11 October 1537 – A procession and prayers for Queen Jane Seymour

Oct11,2016 #Edward VI #Jane Seymour

JaneSeymourLucasHorenboutOn this day in history, Thursday 11th October 1537, there was a solemn procession in London to pray for Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife and queen consort, who was in labour, a labour which was to last for over 30 hours.

Here is the record from Charles Wriothesley’s chronicle:

“This yeare, the 11th daie of October, Anno 1537, and the 29th yeare of the raigne of King Henrie the Eight, being Thursdaie, their was a solempne generall procession in London, with all the orders of friars, preistes, and clarkes going all in copes, the major and aldermen, with all the craftes of the cittie, following in their liveries, which was donne to pray for the Queene that was then in labour of chielde.”

Jane gave birth to a son the following day, the eve of the feast of St Edward the Confessor. This son was the future King Edward VI.

Notes and Sources

  • Wriothesley, Charles (1875) A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, from A.D. 1485 to 1559 Volume 1, Camden Society, p. 65-66.

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6 thoughts on “11 October 1537 – A procession and prayers for Queen Jane Seymour”
  1. 30 hours of labor? Yikes! Especially since there was no concept of painkillers, except maybe for wine or even stronger spirits, which would not have been good for either mother OR child.

    I wonder if there is any correlation between Jane’s lengthy labor, and the puerperal fever that led to her death. After all, her body was undergoing stress in labor and then birth, and prolonged stress could have lowered her immune defenses enough to allow an infection to “sneak in” and take hold.

  2. Henry was, by the standards of the day, a clean freak, and yet Jane died, basically, from dirty hands. Have always felt something special for Jane, as she died on my birthday.

    1. Dirty hands were in the “Delivery and Operating Room” for another 300+ years until my wife’s Great Great Uncle, Sir Joseph Lister shed light on antiseptic surgical techniques!

  3. Poor Jane certainly did go through it, maybe she was unconscious a lot of the time which would have been a blessing, I think nowadays she would have had a Caesarian, luckily Edward was none the worse for his traumatic delivery but it did take its toll on Jane, the puerperal fever is something her successor Catherine Parr died from and indeed Henry’s mother, it was said to have been caused by poor hygiene, since Jane must have been ripped quite badly it’s very likely that infection set in the open wounds, wether a woman survived childbirth was down to sheer luck in Tudor times relying no doubt on whoever tended her during the birth and after, as queen Jane would have had the best care but once infection had sst in it was just a matter of time, I also read that she could have had part of the placenta in her which is very dangerous, in all she was just one of thousands of women in that period who became a victim of the trials of childbirth, the lot of a woman in the 16thc and in fact for several centuries after before medical advancements were made in childcare was very risky, it was Queen Victoria who first used chloroform as a pain killer during the birth of her baby and she afterwards declared how marvellous it was, it certainly made childbirth more comfortable for the expectant mother and many women followed suit, in poor Janes time however all they could do was grip the bedposts and yell their heads off, the court must of all put ear plugs in.

  4. Normally the midwifes tended to the Queens birthing, but in this case the Barber surgeons were brought in. They were NOT experienced at all in Childbirth and apparently interfered in janes delivery. I hold them responsible over any midwifes .

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