16 September 1541 – King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine Howard visit York
Posted By Claire on September 16, 2016
On this day in 1541, King Henry VIII entered the city of York through Walmgate Bar, and was met by the city’s officials at Fulford Cross.
The mayor and the aldermen of the city then begged forgiveness from the King for the North’s rebellion during the Pilgrimage of Grace, and gave the King and his wife, Queen Catherine Howard, a gold cup each full of gold coins.
Henry VIII’s 1541 progress to the North was not only the King’s way of emphasising his power over the North, but was also a diplomatic journey, with the King planning to meet the Scottish king, James V, at York. Henry VIII spent nine days in York waiting for James, but unfortunately he was stood up.
Taken from On This in Tudor History by Claire Ridgway.
Picture: Walmgate Bar, York, © Copyright Paul Glazzard and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence, Geograph UK – http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/608475
7 thoughts on “16 September 1541 – King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine Howard visit York”
I wonder how differently history would have turned out had James attended the meeting with his Uncle Henry?
There was so much hostility and misunderstanding between the English and the Scots that led to too many tragic, unnecessary wars.
The Kings manor in York called because it came from religious use into royal hands is now psrt of the University. It became the property of Charles I and it is his impressive coat of arms that you see today. It was to this impressive, palatial, beautiful, spacious old house that Henry and Katherine Howard came with this impressive court and military escort, and make no bones about this, this was an armed escort, with pikes and other impressive armoured items, with all their banners and wonderful colours came for pleasure and business. The article has mentioned Katherine meetings with Culpeper en route to York and she would see him there too, but what happened is not clear as there is not enough evidence to support the charges against them back home. This visit to York settled local disputes and complaints by the merchants of attacks by pirates and a proclamation and warrant on display in the Merchants Hall shows that Henry took positive action against the pirates and gave compensation and protection to the local merchants. Yes there was plenty of dancing and entertainment but the work of ruling and settling the north went on. The recent trouble had clearly shown that things were not peaceful, the royal presence was needed to stamp the crowns authority in the northern areas of his kingdom, submission and pardon also meant obedience and the gifts of gold. Henry received a group of loyal followers, plus a group of people who had been involved in the rebellions. Had Henry also succeeded in meeting his nephew James as arranged then his success would have been complete, but James had other ideas and war would follow the following year.
I simply think that James did not trust Henry, despite the promise of safe conduct, plus he had reasons to be offended by Henry. Henry had arranged for a beautiful jewelled egg to be made but having waited all day his nephew never came and whatever relationships that could have been made failed. It’s possible that the agreement may never have lasted or been made anyway as Henry wanted James to recognize his sovereignty over him, which was never going to happen. Unfortunately, the Tudors mistook Scotland as part of their realm even though they reluctantly had to recognize her as her own sovereign nation. Under Henry Tudor, our Kings father, a recognition had come into being that the Tudors needed Scotland to recognize them and to work with the ancient Stuart nation on a mutual basis, partly as a means of ending their support for the Yorkist pretender, Perkin Warbeck, partly as an ally to strengthen the new Tudor Dynasty. Hence the marriage of Princess Margaret Tudor and James iv. Henry Viii was more aggressive in his attitude towards Scotland, made some of the ancient claims that England had some sovereignty over James iv, who a great deal annoyed took advantage of the fsct that Henry Viii also thought he was King of France to invade in 1513. With the heavy defeat of James iv at Flodden, leaving James v as an infant, the relationship between Henry Viii and his nephew would never be a warm one. The meeting in York may have been a genuine attempt to avoid war, but James may have believed that it was a trap. Anyway it was not to be and as usual, men did as men do when affronted, they went to war.
Is there a good source for the details about how a royal progress was conducted? The advance through the countryside must have severely strained the resources of the towns, even aside from the tributes given. I’m very curious about the logistics of the thing: the sheer numbers of servants, grooms, cooks, guards, etc must have been staggering.
Did the king stay every night at some nobleman’s seat, or did sometimes he stay in some kind of elegant tent that would no doubt put our present day Winnebagos to the blush? And what accommodations did the rest of the royal court receive?
While I thoroughly have enjoyed the above scholarly discourse on the WHY of the progress, my more mundane mind drifts to HOW.
Hi Karen, you are perfectly correct these progresses, especially one as long and exceptionally far north as this one took a great deal of forward planning. The King and many of his household and court stayed with different noblemen and his family, costing an absolute fortune for the nobleman, who often had to rebuild their homes to accommodate up to 1000 plus extra people. I am not sure about how long this one took to plan but we know for example that Duke of Suffolk turned Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire, his wife’s ancestral home from a small medieval defensive manour into a palatial beautiful extensive grand Tudor home with a very long new wing. He took four years over the project but it was partly planned with the future visit of Henry who was hunting wife no four when he started and on wife no five by the time of their progress. It all had to be carefully managed in stages with some people going ahead to arrange the next stage, the baggage went ahead; delays did happen though, with our roads and weather, so you also had to plan on your feet. I did see something recently that gives more information about how the progress was planned, I will try to find it. Although you get some information from documentaries, the mention is brief, I too am fascinated by logistics, as you say it must have been somebody’s nightmare. We do have historical records of one progress at least going wrong through an accident, bad weather and bad luck, the final journey of King John who died at Newark. He became seperated from part of his luggage and he and the rest got bogged down by the Wash marshes, he was already ill and could not have made it to Newark anyhow that night. The itinerary tells us that his bedding went to Newark, much of his part of the baggage, including according to legend, his crown jewellery, although nothing has been found, were lost in the Wash quicksands while John and his party could only make it to a nearby abbey. John was taken seriously ill at the abbey but somehow his servants managed to bring his self assembled bed from Newark. The bedding, however, stayed put so he had to accept whatever the Abbey had. He made it to Newark a week or so later and died there. A fantastic documentary traced his final progress and there is a lot of detail about every day so the book may have some details of how to organize a progress. It was normal practice to move around the country to rule more effectively but the Tudors were more stable around London with more permanent palaces, so the progress was a summer affair, mostly in the south and East Midlands. This journey north was a great deal further for Henry Viii. His father came to York twice and to Lancashire as did Richard iii but this was on a scale not seen before, it was the progress of progresses for Henry Viii at least. I will try and find something. Give me a few days, it may take time.
I think although Henry wanted his subjects to know he would brook no disobedience he also wanted to be seen as a benevolent prince who was also capable of forgiveness and generosity, I think the rebellion had quite possibly shook him especially when York rose up and he was determined to put an end to it and restore peace in the Kingdom once more, he also wanted to show of his new young bride of whom he was quite besotted with, Henry was angry when his nephew failed to show up and sources show that this was because of the latters distrust of his uncle, family they maybe but the marriage between Henry’s sister decades before had done nothing to improve the relations between the two countries, and in fact James later invaded England as his father had done with the same dire consequences, again leaving a young widow and instead of a male heir just a little girl who grew up to be such a thorn in Henry’s daughter Elizabeth’s side, after James death some said of depression after his country’s ignominious defeat at the hands of the English, Henry was determined to bring Scotland under his yoke and wanted the little Queen Mary bought to his court and engaged to Edward, thus began England’s rough wooing the name given by her contemporaries to finalise this deal, however Marie De Guise James widow was having none of it and swiftly despatched her of to France, much to Henry’s rage, the fact that even though they were close blood relations the enmity was still there and yes it was really due to the fact that England had always tried to suppress Scotland over the centuries and as Bandit queen says did continue to claim sovereignty, as they also claimed sovereignty over France, continuing to style themselves Kings of France because of Edward 111’s claim through his mother Queen Isabella several centuries before.
I love the scene in the Tudors when the King and Queen Katherine and Princess Mary were travelling through the country to the meeting in York and all the local people just came out to wave and cheer and Henry and Katherine were waving and lapping up the cheers from their adoring people. It was good to show the people that you have a presence and are benevolent. Henry loved the adoring people. He was popular at one time, he could be again.
Yes Henry it was said never completely lost the love of his people even though he inflicted dreadful atrocities on them during his rule, the image of the sunny natured golden prince who had inherited the throne from his dour miserly father was never far from their hearts and this was the secret of his appeal, he had been called the handsomest prince in Christendom and had charm in abundance, apart from being blessed with a god like physique he was also cultured and intelligent, he was never lordly with the common people either and would often put his arm around his lowliest subjects, even in old age as he grew so fat and acted more tyrannical as the years passed he still had the power to charm people and this charm was something his daughter Elizabeth possessed, perhaps the only one of his children to do so and was the secret of her appeal to, they had empathy with the common man.