30 June 1541 – Henry VIII and Catherine Howard Head North on Progress

Gainsborough Old Hall
Gainsborough Old Hall

On the 30th June 1541, Henry VIII and his fifth wife, Queen Catherine Howard, set off from London on their royal progress to the North, aiming to return to Hampton Court Palace by “All Hallowtide”. Not only would this progress allow them to be out of London in the disease ridden summer months, but it also allowed the King to affirm his authority over the North, after the recent rebellions, and to arrange a meeting with his nephew, James V of Scotland, in York in September.

Chronicler Edward Hall records the royal progress:

“This Sommer the Kyng kepte his progresse to Yorke, and passed through Lyncolne Shire, where was made to hym an humble submission by the temporaltie, confessyng their offence, and thankyng the kyng for his pardon: and the Toune of Staunforde gaue the Kyng twentie pounde, and Lyncolne presented fourtie pounde, & Boston fiftie pound that parte whiche is called Lynsey gaue three hundred pounde, and Kestren and the Churche of Lyncolne gaue fiftie pounde. And when he entred into Yorke Shire, he was met with two hundred gentlemen of the same Shire in coates of Veluet, and foure thousande tall yomen, and seruyng men, well horsed: whiche on their knees made a submission, by the mouthe of sir Robert Bowes, and gaue to the Kyng nyne hundred pounde. And on Barnesdale met the kyng, the Archebishoppe of Yorke, with three hundred Priestes and more, and made a like submission, and gaue the kyng sixe hundred pounde. Like submission was made by the Maior of Yorke, Newe Castle and Hull, and eche of theim gaue to the Kyng an hundred pounde. When the Kyng had been at Yorke twelue daies, he came to Hull, and deuised there certain fortificacions, and passed ouer the water of Homber, and so through Lyncolne Shire, and at Halonticle came to Hampton Court.”

As you can see from Hall’s record, these northern towns were showing their complete submission to the King, so the progress was successful in that way. However, James V snubbed Henry VIII by not turning up to their meeting in York and the Queen spent her spare time having secret assignations with Thomas Culpeper, a member of her husband’s privy chamber. Hall records:

“And sithe her Mariage, she was vehemently suspected with Thomas Cnlpeper, whiche was brought to her Chamber at Lyncolne, in August laste, in the Progresse tyme, by the Lady of Rocheforde, and were there together alone, from a leuen of the Clocke at Nighte, till foure of the Clocke in the Mornyng, and to hym she gaue a Chayne, and a riche Cap.”

Quite what they were doing from 11pm to 4am in Catherine’s chamber, we can only imagine, but they also met in secret at Pontefract and York, and Lacey Baldwin Smith adds Greenwich and Hatfield to the list. This affair, on top of her previous sexual relationship with Francis Dereham, was to be Catherine Howard’s undoing.

You can read more about Catherine Howard in the following articles:-

Notes and Sources

  • Hall, Edward. Hall’s Chronicle, p842
  • Baldwin Smith, Lacey (2010) Catherine Howard p162

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