24 October 1537 – The Death of Queen Jane Seymour

Posted By on October 24, 2014

Jane Seymour by Lucas Horenbout

Jane Seymour by Lucas Horenbout

On 24th October 1537 Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII and mother of Edward VI, succumbed to childbed fever and died at Hampton Court Palace.

Jane had initially recovered well from her long and arduous labour, but started to go downhill in the days following Edward’s christening, suffering with a fever and delirium. On 17th October, her fever reached crisis point, and it looked like Jane would recover, but then it struck again. On the 24th October her condition worsened, and she died that night.

Here are some primary source accounts of her illness and death:

“Today the King intended to remove to Asher, and, because the Queen was very sick this night and today, he tarried, but he will be there tomorrow. “If she amend he will go and if she amend not he told me this day he could not find in his heart to tarry.” She was in great danger yesternight and to day but, if she sleep this night, the physicians hope that she is past danger. Hampton Court, xxiiiiith (sic) day of October.” Sir John Russell to Thomas Cromwell, 24th October 1537

“Yesterday afternoon the Queen had “an naturall laxe,” by reason of which she seemed to amend till toward night. All night she has been very sick, and rather “appears” than amends. Her confessor has been with her this morning, and is now preparing to minister the Sacrament of Unction. Hampton Court, Wednesday, 8 a.m.” Earl of Rutland, Bishop of Carlisle and others to Cromwell, 24th October 1537

“But Lorde what lamentacion shortly after was made for the death of his noble and gracious mother quene Iane, which departed out of this life the fourtene day of Octobre, next folowyng: and of none in the Realme was it more heauelier taken then of the kynges Maiestie himself, whose death cause the kyng imediatly to remoue into Westminster wher he mourned and kept him selfe close and secret a great while […]” Edward Hall, Hall’s Chronicle

“This yeare, the 14 of October, beinge Weddnesday, Queene Jane departed this lyfe, lyeinge in childe bedde, about 2 of the clocke in the morninge, when she had reigned as the Kings wife, beinge never crowned, one yeare and a quarter.” Charles Wriothesley, Wriothesley’s Chronicle

You will notice that both Hall and Wriothesley write of Jane dying on the 14th October, rather than the 24th, but the editor of Wriothesley’s Chronicle points out that this is an error in the transcription of the chronicles because Sir John Russell’s letter, which is still extant, is dated 24th October and also Wriothesley says that she died on a Wednesday and the 14th was a Sunday. He also points out that Cecil’s Journal gave the correct date.

Jane Seymour was buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on the 13th November, although her heart was buried in the Chapel Royal of Hampton Court Palace. Henry VIII chose to be buried beside the woman he regarded as his true wife, and he was laid to rest beside her after his death in January 1547.

Notes and Sources

  • LP xii.ii. 970,977
  • Hall’s Chronicle, p825
  • Wriothesley’s Chronicle, p69-70

14 thoughts on “24 October 1537 – The Death of Queen Jane Seymour”

  1. Gail Marion says:

    We’ll never know what went through Jane’s mind concerning the trial/beheading of Anne Boleyn and her marriage to Henry in less than a fortnight thereafter? Any fear for her future was put to rest on delivery of a son, but the solace was short-lived.

  2. Melodie Snow says:

    500 years later and we are still caught in the SOAP OPERA that was Henry VIII’s love life…. He was an archetect, poet, composer, ship designer, military genuis, averaged execution of 1 person per DAY of his rule, and yet it is his love life which most people know of him. I feel sorry for all his women.
    I’ve wondered if Anne was all that ambitious, or if she demanded marriage thinking it impossible, so he would stop pursuring her.
    My favorite was Catherine of Aragon, and I believe Henry’s affection for Jane was actually a desire to rediscover the faithful and queenly Catherine.

  3. Becky says:

    Tragic day for Jane but who knows what would have happened had she survived. Would she have been beheaded or survived???? Sooooo many questions!!
    This day is also the day I was born!!

    1. Ann says:

      Many happy returns of the day!

      1. Becky says:

        Aah thank you! I agree with Melodie, Catherine was also my favourite, she had a difficult life and dealt with it with good grace,every inch a queen – how different England would have been had she given birth to a healthy son! How cruel Henry was to her. If only he had someone to tell him he was doing the wrong thing in pursuing Anne-someone whom he respected and valued. After Mary, who would have been next in line if Elizabeth wasn’t born? Would it have been Lady Jane Grey? Still, cruel as he was,, he is the most talked about English monarch, I guess.

      2. Kathy says:

        I think, had she survived she would have been safe and beloved for life after giving birth to the much wanted son, at last a prince of the realm. And today is also my birthday, so I won’t forget poor Queen Jane.

  4. BanditQueen says:

    May poor Queen Jane Seymour who made the ultimate sacrifice to give Henry a son, rest in peace, for she alone has provided Henry with his hearts desire. May this lovely lady rest in eternal peace and may perpetual light shine upon her. After such a terrible birth, in labour for almost 3 days, she must have been very weak, even though she had recovered enough to witness the baptism and enjoy a brief triumph. The fact that she had lost a lot of blood led to septic infection and she was not able to recover. The doctors even believed she was a little better, but she seems to have had a rapid and very harsh decline. Poor lady; to have won and so have lost so much; her own life. She was the only one of the Queens to be buried with the full honours of a Queen. Jane, like Katherine of Aragon was kind and intelligent and she would have gone on to be very gracious had she indeed lived.

  5. jenny says:

    Rest in Peace with your son and husband Jane. You were a noble spirit, a gracious Queen and a kind, gentle woman. Your death was mourned by a King and a nation. Your death is also all the more poignant as you passed away so soon after the birth of your baby. You really were most beloved xxx

  6. Kelley says:

    I never cared for Jane–how could she watch the destruction and murder of Anne Boleyn (and the men killed with her) and then replace her so quickly? I have always thought Anne of Cleves was the best of the lot–she calmly assessed her situation and made the best deal for herself and lived graciously afterwards.

    1. melissa says:

      I totally agree with you. In my opinion, Anne of Cleves was by far the smartest of them all. She wanted freedom and did not want to return to her brother. She did what she had to do to survive and be happy. As for Jane, I believe she was the most ruthless. Her marriage was made in blood. She became queen over Anne’s dead body. Had she not delivered a son, Henry would have gotten rid of her as well. She was surely the least attractive I think.

  7. Gail Marion says:

    Anne of Cleves, like Katherine of Aragon, had royal connections on the continent that Henry had no wish to displease. The motherless Anne accepted her generous post-marriage contract and lived a good life thereafter, unlike Katherine who continued to suffer Henry’s cruelty in holding up their child as a bargaining chip in there ongoing disputes.

    1. Gail Marion says:

      Yikes! Switch “motherless Anne” to “childless Anne”.

  8. Cassie says:

    To Kelley,
    Anne of Cleves was not so gracious. After Katherine Howard was executed she was hopeful that Henry would return to her and was rather offended when he chose Catherine Parr over her. She publicly admitted that she considered herself prettier than her.

    Anne was just as ambitious as the rest of them she was just unsuccessful and did the best with what she was offered. Her eyes were set on the crown.

    As for Jane, i dont think she had much of a choice in when she chose to get married.
    Henry was the one who decided when they got married and the fates of those who he considered treasonous. She had no option but to follow along with his plans and close her eyes to anything she might have considered an injustice, like she did with the Pilgrimage of Grace. You cant really argue with a King and get away with it.

    1. Christine says:

      Are you sure Anne of Cleve’s said that? He had just executed two wives I should imagine she was counting her blessings at having escaped their fate.

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