Jane Seymour Letter Found

Posted By on February 29, 2012

According to a Daily Mail report published today, a letter from Queen Jane Seymour to Henry VIII has been found “carefully preserved on a shelf in the picture store room at Dunham Massey estate in Altrincham, Greater Manchester”. In this letter, Jane informs the King that she has given birth to his longed-for son, Edward VI:-

“Trusty and welbiloved we grete you well. And forasmuche as by the inestimable goodnes and grace of Almighty god we be delivred and brought in child Bed of a Prince conceyved in moost Lawfull Matrimonie betwebe my lord the Kinges Majestye and us.”

It was found with another letter, one written by Henry VIII to George Booth Esq (grandfather of Sir George Booth, the man responsible for the first house to be built at Dunham in 1600) as a “‘call to arms’, asking him to raise troops from his tenants to fight as the King was trying to get together an army for his war to Scotland.” In the letter, the King writes:-

“Trustie and welbiloved we grete you well Lating you wit that forasmuche as by the manifold injuries wronges and displeasoures doon unto us our Realme and subiectes by the Scottes, We have been enforced latelie to enter into open warre and hostilitie with the same.”

You can see photos of these letters and read more about them in the Daily Mail report at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2108110/Letter-informing-Henry-VIII-longed-sons-birth-469-years-stately-home.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Both letters are to be put on display at Dunham Massey as part of an exhibition on the relationship between the property and the monarchy to tie in with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Information on visiting the house can be found on the National Trust website – http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunham-massey/

17 thoughts on “Jane Seymour Letter Found”

  1. miladyblue says:

    Wow, what a find! Have they managed to authenticate these letters? How sad, in Jane’s case, that this seems to be her last comminuque with Henry.

    I wish the noble houses around the UK would start checking their libraries, and see if anything else interesting can be found. Something like this is just too rare!

  2. Shoshana says:

    Fantastic find!! Wish we could have more finds of this nature; I often wonder what is laying in the old manors and palances, in forgotten nooks, just wating to be found; maybe in hidden drawers in walls or under tiled floors. I also think a search should be done in each historic house, palace and building with the idea new documents or relics might be found; if nothing else, a search will reveal any repairs that are needed in places not often or never visited within these dwellings.

    The article had a side bar mentioning another daughter of Henry VIII’s. Is this true or just a rumour going around? I thought there was no evidence that Henry continued his affair with Bessie Blount after the birth of Henry Fitzwilliam. Claire, has this been verified? They gave her name but no details of her life; are any details known?

  3. Cat says:

    I agree with you, miladyblue, that it would be great if all the great houses would check in their libraries and else where to see if there are any other treasures waiting to be found!

  4. Michael says:

    Dear Claire,

    A quick glance at the picture in the articles (the captions of which should be reversed) suggested to me that this letter to Henry was in fact a general birth announcement letter sent out in the queen’s name. I believe there are similar letters for the births of Mary and Elizabeth. It certainly is not a personal letter. There is a citation in L&P that mentions a modern copy of a letter to George Boothe in the Archives. It’s possible that what’s been found is the original of that modern copy. That would be a nice find, too, of course.

    From: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/source.aspx?pubid=85312 Oct.889

    Queen [Jane Seymour] to Cromwell.
    Nero C. x. l.
    B. M.Informs him of the birth of her son “conceived in lawful matrimony.” Hampton Court, 12 Oct. Sealed.
    In Sadler’s hand, p. 1. Add.: To, etc. Lord Privy Seal o…….high steward of all…..lands.
    *** This seems to be the letter printed by Hearne in his “Sylloge” at the end of “Titus Livius,” p. 113, as a letter to the Lords of the Council. Another copy will be found in a hand of later date in MS. Harl. 283, f. 155. A similar letter to the University of Cambridge is printed in Cooper’s Annals of Cambridge i. 391, and a similar letter addressed to George Boothe exists in a modern copy in Harl. MS. 2,131, f. 27.

    From: ‘Henry VIII: October 1537, 11-15’, Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 12 Part 2: June-December 1537 (1891), pp. 309-324. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=75717&strquery=birth edward Date accessed: 29 February 2012.

    1. steve says:

      Hi Claire
      I was reading your posting from feb 2012 about the Jane Seymour and Henry VIII documents. Can you tell me more about “modern copies’ of these old Tudor letters…for example does modern refer to fair copies which would have been contemporary to the time — or would a modern copy been made later, say 90 years later? My thought is this Seymour letter is real in that it is a fair copy made at the time — I think many fair copies of this announcement were sent around the Realm in 1537 and this might be simply one of those?
      I’d love your comments.
      Steve

  5. Lynnie says:

    The letter was written to the Council, not to Henry. I’d be surprised if this was original. Delighted, but surprised.

  6. Esther says:

    Great find, but I wonder why the article writer states that the letter from Jane Seymour was written to Henry. Would she have opened a letter to him in the same words that he used to underlings (“Trusty and well beloved …”)? Also, wouldn’t a letter to Henry be found among his papers? It seems to me that the letter from Jane is announcing the birth to someone else, not Henry.

    1. yanice says:

      that`s exactly what just caught my eye (?). Why would a loving wife, who had to be absolutely exhaused anyway, address her own husband, whose wishes just came true, in such a manner….Trusty and well beloved…that sounds weird, strange.

  7. Linda Saether says:

    Her handwriting is certainly exquisite. Interesting to hear “her voice” in this letter, but still, I wonder what a steeled heart she must have had to marry a man within days of the execution of his wife.
    Regarding the discovery of historical treasures, I am sure there is more…..any news on Boleyn portraits or the B necklace?

  8. Debra says:

    I agree with miladyblue, WOW. Finding such letters is great. I hope more are found. Such history in the letters. Thank you for sharing this news.

  9. Sway says:

    Why would she write Henry that she had given birth? I mean, was he out of the country or something? :)))

  10. Claire says:

    I agree with Esther and Michael, the letter reads much more like an official birth announcement that Jane possibly just signed, rather than wrote. Why would she refer to the King in the third person otherwise and why would she actually write to the King about the birth anyway? It seems a formal, official letter.

    1. cat says:

      Claire, I agree with you on the fact that it was an odd feeling to the way the letter was written. One would read the letter and ask the question “Would she really be announcing the birth to her husband like this”?

  11. Adrienne says:

    This is a neat find even if it’s just a copy. I find it distressing though that a British magazine would get it’s own country’s history wrong. Is the Daily Mail known for this? I had no idea AB was beheaded in February!! LOL

  12. Dawn 1st says:

    Its a great find, who ever it was written to, it is also great to hear that there are still bits of Tudor history turning up ‘out of the woodwork’, lets hope there is plenty more to come…:)

  13. Brenda says:

    I don’t think this letter would’ve been JUST found… I remember in history class we watched the six wives of Henry VII documentary by David Starkey, and the was an exact quote said in the documentary.

  14. Dawn 1st says:

    I think, Brenda, that the birth announcement would have been one of many that were prepared in advance for the Queen to sign, the same was done for Anne, and they had to squeeze in the extra ‘s’ on the word Prince when she had Elizabeth. So the quote in your lesson could have been off another one, or from a record of one.

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