Ursula Pole, Baroness Stafford

Keeping one’s head in a crisis had a whole different connotation in the 16th century. And the more closely one was related to the King, the more difficult it became.

Ursula_Pole

Believed to be – Ursula Pole, Baroness Stafford

Ursula was born in c1504 the daughter of Sir Richard Pole and Margaret Plantagenet, the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, brother of two Yorkist Kings Edward IV and Richard III. A close cousin to the Henry VIII (her grandmother Edith St John was half sister to his grandmother, Margaret Beaufort) you could be forgiven for thinking this would have stood the Pole family in good stead.

But despite her impeccable pedigree, Ursula Pole watched as member of her family fell like nine pins.

One of their problems was their continued adherence to the old religion and their allegiance to Catherine of Aragon and her daughter the Princess Mary.

Henry VIII

Henry VIII

And the other problem was they were just too darn royal. The Pole family were too close to the new Tudor crown for comfort and Henry VIII took every opportunity to weed them out.

As a member of the royal family, Ursula’s marriage was keenly debated. At one point the Duke of Milan was a possible contender but then a match with Henry Stafford, son of the Duke of Buckingham, was suggested by Cardinal Wolsey. The marriage took place on February 16, 1519 when Ursula was about 15 years old and Henry 18.

The couple set up home in her father in law’s household and remained at the centre of court life. Four months pregnant Ursula even joined the royal entourage at Henry’s big show off shindig at the Field of the Cloth of Gold.

Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham

Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham

But Ursula and Henry had been married barely two years when the first fall of the axe occurred. Henry’s father, Edward 3rd Duke of Buckingham, was charged with treason and executed on Tower Hill on May 17. His crime was his intention to kill the King, however it was more likely his descent from Katherine Woodville, the sister of Elizabeth, Edward IV’s Queen, that sealed his fate. Edward was posthumously attainted by an Act of Parliament and his title and estates, including the Duke’s fabulous castle at Thornbury, were seized by the crown.

Next for the chopping block was Henry Pole, Lord Montagu, Ursula’s eldest brother. On November 4, 1538 Henry, along with his various Neville in laws, was arrested for treason and beheaded on January 9 the following year.

That same year Ursula’s mother Margaret was arrested and charged with colluding with her treacherous sons Henry and Reginald. On May 27, 1541 she was also beheaded. An inexperienced executioner hacked to pieces the head and shoulders of the 68 year old Countess until the job was done.

Portrait of a woman said to be Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury.

Portrait of a woman said to be Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury.

And when it came to her 9th son Thomas Stafford, poor Ursula must have hung her head. At best a fantasist, Thomas considered himself to be a serious contender for the throne. In league with Wyatt, Thomas rebelled against Queen Mary and the Spanish marriage. Having lived in France for several years, Thomas sailed from Dieppe and on April 18 1557 seized Scarborough Castle, declaring himself Lord Protector. Ten days later he was captured and on May 28 was executed at Tyburn.

Ursula and Henry had 14 children and with the family estates rapidly disappearing they were kept on the move. There is evidence to suggest they lived in a property in Sussex and spent four years in an identified abbey property. They may even have lived in the castle at Stafford granted to them in 1531.

Mary Tudor

Mary Tudor

Henry continued to support Queen Mary and was later to reconvert to Catholicism, although whether Ursula followed him remains unknown.

Henry died on April 30, 1563 at Caus Castle, Shropshire and was buried at Worthen Church. Ursula died on August 12, 1570 – further research is required to establish where she was buried.

An enigmatic woman, it can be safely said that Ursula kept her head when all about her others were losing theirs.

 

 

Wolf Hall

Tudor fans this side of he pond are eagerly awaiting the launch of Wolf Hall, a major new BBC drama based on the Man Booker prize winning novels by Hilary Mantel, with the six week series due to air later this month.

Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell

Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell

Wolf Hall, published in 2009 and the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies published in 2012 saw Hilary Mantel become the first woman to win the prestigious Man Booker prize twice. The Tudor trilogy tells of the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s right hand man, with the third volume, The Mirror and the Light, due out this year.

Damien Lewis as Henry VIII

Damien Lewis as Henry VIII

The TV series is written by Peter Straughan and directed by Peter Kosminsky. Mark Rylance plays the part of Thomas Cromwell while Damien Lewis is Henry VIII and Jonathan Price is Cardinal Wolsey. Joanne Whalley plays Hal’s unwanted wife Catherine of Aragon and Claire Foy plays Anne Boleyn.

Joanne Whalley as Catherine of Aragon

Joanne Whalley as Catherine of Aragon

Lucy Worsley, historian, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces and TV presenter assures us that the attention to detail is phenomenal. No sign of zips on costumes and down pipes on Palaces this time then.

American viewers will not have to wait too long either as the Public Broadcasting Service will be screening the series from April 2015. And for theatre goers the Royal Shakespeare Company’s stage production begins a 15 week run on Broadway beginning March 20, 2015.

Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn

Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn

For readers of this blog here is a reminder of some of the St John women who were on the scene around the same time.

Margaret Beaufort, Henry VIII’s grandmother, lived long enough to see her grandson accede to the throne in 1509.

Alice St John, Lady Morley, got to go on that great Tudor gig, the Field of the Cloth of Gold, but her daughter Jane was less fortunate.

Then there was poor old Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury, who met her fate at the hands of Thomas Cromwell and what about Catherine St John and her artful sister Jane?

Those St John gals are pretty phenomenal themselves.

 

Hilary Mantel with Wolf Hall

Hilary Mantel with Wolf Hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice Neville, Lady Fitzhugh

Now more than half way through the ten part series and the success of The White Queen is no longer up for debate. You are either absolutely enthralled, watching and reading every last column inch about the characters and cast – or you’re not. Denigrated as a medieval soap opera, accused of being economical on historical fact, with British viewers even getting a sexually watered down version, you either love the Philippa Gregory adaptation – or you don’t.

Philippa-Gregorys-The-Cousins-War-Book-Series-600x306

Returning to the Neville women, sisters of the dastardly Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, we come to Alice. There seems to be varying opinions as to whether Alice came in 3rd or 4th place in the family line up but I am sticking with historian and lecturer David Baldwin who places Alice between sisters Eleanor and Katherine, born after 1432 and before 1442.

Alice married Henry, Lord Fitzhugh of Ravensworth Castle, Richmond in Yorkshire in c 1447/8 and during some 25 years of marriage she gave birth to at least eleven children.

The ruins of Ravensworth Castle

The ruins of Ravensworth Castle

Henry, Lord Fitzhugh was another canny character during this period of shifting fortunes. Henry’s association with the Neville family was long, but he also maintained a tenuous link with the Lancastrians and stood alongside Margaret of Anjou at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460. However a year later and Henry was fighting with the Yorkists at the Towton bloodbath.

Alice is said to be the most similar in temperament to her despotic brother, so not a cuddly type then.

After Henry’s death in 1472 Alice resisted the temptation to remarry. She had status and wealth enough and preferred not to risk either at the hands of a second, controlling husband. She divided her time between the family seat at Ravensworth, moving to the dower castle at West Tanfield following her eldest son’s marriage.

The affection between the sisters during these difficult years is not always obvious but more is known about the relationship between Alice and Katherine. Alice is known to have been not only emotionally supportive of Katherine following her husband’s execution, but also to have provided practical assistance.

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When it came to issuing invitations to the coronation of Richard III and his wife Anne, Alice, Lady Fitzhugh was the only one of the surviving Neville sisters to receive one. As aunt to the Queen and cousin to the King, Alice played a prominent role in the proceedings; following the couple in the long and slow procession to Westminster the day before the coronation. Alice was among the ladies who supported the Queen during the ceremony and sat with her at the banquet held in Westminster Hall later that day.

Anne Neville, Richard III's Queen

Anne Neville, Richard III’s Queen

But three short years later and Alice’s niece Anne was dead, Richard was slain at the Battle of Bosworth and Henry Tudor reigned. Time to retreat?

Alice survived the Lambert Simnel uprising of 1487 in which her son in law Francis Lovel was heavily implicated, and spent her later life occupied by the domestic. She was involved in arranging those all important marriages for her grandchildren, and always had her finger on the pulse of family life.

Alice was the longest lived of the six sisters. She died c 1503 not far short of her 70th birthday. She had outlived most of her eleven children. Presumably someone was left to attend to her memorial, most probably erected at Jervaulx Abbey, but a great deal of religious upheaval has passed under the historical bridge since then and sadly no evidence remains.

Henry VIII's sixth wife, Queen Katherine Parr

Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Queen Katherine Parr

For further reading visitors to Good Gentlewoman might also like to call upon TudorQueen6 and follow the fortunes of Queen Katherine Parr, Alice’s great-granddaughter.

Pole Position

On this day in 1541 Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury was beheaded at the Tower of London. She was 67 years old and had already served two years imprisonment in the London fortress. She had arrived there another victim of Thomas Cromwell, but ironically he met his death before she faced hers.

Portrait of a woman said to be Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury.

Portrait of a woman said to be Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury.

Margaret was everything Henry VIII feared most. As the last Plantagenet she was more royal than he. She was cousin to his mother Elizabeth of York; she was wealthy, powerful and a staunch supporter of the Princess Mary, having served as a Lady in Waiting to Catherine of Aragon.

Henry VIII

Henry VIII

Although all of these factors were troubling, Henry could probably have turned a blind eye, until Margaret’s son Cardinal Reginald Pole started mouthing off.

From the safety of Padua, Reginald spoke out against the annulment of the King’s first marriage, then he waded in criticising Henry’s policies to reform the church in England. At that point Henry could no longer ignore the Pole problem.

Thomas Cromwell

Thomas Cromwell

Cromwell issued a Bill of Attainder against Margaret and despite a plea to her son to put a sock in it, she was whisked off to the Tower.

The poor lady’s execution was truly awful. Arranged in haste, the official executioner could not be found and an apprentice was called in to do the job. Lady Margaret continued to protest her innocence and unlawful imprisonment and some reports say she tried to run away. The stand-in executioner, no doubt unnerved by the whole affair, made a terrible botch of the job, landing eleven blows before he eventually managed to sever Lady Margaret’s head from her body.

So how was Lady Margaret Pole related to the St John family, I hear you ask? Well, in 1487 Margaret Plantagenet had become the second wife of Sir Richard Pole, who was the son of Geoffrey Pole Esquire and his first wife Edith St. John.

Geoffrey was a member of the Welsh supporters that followed Owen Tudor to England. With property in both England and Wales, Geoffrey was Constable of Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, councillor of Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke and brother of Edmund Tudor, Henry VII’s father, and he also served as Marshal of the great and petty sessions at Carmarthen and Cardigan, a position he held for life.

Margaret Beauchamp courtesy of Duncan and Mandy Ball

Margaret Beauchamp courtesy of Duncan and Mandy Ball

His wife Edith was the daughter of Margaret Beauchamp and her first husband Oliver St. John, and therefore half sister to Margaret Beaufort, the daughter of her mother’s second marriage to John Beaufort.

Margaret Beaufort was married off to Edmund Tudor at the tender age of 12 and a year later gave birth to a son who would become Henry VII. Geoffrey and Edith’s familial and royal connections were therefore close. Their son Sir Richard Pole, poor Margaret’s husband, was a cousin of the half blood to the new Tudor monarch.

Lady Margaret Beaufort

Lady Margaret Beaufort

The Pole family figure prominently during those terrifying Tudor times. And as if that’s not enough Pole family history Margaret Beaufort had been the ward of William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk following her father’s death. William, steward of the royal household, recognised a good marriage prospect when he saw one and married off the six year old Margaret to his seven year old son. But in 1453 Henry VI revoked the de la Pole wardship in favour of his two half brothers. He had the marriage between Margaret and John de la Pole dissolved, paving the way for a union with Margaret and his half brother Edmund Tudor.

Sadly and inevitably, little is know about Edith St John. She died in about 1459 and when Geoffrey made his will in October 1478 he requested that he be buried at Bisham Priory, Berkshire in the same grave as his first wife.

I have included in this post a portrait supposedly, but much disputed, of Margaret Pole. The painting is held by the National Portrait Gallery (NPG 2607) and is titled Unknown woman formerly known as Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury by Unknown artist.

In her biography of Elizabeth of York: The First Tudor Queen Alison Weir writes about the execution of Margaret’s father, George, Duke of Clarence.

“Because the Duchess Cecily had protested against her son being executed in public, Clarence was put to death privately on 18 February 1478 in the Tower of London. It was said that, allowed to choose how he would die, he opted to be drowned in a butt of Malmsey (Madeira) wine. He left behind a three-year-old son, Edward, Earl of Warwick, who was barred by his father’s attainder from ever inheriting the throne or any of Clarence’s lands and titles; and a five-year-old daughter, Margaret, who would wear a tiny wooden wine butt on a bracelet all her life in commemoration of her father; it can be seen in her portrait in the National Portrait Gallery, London.” And there it is!

Isabella Frances St John

Who would live in a house like this?

Well apart from Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII and other assorted monarchs, during the Victorian period there were one hundred residents, plus servants, including the Hon Lady Isabella Frances St John and her daughter Antonia; their needs attended to by a footman, a ladies maid, a cook and a housemaid according to the census of 1861.

When George III decided he would rather live elsewhere, Hampton Court Palace was opened up to an elite set of residents – people who had performed some great service for Crown and Country.

The average apartment consisted of 12-14 spacious rooms.  Conditions of tenure included a minimum six months residency each year in the Palace, no subletting, no boarders and definitely no dogs. But despite the desirable address there were disadvantages; the apartments lacked basic 19th century mod cons and were damp and difficult to heat.

When it came to her credentials, Isabella had an unqualified claim to one of the grace and favour apartments.  Her pedigree was impeccable, if awash with illegitimate ancestors, including a direct line to Charles II and by a quirk of history, to a St John ancestor as well.

Isabella Frances Fitzroy was born on May 6, 1792, the daughter of George Henry Fitzroy, 4th Duke of Grafton and Charlotte Maria Waldegrave.  Her great-great-great-grandfather was Henry Fitzroy, 1st Duke of Grafton, the son of Charles II and Barbara Villiers, Countess Castlemaine.

Apparently Charles had initially been reluctant to claim the boy as his own – Barbara’s infidelities were well known to him.  However by the time Henry was nearly ten years old Charles suddenly noticed a family resemblance and in 1672 acknowledged the boy as his natural son.

Her maternal line was also well connected, if illicitly so.  Isabella’s grandmother Maria was one of Sir Edward Walpole’s three illegitimate daughters by his mistress Dorothy Clement.  Isabella’s mother and her two sisters – the Ladies Waldegrave – were famously painted by Joshua Reynolds.

The Ladies Waldegrave

Isabella’s mother was well acquainted with Hampton Court Palace when in 1764 Maria, Lady Waldegrave moved into apartment 47 in The Pavilions following the death of her first husband.  The suite of rooms had recently been vacated by Princess Amelia, second daughter of George II and Queen Charlotte.  Lady Waldegrave subsequently married William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, George III’s brother.

In 1829 Isabella married Henry Joseph St John at St George’s, Hanover Square to whom, by one of the vagaries of history, she was related.  Both could trace their ancestry back to Sir John St John and Lucy Hungerford, making them 6th cousins once removed.

Poor Henry was no stranger to scandal and subterfuge.  His father George Richard, 3rd Viscount Bolingbroke deserted his first wife Charlotte Collins and their three children to take up with his half sister Mary Beauclerk. Four sons later George Richard ran out on this family too.  Henry Joseph’s mother Isabella Hompesch thought she was legally married to George Richard only to find, pregnant with her seventh child, that she wasn’t.

George Richard 3rd Viscount Bolingbroke

Henry Joseph was born in Elizabeth Town, New Jersey in 1799.  In family records he is often called Joseph to distinguish him from an elder brother also called Henry.  Following his parents marriage the family returned to Lydiard House in Wiltshire in 1806 and in 1812 he was admitted to Sandhurst. His name appears in the Waterloo Medal Book where he served as an Ensign in the 2nd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards in Lieutenant Colonel West’s Company, supposedly the youngest officer to serve at the battle.

Lady Isabella’s own tenure at Hampton Court Palace dates from June 4, 1839 when she took up residence in Apartment 19 (Suite XII).  This suite of rooms, the Lord Chamberlains Lodgings, overlooks Base Court, the largest of the interior courtyards at the Palace.  In Tudor times Base Court contained 44 lodgings for Henry’s guest.

published courtesy of Jonathan Foyle http://www.built.org.uk/photographs/south-east.html

Henry was with his wife and daughter Antonia at Hampton Court Palace when he died in 1857.  He was buried on January 8 at St Mary’s Church, Hampton.

Isabella continued to reside in the Palace for another 18 years until her death on August 27, 1875 at the age of 83.  Her burial took place in the churchyard of Hampton St Mary on September 1.

Catherine St John

It’s tempting to ponder on how differently things might have panned out had Jane Seymour not been on the marriage market in 1536.

Jane Seymour

A young, loved up Jane Seymour was once engaged to Sir William Dormer until William’s parents decided she wasn’t good enough for him and ended the engagement.  Bet Jane had a good old laugh about that when she became Queen of England.

William went on to marry firstly Mary Sidney by whom he had two surviving daughters and two sons that died in infancy. His second wife was Dorothy Catesby and they had six daughters and two sons.

Sir William and his second wife Dorothy, All Saints Church, Wing

When William’s fifth daughter Catherine married John, Baron St John of Bletsoe she found herself on the periphery of the tussle for the Tudor throne, but it was her sister Jane who was firmly centre stage.

Little is known of Catherine’s childhood.  She probably grew up in the family home at Eythrope in Buckinghamshire while Jane was raised by her maternal grandparents.  The two sisters possibly had little to do with each other, but kinship was everything in the 16th century.

Jane Dormer

A fervent Roman Catholic, sixteen year old Jane served as lady in waiting to Mary, Henry’s daughter by his first wife Katherine of Aragon.   Although some twenty years younger than the Queen, Jane was one of her closest friends and confidantes.  It was Jane who nursed the Queen through her last illness and was entrusted with passing on various jewels to Elizabeth.

Following the Queen’s death in 1558 Jane married Spanish nobleman Don Gomez Suarez de Figueroe, adviser to Mary’s husband Philip, and left England for Spain.

Jane must have been quite a character – Machiavellian or motivational – who knows?  She managed to remain on good terms with the English court while helping exiled English Catholics and lending her support to the accession of Mary Queen of Scots.  Meanwhile  half sister Catherine sat firmly in the other camp.

Catherine’s husband Baron St John of Bletsoe was appointed the keeper of Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire during the incarceration there of the Scottish Queen.  But that’s not the end of this sister’s familial problems.  While Jane and her husband sought to aid the imprisoned Queen, Catherine’s husband along with the Earls of Derby, Warwick and Worcester, were among the peers on Elizabeth’s commission at the trial of Mary at Fotheringhay Castle in 1586.  Mary Queen of Scots was executed at Fotheringhay on February 8, 1587.  The new King James, Elizabeth’s successor and Mary’s son, invited Jane to return to England to be one of his wife’s ladies in waiting, but she declined the offer.

Mary Queen of Scots

Jane died in Spain in  1612.  Her much younger sister Catherine outlived her by just two years.

Catherine’s alabaster memorial in St Michael’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey included the figures of her two children Oliver and Anne kneeling beside her reclining figure.  The broken monument was removed in 1723 but was restored to its original place during the 19th century.

A translation of the Latin inscription reads:

“Sacred to the memory of Catherine Lady St John, daughter of William Dormer of Eithrope, Knight.  The widow of John, Baron St John of Bletso, to whome she born Oliver, a little son who died at a tender age, and Anne the wife of William Lord Howard of Effingham, the eldest son of Charles Earl of Nottingham, ruler of the seas of England.  Since death is certain, and the care of those who come after uncertain, remembering death and in certain hope of resurrection in Christ, she placed a monument here to herself while alive.  She died 23rd march in the year of grace 1614.”

Catherine’s memorial in Westminster Abbey

Catherine is one of at least three St John gentlewomen buried in Westminster Abbey.

For more images of the Dormer memorial visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/32157648@N08/4594468395/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Alice St John, Lady Morley

The St John family has several close connections with Royalty.  Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine had a whole nursery full of Charles II’s babies while her cousin John Wilmot, Lord Rochester also got up to some jolly japes with Old Rowley.

But one hundred and fifty years earlier Alice St John could claim an equally close connection with Royalty.  Alice’s father Sir John St John of Bletsoe was Henry VII’s first cousin.

As the monarch’s mother, Margaret Beaufort spread the love to her St John kin.  She made her nephew John, son of her half brother Oliver, Chamberlain of her household and for her little great niece Alice, her other half brother John’s granddaughter, she found a place at Court.  And even better then that – she found her a husband as well.

In the early 1500s Alice married Henry Parker who had grown up in the household of Alice’s great-aunt Margaret Beaufort.  Margaret obviously had a soft spot for young Henry as she paid his new stepfather, Sir Edward Howard, 500 marks when he married Henry’s mother to make sure the boy kept some land.  At the death of his mother in 1518, Henry became the 10th Baron Morley with homes at Mark Hall, Essex and Great Hallingbury, Herfordshire.

As second cousin to Henry VIII, Alice got to go on some good trips too.  In 1520 she was a member of the Queen’s entourage when the Court shipped out to probably the biggest gig of the 16th century, the Field of the Cloth of Gold.  Masterminded by Cardinal Wolsey, this extravagant display of oneupmanship between English King Henry VIII and French King Francis I involved – well just about the entire ruling class on both sides of the Channel.

Damien Lewis as Henry VIII in the BBC drama Wolf Hall

Damien Lewis as Henry VIII in the BBC drama Wolf Hall

 

Alice also appears in Royal records in the procession at Anne Boleyn’s coronation, by which time she was also related to this dangerous to know family.  Alice’s eldest daughter Jane had married Anne Boleyn’s brother George in 1524/5.  But this was not a match made in heaven.

George, Lord Rochford made the most of being in with the in crowd.  He partied hard and enjoyed female, and possibly male company, if court gossips were to be believed.

Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn

Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn

When the whole Royal marriage came crashing down it was even said he had enjoyed carnal knowledge of his sister Anne.  Most of the evidence produced against Anne and George had been obtained under torture, apart, that is from Jane’s contribution.

Unhappy, lonely and jealous, Jane helped to seal her errant husband’s fate, although biographer Julia Fox states that Jane buckled under relentless questioning by Thomas Cromwell.

Thomas Cromwell played by Mark Rylance in the BBC drama Wolf Hall

Thomas Cromwell played by Mark Rylance in the BBC drama Wolf Hall

These were perilous times for both Alice and Jane.  You might have thought that Jane would count her blessings and keep far away her second cousin once removed series of bedroom farces.  But within a year of the death of Anne and George Boleyn, Jane was back at court, a lady in waiting to Queen Jane Seymour.

Following the Queen’s death Jane retained her position as lady in waiting to the teenage Catherine Howard, Henry’s fifth wife.  And now you really do have to wonder what she was up to.  Instead of passing on the tips and wrinkles she had acquired through her pretty tumultuous court career, Jane instead arranged secret assignations between Catherine and handsome courtier Thomas Culpeper.

Jane’s part in the young Queen’s affair was discovered and while Catherine was detained in Syon House, Jane was dispatched to the Tower.  Kept prisoner for several months Jane eventually broke down and was declared insane.  On February 13, 1542 she was taken out onto Tower Green and beheaded on the block where the executioner had just chopped off the head of Catherine Howard.

Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford played by Jessica Raine in the BBC drama Wolf Hall.

Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford played by Jessica Raine in the BBC drama Wolf Hall.

 

But what about Alice.  Did she visit Jane in the Tower?  Did she stand in the crowd that cold February morning in 1542 and weep as her daughter died, mourning the innocent little girl who had played in the gardens at Hallingbury Place?  Or had she already disowned Jane in fear of reprisals?  In 1542 Alice paid part of the cost of a new bell for the church in Great Hallingbury, possibly in Jane’s memory.

Alice died in 1552/3 aged 66.  She had seen it all – the best and the worst of those terrible Tudor times.

Image of Margaret Beaufort’s tomb in Westminister Abbey http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Margaret_Beaufort_2.jpg

Jessica Raine plays Jane Rochford in the BBC drama Wolf Hall