of the Privy Council to KING HENRY the Seventh and KING HENRY the Eighth and left one Son Sr THOMAS WIAT of ALINGTON CASTLE who was Esquire of the body to KING HENRY the Eighth and married ELIZABETH Daughter of THOMAS BROOKE Lord COBHAM and well known for Learning and Embasys in the reign of that KING Sr THOMAS WIAT of ALINGTON CASTLE his only Son married JANE younger Daughter of Sr WILLIAM HAWT of this COUNTY and was beheaded in the reign of QUEEN MARY Leaving GEORGE WIAT his only Son that Lived to Age who married JANE Daughter of Sr THOMAS FINCH of EASTWELL and KATHERINE his wife Restored in blood by act of Parliament of the 13th of QUEEN ELIZABETH

 

 

 

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