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Monarchs Who Never Were – Hauntings at the Tower of London Part 3

Posted By on March 28, 2011

Margaret Pole

Portrait of an unknown lady, possibly Margaret Pole

Today we have the penultimate part of Nancy Smith’s series on the Tower of London’s ghosts:-

Monarchs Who Never Were – Hauntings at the Tower of London Part 3

by Nancy Smith

The next two Tower of London hauntings are especially tragic, because of the advanced age of one if the victims, the youth of the other, and because both women were caught up in events that they had no control over but which led to their executions anyway.

Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury

Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, was born c. 1473, the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, a younger brother of King Edward IV, and Isabella Neville, elder daughter of Warwick the Kingmaker.  She is known as the Last of the Plantagenets because she was one of the few surviving members of the Plantagenet dynasty still alive after the Wars of the Roses.  Tragedy struck Margaret’s life when she was just a child, when her mother died when she was 3, and in January 1478, before she had reached her 5th birthday, Margaret’s father, the Duke of Clarence, was arrested for treason against his brother, the King, and was jailed, and then murdered, in the Tower of London, allegedly in a barrel of Malmsey wine.

Margaret married Sir Richard Pole when she was about 18, and was left a widow with five small children at the age of 31 when her husband died in 1505.  Her life seemed to take a turn for the better when she became close friends with Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first queen.  When Henry and Katherine’s daughter, Princess Mary, was born in 1516, Margaret became her godmother and later her governess.  However, when Henry sought a divorce from Katherine and then broke with the Roman Catholic Church, making himself Supreme Head of the newly formed Church of England, Margaret’s fortunes changed again.  Things became worse when one of her sons, Cardinal Reginald  Pole, writing from the safety of Rome, sent Henry a copy of his published treatise “Pro Ecclesiasticae Unitatis Defensione”, which criticized the policies of Henry and questioned his right to call himself Supreme Head of the Church of England.  Henry was furious and, since he couldn’t get to Cardinal Pole in Rome, he decided to punish the Cardinal’s family instead.  Even though they were innocent of any crime, Margaret’s eldest son, the 1st Baron Montagu, another son and other relatives were arrested on a charge of treason in November 1538 and committed to the Tower.  In January they were executed, with the exception of her son Geoffrey.  Ten days after the arrest of her sons, Lady Salisbury herself was arrested and examined by the Earl of Southampton and Thomas Goodrich, Bishop of Ely.  In May a Bill of Attainder was introduced against her, at which time Cromwell produced a white silk tunic which was embroidered on the back with the Five Wounds and was found amongst her belongings.  The discovery was said to connect her to the Pilgrimage of Grace and she was attainted to die by Act of Parliament.

After passage of the act, Margaret was conveyed to the Tower, where she suffered from the cold and the fact that she didn’t have sufficient clothing to protect her from the weather.  Margaret lived in these appalling conditions for 2 years, until the morning of May 27, 1541, when she was told she was going to die within the hour.  There are two versions about the way the Margaret Pole died.  According to one version, she went quietly when the guards came to take her to her execution, but she refused to say that she was a traitor and refused to lay her head on the block.  She had to be forced onto the block and, while she was struggling, the executioner, who was young and inexperienced, struck a blow that made a gash on her shoulder rather than hitting her neck.  The executioner was unable to control the heavy axe, and he hacked away at her head and neck, needing 10 or 11 blows to complete the job.  This version is horrific enough, but there is an even more gruesome version of Margaret Pole’s execution.  This version says that, after being dragged struggling to the block, the 67-year old countess, who was frail and ill, jumped up after the first blow struck her and began to run from the executioner.  He was ordered to chase her around the scaffold until he had succeeded in hacking her to death.  No matter which version was true, Margaret Pole’s execution was the most gruesome to take place within the Tower’s walls.

The execution of Margaret Pole has been replayed throughout history on the anniversary of her execution by the participants in this sad drama.  The phantom of the screaming Countess is chased by her ghostly executioner, forever trying to evade the blows of his axe.  During this pursuit, the shadow of a large axe has been seen in silhouette, reflected on the outer walls of the White Tower and over Tower Green.

Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey

The other unfortunate lady to be executed because of someone’s actions other than her own was 16-year old Lady Jane Grey.  Lady Jane, a fervent Protestant, was the granddaughter of one queen and the great-great-granddaughter of another.  Her mother, Lady Frances Brandon, was the elder daughter of Mary Tudor, known as the French Queen due to her brief marriage to Louis XII of France, by her second husband, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, a close friend of her brother Henry VIII.  In 1533 Frances was married to Henry Grey, 3rd Marquess of Dorset, who was a great-grandson of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen of Edward IV.  Elizabeth had married Sir John Grey, a Lancastrian knight, and they had two sons, Thomas and Richard.  Sir John was killed at the Second Battle of St. Albans in 1461, and since he had been on the Lancastrian side of the Wars of the Roses, he was considered to be a traitor to the Yorkist king, Edward IV.  Therefore his estates were confiscated, leaving Elizabeth and their sons destitute.  Elizabeth was forced to take her sons and move back into her parents’ house.  In an attempt to regain her sons’ inheritance, Elizabeth waylaid Edward IV as he hunted, and Edward IV was taken by the beautiful widow.  This led to a romance which culminated in a secret wedding between the Yorkist king and the Lancastrian widow.  Thus, Thomas Grey, eldest son of Elizabeth Woodville and Sir John Grey of Groby, became the stepson of King Edward IV.  Thomas Grey eventually married Cecily Bonville, a niece of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (“Warwick the Kingmaker”).

Thomas Grey and Cecily Bonville had a son, also named Thomas, who took Margaret Wooton as his second wife.  Together they had 4 sons and 4 daughters, including Henry Grey, who was born in 1517.  Henry succeeded his father as 3rd Marquess of Dorset when the latter died on October 10, 1530.  Although he was originally betrothed to Katherine, daughter of William FitzAlan, 18th Earl of Arundel, Henry Grey jumped at the chance to marry Lady Frances Brandon, niece of Henry VIII, when the king gave him permission to do so.  The couple had three children to survive infancy:  Lady Jane Grey (1537-1554), Lady Catherine Grey (1540-1568) and Lady Mary Grey (1545-1578).  The Greys were ambitious, and conspired with Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley (a younger brother of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector of England and Henry VIII’s third queen, Jane Seymour) to marry their eldest daughter, Jane, to King Edward VI of England, Thomas’s nephew.  Lady Jane became the ward of Sir Thomas and, after his marriage to Catherine Parr, widow of Henry VIII, in April of 1547, Jane moved with the couple to Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire where she experienced the happiest period of her life.  Catherine became like a second mother to Lady Jane, but Jane’s happiness was short-lived.  Catherine Parr died on September 5, 1548, six days after giving birth to her only child, Mary Seymour.  Thomas Seymour was executed for treason on March 20, 1549 after a failed attempt to kidnap King Edward VI.  One of the charges leveled against him was plotting to propose Jane as a royal bride.  Thomas Seymour’s death dashed the Greys’ hopes of seeing their daughter become Queen Consort of Edward VI.  After this debacle, Lady Jane was returned to the Grey family home, Bradgate in Leicestershire, and back into the custody of her strict parents.

Lady Frances became heiress to the Suffolk estates when her two half-brothers, Henry and Charles Brandon (her father’s sons by Katherine Willoughby) died within an hour of each other in July 1551.  Frances inherited the title of Duchess of Suffolk, making Henry Grey Duke of Suffolk jure uxoris.  He formally became Duke of Suffolk on October 11, 1551 in the same ceremony that elevated John Dudley to the title of Duke of Northumberland.  Dudley had overthrown Edward Seymour, the Lord Protector, in October of 1549 and was named Lord President of the Council on February 2, 1550.  As will be seen, it was Henry Grey’s collaboration with John Dudley which was largely responsible for Lady Jane’s tragedy.

With Jane’s marriage to Edward VI now out of the question, new arrangements had to be made for her future.  She was briefly considered as a bride for Edward Seymour’s eldest son; however, with the fall of the Lord Protector these arrangements also came to nothing.  By early 1553 Edward VI was clearly dying, and Northumberland realized that his influence (and maybe his life) would be over if the Catholic Mary Tudor ascended to the throne.  John Dudley and Henry Grey hatched a plot in which Lady Jane would be married to Dudley’s third son, Lord Guildford Dudley.  The marriage took place on May 21, 1553 despite Jane’s objections.  Edward VI, also a fervent Protestant, and probably at Northumberland’s suggestion, altered his will to designate Lady Jane and her heirs male as his successor, bypassing not only his two half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, who Henry VIII had restored to the succession via the Third Succession Act, but also the descendants of Margaret Tudor, the elder daughter of Henry VII, and Lady Frances Grey herself.  Edward died on July 6, 1553.  Four days later, on July 10, Jane was proclaimed Queen of England, at which point she took up residence in the Tower, where she would spend the final 7 months of her life.  Northumberland had failed to capture Mary Tudor, the rightful heiress, prior to Edward’s death being announced.  Mary was able to escape to East Anglia, where she began to gather her supporters.  On July 14 Northumberland departed London with troops in order to capture Mary; in his absence the Privy Council (who had also signed Edward’s device naming Jane as his successor) switched their allegiance to Mary, and on July 19 Mary was proclaimed queen in London, much to the joy of the general populace, who knew little about Jane and distrusted Northumberland.  Jane and Guildford were detained as prisoners in the Tower, charged with high treason.

Northumberland was executed on August 22, 1553, but at this point Mary was inclined to show mercy to Jane and Guildford, who she considered to be Northumberland’s innocent victims.  Although they were brought to trial on November 13, 1553 and sentenced to death, the expectations were that as soon as it was considered safe to do so, Jane and her husband would be set free to live in exile at one of their families’ manor houses away from London.  It was Wyatt’s Protestant Rebellion in late January 1554 that doomed the young couple.

Wyatt’s Rebellion began as a popular revolt, motivated by Mary I’s unpopular decision to marry Prince Philip of Spain.  The object of the rebellion was not to restore Lady Jane to the throne but to overthrow Mary and replace her with her half-sister Elizabeth, who would then marry Edward Courtenay, himself having royal blood as his paternal great grandparents were Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.  Although Jane played no role in it, her father was one of the chief rebel leaders.  Due to his wife’s friendship with her cousin, Queen Mary, Henry Grey had escaped the damage caused by the attempt to put Jane on the throne.  He was not confined to the Tower (as was Jane), but set free and allowed to return to court.  His involvement in Wyatt’s Rebellion was the last straw.  Henry Grey’s constant plotting finally caught up with him.  Mary realized that as long as Jane remained alive she could be a threat to Mary’s throne.  The Spanish ambassador told Mary that Prince Philip would not be able to come to England to marry her as long as his safety could not be guaranteed.  Mary gave Jane a final chance to live by promising to spare her if she converted to Catholicism, even postponing her execution by a day in order to Jane to consider the offer.  Jane was as committed to Protestantism as Mary was committed to Catholicism, and refused the offer.  She was taken out to Tower Green and beheaded on the morning of February 12, 1554, after having watched her husband taken from the Tower to Tower Hill to be beheaded and thereafter witnessing Guildford’s body and head being returned to the Tower for burial at St. Peter ad Vincula.  Shortly thereafter, Jane joined Guildford in the chancel of the little chapel.  Her father, Henry Grey, was beheaded at Tower Hill on February 23, 1554.  Her mother was fully pardoned by Queen Mary, and was permitted to live at Court with Catherine and Mary, her two surviving daughters.  Since Lady Jane died for her Protestant faith as well as for her closeness to the throne, she has been viewed as a Protestant martyr and was featured prominently in John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

Lady Jane Grey’s unhappy life and early, tragic death have given rise to many stories, and this includes stories about her ghost.  She allegedly haunts the Tower of London on February 12th, the anniversary of her death, although the last time her ghost was reported was on February 12, 1957.  At about 3:00 am on that date a guardsman standing watch in the area of the Salt Tower heard something strike the top of his guard tower.  Upon going outside to investigate, the guard noticed a headless white shape forming on the battlements of the Salt Tower.  It was only after discussing his experience with some of the other guards that the witness realized the significance of the date – it was the 403rd anniversary of Lady Jane’s execution.  Lady Jane has also been seen appearing as a shimmering white figure floating from the river mists.  She then strolls around Tower Green or glides along the battlements before withering away.  The ghost of Jane’s husband, Lord Guildford Dudley, has been spotted in the Beauchamp Tower, where he was held prisoner with his father and several of his brothers.  As an aside, Lady Jane’s ghost has also been seen at her birthplace, Bradgate Park in Leicestershire.  A ghostly coach, drawn by four headless horses, races through the park between the church and the ruins of the manor house on Christmas Eve.  Jane is seated inside the coach, holding her head in her lap.  When the coach reaches the ruins she is seen alighting the coach, still carrying her head, before she disappears inside the ruins.  This story will sound familiar to anyone familiar with my article on Anne Boleyn ghost stories.  In Anne’s case, however, she returns to her birthplace (Blickling Hall) on May 19, the anniversary of her execution.  On Christmas Eve, Anne’s ghost is seen crossing the bridge over the River Eden on the grounds of Hever Castle, her childhood home.  It is when Anne is not visiting her birthplace or her childhood home that she takes up residence in the Tower.

You can read the first two parts of this series at:-

Sources

24 thoughts on “Monarchs Who Never Were – Hauntings at the Tower of London Part 3”

  1. Minor correction. Henry Pole, Lord Montague, Sir Edward Neville and Henry Courtney, Marquis of Exeter (Edward’s father) were executed on December 9, 1538 not January 1539.

    1. Claire says:

      I’d read that Neville was executed on the 8th December 1538 and that Courtenay and Pole were executed on the 9th January 1539.

      1. Claire says:

        It’s weird because I can find sources saying that Neville was executed in December and the others in the January but other sources say all three in December. On p 284 of his new book on Henry VIII, David Loades says “On 9 December Montague, Exeter and Neville were beheaded on Tower Hill.”

  2. Catherine says:

    When I first read of Margaret Poles execution I wept like a baby. I mean what a terrible ending to a life, whatever version you tell. And why? Because she was related to Cardinal Pole? she was innocent and was scented to death, and died in such a gruesome way as she did..
    And still there are probably others who died even more horrible within those walls..

  3. Christine says:

    I would like to point out that Frances Brandon/Grey never was a Duchess in her own right. After the death of her half-brothers, the title fell into “abeyance”, as was often the case with female “heirs”. In feudal law you do not automatically “inherit” anything, let alone dukedoms. The king has to grant these things. Henry Grey was created duke “in right of his wife” by Edward, but she was not a duchess in her own right. In the Middle Ages you have many such cases, also in the earlier Tudor era. Genealogy has many pitfalls where people create “facts” by applying “logic”. History does not work like this, however. Btw, Frances Grey herself had already been specifically excluded from inheriting the crown by HenryVIII’s will, which explains why Edward in all the versions of his device did not consider her but only her issue (putative sons included). See Eric Ives.

    1. Christine says:

      I realize that in an article on ghosts the black legends must be firmly maintained; so, no white legends either, please: There is absolutely no reason to believe that Mary offered Jane her life. Mary wanted her TO DIE a catholic. From Mary’s viewpoint that made all the difference; if Jane died a Protestant she would go to hell, if she converted she would go to heaven (or vice-versa from Jane’s viewpoint). Jane was not executed for heresy, so that she could have recanted and received a life sentence. If faith would have been an issue, Guildford would also have gotten a chance; Feckenham never spoke to him, it seems. Foxe saw all of Mary’s victims as martyrs as long as they remained protestant. Guildford and Henry Grey both feature in his book.

      1. Claire says:

        Although I believe that Mary had got to the point where she HAD to execute Jane, there are some people who believe that Mary offering Jane the chance to recant/convert was a lifeline and would have resulted in Jane’s sentence being commuted. Jane had Tudor blood and was related to Mary, whereas Guildford was not, so Mary naturally would have been more sympathetic to Jane.

        1. Christine says:

          Hi, Claire. I do not doubt that Mary was sympathetic to Jane. My perhaps ill-advised comment was rather more aimed at the fact that this article is written in the black legend tradition where everyone except Mary is concerned. If we have relentlessly scheming parents and in-laws and puppet king, why don’t we have a bit of Bloody Mary? I apologize to the author, I didn’t mean to offend.

      2. Nancy says:

        I’m sorry, but it wasn’t my intention to make Mary look like the heroine for offering Jane her life in exchange for converting, while at the same time condemning Jane’s parents, in-laws, etc. for her death The last thing I intended to do was make excuses for Mary, although I realize that the ill treatment that she and her mother received at the hands of her father did a lot to emotionally scar her. She seemed to be more willing to forgive people who plotted against her life than she was to show mercy to people who didn’t agree with her extreme religous beliefs.

    2. Nancy says:

      I apoligize for my ignorance regarding genealogy, but that wasn’t intended to be the main focus of the article. I realize that I’m not an expert on the subject. I didn’t intend to create “facts” by using “logic”. I knew that when I wrote about Lady Jane it would be a sensitive subject, especially in light of Leanda DeLisle’s recent book challenging many of the current beliefs about her. Maybe I oversimplified about how Henry Grey came to be Duke of Suffolk, but my intention was to write an article about legends surrounding the Tower of London while giving just enough background information so that the reader could understand the history surrounding the hauntings if they were not already acquainted with it. Sorry for any errors.

      1. Claire says:

        No need to apologise, Nancy, and you’re certainly not ignorant. Historians don’t agree on Lady Jane Grey hence the very different accounts of her life and downfall by Eric Ives and Leanda de Lisle. As you say, your emphasis was on ghost stories and legends and I think your articles are brilliant.

        1. Christine says:

          I apologize Nancy if you thought I meant you with people creating facts out of logic (I realize now you must have understood it that way, sorry). The problem I was referring to is there are many assumptions which seem logical but are contradicted by historical fact or circumstances, often regarding peerage titles or rules of inheritance. Sadly, these things keep being repeated even in many books. This sometimes occurs because people forget that society is always developing and many “rules” are only set down much later; they are then applied retrospectively (and ahistorically) by us. It’s similar with the problem of hindsight. I am afraid I’ll always have difficulties expressing myself clearly or properly in blog posts, e-mails and so on.
          I really enjoyed the ghost stories about Jane, though, even if I disagree with some of the other things mentioned.

  4. DeAnn says:

    Another great article Claire! The countess of Salisbury has always fascinated me (btw, she was entitled to the title of Warwick through her mother but of course the Tudors weren’t giving it to her).

    I do take issue with saying her father was murdered. Clarence was legally attained by Parliament. Yes, it’s what Edward IV wanted. But all signs are he dithered and dithered at killing his younger brother. Yes, he was killed in the Tower. But most historians agree that he was executed privately as a favor to Edward and Clarence’s mother, the Duchess of York, who did not want to see her son publicly executed. I think its fair to say he was executed. I don’t think its fair to say he was murdered. Technically no crime occurred because Parliament had condemned him as a traitor (my recollection is Parliament left the sentence in the hands of Edward but been a long day and don’t feel like going through my Royal Blood and Wars of the Roses books, sorry. This website is relaxing fun for me!)

    For what it’s worth, before Edward’s death the Earl of Warwick (Margaret’s brother) was a ward of Elizabeth Woodville’s son, Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset. He was raised at Greenwich with the other royal children. I have always assumed but so far not found any definitive proof that Margaret was also a ward of Dorset. She was certainly also raised at Greenwich until Edward’s death in 1483. Once Dorset fled into sanctuary, the next records are of Warwick and Margaret being taken into the care of their (double) aunt and uncle, Gloucester and Anne Neville in June 1483. Anne Neville is assumed to have cared for the children and kept them with her. Anne Neville died in 1485. We know Warwick was sent to Sheriff Hutton with Elizabeth of York in 1485. Again, I think it’s an easy assumption to believe Margaret was there when the Battle of Bosworth was waged.

    I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on Arthur Plantagenet. He was a natural son of Edward IV. Based on household accounts, he was raised in the royal household until Edward’s death in 1483. He then vanishes until he is an adult early in Henry VIII’s reign. The countess refers to Arthur as her “cousin” in letters. Arthur (Lord Lisle) was swept up in 1539 as Cromwell struggled to hang onto power and taken to the Tower. (Arthur was considered “Catholic” and conspiring with the Poles) His letters became the Lisle Letters and hence why we know some of his relationship with the Countess of Salisbury.

    Here’s one of the saddest things I’ve read. Margaret and Arthur seem quite close from their childhood days (again the assumption is they were raised together in their early years at Greenwich and Westminster Palace and Windsor Castle with the other royal Plantagenet children). So they are both in the Tower of London (have found no records indicating whether they were able to speak at all).

    When Margaret heard the scaffold being built in 1541, she thought it was for Arthur. She was praying so hard for his soul when they came and told her no it was for a Plantagenet but a different one. Margaret was killed in part because Henry wanted a “summer cleaning” before he went on progress with Katherine Howard. I believe you mentioned this but one of the kinder things that Katherine did as queen was getting some clothing and blankets to Margaret who was suppose to be cold and in poor health due to her confinement.

    And finally again to show how in Tudor times there was the 3 degrees of Kevin Bacon, Arthur, Lord Lisle, had married John Dudley’s mother. (first marriage for Arthur, second for Dudley’s mother after Henry VIII had first husband — John’s father — executed). After Arthur died in the Tower in 1542 (that in itself is an incredible story), John Dudley inherited his stepfather’s title and became Viscount Lisle two weeks later. Arthur had three daughters by John Dudley’s mother (no sons). At least two married and had children.

    1. Christine says:

      It’s the last comment I am ever going to do on a blog, but being entirely non-English, can someone explain to me what “3 degrees Kevin Bacon” does mean?? I’d be intrigued to know.
      Btw. The case of Arthur Planatagenet becoming Viscount Lisle is exactly such a case I mentioned above: his first wife (John Dudley’s mother) was the daughter of a Viscount Lisle. After her brother had died the viscountcy went into abeyance and her niece became BARONESS Lisle. After the niece also died, Dudley’s mother became another baroness Lisle. Still later, her husband Arthur Plantagent was granted the Viscountcy by Henry VIII. After Arthur’s death, Sir John Dudley was created Viscount Lisle “by the right of his mother” by Henry. He inherited the title through his mother and it was a new creation as a “special mark of favour” (Loades) by the King.

      1. Claire says:

        Why is it the last comment you’re going to do on a blog? Your comments are always fantastic! Also I haven’t got a clue what “3 degrees Kevin Bacon” means, where have you seen that?

        1. Christine says:

          Claire, just seen your comment. The Kevin Bacon thing is in the last thing paragraph of De Ann’s comment directly above. I am afraid I don’t understand what it means, but I am curious….

        2. Claire says:

          Having done a quick search online, it seems to be do to with ‘degrees of separation’, i.e. that we are all related. Hope that helps!

      2. DeAnn says:

        Hi Christine. I sure hope I didn’t say anything that makes you think you shouldn’t keep posting comments. I love how interactive and friendly this site is. I sure hope you keep posting! And I totally believed my third-grade teacher when she said there are no dumb questions.

        Here’s the wikipedia article on Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. It explains the saying better than I could. I shortened it to three degrees because in Tudor times seems like folks are even more closely related than modern times! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_kevin_bacon

        The case of Viscount Lisle further proves the point! Arthur Plantagenet was Thomas Howard, third duke of Norfolk’s, brother in law through both Howard’s first wife, Anne Plantagenet — Edward IV’s daughter — and Thomas Howard’s younger sister, Muriel.

        And you are right re abeyance and women. Muriel Howard married John Grey and thus became Viscountess Lisle (it was she and her stepmother who got paid by James IV for shaving his beard after he married Margaret Tudor. The Scottish records list her as Viscountess Lisle). The couple had a daughter Elizabeth who was contracted to marry Charles Brandon (thus he got the title of Viscount Lisle). The marriage did not take place obviously. Brandon became Duke of Suffolk. When Muriel’s daughter died in 1519, that’s how Arthur then got the title through right of his wife, Elizabeth Grey Dudley Plantagenet, who was sister to John Grey, Muriel Howard’s husband!

      3. DeAnn says:

        I apologize. I meant to reply directly rather than below so you’d know that I replied!

        1. Christine says:

          Thank you for explaining, both DeAnn and Claire! It’s amazing how they were all related, no wonder we today get confused. It was moving to read of Margaret as a child in those Northern castles and that she was close to Arthur Plantagenet; really interesting to take that into account!

  5. Anne Barnhill says:

    Oh, I think Margaret Pole’s execution sounds likesuch a nightmare–how horrible, either way. And she was an old woman, really old at a time when I read the average lifespan was something like 43 yers. To end that way just seems particularly cruel. But Henry proved himself a cruel man at the end.
    As for Jane Grey, I feel sorry for her short, unhappy life–from what I’ve read, she didn’t like Guilford much and was force into marriage. Her parents were cold and she really had only Edward VI and Elizabeth for good company. I think Mary would have spared her if she had recanted but Mary knew, perhaps, Jane’s Protestant faith was as strong as her Catholic faith. So sad to persecute for the sake of religion but I guess it is still happening…little changes in human nature.
    And I love the comments and interactions on this site–so please don’t stop commenting, Christine.

  6. Shoshana says:

    Re: Kevin Bacon comment. Some years ago there was a game about Kevin Bacon where you traced connections back to him. It was based on the assumption that no matter who or what, blood relation, acquaintance, or just knowledge about him could be directly traced back to him. If there were six levels of connections then it was said it was a six level Kevin Bacon, that is, there was six things or people between you and Kevin Bacon – or at least this is how it was explained to me at a party where it was being played. Having imbibed a considerable amount of margaritas, I can’t be sure if I understood it completely but I can be sure I thought it was rather silly and declined to play.

  7. Ashley says:

    Lady Jane Grey was innocent her only crime Mary believed was that she had royal blood
    After reading about her it really makes me sad because she was killed when she was either 16 or 17 and I am 17 and its sad because we are the same age even though we are years apart but its still sad to think about her death

  8. Leonie says:

    You have the concept of 6 degrees of Kevin bacon correct, I have played it & yes, I can connect to Kevin via acquaintance within 6 people. They say that we can all do it with anyone around the world, except perhaps with those who live in remote locations with little or no contact with the outside world. It is a fascinating result of our modern lifestyles and the number of people who travel regularly.

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