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Henry : An Essay Exploring His Reputation
July 25, 2010
5:26 pm
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Ammanvalleyjack
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first of all, the intro threads didnt look like the most busiest of places so i shall introduce myself here, Nathen from Wales, 24, eager amateur Henry VIII historian and regular lurker on these forums but first time poster. i guess its taken me a while to absorb the information to put it into something worth posting. I recently came across an article I had handwritten a year ago and have thus typed it up and decided to post it on my website and obviously its one thing having facebook friends and twitter people read it, but i'd like some people with an actual understanding of the man to discuss. first of all heres the essay broken down into sections exploring his reputation http://bit.ly/bHh353

to add on to that, i feel its time to start a discussion. if it has been done before my apologies, its late and my brain is fried. but as i explore in the above article, was Henry really pure evil and a despotic tyrant beyond saving as seems to be the general consensus. was he not just a well-meaningful man who lost his way as his life progressed? does personal failures undo all the good he did in implementing such things as state education, advancing the english language, the renaissance and so on? i feel a debate coming on.

Cheers, Nathen

July 30, 2010
3:44 am
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joeyramone
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Jane Seymour was NOT virtuous and Anne was NOT guilty nor was she a willing pawn – she was unwilling at first. Henry knew she was not guilty and killed her anyway. Henry also never resolved to not marry after Jane Seymour died he was looking for a new wife almost immediately after her death and the reason there was such a gap between her death and his next marriage was because he had trouble finding someone to be his wife as all the women he approached were not interested and some of them even hasitily married to avoid him! Anne did not behave scandalously and she was erratic as for so long she had been kept waiting and she had a LOT of enemies all around her.  You also did not mention that she was in love with Henry Percy and they were to be married until Henry and Wolsey put a stop to that – not to mention she did not want to be just another mistress of Henry after what she had seen happen to her sister.Anne was Queen for years and would have had a healthy male son if she had not miscarried because of Henrys accident and his conduct with that sly bitch Jane Seymour. There is NO irrefutable evidence of her guilty and infidelity in fact there was never any real proof it was all made up to get rid of her.

 

It was Duke of Norfolk who suppressed the Pilgrimage of Grace not Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk – it is only shown that way on the Tudors TV series.

 

he was a tyrant, a despot, neglectful father and wife-killer – there is no way he was not.

July 30, 2010
5:25 am
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Jenny
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Hi – we all have diffrent ideas about this one – Strange that the Duke of Norfolk (a catholiic) got himeself embroiled with the Piilmgramage of Grace but it has been shown so many times that he had one interets – himself.  Agree with Joey that H7 was a tyrant, etc.  and will never change that idea.

Don't have TV so have not been (thankfully) embroiled in theTudor series – Just come to Spain and “dubbed” as most programme are.  Last night, just after the news on TV when I was about to walk out of the local bar, the next programme advrtised was the Tudor Series – It was the episode with H7 and Ann plus the beginning of the affair with Jane Seymour.  Whilst “dubbing” is a way of life in Spain, and despite the fact that I was also in conversation with people about other things, managed to see the majority and, to be honest, thought the whole thing terrible – Okay the costumes were right – but men's hair and faces no – Mark smeaton seems as if he had a false moustache – Henry would never had such a 21st century haurcut and his hair colour was wrong – The whole series for me,stank and I hope I never see another episode (I have said that I deliberately don't have TV at home and am glad for that one). Really can't understand why everyone seems to be so glued!!!  Went to bed a sadder person.

Am not the expert on the Tudors but would have expected better from this

July 31, 2010
3:34 am
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Claire
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Hi Nathen,

Welcome to the AB Files and the forum. Whereabouts in Wales do you come from? My Mum is from North Wales. Thanks for giving the link to your essay, I'll have a read of it and then give you some feedback on it. Henry really interests me as I can't fathom him out.

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

August 1, 2010
2:39 am
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Claire
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Hi Nathen,

OK, some thoughts/comments on your essay which I thought was well-written and brilliantly researched. The following points are not meant as criticism but are just bits that I don't entirely agree with or where you need to explain in a bit more detail what you mean:-

“Henry’s official reasoning for his attempt to have his marriage annulled by the Pope was due to a previous betrothal of his wife to his dead elder brother, thereby believing himself t be living in Biblical sin. The more likely reason is that after 20 years of trying for a son with wife she had only given birth to one surviving daughter after numerous others died in, during and after childbirth.”

I agree that Henry did have another motive for wanting out of his marriage BUT Henry was deeply religious and had been worrying about the whole Leviticus brother's widow issue for years. He had also been pondering an annulment well before Anne Boleyn caught his eye. The Leviticus issue was very real to Henry and led to him believing that his marriage to C of A was cursed. I think it was more than an excuse or just “official reasoning”.

“Her erratic and allegedly scandalous behaviour as well as the political aspirations of yet more new nobles prompted rumours of Witchcraft and the King aptly annulled the marriage, signed her death warrant and executed her and others for adultery and treason.”

Not sure about this bit. I'm not sure that Anne was erratic or scandalous before her fall and I don't think there were rumours of witchcraft before her fall and she was not accused of being a witch or found guilty of witchcraft.

“Contemporary theory painted her as a treacherous witch, whilst the truth is more likely that she was a willing pawn in the never ending and often fatal ambitions of noble families attempting to gain power of the King for personal greed.”

I don't actually see Anne as a pawn like Catherine Howard, I think the way she held Henry off for so long shows that she was more powerful than a pawn.

“Henry went into a prolonged period of mourning the woman he had elevated into a Madonna-type figure. An over-the-top reaction to a short marriage perhaps, but she became the prototype for perfection in the misty eyes of the King because of the fate of nature that was her giving birth to a male.”

Spot on!, Henry became very sentimental over Jane and I think he only called her his true wife and got buried with her because she gave him the ultimate gift, a son, and then died as a result of it.

“Katherine was a vivacious lady with loose morals for the time, even continuing a love affair during her regency and unashamed to conceal it.”

I think she actually did try to conceal her affair. Jane Boleyn was in charge of arranging secret meetings. K was never regent, do you mean Queen Consort?

“Katherine became the second Queen of her prominent family to be beheaded, although unlike Anne she remained unrepentant to the end.”

I think you need to explain what you mean by that. K wrote Henry a letter begging for mercy and confessing to her past with Dereham etc. She also followed execution convention and confessed that she was a sinner who deserved death etc. It is a myth that she shouted that she died a queen but she'd rather die the wife of Thomas Culpeper.

“Katherine Parr nursed Henry to his death and helped patch up his fractured relationship with all three children, a small mercy that concluded the life of the most infamous married man in history.”

I definitely disagree with that bit. KP didn't nurse him, he had servants to do that for him, and she actually caused him trouble in that she was outspoken about her beliefs and some of his council conspired against her. She did bring the family together and brought H comfort during his last years, but she was far more than a nurse.

Henry had the rebellion sharply and viciously suppressed at the hands of best friend Charles Brandon’s armies and had Aske and his collaborators executed en masse.

Agree with joeyramone here, it was the Duke of Norfolk who was put in charge of suppressing the Pilgrimage of Grace.

Humanist, Renaissance Man and Education sections – great stuff here, some great points.

“After the break from Rome Henry introduced the Tynsdale Bible, the first holy book written in a language other than Latin. The result was that for the first time a nation was, literally, on the same page and singing from the same sheet, bringing together the divided people.”

Do you mean Henry VIII's Great Bible? Henry VIII banned Tyndale's books in 1530. The Great Bible was based on Matthew's Bible, and therefore contained bits translated by Tyndale, but The Great Bible was prepared by Myles Coverdale. The Matthew Bible was used for a time but only as a short-term measure while an authorised English Bible was prepared. I'm also not sure that the new Bible brought together divided people.

As far as the last paragraph is concerned, yes you could say that “For all his faults, by the time he died his actions had left England on the cusp of becoming the world’s greatest superpower” but you could also argue that Henry had ransacked his country (Dissolution of the Monasteries), spent money on palaces for his own pleasure, created deep religious divisions and instability. Your last paragraph could look at those opposing views perhaps?

Anyway, I really enjoyed your essay and, again, the above comments are just that and not criticisms, it's just the teacher coming out in me!

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

August 1, 2010
2:35 pm
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Ammanvalleyjack
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thank you for your reply Claire, some very good points. i may have explored some of it a bit more in depth but i felt it was getting a bit long so kept it as simple as i could, plus it was done on my blackberry lol. some of the research probably could have been a bit more better i admit, but once again it was written of the top of my head in work on my phone lol. i also need to clarify, i didnt say that Anne WAS scandalous, i stated she was allegedly scandalous, whether true or not i dont know, but it was alleged by other people. doesnt make it true though.

p.s. im from Carmarthenshire in South Wales.

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