Jane SeymourOn 14th May 1536, King Henry VIII sent Sir Nicholas Carew to collect Jane Seymour from Carew’s country home, where Jane had been sent previously to prevent gossip about her relationship with the King. Carew’s instructions were to bring her to a property in Chelsea, which was within a mile of the King’s lodgings.

According to Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, from then on Jane Seymour was “most richly dressed” and “splendidly served by the King’s cook and other officers”. Queen Anne Boleyn’s household had been broken up and four of the men accused of adultery with her and of conspiring to kill the King with her had been found guilty of high treason, so the King obviously felt that it was safe to bring his relationship with Jane out into the open and to start treating her as the queen-in-waiting she was.

Chapuys was not greatly impressed by Jane Seymour. In a letter to Antoine Perrenot, on 18th May 1536, he wrote that she was twenty-five years of age and “of middle stature and no great beauty, so fair that one would call her rather pale than otherwise”. He also said that she was inclined “to be proud and haughty”, that he doubted that she was a virgin, and that she was “not a woman of great wit”. However, she did bear “great love and reverence to the Princess [Mary]”, so couldn’t be too bad.

Also on this day in 1536, Thomas Cromwell wrote to Stephen Gardiner and Sir John Wallop, Henry VIII’s ambassadors at the French court, to update them on the situation in London. In his letter, he wrote of “The Queen’s incontinent living” which “was so rank and common that the ladies of her privy chamber could not conceal it”. Click here to read the full letter.

Notes and Letters

  • Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 10 – January-June 1536, 908.
  • Ibid., 901.

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3 thoughts on “14 May 1536 – Jane Seymour moves to Chelsea”
  1. Why do you think Henry acted so precipitously? Did he think Anne so universally hated that it wouldn’t matter how this would look to people – people both at home and abroad – how they would point the finger and mutter about it?

    1. The only reactant letter in Henry’s hand to Jane talks about a Ballard being sung in the streets of London about Henry leaving Anne for Jane and how Henry was trying to find the source to punish him..

      Henry was aware that his suit for Jane against the backdrop of Anne being tried and condemned wasn’t totally accepted by the commoners..

  2. Well I would never have thought of Jane Seymour as proud and haughty. Just how much of Jane can he have seen? Henry kept her out of the limelight and under Katherine of Aragon she must have been seriously quiet and ladylike. No doubt she had been a bit over confident when she wore the King’s necklace and picture and Anne saw it, but this is not quite the Jane Seymour we often picture. Is Chapyus referring to her baring, the way she acted as a noblewoman, or was Jane showing that she was proud to be about to marry her King and was not bothered by the way to achieve this as she was not responsible for Anne’s downfall? Personally I think this is Chapyus making gossip as he is not impressed with what he has heard, although her favouring of the Lady Mary is a big plus that forgives all faults in his book.

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