1. The Act of Supremacy
Very probably Rome's final verdict did not interest Henry any longer. The affair that had been pending for seven years was finally and definitely decided on March 23, 1534. A consistory of cardinals debated the case for six hours, going through all the arguments for the umpteenth time. Winding up their debate, the cardinals pronounced that King Henry VIII's marriage with Catherine of Aragón was valid, so that he was not allowed to divorce her and marry Anne Boleyn.
In the autumn of 1534 Parliament passed the Act of Supremacy; it nade the king Supreme Head of the Church of England, transferring the Pope's rights and prerogatives to him. On January 15, 1535, there was a session of the Privy Council in which all the great of the realm were present, Sir Thomas Audley (c.1488-1544), More's successor as Lord Chancellor, Thomas Cromwell, and others. They heard a memorandum read to them, composed by the king, through which he notified them how he wanted to be styled. It was thus: `Henricus Octavus, Dei Gratia Angliae et Franciae Rex, Fidei Defensor et Dominus Hiberniae, et Supremum Caput Anglicanae Ecclesiae'. It goes without saying that this was approved.
2. The desired heir
We have run somewhat ahead in order to complete the picture of the great new edifice the king was erecting. Yet the true keystone is still lacking: the son who would survive him and reign long enough to make the Tudor dynasty truly national, the son whose birth would justify all the trouble he had taken. However, Anne did not what was expected of her, bear a son whose name would be Henry or Edward. On September 7, 1533, she was delivered of a daughter who was christened as `Elizabeth' on September 10. If Henry was disappointed, he did not show it. Nobody could guess then that this in fact unwanted child would rule England for forty-four years with a firm hand.
3. The Succession Act
King Henry wanted to make sure that the whole English nation would explicitly acknowledge that Princess Elizabeth and eventual other offspring he would have with Anne were his legitimate heirs. Always ready to help his master, Thomas Cromwell framed a bill, which Parliament passed as the `Succession Act' in the spring of 1534. In order to make still more sure, Cromwell inserted a clause that every Englishman of adult age should take an oath that he (or she) agreed with this Act. It is not probable that really every Englishman was summoned to take the oath, but on all accounts anyone of only the slightest importance had to. And almost everyone did so.
Almost everyone, true, but there were exceptions. There was the bishop of Lincoln who was on a diplomatic mission to Germany and who did not return. Yet not all objectors could or wanted to emigrate. In all forty-five people refused to take the oath. Among them were some faithful servants of Catherine and Mary Tudor. There was one secular priest, John Larke, and a Brigitine friar, Richard Reynolds, and also all the Carthusian monks of the monastery of Sion in London. One bishop refused, John Fisher (1489-1535),[i] and only one important layman, Sir Thomas More (1478-1535).[ii] Those who refused the oath were imprisoned in the Tower; most of them were executed.[iii]
4. Fisher and More
Two of Henry's victims were internationally known and respected. Bishop Fisher, who had staunchly defended Catherine's rights, was a reputed theologian, with some important works to his name. When he sat in his cell in the Tower, he heard that Pope Paul III had made him a cardinal on May 22, 1535, which was also a vigorous protest against Henry's way of treating him. It seemed that the Pope hoped to save Fisher's life by this move, but it only made the king more angry. He is reported to have said that "he would cut off Fisher's head and send it to Rome with the cardinal's hat put on it."[iv] On June 22, 1535, bishop Fisher was beheaded on Tower Hill.
Sir Thomas More was born in London in February 1478. He studied law, but for a time he seriously considered becoming a priest. He finally decided that he had no calling; he married, had children, and set up a practice as a barrister. In 1504 when he was twenty-six he became a MP for London for the first time, and in 1523 for the second time. He then lived in a house in Chelsea that still stands and can be visited.[v] His first encounter with Henry VIII dates from the summer of 1499, when the later king was still a young boy.
We remember More not as a jurist, a parlementarian, or a politician, but as a humanist, Erasmus' great friend. He won international fame as the author of books against Luther, of a biography of King Richard III, and most of all by his still highly readable Utopia, his vision of a perfect society, the full title of which is The Best State of a Commonwealth and the New Island of Utopia (1516). The king befriended him; he was always welcome at his court; Henry even visited him in his house at Chelsea and walked with him in the garden with his arm around his neck.[vi] Yet More did not trust his royal friend. He told his son-in-law William Roper (1496-1578): "I have no cause to be proud thereof [of this friendship], for if my head could win him a castle in France, it should not fail to go."[vii]
As related already, the king appointed More as Wolsey's successor as Lord Chancellor, and also that this caused surprise because Henry knew that More was opposed to his marriage plans. More may have hoped that he could deflect the king from taking this course. Yet he remained true to his motto: that he was `the King's good servant, but God's first'. It was in consequence of this that he resigned his chancellorship on May 16, 1532. H retired to the quietness of his home and did not attend Anne's coronation. On April 13, 1534, he was summoned to Lambeth Palace in order to take the Oath of Succession; he refused without giving his reasons.
He was not allowed to go home, but was placed in the custody of the abbot of Westminster; a few days later he was confined in the Tower. On June 3 he was visited in his cell by a commission of five persons of which Thomas Cromwell, archbishop Cranmer and the new chancellor Thomas Audley, were members. He was now requested to take the Oath of Supremacy. At first he did not answer, but then he said that he would not state that the king was the Supreme Head of the Church, because if he said he was, he would perjure his soul, and if he denied it, he would put his life at risk, which could not be requested of him. He came, however, very close to an unambiguous answer by saying that "every country in Christendom laid down that the Pope was the Head of the Church, whereas now the doctrine that the king was Head of the Church was accepted in only one country and rejected in every other country of Christendom."[viii]
On July 1 More had to appear in Westminster Hall before a commission, with Audley in the chair; among the commissioners he saw Cromwell and the father of Anne Boleyn. Asked once again to declare that the king was the Head of the Church, he stuck to his policy of not answering; he acted on the legal principle that an accused need not collaborate to have himself condemned. The jury, consisting of London citizens, needed only half an hour to pronounce the `guilty'.
Knowing that he was lost, More spoke his mind at last. Parliament, he said, had no power to abolish the papal supremacy over the Church. "Not only have you no authority without the common consent of Christians all over the world, to make laws and frame statutes, Acts of Parliament or Councils against the said union of Christendom, but you and the others sin capitally in doing so."[ix] With this statement More pointed out the dualistic distance that was orginating between the self-proclaimed sovereignty of the state and the catholicity, the generalness, of the Church.
After this statement Audley pronounced the death sentence: More was "to be hanged, cut down when still living, castrated, his entrails cut out and burned before his eyes, and then beheaded." However, the king `in his mercy' ordered that he should `only' be beheaded. In the morning of July 6, 1535, More was executed on Tower Hill; he asked the bystanders to pray for the king. The corpse was buried in the church of St.Peter ad Vincula in the Tower. It demonstrates the depth of Henry's depravity that More's head was deposed on a pole on London Bridge. A few days later his courageous daughter, his beloved Margaret, bribed the commander of the watch to take it down. She entrusted it to her husband William Roper, who preserved it. When he died in 1578, the head was buried with him in the family vault in St.Dunstan's church in Canterbury; the vault is still in place.[x]
The news of the execution of these two men, especially More's, sent a shockwave of horror and indignation throughout Europe, not only among Catholics. More, who was a truly holy man, was canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 19, 1935, together with Fisher.
5. Why people gave in
Let us pause now for a moment in order to discuss why all Englishmen - with numerically negligeable exceptions - so readily gave in to Henry's wishes by taking the Oaths of Succession and Supremacy. First of all, it must be stated that people did not do so out of sympathy with the king; he was not popular and Anne Boleyn still less so. People were disgusted with his treatment of his lawful wife and pitied poor Catherine and her daughter Mary. Fear was a powerful motive. It was realized that Henry could not be stopped. Those who thought of refusing the oaths were confronted with the possibility of losing their jobs; this was true both for members of the clergy and for laypeople. If the king could dismiss Wolsey, a cardinal-archbishop, a Lord Chancellor of the realm, why then should he spare a simple postmaster?
I feel that very many people did not understand what was happening. The king Supreme Head of the Church of England, what might that mean? It was beyond their imagination. A great part of the population was still illiterate; they did not read books or pamphlets. Their information was mostly of an oral kind, deficient and most of the time consisting of rumours. Allow me a comparison. The Netherlands are a monarchy, with the overwhelming majority of the population in favour of it: it has a rating of 86%, with only 7% for a republic (and another 7% undecided). For five centuries Dutch national existence and history were closely interwoven with the House of Orange-Nassau; a republic is beyond the national imagination. I guess this is also valid for our would-be republicans, because the Dutch are viscerally monarchical.
I feel this also applies to sixteenth-century England. For a thousand years it had been a Catholic nation; its people was viscerally Catholic, unable to imagine that now the king, and not the Pope, was the Head of the Church. Very probably they eased their consciences by telling themselves that, let the king say what he wanted, the Pope would, when all was said and done, remain, in one way or other, the true Head of the Church. And it is a fair guess that the King Henry himself did not know in 1535 what it would mean to be the Head of the Church. The only thing he was certain of was that he was now rid of papal meddling with his marital problems.
The dilemma the oaths posed was solved by taking them. Even Princess Margaret, her mother now being dead, went down on her knees, took the Oath of Supremacy, and acknowledged that she was illegitimate.[xi] Thomas More himself did for a long time not know what to do. Realizing that not many people are made of the stuff heroes are made of, he advised his daughter Margaret, who was married and had children, to take the oath. He himself had `full many a wotless [sleepless] night', because of the dilemma, until he could tell his son-in-law: "Thank God, son Roper, the field is won."
6. The stripping of the altars
King Henry had not completed his programme. As always he found the faihtful, industrious, and resourceful Thomas Cromwell prepared to help him. As most rulers he wanted money and possessions, more than he had; he needed it not only for his policy, but in order to make people favourable to it, in other words, to bribe them. The greatest source of wealth was the Church, the greatest landowner of England; its wealth mainly consisted of landed property. If the king could get at the wealth of the dioceses, monasteries, friaries, and other ecclesiasticl institutions, he would deal a devastating blow to the infrastructure of the Church and eliminate a possible source of opposition.
a. Plucking the secular clergy
Thomas Cromwell, so much may be said of him, was a managerial genius. Already in 1534 he was devising `a plan for reorganising the finances of the Church in order to provide a larger surplus for royal use in peacetime'.[xii] The first realization of this plan was the Act of First Fruits and Tenths, which regarded especially the secular clergy. If a cleric got a benefice, he must, according to this new Act, pay the whole income of the first year to the crown and a tenth of it for every following year.[xiii] A special court was set up to collect these taxes. The result was a considerable increase of the revenues of the Crown. Already in the 1534 the Act yielded £ 46.052 for the royal coffers and £ 51.770 in 1536; by 1540 a total amount of £ 406.415 had been collected.[xiv]
b. Assessing the wealth of the Church
The next thing Cromwell did was assessing the extent of ecclesiastical wealth. Commissions, with a mandate dated January 30, 1535, were set up, one for each shire, each commission being divided into subcommissions for every group of deaneries; their instructions were extremely detailed, for not a penny of worth might escape them. The incomes of all dioceses, cathedrals, archdeaneries, rural deaneries, colleges, hospitals, monasteries, friaries, nunneries, rectories, vicarages, and chapels must be minutely specified, and also the revenues from manors, farms, tenants, and whatsoever source of income there might be. To prevent cheating by clerics, only one ecclesiastic, mostly the bishop, might serve on a commission; the other members were laypeople. Given the prevailing anticlericalism and the jealousy of the wealth of the Church, the commissions were not inclined to help the clergy.
The commissions worked surprisingly rapidly. so that the results could be presented to the Exchequer already in the beginning of 1536; they are known as the Valor ecclesiasticus, or the `King's Books', six heavy folio volumes. During the nineteenth century they were printed. The great spoliation could begin. A satirist remarked that the `Papa' had now become `Pay-pay'. Those who had rejoiced that no longer taxed should be paid to Rome so that they could keep their money in their pockets, were soon to learn otherwise.[xv]
c. The visitation
In July 1535 a general visitation of all English monastic houses began. In itself a visitation is a quite normal thing. It was one of the tasks of the bishops to inspect the religious houses, in order to detect abuses and to suppress them. Cromwell, however, had something quite different in view: his aim was not to suppress abuses, but the monasteries themselves. His agents travelled around with a list of eighty-six articles of inquiry and twenty-five injunctions to which the superiors had to respond. The agents did not need much time, because they knew what they had to do. Their reports, presented to the Commons in the beginning of 1536, were utterly damning. "The commissioners ... sent Cromwell a stream of mocking reports and inventories of the contents of monastic reliquaries, to convince the monks of superstitions and pious racketeering; before long they were sending the relics themselves."[xvi]
d. The first wave of the Dissolution
These reports were followed by the Act for the Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries on March 11, 1536, that is, of monastic institutions with an annual income of less than £ 200. When this Act was voted, this process had already been started. Wolsey had suppressed no less than twenty-one houses, allegedly for reasons of reform, but the incomes had gone to his own colleges. In 1534 a whole small Order had been suppressed, that of the Friars Observants; its seven houses were confiscated by the Crown.
On January 21, 1535, the king empowered Cromwell to conduct a general investigation of monastic houses, "whose real aim was not reform, but suppression. He may have hoped, under pretext of reform, to make monastic life so uncomfortable that houses would surrender of their own accord, but he was resolved in any case to force through a large measure of confiscation."[xvii]
During the first wave of the Dissolution two hundred and twenty of the three hundred and seventy-two of the smaller religious houses were immediately dissolved; dozens of others followed later. Their superiors were pensioned. All the valuables were sent to the Jewel-House in London; all the lands were confiscated by the crown, while the crops and stock were sold, along with the bells in the towers. The spoliation was done thoroughly: even the lead was stripped from the roofs.[xviii]
e. The second wave of the Dissolution
The second wave of the Dissolution, aiming at the greater and wealthier religious houses, followed in 1539. However, between 1536 and 1539 a number of religious houses surrendered voluntarily; their superiors took what Dickens calls `the line of least resistance'.[xix] It was not always wholly voluntarily, because in some cases government agents exercized pressure on the superiors. In all one hundred and fifty-eight houses of monks and thirty of nuns dissolved themselves. The houses of the Orders of friars were systematically suppressed in 1538.
Then followed the Dissolution Act of 1539, which dissolved all the remaining religious houses. The last house to be dissolved was the Augustinian abbey of Waltham on March 23, 1540; this spelled the end of all monastic life in England. The buildings were sold or demolished or left to decay; ruins of monasteries can still be seen all over England. Let the reader visit the still majestic ruins of Tintern Abbey. Let him or her stand in the roofless nave of the great abbey church, and then, dear reader, look about you and say to yourself: Si monumentum requiris, circumspice."[xx]
The spoils went to the Crown, making King Henry inordinately rich.[xxi] The superiors were liberally pensioned; some of them later became bishops of the Church of England. The friars, however, were put on the street without a penny; many of them got an appointment in the new Church. Nuns received only very small pensions. Monks and canons were accorded some five or six pounds per year, which, according to Dickens, was no more than the income of an unskilled labourer.
f. Creating a vested interest
The king sold much of the sequestered lands to members of the nobility and the gentry, but also to commoners, thus making friends with the unjust mammon. In this way he gave his subjects a vested interest in the English Reformation. A return to Rome would have cost the new possessors their acquisitions or so they feared. "Altogether a fair proportion of the population was involved in the new economy. The king, in effect, was binding to himself and to the royal supremacy not only the gentry of England but the rising middle class. The bond was strong; the practical hands which seized the church acres would not let them go. The land settlement was the sheet anchor of Henry's Reformation."[xxii]
Henry VIII's highhanded way of ruling the country was not meekly accepted everywhere and by everyone. There were reports of unrest in the north and the Midlands already in 1534 and 1535. In October 1536 the situation became threatening, when a rising began in Lincolnshire, followed by rebellions in Yorkshire and other counties. One of the rebels' principal motives was the attack on the Catholic Church, more in particular the spoliation of the monasteries, but there were also other motives, complaints about the heavy taxes, for instance, and other royal measures.
Nevertheless, the religious motive was prominent, so that this disparate group of rebellions goes by the name of `Pilgrimage of Grace'. The rebels choose the Five Wounds of Christ as `the emblem of their loyalty to the whole medieval Catholic system'.[xxiii] Duffy states that "resentment and rejection of ritual change had lain close to the heart of both the Pilgrimage of Grace and the Western Rebellion."[xxiv] And Scarisbrick concludes that "the Lincolshire rebellion and the Pilgrimage proper were first and foremost protests and behalf of the old order against the recent religious changes."[xxv]
On December 6, 1536, the rebels assembled at Pontefract in Yorkshire to frame a list of articles: the divorce was condemned, Princess Mary must be legitimized, the breach with Rome must be repaired, there should be no dissolution of monasteries, and the traditional holidays should be restored.[xxvi] It was a dualistic situation, because the rebels rejected all that the king and his subservient Parliament had decreed.
There was no general rebellion with a central leadership, but rather a chain or complex of revolts. On principle it would not have been difficult for Henry to suppress them, but he had no standing army or police force; so he began with playing for time. The weapon he used was deceit; he also reckoned that his subjects would be basically loyal to their sovereign. Having received the rebels' list of grievances, and having listened to the advice of his Privy Council, he sent Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk (1473-1554), to the north. The Duke had to tell the rebels that he agreed to their requests and that they would be pardoned. He should, however, make it clear that he was speaking on his own behalf, but that he would intercede with the king to grant them what they wanted. Norfolk must try to procrastinate so that there would be sufficient time to assemble a strong military force.
Norfolk had a meeting with thirty prominent rebels at Doncaster, in South Yorkshire, and acted as he had been instructed. The rebels, being loyal subjects indeed, believed that their requests had been agreed to and that they would be pardoned. But the wily Norfolk had only spoken of a promise of pardon. Having heard this, the principal leader took off the badge of the Five Wounds and said: "We will bear no badge or sign but the badge of our sovereign lord."[xxvii] He told his men to disperse, which they did. Yet the king did not have the slightest intention to concede to the rebels what they wanted.
There was another leader who was not so easily taken in; he found especially the promise of pardon too vague. He succeeded in restarting the rebellion. This time Henry struck, pitilessly. The north was an alien country to him; he had never been there, and even in this emergency did he not go there. He was so scared of those northerners that he had the Tower of London fortified. His army conquered one northern city after another, York, Lincoln, Durham, and many more, and meted out very heavy punishments to each of them. In May 1537 seventeen leaders of the insurgence had been captured. They were all brought to London and condemned; most of them were executed. In June it was all over.[xxviii]
8. Cromwell's fate
King Henry VIII was a heartless and totally unscrupulous man, who never hesitated to divest himself of people who had incurred his displeasure for some reason or other. The next paragraphs will be devoted to this. I shall not proceed chronologically but thematically. The fate of Thomas More, John Fisher, and others who objected to his religious policy, has already been mentioned, just as that of the leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace. Even Thomas Cromwell, the king's principal adviser, the architect of his schemes, and their main executor, finally had to suffer the full blast of the royal wrath.
Naturally, a man in Cromwell's position had enemies galore; his colleagues in the Privy Council considered him an upstart (which he was); his main enemy was Norfolk. Nevertheless, he felt himself to be safe, because he stood high in the king's favour. On April 18, 1540, he received the peerage he had longed for: he was created Earl of Essex and Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household. But he would enjoy these honours only for a very short time. Did he know that his enemies, Norfolk and Stephen Gardiner, the bishop of Winchester (c.1483-1555), planned to impeach him for treason and were collecting evidence for this?
On June 10, 1540, during an afternoon session of the Privy Council, which Cromwell was attending, his enemies struck. When he entered the room, Norfolk shouted at him: "Cromwell, do not sit there! Traitors do not sit with gentlemen!", suggesting with these words that he was not only a traitor, but also no gentleman.[xxix] A captain of the guard came in and arrested him. He got so angry that he threw his bonnet on the floor. When Norfolk and another member took off his decorations, he will have had no doubts who had a hand in this. He was led out; a boat awaited him to bring him to the Tower. That same day his house at Austin Friars was seized, which made it clear that he was finished.
There can be no doubt that Norfolk and the others did not wholly act on their own initiative; they had the king's consent. This raises the question why Henry so suddenly abandoned the man who had always faithfully executed and not seldom initiated his plans. To quote Scarisbrick: "Cromwell's fall and judicial murder are full of mystery. Probably we will never know exactly how and why he was toppled, nor fully uncover the intrigues of those who hounded him to his death."[xxx] Many guesses have been made, but there is no definite answer.
Henry was a fickle man to whom reasons of a strictly personal nature counted more than solid political arguments. Let us not forget that he tore England loose from Rome for no other reason than that he wanted a wife who could give him a son. Let us also not forget that he became dissatisfied with his wives, the one after the other, even sending some of them to the block. So why should he spare a Cromwell? Perhaps he found that the man had become too powerful and that he was too heavily indebted to him.
A week after the arrest, on June 17, a bill of attainder was introduced in the Lords and on the 19th in the Commons; it was passed on the 29th. The charges were manifold: he was a traitor, a deceiver, circumventor of the king. He was accused of being a Lutheran, a heretic, and, revealingly, that he had shown disdain to the nobility. Could the latter charge not have been the true reason for his fall?[xxxi] However this may be, the collected evidence was nothing but fabrication.
On July 1 the unfortunate man wrote to his master, denying the charges; if he had hoped to meet Henry face to face, he was deceived. There was no formal trial; the Act of Attainder was deemed to be sufficient. On July 29, 1540, Cromwell was led out of the Tower and beheaded on Tower Green. Eight months later the king complained that "on light pretexts, by false accusations they made me put to death the most faithful servant I ever had."[xxxii] Henry had shown himself to be the weak and volatile ruler he really was. This is Scarisbrick's final verdict: "At the time, probably, Henry had never understood how and why Cromwell was suddenly swept away. The king had been stampeded by a faction bent on a coup d'état and swept along by it, like the suggestible man he was."[xxxiii]
Yet, if Henry had been hoodwinked to a certain extent, Cromwell's noble enemies knew perfectly well why they had it in for him. Norfolk's son, the poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-1547), expressed it in these words. "Now is the foul churl dead so ambitious of other's blood ... These newly erected men would by their wills leave no nobleman on life."[xxxiv]
9. Anne Boleyn's fate
Thomas Cromwell was by no means Henry's only victim, not even the principal one. His marriage to Anne Boleyn had not become a heaven of marital bliss. In 1533 Anne had given him a daughter, Elizabeth, but not the desired son. During 1535 she became pregnant again. On January 21, 1536, her husband fell from his horse and remained unsconscious for two hours. The accident had no fatal consequences for the king's health, but Anne miscarried on the 27th; the child - probably it was a boy, three-and-a-half months old - died soon. It seems that this made her husband decide that his marriage was over.
As I wrote above, we should not conceive of the Tudor court as a nunnery. The atmosphere was saturated with Eros. The fine courtiers, male and female, who hung around there, had hardly anything else to do than dallying with each other. And Queen Anne, the greatest prize of them all, was not immune to this, as Queen Catherine had been. The least that can be said of Anne's behaviour was that it was imprudent, although she probably did not have affairs. There were always those who were only too ready to inform the king how free his wife was with certain courtiers, so that he became convinced of her guilt.[xxxv]
It did not influence his judgment that he had his own affairs.[xxxvi] Just at the time of Anne's miscarriage, her husband became seriously interested in Jane Seymour, who was to be his third wife. There were rumours that he intended to marry her, once Anne was disposed of. He had, in fact, already decided to get rid of her. He was convinced that Anne's not giving him a son was a sure sign of God's displeasure with this marriage. He said to one of his intimates that "he had been seduced into marriage with Anne by witchcraft - the marriage was null and void, and would take another wife."[xxxvii]
Thomas Cromwell was flabbergasted, when he heard what was on. He had gone out of his way to secure the breach with Rome, so that his master could marry Anne, and now, after only a few years, it was to be undone. He became so angry that he had to take to his bed.[xxxviii] And indeed, Henry had turned upside down and shocked all Europe for what was now presented as only a delusion.
On the morning of May 2, 1536, (the day before the royal couple had attended a tournament), three courtiers, one of these being Norfolk, accused Anne of having had sexual relations with three men. Having heard this, Henry, now finding his wife an `accursed whore', struck. At two o'clock in the afternoon of that same day Anne was apprehended, put into a barge, and transferred to the Tower; she was in a state of nervous disarray, alternately laughing and crying. The trial took place on Monday 15, with Norfolk, the Lord High Steward, presiding. There was no lack of charges: during the last three years she had had illicit relations with five men, all mentioned by name; she had promised to marry one of them, once the king was dead - she had said that her husband was impotent - she had derided him - she had tried to poison Princess Elizabeth. She was, it goes without saying, sentenced to death, but it was left to her husband's infinite mercy whether she would be beheaded or burned. It was to be beheading. On the fair morning of the 19th she was led out to Tower Green. The executioner, brought over from Calais, an expert in his craft, did his work deftly.[xxxix]
An immediate consequence was that the baby-Princess Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. What will all those people have thought who had done violence to their conscience by acknowledging the Princess as the legitimate heir - to say nothing of the families of those who had laid down their lives for refusing to do so?
BECKINGSALE, B.W., Thomas Cromwell, Tudor Minister. London, 1978.
BLOCK, Joseph, The Rise of the Tudor State.
BOWLE, John, Henry VIII. A Biography. New York (1964).
BRADSHAW, Edo Brendan, and DUFFY, Eamon, Humanism, reform and the Reformation: the career of Bishop John Fisher. Cambridge University Press, 1989.
DICKENS, A.G., Thomas Cromwell and the English Reformation. English Universities Press. 1972² (19591).
DUFFY, Eamon, The Stripping of the Altars. Traditional Religion in England, c.1400-c.1580. Yale University Press, 1992² (19921).
GUY, John, Thomas More. Oxford University Press, 2000.
IVES, E.W., Ann Boleyn. London, 1987² (19861).
MACKIE, J.D., The Earlier Tudors 1485-1558. Oxford, 1952.
RIDLEY, Jasper, Statesman and Saint. Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas More, and the Politics of Henry VIII. New York, 1983 (London, 1982).
SCARISBRICK, J.J., Henry VIII. London (1968).
WARNICKE, Retha M., The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn. Family Politics at the Court of Henry VIII. Cambridge University Press (1989).
[i].. The career of bishop John Fisher (see Bibliography).
[ii].. Of the many biographies I only mention the most recent one, John Grey, Thomas More (see Bibliography).
[iii].. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII 331.
[iv].. Ridley, Statesman and Saint 278.
[v].. Which I did in July 1954.
[vi].. Ridley, Statesman and Saint 246.
[vii].. Quoted by Ridley, Statesman and Saint 247.
[viii].. Ridley, Statesman and Saint 277/278.
[ix].. Quoted by Ridley, Statesman and Saint 281.
[x].. Ridley, Statesman and Saint 283/284.
[xi].. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII 351.
[xii].. Beckingsale, Thomas Cromwell 42.
[xiii].. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII 338.
[xiv].. Block, Rise of the Tudor State 38.
[xv].. Dickens, Thomas Cromwell 69/70.
[xvi].. Duffy, Stripping of the Altars 384.
[xvii].. Mackie, Earlier Tudors 376.
[xviii].. Mackie, Earlier Tudors 378.
[xix].. Dickens, Thomas Cromwell 135.
[xx].. Tintern Abbey is a 12th-century Cistercian Abbey, destroyed in 1535. Its ruins are situated on the river Wye, near the village of Chapel Hill, to the south of Monmouth (co.Gwent, Wales).
[xxi].. Dickens, Thomas Cromwell 137.
[xxii].. Mackie, Earlier Tudors 401.
[xxiii].. Duffy, Stripping of the Altars 248.
[xxiv].. Duffy, Stripping of the Altars 531.
[xxv].. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII 341.
[xxvi].. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII 341.
[xxvii].. Quoted by Scarisbrick, Henry VIII 345.
[xxviii].. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII 345/346.
[xxix].. Beckingsale, Thomas Cromwell 141.
[xxx].. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII 376.
[xxxi].. Beckingsale, Thomas Cromwell 141.
[xxxii].. Quoted by Beckingsale, Thomas Cromwell 143.
[xxxiii].. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII 383.
[xxxiv].. Quoyed by Bowle, Henry VIII 231.
[xxxv].. Ives, Anne Boleyn 375.
[xxxvi].. See for all this Warnicke, Rise and Fall, Ch. 8 Sexujal Heresy.
[xxxvii].. Quoted by Ives, Anne Boleyn 343.
[xxxviii].. Ives, Anne Boleyn 353.
[xxxix].. Bowle, Henry VIII 201-204.