1491 (28th June)
Henry was christened in the church of Observant Friars at Greenwich Palace by the Bishop of Exeter, Richard Foxe.
1493 (5th April)
Prince Henry was created Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
1493 (after June)
Prince Henry was created Earl Marshall of England.
Prince Henry was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. His deputy was Sir Edward Poynings.
1494 (30th October)
Prince Henry was made a Knight of the Order of Bath.
1494 (31st October)
Prince Henry was created Duke of York.
Prince Henry was appointed Lord Warden of the Marches of Scotland.
Prince Henry was made a Knight of the Garter.
Prince Henry began his formal education under the tutelage of John Skelton, Poet Laureate. He was taught to speak and write Latin and French and also taught a basic understanding of Italian and Spanish. He was also given lessons on deportment and etiquette.
1496 (18th March)
Henry’s sister, Mary
, was born to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York at Richmond Palace.
1497 (10th August)
Prince Henry carried out his first public duty. He attended a meeting of the City of London Trade Guilds and was presented with a pair of gilt goblets by the Lord Mayor.
1499 (19th May)
Prince Henry began studying classical works in Greek and Latin, mathematics, French and music. He learned to play the lute, the harpsichord and the recorder and was taught to read and compose music. He also had coaching in horsemanship, archery, fencing, jousting, wrestling, tennis and swordsmanship.
1499 (late Summer)
Prince Henry met Erasmus when he and the other royal children shared lunch with Thomas More
1501 (14th November)
Henry’s brother, Prince Arthur, aged 14 years was married to Catherine of Aragon, aged 16 years. The groom wore a white satin suit while the bride wore a white satin dress with bell sleeves and pleated skirt over a farthingale as well as an elaborate headdress of white silk, gold and pearls.
1502 (2nd April)
Arthur, Prince of Wales, died of a viral infection. Henry became heir to the throne
A treaty was drafted which provided for a marriage between Catherine of Aragon and Prince Henry.
1503 (11th February)
Henry’s mother, Queen Elizabeth, died nine days after giving birth to a baby girl. The child died soon after her mother.
1503 (23rd June)
A new treaty provided for the marriage of Catherine of Aragon to Prince Henry. The marriage would go ahead provided the Pope granted a dispensation allowing the pair to marry. The dispensation was necessary because Catherine’s marriage to Arthur meant she was related to Henry. However, this was only the case if the marriage had been consummated.
1503 (25th June)
Prince Henry and Catherine of Aragon were formally betrothed by the Bishop of Salisbury.
1503 (8th August)
Henry’s elder sister, Margaret
, married King James IV of Scotland
. The bride wore a gown of white damask bordered with crimson velvet with a pearl and gold collar. She also wore a crown and veil.
1503 (26th December)
The Pope granted the dispensation necessary for Prince Henry and Catherine of Aragon’s marriage.
1504 (18th February)
Prince Henry was created Prince of Wales.
King Henry VII ratified the treaty for the marriage of Prince Henry and Catherine of Aragon but he made no announcement regarding a likely date for the marriage to go ahead.
1505 (27th June)
On his father’s orders, Prince Henry formally objected to the marriage of his brother’s widow. The formal objection was witnessed by the Bishop of Winchester, the Lord Privy Seal and other members of the Privy Council.
1506 (late April)
Henry VII stated that the proposed marriage between Prince Henry and Catherine of Aragon would not go ahead until he had received the remaining portion of Catherine’s dowry.
1507 (28th June)
Prince Henry showed off his skill at jousting during a number of tournaments held to celebrate his sixteenth birthday.
1509 (21st April)
After a long illness, King Henry VII, aged fifty-two years, died from tuberculosis at Richmond palace, Surrey. Henry became King Henry VIII.
1509 (22nd April)
Henry VIII was financially secure – his father had left around 1 million pounds in the treasury. The new King modelled himself on his predecessor Henry V and swore to continue Henry V’s war with France.
1509 (23rd April)
To gain popularity and to show the people that he would be a different ruler to his father Henry imprisoned his father’s financial advisers, Edmund Dudley
, Richard Empson
and Henry Stafford for imposing a tyranny of taxation on England. Henry also took up residence in the Tower of London where he would stay until after his coronation.
1509 (25th April)
As was the custom on the accession of new monarchs, Henry VIII freed all prisoners except those accused of serious crimes or murder.
1509 (late April)
Henry’s grandmother, Margaret Beaufort
, took control and formed a new council. Members of the council included Thomas Howard, Thomas Ruthall, William Wareham Archbishop of Canterbury
, Henry Marnay, Richard Fox
1509 (11th May)
King Henry VII was buried in Westminster Abbey. John Fisher
, Bishop of Rochester led the service.
1509 (29th June)
Henry’s grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, died. Before she died she told Henry to listen to the advice of John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester.
1509 (early June)
Henry visited Catherine of Aragon in her private chambers and proposed to her.
1509 (11th June)
Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon in the church of Greenwich Palace. The service was performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham.
1509 (23rd June)
Henry and Catherine took part in a special Coronation procession. Henry wore a cloth of gold tunic with a red velvet robe. Catherine wore an embroidered gown of white satin and a coronet of rich stones on her head.
1509 (24th June)
Henry was crowned King Henry VIII and Catherine was crowned Queen at Westminster Abbey. Henry sat in Edward I’s coronation chair to receive the crown of Edward the Confessor. The service was conducted by William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury. After the ceremony a coronation banquet was held at Westminster Hall. The streets of London were decorated with tapestries and cloth of gold and food and drink were set out on trestle tables for the people.
1509 (late June)
As King, Henry took no part in the government of the country and would only attend to necessary state matters at a time that suited him, generally after he had hunted or played sport.
Catherine of Aragon announced that she was pregnant.
1510 (31st January)
Catherine was prematurely delivered of a stillborn daughter. Miscarriage and stillbirth were a common occurrence in the sixteenth century.
The Pope sent Henry VIII a golden rose as an act of friendship.
Thomas Wolsey became a Knight of the Garter and a member of the privy council
Catherine announced a second pregnancy
1510 (24th May)
A peace treaty was signed with Spain.
1510 (10th July)
1511 (1st January)
A son, Henry, was born to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Guns were fired from the Tower of London and the city bells were rung. Beacons were lit to announce the royal birth to the country.
1511 (6th January)
Prince Henry was christened at Richmond. His godparents were the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Earl of Surrey and the Countess of Devon.
1511 (mid January)
The royal court moved to the Palace of Westminster where banquets and tournaments were held to celebrate the Prince’s birth.
1511 (22nd February)
Prince Henry died at Richmond Palace. Both King and Queen were deeply upset. The infant prince was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Henry VIII and Catherine went on a progress of England. A progress was a form of working holiday where the monarch would visit different regions of his land staying with noblemen.
Thomas Wolsey became a member of the King’s council. Henry was impressed with the way that he handled governmental matters quickly and efficiently.
1511 (13th November)
Henry VIII joined the Holy League of Spain, Venice and the Pope. He hoped this move would help him to conquer lands in France.
1511 (17th November)
Treaty of Westminster
This was signed by Henry VIII and Ferdinand of Spain. The Treaty agreed that both England and Spain would attack France before the end of April 1512.
England declared war on France.
1512 (7th April)
The Lord High Admiral, Sir Edward Howard, was commissioned to command a fleet of eighteen ships. He was told to harass French ships and threaten the French coast to prevent any French naval attack on England.
1512 (7th June)
An English naval force commanded by the Marquis of Dorset landed at San Sebastian in Spain. They were to join forces with Spain to attack France.
Ferdinand of Spain abandoned the English army once he had secured Navarre. The English soldiers had few supplies and resorted to drinking quantities of Spanish wine which made them ill. In the insanitary conditions of the makeshift camp many contracted dysentery and died.
An English army commanded by the Earl of Surrey was sent North to be ready for any invasion the Scots might make in support of their ally, France.
1512 (10th August)
The Battle of Brest
Edward Howard, Lord Admiral, attacked the French fleet off Brest in Northern France. The Battle was won by the English.
1512 (late October)
Thomas Wolsey drew up plans for the forthcoming invasion of France.
1512 (4th November)
An act was passed that laid down standards for a number of fortifications to be built along the South Coast.
The English army left for France
Edward Howard attempted to win a naval victory over the French. However, the French outmanoeuvred him, he was overpowered and thrown into the sea.
1513 (4th May)
Thomas Howard, brother of the late Edward Howard, was appointed Lord Admiral in his brother’s place.
Thomas Howard was sent north at the head of an army to strengthen the north against any attack by the Scots.
1513 (15th June)
Henry VIII, accompanied by Catherine, rode out of London at the head of an army of around 11,000 men. They were bound for Dover to await passage to Calais in France.
1513 (mid June)
The English army in France, commanded by Shrewsbury and Somerset marched out of Calais and laid siege to Therouanne.
1513 (30th June)
Henry set sail from Dover bound for Calais. When he reached Calais tournaments and celebrations were held for his safe arrival. Catherine was to act as regent in Henry’s absence.
1513 (late July)
James IV of Scotland sent a naval force to relieve the siege of Therouanne. An ultimatum was delivered to Henry VIII which stated that if Henry remained on French soil then James would attack England.
1513 (4th August)
Henry VIII joined the siege of Therouanne. He ordered that prefabricated buildings be put up so that he could live in as much splendour as possible.
1513 (12th August)
Scotland declared war on England
1513 (16th August)
Battle of the Spurs
A French army of around 15,000 approached the English army laying siege to Therouanne and Henry ordered the English to attack. The two sides met near the village of Borny. The French, seeing the approaching English army turned and fled leading the battle to be dubbed ‘The Battle of the Spurs.’ Many French noblemen were captured and held for ransom.
1513 (22nd August)
James IV of Scotland marched into England at the head of a 20,000 army
1513 (24th August)
Henry took the town of Therouanne in France.
1513 (late August)
Henry VIII left Therouanne and marched to Tournai.
1513 (early September)
Catherine ordered the Earl of Surrey and Thomas Howard to march north to Flodden Edge. The Earl was reluctant to attack James’ camp so marched towards Berwick.
1513 (9th September)
Battle of Flodden Field
James IV broke camp and moved to prevent the Earl of Surrey from taking Berwick. When they sighted the English James ordered his Scots soldiers to attack, however, many were killed by English archers and canon fire. The Scots were easily defeated with many, including James IV being killed. His seventeen month old son became King James V
1513 (mid September)
The Earl of Surrey dismissed the English army. With a minor on the throne of Scotland the country posed no immediate threat to England.
1513 (15th September)
Siege of Tournai
The English army laid siege to the French town of Tournai
1513 (17th September)
Catherine went into labour prematurely and was delivered of a son that died soon after birth.
1513 (21st September)
Tournai fell to the English.
1513 (17th October)
Treaty of Lille
With Winter approaching the English were unable to make further gains in France this year and so a new treaty was agreed between Henry VIII, Ferdinand of Spain and Maximillian, Holy Roman Emperor, to make a new invasion of France the following year. The treaty was to be sealed by the marriage of Henry’s sister, Mary to Ferdinand’s grandson, Charles.
1513 (22nd October)
Henry and the English army returned to England
Henry contracted smallpox but made a speedy recovery.
1514 (6th February)
Thomas Wolsey became Bishop of Lincoln.
Henry VIII learned that despite agreeing to the terms of the Treaty of Lille in 1513, Ferdinand of Spain was making no move to prepare to invade France. Henry therefore decided to make peace with France. The peace was to be sealed with the marriage of Henry’s younger sister Mary to King Louis XII
1514 (30th April)
Henry’s sister Margaret, widow of James IV of Scotland, gave birth to a son, Alexander. He was created Duke of Ross.
Catherine announced that she was pregnant again.
A new ship, the Henry Grace a Dieu was built at the newly constructed dockyard at Woolwich. It was the largest warship in the world.
1514 (mid July)
Henry’s sister, Mary, begged Henry not to marry her to the elderly King of France but Henry insisted the marriage go ahead. Henry did agree that when the King died Mary would be able to marry whoever she chose.
was one of the girls selected to go to France as a maid to Princess Mary.
Henry’s elder sister, Margaret, widow of James IV of Scotland, married Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus.
1514 (early October)
Henry’s sister, Mary left England for France.
1514 (9th October)
Henry’s sister, Mary, married King Louis XII of France.
1514 (5th November)
Henry’s sister, Mary was crowned Queen of France.
1514 (31st December)
King Louis XII of France died.
Thomas Wolsey acquired Hampton Court.
and Anne Boleyn were asked to serve the new Queen of France, Queen Claude wife of Francis I
1515 (8th January)
Catherine of Aragon was delivered of a stillborn son.
1515 (mid February)
Henry’s sister Mary married Charles Brandon
. The couple had not been given permission to marry by the King.
1515 (5th April)
The Treaty of Paris agreed a renewed peace between France and England.
Mary and Charles Brandon, Duke and Duchess of Suffolk, were allowed to return to England on condition that they pay Henry £1,000 per year for 24 years.
Catherine of Aragon announced her fifth pregnancy.
Henry’s sister, Margaret appealed to her brother to help her situation in Scotland. The Duke of Albany had been made regent of Scotland and he wanted custody of Margaret’s two sons by James IV of Scotland. Margaret refused and shut herself and her children up in Stirling Castle. When no help came from her brother Margaret had no choice but to hand the children over.
Rise of Wolsey
1515 (18th November)
Thomas Wolsey was officially created a cardinal by William Warham. The ceremony took place in St Paul’s cathedral.
1515 (22nd December)
Thomas Wolsey became Lord Chancellor.
1516 (18th February)
Queen Catherine gave birth to a healthy baby girl at Greenwich Palace. The child was named Mary
1516 (21st February)
Princess Mary was christened.
1516 (11th March)
Henry’s sister, Mary Brandon, gave birth to a son, Henry.
The truce with Scotland, made after the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513, was extended until the end of January 1517.
Henry VIII began negotiating a peace with Burgundy.
1517 (1st May)
Evil May Day
The people of London had become increasingly hostile towards the numbers of foreigners in the capital. Londoners claimed that the foreigners stole their jobs and used up English resources and food. During the May Day celebrations riots broke out. Despite attempts for peace the riots continued into the night when the King sent instructions for Norfolk to raise an army to stop the riots.
1517 (5th May)
279 people were charged with treason for their part in the May Day riots. Fifteen Londoners were found guilty of inciting the riot and were sentenced to be executed.
1517 (early Summer)
Francis I of France, worried that the treaty between England and Burgundy might threaten France, began negotiating for peace between England and France.
The Treaty of Rouen
provided peace and mutual aid between France and Scotland. This treaty meant that if England were to attack Scotland then France would launch a counter-attack on England.
Sweating sickness reached England. Henry and the court left London.
1517 (31st October)
In Germany, Martin Luther
sent a letter to Archbishop Albert of Mainz requesting that the sale of indulgences stop. He included a copy of his work ‘Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences’ also known as the ’95 Theses’. The story is traditionally told that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg but this is now disputed as being symbolic rather than an actual act. Nevertheless, this marks the beginning of the Reformation
1517 (late November)
French ambassadors in England returned to France as no agreement on peace terms had been reached.
Catherine of Aragon announced her sixth pregnancy.
In France the English towns of Calais and Tournai were readied for a possible French attack.
Henry and the court were in residence at Windsor.
In a bid to gain Venetian support against France, King Henry VIII set about persuading the Venetians that the King of France was deceitful.
Due to a new outbreak of sweating sickness, Henry moved the court to Woodstock.
Francis I of France asked for peace negotiations with England to be re-opened.
Henry VIII was having an affair with Elizabeth (Bessie) Blount, one of the Queen’s ladies in waiting.
Thomas More became secretary to the King and gave up his law practice.
Thomas Wolsey was appointed bishop of Bath and Wells.
1518 (24th September)
French officials, Bonnivet, Admiral of France and the Bishop of Paris arrived in England to discuss terms for a peace between the two countries.
1518 (27th September)
The visiting French officials were received at Blackheath where they were entertained with a banquet and pageant.
1518 (30th September)
Terms were agreed for the return of Tournai to France and a peace between the two nations.
1518 (2nd October)
The Treaty of London
This treaty provided that France and England would live in peace and not invade each others territories. The treaty was to be sealed with the marriage of the Dauphin of France and Princess Mary. Tournai would be returned to France before the end of November.
1518 (3rd October)
Henry VIII and the foreign ambassadors travelled in procession to St Paul’s Cathedral where they celebrated a mass to give thanks for the universal peace between the two countries.
1518 (5th October)
Princess Mary aged two years was formally betrothed to Henri, the Dauphin of France.
1518 (7th October)
A tournament was held as part of the Treaty of London celebrations. Henry had spent a total of £5,000 entertaining the French ambassadors.
1518 (10th November)
Catherine of Aragon was delivered of a daughter but she was weak and died within days.
1518 (late November)
Henry VIII began to have serious doubts regarding his marriage. Partly due to another child dying after a few days and partly because one of the French ambassadors had commented that “the King of England had no son because although he was young and handsome himself he kept such an old and deformed wife.”
It was first recorded this year that Henry began to suffer from recurring headaches and migraines. This affliction was to last all his life.
1519 (date unknown)
King Henry VIII added a new wing to Greenwich Palace. The second floor contained a new library housing 329 books which were kept in desks or combined lecterns.
1519 (date unknown)
Henry VIII began an affair with Thomas Boleyn
‘s eldest daughter, Mary
Maximillian, Holy Roman Emperor, died. Henry VIII put his name forward as a candidate for the title.
1519 (13th June)
Henry VIII decided to stand down as a candidate for the title of Holy Roman Emperor. He did this because he had learned that the two other candidates, Charles V of Spain and Francis I of France had spent vast sums of money in bribes for votes and as a result Henry had no chance of winning the election.
1519 (28th June)
Charles V of Spain was elected Holy Roman Emperor.
Henry’s former mistress, Elizabeth (Bessie) Blount gave birth to a baby boy. Henry was overjoyed that he was able to father a son and concluded that his lack of male heir was not his fault. The child was named Henry
and given the surname Fitzroy (King’s son).
1519 (late Summer)
Catherine began to withdraw from court life. It is thought that the number of pregnancies and stillbirths had affected her health. She may have also been suffering from depression.
Henry VIII arranged for Elizabeth Blount to marry Gilbert Talboys. The couple were given generous gifts of land and money.
Negotiations began between England and France for a summit meeting between the countries’ two kings.
1520 (date unknown)
joined the court as an Esquire of the Body. He soon gained a reputation as a poet.
1520 (date unknown)
Nicholas Kratzer, the King’s astronomer, made the first polyhedral sundial.
Wolsey took control of arrangements for the forthcoming summit meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I. It was decided that the meeting would take place in the no man’s land between English Guisnes and French Ardres.
An agreement was made with Scotland that the Scots would not invade England during the period of the summit meeting between Henry and Francis I.
, Countess of Salisbury, was given charge of Princess Mary’s household.
1520 (25th May)
Henry and his court of 6,000 reached Canterbury. He was to meet Emperor Charles V before crossing the channel to meet Francis I.
1520 (27th May)
Henry and Catherine met Charles V. It was the first time that Catherine had met her nephew. Henry and Charles had secret talks which were followed by a banquet and dancing.
1520 (29th May)
Charles left England. A further meeting between Henry and Charles was to take place at Gravelines after the summit with Francis I.
1520 (30th, 31st May)
Henry and the royal court crossed the Channel for the summit meeting with Francis I. A total of 27 ships were needed to take everyone across the Channel.
1520 (5th June)
The English court left Calais for Guisnes.
1520 (6th June)
Wolsey, chief organiser of the summit, rode in procession to the French court at Ardres. He was attended by 100 archers, 50 gentlemen ushers and number of priests.
1520 (7th June)
Henry VIII and Francis I met. Both kings were attended by a large retinue and both were grandly dressed in rich cloth and jewels. The Kings embraced warmly and ratified the treaty of London.
1520 (11th – 22nd June)
Field of the Cloth of Gold
This was the name given to the summit meeting between Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France. It gained its name because a large number of cloth of gold tents had been erected in the no man’s land between English Guisnes and French Ardres. Henry stayed in a temporary palace which had a stone base and walls of half timber, half brick. The palace was constructed with a central courtyard and had a magnificent fountain in front. Tournaments, jousts, banquets and dancing celebrated the meeting between the two kings.
1520 (24th June)
Henry and Francis formally said goodbye and agreed to build a chapel on the site of their meeting which would be named ‘The Chapel of Our Lady of Peace’
1520 (10th – 14th July)
Henry VIII met Charles V at Gravelines. They agreed a treaty which stated that neither was able to enter into any new alliances with France or other country without each other’s consent for a period of two years.
1520 (late July)
Henry returned to England.
The peace between England and Scotland agreed in 1520 was extended.
Henry VIII completed his book Assertio Septum Sacramentorum (Assertion of the Seven Sacraments) against the teachings of Martin Luther. The 30,000 word book was written in Latin and bound with cloth of gold.
English ambassadors were sent to France to try to persuade Francis to make peace with Charles V
1521 (17th May)
Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, was executed for treason. He had been found guilty of plotting to take the throne for himself. He was a popular figure and his execution was not well received by the people.
1521 (during July)
Henry was reluctant to commit troops to aid Charles against Francis but Henry told Charles that if he would agree to a betrothal between himself and Princess Mary Henry would offer aid. Charles had no choice but to accept the terms.
1521 (25th August)
Treaty of Bruges
This was a treaty between England and Spain which agreed that Henry would keep the Channel clear thus allowing Charles free passage between Netherlands and Spain. In return Charles agreed to allow a safe crossing of the Channel for English vessels between England and Calais. It was also agreed that Henry and Charles would jointly invade France before 15th May 1523.
A beautifully bound copy of Henry’s Book Septum Sacramentorum was presented to the Pope. The Pope gave Henry the hereditary title Fidei Defensor (Defender of the Faith).
1521 (29th November)
The Scottish Duke of Albany, who had been detained in France, was sent back to Scotland. Francis I of France reasoned that if Henry VIII attacked France then Albany could attack England from Scotland.
Henry VIII refused any renewal of the peace with Scotland unless Albany was expelled.
Anne Boleyn returned to England from France where she had been a lady in waiting to Queen Claude.
1522 (9th January)
Adrian Dedel of Utrecht was elected Pope Adrian IV. Wolsey was dismayed because Charles V had agreed to support him for Pope.
Anne Boleyn, aged 15 years was given a place in the Queen’s household.
Charles V was reassured that Henry would support him in any attack of France.
1522 (4th March)
Anne Boleyn took part in her first court pageant. Her sister Mary, who was the King’s mistress, partnered Henry in the dances.
1522 (27th May)
Charles V arrived in Dover to meet with Henry.
1522 (29th May)
Henry VIII declared war on France.
1522 (19th June)
Treaty of Windsor
This treaty between England and Spain was an extension of the Treaty of Bruges 25th August 1521. Princess Mary and Charles V were formally betrothed in the presence of the English court.
The Earl of Surrey was sent to Calais with an army to join Charles in attacking areas of France.
1522 (6th July)
Charles V returned to Spain.
1522 (4th September)
The Earl of Surrey entered French territory where he began raiding and burning towns and villages.
1522 (17th September)
A month’s truce was agreed between England and Scotland and Albany returned to France.
Charles’ generals decided to abandon the attacks on France.
Henry VIII proposed a sixteen year truce with Scotland which included a provision that Albany remain in France and that a marriage between James V and Princess Mary be made to seal the treaty. Scotland refused the terms.
Parliament was summoned for the first time in eight years to approve taxation to raise money for the forthcoming invasion of France.
1523 (early September)
The Duke of Suffolk invaded France with instructions to lay siege to Boulogne. However, the promised help from Charles V did not materialise.
The Earl of Surrey was sent north to carry out a series of raids on the border towns.
1523 (14th September)
Pope Adrian IV died.
1523 19th September)
The Duke of Suffolk abandoned the siege of Boulogne and marched towards Paris with the Spanish General Count Buren.
1523 (24th September)
The Earl of Surrey burned the border towns of Jedburgh and Haddington as well as destroying villages and farms in the Merse and Teviotdale. The Duke of Albany who had returned from France marched against the English with a Scottish army.
Thomas Wolsey discovered that Henry Percy
had made a secret betrothal to Anne Boleyn. Percy, who was already betrothed to Mary Talbot, was forbidden to see Anne Boleyn and sent back to his homeland of Northumberland to marry Mary Talbot. Anne Boleyn was furious and swore to seek revenge on Wolsey.
The Duke of Albany sent an army into England to lay siege to Wark. However, they were forced back to Edinburgh by bad weather.
1523 (early November)
The combined forces of Suffolk and Buren in France reached the outskirts of Paris. However, Francis had anticipated their move and the capital was filled with French troops. The weather was bad and many roads impassable. Insanitary conditions had led to the death of more than 100 English troops so Suffolk made the decision to return to Calais.
1523 (19th November)
Despite assurances that Charles V would back Wolsey for Pope, Guilo de Medici was elected Pope Clement VII.
1523 (late November)
Suffolk’s retreat in France resulted in a severe loss of popularity for Wolsey. People were angry that the increased taxation imposed by Wolsey had been for nothing.
1523 (early December)
Suffolk and the English army returned to England.
Henry began to have serious doubts about the validity of his marriage. He believed that God was punishing him for marrying his brother’s wife
England and France began secret peace negotiations.
1524 (21st May)
Henry VIII appointed his brother in law, Charles Brandon, Earl Marshall of England.
English ambassadors, Pace and Russell, joined the Duke of Bourbon on his march to lay siege to Marseilles and gave him a sum of money from Henry. Bourbon suggested that England should invade Northern France.
Henry VIII sent a message to Bourbon telling him that it was impossible for him to invade Northern France at such short notice. Henry did not completely trust Bourbon and was worried that he might warn Francis of any invasion thus disrupting the ongoing secret peace talks.
Marseilles withstood the siege by the Duke of Bourbon. Bourbon’s army, short of food and unpaid refused to fight on and the Duke returned to Italy.
1524 (26th July)
In Scotland Margaret Tudor, helped by Henry VIII, succeeded in making her 12 year old son King James V of Scotland thus ending the regency of the Duke of Albany.
Negotiations began regarding a possible marriage between James V of Scotland and Henry’s daughter Mary.
1524 (18th November)
Scotland and England began negotiating a possible peace treaty.
Anne Boleyn had attracted the attention of the poet Thomas Wyatt. This meant that she was drawn into the King’s circle at court.
1525 (22nd January)
Jean Brinon, first President of the French Parliament arrived in England to join the continuing peace negotiations.
A letter from the Spanish ambassador to Charles V was intercepted. The letter told Charles to make peace with France and form an alliance against England before the peace between England and France was settled. The Spanish ambassador was placed under house arrest.
1525 (24th February)
Francis I, King of France was taken prisoner after being defeated at the Battle of Pavia. When Henry heard the news he wanted to invade France immediately but was prevented from doing so due to lack of funds.
Henry introduced a new tax called the Amicable Grant to try to raise money so that he could invade France. This new tax met resistance in the South of England. Protesters refused to pay the tax and threatened anyone paying it with violence.
Charles V demanded that Henry VIII send Princess Mary with part of her dowry in cash to him immediately. Henry refused to contemplate sending her to Spain before her twelfth birthday. Charles replied that if Henry would not send Mary to Spain then he wanted to be released from the betrothal so that he could marry elsewhere. Henry dispatched ambassadors to Spain to try to persuade Charles to mount a joint invasion of France with Henry.
1525 (26th April)
The Amicable Grant, which had met marked resistance in the South of England, was renounced.
1525 (7th June)
Charles V, who was in negotiations to marry Isabella of Portugal, sent word to Henry that he would agree to jointly invade France if Henry were to send Mary and her full dowry in cash to him in Spain immediately.
1525 (16th June)
King Henry VIII publicly recognised his illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, when he created him Duke of Richmond.
1525 (late June)
Henry learned of Charles V’s intention to marry Isabella of Portugal when Charles V formally renounced his betrothal to Mary.
1525 (early Summer)
Henry VIII was unconcerned by reports that Lutherism had reached England.
The Ordinances of Eltham were used by Wolsey to reorganise the Royal household. During the reorganisation a number of Catherine’s women, who did not agree with his policies, were dismissed.
Princess Mary was sent to Ludlow to establish her own court in the Welsh marches. Catherine was upset that her daughter was to be sent away from London.
1525 (20th August)
The Treaty of the More
This was a collection of five treaties that settled peace between England and France.
1525 (29th September)
Thomas More was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Copies of William Tynedale’s English New Testament began to appear in England. The book had been published in Germany and smuggled into England.
Henry VIII aged 35 years asked Anne Boleyn aged 19 years to become his mistress. He was amazed when she refused saying that she would only surrender her virginity to the man she married.
Thomas Wyatt was sent on a diplomatic mission to Italy. It is thought that Henry wanted him away from Anne Boleyn.
Copies of the English New Testament were among heretical books burned on a huge bonfire at St Paul’s.
The Douglas family led by Angus Douglas succeeded in capturing and taking control of the 14 year old King James V.
Anne Boleyn, unable to cope with the King’s attention, spent much time at her family home of Hever Castle. Henry who was still infatuated with her wrote her many letters protesting his love for her.
1526 (8th August)
A treaty was signed by France and England that agreed that neither country would deal with Charles on an individual basis.
Princess Mary returned to London to celebrate Christmas with her parents.
Work began on a temporary building at Greenwich which would include a banqueting hall and a disguising house. Henry VIII wanted to make a good impression on ambassadors that would be visiting court over the summer and autumn.
Princess Mary returned to Ludlow.
1527 (early March)
French ambassadors arrived in England to negotiate terms for peace and a marriage between England and France. Negotiations were suspended when the Bishop of Tarbes questioned the validity of Henry’s marriage, having married his brother’s widow, and the legitimacy of Princess Mary.
Although he was concerned by the comments made by the Bishop of Tarbes, Henry knew that they echoed what he had been feeling for some time. He was especially concerned by a passage in Leviticus that warns of the consequences which would be inflicted by God on anyone marrying his brother’s widow. Henry reasoned that the consequences in his case were a lack of a male heir.
This reasoning together with his infatuation for Anne Boleyn led Henry to the conclusion that he had to divorce Catherine. He had three options:
1. He could prove that the dispensation granted in 1503 by Pope Julius II allowing him to marry Catherine was invalid on some technical point.
2. He could prove that Julius II had exceeded his papal powers by granting the dispensation. This would involve proving that it was forbidden for a man to marry his brother’s widow by God’s law and that the Pope did not have the power to override God’s law.
3. He could persuade Catherine to enter a convent.
Princess Mary was summoned to court so that she could be seen by French ambassadors negotiating a peace and marriage treaty with England.
Wolsey was kept busy trying to find evidence that would further Henry’s divorce. His line of enquiry centred around trying to find out whether or not Catherine’s marriage with Prince Arthur had been consummated. He also tried to find evidence that Henry had been coerced into a marriage with Catherine. Eventually Wolsey came up with a plan. Wolsey would use his power as papal legate to summon Henry to appear before an ecclesiastical court which he would preside over. Henry would be charged with co-habiting with his brother’s widow and would plead guilty to the charge. The court would then order him to separate from Catherine and the marriage would be declared invalid.
1527 (30th April)
Treaty of Westminster
This treaty agreed that an Anglo/French embassy would be sent to Spain to negotiate the release of Francis II’s two sons, the repayment of Charles’ debt to England and peace in Europe. Henry VIII also agreed to give up all claims to the French throne in return for a yearly payment by France.
1527 (late Spring)
Anne Boleyn returned to court. She was given beautiful apartments and showered with jewellery and fine clothes. She had accepted Henry’s proposal to marry as soon as he was divorced from Catherine.
1527 (6th May)
The Greenwich Reception was held to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Westminster. It was held in the newly finished extension to Greenwich Palace and included a joust followed by a banquet and dancing.
1527 (6th May)
The Sack of Rome by the combined forces of Charles V and Bourbon meant that the Pope was under the control of Charles V.
1527 (17th May)
An ecclesiastical court was convened at Wolsey’s Palace, York Place. Henry was summoned and admitted the charge of marrying his brother’s widow. The court was adjourned to consider the case.
1527 (18th May)
Catherine learned of Henry’s move to divorce her.
1527 (31st May)
Despite Wolsey’s best efforts the ecclesiastical court convened to try Henry’s marriage was unable to reach a decision regarding the King’s marriage. The commissioners decided that since any decision they made could be overturned by the Pope the case should be referred to Rome.
The fact that the Pope was under the control of Charles V, Catherine’s nephew, meant it was unlikely that Pope Clement VII would find in Henry’s favour.
Commissioners were sent to Rome to put a number of propositions to the Pope.
1. He could issue a dispensation allowing Catherine to enter a convent.
2. He could issue a dispensation which would allow Henry to take a second wife for the sole purpose of begetting a male heir.
3. He could extend Wolsey’s legatine power allowing Wolsey to try the case in England on the Pope’s behalf.
John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, declared himself to be against an annulment of the King’s marriage.
1527 (22nd June)
Henry VIII told Catherine that they must separate because they had been living in sin. He asked for her cooperation and said that she could choose a house to retire to until the matter was resolved. Catherine was very upset and told Henry that her marriage to him was lawful and that she would resist any move to have the marriage annulled.
Thomas More told Henry that he believed the marriage with Catherine was lawful.
Catherine managed to get a letter out of the country to her nephew, Charles V, telling him of her situation in England. She asked Charles to speak to Henry on her behalf and also to persuade the Pope to make sure that the case was tried in Rome.
1527 (11th July)
An embassy of 1,000 headed by Wolsey left England to meet with Francis II at Abbeville. Wolsey talked to Francis about the King’s ‘Great Matter’ as the divorce was referred to and, unaware of Henry’s plans to marry Anne Boleyn, talked of a possibility of a French bride for Henry.
Anne Boleyn joined Henry at Beaulieu where he was spending a month hunting. They lived together openly and the rumour that Henry was planning to marry Anne Boleyn soon spread. The King’s plan to divorce Catherine had met with strong disapproval by most of the population who blamed Wolsey and Anne Boleyn for trying to replace Catherine.
The realisation that Henry VIII intended to marry Anne Boleyn left Wolsey in a difficult position for he was working to secure the rise of Anne Boleyn who had sworn revenge on Wolsey after he had broken up her relationship with Henry Percy in 1521.
1527 (18th August)
The Treaty of Amiens provided for the marriage of Henry’s daughter, Mary, to Francis II’s second son, Henry, a commercial treaty where England would suspend trade with the Netherlands in favour of France and a treaty to mutually refuse to attend a General Council while the Pope remained captive. It was also agreed that both countries would demand the release of Francis II’s sons by Charles V.
1527 (early September)
Dr William Knight was sent on a secret mission to Rome by Henry. Knight was to ask the Pope for a dispensation which would allow King Henry to marry Anne Boleyn even though he had had a relationship with her sister.
A bad harvest this year was blamed on Anne Boleyn and Thomas Wolsey.
1527 (late September)
Henry began to consider the warnings of the Boleyn family that Wolsey was working for his own interests rather than those of the King. The news that Wolsey had detained Knight on route to Rome added to Henry’s concerns about Wolsey.
Charles V told Pope Clement VII that he should take no steps that would further the annulment of his aunt’s marriage.
The Pope had negotiated his freedom from Charles V but was reluctant to offend Charles by furthering Henry’s divorce. Additionally, Clement VII like many other theologians did not believe that the passage in Leviticus applied if the brother had died. Although he received Dr William Knight he told him to tell Henry that he was unable to annul the marriage at this time.
Wolsey received a General Commission from the Pope allowing him to try the King’s marriage in England. However, he was not allowed to pass judgement. Wolsey replied to the Pope asking that the legate Campeggio
be sent to England to pass judgement on the case.
It was widely known that King Henry VIII had set Catherine aside for Anne Boleyn and this was not well received. Anne Boleyn was booed and jeered whenever she appeared in the streets.
1528 (22nd January)
England declared war on the Netherlands but the planned invasion by England and France was postponed. Henry had hoped that victory over the Netherlands would force Charles V to sue for peace. The declaration of war was an economic disaster for England since the Netherlands stopped trading with England, a move that badly affected the cloth trade.
The effects of the trade embargo by the Netherlands led to many cloth workers becoming unemployed. Villagers and workers marched to Archbishop Warham’s palace at Knole and handed him a petition demanding that the King repay them money lent under the amicable grant in 1525.
1528 (23rd March)
The Pope agreed to send Cardinal Campeggio to England to try the King’s marriage.
Charles V warned the Pope that any move to help the King of England’s divorce could result in another sack of Rome.
1528 (Late Spring)
Campeggio was instructed by the Pope that his main objective in England was to delay any hearing of the King’s marriage case. He was also given a decretal commission that would allow him to declare the marriage null and void if the facts warranted and give both parties license to remarry.
1528 (Late May)
An outbreak of sweating sickness reached London. Henry VIII and the court moved to Hunsdon.
An agreement was reached with Charles V that meant that trade between England and the Netherlands could resume.
People were facing hardship due to the effects of the poor harvest of 1527 and the loss of trade with the Netherlands for six months. Prices of corn had risen by one shilling per bushel. Commissioners were sent to farms and any farmer found hoarding more than he needed to feed his family was forced to sell the surplus. Thomas More helped by feeding around 100 needy people per day.
1528 (mid June)
One of Anne Boleyn’s ladies was taken ill with sweating sickness. Henry sent Anne to Hever in case she had caught the disease. Henry moved the court again to Tittenhanger where he kept himself virtually secluded and heard mass three times a day.
1528 (16th June)
Anne Boleyn was taken ill with a mild form of sweating sickness. When he heard the news Henry sent one of his own physicians to Hever.
Peace negotiations with Charles V broke down.
The nun, Elizabeth Barton, who was said to have the gift of prophecy announced that if Henry cast away his wife then God would see that he was no longer King.
Catherine of Aragon was very popular with the population and whenever she was seen she was greeted with cries of “victory over your enemies”.
Princess Mary returned to court because she was in poor health.
An outbreak of sweating sickness forced the court to move from Tittenhanger to Ampthill.
1528 (late July)
Anne Boleyn returned to court having fully recovered from sweating sickness.
Wolsey met Catherine’s almoner, Robert Shorton. Shorton insisted that Catherine’s first marriage had not been consummated and stated that there were Papal bulls in Spain which allowed Catherine and Henry to marry despite any impediment. Wolsey told Shorton to impress upon Catherine that she should retire to a convent leaving Henry free to remarry.
1528 (29th September)
Cardinal Campeggio reached Dover. He had been delayed by storms and heavy rainfall. Campeggio refused a state welcome preferring to travel quietly to London. Wolsey and Campeggio met and Wolsey was astounded to learn that Campeggio intended trying to effect a reconciliation between Catherine and Henry before he would even consider hearing the case.
The Boleyn faction were intent on working to see Wolsey fall from favour. They made pointed comments in Henry’s presence about the lavishness of Wolsey’s ‘court’. Wolsey became concerned about losing favour with Henry and so made Henry a gift of Hampton Court Palace.
1528 (early October)
Catherine chose her legal counsel – William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, Dr Henry Standish, Bishop of St Asaphs, Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of London and John Clerk, Bishop of Bath and Wells.
Catherine announced that she had in her possession a copy of the dispensation issued by Julius II in 1504 that allowed her to marry Henry regardless of whether her marriage to Arthur had been consummated or not.
1528 (9th October)
Cardinal Campeggio reached London and announced that he was so tired from his journey that he needed to rest for a few days.
1528 (22nd October)
Campeggio met Henry and suggested that Henry should attempt a reconciliation with Catherine. Henry told Campeggio that he would settle for nothing less than an annulment of his marriage. Campeggio therefore agreed to try to persuade Catherine to enter a convent.
1528 (24th October)
Campeggio met Catherine and advised her to enter a convent and retire gracefully. However, Catherine made it clear that her first marriage had been unconsummated and that she intended to live and die a married woman.
1528 (late October)
Catherine stated that she would not accept the findings of Wolsey and Campeggio’s court and that she would only accept the findings of the Pope himself. Campeggio was annoyed that Catherine would not retire to a convent and felt that she was compromising the position of himself and the Pope since the case would necessitate questions of theology and the relationship of theologians and God.
1528 (late October)
Catherine was notified by letter that she was inciting the people to rebellion by riding out and that if she persisted in working against the King then she would be separated from both the King and her daughter, Mary.
Catherine was separated from princess Mary and kept in isolation. She continued to refuse to enter a convent.
1528 (late November)
Wolsey wrote to Catherine telling her that the copy of the Papal dispensation she had in her possession was useless since no court would recognise a copy. He told her that she had to send to Spain and have the original brought to England for the court to see. Catherine was worried that if the original was brought to England it would be destroyed.
Wolsey noticed that he was invited to court much less than he had been in the past.
Campeggio was concerned by the spread of Lutheran literature in England. He was also concerned by the fact that Anne Boleyn, who was in favour of Church reform, was persuading Henry of the virtues of Church reform. Henry was impressed by the argument that the clergy should not be so greedy and should not have great possessions or sums of money. He was also interested by the idea that the King should be majestic and should rule over all.
The Spanish Ambassador Mendoza knew that it would only take a small invasionary force to topple Henry from the throne. Wolsey was hated and for the first time the King was losing popularity. However, he also knew that neither Catherine nor Charles would sanction an invasion of England. Mendoza therefore wrote to Charles asking to be recalled to Spain.
Richard Rich became MP for Colchester
Henry Fitzroy became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. William Skeffington was appointed his deputy.
Thomas Wolsey exchanged his bishopric of Durham for that of Winchester, the richest see in England
Stephen Gardiner was sent to Rome to warn the Pope that unless the two cardinals gave Henry a favourable decision regarding his marriage Henry would renounce his allegiance to the Papal See.
Catherine lodged an appeal to Rome against the authority of the legatine court and the ability of Wolsey and Campeggio to try the case.
Henry VIII asked Catherine to choose those she wished to represent her during the forthcoming trial. Although she still refused to acknowledge the authority of the legatine court she chose Archbishop Warham, Cuthbert Tunstall Bishop of Ely and St Asaph and her main suppporter, John Fisher Bishop of Rochester.
The Duke of Suffolk was sent to Paris to discuss terms for peace with Francis.
1529 (31st May)
Wolsey and Campeggio opened the legatine court at Blackfriars. Henry and Catherine were summoned to appear before the court on 18th June.
1529 (16th June)
Catherine made formal protest to Rome against the Legatine Court.
1529 (18th June)
Catherine was loudly applauded as she made her way to the Legatine Court. Once inside, she challenged that authority of the Court and the qualification of the two legates to hear the case. She stated her wish for the case to be heard in Rome, but this was denied. Both Catherine and Henry were told to reappear on 21st June.
1529 (21st June)
The Legatine court reassembled at Blackfriars. Henry spoke of his fears that his lack of male heir was evidence of God’s displeasure that he had married his brother’s widow. Catherine, in reply, made a very moving speech asserting the validity of her present marriage. She then walked over to Henry and knelt at his feet. She asked him to take pity on her as she was a foreigner. She also asked Henry to bear witness that she had been a virgin on their wedding night. Turning to the two legates she then stated that she did not recognise the authority of their court and asked for the case to be referred to Rome. When this was refused she turned and walked out of the court. Catherine was declared in contempt of court and a citation was made calling for her to return on 25th June.
1529 (25th June)
The legatine court reopened. Catherine did not appear and was declared in contempt of court. The trial continued in her absence.
1529 (28th June)
At the legatine court John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, spoke saying that in 1527 Henry had asked all bishops to voice their opinions on his marriage. The Bishop now stated that in his opinion the royal marriage was legal for he believed that the papal dispensation granted in 1503 had removed any impediments there might be to the marriage.
Wolsey continued to fall from favour. Henry declined an invitation to entertainments at The More, Wolsey’s private home and Wolsey was not invited to join the court at Woodstock during the summer.
1529 (mid July)
Henry ordered the legates to visit Catherine and persuade her to submit to his wishes. Catherine was reluctant to receive them privately saying that they could speak freely in front of her women. Despite their persuasions she maintained her belief in the legitimacy of her marriage.
1529 (16th July)
Pope Clement VII decided to revoke the commission granted to Wolsey and Campeggio and refer the King’s divorce case to Rome.
1529 (22nd July)
News of the Pope’s decision reached England. Wolsey was very worried as to the King’s reaction to the news.
1529 (23rd July)
The legatine court reassembled at Blackfriars. The court was packed as it was rumoured that a decision would be made. However, Campeggio merely announced that because of the large number of documents to be examined he would be unable to give judgement today. He went on to say that the court would now have to be adjourned until October because it was practice in Rome to break for the summer months. The court was shocked and the duke of Suffolk shouted “It was never merry in England while we had Cardinals among us.” Henry walked out of the court.
1529 (late July)
Wolsey wrote letters to the Pope begging him to return the legatine authority. He also wrote letters to Charles V begging him to allow Henry to divorce Catherine and letters to Catherine begging her for the sake of the country to enter a convent. Wolsey knew that if no new move were made he would be finished.
Henry was furious when he received a summons from Rome to appear before the papal curia. He was becoming aware that the Pope may never grant him a divorce. He realised that he needed to find another solution.
1529 (early August)
Bishops Fox and Gardiner suggested that Henry listen to the ideas of Thomas Cranmer
who believed that Henry VIII might have more luck securing his divorce if the validity of his marriage was tried by theologians in the universities rather than canon lawyers in ecclesiastical courts.
1529 (2nd August)
Henry began his summer progress taking with him Anne Boleyn rather than Catherine.
1529 (18th September)
Wolsey hoped to win back favour with Henry when he escorted Campeggio to Grafton. However, Wolsey was dismayed to find that no accommodation had been provided for him. Although he spoke to the King Henry made it plain that he was angry that the divorce matter had not been settled speedily.
A new Spanish ambassador, Eustache Chapuys arrived in England.
Thomas Cranmer was summoned to appear before the King. He told him that it was his opinion that the marriage should be tried by the Doctors of Divinity in the universities for it was them that studied the Bible and were therefore better qualified to discuss its meaning. If the marriage was found to be invalid then all that would be needed was for the Archbishop of Canterbury to pronounce the King a free man. Henry was impressed with the idea and ordered Cranmer to set aside all other work and devote himself to the divorce.
After many requests the new Spanish ambassador, Chapuys was granted an audience with Henry. However, the ambassador soon realised that the King was set on a divorce and would not be persuaded otherwise.
1529 (9th October)
Henry now had no further use for Wolsey and so he was summoned to appear before judges to answer a charge of praemunire (exercising ecclesiastical jurisdiction without the King’s permission)
1529 (22nd October)
Wolsey pleaded guilty to the charge of praemunire. He surrendered York Place as well as “the lands, offices, goods, all temporal possessions, all debts due and all arrears of pensions” to the King. Wolsey told his household officers that they were to make detailed inventories of each room, closet and cupboard.
1529 (24th October)
The dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk were sent by Henry to take back the Great Seal from Wolsey. Wolsey knew that this act meant that he was finished and there was no hope of regaining favour with the King. Wolsey left for Esher taking with him just a few trusted servants.
1529 (25th or 26th October)
Henry VIII appointed his friend, Thomas More as Chancellor. However, More only accepted the position on condition that he would not be involved in the King’s divorce. More believed the King’s marriage to be valid though he was careful to remain silent on the subject.
1529 (30th October)
Although he had written to the King begging for mercy Wolsey was stripped of all his offices except Archbishop of York. Wolsey began a journey north to the province of York which he had never seen in the sixteen years he had been archbishop.
Despite his close connection to Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell
did not fall from favour and a position was found for him as MP for Taunton
Relations between Henry and Anne were not as good as they had been. Anne was now twenty-eight years old and constantly reminded Henry that if it had not been for him she wold have been married with children by now. She accused Henry of deliberately keeping her waiting. She also demanded that Henry send Catherine away from Greenwich and stop sending all his mending and embroidering to her.
1529 (3rd November)
Reformation Parliament summoned. This parliament was called the reformation parliament primarily because it passed a number of acts concerned with reforming the Church. Reforms included plurality, fees charged for probate and mortuary and sanctuary. Bishop Fisher angrily commented “Now with the Commons it is nothing but Down with the Church!”
1529 (late November)
Henry changed the name of York Palace to Whitehall and began renovating the palace for use by Anne Boleyn.
1529 (early December)
Anne’s father, Thomas Boleyn, was created Earl of Wiltshire. Anne was now Lady Anne Boleyn while her brother George
was Lord Rochford.
1529 (early December)
Catherine was ordered to leave Greenwich Palace and go to Richmond.
1529 (24th December)
Henry VIII told Catherine that even if the Pope declared their marriage to be lawful he would still have his divorce. He told her that the Church of Canterbury was more important than that of Rome and that if the Pope found against him he would declare the Pope a heretic and marry whomever he chose.
Thomas Wolsey was taken ill at Esher. Henry sent three of his own physicians to tend Wolsey.
1530 (24th January)
Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire was created Keeper of the Privy Seal.
Stephen Gardiner and Edward Fox began consulting the universities as to their opinion on the King’s marriage.
1530 (mid February)
Anne Boleyn was furious when Henry allowed Wolsey to continue as Archbishop of York.
Wolsey was told that as Archbishop of York he must now go to his diocese of York.
The Pope issued a brief which forbade Henry from re-marrying until a verdict on his marriage had been passed in Rome. However, the brief was not published.
Henry VIII wrote to the Pope stating that if it were the case that Catherine could not expect a fair trial in England then it must also be true that he could not expect a fair trial in Rome.
Catherine wrote to her representative in Rome, Dr Pedro Ortiz and begged him to put pressure on the Pope to find her marriage lawful.
The Pope issued a brief which forbade anyone from expressing an opinion on the King of England’s marriage.
1530 (24th May)
A meeting of the Parliament Chamber decided that Lutherism should be denounced and a list of banned books be published. Tynedale’s New Testament was formally condemned.
Wolsey wrote letters to Francis I and Charles V hoping to secure their aid to bring about Anne Boleyn’s downfall. However, neither expressed interest in Wolsey’s plans.
European universities were canvassed to find their position regarding Henry’s marriage. All scholars deciding that Henry’s marriage was unlawful received a sum of money.
A bonfire at Paul’s Cross burned forbidden books including Tynedale’s English New Testament.
The Duke of Suffolk was banned from court after he told Henry the lie that Anne Boleyn was having an affair with Thomas Wyatt.
Henry was annoyed with Charles V because Charles refused to extradite William Tyndale so that he could be tried in England for heresy. Charles argued that heresy was not an offence that warranted extradition.
The Pope was sent a petition signed by the majority of Lords Spiritual and Temporal asking him to annul the King of England’s marriage. The petition warned the Pope of the consequences of not annulling the marriage.
1530 (20th July)
Henry VIII ordered that Wolsey’s college at Ipswich be dissolved. Although Wolsey protested the college was closed and subsequently demolished.
Wolsey left Nottinghamshire to make the journey north to York. He took up residence in Cawood palace to await his official enthronement as Archbishop of York on 7th November. Crowds of people accompanied Wolsey on his journey and rumours spread that Wolsey would lead a revolt against the King.
King Henry commented that his Chancellor, Thomas More, seemed more interested in persecuting heretics than helping to secure his divorce.
1530 (23rd October)
Henry discovered that Wolsey had been trying to bring about Anne Boleyn’s downfall. Henry saw this as working against the King.
1530 (1st November)
A warrant for Wolsey’s arrest was drawn up. It was sent to Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, who was instructed to arrest Wolsey and bring him to London.
1530 (4th November)
Henry Percy arrived at Cawood Palace where he told Wolsey that he was arresting him in the name of the King.
1530 (6th November)
Henry Percy and Thomas Wolsey began the journey south. Wolsey’s health deteriorated rapidly during the journey.
1530 (29th November)
Thomas Wolsey died at 8am at the Abbey of St Mary in Leicester.
Henry VIII was summoned to Rome to state his case regarding his marriage. Henry was furious with Rome.
Anne Boleyn organised a masque called ‘Of the Cardinal’s Going to Hell’ to celebrate Wolsey’s death. Henry was not happy with this.
Catherine was present at court for the Twelfth Night celebrations and Henry sat at the same table with her.
1531 (5th January)
The Pope issued a brief which ordered Henry to separate from Anne Boleyn. The brief had been issued at Catherine’s request. When it was presented to him, Henry merely glanced at the paper and put it aside.
John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, continued to support Catherine’s cause. He made a statement saying that it would be against God’s law for the King to make himself Head of the Church, a move Henry was now planning.
1531 (11th February)
Despite resistance from some members of the clergy, an Act was passed which confirmed that Henry was now Supreme Head of the Church in England. Henry proclaimed that the Pope should now be referred to as The Bishop of Rome.
1531 (mid February)
Thomas More, who privately did not support Henry’s divorce, began to consider resigning as Chancellor.
Henry VIII visited Catherine on a regular basis hoping to persuade the people that he had been forced to set Catherine aside against his will.
1531 (24th March)
Henry allowed Princess Mary, who had been in poor health, to visit her mother at Richmond Palace.
1531 (30th March)
Thomas More made a speech to Parliament saying that it was the opinion of eleven of Europe’s universities that the marriage was unlawful. Although More believed the marriage to be lawful he realised that he had to remain in office if he were to secretly work for Catherine’s cause.
1531 (23rd April)
Henry VIII wrote to the English ambassador in Rome ordering him to tell the Pope that if he continued to summon Henry to Rome then Henry would destroy papal authority in England.
1531 (31st May)
A deputation of Privy Councillors – Dr Stephen Gardiner, Rowland Lee, Dr Sampson and Longland, Bishop of Lincoln – were sent to try to persuade Catherine to agree to an annulment of her marriage. She refused and went on to deny Henry’s Supremacy of the Church and stated that she would only abide by a decision made by the Pope.
Anne Boleyn was impatient to be married and displayed fits of tempers and bad moods. Henry was finding her difficult to be with. Thomas Howard was concerned by his niece’s behaviour and removed his support.
Henry VIII moved the court to Woodstock. He did not tell Catherine and left her and Mary, who was visiting her mother, alone at Windsor.
Catherine was told that she should leave Windsor. She was asked to choose a place of residence for herself, either a nunnery or a smaller palace. Catherine was unhappy and wrote to Henry telling him that he had taken matters too far.
1531 (late October)
Henry was now living openly with Anne Boleyn.
1531 (24th November)
Anne Boleyn was extremely unpopular with the people who tended to support Catherine. A mob of some 7,000 women marched on a house where she was dining intent on lynching her. She escaped unhurt but was badly shaken.
Catherine was not invited to court for Christmas and Henry returned her gift saying that as they were no longer man and wife it was not proper for them to exchange gifts.
Break with Rome
Henry acquired the site of St James’ hospital where he built a new palace, St James’ Palace.
Anne Boleyn returned to court after visiting her family at Hever.
1532 (18th March)
Supplication Against Ordinaries
This was a list of grievances against the Church and included questions regarding the right of the Church to make its own laws and the legality of ecclesiastical courts.
1532 (21st March)
Act in Conditional Restraint of Annates
This bill limited payments to Rome to just 5% of the net revenue for any benefice. It also allowed for an Archbishop to consecrate a Bishop and for two Bishops to consecrate an Archbishop. There were many Lords and Bishops who opposed the bill but it was eventually passed.
Catherine was instructed to leave The More and move to the palace at Bishop’s Hatfield in Hertfordshire.
1532 (15th May)
Submission of the Clergy
This was a short document which made three concessions: 1. The clergy would make no new laws without the consent of the monarch. 2. The clergy would allow all existing ecclesiastical laws to be reviewed by a deputation appointed by the King. 3. Convocation would not meet without royal permission. The document had to be signed by all the clergy and it was done so, reluctantly by many.
1532 (16th May)
Thomas More, who disagreed with any move to break with Rome, resigned his position as Chancellor on the grounds of ill health.
1532 (20th May)
Thomas Audley was given the position of Chancellor.
John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, preached a sermon defending Queen Catherine’s rights. Henry was not happy.
Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham was served a writ of praemunire (acting over his authority against that of the Monarch) by Henry. Although he had signed the Submission of the Clergy, Warham had made it clear that he would not sanction acts of Parliament against the power of the church.
The Countess of Northumberland petitioned parliament for a divorce from Henry Percy on the grounds of a pre-contract between him and Anne Boleyn. Not wanting any trouble from the King, Percy was brought before the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and forced to swear that there had been no such pre-contract.
Henry VIII took Anne Boleyn on a Summer progress of the southern counties but the tour had to be abandoned due to the extent of hostility shown to Anne Boleyn.
Catherine’s closest friend, Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby, was ordered to leave Catherine’s household. she was told not to make any attempt to communicate with Catherine.
Thomas Abell, who had spoken in public for Catherine, was sent to the Tower.
1532 (23rd August)
William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, died
1532 (early September)
Thomas Cranmer was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury.
1532 (1st September)
Anne Boleyn was created Marquess of Pembroke. It was the first time a hereditary title had been given to a woman. The ceremony took place at Windsor.
1532 (13th September)
Catherine was told to move to Enfield which offered less comfortable accommodation.
1532 (7th October)
Henry and Anne Boleyn arrived in Dover where they would cross to Calais. While there the nun, Elizabeth Barton told Henry that an angel had told her to tell Henry that he needed to return to both the Pope and his wife or face a life of damnation. Henry ordered that the nun be watched.
1532 (10th October)
Henry and Anne accompanied by Henry Fitzroy, the duke of Suffolk, the duke of Norfolk and Thomas Cromwell as well as other members of the nobility crossed the Channel from Dover to Calais.
1532 (21st October)
Henry VIII rode out of Calais to meet with Francis II at Boulogne. He was accompanied by a retinue of 600 lords, gentlemen and soldiers.
1532 (25th October)
Francis II visited Henry at the Exchequer Palace in Calais. Anne was ordered to remain out of sight because Henry did not want her presence to affect the outcome of the summit meeting.
1532 (27th October)
A masked ball was held as part of the summit meeting between Henry and Francis II. Anne Boleyn was fed up with remaining out of sight and made a grand entrance. After unmasking she boldly led Francis to dance.
1532 (28th October)
Henry and Francis agreed a treaty that if the Turks attacked Europe then they would provide troops to protect Europe.
1532 (29th October)
Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond accompanied Francis back to Paris where he would finish his education in the French capital.
1532 (11th November)
Henry and Anne returned to England.
The nun, Elizabeth Barton again approached the King and told him that if he married Anne Boleyn then he would die within a month and the plague
would reach England within six months.
Richard Rich became Solicitor General
1533 (early January)
Anne Boleyn told Henry that she was pregnant. Henry knew that he had to marry Anne as soon as possible to ensure the child’s legitimacy. He decided to marry Anne secretly.
1533 (25th January)
Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn in the King’s chapel at Whitehall. Dr Rowland Lee, one of the royal chaplains, married the couple.
1533 (late January)
Although her marriage and pregnancy were still a secret, Anne told the court that she had a strong craving to eat apples and that Henry had suggested she were pregnant.
Henry ordered Catherine to move to Ampthill which was some distance from London.
1533 (24th February)
A great banquet was held at Whitehall and a very drunk Henry referred to Anne’s great dowry and rich marriage.
Act in Restraint of Appeals
This act, drafted by Thomas Cromwell, established that English law and the English King were subject to no foreign power. It was set before parliament.
1533 (30th March)
Thomas Cranmer was officially consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Spanish ambassador, Eustache Chapuys urged Charles to declare war on England in retaliation for Henry’s treatment of Catherine.
1533 (1st April)
Convocation declared by 14 votes to 7 that if Catherine’s first marriage had been consummated then her marriage to Henry was against God’s law.
1533 (3rd April)
A group of lawyers told Convocation that after considering all the evidence they were certain that Catherine’s first marriage to Arthur had been consummated.
1533 (5th April)
Convocation ruled that the Pope did not have the authority to issue a bull that set aside passages in the Bible and that no man should marry his brother’s wife.
1533 (7th April)
Act in Restraint of Appeals
After some amendments since it was first introduced, this Act now passed parliament and became law. The Act forbade all appeals to foreign tribunals in all spiritual, revenue and testament cases. Spiritual and secular jurisdiction was to be the ultimate responsibility of the King. The Pope now had no right to intervene in England.
1533 (8th April)
Henry VIII announced to his council that he had married Anne Boleyn and that she was pregnant with their first child.
1533 (9th April)
The Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk were sent to Ampthill to tell Catherine that Henry and Anne were married. She was told that as she was now no longer queen she must use the title Princess dowager of Wales. She was allowed to keep her property but her servants and household expenses would now be her responsibility. She was also told that if she submitted to the King’s will she would be generously provided for.
1533 (12th April)
Thomas Cranmer was formally authorised to pass judgement on the King’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
1533 (late April)
Reginald Pole, living in exile on the continent, spoke against Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn.
Act in Restraint of Annates
This act, first introduced in 1532, was now made law.
Anne Boleyn’s pregnancy became common knowledge.
1533 (7th May)
Chapuys, the Spanish ambassador, who continued to work to try to improve Catherine’s situation, was warned by the Privy Council not to meddle in English and the King’s affairs.
1533 (23rd May)
Thomas Cranmer declared that Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon was null and void on the grounds that it was contrary to divine laws. Bishop Fisher protested against the decision.
1533 (28th May)
Thomas Cranmer pronounced that Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn was legal.
1533 (29th May)
Lady Anne, Marquess of Pembroke was received by the Lords as Queen of England.
1533 (late May)
A deputation was sent to tell Princess Mary of the decision on her parents’ marriage. She was told that she should not communicate with her mother any more.
1533 (1st June)
Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen of England in St Peter’s Abbey, Westminster. She walked in procession from Westminster Hall to the Abbey but despite the fact that people lined the streets to watch there was no cheering for the new Queen.
1533 (25th June)
Henry’s sister, Mary Brandon, died aged 37 years.
Anne Boleyn went to Hampton Court to rest in preparation for the birth of her child in September.
1533 (4th July)
A deputation visited Catherine trying to persuade her to submit to the King’s wishes. However, Catherine steadfastly refused to deny the validity of her marriage to Henry.
1533 (late July)
Henry was furious with Catherine’s continual obstinacy and ordered her to move to the Bishop of Lincoln’s Palace at Buckden in Huntingdonshire.
Elizabeth Barton was brought before Cranmer where she confessed that she had fabricated her ‘prophecies’
1533 (mid August)
Henry VIII and Anne moved to Windsor and Anne took to her chamber to await the birth of her child.
1533 (7th September)
Birth of Elizabeth
– Anne Boleyn gave birth to a baby girl with red hair and her mother’s features. Henry was disappointed that the child was a girl and blamed both God and Anne for denying him a son.
1533 (after 7th September)
Henry and Anne quarrelled when Anne expressed a wish to breastfeed her child herself. Henry forbade this and employed a wet nurse for the child.
1533 (10th September)
Princess Elizabeth was christened and confirmed by the Bishop of London in the church of Franciscan Friars at Greenwich. Her godparents were the dowager duchess of Norfolk, the dowager marchioness of Dorset and Thomas Cranmer.
1533 (mid September)
Mary was told that she would no longer be referred to as Princess. Her household was to be disbanded.
1533 (28th November)
Henry Fitzroy married Mary Howard, daughter of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk.
Princess Elizabeth was assigned her own household at Hatfield Place. Lady Margaret Bryan, Anne’s aunt was appointed lady governess at the head of an army of nursemaids, laundresses, officials and servants. Mary was sent, against her will, to be maid of honour to the baby Princess.
Anne Boleyn announced her second pregnancy.
The Act in Absolute Restraint of Appeals
This act put into effect the terms of the Act of 1532 and transferred all payments from the Pope to the King.
Act Against Peter’s Pence
This act was passed. It forbade the payment of Peter’s Pence (a sum of money which had been paid annually to Rome since the time of William I). The Act also prohibited the selling of papal dispensations in England.
Henry declared that Anne would be ‘regent and absolute governess of her children and kingdom’ if he were to die prematurely.
1534 (20th March)
Elizabeth Barton and many of her followers were found guilty of treason.
1534 (23rd March)
The Pope declared that the dispensation issued to allow Henry to marry Catherine of Aragon was legal and therefore his marriage to Catherine was lawful. He ordered Henry to leave Anne and return to Catherine.
1534 (24th March)
Act of Succession
This act was introduced to exclude Mary from the succession and settle it instead on the children born from the marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. The Act also registered the invalidity of Henry’s marriage to Catherine and imposed severe penalties on those who opposed Henry’s second marriage.
Oath of Succession
The Act of Succession also included a clause allowing Henry the power to extract an oath from any of his subjects regarding the provisions of the Act. Henry insisted that all his councillors were to take the oath and they would then supervise the taking of the oath by their officers who would then ensure that all householders took the oath. This system meant that all men, women and children over the age of fourteen would swear to uphold the succession of the children of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Refusing to swear the Act would be an act of treason.
Act Concerning Submission of the Clergy
This Act was passed which made the terms of the Submission of the Clergy (1532) a valid statute. It also ratified the Act in Restraint of Appeals (1533) and stated that appeals from Archbishops should now be directed to Chancery.
Mary was taken ill, probably due to the stress she had been under. She requested permission to visit her mother but this was denied by Henry.
Thomas Cromwell was appointed King’s Secretary.
1534 (early April)
Catherine refused to swear the Oath of Succession.
1534 (13th April)
Both John Fisher and Thomas More refused to swear the Oath of Succession.
1534 (17th April)
John Fisher and Thomas More were taken to the Tower of London for refusing to swear the Oath of Succession. Both men were questioned by Richard Rich. Fisher was tricked into stating his allegiance to the Pope but Thomas More was careful to keep his answers neutral. Both men were tried for treason and found guilty.
1534 (20th April)
Elizabeth Barton and four of her supporters were executed at Tyburn.
1534 (late Spring)
Henry VIII ordered that all Parish Priests erase all references to the Pope from Prayer Books. All preachers were told that their parishioners must be left in no doubt that the King and only the King was Head of the Church.
Catherine moved to Kimbolton Castle where her apartments were more comfortable than those of Buckden. From her window she could look across the rooftops to the country beyond. She also had her own chapel behind which was a small walled garden where she could walk on fine days.. She was attended to by two of Henry’s loyal subjects, Sir Edmund Bedingfield and Sir Edward Chamberlain. They were told that Catherine was to receive no visitors unless they held a special licence from the King.
1534 (7th June)
Mary wrote to Henry formally protesting at the withdrawal of her title of Princess and the declaration of her illegitimacy. She told him that she would refuse all offers of marriage and that she would not enter a convent without her mother’s consent.
Anne was delivered of a stillborn child. Henry who did not want to lose face ordered the details be kept secret.
The Earl of Kildare cast off Ireland’s allegiance to England and declared Ireland for the Pope.
The small order of Friars Observant was closed and their seven houses acquired by the crown. Father Forrest from the Greenwich Friars Observant was sent to the Tower of London. It was suggested to Henry that it might be a good idea to close all the monasteries and divert their wealth to the crown.
Catherine’s health was deteriorating. Lady Willoughby, Catherine’s friend begged permission to visit her friend but this was denied.
1534 (26th September)
Pope Clement VII died.
William Skeffington and William Brereton were sent to Ireland with Leonard Grey at the head of an English army to stop opposition to English rule.
1534 (3rd November)
Act of Supremacy
This act declared England as a sovereign state with the King as the head of both the country and the church. The Act gave the monarch the power over all areas that had previously been the province of the clergy and ecclesiastical courts. It also meant that his injunctions would be binding on the clergy and that he had the power to define faith in parliament. All heresy cases would now be prosecuted by special commissions. The King would also now appoint men of his choosing to ecclesiastical posts.
This act made it a treasonable offence to deny any of the King’s titles. It stated that any malicious wish, will or desire to deprive the King or Queen of title or name of their royal estates was to be deemed treason. Slanderous publication of writing or words uttered describing the King as heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel or usurper would also be deemed treason.
1534 (late November)
A bill of attainder was passed against Thomas More under the terms of the Treason Act for refusing to take the Oath of Succession. His property and goods were to be forfeited to the King.
Mary’s former tutor, Richard Featherstone, was sent to the Tower for refusing to swear the Oath of Succession.
It was suggested that since England had broken with the Pope and the monasteries owed allegiance to the Pope they should be closed and their wealth taken by the crown. It was decided that monasteries should be visited and found guilty of mismanagement and immoral living in order to give a good reason for their closure.
1535 (21st January)
Thomas Cromwell was made Vicar General Vice Regent in Spirituals. This post gave him the power to visit all monasteries in England.
1535 (early February)
Mary was taken ill again. She was still denied permission to visit her mother.
Henry had an affair with Madge Shelton, Anne Boleyn’s cousin.
In Ireland the Earl of Kildare surrendered to Leonard Grey.
1535 (mid March)
Anne Boleyn declared she was pregnant.
Chapuys the Spanish ambassador tried to effect an escape from England for Catherine and Mary.
1535 (29th April)
A number of Carthusian monks were found guilty of treason for denying the King’s supremacy. They were sentenced to a traitor’s death.
1535 (10th May)
Chapuys abandoned his escape plan for Catherine and Mary when it was feared that if the plans were discovered the pair would be executed.
1535 (17th June)
John Fisher was found guilty of high treason under the terms of the Treasons Act. He was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered but the sentenced was commuted to beheading by Henry.
1535 (22nd June)
John Fisher, aged 76 years, was beheaded on Tower Hill. Fisher was the first bishop to be executed since Thomas Becket
in 1170 and the people were deeply shocked.
1535 (late June)
Anne Boleyn was prematurely delivered of a stillborn child. Henry again kept the news secret because he was worried that people would say it was God’s revenge for the murder of Fisher.
1535 (1st July)
Thomas More was tried for treason. He was tried by eighteen judges including Cromwell, Audeley, Norfolk, Thomas Boleyn, George Boleyn and Charles Brandon. More conducted his own defence but was found guilty and sentenced to death.
1535 (5th July)
King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn left London for a Summer Progress to the West Country.
1535 (6th July)
Thomas More was executed by beheading. He made a short speech asking people to pray for him and saying that he died the King’s good servant but God’s first.
1535 (July and August)
Royal Commissioners were visiting many religious establishments. Monks were encouraged to leave the monasteries before they were closed.
Catherine’s former confessor John Forrest was found guilty of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment.
1535 (late Summer)
The situation in England was attracting widespread condemnation from Catholic countries and there were fears of a Catholic invasion.
1535 (4th September)
The Royal Progress visited Wulfhall in Wiltshire, the family home of the Seymour family.
Statutes were passed granting Henry the lands of his defeated enemies in Ireland. Further statutes were passed that made the Irish way of living illegal. All inhabitants of Ireland were told to learn English and wear English clothes.
A Bad harvest meant that food prices rose and people faced a hard winter. The poor harvest was blamed on Henry’s marriage to Anne and the execution of Bishops and monks.
1535 (26th October)
Henry and Anne returned to Windsor Castle
1535 (late October)
The first complete Bible written in English was published. It was written by Miles Coverdale and dedicated to Henry and Anne. Henry approved the Bible and decreed that it should be circulated among the people.
Henry was openly courting Jane Seymour.
1535 (late November)
Anne discovered that she was pregnant again. She was aware that everything depended on the outcome of this pregnancy.
1535 (1st December)
Catherine was taken ill complaining of chest pains. She was unable to eat and was confined to her bed.
1535 (30th December)
Henry VIII gave permission for Chapuys to visit Catherine who was not thought to be dying. Mary was still refused permission to visit her mother.
Act of Union
This act unified England and Wales and divided the Welsh Marches into 7 shires. Each shire was required to send one knight to Parliament. Welsh officials were to speak English and all court business was to be undertaken in English.
See of Rome Act
This act against the Pope’s authority removed the last traces of papal power in England.
Act for Punishment of Sturdy Vagabonds and Beggars
This act set out appropriate measures for those who were deemed capable of working but refused to do so. Children aged between 5 and 14 who refused to work for their masters were to be whipped. Adult beggars who refused to work would be whipped for a first offence and lose part of their ear for a second offence.
Henry created Lord Leonard Grey Deputy of Ireland
1536 (2nd January)
The Spanish ambassador visited Catherine of Aragon at Kimbolton Castle.
1536 (5th January)
Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby forced her way into Kimbolton Castle to see Catherine.
1536 (7th January)
Catherine of Aragon died. It was commonly believed that Anne Boleyn had slowly poisoned her to death. Nowadays it is believed that she died from cancer.
1536 (mid January)
Mary was taken very ill and it was commonly believed that she was being poisoned by Anne Boleyn.
1536 (24th January)
Henry VIII fell from his horse during a joust and was unconscious for two hours. The fall caused a head injury that left him more bad tempered than before and also opened up an old wound on his leg that would cause him problems for the rest of his life.
1536 (29th January)
Catherine of Aragon was buried in Peterborough Abbey following a funeral service delivered by the Bishop of Rochester.
1536 (29th January)
Anne Boleyn miscarried of a son four months into her pregnancy. She blamed the miscarriage on concern following Henry’s fall and Henry’s interest in Jane Seymour.
Henry believed that the miscarriage of a son was God’s way of declaring that his marriage to Anne Boleyn was unlawful either because of her earlier pre-contract to James Butler or because of Henry’s affair with Anne’s sister, Mary Boleyn. He decided that he needed to find a way out of his marriage to Anne.
Rise of the Seymours
1536 (3rd March)
Jane Seymour’s brother, Edward, was appointed a Gentleman of the King’s Privy Chamber.
1536 (11th March)
Closure of the Monasteries
A bill was presented to Parliament that authorised the closure of all monasteries with a revenue of less than £200 per year.
Thomas Cromwell was collecting evidence against Anne Boleyn. During the course of his investigations he heard that some members of Anne’s court were admitted to her chamber at late hours. Those named were George Boleyn, Henry Norris
, Francis Weston, William Brereton and Mark Smeaton
. Cromwell used this information to construct a case that Anne had committed adultery with all five men and that they had plotted to murder the King. The information was passed to Henry.
Jane Seymour was sent home to Wulfhall. Henry did not want her at court while a case was being made against Anne Boleyn.
1536 (24th April)
Henry VIII signed a document authorising commissioners to enquire into any kind of treason committed by Anne Boleyn.
1536 (29th April)
Cromwell presented Henry with a list of charges against Anne Boleyn. Henry was furious and ordered the arrest of all those concerned including the Queen.
1536 (30th April)
Mark Smeaton was arrested and taken to Cromwell’s house for questioning.
1536 (1st May)
Anne Boleyn was watching the May Day joust with Henry she noticed that Henry was in a very bad mood and did not speak to her. Both Henry Norris and George Boleyn were taking part in the joust. At the end of the joust Henry publicly accused Henry Norris of committing adultery with the Queen and ordered his immediate arrest.
1536 (2nd May)
Henry Norris and George Boleyn were taken to the Tower of London. Anne Boleyn was also arrested and taken by barge to the Tower.
1536 (4th May)
Jane Seymour took up residence at Beddington Park in Surrey so that Henry could visit her in secret.
1536 (4th May)
Francis Weston and William Brereton were arrested and taken to the Tower of London on suspicion of treason.
1536 (5th May)
Thomas Wyatt and Richard Page were arrested on suspicion of committing adultery with the Queen. However they were later released. Cromwell reasoned that if two men were allowed to go free then the others accused would seem more guilty.
1536 (6th May)
Henry moved to Hampton Court and began making preparations for his marriage to Jane Seymour.
1536 (10th May)
Anne Boleyn was indicted before a grand jury for treason. She was charged with having committed adultery with Norris, Weston, Brereton, Smeaton and her brother George. She was also charged with plotting to murder the King and making fun of him in public.
1536 (12th May)
The trial of those accused of committing adultery with the Queen took place. The Duke of Norfolk presided over the trial which found all men guilty. They were sentenced to death.
1536 (15th May)
Anne Boleyn was tried by 26 peers of the realm including her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, who presided over the trial. Although Anne argued her innocence she was found guilty and sentenced to die by burning or beheading whichever the King chose.
1536 (17th May)
Anne Boleyn was able to watch the executions of those accused with her from her rooms in the Tower. She was also told that she would be executed by beheading the following day.
1536 (18th May)
Anne Boleyn was told that her execution was postponed until the following day because the executioner had not arrived from France. Henry wanted her death to be as quick as possible and had sent to St Omer for a headsman who was known for his skill in severing heads with a sword.
1536 (18th May)
Thomas Cranmer sat at Lambeth Palace to judge the validity of Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. He found that the marriage was null and void due to Henry’s earlier affair with Mary Boleyn.
1536 (19th May)
Anne Boleyn was executed by beheading with a single stroke of the sword. She was buried in the choir of the royal chapel of St Peter ad Vincula.
1536 (20th May)
Henry VIII was formally betrothed to Jane Seymour at Hampton Court.
1536 (20th May)
Elizabeth was taken from Greenwich to Hatfield House where she was to be cared for by Lady Margaret Bryan.
1536 (26th May)
Mary was told that if she would take the Oath of Supremacy then she would be welcomed back to court.
1536 (30th May)
Henry VIII married Jane Seymour in the Queen’s Closet at Whitehall.
1536 (4th June)
Jane Seymour was proclaimed Queen of England at a ceremony at Greenwich.
1536 (7th June)
Queen Jane made her official state entry into London accompanied by Henry. Crowds of people lined the streets and many cheered as she went past.
1536 (8th June)
Act of Suppression
Using information gathered in his surveys, Cromwell persuaded Parliament to pass this act first introduced earlier in the year. All monasteries worth less than £200 per year were to be closed and their properties be placed at the King’s disposal. All displaced abbots and abbesses were to receive a pension and monks and nuns could either take up residence in larger houses or renounce their vows and join the outside world.
1536 (mid June)
Mary reluctantly signed papers acknowledging her father’s supremacy and the invalidity of her mother’s marriage. She was assured by Chapuys that the Pope would forgive her actions because she had been forced to sign the papers.
Act of Succession
This act cancelled the two previous acts of succession and registered the invalidity of Henry’s first two marriages. Elizabeth was now given the same status as Mary and the succession was settled on the children of Henry and Jane Seymour.
Mary joined the court in London.
These were a series of articles introduced by Cromwell to improve the conduct of the clergy and the worship of the people. The articles included stipulations that sermons should be preached at stated periods against the usurpation of Rome, that relics were not to be exhibited for gain, that a good home life was preferable to pilgrimage, that children were to learn the Lord’s Prayer, the Holy Creed and the Ten Commandments in English.
1536 (21st July)
Mary visited Elizabeth at Hatfield House.
1536 (22nd July)
Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, died from tuberculosis. He was 17 years old.
Henry began to be concerned that Jane Seymour was not yet pregnant.
The court moved to Windsor to escape an outbreak of the plague.
The Pope announced that Reginald Pole was to be made a cardinal to fill the vacancy left by Fisher’s death. Reginald Pole, who had been outspoken about Henry’s treatment of Catherine, accepted the post even though he would be guilty of treason by doing so.
The closure of the monasteries and the Ten Articles were not well received by the common people. The monasteries had provided food, shelter and a basic education for the people as well as a place for travellers to stay. Many traditional religious festivals were now forbidden and people were angry though they blamed Cromwell rather than the King for this.
1536 (1st October)
Pilgrimage of Grace
This rebellion against the closure of the monasteries began in Louth where people were concerned by the news that commissioners would be arriving to investigate their church.
1536 (2nd October)
Pilgrimage of Grace
After burning the commissioners books at Louth around 30,000 protesters set out from Louth and marched towards Lincoln. A list of grievances was sent to the King.
1536 (5th October)
Pilgrimage of Grace
The protesters, now numbered about 50,000 camped at Hambleton Hill. However, armed forces were marching to break up the protest.
1536 (12th October)
A proclamation from the King arrived in Lincolnshire ordering the rebels to disband. Since news had reached the rebels that armed forces were on their way many went home fearful of reprisals.
1536 (13th October)
Pilgrimage of Grace
A large group of Yorkshiremen gathered at Wighton Hill under the leadership of Robert Aske.
1536 (14th October)
Pilgrimage of Grace
Robert Aske and his followers marched on Hull.
1536 (17th October)
Pilgrimage of Grace
A new set of grievances with more emphasis on religious grievances was written by Aske and sent to the King.
1536 (21st October)
Pilgrimage of Grace
Lord d’Arcy of Templehurst supported Aske and surrendered Pontefract. Archbishop Lee also joined Aske.
1536 (24th October)
Pilgrimage of Grace
Robert Aske stood at the head of around 30,000 protestors in Doncaster.
1536 (27th October)
Pilgrimage of Grace
the Duke of Norfolk lacked the resources to to deal with the Aske’s large force. He therefore decided to attempt a peaceful solution and met Aske for talks on Doncaster Bridge. Norfolk agreed to take Aske’s grievances to the King provided that a truce would be called and Aske’s army disbanded.
1536 (29th October)
Pilgrimage of Grace
the Duke of Norfolk wrote to Henry to explain his actions.
1536 (late October)
Jane Seymour begged Henry to restore some of the monasteries saying that the riot may have been allowed by God as a punishment for the deliberate desecration of so many churches. Henry was furious and ordered Jane to occupy her mind with other things.
1536 (2nd November)
Pilgrimage of Grace
Henry received the Duke of Norfolk and the list of grievances he brought from Aske.
1536 (17th November)
Pilgrimage of Grace
Henry sent an envoy to Yorkshire to invite Aske and 300 ‘pilgrims’ to meet Norfolk at Doncaster for further discussions.
1536 (21st November)
Pilgrimage of Grace
the rebels refused Henry’s offer to meet with Norfolk at Doncaster until a general pardon had been issued.
1536 (6th December)
Pilgrimage of Grace
The rebels were offered, on the King’s behalf a general pardon if they would put down their weapons and disperse. Aske was summoned to court and issued with a safe pass which was valid to 5th January 1537.
1536 (8th December)
Pilgrimage of Grace
Robert Aske persuaded the rebels to disperse saying that they had won and that the King would respond to their demands when he met him at court.
1536 (17th December)
Princess Mary arrived at Windsor for the Christmas festivities.
1536 (21st December)
Jane Seymour’s father died at Wulfhall.
1536 (22nd December)
Reginald Pole was created a Cardinal in Rome.
1536 (22nd December)
The river Thames was frozen and so Henry, Jane and Mary rode through the streets of London to Greenwich. The people turned out to see the royal party.
Pilgrimage of Grace
Robert Aske was present at court and spoke with the King. Henry told him that he would visit Yorkshire in the summer and hold a parliament to pass any legislation necessary to satisfy their demands. However, Henry had other ideas.
Robert Aske realised that Henry was playing for time and recalled his men believing that there would be further confrontation. Henry told Norfolk “you shall cause such dreadful execution to be done upon a good number of the inhabitants of every town, village, and hamlet that have offended, as they may be a fearful spectacle to all others hereafter that would practice any like matter.”
The Duke of Norfolk raised the King’s banner in Carlisle and declared that area subject to martial law. All loyal subjects were told to wear the King’s uniform of a red cross on a white background.
Norfolk presided over a Great Assize and sentenced around 50 mostly monks and priors to be executed. Due to the large number of nobles that had taken part in the uprising it was deemed counter productive to execute them all so they were divided into those to be executed and those to be pardoned. Those to be pardoned included Archbishop Lee, Lord Scrope, Lord Latimer and Robert Bowes while those to be executed included Lord D’Arcy, Robert Aske and Hugh Bigod.
Jane Seymour announced that she was pregnant and that she believed the baby would be born in the middle of October.
1537 (10th April)
Cardinal Reginald Pole was visiting Francis II. Henry VIII wrote to Francis asking him to extradite the Cardinal to England where he was to be tried for treason. Francis did not want to offend Henry but also could not morally send a Cardinal to his death so he asked Pole to leave France.
Robert Aske was found guilty of treason.
1537 (27th May)
Celebrations were held to mark the fact that Jane had felt her child move in her womb.
1537 (early June)
An outbreak of plague in London meant that the court moved to Windsor. Henry was anxious to keep Jane away from any illness.
Henry was in constant pain from his legs. He had ulcers on both legs which worsened when he refused to rest. Henry also ate too much and was becoming fat.
Despite protestations that he had been pardoned by the King, Robert Aske was chained to a scaffold and left to die from exposure and starvation.
An English Bible was published which was known as Matthew’s Bible. It comprised Tynedale’s New Testament without marginal notes and the Old Testament which was basically a re-issue of Coverdale’s Bible. The Bible was placed in all churches throughout the land.
1537 (early September)
The Court moved to Hampton Court to await the birth of Jane’s baby.
1537 (8th October)
Henry’s niece, Frances Brandon
, gave birth to a baby girl. She was named Jane Grey.
1537 (12th October)
After a very difficult labour Jane was delivered of a baby boy. Henry was overjoyed and named the child Edward
and created him Duke of Cornwall. Heralds were despached to every part of the country with the news.
1537 (15th October)
Prince Edward was christened at midnight at Hampton Court. His godparents were the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Cranmer and Lady Mary.
1537 (16th October)
Jane was taken ill with diarrhoea and sickness.
1537 (24th October)
Jane died. It is thought that she died from puerperal fever which was a common cause of death after pregnancy and is caused by lack of antiseptic conditions.
1537 (25th October)
Jane’s body was embalmed and dressed in gold tissue. A golden crown was placed on her head. Her body was taken to the presence chamber of Hampton Court where it lay in state.
1537 (2nd November)
Jane’s body was taken to the Chapel Royal at Windsor where it continued to lay in state.
1537 (8th November)
Jane’s coffin was carried to St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle for the funeral service. As was the custom Henry did not attend the funeral so Lady Mary was chief mourner. After the service her body continued to lay in state.
1537 (12th October)
Queen Jane’s body was laid to rest in a vault before the high altar of St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The Bells of London tolled for six hours to mark the event. Henry declared that it was his wish to be buried next to Jane.
1537 (late November)
Mary left court for Hunsdon where she was to take charge of Elizabeth’s household. Lady Margaret Bryan was transferred to Prince Edward’s household.
Commissioners were sent to take voluntary surrender of more monasteries. Anyone suspected of opposing the King was charged with treason and hanged.
Any remaining monasteries were now closed.
Henry began to consider remarrying and considered Mary of Guise
and Christina of Milan. Francis refused any marriage between Mary of Guise and Henry since Mary was promised to James V of Scotland.
King Henry visited Edward at Havering.
A Protestant deputation from Germany arrived in England and during talks Cromwell realised that it would be good for the country to make an alliance with a Protestant country. The ambassadors mentioned that the Duke of Cleves
had two daughters of marriageable age.
1538 (22nd May)
John Forrest who had been Catherine’s confessor, refused to shake off his allegiance to Rome. He was executed.
The nobility were split over church reform: the Conservative faction headed by Stephen Gardiner wanted the church protected from radical reform while the Radical faction hoped that the Break with Rome would lead to acceptance of a more Lutheran doctrine.
Prince Edward was brought to Hampton Court.
Henry was in constant pain with his legs, however he continued to eat large hearty meals and was becoming more and more obese.
Henry learned that Reginald Pole was working against him and ordered that all members of the Pole family and their supporters be arrested.
1538 (29th August)
Geoffrey Pole was arrested and charged with conspiring to help Reginald Pole escape from England. He was also forced into giving evidence against his mother the Countess of Salisbury and his brother Henry Lord Montague as well as Sir Edward Neville.
Henry VIII ordered that the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury be destroyed and that celebration of the Saint’s feast day be prohibited.
1538 (7th October)
Christina of Milan received Henry’s proposal of marriage but turned him down saying that he rid himself of Queens so quickly that he could not be trusted.
1538 (4th December)
The Pole family were charged with treason and tried for aiding Reginald Pole who was an ally of the King’s enemy, the Pope. Geoffrey Pole pleaded guilty to the charge.
Geoffrey Pole was pardoned and released but his brother Henry, Lord Montague and his cousin Lord Exeter were executed. Geoffrey’s mother was kept in the Tower of London.
The execution of members of the Pole family were received around Europe with shock. The threat of a Catholic invasion of England was greater than ever and Henry needed a Protestant ally so it made sense for him to reconsider a German marriage.
Reginald Pole visited Charles V and urged him to mount an invasion of England in defence of the Catholic faith. However, Charles refused. Charles also refused the request from Henry that Reginald Pole be extradited to England to face charges of treason.
A document known as the Device by the King named commissioners who were appointed to visit eighteen coastal counties to discover those that were most at risk of invasion and draw up plans for their fortification.
Nicholas Wotten and Robert Barnes were sent to Germany as ambassadors to report on the suitability of the Cleves’ girls to be Henry’s next wife. The girls’ brother, William was anxious for the marriage but kept the girls heavily covered so that the ambassadors could not see what they looked like.
All men over the age of seventeen living outside London with no seafaring experience were called upon to undergo military training.
An Act of Attainder was passed against all supporters of the White Rose of York, namely the Poles, Nevilles and Askes. The passing of the act meant that the properties and possessions of those named were forfeit to the King.
1539 (early April)
Reports reached England that a large force was ready to attack England. 150 English ships were prepared for battle and stationed between The Thames and Portsmouth.
1539 (7th April)
A large fleet of around 50 foreign warships appeared off the coast of Margate. The defence of Kent was put on standby.
1539 (22nd April)
The foreign ships mustered off Margate sailed along the Channel and it soon became apparent that they were bound for the Mediterranean Sea.
1539 (23rd April)
Henry VIII shipped a large consignment of gunpowder from Germany to England.
1539 (8th May)
As a warning to any foreign aggressor the armed forces of London, some 16,000 men, were paraded in a Grand Review.
1539 (16th May)
Statute of Six Articles
This statute was forced through a reluctant parliament and listed six cardinal doctrines of Catholic belief which Henry wished to preserve in the English church:
1. Transubstantiation was not to be denied
2. There was to be communion of one kind for the laity
3. Members of the clergy were to remain celibate
4. Religious vows were to be permanent
5. Private masses were to be made available
6. Auricular confession was to be used
Those refusing to comply with the new doctrine would face loss of property and liberty for a first offence and death for a second.
The passing of the Six Articles was a triumph for the Conservative faction and a blow for those who had hoped to see more radical church reform.
1539 (late May)
Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, sent his wife and children abroad for their safety.
At considerable expense castles were built all around the coast of England. This proved to be a major deterrent to those considering invading England.
Lady Elizabeth began her education.
1539 (23rd September)
A German embassy arrived in London to conclude the marriage alliance. Henry had chosen Anne of Cleves to be his fourth wife after seeing Holbein’s flattering portrait of her.
It was agreed that Anne of Cleves should travel to England by sea from Gelderland so as to avoid travelling through any lands belonging to Francis II or Charles V. However, after further discussion it was decided that a long sea journey in Winter would be more hazardous than travelling through foreign lands.
1539 (4th October)
The treaty for the marriage of Henry VIII of England and Anne of Cleves was concluded and signed at Hampton Court.
1539 (early November)
Anne of Cleves left Dusseldorf and began her journey to England. She travelled with 263 attendants and 228 horses.
the Duke of Norfolk and Thomas Cranmer were sent to Canterbury to be ready to welcome Anne of Cleves when she reached England. The Lord High Admiral, William Fitzwilliam and the Duke of Suffolk were sent to Calais to escort Anne across the Channel.
1539 (11th December)
Anne of Cleves and her retinue reached Calais. She was given a splendid reception and given a tour of the town.
1539 (mid December)
Philip of Bavaria, a Lutheran and the son of the Elector of the Palatine, came to England. He offered Henry military service and asked for the hand of the Lady Mary.
The arrival of Anne of Cleves in England was delayed by bad weather which prevented her from sailing across the Channel.
1539 (26th December)
After a difficult sea crossing Anne of Cleves landed at Deal in Kent.
1539 (26th December)
Philip of Bavaria and Lady Mary met for the first time. Mary admitted that she was not keen to marry a Lutheran but that she would comply with her father’s wishes.
1539 (29th December)
Anne of Cleves was welcomed at Canterbury by Thomas Cranmer.
1539 (late December)
Negotiations for a marriage between Philip of Bavaria and Lady Mary broke down and Philip returned home.
1539 (31st December
Anne of Cleves reached Rochester where she was met by Lady Browne who was in charge of her ladies. Lady Browne was concerned that Anne was not Henry’s type. She was not as beautiful or as young as her portrait had suggested. She was also rather large and loud.
1540 (1st January)
Henry VIII decided to pay his new bride a surprise visit and, armed with a New Year’s gift, rode to Rochester. However when he saw her he was so horrified that he left the gift with Sir Anthony Browne and rode back to London.
1540 (2nd January)
Henry told Cromwell that he was not at all pleased with his new bride and postponed the wedding from the 4th to 6th January. He wanted to use the time to find a loophole in the marriage contract that would allow him to get out of the marriage. Henry knew that he dare not offend Germany and when no loophole could be found he resigned himself to the marriage.
1540 (3rd January)
Anne of Cleves made her official entry into London. A banquet was held at Greenwich to celebrate the event.
1540 (6th January)
Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves in the Chapel Royal at Greenwich Palace. The ceremony was performed by Archbishop Cranmer. After changing their clothes the married couple attended a sumptuous banquet after which the couple were officially put to bed. However, Henry was unable to consummate his marriage.
Lady Lisle’s daughter, Anne Bassett, complained that she was unable to take up her position in the Queen’s household due to the large numbers of Germans still in the house. Shortly afterwards many of Anne’s German attendants were sent home.
King Henry VIII told the privy council that his conscience would not allow him to consummate his present marriage because there had been a pre-contract between Anne and the Duke of Lorraine.
With the failure of the marriage set up by Cromwell, the Catholic, Conservative faction headed by Norfolk and Gardiner set about over-throwing Cromwell. They arranged for Henry to meet the Duke of Norfolk’s young niece, Kathryn Howard
, aged fifteen hoping that if she found favour with the King it would help advance their faction. After Henry met Kathryn she was often at court. The Conservative faction worked towards effecting Cromwell’s downfall.
All religious houses were now closed. Some survived as cathedrals while new cathedrals were built on the sites of other monasteries. All displaced monks and nuns were paid a pension for life but as the pension did not rise with inflation most were very poor within a few years.
1540 (Late April)
Henry was far more taken with the petite, attractive, young Kathryn Howard than with his wife. He made grants of land to the Howard family.
1540 (late Spring)
Henry and Anne of Cleves continued to share a bed although the marriage remained unconsummated. Anne, though, was so naive that she had not realised there was a problem. When she did realise she became concerned for her fate.
1540 (10th June)
A Bill of Attainder was drawn up against Cromwell. The bill relied largely on the evidence of Richard Rich. Cromwell was arrested in the King’s name by Norfolk and taken to the Tower of London.
1540 (19th June)
The Bill of Attainder passed the House of Commons.
1540 (24th June)
King Henry sent Anne of Cleves to the old Palace at Richmond saying that the country air would be better for her because there was an outbreak of the plague in London.
1540 (late June)
Kathryn Howard had been installed in Lambeth Palace and was openly visited by the King.
1540 (late June)
Cromwell wrote to Henry appealing for clemency. He hoped the King would remember how well he had served him in the past and spare his life.
An act was passed which removed death as a penalty for offences against the Six Articles. However, denial of transubstantiation would still be punishable by death.
1540 (6th July)
A commission was issued that gave the English clergy the power to pass judgement on Henry VIII’s marriage. Anne of Cleves consented to a divorce.
1540 (8th July)
Henry’s fourth marriage was ruled invalid on the grounds of Anne’s pre-contract to the Duke of Lorraine, inadequate consent and non-consummation.
1540 (9th July)
Henry received official notification that his fourth marriage was invalid and that he was now free to re-marry. Anne was told of the decision by a deputation of the Privy Council. She was now to be called the King’s sister and would receive an annual income of £4,000. She was also given the manors of Bletchingly and Richmond for her own use.
1540 (11th July)
Anne of Cleves wrote to Henry formally acknowledging the dissolution of their marriage.
1540 (28th July)
King Henry VIII married Kathryn Howard at the Palace of Oatlands. The ceremony was performed by Bishop Bonner of London.
1540 (28th July)
Thomas Cromwell was executed by beheading in front of a large crowd on Tower Hill.
1540 (late July)
Thomas Wriothesley was appointed Lord Chamberlain.
The wedding celebrations for Henry’s fifth marriage lasted most of the month and included hunting excursions, and banquets. Kathryn wore a new dress every day.
1540 (22nd August)
Henry and Kathryn left Windsor on a Summer progress.
Henry granted Kathryn all the lands and manors which had belonged to Jane Seymour.
1540 (22nd October)
The royal couple returned to Windsor Palace.
1540 (30th December)
The new Deputy of Ireland, Sir Anthony St Leger, advised Henry to put an end to papal pretensions in Ireland and assume the title King of Ireland.
1540 (31st December)
The South East Coast fortifications were completed by the end of the year.
1541 (mid February)
Henry was taken ill and it was feared that he was dying. His injured leg had got progressively worse over the years and he was now often chair-bound. This made him depressed and he spent long periods of time in his room.
1541 (early April)
Kathryn’s hopes that she might be pregnant were proved false.
1541 (late Spring)
News reached London of a Yorkshire uprising led by John Neville, a fervent Catholic who wished to depose the President of the North.
Concerned that the Yorkshire uprising would lead to a return to power of the Plantagenets, Henry ordered that the death sentence against Margaret Pole be carried out.
A royal proclamation was issued which ordered that Coverdale’s Great Bible of 1539 be made available to all people. The Catholic faction were hot happy because they felt that this Bible was too radical.
1541 (28th May)
The Countess of Salisbury, aged 68 years, was executed by beheading on Tower Hill. The executioner was young and inexperienced and took several blows to sever the head.
1541 (19th June)
The Irish parliament proclaimed Henry King of Ireland.
Henry VIII visited Yorkshire with Kathryn Howard and Lady Mary. He hoped that a royal visit to the area might help prevent further uprisings.
1541 (late July)
The leaders of the Yorkshire rising were executed.
1541 (27th August)
Francis Derehem was recommended by the Duchess of Norfolk for the post of Queen’s Private Secretary. Kathryn had known Derehem in the past and did not want to employ someone who was familiar with her earlier life. However, she knew that if she did not employ him then she would have to give an explanation which would mean divulging things about her early life that she would prefer kept private.
1541 (late August)
Kathryn sent a secret invitation to her former lover, Thomas Culpeper
, to meet her. Culpeper forgot to destroy the note.
Francis Derehem began to cause trouble for Kathryn. He knew he had a hold over her due to his having knowledge of her previous life. As a result he was over-familiar with her and took continual liberties which made other members of the household jealous.
1541 (9th September)
Henry and Kathryn had travelled to York to meet James V of Scotland. During the evening Kathryn met Thomas Culpeper in Lady Rochford’s chamber.
1541 (1st October)
James V had not shown up for the meeting with Henry VIII so Henry began the journey back to London.
1541 (early October)
John Lascelles told Cranmer that he knew things about the Queen that would affect her marriage. Cranmer was very interested especially since he wanted to see an end to the Catholic faction. Lascelles revealed that Kathryn had encouraged the advances of her music teacher, Henry Manox and that she had also had a secret relationship with Francis Derehem.
1541 (8th October)
Henry’s sister, Margaret, mother of James V of Scotland, died at Methuen castle in Scotland.
1541 (26th October)
Prince Edward was taken ill with a fever.
1541 (1st November)
Henry was informed of the details of Kathryn’s behaviour before her marriage. Henry was shocked and full of disbelief but ordered a full investigation.
1541 (5th November)
King Henry VIII was told that the allegations against the Queen were true and that she had been seeing Thomas Culpeper secretly while she was married. Henry took himself off to Oatlands Palace where he remained in seclusion.
Kathryn was told that she was to be charged with treason. She became hysterical and ran through the corridors of Hampton Court calling for the King. She was restrained by the King’s guards and confined to her apartments.
Lady Rochford also became hysterical when she was told that she would be charged with aiding and abetting the Queen to commit treason.
1541 (6th November)
Francis Derehem, Henry Manox and other members of the Duchess of Norfolk’s house were arrested and sent to the Tower.
1541 (7th November)
Kathryn was questioned by Cranmer. She admitted that Derehem had visited her during the night while she was in the Duchess of Norfolk’s household. During the questioning she also mentioned Thomas Culpeper’s name and he too was arrested. Culpeper’s apartments were searched and a letter from Kathryn was found.
1541 (11th November)
Kathryn was placed under house arrest at Syon Abbey and Lady Rochford was taken to the Tower of London to await questioning.
1541 (mid November)
Jane Rochford was questioned and readily gave evidence against the Queen hoping to save herself. She was found guilty of aiding and abetting the Queen to commit treason and was returned to the Tower of London.
1541 (28th November)
A proclamation was made from Hampton Court that Kathryn would no longer be Queen and that she was to be referred to as Kathryn Howard.
1541 (1st December)
Thomas Culpeper was tried for treason. Although he protested his innocence stating that although he was infatuated with the Queen and they had spent time together, the Queen had not committed adultery with him. He was found guilty on the grounds that his thoughts and actions towards the Queen amounted to treason.
Francis Derehem was charged with concealing the fact that there had been a relationship between himself and Kathryn Howard that amounted to a pre-contract.
Both men were found guilty of treason and sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered.
1541 (10th December)
Thomas Culpeper and Francis Derehem were executed. Culpeper, who was of high birth, had his sentence commuted to beheading. Both men’s heads were set on pikes on London Bridge.
1541 (mid December)
Members of the Howard family were arrested and sent to the Tower for encouraging Kathryn’s marriage to the King even though they were aware of Kathryn’s past.
1541 (22nd December)
Those members of the Howard family imprisoned in the Tower were charged with treason for having concealed the former behaviour of Kathryn. They were all sentenced to imprisonment and loss of goods. They would remain in prison for nine months before being released.
1542 (16th January)
An act was passed which made it a treasonable offence for any unchaste woman to marry the King. It went on to say that any unchaste woman marrying the King without admitting it would be executed.
1542 (16th January)
Kathryn Howard and Lady Rochford were formally accused of high treason.
1542 (25th January)
Katherine was invited by the Council to defend herself against the accusations made against her. However, she declined saying that she would put herself at the King’s mercy. She asked that she be allowed to die in private.
1542 (6th February)
A Bill of Attainder was drawn up against Kathryn Howard and Lady Rochford.
1542 (10th February)
Kathryn Howard was taken, by barge, to the Tower of London to await execution. She was told that her request to die in private had been granted. She asked for a block so that she could practice putting her head on it.
1542 (13th February)
Kathryn Howard and Lady Rochford were executed by beheading. Kathryn’s remains were buried in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincular.
1542 (28th June)
Henry celebrated his fiftieth birthday. He was now very obese with a waist measurement of 54 inches. He was also in continual pain from his ulcerated leg.
There were a series of French raids on English fishermen in the Channel. This led to a wave of anti-French feeling and Frenchmen were attacked in the streets.
Henry ordered his men to muster in the North in readiness for an attack on Scotland. A great show was made of the preparations to instil fear into the Scottish soldiers.
1542 (24th August)
A force led by Sir Robert Bowes crossed the Scottish border between Jedburgh and Kelso to raid Teviotdale. However, he was beaten back by a Scottish force of 2,000 and taken prisoner. Henry insisted that the Scots had been the aggressors.
1542 (early September)
James V of Scotland asked for peace negotiations with England to be re-opened. Scottish ambassadors were to meet English representatives in York on 18th September. The proposed invasion date was put back to 6th October.
1542 (18th September)
Peace talks between the English and Scottish began. The English asked for the return of Bowes and other English prisoners and for James to visit the English court. However, negotiations broke down when James refused to travel further south than York and Henry refused to travel North.
Henry offered Francis of France an alliance against Charles of Spain
1542 (22nd October)
English forces led by the Duke of Norfolk crossed the Scottish border at Berwick and burnt Roxborough, Kelso and many other small towns and villages.
1542 (24th October)
Battle of Solway Moss
Encouraged by Cardinal Beaton, James V led an army of 10,000 Scottish troops into England. Unfortunately the Scots were badly organised and were attacked just over the border with England by the English army of 3,000 men. The Scots found themselves fighting on boggy marshy ground at Solway Moss. The battle was a decisive victory for the English who captured a large number of Scottish noblemen.
1542 (8th December)
James V’s wife, Mary of Guise, gave birth to a daughter, Mary. James was disappointed that the child was not a boy.
1542 (14th December)
James V died at Falkland. His daughter, Mary Stuart, aged just six days was Queen of Scotland.
1542 (21st December)
Twenty of the most prominent Scottish noblemen captured at the Battle of Solway Moss were placed in the custody of English noblemen and were to live in their houses under house arrest.
1542 (late December)
Although the will of James V named a regency to govern until Mary came of age, James Hamilton, Earl of Arran who was second in line to the throne, seized the regency with the full backing of the Scottish Lairds.
1543 (1st January)
The Scottish noblemen taken prisoner at the Battle of Solway Moss were returned to Scotland. They were instructed to tell the regency that Henry, as nearest male kinsman to the young Queen of Scots, would not assert his claim to the overlordship of Scotland while there was a child on the throne. They were also to propose a match between the infant Queen and Prince Edward.
1543 (1st January)
Prince Edward, aged 5 years, performed his first public duty. He entertained the group of Scottish noblemen before they left for Scotland.
Sir Ralph Sadler was sent as English ambassador to Scotland. He was told to try to ensure that the Earl of Arran keep to a pro-English policy and see if he could persuade the Earl to send Mary to England. However, Francis had already sent French troops to bolster the pro-French faction in Scotland and as most of the Scottish Lairds were Catholic, Arran’s hold on the regency was already weakening.
1543 (11th February)
Henry reached an agreement with Charles. They agreed to make a series of demands on Francis with included:
giving up the French alliance with Turkey
repaying Charles for costs incurred during the war with Turkey
giving Boulogne to England as security for his debts to England
Francis was given ten days to agree to the terms. He was told that failure to do so would result in a joint declaration of war by England and Spain.
1543 (16th February)
Henry VIII made a gift of pleats and sleeves to Katherine Parr
whose husband was on his death bed.
1543 (2nd March)
Lord Latimer, Katherine Parr’s husband, died. Although she was now a wealthy independent woman, Katherine chose to remain at court where she would continue to see Sir Thomas Seymour
An act was passed that set out conditions regarding the Bible. In church, the Bible was only to be read by persons appointed by the King. At home, merchants and gentlemen were allowed to read to themselves and their families but all other women, prentices, serving men and persons of a base degree were not to read it at all.
1543 (4th April)
Henry wrote to the Earl of Arran proposing a match between Lady Elizabeth and the Earl of Arran’s son. One of the terms of the agreement would be that the Earl of Arran’s son would be sent to the English Court to be educated. Although Arran was tempted by the deal he declined fearing that his son might be held to ransom in England.
Henry had noticed the infatuation between Katherine Parr and Thomas Seymour. As he had already decided to make Katherine Parr his sixth wife he sent Thomas Seymour as permanent ambassador at the court of the regent of the Netherlands.
1543 (22nd June)
Francis had made no move towards meeting the demands set out by England and Spain, England declared war on France.
1543 (1st July)
Treaty of Greenwich
This treaty agreed a marriage between Mary Queen of Scots
and Prince Edward of England with Mary travelling to England when she was ten years old. A peace treaty between the two countries was also agreed.
1543 (early July)
Henry proposed to Katherine Parr who, although she wanted to marry Thomas Seymour, had little choice but to accept.
1543 (12th July)
King Henry VIII married Katherine Parr, a devout and committed Protestant, in the Queen’s Privy Chamber at Hampton Court. The King’s three children were present for the ceremony.
With Henry’s approval, Katherine wrote to her three step-children inviting them to court. She took full charge of their education and welfare and ensured that the nursery was staffed with Protestant humanists. At court the children had honourable positions at court.
1543 (12th October)
Prince Edward began his formal education. He was taught classics, theology, languages, mathematics, grammar and sciences as well as gentlemanly pursuits and sport.
The Catholic Cardinal Beaton regained power in Scotland and renewed the Auld Alliance with France. He repudiated the Treaty of Greenwich.
1543 (mid December)
Henry took the repudiation of the Treaty of Greenwich as a personal insult and ordered troops under Lord Hertford to attack Scotland.
1543 (mid December)
Katherine’s brother was created Earl of Essex and became a member of the Privy Council.
Henry VIII commissioned a painting of himself, his wife and three children but asked that his third wife, Jane Seymour be painted as his wife.
1543 (31st December)
It was agreed that England and Spain would jointly attack France in the new year.
Henry shocked the Council by announcing that he would personally lead the English army into France. They doubted that Henry would be able to lead the army due to his size and limited mobility.
1544 (late January)
Henry learned that the former pro English Scotsmen – Angus, Glencairn and Cassillis – had agreed to join with Cardinal Beaton against the English. He told Suffolk to be ready to invade Scotland in March.
1544 (7th February)
Act of Succession
This act stipulated that Edward was to succeed Henry to the throne with any children of his present marriage being next in line followed by Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth.
Fearing an English invasion, Mary Queen of Scots was taken to a remote abbey where she was to remain in hiding.
The English treasury was nearly empty so in an attempt to raise more money the coinage was debased. The value of gold and silver was increased while the purity of the coinage was reduced. This move enabled Henry to make a great profit on the sale of his plate and bullion.
1544 (3rd May)
Thomas Wriothesley became Chancellor.
1544 (7th May)
Hertford went on a raiding expedition into Scotland. He burnt Edinburgh, Holyrood HOuse and Leigh before returning to Berwick. The move united all the Scottish nobles against England.
1544 (late June)
1544 (7th July)
The Privy Council were told that Katherine was to be regent during the King’s absence in France. Her advisers were to be Cranmer, Wriothesley, Hertford, Dr Thirlby and William Petre.
1544 (13th July)
The King’s three children were among the guests attending a supper party in Hyde Park given by the King on the evening before he left for France.
1544 (14th July)
Henry and an army of 40,000 men crossed the Channel to Calais.
1544 (25th July)
The Council had hoped that Henry would remain in Calais but he left Calais in full armour riding a charger at the head of his army.
1544 (26th July)
The English army lay siege to Boulogne. Henry personally directed military operations from a building which had been especially erected to the North of the town.
1544 (early August)
Katherine and the royal children left London to avoid an outbreak of the plague. They stayed with the Countess of Rutland at Oakham.
Due to a shortage of funds, Charles withdrew his war commitment leaving Henry alone against the French.
1544 (13th September)
The English army took Boulogne.
1544 (18th September)
Charles and Francis made peace which left Henry isolated and without an ally.
1544 (30th September)
Henry returned to England triumphant.
The French campaign had given Henry renewed energy and he spent much of the season hunting.
Thomas Seymour completed his spell as ambassador to the Netherlands. Wanting to keep him as far away from Katherine as possible Henry appointed him Lord High Admiral.
1545 (3rd January)
Francis announced that he would invade in the Summer and re-take Boulogne.
1545 (12th January)
Instructions were issued to re-establish the beacon warning system. Beacons had been used for centuries as a way of warning of impending danger or invasion. The beacons were to be placed at three-mile intervals along the coast and comprised a barrel of pitch and tar with flax taper.
1545 (25th January)
The Warden of the Eastern Marches, Sir William Evers, led a raid into Teviotdale.
1545 (27th February)
A Scottish army defeated the English led by William Evers at Ancrum Moor near Jedburgh. Evers was killed and many English were taken prisoner.
Henry was taken ill with a fever. He was also in considerable pain from his leg. His mood, which was always bad when he was in pain, was worsened by reports that heresy and Lutherism were spreading throughout the country.
An order was issued calling for the persecution of heretics to be increased. Twenty-three people were arrested including Anne Askew, a twenty-three year old Protestant.
The long-serving Spanish ambassador, Eustache Chapuys, whose health had worsened, returned to Spain.
There was a shortage of food due to two bad harvests and the price of wheat had risen leaving people facing hardship and also hoping that the year’s harvest would be much better.
Francis put a number of plans in place to weaken the English:
He sent reinforcements to Scotland to help them fight of any English attack.
He continued to remain at peace with Charles to prevent him forming and alliance with England.
He placed the English town of Boulogne under siege using an army of 50,000 men
He assembled a fleet of 200 ships in the Channel ready to attack England.
1545 (late June)
The English managed to get a supply of provisions into the besieged town of Boulogne.
1545 (late June)
An English fleet commanded by John Dudley, Viscount Lisle,
was sent to meet the French fleet. It was approaching the river Seine when it was met by a superior French force and forced to retreat.
1545 (15th July)
Henry and the Privy Council travelled to Portsmouth to take full control of and any anti-invasion force necessary.
1545 (16th July)
The French fleet, commanded by Admiral Claude d’Annebault, left France and sailed towards Portsmouth.
1545 (18th July)
Henry and the new Spanish ambassador dined aboard the Great Harry. During the evening the French fleet appeared off the Isle of Wight and dropped anchor just outside Bembridge and Ryde.
1545 (19th July)
Battle of the Solent, Mary Rose Disaster
An English fleet which included Henry’s two great ships, the Great Harry and the Mary Rose – left Portsmouth to meet the French. George Carew was in command of the Mary Rose. The King and the court had assembled to watch the ships leave the harbour. The Mary Rose made a sharp turn and in full view of the royal party turned on its side and sank. Only 35 men survived the disaster. Meanwhile, the English ships were able to beat the French back.
1545 (19th – 22nd July)
Having failed to take the Solent and Portsmouth, the French invaded the Isle of Wight. They managed to take some areas but were beaten back in Sandown. The French abandoned the invasion on 21st July.
1545 (25th July)
The French fleet appeared off the coast of Seaford in Sussex and raided and burnt the town. The beacons were lit and Englishmen quickly mobilised and beat the French back.
1545 (28th July)
The French force left English waters.
Chancellor Wriothesley informed the Council that the invasion of France had cost £1.3 million. He stated that since only £300,000 had been raised by taxation then royal land and plate would have to be sold to meet costs.
1545 (1st August)
King Henry left Portsmouth to avoid an outbreak of the plague.
1545 (3rd August)
A group of Italians were contracted to raise the Mary Rose but were unable to raise the ship.
1545 (15th August)
Battle of Shoreham Bay
An inconclusive battle was fought off the coast of Shoreham in Sussex.
1545 (22nd August)
Henry’s friend, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, died.
, Earl of Hertford, invaded Scotland and successfully destroyed the Scottish abbeys of Kelso, Melrose, Dryburgh, Roxburgh and Coldingham.
Henry decided to create a new park near Whitehall. The park was to be stocked with hares, partridges, pheasants and herons so that Henry could hunt.
People were facing real hardship due to the lack of food. Most of the people also felt it was unreasonable for the King to continue an expensive war for the sake of Boulogne when his people were facing starvation.
Peace talks with France broke down when Henry refused to agree to the two main terms of Francis II, namely the return of Boulogne to France and allowing Scotland to be a part of the treaty.
Henry proposed an alliance with Charles V to be sealed with the marriage of Charles to Lady Mary and his son Phillip to Lady Mary. However, Charles replied that he could not consider marriages to women who were declared illegitimate.
1545 (late Autumn)
Henry was taken ill.
Henry continued to refuse to come to terms with France and the Council were worried about the extent of ill-feeling towards the Crown. In order to meet costs the coinage had to be further debased. It now only contained one third silver.
1545 (6th November)
With Henry’s full approval, Katherine published a collection of prayers and meditations.
The Conservative Catholic faction headed by Gardiner and Wriothesley attempted to effect the downfall of Henry’s sixth wife. They used as evidence the fact that she was surrounded by known Protestants – the Seymours, Lady Hertford, the Duchess of Suffolk and Lady Dudley.
1545 (24th December)
King Henry VIII continued to be in poor health suffering a lot of pain in his leg. Katherine spent much time discussing religion with him in an attempt to take his mind off the pain. She probably also secretly hoped to convert him to Protestantism
King Henry VIII’s college at Oxford, formerly Cardinal College, was renamed Christ Church College.
1546 (7th January)
Battle of St Etienne
This battle was fought in France between 4,000 French and 2,000 English soldiers. The French were victorious killing around 220 English soldiers including the English second-in-command Edward Poynings.
Henry was told that the heretic Anne Askew had mentioned the Queen’s name during questioning. Although it was disproved Katherine was on her guard.
Henry was taken ill with a fever but recovered fairly quickly.
1546 (24th April)
Fresh peace talks with France began at Calais.
1546 (24th May)
Peace terms were agreed with France. It was agreed that Francis would pay his arrears to England and if, by Michaelmas 1554, 2 million crowns had been repaid then Boulogne would be returned to France. If the money had not been paid in full then Boulogne would be declared English. It was also agreed that England would not declare war on Scotland, France’s ally, unless provoked by the Scots.
1546 (early June)
The Protestant, Anne Askew, was tortured by Wriothesley. He hoped that she would further implicate the Queen. Despite the fact that both her legs were broken by the rack she refused to incriminate the Queen or recant her Protestant faith.
1546 (13th June)
Following the successful conclusion of the peace treaty with France, peace was proclaimed in London.
1546 (16th July)
Anne Askew was burnt at the stake. Due to her injuries she had to be carried to the stake. A bag of gunpowder, which had been given to the executioner by a sympathiser, was hung around her neck. The gunpowder exploded soon after the fire was lit.
Although King Henry was still in poor health he and the Queen made a small progress around London. Henry was becoming concerned that Katherine had shown no signs of pregnancy and began to wonder if it was God’s way of condemning her for spending too much time discussing religion. Gardiner played on Henry’s thoughts and asked him if the Queen should really be arguing with the Head of the Church in England on matters of religion. He persuaded Henry to allow him to draw up articles against the Queen.
1546 (mid August)
Katherine’s ladies-in-waiting were closely questioned regarding books they and the Queen possessed. A warrant was drawn up for the Queen’s arrest and signed by the King. However, it was dropped and found by a member of Katherine’s household. Katherine, concerned for her fate, became very upset. When Henry heard her cries and visited her to find out what was wrong. She told him that she was worried that she may have displeased him in some way. Henry was touched by her words and stayed with her awhile. He also remembered how she was the most gentle and adept at changing his leg dressings.
After the King left Katherine ordered all forbidden books to be removed from her apartments. When she was next with the King she made a point of explaining to him that she only discussed religion with him to help him forget the pain in his leg. When Wriothesley arrived to arrest Katherine, Henry dismissed him saying he was a fool.
1546 (19th September)
Henry was taken ill again. His leg was now so bad that he was unable to climb stairs. A mechanical hoist was installed to take the King to the higher levels of his palaces.
The King’s health continued to deteriorate and he was now unable to walk and had to be carried everywhere.
The radical reforming faction launched an attack on the Conservatives. The Duke of Norfolk’s son, the Earl of Surrey, was accused of indulging in vices, failing to observe Lent and stating that if the King were to die then his father could be King. He was also implicated in a plot to remove the Queen and replace her with the Duchess of Richmond.
The King had to cancel several meetings due to ill health.
1546 (12th December)
The Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Surrey were arrested and sent to the Tower.
1546 (24th December)
The Court was closed to all except the Privy Council. Both Katherine and Lady Mary were present. Henry was feverish and suffering agonising pains in his legs.
1546 (30th December)
Henry dictated his will.
1547 (3rd January)
Henry VIII was taken to his Palace at Whitehall in a wheeled chair.
1547 (7th January)
Both Norfolk and Surrey were charged with treason for displaying royal arms.
1547 (12th January)
The Duke of Norfolk pleaded guilty to displaying the arms of Edward the Confessor in his own coat of arms. He also revealed that his son was guilty of the same offence.
1547 (19th January)
The Earl of Surrey, Henry Howard, was beheaded on Tower Hill. His father’s execution was scheduled for the following week, 28th January.
1547 (23rd January)
Henry revealed the names of those that he had chosen to form a Regency Council after his death. Top of the list was Edward Seymour who was to be Lord Protector for Edward.
1547 (26th January)
Henry was now on his deathbed and summoned Katherine to say goodbye.
1547 (27th January)
Henry summoned his confessor and took Holy Communion. He also saw Lady Mary and asked her to look out for her younger brother, Edward.
1547 (28th January)
Henry VIII, aged 55 years, died at 2am at Whitehall Palace.
1547 (28th January)
As was the custom when a monarch died, all those imprisoned in the Tower of London were pardoned. This included the Duke of Norfolk who had been scheduled to be executed later that day.
1547 (28th January)
Edward Seymour wasted no time in securing for himself the title “Protector of all the realms and dominions of the King’s Majesty”. He also rode to collect Edward and brought him to London where he was proclaimed King Edward VI.
1547 (16th February)
The body of King Henry VIII was laid to rest next to that of Jane Seymour in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.