Sir William Butts

Posted By on November 22, 2014

William Butts1Today marks the anniversary of the death of Sir William Butts, Henry VIII’s trusted physician, on 22nd November 1545. He died at Fulham Manor, Middlesex, after suffering from a “dooble febre quartanz”, a form of malaria. Butts was buried in a tomb against the south wall of All Saints Church, Fulham, but his tomb and brass were later destroyed. In 1627, his epitaph (a slab with verses by Sir John Cheke) was restored by Leonard Butts of Norfolk.

Butts acted as a royal physician at the court of Henry VIII from 1528 until his death. His patients included the King himself, queens Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour, the Lady Mary (Mary I), Henry Fitzroy the Duke of Richmond, George Boleyn, Cardinal Wolsey and the Duke of Norfolk. He treated Anne Boleyn when she had sweating sickness in June 1528, and acted as her “talent spotter” when she was queen, helping her find and employ reformist scholars as her chaplains.

You can read more facts about his life in my article Sir William Butts, Royal Physician.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1538 – Burning of John Lambert, Protestant martyr, at Smithfield in London. He was accused of heresy for denying the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As he burned at the stake he cried out “None but Christ, none but Christ!”

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21 November 1559 – The death of Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk

Posted By on November 21, 2014

Frances Brandon's tomb effigy

Frances Brandon’s tomb effigy

On 21st November 1559, Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk, died at Richmond at the age of forty-two.

Frances was the daughter of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and his third wife Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and the mother of Lady Jane Grey, who was queen for just thirteen days in 1553. Frances was married twice. She married Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset, in 1533 and he was made Duke of Suffolk in 1551. After his execution in 1554, Frances went on to marry Adrian Stokes, her Master of the Horse and a former soldier.

Frances was buried at Westminster Abbey, in St Edmund’s Chapel, where Stokes erected a tomb in her memory. The Latin inscription on the tomb, when translated from Latin, reads:

“Dirge for the most noble Lady Frances, onetime Duchess of Suffolk: naught avails glory or splendour, naught avail titles of kings; naught profits a magnificent abode, resplendent with wealth. All, all are passed away: the glory of virtue alone remained, impervious to the funeral pyres of Tartarus [part of Hades or the Underworld]. She was married first to the Duke, and after was wife to Mr Stock, Esq. Now, in death, may you fare well, united to God.”

You can read more about her life in my article Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk, and I would also recommend reading Susan Higginbotham’s article The Maligned Frances Grey.

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