On this day in history, 1st April 1536, Eustace Chapuys wrote a very long and detailed letter to his master, Emperor Charles V, in which he mentioned an incident concerning King Henry VIII and his alleged new flame, Jane Seymour.
Chapuys wrote of how he’d heard that the King had sent Jane “a purse full of sovereigns” and that on receiving the purse, Jane had kissed the letter and begged the messenger to tell the King that she could not take the purse because “she was a gentlewoman of good and honorable parents, without reproach, and that she had no greater riches in the world than her honor, which she would not injure for a thousand deaths, and that if he wished to make her some present in money she begged it might be when God enabled her to make some honorable match.”
According to Chapuys, Jane was being coached by Sir Nicholas Carew and the Catholic faction in how to appeal to the King and also to tell him how much the people of England “detested” his marriage to Anne Boleyn. Was Jane’s behaviour all part of an act or was she simply being a virtuous woman who was concerned about her reputation? It’s hard to know. Whatever the truth behind Jane’s actions, Henry was warming to the thrill of the chase and had moved Edward Seymour and his wife, Anne Stanhope, into Cromwell’s chamber (poor Cromwell had been moved) to make it easier for him to see Jane.
Notes and Sources
- Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2: 1536-1538, note 43