Day 23 of the Anne Boleyn Files Advent Calendar
Posted By Claire on December 23, 2018
Happy Sunday! I hope you’re having a lovely weekend so far. I’m here to give you an excuse to sit down for a few minutes and enjoy a Tudor-themed treat. Stop rushing around and just rest for a minute or two.
Author Lissa Bryan has contributed today’s Anne Boleyn Files Advent Calendar treat and it’s an Anne Boleyn one – yay! Thank you, Lissa!
To enjoy Lissa’s treat, just click on the number here in this post or use the link in the cover image of this website.
See you tomorrow!
19 thoughts on “Day 23 of the Anne Boleyn Files Advent Calendar”
I like the gifts that Lady Rochford and her mother in law Annes mother gave the King as they have a personal touch, satin caps and embroidered shirt collars, each gift as we see had been carefully thought about much like today when we choose to present a loved one a friend or maybe even the boss, a gift that we know they would appreciate, I love the hunk of Parmesan cheese one servant gave the King, though I’m surprised that the lower orders were expected to partake in the present giving as they were not wealthy, but they gave what they could within their budget, it must have been a ceremonial occasion with the King and queen seated on their big state chairs, the gifts all carried by the men of the kings household, the story of Henry returning Katherines gifts is well recorded, really he was in a difficult position for how could he receive a gift from his first queen without upsetting his beloved Anne who was already queen in all but name, Katherine could be exasperatedly dense at times, I could just see her women chiding her for sending it, but it was very very sad for her and for her daughter who received nothing from her father either, her siding with her mother had angered Henry and although he acted brutally towards her, he did love her very much, it had been noted that Henry often spoke with much sentiment of Mary sometimes with tears in his eyes, torn between love for her and the distress caused by her behaviour he must at times have been in a very deep quandary, this Christmas however he and Anne were enjoying a wonderful festive season, do we have any records of the weather in England that time of the year? I know in olden times the country suffered some severe winters, white Christmas’s are rare and special as we don’t get them much now but I wonder if that year there was snow, it must have looked enchanting, snow falling gently outside the walls of Greenwich or Whitehall or wherever the King held Christmas court that year, – a winter landscape maybe they were at Hampon Court,as it was huge, inside the rooms were lit by thousands of candles and the great roaring fires, the rich colours of the wealthy, the greenery decked all around the strains of music from the minstrels, the charm of Christmas of yester year, Anne and Henry would have been more merry than ever that day, it was recorded during their courtship that they were ever merry, though there were arguments to, no doubt just lovers tiffs, but sunshine followed storm, they were both passionate fiery people and that Christmas I imagine was wonderful for them and their friends, Mary Boleyn and her family must have been at court and there would have been dancing in the evening, Anne and Henry no doubt would have danced all night long, they were both sharing a very real secret, she was Henrys wife at last and only her close family knew it, she must have toasted everyone Christmas cheer as she raised her goblet thinking all the whilst, ‘if only you knew what I know’, another good article Claire and thankyou to Lissa, well I’m off to wrap my presents now so il bid you farewell.
Beautiful description Lissa of Christmas at court 1532. I can really picture how magnificent this would have been. Thank you.
Each time I read something about this I get so angry at Henry for his ungaciousness towards Katherine. I agree that what she did was wrong but Henry could be a bit more respectful. It’s said how Katherine could be dense at times. Her contemporaries called her obstinate. People today call her that and stubborn and unbending. Henry was exactly the same. He would not be bowed from his goal. Why should the onus be soley on Katherine. Both parties handled the matter quite poorly. Ok, I’m done with my rant.
Question- Regarding all of the gold and/or silver plate was any of it of a practical use or simply a means of displaying wealth, status and favor with the monarch?
Yes, Michael, the gold and silver gifts were just that, the more gold and silver the better, the more showy, the better, the more exquisite workmanship the better, it was all about the bling and showing off. The richness of these items reflected status and favour or desire for favour. If you had the bling, you flaunt the bling, even if it wasn’t very practical. A lot of expensive jewellery from the furthest parts of the globe and gawdy decorations, bright, bold colours, all this helped say, look at me, I have a lot of wealth and I am powerful and look at how much stuff I have. The more loot you had the better, the more bling, the more people were meant to respect you. There was even pure gold and silver threads in the Royal tapestries. Gold was prized high enough because of its high value but silver was even more highly sort after because it was rarer and harder to work. Very few items had any practical use, they were beautiful and elaborate and there for mere show.
Thank you BQ. Whenever you read about the royal court jewels and plate are mentioned but I never fully understood the significance.
I was watching the three part series on the kingdom of England and France called Chivalry and Betrayal: the 100 Years War with Dr Ramerez which I recorded two years ago and one of the items she looked at was the splendour and greed at the Court of Richard ii, which was all listed on this twenty five meters long roll. It is the longest roll of Royal treasury ever recorded. I don’t know if anything survived but I can just imagine all this gold, almost like the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt who literally dripped in the stuff. The more you had the more you wanted and the more you were also expected to show and be generous with. Of course they stuffed their tombs with their gold and they had masks of gold made. Edward iii also had a golden plated effigy when he died which still exists. The King flaunted his bling to impress and his subjects gave him gold to impress him for favour. And yet, here we have a piece of parmesan cheese being carefully recorded and no doubt treasured because it was all a poorer subject could give. Cheese was a luxury item, very expensive, so this was probably the most valuable thing the man had and he gave it as a sign of loyalty and devotion to his King. That in itself is beautiful.
Anyway, Happy Christmas. I must go and check on the bird. Our butcher has fresh free range birds which are twice the size as when you ordered them and I got five pounds of sausages instead of one pound. I hope everyone is hungry. Cheers.
Thanks Lisa for your wonderful article and description of Christmas at King Henry’s Court 1532. The true Queen has been forced aside and Anne Boleyn is now Queen in all but name in her place and everyone has come to Court to suck up to the King in a big way. Anne probably knows already or suspects that she is pregnant and she was triumphant because she would soon marry the King at Whitehall Palace and in the Summer be crowned. Anne’s coronation was unusual as well because she was crowned with the crown of the Queen and the crown of the King, that is Saint Edward’s Crown. It was not normally used for the Queen Consort but Henry was making a big big point, Anne had been challenged as a fit Queen and he sent a message that she was his true anointed Queen with real power, even beyond a Consort.
The way of doing things at this gift giving ceremony was different because no gift was to be given to the Queen, Katherine of Aragon as she was in exile, or officially to Princess Mary, although she still had her status and official role and household in Ludlow. Queen Katherine was not going to be outdone, however, by the woman she regarded as the “scandal of Christendom” and sent her husband and King a valuable and beautiful golden clock . It was of high quality workmanship and Henry secretly probably didn’t want to send it back. However, he couldn’t accept as it gave Katherine the wrong message. She was no longer his Consort and was forbidden to send him a gift, but she took no notice as Katherine regarded herself as the true Queen. This was the love triangle of the ages and Henry was caught between two passionate and stubbornly strong women. Henry took the gift aside and admired it but he couldn’t keep it, alas. (I bet he had it brought to him again and put it in his private collection, but we don’t actually know what happened, just that it was at this time sent back the next day).
Anne’s gift is beautiful, only the best swords or boar spears, made by special order, from the finest materials, while Henry gave his beloved a big huge state bed, a gift of tremendous value and a token of his intention to marry her properly and to make certain that her Royal chambers were made ready. He gave her rich tapestries and fabric for beautiful gowns and jewellery. She was honoured as Katherine had once been and she was raised high before the Court and nobles and people. Henry received the homage and gifts from all of his nobles, his servants and ordinary people, all of which are carefully listed and must have been stored somewhere. No doubt certain gifts were personally treasured because they came from dear friends or were particularly lovely or of interest to the King. Anne’s family also presented gifts and Anne received them from others, all showing they accepted her new status. There might be some sucking up going on here because people were anxious to prove that they were loyal to Henry by honouring Anne as they sensed dangerous times ahead if they refused to do so.
The previous Christmas had been a much more sombre affair because Katherine had left, taking her ladies with her. Now new ladies and young gentlemen adorned the Court with Anne as a new central jewel, raising the mood to make merriment and taking part in the dancing, music and entertainment. Anne, like Katherine loved to dance and loved the entertainment as did Henry and this Christmas the fun was back. Henry was fond of masquerade and Anne wrote and took part in these pageants. She devised her own masquerades and was famous for taking part in them. Christmas was again as it should be at the Tudor Court, with dancing, juggling, tumblers, music, decorations, loud revelling, games, tournaments, tennis tournaments and much merriment, eating and drinking. In other words, Christmas was back.
I hope everyone had a fun and wonderful Christmas. Odd weather here in Portland Oregon for Christmas day: sunny and dry. It almost always rains Christmas day. It rained the day before and it’s gonna rain today so not too far out of the norm. Temp was a normal 44°.
Hi BQ. I am interested in that program you mentioned.. I know that gold was very important to the Egyptian Kings in this life and the next but what you said about that inventory of Richard II is extraordinary. It would be fascinating if a few peices were still extant somewhere.
BTW: you mentioned the free range bird for Christmas dinner. How far in advance did you have to put in your order?
You mentioned the parmesan cheese. I’m guessing that would have been worth it’s weight in gold due to having to be imported. I watched a program a while back, probably 2016 for the 350th anniversary of the London fire of 1666 hosted by Suzannah Lipscomb and Dan Jones. I recall one of the stories being of Samuel Pepys squirreling away a piece of parmesan under the floor-boards of his residence to protect until the danger had passed. He was a man of some means so I’m guessing so too was the person who gave Richard II some. I would think access to a (at the time) rarity like that would highly impress most people.
Hi Michael, yes, I love that story of Pepys and his cheese, probably a complete Dutch cheesd, very valuable, hiding it somewhere buried because the flames were close before he moved his wife and son out. A more practical man would have taken the cheese with them in case the house was destroyed because you need food if you also need shelter. He was protecting it from looters of course as his home would have been a target if it was empty, even though the order had gone out to shoot looters and his house could have been used as a fire break as so many were, his more so as he lived on the fire route to the Tower and the gunpowder stores within.
Even a piece of parmesan would not have been cheap and so valuable to the man who gave it and the man who received it would be very pleased and cherish it.
Yes, the inventory of Richard ii was extraordinary and I think a few pieces did survive for some time, they probably do still, but unfortunately the programme didn’t go much into detail as it was about the 100 years wars but the length of this parchment! Wow! Imagine someone sitting there writing it all down as every gift was given.
Our Butcher takes orders from mid November but likes you to order at least three weeks in advance. They do have a few spare birds though but its hit and miss if you don’t order. And when I say free range, these really are and wander around quite a bit so grow bigger than you order. Our six to seven pound capon was eleven pounds. Plenty of white meat though and very juicy. Delicious, but then I am a good cook. The chipalartas were bigger than expected and we got twice as many but well they are a favourite snack. Oh well, our Kings no doubt had several sumptuous birds as did everyone visiting them. The halls of the wealthy were opened up to everyone at this time of the year in a grand gesture of largesse. Oh well, back to the fun.
I’m not only impressed by wroghting all that stuff down, I’m impressed by that much stuff!
know here in the states you can get free range turkeys at Thanksgiving and Christmas time I believe that choice is mainly in the Midwest where there is more farming. Most of the farming here in the NW is grains and milk cows and veggies. Thank you for the information.
I hate spell check
That odd word in the first paragraph is ‘writing’.
I love sausages I’m having a party Thursday and always have pork chipolata sausages, there an old family favourite, free range birds are the best and the younger the more moist the flesh, I love wild rabbit, but difficult to get one unless you live in the country and there’s a free range butchers there, I ordered sandwiches online and M&S messed up my order so had to get one in store, and was very lucky because that was the last one there, so just got to get the house ship shape tomorrow and get the food out of the freezer.
I don’t know much about Richard 11 except the part he played in the peasants revolt, I think he’s failure as a King was in part due to his youth would you agree Bq? The painting of him shows a cherubic child with golden curls but that angelic look hid a spoilt selfish character I believe, I know he renaged on the promise he made to Watt Tyler and I learnt that from reading Setons great classic ‘Katherine’, he was deposed and died in prison some say poisoned, a sad end really.
Well, yes, his being ten when he became King didn’t help, although he of course wasn’t responsible for the decisions of his council and those in charge like John of Gaunt and Archbishop Sudbrey, the former of whom introduced the Poll Tax, which in 1381_was administered to everyone over 12, regardless of income. Our modern version did take income into consideration, despite the claim of rent a mob, and in fact was fairer than the current council tax which is based on an over estimated value of your home, regardless of income. The tax was actually introduced in 1378 but it changed and the peasants, including yoemen and the head farmers were taxed equally. The heavy handed manner in which the tax was collected was the reason behind the protest which evolved into a rising and mass march on the capital from Kent and Essex, violence, beheading of officials and destruction of property. By this time the young King Richard ii was fourteen and beginning to stretch his authority. It is his role and leadership during this crisis which defined the rest of his reign. Even as a youth Richard was aware and full of his own importance and he had begun to give orders that everyone should kneel and call him Majesty if he spoke to them. Richard was also known for his introduction of manners and pomp and etiquette at table and some nobles resented this. Richard took a very brave and fearless, if foolish role in the revolt by meeting with them not once but three times. He met them by water to pacify them after they stormed the Tower, killing poor Archbishop Sudbury and terrorising his mother, then once to hear the demands and finally to meet with their leaders. Of course we all know the ploy he pulled, promising them the earth and saying he would lead them after Wat Tyler was mortally wounded. He led them into a trap, as they were surrounded by armed men and forced to go home. Richard had felt his own power at an early age and it went to his head. An adult might have negotiated or given them concessions, not Richard ii. He made life hell for the ordinary people and things were worse than before. Hundreds were arrested, tried and killed and the figures vary from 500 to a couple of thousand. As an adult Richard appears to have become unstable and he lost control. His reign was marked with trials of both loyal and disloyal nobles by Parliament, his revenge and eventually his downfall by the son of John of Gaunt, Henry of Bolingbroke or Lancaster, who on the pretext of negotiations with Richard, on the run in Wales, captured him, with the support of most nobles, a large army and the Commons, took him as a prisoner to London, took control of the crown, forced him to resign and then in Pontefract Castle Richard was starved to death. A normal young King might have learned wisdom and how to balance his authority with a more even hand but Richard was a young King who had personally faced down armed rebels and was too aware of his own merits and loved power and pomp. Some experts believe he had something really wrong with him, but I am not entirely convinced of that. I just believe he was unable to really control his nobles, found too much power too quickly and couldn’t cope when his nobles said no. He saw how much of a threat the peasants could be(the term peasant is probably not totally correct as it represented artisans, village officials, people of moderate means as well as the commons or simples as people were called) and he grew fearful and reactive. Nobody was going to defy his authority again and his nobles and Council took the brunt of his anger and misrule. He certainly wasn’t one to cross.
Hi BQ. I don’t know if my brain is making this up or if I read or heard this somewhere: At the meeting with Richard where Wat Tyler was killed, Tyler had made a move on one of Richard’s men that precipitated the attack on Tyler. If this is true I put the blame solely on Wat Tyler.
Hi Michael, well you know how these things went, there is the official version and the mix and match of everything else to cobble together a real version. The evidence actually isn’t very clear. There was some confusion about what actually happened. Yes, the official version said Tyler went forward to meet the King, he said his piece, the King nodded, the two knights either side of the King said he had a knife, there was a scuffle ( although I doubt you can scuffle on horseback without them rearing or taking off) someone cried out, Tyler made to cut one of them down and Warren sliced at Tyler before he could, seriously hurting him with a bollock knife, which is the size of a small sword. This is what is depicted in the painting of this event. However, eye witness accounts differ, as you might expect and it all happened in a flash. More than one person said Tyler was cut down while negotiating. Others that he went to strike at either the King or his bodyguard and he was struck down because it was treason. It is just as likely that it was actually decided before hand, that the cry went up, it was predictably chaotic, at the signal an alarmed Wat Tyler, who apparently had some military experience, saw he was in danger, tried to defend himself and was killed as a result, making it look as if he had committed treason. That was the signal for the young King to ride forward, take command and lead the rebels into the enclosed Smithfield fields where his army awaited and the waiting crowd were forced to surrender. Unfortunately, we don’t really know which version is correct and as it did happen rather quickly blame is impossible to pinpoint. Personally I believe the government decided to make an example of Tyler, although he was armed and was just as likely to have moved to attack first, the blame was put on the fallen man and the bodyguard cried foul play. Tyler was carried to the nearby Abbey of Saint Bartholomew the Great, the Church of which exists today, where he died of his vicious wounds. The King led the crowd outside to the fields and his armed men surrounded them. They begged for mercy and it was over. There was foul play that day, Michael, but it wasn’t by Wat Tyler.
The version of events you just cited makes a lot of sense. Though Richard was young it is in keeping with his personality and how government viewed the peasantry as nothing but rabble. Thank you for clearing that up.
Thanks Bq, yes he was very young when he took the reigns of power, we should not judge him too harshly he was only a child.