14 November – Bad Signs for Culpeper and Lady Rochford, and Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon get married but not to each other

On this day in Tudor history, 14th November 1541, an inventory was taken of “the goods and chattels, lands and fees of” Thomas Culpeper, a groom of King Henry VIII’s privy chamber and a man who had been having secret meetings with Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife.

An inventory had also been taken of the possessions of Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, wife of the late George Boleyn, a woman who had allegedly helped the queen meet with Culpeper.

But what was going on in November 1541 and what was listed in these inventories?

Find out more in this talk…

Also, on this day in Tudor history, 14th November, the Feast of St Erkenwald, there may have been two royal Tudor weddings.

We know that Catherine of Aragon married Arthur, Prince of Wales, on 14th November 1501, but chronicler Edward Hall gives 14th November 1532 as the date of a secret wedding for King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Marquess of Pembroke, in Dover.

Find out more about these two royal weddings in this video…

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7 thoughts on “14 November – Bad Signs for Culpeper and Lady Rochford, and Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon get married but not to each other”
  1. Culpepper was distantly related to the queen through her mother Joyce, he was her cousin maybe in the third or fourth degree, and this young man was high in the kings favour being groom of the stool, it sounds awful to us because he attended to the kings toilet needs but this was a highly coveted position as it meant being with him in his most intimate moments, he had a good career, was a favourite of the king yet he was swept away by lust and thus ended his life in a traitors death, he was described as handsome and probably had indulged in a few love affairs at court, he was seeing one lady which made Catherine very jealous and they had argued over it, she had then married the king, but the pair could not quell their attraction to each other, aided by the infamous Lady Rochford, whom Chapyus was later to describe as ‘that bawd’, they had met several times in secret chambers and once in Catherine’s bedchamber with Lady Rochford keeping watch, however there were other ladies in the queens household including Jane Bulmer who had served Catherine in her grandmothers house at Lambeth, who also was party to the nighttime indiscretions of the queen, yet only Jane was held to task for it and this day an inventory was taken of both her and the foolish Culpepper’s items, Jane had some beautiful items was a rich lady who lived in comfort, she had also been lucky that after the fall of her late husbands family, she had then been received back at court and had served both Jane Seymour Anna from Cleves and now Catherine Howard, and it was through this young queen, the last Jane was to serve, that led to Jane’s ruin, amongst her possessions were silver plate and goblets and lots of black satin, velvet and taffeta, it could be that the black was in mourning for George Boleyn or as Claire says, it could have been a sign of her high status, Culpepper also lived richly, he had been rewarded with presents from his master and it was ever noted, that Henry V111 was ever generous to those who served him well, yet he also exacted revenge in a most brutal fashion, and what he could give, he could also take away, Lady Rochford knew that, she had seen the rewards he had lavished on her husbands family, and it’s most famous daughter had been raised to the highest pinnacle of the land, only to come crashing down, she had seen the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell and others over the years, she knew that inventories were the forerunners of death, the picking up and studying, the itemising of their sacred possessions, it was a chilling act that always culminated in the road to the scaffold, it was a fraught and worrying time for them both, Jane over the coming weeks was to blame her young mistress entirely for her predicament pleading she had merely been following orders, but she was guilty of misprision of treason, an act as serious as treason itself, her first duty should have been to her lord and master the king, who was also the queens lord and master, both she and the handsome but foolish young Culpepper, must have felt despair steal over them as the awful consequence’s of their situation sunk in.

  2. Where to start? Anne and Henry where married in some kinda ceremony on 14th November 1532 which might be significant as Katharine married Prince Arthur on that date in 1501. Was the date chosen with that in mind or was it just a coincidence as the couple had just arrived in Dover and they had some spare time?

    Edward Hall is regarded as reliable and says it was a marriage ceremony and people seem to have known more about this than the official secret ceremony on 25th January 1533 at Whitehall. Simon Thurley even said we know where they where married in 1533 but not any details. However, Ives, who is not always correct, although an expert on Anne Boleyn thinks this wasn’t a wedding but a commitment or betrothal. This proceeded by or following sexual intercourse and agreement that the couple would live as man and wife was enough for a marriage to be made legal.

    That’s the theory but a couple also have to be free to marry and since the Western Catholic Church only recognised one wedding at a time, then if you already had a living partner then such a marriage would not be possible.

    Henry for all of his commitment that he was a bachelor and that his first marriage was never legal, was still wedded to Katharine of Aragon on the 14th November 1532 and 25th January 1533. He simply wasn’t free to marry, a fact born out by his secrecy. This secrecy made the legitimacy of his marriage to Anne questionable and Henry wasn’t making life easy for them. So whichever date was correct, until Henry was formally free from Katharine, he was a bigamist.

    1. Imagine if he had lived in later centuries, the 18th and 19th centuries for example, he certainly would have become the butt of music hall jokes and ballads would have been sung about him in the coffee houses and chocolate shops, today he would fill every gossip column, Henry V111 really was a most unusual monarch, out of all of them we could say he certainly was the most scandalous even beating the Prince regent to the post, we had mad King George but today it is believed he was not actually insane at all, but suffered from porphyria a rare blood disorder which renders the patient with bouts of mental instability, you are correct Lynn Marie regarding Henry V111’s much debated marriage to Anne Boleyn, he was never legally married to her at all, and although he used the incest claim as a means to render his union with her invalid, it was never valid in the first place, Anne was executed on charges of adultery high treason and incest, yet the adultery claim really was shaky as how can a wife commit adultery if she was never married in the first place, but in the 16thc in Henry’s England that mattered little, she impugned the succession and showed no respect or regard of her position, today the date where Henry V111 and Anne were married in their first secret ceremony remains a mystery now as it did nearly five hundred years ago, there were obviously witnesses and I believe it must have been George Boleyn and his wife, or Anne’s parents, maybe her sister and Cary were there, Anne and Henry beloved they were truly legally wed, but in law Anne was still only his mistress whatever they might think.

      1. Worse still would be the tabloids. The Georgians were mocked in cartoon tabloids, showing them as overwhelming in their size, with ass ears and ass tails and in all kinds of positions. The Prince Regent was mocked for his pantaloons and all kinds of punch type insults were drawn. There was some sympathy for King George who went to Margate for his holidays with his wife. They strolled along the promenade and swam in the sea in swimming machines. That was a bathing hut on wheels, wheeled into the sea, hiding the person inside until they where in the water and from which they emerged in a long bathing costume and swam in the sea. The tabloids were rather cruel nut we have some very hilarious cartoons from the royal family and the gentry which gave amusement in their day. Imagine the cartoons of Anne being presented to the world as Queen or Henry failing in 1529 at Blackfriars. While Katharine was still Queen there was fun to be had. The tabloids would have made mince meet of them all.

        1. Yes just imagine the things they would have written about Henry Katherine and Anne, cartoons of the king would have shown him looking red faced and since he was known for having a huge codpiece, the Georgians would have made great fun of that, Anne was called the goggle eyed wh*re possibly a reference to her saucer like eyes, and I can just see them depicting her as very thin rat like with staring eyes, maybe clutching a crown and beating Katherine with a stick, they were merciless satirists, Katherine I believe would have been treated more kindly she was after all, the injured party, when we know Henry V111 was the only English king to marry another wife whilst he was still legally married to his first, it was really a scandal of epic proportions, and the ballads would have been so derisory, the pictures of the Prince regent showed him looking really gross and his bizarre wife Queen Caroline was satirised to, the cartoons were really cruel, there was Lady Emma Hamilton a famous beauty in her day, but sadly after the death of her lover Lord Nelson turned to drink and stayed in bed all day she became fat, a drunken slattern, she too was the butt of Georgian ridicule and died a squalid death in Calais, a world away from when she charmed high society and was once the favoured friend of Queen Caroline Maria of Naples, in the newspapers today they have their cartoonists and they are clever, they have caricature drawings of politicians showing all their bad points and the royals too, Charles and Harry are depicted with their long noses and particularly Charles has had to suffer with his jug ears all his life, I love Spitting Image and wonder how these famous people cope with being the butt of ridicule all the time, really I’m very glad I’m a non entity !

  3. Now, here we go scrapping the bottom of the pot for Thomas Culpepper and his Queenly lover, Kathryn Howard, 5th Queen of Henry Viii. You know, of course that Henry actually considered her to be only his second lawful wife.

    O. K. A quick explanation. Henry had married Katharine of Aragon in 1509 but after 24 years decided his marriage to her wasn’t ever legal and thus annulled her in 1533. He then married no 2, Anne Boleyn in 1533 but got fed up with her and had her executed on trumped up charges of adultery and treason in 1536. Two days before the execution he decided he wasn’t married to her legally either and by reason of his sleeping with her sister or her having a boyfriend, aka Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, he had that marriage eliminated as well as the woman herself. Now this was merely to declare their daughter illegitimate as Anne, he decided had still committed treason, so she was still executed.
    Henry was legally married to wife no 3 11 days later on 30th May 1533. This was Jane Seymour, Lady in waiting to wife no 1 and 2, who was lucky enough to give Henry a living son, Edward, who succeeded him and who unfortunately died 12 days later. She was his first legal wife.

    Henry then married, nearly three years later, 24 year old Anne of Cleves in 1540, a German Princess. For a number of reasons still debated within six months Henry had declared that he wasn’t legally married to this poor lady and their marriage was annulled. Anne became a wealthy woman, owned lots of posh places and outlived Henry and his other wives. She is buried in Westminster Abbey.
    Now he was married to wife no 5, but as he never found any reason not be legally married to Kathryn Howard and three of the others were annulled, Henry acknowledged her as his second legal wife and she remained his wife. She was, however, stripped of her title as Queen.

    As Henry was well and truly a widow when no 6 came along, Katharine Parr, there’s no reason that she shouldn’t be his legal wife and as she was still somehow his wife on his death bed, KP remains his widow. History calls all six his wives so hard luck Henry.

    For KH it has been a real rocket of a ride this last few weeks. She began November as Queen, returning from a triumphant progress and giving thanks for her and Prince Edward. Suddenly she found herself the subject of an investigation into her past. She was restricted to her apartments and over the following dsys questioned about her life at the home of her grandmother. At first Kathryn felt as if she could bluff her way out and nobody knows of her nighttime lover. However, someone has seen her and a name is mentioned.. Francis Dereham. So what? He isn’t her lover now. She can deny it and say it was over years ago.

    Katharine has been moved to Syon House. She has told the elderly and cunning Thomas Cranmer that she was put upon by Dereham, that he forced her. Boy the girl can lie. The others in the same household have all told a different story. Dereham isn’t the nicest person on the planet or the brightest. He thought of Kathryn as his wife or promised to him, as his property. She saw their relationship as a joke, a teenage fling, a bit of sex and romance. But it did happen. The others knew of it and Francis was only one young man in the Maidens Chamber during long hot Summer nights. Add the wine and the strawberries and horney teens and it must have been one long party. The only thing missing was the cocaine and the LSD. But, as Kathryn said, over and over again, that was before she came to Court. What did it matter now?

    Henry Viii has abandoned his wife and refused to see the girl. Kathryn may be a girl with a past and now it seems she has brought that past with her into her marriage, but she is terrified. She doesn’t know what is happening. What is going on?

    Well, Kathryn has been spending her nights in her lovers arms, that’s what has been going on. Kathryn has been visiting the rooms of one Thomas Culpepper and meeting him in secret. Her chief lady, Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, widow of George Boleyn, executed with Anne, alleged of being her lover, has been helping Kathryn meet with this man. Kathryn knew Tom from before and he is a distant cousin through her mother. They had a relationship before her marriage to Henry Viii and she has been flattered by him. They find each other fascinating and yet tease each other at the same time. They deny that they are lovers but the evidence against them is not looking good. It is assumed that the couple have had sexual relations and the mere fact that they are meeting at all at night and in secret is suspicious in itself. The pair have talked about marriage if the King dies. That’s high treason and they don’t stand a chance. Kathryn can no longer hide anything and admits everything but having sex. Thomas Culpepper blames her and they both blame Lady Rochford. Its a terrible moment for all of them as a list of goods and shackles is taken from the accused.

    14th November sees a full inventory of goods assessed and that means arrests and formal charges will follow. Its not a good sign. This is it. The game is up. Now will follow more and more questions and interrogation for Kathryn, her alleged lovers, her former boyfriend and others in her old household, for her ladies and her entire family. They will all be rounded up, locked up in the Tower to await their fate. Kathryn will wait it out at Syon House as her lovers lose their heads. Jane, Lady Rochford will go mad. Both she and the Queen will ultimately die in disgrace on Tower Green.

  4. It was Mary Lascelles formerly in service to the dowager Duchess of Norfolk who, on hearing of Catherine’s marriage to the king, spoke to her brother of how immoral she had always lived, the old duchesse’s household it seemed was more like a bawdy house, with nightly visits taking place between the young men and ladies, all very exciting and there would be apples and sweetmeats and wine to make it all the more pleasurable, one of the men stole the Duchesse’s keys to the dormitory and of course this added to the fun of it, there is nothing so exciting as the forbidden, Dereham was Catherine’s beau and Jane Bulmer or some other girl had the bed next to Catherine’s, she could not sleep with all the noises they were making, and had to move, really they all must have been bleary eyed the next day, and all this happened as the old Duchess was snoring away soundly in her own bed, so we come to Mary Lascelles it seems she did not take place in these activities, in Murder Most Royal Miss Plaidy paints a not very flattering picture of this young woman , plain and prudish and envious of the other more attractive and fun loving girls, Mary is shown acting out of spite and jealousy by telling Manox what he was doing with Catherine was evil, she has Mary being rather fond of this young philanderer and envy is possibly the reason she told her brother about the activities in the Duchesse’s household, but we do not know what Mary was like, she may have just been virtuous and more spiritual than her companions, she could have been attractive and did wish to ruin her reputation by casually sleeping with any of the young men who took her fancy, Catherine was born a member of a great house and yet did not act like it, we can see she must have been shocked when she heard about her marriage to the king, silently she must have thought she was unworthy of such high office, maybe she did not think it would go further but her brother, John Lascelles a very strict almost Puritan like figure and Protestant decided the king had to be told, this set in motion the wheels that led to Catherine’s downfall, another mistake Catherine made was letting Derham into her household, wether she was blackmailed we don’t know, certainly his behaviour was disrespectful towards her and once he got involved in a fight because he was insolent in her presence, his attitude was probably down to the fact that she would not have anything to do with him, he must have hoped they could carry on as before, it really is amazing when we know how foolhardy these people were, it was very very dangerous to cuckold the king and Henry V111 had already beheaded one wife, under interrogation Dereham declared Culpeper had supplanted him in the queens affections, Catherine was made out to be nothing better than a kitchen sl*t and her whole family were condemned for not divulging to the king about her past, her uncle the Duke desperately tried to distance himself from her, he had no knowledge he told the king, and it seems the dowager duchess came in for some harsh criticism herself and was duly interrogated, they were all taken to the Tower and it was said there were not enough rooms to house them all, it was a dreadful thing to happen to one of England’s most noblest of families, and the Duke was Earl Marshall, England’s premier Duke, he must have cursed his niece, when one member fell they all did, I still however, find it shocking of the king that he could not find it in his heart to pardon his young queen, because she had no moral guidance when young and he was after all, more than thirty years older than her, a man of the world whom himself had had love affairs when young, she had not known one day she would be queen neither did her family, but such was the double standards of the day – a man especially a king, must sow his oats, but a young woman must be pure and above such lustful thoughts and deeds, more so a queen, to indulge in nightly visits with a young man other than the king was no way to behave, she was so distressed weeping and hysterical Cranmer told the king it hurt to see her in such a pitiable state, Henry’s anger was all the more great because he felt such a fool, and worse an old fool at that, he may have been able to overlook her past, when we consider Eleanor of Aquitaine herself had a scandalous past to when she became the consort of Henry 11, but she was never held to account for it, but her meetings with Culpepper because of that very past dammed her, she was highly sexed she had enjoyed trysts in her youth, so she was up to the same again this time whilst queen, it did not look good at all for her and Culpepper, they both denied having sex but how could anyone believe them, Culpepper then said they both intended to have sex which was as bad as saying they had done so in the first place, because the intent was there which was treasonous, he made it worse for both of them and he was just an arrogant fool, had she not employed Dereham in the first place, and not been so foolish as to meet with Culpepper, then she might not have lost her life on the scaffold, he might have been able to overlook her past as youthful folly, Henry was blissfully happy with her it was a tragedy for them both that the circumstances in her youth and the tragic choices she made when she was queen, ruined what must have been a successful marriage, we don’t know how old she was when she died but she could not have been more than twenty.

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