11 November 1541 – Queen Catherine Howard’s Move to Syon House

Catherine Howard sketchOn 11th November 1541 the King’s Council sent Archbishop Thomas Cranmer a letter giving him instructions to move Queen Catherine Howard from Hampton Court Palace to Syon House, formerly Syon Abbey:

“First, the King’s pleasure is, that the Queen, with convenient diligence, remove to the house of Syon, there to remain, till the matter be further ordred, in the state of a Queen, furnished moderately, as her life and conditions have deserved; that is to say, with the furniture of three chambers hanged with mean stuff, without any cloth of astate; of which three, one shall serve for Mr Baynton, and thothers, to dine in, and thother two, to serve for her use, and with a mean numbre of servants, according to a book which wee send unto you herewith…”1

The letter went on to say that the Queen was allowed to have “four gentlewomen, and two chamberers” of her choosing, although the King wanted Lady Baynton to be one of the ladies and for her husband, Sir Edward Baynton, to be in charge of the household. The King’s almoner, Nicholas Heath, Bishop of Rochester, was also sent there.

Although her jewels had been seized, a letter from Ralph Sadler, one of the King’s Secretaries of State, to Archbishop Cranmer states that the Queen was sent six French hoods edged with “goldsmith’s work”, six pairs of sleeves, six gowns, and six kirtles of satin damask and velvet.2 Catherine was to enjoy these luxuries while further investigations were carried out.

The 11th November also seems to be the day when Catherine’s alleged relationship with Thomas Culpeper came to light. Under interrogation about his own relationship with the Queen, Sir Francis Dereham stated that since Catherine had married the King “Colpepre had succeeded him in the Queen’s affections”. This revelation resulted in Catherine being interrogated again and Thomas Culpeper being questioned. The King’s mercy was just about to come to an end.

Trivia: Sir Edward Baynton served as Vice Chamberlain to Queens Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr. His wife, Isabel (née Legh), was Catherine Howard’s half-sister and had been serving Catherine since her marriage to the King.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1534 – Philippe de Chabot, Seigneur De Brion and Admiral of France, landed at Dover and was met by George Boleyn, Lord Rochford. George had been chosen by Henry VIII to escort the Admiral to London, no easy task when the Admiral had a huge train consisting of over 350 horses! Read more about this in my article George Boleyn, the Admiral of France and an Angry Anne Boleyn.

Notes and Sources

  1. State Papers: King Henry the Eighth; Parts I. and II, Volume 1, p691
  2. Ibid., p694

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7 thoughts on “11 November 1541 – Queen Catherine Howard’s Move to Syon House”
  1. The circumstances around Catherine are changing daily. Abandoned and arrested, not at first told anything; most of her ladies removed, confined to chambers, then her jewels taken and questioned about her past, given a way out through the alleged pre contract and then three days later it all goes south. Considering now her love affair with Thomas Culpepper is revealled, although not yet fully investigated or proved as evidence; she is still being treated rather leniently and well.

    Considering Queen Anne Boleyn was within two days arrested and put into the Tower along with five lovers and a few others also arrested; the restraint and care taken to go slowly in this investigation about Catherine shows that Henry may still have wanted to pardon her; at least at first. As the article says; that mercy was about to come to an end. Dereham had ditched the dirt as it were. I am not her lover any more: this guy Culpepper has that pleasure now!

    What a lovely chap! Moved to Syon House the real questioning of her alleged lovers now began and it was no longer possible for her to get out of the hole that the Queen had dug for herself. Even if she was not sleeping with Dereham anymore; she must have been having intimate contact and concersation with Culpepper and this was alleged in the accusations against her as happening at several locations: including as a lively lady at King’s Manor in York insisted with great enthusiasm while the King and Queen stayed here in 1541. Pontefract is meant to be another place and Chennies is also mentioned. We have also Lady Jane Rochford bringing the young man to the Queen on the nights she was not called for by the King or even after she had been with her husband. Catherine claimed they only talked but this is not very likely given the young woman’s sexual appitite and history.

    It can never be proven one way or another if Catherine and Culpepper were totally guilty of adultery, but it is a good guess that they were intimate and did more than just talk; were alone and that they had sexual relations. I even think that to a certain degree Catherine fell in love with Culpepper and that she did write the letter that is disputed to be hers. It cannot be proven; but it was accepted at the time and most historians claim it is genuine. Maralyn Roberts does not believe the letter to have been written by Catherine and has done excellent articles on this. But that is the opinion of experts who can analyse patterns of writting and so on and I would not dispute this work. I personally believe that she could have written it as it reads like a love sick teenager who cannot have the man that she loves. It is not a very sophisticated letter but it seems to convey her hearts desire to see him and Catherine may have been desperate to speak with him. We do not know why? Culpepper was foolish to keep it and any others may have been destroyed but this one may have been special for some reason. Yes, it may have been convenient that the authorities found it but if they did a total search why would they not find it? But that is another debate.

    By 11th things were changing: the King had left Hampton Court and now had the Queen moved and the questioning had taken a more serious note. But at least she was not yet taken to the Tower, but to the old monastic house at Syon which was to become at some stage a palace. She did not have her state hangings, but had some of her clothing given to her and some ladies and others to attend her. She was still kept in some comfort and treated and called Queen. Henry had not down-sized her title as he did with Anne.

    Things were about to get worse, however, as the weeks passed and Dereham revealled more and more, may-be under torture and then may-be not and the Queen herself was finally confronted with her adultery. More to come: next installment to follow.

    1. I personally think that “Katheryn” did write the letter to “Culpepper” and he kept it out of sheer will he most probably felt the same as she did deep down but as to far as things go as to wether they had consummated their courtship or not leaves a lot to the imagination a lot to be desired. We only have their words to take on that and if we are to believe what they both said then no adultery had been commited as no adultery had taken place that means that it must have been “Platonic” but if we are to dis believe what they said and adultery did take place then that would be another matter but intent was and just seemed as bad as the actual doing so had he of admitted to actual doing he would of died twice over most probably in that case!

  2. Having managed SyonPark I was always fascinated by the links with Catherine Howard and also Henry V111 whose body was laid to rest overnight in the nave of the former abbey church at Syon en route to Windsor for burial, when a prophecy was fulfillrd. In 1535, a Franciscan friar, named William Peto, when preaching before the king, declared that “God’s judgements were ready to fall upon his head.. and that dogs would lick his blood as they had Ahab’s.” Peto’s prediction came truein 1547, when the following morning at Syon, a dog was found licking up certian remains which had managed to seep through the coffin from the bloated corpse inside. This was regarded as a divine judgement uopn the king for his desecration of the abbey.
    The layout of the Bridgettine abbey was unknown until 2003 when Time Team discovered the footprint of the church and subsequent annual digs by Birkbeck College revealed the abbey remains under the lawns surrounding the present house. Catherine would have been housed within the abbey buildings and it is said she was allocated two rooms “furnished moderately as her life and condition hath deserved”.
    The present Syon House was built by Protector Somerset and it was at Syon Lady Jane Grey was offered then throne and embarked on her fateful journey to London and proclaimed queen.
    If anyone has any more information about Syon I would be most interested to hear. Coincidentally I am now director of the Weald & Downland Museum where Tudor Monastery farm ( mentioned above) has been filmed.

    1. I have heard of this story before. Sad but it’s true. I like it at Syon! It has a lot of memory in that place!! 🙂

  3. It hardly seems trivia to me that Catherine was sent to Syon house and her own half-sister was directed to be with her. Although in disgrace and put into Syon, I wonder if even then, Henry wanted her to have some comfort and a family member to talk to – one who was used to being with queens – while he tried to find out the truth of the matter.

    1. “Trivia” has two meanings: 1) Unimportant facts or details and 2) Facts about people, events etc. that are not well-known, and when I add “Trivia” to my posts I mean “trivia” in the second way. I hope that makes sense. I don’t think that many people reading this article would have known that Baynton served all those queens and that his wife was Catherine’s half-sister.

  4. I don’t think we will ever know what really happened between them it’s all speculation !! Should we judge a girl so young no I can’t I don’t know about u but I hope she did at least go beyond speaking with culpepper on the back stairs and she enjoyed a handsome young man not a fat bloated egotistic old man .It must have felt exciting , dangerouse ,to a young vulnerable girl yes Henry did love her showered her with gifts made her a queen she had every thing but when u are young you think you are invincible ! Clearly she craved this young man so much that she didn’t think about being caught or the punishment blinded by love as they say .Catherine is always in the shadow of Ann because we can’t proves Ann was guilty and it was so tragic what happened to those young men as well People think she deserved to die but we are not all the same our opinions differ ! Ann was supposed to have slept with a hundred men and got the sword ! Catherine had 2 men and got the axe that tells me Henry new Ann was innocent or did he love Ann more ? There was no difference oath committed adultery in fact Ann was found guilty of treason but she got the swifter death this all frustrates me perhaps I’m missing something I’m not an historian this is just my opinion on what I have read .i wish there was more documenteries about Catherine as I feel the more I read about her the more her story intrigues me such a short life with brief moments of happiness a very brave young who I admire her courage at the end greatly and her speech was fantastic a real dig at Henry !!!

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