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25 July – Name-calling and a royal marriage

Posted By on July 25, 2019

On this day in history, 25th July 1535, the Feast of St James, Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, wrote to Nicolas Perrenot de Granvelle, one of Emperor Charles V’s advisors, and included a post-script regarding Anne Boleyn and her daughter, Elizabeth, being verbally attacked by Will Somer (Summer), King Henry VIII’s fool.

Chapuys recorded:

“P.S.-He the other day nearly murdered his own fool, a simple and innocent man, because he happened to speak well in his presence of the Queen and Princess, and called the concubine “ribaude” and her daughter “bastard.” He has now been banished from Court, and has gone to the Grand Esquire, who has sheltered and hidden him.”

So, Somer had had the audacity to speak well of Catherine of Aragon and her daughter, Mary, while calling the present queen and princess “ribald” and a “bastard”. It is little wonder that Henry VIII “nearly murdered him”.

As Chapuys states, Somer was banished from court and was “sheltered and hidden” by Sir Nicholas Carew, chief esquire of the king, a man who would go on to be involved in Queen Anne Boleyn’s fall in 1536 by coaching Jane Seymour in how to behave with the king.

Will Somer managed to regain the king’s favour and served as court fool to Edward VI and Mary I, and was recorded as being inn attendance at Elizabeth I’s coronation in 1559. He died on 15th June 1560.

Also on this day in history, 25th July 1554, Queen Mary I got married!

If you prefer audio to video, you can listen to my podcast here, and, if you prefer reading, you can read more about the wedding here.

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82 thoughts on “25 July – Name-calling and a royal marriage”

  1. Michael Wright says:

    Wow, I don’t remember ever reading of this incident with Will Somers before. He made the mistake of saying out loud what so many people in England were thinking. Being open around Henry was not a good idea. It could cost you your head or worse.

    Something I mentioned on YouTube: online you can find a photo of a reproduction of Mary’s wedding dress. It’s quite beautiful.

  2. Therese says:

    Will Somers was probably lucky he was a ‘Fool’ because in 1535 it was very foolish for anyone to talk against Anne and/or her daughter Elizabeth! But as often the case with Henry VIII, the winds change quickly and so does the King’s favor. Will Somers died in his bed.

  3. Christine says:

    Just seen the picture Michael your right, it is a very beautiful dress, in purple the colour of royalty and patterned in gold, for their wedding anniversary Winchester cathedral had a replica made of her dress a nice touch I think, and poor Mary must have been so deliriously happy on this day, she was in love or infatuated with her handsome cousin who, once she had seen his portrait decided to have him and no other, but it was not a very popular marriage and there were grumblings in the streets, most of her council mistrusted him too being a Spaniard but Philip to be fair was not the foreign ogre many thought he would be, later on during the Smithfied burnings he advised Mary to go a bit easy on her quest to root out the heretics in her land, ironic as he was the one who was blamed for them, Mary did adore her much younger spouse who was a Hapsburg with the fair Hapsburg looks, and the strong rather prominent jaw, but prior to the wedding after meeting his bride to be for the first time, he told a friend he was only going through with it fir the sake of his country, Mary by then had lost most of her looks, worry anxiety and misery had taken its toll on her beauty which she had possessed as a child and young teenager, she is said to have had a lovely complexion and piercing grey eyes, she had the red hair of the Tudors and although short and thin, (she was possibly only about five foot), she was nevertheless a good dancer and loved fashionable clothes and music, she was merry and lively in the company of her friends and was a good horseman, she had a good education and was a true princess of the Renaissance, she also loved to gamble and was often in debt, many only see Mary as a sour faced fanatic who glorified in sending thousands to their deaths, but there was so much more to her, and the heretics were offered a pardon if they were to recant however I am not condoning this form of execution which was really dreadful, I think Marys character was formed in her unhappy teenage years when Henry V111 discarded her mother for Anne Boleyn whom many saw as the wet nurse of heresy, thus in her was borne a hatred of heretics and we must also remember she suffered during the reign of Edward when she was forbidden to attend her beloved mass, Edward on a few occasions berated her quite harshly for her popish beliefs which caused her to burst into tears, poor Mary why should she not have mass said in her own private apartments? , no wonder her character had hardened by the time she took the throne, this wedding day was we can see one of the few occasions in her life when she was truly happy, as Claire says she had been betrothed so many times and it had all come to nothing, longingly she wanted a child and today it is believed that when a woman longs for a child so much, her body can deceive her into thinking she is pregnant, she experiences the same symptoms, tiredness nausea swollen tender breasts and a swollen belly, some of her women must have been pregnant themselves at some time in their lives and were suspicious there was something wrong, but they bouyed their mistress up with hope as none dare tell her it was all in her mind, because after several months it was then obvious there was to be no child, she must have felt humiliated and then a year later she went though the same again, this time one of her women who was more forthright than the others told her bluntly she was not with child, this must have led to her misery as Philip was then on one of his many oversea appointments and his presence would have helped her a great deal, he visited her once and she even travelled to meet him on his arrival when he embarked but he left again, Marys letters to him are full of yearning to see him again, she was totally enamoured of him, but he was not with her and possibly had found it disasterful sleeping with her, maybe he found excuses not to be with her and we can say in all confidence he was not very enamoured of his adopted country either, her marriage sadly did not bring Mary much happiness but had she a child I think her joy would have been complete, it is said she suffered from endometriosis which causes painful heavy periods and renders the woman unable to conceive naturally, she had always suffered from very painful periods as a teenager and so that could have been the reason she could not have a child, her own mother had conceived easily although sadly she went on to lose them all except Mary, her death merely five years later after catching what could have been the flu shows how delicate she actually was, there are theories she suffered from cancer which caused her distended belly, could she have had stomach cancer which caused nausea and she would also have lost an alarming amount of weight, her death was expected but also what I find so sad is her beloved husband was still not with her, he had been a distant husband throughout their marriage but on hearing of her death he showed regret and maybe some remorse for the wife who had adored him so completely, and whom he had not seen much over the years, he remarked he had held her in regard but he was possibly relieved, he must have turned his thoughts to their wedding day however when they had stood together in Winchesters ancient church and plighted their troth amidst the gaily dressed company, how they had feasted together whilst the musicians played, he had been her adored husband but he was to be her sister Elizabeths nemesis, he was to go on to marry again and have a son who was considered insane whilst Mary relinquished England into Elizabeths eager capable hands.

    1. Michael Wright says:

      Ironic too that Phillip would ask Mary to back off s bit on the burnings considering the devastating destruction of Protestants he was responsible for in the Netherlands. Perhaps his advice to Mary was a political move to make him seem more acceptable to the English who I’m sure he knew were not thrilled with him.

      1. Christine says:

        Yes it could have been Michael.

  4. Christine says:

    The fools were chosen because they were a little backward maybe some were autistic/ had learning difficulties which is the term used to describe them today, before the enlightened world of the 20th c they were considered lunatics simpletons etc, they made a good living being at the court of the reigning King or queen, they had food comfortable living quarters, and were there to employ light relief from the stresses of government, Annes fool was a woman called Jane and she was with her as they rode the London streets to her coronation exclaiming out loud to the sullen watching crowds that they must have scurvy heads as they kept their caps on, Henrys V111s fool was a Will Somers and yes he enraged his master by calling his new queen a concubine and baby Elizabeth a bastard, one can see the King getting up from his heavy ornate chair as Anne glared at him and he probably shook him by the shoulders and swore a great deal at him, he quickly scuttered away and went in hiding for some time in the house of Nicholas Carewe, Somers was foolish to have uttered such a thing as Henry was very sensitive over the fact that he wished everyone to acknowledge Anne as his true rightful queen and Elizabeth his legal heir, Somers had brought politics into his world of comedy and yes he was just saying what most were thinking, but later Henry was to pass a law which made it treason not to acknowledge her as Queen and so Somers was treading on very thin ground here, he did the right thing in keeping his head down but Henry had made it obvious he had no wish for his services anyway and he was possibly a bit simple as mentioned above, so Henry must have cut him some slack, after time his anger ebbed away as it does and he was back at court, but Anne must have been furious however he was just a fool not a politician, and monarchs maybe did not bother too much over what their fools said or did, but when Will Somers made his foolish remark it drove home to Henry what people the length and breadth of England and the catholic world were saying, Somers must have shook in his boots, I think Carew originally was a friend of the Boleyns but when Anne was known to be falling from favour after her last miscarriage he went over to the Seymours as most did, they were rising in prominence at court through their member Jane having caught the Kings eye, to court fools however it mattered little who was on the throne they job was just to entertain.

  5. Banditqueen says:

    Poor Will Somers, normally fools commenting on the things going on in politics was not discouraged as long as they used humour and didn’t go too far. On this occasion calling Anne Boleyn a whore and Henry’s little cub a bastard was not very smart. Henry’s explosions could be deadly and he almost killed his own fool in a fit of rage. Henry was very dangerous to be around when challenged in this way and his fool got the brunt of his wrath. No wonder he ran away and hid in the home of Sir Nicholas Carew. Fools were often people with deformities and/or mental disability but were highly prized and it is believed that when he shut himself away for several months after the death of Jane Seymour, Henry only had his fool for company and would not see anyone else. Women were also employed as fools and Queen Mary had one named Jane, of whom she was very fond. Will was obviously pardoned at some point as he returned to the King’s employment but what a close brush with death.

    What a wonderful and lively description of the wedding of Philip II and Queen Mary and how splendid they both looked. Winchester Cathedral was chosen to emphasise ancient authority and to keep things calmer after the protest against the marriage which gave rise to the Wyatt Rebellion. Now the man Mary had idealised in her mind, from his portrait, (sounds familiar) for whom there had been very difficult and interesting negotiations which also meant he was excluded from direct rule in England and kept us out of Spain’s French Wars, was here at her side and she probably had high hopes for the future. From the purely political and dynastic perspective Philip was ideal as a candidate and Spain the strongest ally for England. This marriage actually made more sense than her marriage to a noble English man who would not be her equal but would assume power over Mary as a female sovereign. A joint sovereignty, which dissolved on the death of either partner was the best solution. Contrary to popular myth, Philip didn’t bring the Inquisition to England, heresy laws and prosecution were under English statutory provision and procedures and in fact Philip was hesitant about them. I love the portrait with Mary and Philip facing each other. It shows her vision of a joint sovereignty and coins and medals at this time had Mary in front with Philip at her side but behind, putting Mary in the ascendancy. This did change over time as can be seen from a medallion which has both with the crown suspended as on all coins but the back has Philip shown first. It dates from 1557 and was struck during a period in which Mary believed she was pregnant. All documents were to be signed jointly, all acts of Parliament in joint names, all coins have the crown above and between the joint sovereignty, treason laws affected Philip as King as well as Mary as Queen, both names had to be on all proclamations and so on. However, his actual authority was meant to be ceremonial and not autocratic. The main problems would be if Mary had to withdraw because she was pregnant and twice special provisions were made for Philip to have temporary authority in the stead of his wife, but this was limited. England was eventually drawn into war with France, against Papal authority by the way, which caused a quarrel between Mary and the Papacy, although nothing to cause a breach, in which at first she did well. The Battle of Saint Quentin was a great Anglo Spanish victory, the greatest on French soil, but is forgotten by propaganda which maligned Mary and Philip. However, the loss of Calais right at the end of her reign hit England hard as it was the last base on French soil. It was also extremely expensive to maintain and from an economic and realistic point of view no great loss. At the time, however, after 600 years of trespassing on French territory, sorry holding ancient claims and English territory on French soil, this was seen as a catastrophe. Mary said on her heart was written Philip and Calais as she died.

    Mary was rightly condemned for her part in persecution against so called reforming heretics, but this isn’t entirely fair, especially in the setting of the sixteenth century when monarchs of all religious persuasions, passed severe laws against heresy or others whom they saw as a direct threat to their authority as sovereigns appointed by God. Elizabeth I used her laws to make being a Catholic priest high treason, as well as hiding them or being reconciled to the Catholic Faith or reconciliation to the Church by another. Henry Viii persecuted everyone, those who were heretics, those who refused the Supremacy and none conformist groups like Anabaptist refugees. However, we should not just remember Mary for this aspect of her reign, ruthless as it was, but for the more powerful and positive aspects. She was very generous personally, she loved to dance and gamble, she loved beautiful clothes, she used iconography as much as her sister, she loved ceremonies and she was a determined woman. She reformed naval finances and organisations. She encouraged adventures to Russian territory and beyond and new trade partners. She helped ordinary people and ended the law her father introduced allowing mentally ill people to be executed for treason. She gave the gender neutral authority of the crown proper meaning and this set the tone for further female Kings. Churches and shrines were restored and beautified during her reign. She encouraged a preaching and educational campaign before any heresy laws were enforced and these continued afterwards. She believed in an active and evangelical form of the Catholic Faith and encouraged renewal in the Church. Her stand on the Mass and her religious policy was popular and expected by the majority of her people, but it may have gone too far. We should rightly be horrified at the very thought of any human being dying in the fires for any reason and at the idea of hanging, drawing and quartering, and reactions to these varied. There were protests, there was sympathy for a number of victims, but horrible as it sounds, there was also widespread approval in both the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth and even worse, some people saw horrible execution as entertainment. Mary didn’t set out to execute 280 people, which is a lot in five short years, most were given up locally and tried locally by neighbours with a grudge, but ultimately as with every sovereign hers is the ultimate blame, if not the personal one. We must balance these laws out with her personal and comparative compassion and mercy towards traitors and rebels. Those who tried to keep her from the throne in 1553 were pardoned, except for the Duke of Northumberland, which is not surprising. The trials of Jane Grey and the Dudley pack, along with Thomas Cranmer didn’t take place for several months, three brothers were acquitted or pardoned, but Guildford with his wife were condemned. Henry Grey and Frances Grey, Duke and Duchess of Suffolk were pardoned. However, Henry Grey took the lead in the Wyatt Rebellion and this pushed the Council to demand Jane and Guildford were executed, as was her father. This was six months afterwards. The leaders of the Wyatt Rebellion were executed, although hundreds of ordinary rebels were publicly pardoned by Mary herself. Nobles involved were also not executed. 500 rebels were pardoned by the Queen out of compassion. The leaders of the Reformation were executed because they had lead others to heresy and Mary executed Cranmer after he had recanted which was unusual and controversial, but again he could have been executed for treason and had both recanted and changed his mind several times. Again this is controversial and I would direct people to the article by Beth Von Staats on this issue. Mary also used the appeal of motherhood and the image of being married to her realm to appeal to her people for support when Wyatt was marching on London and they rallied to her side. This image was used later by her sister who actually copied much from her sister. Yes, Mary had Elizabeth imprisoned for a time in the Royal Apartments in the Tower, but she refused to have her executed and she was under real suspicion of trying to murder Mary and consent to the Wyatt conspiracy to put Elizabeth on the throne. If there was any evidence of this at all, it was lost or destroyed by Elizabeth and she was vindicated or at least not implicated by Wyatt. Elizabeth was released, ironically on the Anniversary of her mother’s execution, to house arrest in the luxury of Woodstock and eventually to her own home after one year. Before this the relationship with the sisters had been affectionate but the Council now pressed Mary who reluctantly had her arrested, which in my opinion was the right thing to do, especially if Elizabeth was plotting or appeared to be plotting against her. Edward iv, after three times having pardoned his brother, George, Duke of Clarence, had him tried and attained for treason in 1477 and he was privately executed, most probably by drowning in a wine press on 18th February 1478. Being a half sister or full brother to the monarch didn’t save you from accusations of treason or execution. Elizabeth wasn’t in danger of being killed for the rest of Mary’s reign. This is another myth for which no evidence exists but which so called historians love to claim in documentary programmes without any basis whatsoever.

    Mary was a woman of great compassion and deep commitment who went through hell as a very young woman. She was also a woman of great courage and made an heroic stand when her very life, existence and crown were threatened. She made some errors in judgement and yes, she was fierce in her determination to end heresy. However, she was also compassionate when dealing with many who tried to take her life and were condemned for treason and rebellion. She was measured in her justice and her reign was far more successful than she is given credit for. Had she came to the throne in 1547 on the death of her father, aged 31 having married as a teenager as she should have done, with two or three healthy children, which is very possible as we don’t know for certain when the problem which killed her began and which may not have been present back then, things would have been very different. Her return of the Country to the true faith as she saw it was in fact greeted with joy and would have been successful. Motherhood would also have made her even more compassionate and the Reformation would not have taken the roots it had in 1553. A Catholic heir would have brought her more security. As she was well educated and a Renaissance Princess there is no reason to believe that arts and music and educational achievements would not have flourished during a much longer, stable and peaceful reign and the seeds were sown for all three. In addition to naval and social reform she helped the economy and introduced new international contacts. Mary may not have been lucky enough to come to the throne aged 25 and reign for 45 years, but the Golden Age of Elizabeth I is another myth. Mary suffered from the prolonged propaganda wars which followed and the publication of the Book of Martyrs by John Foxe, who as I mentioned before appears to have researched some of his history in the home of Mary Howard, Dowager Duchess of Richmond, the rest abroad in exile. This work is in itself controversial and its accuracy and sources are often debated. It needs to be read for what it is, as much polemic as history. She wasn’t even called by the B word until much later in history. Her life and reign should be studied in context and with balance, just as that of Elizabeth should be assessed and criticised were she failed or made rash choices. I leave that to experts like Susan Doran or Marian experts like Linda Porter and Proffessor Edwards. I am aware many here won’t agree with my assessment of Mary I; fair enough, I merely ask people to argue from the evidence of history, rather than the popular myth of imagination.

    For interesting and scholarship on Philip II, I recommend the following expert works:

    Imprudent King. A New Life of Philip ii by Geoffrey Parker
    World Without End. The Global Empire of Philip ii by Hugh Thomas
    Philip of Spain by Henry Kamen
    Philip of Spain, King of England: The Forgotten Sovereign by Henry Kelsey
    The Grand Strategy of Philip ii by Geoffrey Parker.

    There are hundreds of others but these are the most authoritative. Happy reading and debating.

  6. Edie says:

    This makes me want to go back and reread Margaret George’s novel “the Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool Will Somers.” If I recall correctly, that incident is brought up but I don’t remember how it was handled. Loved that novel…!

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Hi Edie, I too loved that book, written with bits by Will Somers and then Henry, absolutely wonderful. There is another good novel about him, The King’s Fool by Margaret Campbell Barnes, also really excellent. He was a lucky man who died in his own bed.

    2. Christine says:

      I have heard how good that novel is and I intend to buy it or put it on my birthday present list, it’ll be interesting to see Henry’s point of view although it’s only fiction it has good reviews.

  7. Banditqueen says:

    Talking of golden ages, PM Boris Johnson promised us a golden age during his maiden speech as PM today in Parliament. Oh boy!

  8. Christine says:

    If he gets us out of the EU with a deal he will go down in history as victorious, I do not envy him his job but he’s embraced it with relish, the hapless May was hopelessly inadequate for the task, I do not believe her heart was in it as she is a remainer, she made a bad choice in calling an early election which weakened her position, I have sympathy for her but it was time she went, I was surprised by the amount of support Boris had within his own party because I did not realise he was that popular, as for Labours Jeremy Corbyn he seems to have lost a lot of support from his own party and voters, he does not seem to know what Labour should do and he’s complaining about J Swinton instead of Boris for saying she intends to bring down the govt, people say secretly he’s a Brexiteer yet claims Labour supports a second referendum, my cousin met Boris once on the underground and he was very polite yet his not very good at making speeches as he tends to stammer, I did think his speech outside Downing Street was good though and just what weary Brexiteers wanted to hear, he has the zeal and passion which Churchill had, who knows he may turn out just as great?

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Teresa May was thrown into a job she didn’t really want and she wasn’t really up to it. Her two mistakes were calling an early election when the government didn’t need one and the Downing Street Agreement, more or less her own minority agreement with representatives of the EU, oh and her acceptance that was the only agreement on offer. While there are things in there which are acceptable the agreement actually locks Britain even more into EU regulation than beforehand. A cross party commission to look at what was acceptable to Parliament and what was actually voted for would have prevented most of the nonsense since. Honestly, even I would go No Deal now, that’s how fed up I am with Brexit and the EU and the Government.

      What sort of PM will Boris be? An entertaining and enthusiastic one with a big personality and one not afraid of the media or hard work. I will give Mrs May her due, she didn’t dodge hard work. I might not agree with her stand, but I admired her for sticking to the way forward she believed in. I thought the late Baroness Thatcher was an iron Lady, but May really did hammer in the iron girders and hold fast. Regionally Leave/Remain shows a clear geographic split across Britain and population wise far more voted Leave than the public reality. However, percentage wise it was very close, something like 52% to 48% but a smaller percentage of the electorate actually turned out, which actually disgusted me as voting is important for the future and as a woman, I have very strong feelings on democracy and empowering people to vote. Maybe a bigger majority should have been sought, but in the end the people voted, the people deserve a result in this battle and we need to leave sooner, rather than later. A second vote may or may not change things, people claiming they were lied to are wrong, they just didn’t understand the complexity: that is about education, not honesty. Recently reports show actually a second referendum would give Leave an even greater majority, but of course we know more now. A better educational campaign on the complexity of the EU and what it would possibly mean might well have been a good idea. Getting a sense of what sort of agreement might be accepted in Parliament might have been a good idea as Article 50 didn’t need to be triggered for some time. Going to the electorate with a range of options might have prevented some of the confusion in Parliament as MPs could be bound by them. I don’t envy anyone the job they now have to take on Brussels. Boris will need to keep his more colourful opinions in order during negotiations. Honestly, I believe No Deal is actually a reality. I am not a doom sayer. I think we are more prepared for such a possibility than the public or even business claim. We have been prepared since the referendum. If we do go, of course a deal is better, but Parliament is still so divisive and divided, the chances of anything getting through seem remote.

      Boris has charisma and I think he has a vision, but we have to wait and see. I am sceptical because he also tends to mess up a lot. He is actually quite popular because of his personality and he has genuine concerns about the environment and social issues. He is also an author on the Roman Empire and wants ancient history back on the curriculum in schools. Anyone who promotes history gets my vote, as long as they can also learn from it. Promising a golden age isn’t the best way to begin but he certainly has the personality to promote a better future, but who knows if he can deliver it. Oh well political life here just got more interesting and colourful.

      1. Christine says:

        Agreed also he has a love of the classics, Greek mythology and his favourite poem is ‘The Iliad’ by Homer, he is cultured and educated, and a true Tory – he’s an old Etonian, I think he’s a colourful charismatic person and beside him Corbyn looks like an old grouch, our PMs have mostly been quite elderly when they took office though Tony Blair was quite young and of course we had William Pitt the younger, well before our day yet he was hailed as a great Prime Minister, as a rule they have been pretty old, Boris is like a breath of fresh air and I imagine there’s a few ripples of fear running through Brussels now.

  9. Michael Wright says:

    The fact that Will Somers is included in several artworks of Henry VIII shows that he was highly valued.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Ah, yes, Will Somers was a very well favoured and its recorded how much the King became fond of him, after he was presented as a gift to the King in 1525. One tale has him challenge the King’s juggler, Thomas and mocking him. He took his milk and bread and threw it into the face of Thomas, forcing him to accept the challenge. Henry found this amusing and challenged fool to juggle eggs. He expects him to drop them but the fool does very well and a contest took place. Thomas began to juggle and Will stole his balls and runs of with them. He is chased around and over the banqueting tables much to the delight of the King and Queen and then proved himself to be quite talented with them. Thomas concedes his rival is the better juggler and Somers immortalised his adventures in a mockery rhyme. Despite the unfortunate incident when he mocked Anne Boleyn and the little Princess Elizabeth, Somers had a successful career and remained faithful to the King, served him to the end of Henry’s life. He also served Queen Mary and during the early years of Queen Elizabeth. He died around 1560.

      There are records of his integrity and his wit which were praised in the Art of Rhetoric and he also appears to have fallen on hard times as a Keeper was appointed for him in 1551, which suggests that he couldn’t control his own finances and he needed a carer. It was also suggested that he had scoliosis which came on just post adolescence. He is described as walking with a stoop. He mocked Cardinal Wolsey and the Court in general but that was his role, to mock and entertain at the same time. He was intelligent, he appeared to have been admired by many who visited the English Court and even trustworthy as a confidante. His brush with the royal wrath though must have been truly terrifying.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Regarding artworks, Michael, he and Jane the Fool appear in Henry’s Allegory of the Succession which is the King, Jane Seymour and Edward, his daughters off to the sides and in the garden, Will Somers and Jane the Fool. In the Book of Hours belonging to Henry Viii we have Henry playing music in his room and Will is again on another page. This is in the British Library. In the family portrait of Henry, Mary, Elizabeth and Edward, Will is in the family portrait, which shows how highly regarded he was. Natural fools or those who were employed who had learning difficulties, as Will may have done, although the evidence is inconclusive, were trustworthy and seen as close to God, unable to deceive and valued for being straightforward and naturally humorous and highly prominent in noble households. As you say that he appears in a number of intimate and famous art works proves his importance and place at Henry’s Court.

        1. Christine says:

          Yes that’s right he is said to have appeared in Holbeins great masterpiece depicting the King and his children, Jane Seymour is in it although she was dead, he was married at the time to his sixth queen Catherine Parr, how she felt at being excluded we can only guess, but she lived in the shadow of his other queens anyway, Somers was highly regarded and he was popular at court as he became Marys fool, and for some time Elizabeths till his death just two years into her reign, he had a natural gift of the comedian like Tommy Cooper probably, who raised more laughs for his gaffes than more sophisticated jokes, the kind that Ronnie Corbett employed, Henry was closeted with Will after the bleak days following Janes death and here we can see how valuable he was to him, he was sunk in misery and Will helped his mood by sheer light entertainment, he could probably speak to Will like he could none other of his grief and sadness, and Will was like a kind of therapy to his Royal master, he helped alleviate his depression at a time when he needed him the most, some could say he was the Kings most valuable servant.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          There are a few times that I do actually feel sorry for Henry, one being during the days and weeks after the death of Queen Jane Seymour. He was genuinely lost without her and completely withdrew in total mourning, the Court was in disarray and he would not allow any of his council in to his chambers to speak with him. Will Somers was clearly someone who could speak to Henry with humour and open honesty, despite the frightening encounter above. Henry didn’t know what to do, he left all of the details of the funeral of his beloved Jane to the Duke of Norfolk and it’s said he may have sketched the famous Nonsuch Palace while in the turmoil of his grief. Will Somers would indeed have been a great comfort to Henry and this is a time beautifully captured in the Tudors, with Henry and Will exchanging beautiful tones of rhetoric and the tormented soul is clear in Henry’s answers.

          Will Somers as with many others were seen as close to God and had the natural gift of laughter from the angels and were certainly treated as part of the family. His presence in the Allegory of the Succession is almost that of a critic, watching the unfolding drama as well as being drawn in to comment and consent to Henry’s myth making as the ideal family and inheritance of all three of his adult children are laid out before all for the generations to come. I have seen the original painting but we have a full copy here at a local nineteenth century Manor House and it’s a very mystical looking painting. Jane the Fool, who served Princess Mary, then Queen Katherine Parr and then Queen Mary as Queen is also in the garden on the female side of the painting, providing the painting with balance and life and loyal support to the mistress she loved. To Mary she was a faithful and favoured companion and she was a close advisor in private matters and may even have been a political ally. Henry was so reliant on Will Somers that we see him depicted in his prayer book, his Book of Hours, with his master in his private bedchamber at the very end of his life. This most intimate item is beautiful, the King is shown reading a beautiful illuminated book, his bed is oak and huge and he sits on an egg shaped chair, only used by Kings. Will stands of to the side, with sumptuous clothes and he is in conversation with King Henry. In another scene on another page Henry is playing music while again Will appears to be advising or entertaining his royal monarch.

          Mary had a portrait of herself, her beloved father and brother and sister made a few years after Henry’s death and again Will Somers appearance is at the side of Henry and he was at his shoulder. He is again both advisor and beloved family member. In a duel portrait of father and daughter, Somers is squarely in the centre of the v between Henry and Mary and is holding a rod which may be one of authority. He is dressed in black, the colour worn yes for mourning, but more importantly by men and women of authority and status. This is indicative surely of the affection in which he was held by both monarchs and possibly how high he rose in status. His other hand bears a spaniel, although I doubt that has any significance except to say that dogs in portraits and on tombs often represented fidelity and loyalty. They were often associated with the faithful wife.

          The Art of Rhetoric as said before was written partly in honour of the skills of Will Somers and Henry provided for him later in life and the appointment of a Keeper may or may not show he had trouble controlling his own money, although it is also probable to reward him for his loyalty so as he didn’t have to worry about his clothing and daily expenses as he grew older and retired. We have no way of knowing how old Somers was when he was brought to Court in 1527_but he appears to have been an adult. He died in 1560 and was buried in Shoreditch. He had been in royal service for at least thirty three years. He appeared in several other illustrations and several lives of him have been done since the seventeenth century, although there isn’t currently a modern biography, which is a great shame. Modern work has been done on the fools and jesters of Tudor England with Disability in the Tudor Court being published next year. Although we can say a number of these talented and very well thought of people are named as being “natural fools” which is interpreted to mean they had learning disabilities, it is impossible to say that everyone did. Without more evidence, for me, that point remains one which isn’t proven and which needs to be explored further. However, thanks to recent studies we are now beginning to get a deeper and evidence based look into the lives of Will Somers, Patch, Jane the Fool and several others, who may well have been valued because of a disability, rather than scorned or feared as many others were during the Medieval and Early Modern period.

  10. Toby says:

    Was Will Sommers mentally disabled like most of the other Tudor era fools?

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Hi Toby, as I have said above the evidence for most fools having learning disabilities is open to interpretation. There has been a lot of research in recent years which infers that a number may well have been as the sources refer to “natural fools” which historians interpret to mean a learning disability. They were naturally open and honest and had a natural talent for laughter and comedy. They were seen as being incapable of betrayal and a gift from God. Will Somers is described in one study as being a ‘natural fool’ which was in 2011 by Dr Susanne Lipscomb, but it isn’t from a contemporary source. In 1551 it was noted that a “Keeper” had been appointed for him in order to take care of his financial needs and to pay for his clothing and keep. This is believed to mean he couldn’t take care of himself in the sense of making his own decisions on money and management of his day to day needs. So it is assumed he had a learning disability. However, this is the only evidence and other evidence suggests he was not only highly intelligent but he was very much in charge of his decisions. It is difficult to conclude either way based on the small amount of evidence we have, but it is very possible that yes he was. However, he was treated as a person of trust and he gave advice to the King on the state of his household which was being mismanaged by royal officials using comedy and rhetoric. Rhetoric was a highly advanced skill which took time to master and to perfect. To me this is supportive of the fact he wasn’t mentally disabled. Henry Viii had made the order for his care and the appointment of a Keeper could also suggest his physical age and as he was also described as having physical disabilities, if his health was in decline, an appointment of a carer would also be appropriate. Although he was still serving as a fool just before his death, it is possible that he was semi retired and being cared for during his final years. I believe more research is needed before we can conclude that every person employed as a fool or jester in Tudor England was a ‘natural fool’ with learning disabilities, as some historians like to claim or that this applied definitely to Will Somers. All we can say for certain is that based on the small amount of contemporary evidence we have, it is a possibility.

      1. Christine says:

        I too have felt sympathy for Henry V111 even though his treatment of most of his wives was vile, and especially the way his second queen was disposed of, the murder of many of his subjects and the lack of mercy he showed to his fifth queen who was little more than a naive foolish girl, I feel with his misdeeds which have coloured our perception of him, the man has been lost in the King, he had lost many children and to a parent one is enough, the grief he must have felt everytime Katherine of Aragon miscarried and when his babies died must have been overwhelming, yet as King he could not shut himself away and mourn indefinitely, he could not grieve like the ordinary man, with his second queen he lost more children he then watched his illegitimate child grow into a teenager, only to suffer his death to, a clever handsome sporty boy who he was very proud of, although he felt nothing but joy when Katherine Of Aragon died and Anne Boleyn, with Jane Seymour as Bq mentions he appears to have genuinely grieved for her, yet I had often got the impression he had merely chosen her because she came from a large family, this marked her out as good breeding stock not for her beauty or wit which her contemporaries claimed she most clearly lacked, she just happened to be in the right place at the right time, Henry was sick of Anne thus Jane was dangled before him as bait and he decided to hook her, but her sudden death seems to have sent him into a whirlpool of misery and I could feel sorry for him but not this time, as his wedding to his third wife was achieved with the shedding of much blood, I feel sympathy for him over what he saw as Catherine Howard’s betrayal but she lost her life and her lady in waiting too, and in what I call pure spite he had a bill passed that made it legal to execute insane people, thus Lady Rochford was sacrificed, there was also the cruel execution of his cousin Lady Margaret Pole, all because he could not get his hands on her son, he had been determined to impress his will on his people when he declared himself head of his new church and many had been slaughtered because they opposed him, the beautiful monasteries which had been sacked and left to decay till they were ruins was I feel abhorrent and especially since they had been places of refuge for the homeless poor and sick, because of actions like these he has not inspired much sympathy amongst historians and those interested in Tudor history today, but we should remember he had suffered a lot of grief in his life with the loss of his children it is because of that alone I find it in my heart to pity him, even though he is the merciless prince of legend.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Hi Christina, yes, I agree with everything you say. There is no doubt that Henry turned into a very cruel man and King, but he began as a promising young man, who loved and honoured his wife of choice, Katherine of Aragon. The loss of their children must have been heart breaking to both of them. For all of his cruelty in his later years, I too can’t help but feel sorrowful at the painful loss of those beautiful children.

          I also feel sympathy when I think of how much physical pain he was in for the last ten years of his life, with his leg and the horrible ulcers, the painful treatment to relieve them, his migraines and he was practically unable to walk at times. He may also have had lead poisoning because many of the plaster mixtures used contained lead based applications. He also suffered quite probably from type 2 diabetes and other physical problems caused by his excessive obesity. He was the cruel King of legend on one hand and the magnificent Prince of his people’s imagination on the other. The man and the myth are almost inseparable, but Henry was as much shaped by the tragedies which followed him through life as he was the terrible decisions he made. It is a great pity really that Henry did become such a cruel tyrant because he had the ability to be so much more and the genius to achieve real greatness without the horrific loss of life on his orders.

  11. Banditqueen says:

    What’s happened to Claire and her wonderful posts and videos? I hope she is feeling alright?

  12. Michael Wright says:

    She’s still posting videos every day on YouTube.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Hi, Michael, yes and on the Tudor Society. The server was down for a few days for updates. Just curious as this was the last post here. Oh well, we’ll have to chat among ourselves for a while.

      Are you having the storms across the pond? We are getting some right windy and wet and thunderstorms weather. It’s most unseasonably wet and unsettled. On this day in 1497 John Cabot told Henry Vii of his visit to “Asia” but had actually found land on the site of Newfoundland in North America. His Saint John Day letter laid out his adventures.

      1. Christine says:

        I think Claire is possibly busy sorting out the questions, we have had some atrociously bad winds here, my pot plants had blown over and I’m just glad it was not raining as no way could I have kept my brolly up, of course it’s still been quite warm it’s strange weather, caused by global warming but then Britain has always had erratic westher.

  13. Michael Wright says:

    Hi BQ and Christine. Sorry it took so long to get back to you. In re our weather I have a friend in Buffalo NY who I talk to every day and she says theirs is fairly normal. Here in the Pacific Northwest in Portland Oregon we seem to be having the mildest summer I can remember in the 32 years I’ve lived here. Usually by now we’ve had a string of 90°+ days but except for 2 last week all have been in upper 70 low 80 range. It started raining at 4:30 yesterday afternoon. Not forcast and still raining now at 1am. I’m not complaining. I love the cool and the rain.
    You two are talking about sympathy for Henry. I too feel sympathy for him at times but usually in connection to his medical problems. I think about what a fit athletic young man he was and how after the joust that severely damaged his leg what he became due to inactivity and depression. I don’t wish this on my worst enemies. I am happy for him when he finally passed as he was finally out of that broken body. Other than this I feel very little.

    1. Christine says:

      I too love the rain at times, not when I’m trying to get out in the garden and mow my lawn, but it is lovely and refreshing when it does pour down especially after a very hot spell, trouble is afterwards in this country it seems to make it humid, we get this sticky heat and that can be quite uncomfortable, when I was a child our British summers were very unpredictable alternately wet and sunny but our seasons were as nature intended, this February however we had the warmest month on record well in the 70’s and it really turned the balance of nature upside down, the little hibernating animals came out too early and instead of seeing frost on the ground we saw shoots appearing, it was far too soon and the months that followed were pretty bad, this year we have had the hottest day ever recorded the barometer touching over 100 degrees, I stayed in that day with the fans going full blast and it was such a relief when the temperature dropped down to a more normal 80 degrees which is still hot for this country but more bearable, however regarding the Tudor period, I have often wondered how the people in their heavy court attire especially the ladies with their numerous petticoats and corsets and undergarments, not to mention those bulky cumbersome hats managed to keep cool on hot sultry days?, maybe for the summer months they had garments made out of linen and cotton possibly not the latter, which was not the material suited for the noblemen and women, but silk could have been used as silk is a marvellous fabric which is cool in the summer yet warm in the winter, I know silk was worn by the women, surely they would not have worn velvet that made their dresses so heavy to walk around in, the castles and palaces they lived in would have been cool in the summer and if you have the windows covered and keep the rooms dark that keep the heat out, anyway about Henry V111 and the feelings he arouses in us, I too sympathise with the ill health he suffered from, the dreadful pain he suffered was immense when his migraines and ulcers played up, but he became so obese he made himself immobile, and as with many obese people it was mainly self inflicted, he could not help the medical advice he had from his own doctors who in our time, know they were merely quacks, he wore his garters far too tight which hampered his circulation that did not help with the ulcers he had, it merely excarberated the problem, the jousting was a very dangerous sport but it was the sport of kings and many a man was injured or killed, Henry forgot to lower his visor in one occasion a fatal mistake, as that blow he received from his opponent had dire consequences for him, the second time he fell from his horse and the amount of time he was unconscious is still debated today, those accidents were unfortunate but they had deep psychological consequences that were fatal for not only himself, but others around him, depression sat in which was inevitable in one once so fit and active, overeating the refuge of the miserable and the bored took hold, and so the weight piled on, he became so huge it was said three men could wrap themselves in his garments, he had to be winched onto his horse and wheeled about his palaces, it was a very real tragedy that this King once hailed as the hope of his realm, the golden prince with twin beauty in his cheeks with the physique of an Adonis, was fated to become such a feared monster in his later years, in the Tower of London his armour is on display and there is the one from when he was a youth, he was slim and broad shouldered, there is a later one which is considerably larger, his girth and chest having expanded and one can see how much weight he had put on, he had always eaten large amounts like the monarchs of his time he ate well, a lot of meat was available and bread and sugary made confections, he drank loads of red wine sweetened with suger, he was only eating like a monarch of his time did, but when one gets older the metabolic rate slows down and we are advised to eat slightly less, and a bit more sensibly to keep our weight stable and for our health to, now we know a diet high in red meat is not best for humans of course white meat is, fish and chicken turkey etc which is very lean, but Tudor doctors knew nothing of this and imagine Henrys doctors trying to tell him to reduce his food intake, today Henry V111 would have fared much much better, and so would most of his subjects including his unfortunate wives, he possibly did die from type 2 diabetes, it’s really a wonder he did not develop glaucoma which would have led to a certain loss of sight, there was a television programme called ‘Inside the body of Henry V111’ shown a few years ago, which showed what illnesse’s he possibly suffered from the causes and symptoms he would have had, diabetes was mentioned as we all know it is largely caused by a high sugar intake, however it can be hereditary as well, but with Henry V111 we can safely assume it was self inflicted, the blinding headaches he suffered would have been terrible, and there was nothing he could have done but lie down in a dark room and have his doctors apply cool linen sweetened with herbs to his forehead, lavender widely used for headaches for centuries would have been used but it would not have eased his migraines, which was caused by the heavy blows he had had to his head, his body once so fit and active with a keen fertile cultured brain decayed into a sad parody of what he had once been, when he died he was feared more than loved and the word of tyrant was marched indelibly on him image.

  14. Michael Wright says:

    Thank heavens Portland doesn’t experience the high humidity you speak of so it’s quite comfortable.
    I’ve often thought about how uncomfortable it must have been wearing heavy wool uniforms during our own civil war for the soldiers fighting in the south east part of the country, especially Florida where during the summer the temps are high and the humidity is awful.

    1. Christine says:

      Yes how did they bare it? In the heat I love nothing more than to slip on my shorts and t shirt, having to wear heavy clothing must have been unbearable, when I first went abroad I at once noticed the difference in the heat its fierce but not sticky I don’t know why Britain suffers humidity it could be because of the cloud density, anyway hope your having a nice Sunday.

  15. Michael Wright says:

    Most excellent thank you. You too.

  16. Banditqueen says:

    Hi Michael and Christine, we were all praying in the U.K last weekend and physically trying to move rain and thunderstorms threatened for Yorkshire and Derbyshire because of the emergency at Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire, which isn’t in the East Midlands as the BBC reported. When that dam became unstable and 1500 homes had to be evacuated it was really stressful just following it, the families affected must have been terrified. Of course there are always those who think they know better than the authorities and the experts and remain in the danger area. Although the majority of people were doing as they were told and the emergency services did a magnificent job, still some people took advantage of the short period allowed home to be selfish. I don’t know about you but grab what is essential means, medical supplies, money, kindle, camera, id, keys, phone and a few basic essentials like undies and two changes of clothes. That would take us half an hour and out. It doesn’t mean load up car with paintings, caught on camera on Twitter, furniture, everything you own. Yes, of course the potential loss of my beloved books would be devastating and the loss of homes is terrible, but the potential loss of my life is more important, so grab what you need, not desire and get out, allowing other people their turn to grab essential stuff. The real reason the authorities stopped people going back wasn’t the weather, which didn’t materialise, thankfully, was that people didn’t just grab essential stuff but some were taking hours to load up their cars and others stayed behind, so the authorities had to take action. With the possibility of the dam going even with the rescue effort being effective, the authorities don’t have time to rescue people who are being selfish by putting themselves and others in danger.

    On the other side of the coin, so many kind people volunteering to help with the sandbags and people who had no transport or anywhere to go, the community spirit which the majority of people showered on the area, the good will wishes on social media, the prayers and the notes of thanks for the emergency services and the work the army did to drop bags on the dam and to drain it and saved the town. The work effort to save the town and dam was first class. For the people waiting for news and if they could finally go home, which after six days they could, it must have been nerve racking and frightening. Now the work begins to try and repair the reservoir and modernize it. Using the natural river might be a better idea. One stupid person actually asked why build a town by a dam. Uh, dimbo, the town was there first and the dam is for clean drinking water! Why build anywhere for that matter? Why build in an earthquake area or Naples on the same site as Pompeii? The water is good there and the soil is rich. Why build anything on planet earth? It doesn’t matter where you build homes, people need water and food and utilities and there is a natural phenomenon nearby. I live in an area called Mossley Hill because of the ancient marsh lands and natural streams which actually run under our homes. Why build on ancient springs and brooks? For the water of course. Yes, we have had some problems with at least one home, but the engineering achievements were obviously marvellous because the house doesn’t even have subsidence problems. Look at San Francisco or Italy or just about anywhere near or on a fault and near a volcano. The soil is rich and anything can grow there, which is why people built homes close by. What about Venice on islands and with the threat of sinking or Holland on canals? A dam is part of a reservoir as a major water supply and modern dams are much better but 150 years ago the engineering team did as best as they could. Now of course we have to do a major reconstruction of all of our reservoirs and that is going to cost money but it has to be done or we will have a repeat of the dam at Whaley Bridge. Congratulations to the authorities and experts who did a great job to avert disaster there last week.

    1. Michael Wright says:

      Wow, thank God everything worked out. Such a terrifying situation. The people you mentioned not following orders? Happens here in the States every year during hurricane season.

    2. Christine says:

      Yes it must have been dreadful I watched it on the news and felt so sorry for the community, I recall some years ago when the river Severn broke, and the homes were wrecked water is so damaging, carpets and wallpaper there was mud everywhere it must have been such a stressful time, your home is your sanctuary and when a catastrophic like that happens it is traumatic

  17. Banditqueen says:

    In 1539 and 1540/1 the Summer was extremely hot and Chapuys wrote home to complain about the lack of rain as they hadn’t had any for several months and how unbearable it was to work in such conditions. England was in the tale end of the Little Ice Age and although winter’s were extremely dry and cold, the climate was changing, warming up and this was one of the hottest Summers on record, well the record at that time as it was, which was more anecdotal but still worth reporting. Just how they managed in the Summer in those long heavy robes, especially during a coronation is beyond me. Imagine Anne Boleyn, heavily pregnant, in May and June during a heatwave, all day with the coronation robes on and a crown, walking in a long procession. Then she was locked up in a stifling room, in the August heat, with very little air and and even less light, waiting to give birth. The poor woman, not allowed to move about, for nearly two months or even longer, even if the room was comfortable and she had wine and sweet meats to eat, it would also have a constant fire burning and she was stuck there until her churching in November. Oh boy!

    At least it’s a bit cooler tonight and its a bit fresher so I should get some proper sleep tonight. We need to be fresh in the morning as we have another hospital visit. The ultrasound will hopefully show nothing and we can move on without the worry about more cancer treatment. Oh well, Steve has had false readings before, especially after an infection. It isn’t uncommon with prostate cancer, especially after the prostate has been removed to have tiny clusters of cells or just a very small lump or even to give false readings because of elevation of temperature during a urinary infection. As he hasn’t had an MRI for a bit they did one in any event and this is just for standard results but the hospital is miles away so its an early start.

    1. Christine says:

      Hope he gets on well Bq xx

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Thanks, Christine, I am sure it’s fine.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Hello, Steve had his results and everything was fine so no cancer or suspicious stuff going on so see him in four months. He still has to go back about his incontinence which is a side affect but his appointment was cancelled yesterday so now we have to wait. They do a flow test which involves a lot of water, passing urine and measures over the period of a few hours to see if his flow is fine. It is more or less o.k now but he still has to be monitored. Now he is waiting for his big surgery to reverse his stoma and reconstruction of his stomach muscles. Now that his ultrasound is clear he doesn’t have to make any decisions about surgeries v radium therapy, he can go ahead and get rid of “squirty” as he calls it. If you have ever heard your central heating when there is no water in the pipes, that is how his digestive noises sound. At least its good news and we can move on with the next adventure. Thanks for all of your good wishes.

  18. Michael Wright says:

    That is wonderful news.

  19. Christine says:

    That’s great so you dont have to worry.

  20. Michael Wright says:

    Very fortuitous. Heather Teysko on her Renaissance English Podcast has posted a program on Tudor Fools. It was posted August 15.

  21. Michael Wright says:

    Hi BQ and Christine. I’m beginning to have the same feelings as you. Claire posted a video yesterday answering one of the many questions about Anne and those usually end up here also. Surprised to not see it posted here.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      I wonder if the new server is on a different web address. I haven’t had an email either with the new Anne Boleyn posts and nothing here since July 25th, almost a mother. Something isn’t right. I don’t use U Tube because of data selling concerns but I will have a look at the question she is answering. Perhaps Claire will post it here soon.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        I receive notifications from the ABF YouTube channel and watch the video on there. She never posted every video on the ABF site but certainly the ones dealing directly with Anne. If you learn anything new let me know if it’s not posted here. The video she posted yesterday answers the question of whether Anne stole her sister Mary’s son from her.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Hi Michael, watched the video on Fenenec F Droid for Firefox which is a secure browser and blocks sites from gathering data, and as usual it was great. As soon as I saw the question is Did Anne Boleyn Steal Henry Carey, who we all know was her nephew, I just knew this was going to have something to do with the historical novel, The Other Boleyn Girl. As Claire says in the video, she gets many comments by people who think this film is true and whom I reckon have no capacity of independent thought or who are eight years old ( the latter are excused on account of being young, the adults need to open one or two of those things called history books and do some research) probably the same comments over and over again. This video is to answer the misconception created by this nonsense film and novel. Honestly, King Henry Viii didn’t need to do anything to destroy the reputation of Anne Boleyn, all he had to do was wait 500 years for Philippa Gregory to do it for him.

          The novel, film makes out that Anne literally kidnapped and adopted by force the son of her sister Mary, now a widow who can’t provide for her son herself and little Henry is kept from Mary Boleyn, his mother. In a twist at the end, Princess Elizabeth is lifted from her household and Mary takes her to live with her and William Stafford. Neither story line is true. In 1528 Sir William Carey died of the Sweating Sickness and left his wife, Mary Boleyn with two small children, Catherine and Henry. Mary was left in a precarious financial position because William gambled their money away and Henry wrote to Thomas Boleyn to ask him to help his daughter, eho hid her state from her family. Anne intervened to bring Mary’s plight to the King’s notice and Thomas provided a pension for his daughter, who also for a time moved back home and Anne took over the care of her son. As his aunt and as a woman with power and influence being Henry’s mistress, Anne was obviously better placed to bid for the wardship of her nephew. As Claire points out in the video, it wasn’t unusual to have a relative or another family care for junior members of the nobility and to raise them, providing them with a career, with an education, managing their lands and estates and even purchasing their marriage. Henry Carey wasn’t stolen and adopted by Anne Boleyn from his mother, he was placed lawfully into her care and Anne did make certain he had an excellent career at Court and was well educated. In fact she chose the leading French reformer, Nicholas Bourbon, whom was well acquainted with Anne and who wrote a positive condemnation of her execution. Carey went on to be a leading courtier during the reign of Elizabeth I and to be given a peerage as well as several important posts at Court. Several examples of wardships are described in this wonderful video, which yet again dispels the myths created in media and film about Anne Boleyn and her family.

          It is sometimes pointed out that Thomas Boleyn had to be forced to take on his daughter and grandchildren, but this again is a myth. It wasn’t his responsibility to provide for his adult child or her children. William Carey should have left them with sufficient funds for their keep and Mary was entitled to a jointure and other payments from their marriage. However, these funds were not available and Mary had to get help to access what she could as well as an independent income, but also she kept her plight a secret for a time, so her father didn’t know about it until Henry wrote to him. As soon as Thomas Boleyn a generous income was provided for his daughter and grandchildren. Anne’s wardship of the boy ensured his future and should be seen in a positive light. However, it served the dramatic agenda of Philippa Gregory to portray Anne as a jealous and bitter rival to her innocent sister, making something wonderful and generous into something sordid just to fit her own dramatic and fictional purposes. At the same time she promoted the idea that Anne did this because Henry Carey was the son of King Henry Viii and Anne knows he is a “Tudor” bastard and must be treated as one. However, Henry Viii never once acknowledged Mary’s son who was born during her marriage to William and there is very little evidence that he was the King’s son. Henry was so discreet about his affair with Mary Boleyn that we don’t know anything about it, the length of their relationship or when it took place. We only know of it at all because Mary is cited as a co respondent in his petitions for an annulment of his first marriage and later of his second and for permission from the Pope to marry because of their sexual relationship. We know nothing else, let alone the true paternity of Catherine and Henry Carey. Historians are totally divided over this issue because seriously, we have no evidence either way.

      2. Claire says:

        The site still isn’t working properly as we’re still having technical issues after the server upgrade and maintenance, so half the time I can’t even get into the site. Sorry!

        1. Michael Wright says:

          Thank you Claire. I wasn’t aware of the server problem until I just read BQ’s post. I feel better now.

    2. Claire says:

      I’ve been trying! Sorry. We’re still working on the site and on the admin side of things it’s very hard to do anything. I can see comments and reply to some, but I can’t post articles.

    3. Claire says:

      I’ve been trying! Sorry. We’re still working on the site and on the admin side of things it’s very hard to do anything.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Thanks, Claire, it must be very frustrating as we know how hard you work on the site when things are not working properly. Don’t worry about it, take care. Hopefully the gremlins will go soon.

      2. Banditqueen says:

        Hi Claire, thanks, don’t worry, we know how hard you work on the site and it must be very frustrating when things don’t work properly. Gremlins. Take care.

      3. Christine says:

        That’s computers for you!

  22. Banditqueen says:

    Thanks, Claire, it must be very frustrating as we know how hard you work on the site when things are not working properly. Don’t worry about it, take care. Hopefully the gremlins will go soon.

  23. Michael Wright says:

    Thank you Claire. I’d been away from my computer for almost 2 weeks and wasn’t aware of a server problem until I read BQ’s post above. Good luck. Ain’t technology grand?

    1. Michael Wright says:

      Sorry about this second post. I got kicked off trying to post the other and didn’t know it worked.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Sorry for multiple posts . Something weird happened. Take care all.

  24. Michael Wright says:

    Hi BQ. Re The other Bolyn girl. I didn’t read the novel but I did see the movie and quite enjoyed it as a period drama and very much enjoyed the three main actors. However as history it sucks. I knew that going in so I could look past it.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      As a drama, it’s good, it’s just the historical claims are ones discredited years ago, but as a drama and fiction it’s fine. The problem I have is that people think its fact and PG presents many aspects as if it was fact. You can claim Anne Boleyn was an alien from Mars in fiction as long as you make it clear that it’s only you who believes that and it’s made up. The problem with PG is that she believes that Anne and her brother did have an affair and that the ideas are as it really happened. That’s the reason people have to be aware that what she is writing has a lot of flaws. But you are correct, Michael, as a piece of drama it is very good; you just have to watch it for that and not take it seriously.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        You know my opinion of Ms. Gregory. I personally like what I’ve seen of her. She seems quite personable. However on documentaries I’ve seen her introduced and consulted as an historian and she doesn’t dispute that assertion. This does not help in trying to correct things.

        1. Christine says:

          Yes Michael, I have often wondered why she’s given air time, David Starkey dismissed her rather disparagingly as a novelist, Starkey is a true historian and a brilliant one too, Gregory was being interviewed in the documentary The Last Days Of Anne Boleyn, and so she said her piece along with Weir Bernard and, Starkey there she was prattling on about she thinks Anne was ruthless enough to sleep with her own brother and I really could not believe my ears, why was she even allowed on the programme? All she writes are bodice ripper novels that happen to be centred around an historical background, I think our Claire should have been on the programme instead, at least she knows fact from fiction.

      2. Christine says:

        It is for that reason I loved The Tudors, of course Jonathan Reys Meyers is so handsome I used to find myself looking at him more than actually watching the drama, as we know who have watched it the whole series was a travesty of the truth, but it was still highly enjoyable to watch and the actors were much more attractive than their real counterparts actually were, Henry himself never seemed to age never put on more than a pound or two, and in fact he never looked remotely like the iconic King of England, he was slim and dark throughout the whole series, now Keth Mitchell he looked like Henry V111, when he portrayed him as a youth he had his hairstyle he was reddish blonde, like a strawberry blonde colour, he even had his features, the long slightly hooked nose and small mouth, when he grew older you could see him turning into Henry V111 he had a beard, he was getting stout and one could imagine you were actually seeing the real Henry V111 on our screens, his first wife and I cannot recall the actresses name who played her, looked like we imagine Katherine of Aragon to have looked like to, she was short and stout but dark however, Anne Boleyn played by the exotic looking Charlotte Rampling with her high cheekbones could have passed for the tragic queen, and Jane Seymour I recall was rather plain with a rather sharp nose, it was as if the movie makers were determined to make the actresses look as near as possible to the queens they portrayed, in the last year of the kings reign Keith Mitchell looked so like the King with his huge jowly face bald head and white beard, it was uncanny and as I said before, you could imagine the long dead King had really come back to life and was entertaining us on the silver screen.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          Keith Mitchell WAS Henry VIII both young and old. Great makeup and amazing performance.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          Personally don’t see anything to dislike in PG as a person and I believe she has something to contribute to documentary debates, probably not as an expert, particularly as she came out with the controversial stuff about Anne having a deformed foetus and this being seen as evidence of wanton living. While I know of a few leading sixteenth century writers who held those beliefs, no they were not officially Church teaching. They might have been dramatic in witchcraft trials, which in England were outside the scope of Church law and treated as homicide, under secular law. That is why people hung here and were not burnt as elsewhere it was allocated as heresy. Anne Boleyn wasn’t even thought of as a witch in popular literature, let alone charged with witchcraft and the deformed foetus story was 60 years afterwards, invented by Nicholas Sanders or rather his informers. The claim made in that documentary by PG were thankfully quickly dismissed by others present. Hilary Mantel also is not a historian but at least when putting her views as an expert, she didn’t present wild theories as fact. I was watching live when Dr Starkey made that very disparaging comment, which he also made regarding the competence of female historians, the three ladies present were Helen Castor, a well respected historian, Philippa Langley, and Philippa Gregory. David Starkey might be a good historian, but his remarks on that occasion were uncalled for. Mind you he doesn’t like Richard iii, had been at a conference all day and may well have had a fair bit of wine, as a number of history conferences I have attended served a great deal free at both meals. It was probably out of character and he did later apologise, but as to PG being an expert, no definitely not, but her novels are generally enjoyable and she has a lot of sympathy for her characters usually. She was far of the mark with the White Princess which was heavily criticised, especially the dramatization for not just inaccurate stuff but pretty awful character assassination. Thankfully the rape of Elizabeth of York was toned down to a set up ” lets get on with it” moment.

          I fully enjoyed the Tudors because although it wasn’t accurate, it never set out to be and it was obviously mostly for dramatic entertainment. A lot of things were well done in the series and it had a number of good actors. Yes, Keith Mitchell was the best Henry and the Six Wives was probably the best portrait of his wives, barring documentary reconstruction of course.

  25. Michael Wright says:

    The sad thing is here in the States and I’m sure it holds true in England is that the networks don’t believe that the “boring” truth will bring in the viewers.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Makes you wonder if they ever read the sources or the real history. I don’t mind some tinkering to make history come to life and dramatic purposes but a complete nonsense passed off as history without being open about it really does my head in. But that’s drama for you.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        I couldn’t agree with you more.

  26. Michael Wright says:

    Helen Castor is one of my favorite historians and she backs up every thing she writes. Her documentaries are also very enjoyable.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      She recently did one on Joan of Arc and it was the best thing on the French patroness I have ever seen, a number of French experts, numerous sources, seeing the actual sources is amazing, because they are always so beautifully illuminated and it’s just not the same reading from them in a book. My word the transcripts from her trial were very detailed, a marvellous source and it was wonderful hearing Joan in her own voice as it were. We have her testimony in great detail, word for word, questions and answers, we have the letters she dictated to the scribes provided for her and even though she was only educated to a basic standard as most villagers were, she obviously processed great insight and intelligence and we see it recreated in Castor’s documentary. She certainly inspired men and if she had have had more support from Charles vii she wouldn’t have been captured, executed and abandoned. It shows how much afraid the Burgundean and English were and her treatment was probably illegal, even for someone suspected of heresy and witchcraft because a female prisoner should have been in the care of female wardens or nuns and not male soldiers. This was the law in France and of the fifteenth century Church. Joan was held in chains, she was held in an ordinary prison and with male guards, which was why she continued to dress in male clothing, in itself an offence. She was worn down with months of questions, although not tortured, but she may have been shown the chambers, but her testimony was open and honest and that actually went against her because the more she said her voices were human beings the more demonic they actually seemed. Tricked into a public recanted statement Joan was also forced to wear a dress and then tricked into taking again male clothing as her own were stolen as she bathed. No attempt was made to rescue her and she was abandoned by her King and her allies. It was a terrible thing that such a heroic young woman was burnt as a heretic by the Church she loved. Joan was retried 20 years later and was cleared of all charges and her name restored. Her village was freed from all taxation and she was made a Saint in the early twentieth century. The Castor documentary opened so many old and beautiful texts and visiting the sites in Normandy and France brought this lost teenage warrior to life. Did you know we only have one known illustration of Joan of Arc, the drawing on her standard and perhaps a tracing in the margins of an original text, a French Chronicle about her times.

      Helen Castor is possibly my favourite female historian, her work on the female Queens of England before Victoria, the three part hundred years war, the work on the Paston Letters and her documentary on Julian of Norwich and her lost manuscript was particularly interesting, tracing one copy from her home in Norfolk to an old convent who hid it, to France were it vanished but which then appeared on a library in a convent in Paris, whose English and French nuns were guillotined in the French Revolution, to a copy in Oxford, made in the 1820s, back to the new convent in England, which had the lost manuscript smuggled from France and saved before the nuns were arrested. Helen Castor is a deeply sympathetic historian and she understands the beliefs and passions of the people she studies, even if she doesn’t necessarily share them. I love her and Dr Janina Ramirez, whose work on many illuminated manuscripts has brought them into the public light for hundreds of years. I know Dr Starkey has a hard time with what he calls the “feminization of history” but seriously we needed more high profile female historians and we need the more interesting aspect of history, the women behind the men of power and the women who did stuff as well as knights in shining armour. I agree that some schools have gone too far and done away with male role models from history and that is wrong, boys need them, as do girls, but we needed a balance and that is why more female prominent history has been on television of late. I enjoy the history of stuff by Lucy Worsley and Susanna Lipscomb, even though the latter makes assertions which are not correct, but I love it when they dress up and do a recreation of Tudor life or the Georgian Court. They are both quite funny. Lipscomb was great in the Six Wives with Dan Jones, even if it was a bit dramatic at times. Who needs fiction when the real thing really is exciting and fascinating?

      1. Christine says:

        Of course after all, truth is stranger than fiction and therefore much more exciting.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          Not during the period 1485-1603. Nothing boring or uninteresting then.

      2. Michael Wright says:

        I have not seen her doc on Joan but have read her book and it seems that Joan’s prosecution wasn’t as much about heresy as was about her causing problems for the English. Not only was her name cleared but it was cleared within her mother’s lifetime.

      3. Christine says:

        Yes I like watching those programmes if only history lessons at school had been like that.

  27. Banditqueen says:

    You are quite correct, Michael, Joan caused one mess for the English, turning the fortunes of war against them. Joan did more damage to the English in one day at Orleans than the previous 100 years. Although she only had the basic literary of a village girl, she was clearly intelligent as her dictated letters and proclamations reveal. The scribes have captured her words and the records of her trials are the best ever made. Her answering is very detailed, although she refused to talk about her visions at first, but her honesty once she did open up was very forthcoming and detailed. In fact that was the main problem held against her, as the more realistic and human her voices sounded, the more demonic they sounded. The Inquisition were in the pay of their Burgundian masters and Rouen was in Normandy, English territory. The reputation of Joan had to be destroyed and hence the charges most likely to do that and easiest to bring, heresy and witchcraft.

    However, Joan had been blessed by the French Church and the French nobles and backed the young French King, Charles Vii. Charles had lost his four older brothers in the conflicts and he had come to the crown as a boy, his mother Isabeau of Bavaria and the nobility acting for him, just as she did for her mentally ill husband, Charles the Mad, who had handed the crown to Henry V. The English wanted to regain lost territory, linking with the Burgundians and pressed the claim of the young King Henry Vi, the only English King to have both a French and English coronation. The other party, the Armagnac Party supported the restoration of France to the crown and France was divided between the three parties, in a complete mess. Charles grew up and was haunted by the stain of illegitimacy because his mother was accused of adultery. He lacked self esteem and was very indecisive as a result. However, Joan gave him back that assurance and he was assured of his own legitimacy and authority. His coronation in Reims Cathedral was the highpoint of his connection to Joan of Arc. However, he has to be criticised for his hesitation in supporting her plan to take Paris which ended in a retreat. His abandonment of her and failure to rescue her was also criticised.

    To be fair, however, in reality, the resources were not on the side of the crown and Paris was one of the most heavily fortified cities in Medieval Europe. It would take several months to raise the siege and the determination of newly formed alliances which raised Paris for the crown. Charles could not rescue Joan because his resources were committed to the retaking of his capital. Unfortunately for Joan, the rescue she believed would come never did and tricked into first saying she would submit to the Church, into wearing female clothes and then returning to male clothes in order to avoid being raped, as her own were stolen, Joan the Holy Maid was condemned and finally burned in May 1431. The charges were of course false and we have very detailed testimony but it was more to do with the fear she had put into the English authorities than genuine heresy charges. No woman in the care of the Church on such charges would have been held in a military prison, but kept in the charge of women, probably in a convent. The big guns were called in to question and try Joan of Arc, the biggest authority of them all, the most learned church men available, with Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais being in charge of her trial and inquisition. Her trial went on for weeks and her answers were smart and honest but she was set traps and her skills could not avoid some fatal ones, but her levels of education didn’t prepare her for that. It was only after Charles had pushed the English out of France in 1453 that he went on to allow an Appeal to the Inquisitor General and a new trial opened in 1456.

    At this new hearing people who knew Joan spoke about her as a child and a young woman, her simple but honest faith, her family were still alive, the political climate was quite different and after numerous testimonials were taken over several months this time, the second trial cleared her name and reputation. Charles finally did what was right by the woman who had been his inspiration. Charles Vii actually then went on to be a decent King and a fair one, having the usual conflicts with his son and a mistress, Agnes Sorel. However, he was praised as the man who brought Burgundy to heel and who threw the English out of his country. He was well respected by the time of his death in 1461 and the criticism he received for abandoning Joan is perhaps somewhat misplaced. While it is true that had he showed more faith in her after his coronation, he could have taken Paris by surprise, but his resources were limited and his failure to rescue her proved he had to commit his military might elsewhere or lose his capital completely. The voice of Joan of Arc is preserved in the account of her trials and the scribes who recorded her inspirational words. This remarkable young woman was made a Saint in 1920 and is a patron of her beloved France.

    1. Christine says:

      Was Joan of Arc really receiving voices and visions from the saints or was she mentally ill? There are theories she suffered from idiopathic epilepsy which can cause hallucinations or schizophrenia, but with the latter the sufferers experience visions voices in the head delusions they believe they are possessed by the devil or their victims are, they have to be on lifelong medication as they become violent and Joans symptoms do not seem to resemble those who are suffering from schizophrenia, she led an army against the English she suffered a lot of hardship being imprisoned and then her subsequent death which really was expected, all through this she did show remarkable courage and she never wavered from her own belief in herself that she was a messenger from the saints, and therefore I cannot see how such a woman could be suffering from schizophrenia, could she have been the former a sufferer of idiopathic epilepsy a genetic illness which an Italian neurologist some years ago has theorised, studying the documents of her trial he believes there is evidence she could well have, the signals in the brain cause jerky movements which accompany hallucinations and voices in the head, Joan believed she saw Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, the there are some letters from her that survive containing a fingerprint and a strand of her hair, a DNA test is expected to show once and for all if she did indeed suffer from a mental illness or if she really was ‘special’ as she herself believed as did her followers, her enemies however believed she was a witch a heretic and her voices were demonic, although the law against heresy was very real I think she was executed because she was a nuisance to the English and the heresy charge was an excuse to get rid of her, whatever the truth she was a remarkable woman and is certainly one of France’s national heroines.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        The reality is I don’t know. In my opinion yes. She was a 19 year old barely literate peasant girl who had never really been away from home and yet she was able to lead an army and defeat the English repeatedly. Without divine help I don’t think she could havve done that nor do I think she would have known how. I also don’t think she would have decided to go to war of her own volition. Personally I 100% believe her. Not just that she heard voices but that the voice(s) were divine. In the end only she and God know. I would live to talk to her.

        1. Christine says:

          It does make her appear as if she had divine help but I think you have to be religious to believe her, could she have been merely a girl of extraordinary courage who won over the king and her followers just by an amazing forceful personality, personally I don’t know what to believe but if they do carry out tests on her fingerprint/ hair I believe the results could well surprise us.

  28. Michael Wright says:

    I don’t know if I’d call myself religious but I am a person of the Christian faith. In biblical times the Lord spoke to people. In the secular society we have become that no longer seems to happen. Is God not speaking to anyone or is it we have closed ourselves to it (myself included). Joan was very pious and religious and perhaps at that time God found someone he could talk to. I can’t back this up in any way. I’m just putting it out there. I won’t however automatically chalk it up to mental illness without more info.

  29. Banditqueen says:

    To be honest, this is a modern argument which really annoys me because as many historians have pointed out it was a perfectly normal phenomenon in an age of faith which we cannot understand in an age which has placed God on the sidelines. No personally I don’t believe she had an mental illness whatsoever. For one thing people with schizophrenia don’t tend to identify with their local saints. Her voices were not there all of the time and she was otherwise perfectly lucid. There are also elements of her story which have to be read in the light of the fact she was recalling them within the setting of a long series of Court hearings and frightening interrogations. This is something explained in the introduction of Helen Castor’s book. No doubt a number of people had mental illness and certainly some mystical visions are accountable through understanding this, but Joan’s experience is not one of mystical ecstasy. She described them in very real and vivid detail and identified them as Katherine and Margaret, two saints locally honoured and the patron of France, Saint Michael. The Church accepted her voices as real after many times asking her questions before and after her mission, the only question was whether they were demonic or angelic. It was obviously declared by those who blessed her mission that she was honest, good, pure, her mission was pure and she was genuine. The English obviously had a different view and this coloured her trials. Those remembering later are not free from bias either and by then France was free under one King. Joan wasn’t as simple as people think either. Her parents had a small free hold farm, they held positions of responsibility as the constable in the village and they had a small amount of wealth. The family fortunes relied on the village, on the border of Lorraine and therefore divided between threats from France and threatened also by Burgundy. They were comfortable but precious. It is correct that Joan didn’t learn to read or write, she said so herself, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t intelligent, she could farm and she could spin and sow and her father taught all of his children to prepare for dangers and war. She was lucid and confident and genuinely devout. This was an age of faith and to some degree, superstition, the Medieval Mind had a complete world view to explain things but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t understand more modern things, if taught. They were not backwards. They thought and operated within the accepted norms of their time. That is important. The world view was complex on many levels and it takes a lot of study for us to understand it. Joan appeared to be bright and not at all afraid of her apparitions and she was confident when dealing with authority. She may have been unrealistic in her expectations of Charles and his military ambitions, she may literally have expected the walls of these cities to fall down, but that is the fault of youth and spiritual enthusiasm which one finds in many young converts today. She gave an army inspiration and that too is important in the face of despair and years of defeat and stalemate. Maybe the faith in her was too literal as the army went on willingly with her at the forefront of battle, something the King wasn’t doing, again he was young, also a teenager. He was raised in protection and luxury and had no idea of the reality of war. He was naturally cautious and Joan wasn’t the first one to have tried to rouse him with visions. She was, however, the first person to make any sense, to provide him with signs or something for proof and he believed her. When Joan was wounded in the shoulder her soldiers faltered, but when she got back up they attacked again. At Paris she was injured in the thigh and carried off and the attacking army withdrew. To us, this seems like fatalistic nonsense, but armies often put their reliance and faith in their leaders. Joan held her war banner high and heaven inspired them. William the Conqueror urged his men forward uphill at Hastings and when they tired and a rumour went around that he was dead and they fled, he appeared in front of them and raised his face guard to reveal himself. His men rallied and went on to win the battle, which he almost had to abandon as a stalemate. Whether or not these stories are entirely accurate the fact was men were inspired by Joan and faith all of a sudden and the victory did come, not instantaneous as many hoped, but Orleans fell after four days of her arrival. Other successes followed, clearing a path to Rheims where Charles had to be crowned and anointed with sacred oils from the time of France’s earliest saint. Here Clovis the Frank was baptised and anointed, here all the Kings were crowned. The fact that Paris was much harder to take caused delays which led to her capture, although Charles did push on and her inspirational stand and her death pushed him on to a campaign to end English rule in the rest of his country. Whatever Joan brought to the table, it was real to those who knew her and felt inspired for her and their failure was to continue to hold things together when she was injured. Even the English recognised her as dangerous and some called out they had killed a Saint. Many a cult following was set up afterwards. However, it takes more than inspired stories to make a person into a national heroine or for the recognition she received in 1920. The Church used as much rigour then as she does now for those who are canonized. It can be a long and laborious process. People like Joan of Arc or as we should call her Joan the Maid, are always subjects of hot debate and so they should be. The problem is they have also been lost as real people in mystery and mythology. At the same time I also think it is wrong to take from them their reality of their faith and experience of God revealed in visionary interactions with modern claims of mental health problems. My question is this…how do any of us know, we were not there and others saw her visions as well? How do we diagnose anyone with any kind of mental illness from a distance of well over 600 years? Is it just a convenient way to explain everything in a way our modern minds can understand, just because faith makes most people uncomfortable? Of course faith makes people feel that way because it challenges the way people think and live their lives. Joan was a challenge even to the people of her own time, her father, her relatives, the authorities, even her King and to the men of her Church. I don’t believe she displayed any significant signs of mental illness. I believe she was enthusiastic and honest in her faith, but her impatient nature got too much for those used to the static method of siege warfare. In the end does it really matter, she was a remarkable young woman, brutally cut down by betrayal and fear and in a brutal way, probably before her time.

    1. Michael Wright says:

      Beautifully said.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Thanks. I have recently found a beautiful book translated from the French, by a French historian, made for teenagers, but it will be enjoyed by all ages, published in 1912 but this is a modern one with the original beautiful illustrations and it reminds me of a book I had when I was that age. It is only the basic story but it is beautifully told and very inspirational. I have a set of three but they are not accessible at the moment, one on Saint Joan, one on Saint Francis and one on Saint Anthony ad Padua. Oh, one on Saint Claire of the Little Flowers as well. These were very helpful as I was growing up and very much loved books. The illustrations are in colour and I treasure them very much.

        1. Michael Wright says:

          They sound like a very nice set. I can understand why you treasure them.

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