Updated 5/29/12

This should be a convenient starting-place for “cousins” who are just starting to pull their trees together.

Adam Wyatt
Born 1320 in Yorkshire, England
Died 1385 in Yorkshire, England
Married Agnes Wigton
Born 1330 in Norwoods, London, England
Died 1385 in Southange, Yorkshire, England

Son William Wyatt
Born 1350 in Southange, Yorkshire, England
Died 1388 in Southange, Yorkshire, England
Second wife Jane Bailiffe
Born 1355
Died 1372

Son Robert Wyatt
Born 1372 in Southange, Yorkshire, England
Died 1440 in Southange, Yorkshire, England
Married Jane Skipwith
Born 1395 in South Haigh Mexborough, Yorkshire, England

Son Geoffrey Wyatt
Born 1410 in Southange, Yorkshire, England
Died 1460 in Southhenge, Surrey, England
Married Anne Skipwith – a cousin (?)
Born 1411 in Mexborough, Yorkshire, England
Died 1443 in Bisley, Gloucestershire, England

Son Richard Wyatt, Sheriff 
Born 1428 in South Haigh Mexborough, Yorkshire, England
Died 1478 in Kent, England – not at Allington, the Wyatts didn’t own it yet
Married Lady Margaret Jane Bailiffe or Clarke
Born 1438 in Yorkshire, England
Died 1460 in Boxley, Kent, England

Sir Henry Wyatt
Loyally served Henry VII, helped Henry VIII get the ball rolling.
Born 1460 in Boxley, Kent, England
Died March 10, 1537 in Boxley, Kent, England
Married Lady Anne Skinner
Born 1475 in Ryegate, Sussex, England
Died 1503 in Boxley, Kent, England

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet, a.k.a. Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder
Friend of /diplomat and ambassador for Henry VIII.
Born 1503 in Allington, Kent, England
Henry VIII had him deliver the Imperial Ambassador to London and he got sick from the heat and died at 39 years of age on 11 October 1542.
Married Elizabeth Brooke
The unhappy marriage did not last long.
She was born 1503 in Cobhamhall, Kent, England
After Sir Thomas’ death, Elizabeth remarried Sir Edward Warner, Lord Lieutenant of the Tower. When she died 10 October 1542, she was buried on Tower grounds.

(Interesting: After Henry VIII elbowed our Sir Tom out of Anne Boleyn’s circle, he took Elizabeth Darrell as his mistress. She was one of Katherine of Aragon’s few trusted servants. Katherine left money for Elizabeth’s eventual marriage, but that didn’t happen until both Sir Thomases were deceased. She had three children by Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet and/or Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger. Potentially tawdry, I know. After Wyatt’s Rebellion one of her sons was executed with his father or half-brother – depending on what you choose to believe.)

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder’s son by his wife, Elizabeth Brooke –

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger
One of the leaders of “Wyatt’s Rebellion” against Queen Mary Tudor
Born 1521 in Allington Castle
Died a traitor’s death 11 April 1554 for his role in the rebellion against Queen Mary (Wyatt’s Rebellion)
Married Lady Jane Hawte or Haute
Born 1522 in Bishopsbourne and Wavering, Kent, England
Died 1600 in Boxley, Kent, England

Sir George Wyatt
First biographer of Anne Boleyn, still quoted.
(See footnotes for Allison Weir’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII.)
Born 1550 in Kent, England
Died 1625
Married Lady Jane Finch 8 Oct 1582, Caswell, Kent, England
She was born 1555 in Eastwell, Kent, England, Great Britain
Died at the age of 89 in Allington Castle, Kent, England, Great Britain
Buried 27 March 1644 in Boxley, Kent, England, Great Britain

Reverend Hawte Wyatt
Born  4 Jun 1594 in Maidstone, Kent, England
Died 31 Jul 1638 in Maidstone, Kent, England
Married Anne Cocke or Cox
Born 1607 in Maidstone Co., London, Kent, England
Died 29 Feb 1632 in Boxley Abbey, Kent, England

Captain John Wyatt
(First of four sequential John Wyatts)
Born 1630 in Boxley, Kent, England
Died 1666 in Gloucester, Gloucester, Virginia, United States
Married Jane Osborne
Born 1622 in Boxley, Kent, England
Died 1665 in Gloucester, Virginia, USA.

John Wyatt
(Second of four sequential John Wyatts)
Born 1663 in Boxley, Kent Co., England
Died 1684 in Gloucestor, Carolina, Virginia, United States
Married Anne Jones
Born 1663 in Lancaster, Virginia, United States
Died date unknown, Rappahannock, Virginia, United States

Captain John Wyatt
(Third of four sequential John Wyatts)
Born 1684 in Gloucestor, Carolina, Virginia, USA
Died November 1750 in Plaindealing, Caroline, Virginia, USA
Married Jane Pamplin
Born 1690 in Rickling, Essex, England
Died 1750 in Caroline, Virginia, USA

John Wyatt
(Fourth of four sequential John Wyatts)
Born 1731 in St George Parish, Caroline, Virginia, United States
Died 1 Mar 1785 in Gloucestor, Carolina, Virginia, United States
Married Elizabeth Ballard Smith
Born 19 Apr 1740 in Louisa, Virginia, United States
Died 13 Aug 1766 in Orange, Virginia, United States

Henry Wyatt
Born 1753 in Drysdale Parish, King Queen, Virginia, USA
Died 27 Dec 1823 in Pendleton, Kentucky, USA
Married Elizabeth Redd
Born 1759-10-05 in Spotsylvania, Virginia, USA
Died 1840 in Pendleton, Kentucky, USA

James R. Wyatt
Born 1792 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, USA
Died 1840 in Pendleton, Kentucky, USA
Married Rachel Rice
Born 1797 in Virginia, USA
Died 1860 (after)

Daughter Sarah Jane Wyatt
Born 1823
Died 1915
Husband William T. Clayton
Born about 1823 in Nicholas Co., KY
Died 15 Jan 1863 in Civil War

James C. Clayton
Born 24 Aug 1859 in Pendleton Co., KY
Died after 1900 in Harrison Co., KY
Married Roselle E. (Rosa) Simpson
Born May 1869 in Harrison Co., KY
Died AFT 1900 in Harrison Co., KY

Annie Mariah Clayton
Born Apr 1891 in Harrison Co., KY
Died September 6, 1954
Husband Jesse T Bolen
Born May 1887 in Indiana
Left his wife and son, moved to Oregon & started a new family
Died 1946, buried in Crescent Grove Cemetery, Tigard, Oregon

Edwin Harold Bolen – my grandfather.
Born 23 October 1909 in Springfield, Ohio
Died 14 October 1974 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan
Married Edla Sophia Wuolle – my grandmother

Dates rarely match in these old records. If you see glaring errors, please let me know!

Cousin Edie at Westminster Abbey

(Blog by our Cousin Edie, at right.)“In September, I was in London visiting friends and family. On my ‘to do list’ was visiting Westminster Abbey. I spoke with my friend Elizabeth Sacks Chase, who is an official guide to the city of London, about our Wyatt ancestry and connection to the Abbey. As you know, the Abbey is dedicated to our relative through the Brooke line – King and Saint, Edward the Confessor, once considered the patron saint of England.

Normally, the shrine of Edward the Confessor is not open to the public, but Elizabeth arranged with the office of The Dean and Chapter, for us to have a private tour of the shrine. I wrote a ‘letter of introduction’ explaining our ancestral connection to the royal line through Sir Thomas Wyatt and Elizabeth Brooke.

It was moving to visit the shrine, which is at the heart of the cathedral. In the past,  pilgrims would kneel in the alcoves of the shrine and pray, taking specks of gold from the shrine’s exterior as a momento. As noted below, pilgrims still gather every October in honor of Saint Edward.
‘The shrine of Saint Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey remains where it was after the final translation of his body to a chapel east of the sanctuary on 13 October 1269 by Henry III. The day of his translation, 13 October, is regarded as his feast day, and each October the Abbey holds a week of festivities and prayer in his honour. For some time the Abbey had claimed that it possessed a set of coronation regalia that Edward had left for use in all future coronations. Following Edward’s canonization, these were regarded as holy relics, and thereafter they were used at all English coronations from the 13th Century until the destruction of the regalia by Oliver Cromwell in 1649.’
13 October is an optional feast day for Edward the Confessor for the Catholic Church of England and Wales, and the Church of England’s calendar of saints designates it as a Lesser Festival. He is regarded as one of the patron saints of difficult marriages.
Cosmati Floor at Westminster AbbeyEdward’s shrine is directly behind the high altar. Our guide opened a door from the shrine to the high alter, allowing us to see the Cosmati Pavement.
We stepped down onto the stone around the pavement to get a close up view of this beautiful tile floor laid in the 13th century as part of the original building commissioned by King Henry III.
I have included a link with the history of the Cosmati Pavement and it’s recent uncovering and restoration.
I also saw the chair of Edward the Confessor which is used in all coronations. It is behind a glass window at the moment as it is undergoing restoration.”
Thanks for sharing Edie. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s eating their heart out!

Photo of Allington Castle from WikipediaAllington Castle in Kent

In 1489 – after Henry VII appointed Henry Wyatt Esquire of the Body, King’s Select Bodyguard – our ancestor sold his home in Solhange and purchased Allington Castle, just north of Maidstone in Kent.

The stone moated castle was already very old when the Wyatts took possession. In 1281 Edward I had given Stephen of Penchester – Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports – license to built battlements. (Licenses were necessary to help prevent unruly nobles from fortifying castles and raising armies to war against their “betters.”)

The castle was badly damaged by a fire in the late 16th century.

In 1951 it became home to a convent of the Order of the Carmelites.

In 1965 Allington Castle played the role of “Castle De’ath” in The Avengers TV series, which premiered in London on October 28, 1965 and in the U.S. on May 2, 1966.

In “the avengers.tv” the author notes that American censors apparently missed Emma Peel’s exposed bellybutton and a significant wardrobe malfunction involving an actor in a kilt. According to “imbd.com” the storyline goes like this: “When an agent in diving gear is found dead in a Scottish loch yet substantially taller than he was whilst he was alive Steed and Mrs. Peel visit a remote castle owned by the feuding De’ath cousins, Ian and Angus, to investigate the sinister goings-on.”

Most of the previews have exterior shots of the castle; this one has the conclusion and interior shots, complete with Emma’s leather catsuit and a fight. Enjoy …


I believe Netflix may have full episodes, so I’m going to check that out as well.

According to Wikipedia, Allington is currently a private residence owned and occupied by Lord and Lady Worcester; so I think Netflix is as close as we’re going to get.

I know some of you have actually BEEN there, so if you know something I don’t, please share!

Allen Ginsberg
(June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997)

I stumbled upon Ginsburg reading a few of our ancestor’s poems; he talks about Sir Tom’s ways with cadence and rhythm.

This is from July, 1996 – First half of an Allen Ginsberg lecture on English and American lyric poetry. Ginsberg reads William Blake’s “Let the brothels of paris be opened,” “The gray monk,” “The Mask of anarchy,” “The ballad of Sir Patrick Spense,” “The Holy land of walsingham” and “Weep you no more, sad fountains,” followed by Thomas Wyatt’s “My lute awake,” “Forget not yet,” “They flee from me,” “Gasgoyne’s lullaby” and “Tickborn’s elegy.”


Note that the Wyatt segments are this far into the audio:

46:45: Wyatt intro
48:00: My Lute Awake!
51:40: Brooklyn college students bored with this old stuff…
52:25: “Forget not yet..” Wyatt

Added 10/9/11; Today I discovered “Forget not yet” was Sir Tom’s farewell to Anne Boleyn after she’d caught the eye of the king.

Thomas Howard

Thomas Howard, Third Duke of Norfolk by Hans Holbein the Younger

I’ve been researching our connections with other great families to see where paths, activities and relationships crossed in time.

Elizabeth Brooke, wife of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder and our great grandmother (many times over), descended from:

• The Boleyns via her maternal grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Boleyn, daughter of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, Lord Mayor of London.
• The powerful Howards through her paternal great grandmother; her grandmother Margaret deNeville was the daughter of Lady Katherine Howard, sister of the first Duke of Norfolk.

Result: We are related to the Duke of Norfolk and two of Henry’s wives – Anne Boleyn, second wife, as well as Catherine Howard, fifth wife, “the rose without a thorn.”

Here’s a link to the Norfolk family tree; it shows how the Boleyns and Howards are related:

How do the Wyatts fit into this picture???

Sir Tom appears to have loved Anne; and Catherine Howard must have cared for him because she convinced Henry to release him from his second stay at the tower. He wasn’t a relative except through marriage to E. Brooke.

Sir Thomas Wyatt’s godfather was Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk and all-around ruthless guy!

How did the Wyatts, Boleyns and Howards come together as friends BEFORE Sir Tom was born? What was the connection? Hopefully I’ll find out.

Thomas Cromwell

Image from Wikipedia

He died 471 years ago this week.

Thomas Cromwell, Lord Great Chamberlain, Chief Minister of Henry VIII, Earl of Essex – he was feared, hated and envied. Like his predecessor Wolsey, he was a smart, ambitious man from humble beginnings.

He helped Henry rid himself of Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn. He was a passionate advocate for the Reformation.  He provided most of the financial backing to make the Bible available in English.

In his precious free time he invited creative and spiritually inclined people to his home for long discussions.

Most important to descendants, he was a dear friend of our Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet.

When Sir Thomas was imprisoned in the Tower during Anne Boleyn’s last days, it was Thomas Cromwell who assured his aging father he would be OK.

On May 5, 1536 Sir Tom was imprisoned in the tower. On May 11, Cromwell assured his father Sir Henry Wyatt that he would be released without charges. Unfortunately, Tom witnessed Anne’s beheading on May 19 – his sister there with her on the scaffold. He wrote wrote “enemies surround my soul.” He was released, as Cromwell promised, June 14.

Cromwell continued watching out for Tom’s welfare as long as he lived. When the king sent Tom away from home, he paid small debts and resolved household problems on his behalf. Like he didn’t have bigger fish to fry:-)

Cromwell’s downfall came when he encouraged Henry to marry Anne of Cleves; his reasons were political – he felt a German alliance would strengthen England.  A painting of Anne was commissioned and – like match.com – the image was far from reality.  Henry committed to wed a woman he had never seen.

Henry met Anne on new year’s day 1540; he couldn’t stand the way she looked or smelled. I imagine she felt the same. She was a virgin who didn’t understand where babies came from. He was a fat, wife-killing lech whose leg reeked from a chronic oozing infection.

Henry was very vocal about his displeasure. He said her breasts and belly felt soft and old; he couldn’t “perform”.  He was quick to point out the problem was not his – it was hers. She did not inspire his lust. Their marriage was never consummated and he started warning people if this continued, they could not expect he would father more heirs to the throne.

Henry blamed Cromwell; he became verbally and physically abusive, literally smacking his Chief Minister around.

On June 10, 1540, during a council dinner in Westminster Palace,  the Duke of Norfolk (Sir Tom’s godfather ) arrested Cromwell . “My Lord of Essex, I arrest you of high treason.”  The duke tore off the St George medal he wore around his neck and Lord Admiral Fitzwilliam (formerly his friend) snatched at the Order of the Garter.

Cromwell was furious. He responded “This, then, is my guerdon [reward] for the service that I have done. On your consciences I ask you, am I a traitor? I may have offended, but never with my will. Such faults as I have committed deserve grace and pardon; but if the King, my master, believes so ill of me, let him make quick work and not leave me to languish in prison.”

During his time in the tower Cromwell was ordered to give Henry everything he needed to annul his marriage to Anne of Cleves; this was accomplished on July 12.

It strikes me as tragic that Henry killed Cromwell for pairing him with a woman who became one of his few true and loving friends. Based on what I’ve read to date, she may have been his only friend.  Of course – knowing how he had disposed of Anne Boleyn, she had to be grateful to keep her head. She was glad to stay in England, where she had friends and freedom. Henry was generous with her, gave her homes (including the Boleyn’s Hever Castle) and visited often. There were rumors of a romance.

Henry had Cromwell executed July 28.  The king had a nasty habit of mixing endings with beginnings. That same day he left to marry Catherine Howard, the “firm” young bimp who would make a total fool of him. Of course she lost her head in the bargain.

Before the axe fell on Cromwell’s neck he prayed “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.”

Remember how Anne Boleyn had a French swordsman who came in to assure her end would be swift? Cromwell was not nearly as fortunate, his execution was performed by an inept butcher. The Tudors series doesn’t hold true to the facts, but their fiction is interesting and their visuals powerful:

“In July 1540 there was much rejoicing at Cromwell’s fall, for he was generally regarded as a tyrant and a destructive force. Few friends dared to speak up for his reputation openly and his constructive work went unrecognized until long afterwards. Yet one contemporary who knew his worth set down his feelings in the jewel of a sonnet. ‘Gentle Master Wyatt’, as Cromwell had so often written to him on public affairs during his service on diplomatic missions, in 1540 at last returned to his native Kent, where he was to enjoy barely two years of retirement before he died.”(Sir Tom died in service to Henry VIII, so this source is incorrect or the king may have called him out of retirement for a special assignment.)This was Sir Tom’s sonnet for Cromwell:

“The pillar perish’d is whereto I leant;
The strongest stay of mine unquiet mind:
The like of it, no man again can find,
From east to west still seeking though he went.
To mine unhap; for hap away hath rent
Of all my join the very bark and rind;
And I, alas! by chance am thus assign’d
Dearly to mourn, till death do it relent.
But since that thus it is by destiny,
What can I more but have a woeful heart;
My pen in plaint, my voice in woeful cry,
My mind in woe, my body full of smart,
And I myself, myself always to hate;
Till dreadful death do ease my doleful state.”

According to The Cardinal and the Secretary, “His [Cromwell’s] fall had made it easier to justify to the courts of Europe his parting from Anne of Cleves, but by the time Catherine Howard had gone to the executioner he had come to realize that Cromwell had been unnecessarily sacrificed.”Henry became his own Chief Minister. “After Wolsey’s fall he had found that he needed Cromwell’s service, but after Cromwell’s disgrace no one of the same calibre offered himself. Indeed the problems were far less pressing now that Cromwell had made him master in his own house.””Seeing in the new men about him no hint of statesmanlike qualities .. the King came to conclude that Cromwell had been condemned ‘on light pretexts’.”

Henry was unable to find any man in his court who measured up to Cromwell and later referred to him as ‘the best servant he ever had’.”

R.I.P. Thomas Cromwell; you are remembered.

(Quotes and sonnet from The Cardinal & the Secretary by Neville Williams.)

Saint Edward the Confessor

I’m finally able to work on the book again and happy to share a few tidbits on saints in our line through Lady Elizabeth Brooke.

They come to us through Henry I’s wife, Queen Matilda of Scotland. (I may have mentioned this connection before.)

Henry I married Edith (later “Matilda”) Aetheling, a Scottish princess on November 11, 1100 in Westminster Abbey.  She was the daughter of King Malcolm III of Scotland and Saint Margaret of Scotland, a.k.a. Queen Margaret of Scotland, Margaret of Wessex.

Sister M. Juliana of Maryknoll, author of the book “Margaret” (Neuman Press) states that Saint Margaret “… had eight children and she brought in priests for her people, had churches built, and started schools and hospitals she brought up nine orphans with her own children and somehow she found time every morning to serve breakfast to twenty-four very poor people!”

Wikipedia states “Margaret attended to charitable works, and personally served orphans and the poor every day before she ate. She rose at midnight to attend church services every night. She was known for her work for religious reform. She was considered to be an exemplar of the ‘just ruler’, and also influenced her husband and children to be just and holy rulers.”

Years later another ancestor embraced a “family” saint.

In the 1230s Henry III attached himself to the Cult of Edward the Confessor; in 1245 he began rebuilding Westminster Abbey for his patron saint. Why? According to the book Four Gothic Kings – “The Plantagenets could claim descent from Edward’s family (through Henry I’s queen, Matilda, the niece of Edgar Aetheling); and Henry seems to have conceived a deep personal attachment to the only saint the family could call their own.”

To learn about Edward I, a.k.a. Edward the Confessor, please see my post on William the Bastard.

Who knows, there may be more saints in the branches of our tree. We shall see.


Micki Suzanne LeCronier (C)

On my last trip to the library, I checked out “Life in a Medieval Castle” by Joseph & Frances Gies. I expected details on things I’d heard – like the contents of privies at upper levels of castles were emptied into the moats below; or that the ladies kept lap dogs to help keep them warm as cold radiated off the stone walls and floors.

Imagine my delight to have the book hit the ground running with our ancestor William the Conqueror’s attack on England. After the Battle of Hastings, he didn’t target London – he worked his way around by ravaging the countryside. Unlike Normandy, England didn’t have essential fortresses and castles. The English had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

By the time he reached London, city leaders were ready to give it up.

Once he had his throne, he needed to rule with an iron fist. Early in his “career” – at around 19 years of age – William had achieved something that had never been done; he centralized control of castles in Normandy.

Well, he didn’t have fortresses in England. That had to change.

Between 1066 and 1068, William launched a campaign of territorial acquisition that involved building 78 castles – including the Tower of London.  He put Gundulf, his new Bishop of Rochester in charge of building the White Tower of London. Norman masons were employed, some of the stone was imported from Normandy and it took 20 years to build. The medieval fortress was a marvel of its time, with walls 90’ tall and 15’ deep.  

Down the line, the White Tower would receive needed upgrades from other royal ancestors.

William’s son, King Henry Beauclerc was unusual in that he was happily married to his beloved Scottish Queen Matilda. During his long absences she dedicated herself to the completion of the royal apartments in the tower.  

King John Plantagenet sometimes stayed there and is believed to have introduced exotic animals, especially lions. (The Plantagenet coat of arms was three lions.)

Henry III added two waterfront towers and spent time there. In 1283, he was forced to retreat to the Tower and noticed – with alarm – that it was not as secure as it should have been. He built massive curtain walls on three sides, added nine towers and surrounded it all with a moat 150’ wide and 10’ deep. 

Edward Longshanks, King of England, Hammer of the Scots, built tower lodgings that included two beautiful rooms – a great hall and a private chamber with a real lavatory – the only one in the tower.

Edward II was more queen than king; his people weren’t upset because he was gay, they hated that he granted extravagant royal favors to his lover. He wound up spending a lot of time hiding in the tower.

His son Edward III kicked butt; he imprisoned the kings of Scotland and France in the tower, giving them accommodations and amenities suitable to their rank.  

That which keeps people out can also keep people in. Several of our Tudor era WYATT ancestors would be imprisoned there. Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet was sent there twice and made it out alive.

His friend – lover? – his wife’s second cousin had a big history with the Tower. Anne Boleyn had her spectacular coronation at the Tower’s Great Hall; she was later imprisoned and beheaded there.

The poet’s son, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger, was equally unfortunate. After the death of Henry VIII’s son, Lady Jane Grey was hastily put on the throne. She ruled for less than two weeks before being overthrown by Mary. Young Sir Tom had been part of the movement to put Jane on the throne, but he managed to convince Queen Mary of his loyalty.  

Lady Jane was spared for a while. She had two things in her favor. She was Mary’s cousin and Mary realized she had been a powerless victim. Mary treated Jane with kindness. Jane was given decent lodging at the tower and allowed to roam the queen’s gardens. Mary even gave her a generous allowance.  All was well for a time.

Young Thomas and his Protestant friends watched the queen passively until Mary made it clear she intended to marry Felipe of Spain – described on a Wyatt family site as “that other gloomy bigot.”

Young Tom despised Spanish influence. He accepted an invitation by Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, to rise up against Mary.  Thomas held a meeting at Allington and managed to raise 4,000 men. They marched on London in late January, 1554, but the English people rose in support of Henry’s oldest daughter.  The rebellion failed and Thomas was imprisoned in the Tower. They tortured him hoping he would give up the goods on Mary’s half-sister Elizabeth.

Wyatt’s Rebellion caused serious repercussions. Mary knew Jane was innocent, but a queen’s gotta do what a queen’s gotta do. She needed to make examples of Lady Jane and her husband Guilford Dudley.

On February 12, 1554, Lady Jane’s husband was taken from the tower and beheaded in public at Tower Hill.  Jane watched in tears as Guilford passed below her window to the tower. That same day Mary had Jane taken to The Tower Green, within the Tower.  

This account of her execution – and the photo I used for this blog – is from Wikipedia: “The executioner asked her forgiveness, and she gave it. She pleaded the axeman, ‘I pray you dispatch me quickly’. Referring to her head, she asked, ‘Will you take it off before I lay me down?’ and the axeman answered, ‘No, madam’. She then blindfolded herself. Jane had resolved to go to her death with dignity, but once blindfolded, failing to find the block with her hands, began to panic and cried, ‘What shall I do? Where is it?’ An unknown hand, possibly Feckenham’s, then helped her find her way and retain her dignity at the end. With her head on the block, Jane spoke the last words of Jesus as recounted by Luke: “Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit!” 

Mary condemned our ancestor, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger, to a traitor’s death on April 11, 1554. He used his scaffold speech to exonerate Elizabeth and some say he may have saved her life. In the face of a violent death he said: 

“And whereas it is said and whistled abroad that I should accuse my lady Elizabeth’s grace and my lord Courtenay; it is not so, good people. For I assure you neither they nor any other now in yonder hold or durance was privy of my rising or commotion before I began. As I have declared no less to the queen’s council. And this is most true.”

Wyatt’s head was severed, his body was quartered and his bowels and genitals burned. His head and body quarters were parboiled and nailed up. His head was placed on a post – and later stolen.

Mary didn’t stop at that. She confiscated his estates and titles, causing severe hardships for his widow and children.

Bloody Mary installed Elizabeth in the Tower.

In the years to come, a grateful Queen Elizabeth would not forget Wyatt’s loyalty.


I thought to myself our history is tied to that tower, so I went on Netflix just poking around to see what they had. (Subscriptions run around $10/month and you have access to many productions that are available for immediate viewing online.)

I have truly enjoyed “The Tower”, a U.K. production. 

The sections are not very well named, just be patient with it. It talks about MANY of the things I mention here – I put them in italics so you could decide if they might be worth your time. 

This British production even goes into the exact location where our relative Anne Boleyn was actually beheaded; apparently the plaques aren’t to be trusted.

There is too much to describe in detail. Just enjoy. 


Our ancestor Edward III.

Our ancestor Edward III.

Who among us did NOT rise at the break of dawn U.S. time to see Kate and William get married this morning?!

Are you aware of our connections to the abbey? We owe those connections to our ancestor Lady Elizabeth Brooke.

We are related to Edward the Confessor who dedicated his life to the building of Westminster Abbey. His cousin was Robert the Magnificent, a.k.a. “The Devil” – 5th Duke of Normandy. The Duke was the father of William the Conqueror; Robert and William are direct ancestors. 

Poor Edward was too weak to attend the dedication of his new church on 28 December; he died January 5, 1066. If you have time, check this link:


Note that some of the stories are so interesting I got a little carried away.

William I, a.k.a. William the Conqueror (DA) was crowned at Westminster on Christmas Day, 1066. He married Matilda of Flanders (DA). She was crowned queen at Westminster in 1068.

They had serious problems with their sons – who also had problems with each other. After William I died, their son William was crowned William II at Westminster on 9/26/1087. He was very much disliked and died (without heirs) in a “hunting accident.” He happened to be hunting with his brother Henry at the time.

Henry (DA) was William I’s youngest and the brains of the family.

He was crowned Henry I at Westminster Abbey on August 2, 1100. He quit his epicly whoring ways and married Edith (later “Matilda”) Atheling (DA), a Scottish princess on November 11, 1100 in Westminster Abbey.  She was the daughter of King Malcolm III of Scotland and Saint Margaret of Scotland, a.k.a. Queen Margaret of Scotland, Margaret of Wessex.  (How cool is that?)

Edith/Matilda was a great influence on him, but he still lost his temper, threw burghers* off towers and enjoyed blinding people.  

Henry and Matilda married their young daughter Matilda (DA) off to the (much older) German emperor and – sadly – her brothers died young. When the German emperor died,  Matilda the daughter (DA) made the mistake of “going home” and her father stuck her with Geoffrey V (DA), Count of Anjou – a.k.a. Plantagenet. (Yes, Henry VIII hated the Plantagenets because of their potential right to the throne. I’ll cover that some other time. Or watch “The Tudors.”)  

Matilda married Geoffrey V Plantagenet, 9th Count on 22 May 1127 in Le Mans Cathedral, Anjou.  When Henry I died, Matilda was made queen of England for a short time. She was crowned at Westminster Abbey December 19, 1154. She had two strikes against her – she was arrogant and she was female. Despite their hate/hate relationship, Matilda and Geoffrey had an heir – Henry (DA).

Henry’s mother lost her throne, so he worked to get it back. His marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine made him rich and powerful but they didn’t get along.  Henry managed to regain the throne in 1154 and his coronation as Henry II took place at Westminster 12/19/1154. He was the first of the Plantagenet kings, notorious for his stormy relationship with his frienemy Thomas Becket.

Henry and Eleanor’s son John “Softsword” (I think this term was as derogatory as it sounds) was crowned King May 27, 1199 at Westminster. John (DA) married Isabella of Angoulême Taillefer (DA). Wikipedia says he was such a bad guy his personality traits “provided extensive material for fiction writers in the Victorian era, and John remains a recurring character within Western popular culture, primarily as a villain in films and stories depicting the Robin Hood legends.”


John and Isabella’s heir was a third Henry (DA) – he inherited the crown as a child and – as such, missed out on the big, fancy coronation. Per Wikipedia (because I’m too tired to check multiple sources and rewrite stuff after getting up at 4 a.m. this morning) … “In 1220, a second coronation was ordered by Pope Honorius III who did not consider that the first had been carried out in accordance with church rites. This occurred on 17 May 1220 in Westminster Abbey.” 

Henry developed a true love for the abbey and had it rebuilt. Wikipedia again … “England prospered during his reign and his greatest monument is Westminster, which he made the seat of his government and where he expanded the abbey as a shrine to Edward the Confessor.” (I believe this is the area where the royal family retreated to sign papers immediately after the wedding today.)  

Henry III’s beautiful tomb resides in Westminster Abbey.
(Check it out – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_III_of_England)

Henry III married Eleanor of Provence Berenger (DA). Henry and Eleanor’s heir was Edward (DA). He was crowned Edward I (Longshanks) 1274 in Westminster Abbey.  Edward married Eleanor of Castile (DA).

Edward’s tomb is in Westminster Abbey. Edward and Eleanor’s heir was:

Edward, who was crowned Edward II (DA). Edward married Isabella of France (DA); they were both crowned in Westminster Abbey on February 25, 1308.   His rule was a disaster. Edward II was portrayed as a … well, a bit of a queen in Braveheart. Wikipedia says “Several contemporary sources criticized Edward’s seeming infatuation with Piers Gaveston, to the extent that he ignored and humiliated his wife.” Still, they managed to have children, including their heir …

Another Edward (DA). He was crowned Edward III at Westminster Abbey early in 1327/8 – after his father was deposed.

He was everything his father wasn’t – one of the most successful monarchs of the middle ages. He married Philippa of Hainault (DA). Per westminster-abbey.org “Philippa of Hainault was born in 1314 and often accompanied Edward on his foreign expeditions. She died in 1369. The king was devoted to her and spent about £3,000 on her tomb in the Confessor’s chapel at the Abbey. The queen’s alabaster effigy, by Hennequin of Liège, is undoubtedly a portrait. She originally held the string of her cloak in one hand and a sceptre but the hands are now broken. The tomb has been much mutilated over the centuries and most of its decoration has disappeared and there is no inscription.”

 “The king himself died soon after of a stroke on 21 June 1377 and was buried near his wife in the chapel of St Edward the Confessor in the Abbey. The wooden effigy carried at his funeral is preserved in the Abbey Museum and is thought to be taken from a death mask.”

They had 14 children – some died as infants and one died of the Black Death. One who survived was …

John of Gaunt, Plantagenet Duke (DA).

He was born Mar Mar 1340 in St Bavon’s Abbey, Ghent, Flanders.  He married Constance of Castile for political and dynastic reasons. After she died he married his true love Katherine to legitimize their relationship and their children.

(Katherine’s sister was the wife of Geoffrey Chaucer.John married Catherine Swynford Roet (DA) Duchess on 13 Jan 1396 in Lincoln Cathedral. King Richard legitimized their children under English law, but stipulated they were not eligible for royal succession. (That didn’t stop Katherine’s great-great grandson Henry VII from winning the crown.)

Between them, John and Katherine started the Tudor and Yorkist Royal Houses; most of the European Royal Houses trace their origins back to them through intermarriage.

Katherine and John fulfilled an ancient prophecy of Merlin: “thou shalt get kings though thou be none!” This was the problem Henry VII and Henry VIII had to deal with; we share their line to at least here. I’m too tired to figure out exactly where the lines separate …

I’m going to skim the rest of our line to Lady Elizabeth Brooke, since I don’t think we have Westminster connections again until our ancestors served the Tudors. When Henry VIII “hit on” our Lady Elizabeth Brooke, he was hitting on a distant cousin.  Pffft, typical Tudor.

Our line from John of Gaunt and Catherine Swynford comes through:

Joan De Beaufort who married Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmoreland
Their son Sir Edward Neville married Catherine Howard. (Yes, THE Howards.)
Their daughter Margaret Neville married John Brooke, Lord Cobham, 7th Baron of Cobham.
Their son Thomas Brooke, Lord Cobham, 8th Baron of Cobham married Dorothy HEYDEN or Haydon. Dorothy was the daughter of Sir Henry Heydon and Ann Boleyn; Anne Boleyn was the daughter of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn.  (Thus, relatives of THE Boleyns.)

Thomas and Dorothy’s daughter was our Lady Elizabeth Brooke who married Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet!!

That’s it. Hope you enjoy our connection to Westminster on this lovely wedding day. (I flew through it to get it done before midnight – please send me a note if you spot errors.) I didn’t take time to go through and check for all the christenings.

Your Cousin Micki

*Burghers were middle class citizens, not round beef patties in soft white buns.


This week I started re-reading the book “The Other Tudors – Henry VIII’s Mistresses and Bastards by Philippa Jones. How did I miss the possibility that our Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet may have helped raise one of Henry VIII’s bastard sons? His own nephew, Henry Lee?!

Page 297 – “Another rumoured illegitimate son of Henry VIII’s was Sir Henry Lee. John Aubrey, in his Brief Lives, wrote of Sir Henry Lee (1530-1610): ‘Old Sir Harry Lee (was) knight of the Garter and was supposed brother of Queen Elizabeth. He ordered that all his family should be christened Harry’s.’

Wikipedia states “Margaret was one of Anne’s chief ladies-in-waiting, and accompanied her to Calais, France in 1532, where it is presumed Anne and Henry VIII made secret plans to marry in the immediate future. It is known that Anne had a lady-in-waiting who ‘she loves as a sister,’ and it has been suggested that this lady was Margaret. She was certainly part of the Queen’s circle of favorites. As Mistress of the Queen’s Wardrobe, she would presumably have played a leading part in the decadent social life at court in the mid-1530s, which was fuelled by the extravagance of Henry and Anne.”

Well, the imagination just runs wild. Anne Boleyn was crazy jealous and Margaret was described as her “favorite”. That implies trust. Well, when you compare her painting to Anne’s – I’m sorry, no contest. Anne was beautiful and Margaret looks pinched and shrewish.

I wondered what might have inspired Henry to seduce Anne’s best friend. Or maybe he didn’t need much inspiration. Henry Lee’s birth year is uncertain. If he was conceived between 1529 and 1532, that was probably Henry VIII’s response to Anne “holding out for marriage”. She was also getting unbearably bitchy, thinking his divorce would never happen.  (She actually made Henry cry; unbelievable.)

So in 1532 Henry was elevating Anne.  In September he made her Lady Marquess of Pembroke; it’s assumed she finally surrendered to him sexually around that time.

In January of 1533 their secret marriage was celebrated in Calais and she was telling our Sir Tom that she had “a hankering for apples.” (Implying pregnancy.) In April her household was established and she appeared in public as queen.

By then she was obviously pregnant. The king ordered the churches to pray on her account; in one parish, everyone walked out. One woman was imprisoned for shouting out “God Save Queen Katherine” and calling Anne a “goggle-eyed whore.”

Anne’s coronation took place at Westminster Abbey on June 1 and St. Edward’s crown was used, since it was assumed she was carrying a prince.  Our Sir Tom served as chief ewerer in place of his father, pouring scented water over the queen’s hands. If his feelings were what they say they were, that had to be an unbearably emotional experience.

By then, Anne’s arrogance was out of control. Norfolk – Anne’s uncle and Sir Tom’s godfather – was in charge of the coronation and barely on speaking terms with his niece.  

Henry was straying and when she blew up at him, he reminded her to endure “as more worthy persons”. (Namely Katherine of Aragon; SMACK!)

Elizabeth was born 9/7/1533. The gender was a huge disappointment. Announcements had already been printed, so S’s were hastily added to “prince”.

As stated, we don’t know when Henry Lee was born. I did a quick search but wasn’t able to find the date of Margaret’s marriage to Sir Anthony Lee of Quarendon. Henry VIII had learned to restrict his flings to married women, but he wanted the husbands to keep a distance until he had had enough of the woman. The woman was elevated through her relationship with the king. Sometimes an advantageous marriage was “arranged” so an honorable husband would be standing by to accept responsibility for any “issue”. It was common for Henry’s child to be the woman’s first. 

Henry Lee was the firstborn of Margaret and Sir Anthony. This could explain why the child was sent to Allington to live with his uncle, our Sir Tom. (Margaret and Anthony went on to have 8 more children.)

You have to wonder at Margaret’s steel to be able to hide such a deception from her friend; still, she was with Anne to the end. Wikipedia says, she “was sent to attend her royal mistress in the Tower of London in May 1536 when the Queen was arrested on charges of adultery, treason, and incest. Margaret also attended Anne on the scaffold on May 19, and even received the last gift of a prayer book from her. After Anne was beheaded, Margaret acted as chief mourner at her small funeral. Anne had written a short farewell to Margaret inside the prayer book:

“Remember me when you do pray,
that hope doth lead from day to day.” 

On page 299 of The Other Tudors Philippa writes “Sir Henry Lee was the son of Sir Anthony Lee and Margaret, the daughter of Henry Wyatt, Privy Councillor to Henry VIII. There was certainly no contemporary suggestion that Sir Henry Lee was Henry VIII’s son.”  

The possibility is not broached on tudorplace.com, but there’s a lot of great information on this interesting relative.  http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Bios/HenryLee.htm

We do know his half-sister (?) Queen Elizabeth treated him very well.  He became her champion in 1570 and Master of the Royal Armouries in 1580. The fact that he enjoyed writing poetry is probably a tribute to the years he spent with his famous uncle.

The somewhat lewd inscription on his tombstone is a tribute to his – um – colorful lifestyle, sassy mistress and unusual sense of humor.  

 Here lies the good old knight Sir Harry,

Who loved well but would not marry;

While he lived and had his feeling,

She did lie and he was kneeling.

Now he’s dead and cannot feel,

He doth lie and she doth kneel. 

Per Wikipedia: Anthony Lee was apparently descended from the Lee family of Lee Hall, Staffordshire, England; it is unknown if this family was related to the Lee Family of Coton Hall, Nordley Regis, Shropshire, England from whom the Lee family of Virginia was allegedly descended.