Sketch of unknown woman, said to be Catherine Howard after Holbein
Sketch of unknown woman, said to be Catherine Howard after Holbein
On 10 February 1542, Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, was taken from Syon to the Tower of London by barge.

Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador at Henry VIII’s court, recorded Catherine’s journey:

“Some days after, that is to say on the afternoon of the 10th, the Queen after some difficulty and resistance was conducted to the Tower by the river. The Lord Privy Seal, with a number of privy councillors and a large retinue of servants, went first in a large oared barge; then came a small covered boat with the Queen and four ladies of her suite, besides four sailors to man the boat. Then followed the duke of Suffolk in a big and well-manned barge, with plenty of armed men inside. On their arrival at the Tower stairs the Lord Privy Seal and the duke of Suffolk landed first; then the Queen herself, dressed in black velvet, with the same honors and ceremonies as if she were still reigning.”

Catherine’s lady, Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, had been taken to the Tower the previous day after being nursed back to health (from hysteria and madness) at Russell House on the Strand, the London residence of Sir John Russell, Lord Admiral, and his wife Anne, under the supervision of the King’s own doctors. Chapuys writes that Jane “had shewn symptoms of madness until the very moment when they announced to her that she must die.”

Notes and Sources

  • Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 6 Part 1, 1538-1542, 232.
  • Fox, Julia (2007) Jane Boleyn: The Infamous Lady Rochford, Phoenix, p302-303

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