30 June 1541 – Henry VIII and Catherine Howard Set off on their Progress to the North

CathHoward1On this day in 1541, Henry VIII and his fifth wife, Queen Catherine Howard, set off on their royal progress to the North, aiming to return to Hampton Court Palace by “All Hallowtide”. Royal progresses allowed the monarch to escape London in the summer months when disease was rife and it was also good PR, but this progress also had two other aims:

  1. The meeting of Henry and his nephew, James V of Scotland, which was due to take place in September in York, although it never happened.
  2. The affirming of the King’s authority over the North, after the recent rebellions.

The furthest north that Henry had previously travelled was Boston, in Lincolnshire.

The royal court made slow progress due to the roads being badly affected by rain, and also due to Catherine being taken ill at Lyddington at the end of July. They didn’t reach Lincoln until 9th August, moving on to Pontefract on 23rd August, then Cawood (the palace of the Archbishop of York), Wressle, Leconfield, Hull and finally York on 16th September.

It was on this progress that Catherine Howard had secret assignations with Thomas Culpeper, a gentleman of the Privy Chamber. Although we don’t know for sure what happened between Catherine and Culpeper at their nocturnal meetings, they would both be executed for treason.
You can read more about Catherine Howard in the following articles:

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3 thoughts on “30 June 1541 – Henry VIII and Catherine Howard Set off on their Progress to the North”
  1. I understood that they never reached York – where Catherine was to have been crowned in front of the Scottish King – because the train had to turn around because of severe problems – most notably a outbreak of the “flux” – they all had terribly loose bowels – to put not too fine a point on it !

    1. I’ve never heard that story! According to the primary source accounts, such as Hall’s Chronicle (p842, http://www.archive.org/stream/hallschronicleco00halluoft#page/n851/mode/2up), they entered York on 16 September 1541 – see https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/16-september-1541-henry-viii-queen-catherine-howard-enter-york/. We know the itinerary and dates because the privy council met regularly and their reports are all dated and give the place they met. See also http://www.york.ac.uk/ipup/projects/york/bigcityread/city.html for more about it. A coronation had not been planned there but Henry was meant to meeet James and James stood him up.

  2. The meeting with James was cancelled as Henry was left waiting for him in York and James refused to come over the border. Henry and Katherine stayed in what is called the KIngs Manor in York, later also Charles I stayed here and his coat of arms are on show at the gate and royal apartments. Although part of the University, members of the public have free access to the gardens and the site, but cannot go inside the house. You can see the rooms from below and the windows still overlook the courtyard on the first floor. It is possible to enter part of the house, but only unofficially and I have visited the royal apartments and there is also a record in the town books of the visits. The lady in the coffee place had no doubt about Katherine and Henry and his court being there or what Katherine got up to with her lovers while there. There is no proof of this of course but some of the stories are later held against her at her investigations and it is mentioned, on her list of places that she is meant to have had a lover. At the minster the King gladly received purses of gold to buy his mercy for the rebellions of 1536. His visit to the north was shortened and he had to bring the court home as he had news that Prince Edward was ill with a fever, but the boy recovered by the time the court was back as planned. On All Hallows Eve Henry had prayers for his son and his so called perfect young wife. The next day his world fell apart as he received the news that Katherine may not have been the innocent young noble women that he believed and had a shady past. And evn worse was to come.

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