As this Smithsonian article reveals, there is now an additional museum in Westminster Abbey – in the hitherto closed attic, admired by Betjeman. This triforium, now known as the “Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries” is built on the new Weston Tower, designed by Ptolemy Dean.
Exhibits include Henry VII’s funeral effigy, an African Grey parrot owned by Frances Duchess of Richmond and Mary II’s coronation chair.
It is generally acknowledged by historians that Henry Tudor, who defeated Richard III, the last Yorkist king, at Bosworth and went on to be crowned Henry VII, wasn’t the Lancastrian heir to the throne of England he claimed to be. His mother, Margaret Beaufort, was descended from John of Gaunt, the third surviving son of […]
We all have this picture of Henry VII being a Scrooge, and I don’t think it’s inaccurate. But it seems he had his more red-blooded moments. Yes, truly. I have happened upon the following article, which quotes from his personal accounts.
Just why did he make the following grants?
Hmm. £12 is enormous enough, but £30 is astronomic! Just for dancing? My suspicious mind suspects there was a little more to it. Naughty Henry? Well, anything is possible. Anyway, the whole article makes interesting reading.
The arms of Richard III in Crosby Hall
On June 5th 1483 the Duchess of Gloucester arrived in London and joined her husband at Crosby Place (1). She had left both her small son and and home at Middleham to join her husband, who had been staying until then, with his mother at Baynards Castle, and on her arrival they would have had much to catch up on covering the drastic events which had taken place since she had last seen Richard. Much has been written about these events elsewhere and I would like to focus here on the place that would be their home for a short while, Crosby Place, and the man that built it.
A print of Crosby Hall before the extra floor was added.
Crosby Place was built by Sir John Crosby in Bishopsgate on land he had leased from Alice Ashfed, prioress of the Convent of St Helens, on a 99 year lease for an annual rent of £11.6s.8d, on land previous used for tenements/messuages.
Sir John , a soldier, silk merchant, alderman and MP, came from a staunch Yorkist family and was knighted by Edward IV at the foot of London Bridge on 21 May 1471 after having driven off the attack on that bridge by the Bastard of Fauconberg.
He lies with his first wife Agnes in St Helens church, Bishopsgate, where their splendid effigies, well preserved, he with a Yorkist collar and Agnes with two dogs at her feet can still be seen, His second wife , Anne nee Chedworth, was related to Margaret Chedworth, John Howard Duke of Norfolk’s second wife, Anne’s father being Margaret’s uncle. At the time of Sir John writing his will, Margaret, his wife’s cousin was living with them.
Sir John Crosby and his wife Anne’s effigies on their tombs, St Helens, Bishopsgate.
Sir John Crosby and his Wife Lady Anne drawn by Stothard c1817 British Museum
Sadly, Sir John, who died in 1475 did not live long to enjoy his stunning home which was completed in 1470, and described by Stow as ‘built of stone and timber, very large and beautiful and the highest at that time in London’(2)
There is some debate as to whether the house was then either rented to Richard Duke of Gloucester or purchased by him. Stowe wrote that Richard had ‘lodged’ there although there are others of the vein that Richard had purchased it (3) . However I am confident enough to say that I go along with Richard only renting. For surely if it had belonged to Richard it would have been taken by Tudor when he usurped the throne and gifted to either one of his acolytes or his mother who was known for her acquisitiveness. Certainly Sir John’s will provided unconditionally that his wife, Anne, should have the lease of Crosby Place for her life. It would seem that Anne was pregnant at the time of Sir John’s death and that this son, Sir John’s heir, died without issue upon which Crosby Place etc., then was left to Sir John’s cousin, Peter Christmas,who also died without issue (4) and thus Crosby Place passed out of the hands of the Crosby family.
Old drawing of the oriel window
The Oriel window in Crosby Hall today. Modern glass and repainted
The Oriel window repainted
In the 17th century it became the home of the East India Company until a disastrous fire in 1672, the first of several, left only the Great Banqueting Hall and Parlour surviving. These buildings then slowly declined after that until in 1910 the Hall was saved from demolition and removed brick by brick to its present location in Chelsea, finally passing into private ownership in 1989.
Returning to the past, after Anne Neville’s arrival in London , Richard seems to have spent his time between his mother’s house Baynard’s and Crosby Place, using Crosby Place for meetings. It has been speculated that it was at Crosby Place that Richard was offered the crown by the Three Estates rather than at Baynard’s Castle.
1) Richard III Paul Murray Kendall p207
2) A Survey Of London John Stowe p160
3) Memorials of the Wars of the Roses W E Hampton p120
4) Crosby Hall, a Chapter in the History of London Charles W F Goss 1907
According to Alison Weir, Henry VII was a little twitchy about his descent from John of Gaunt’s notorious mistress (and eventual wife) Katherine de Roët/Swynford. Between them, Gaunt and Katherine produced an illegitimate line of children, the Beauforts, which wasn’t/was/wasn’t legitimate/in line of succession, according to different monarchs. Henry VII was a Beaufort, so you can imagine which side of the argument he was on! Katherine might also have still been married to her first husband, Sir Hugh Swynford, when she conceived the first Beaufort, which was something else to make Henry VII shift uncomfortably. I am only surprised that Henry did not attempt to claim Katherine was descended from King Arthur. Henry was very keen indeed to prove that he and his line were rightful Kings of England because they had Arthur’s blood in their veins.
Anyway, I quote (from Weir’s biography of Katherine):-
“. . .The epitaph on John of Gaunt’s tomb in Old St Paul’s Cathedral, which was lost in the Great Fire of 1666, described Katherine as eximia pulchritudine feminam – ‘extraordinarily beautiful and feminine’. This epitaph was not contemporary but was placed on the restored sepulchre in the reign of Henry VII, who was desirous of restoring the good reputation of this rather dubious ancestress. It is unusual to find words of this kind in an epitaph – the emphasis is usually on virtue and good works – but since Henry VII could hardly laud Katherine’s virtue, it is possible that he ordered reference to be made to her beauty because it was one of the things people did remember her for, and it may even have been referred to in the original tomb inscription, which had been destroyed in living memory. . .”
So, Henry Tudor was up to more of his usual meddling tricks? Making sure posterity was recorded as he wanted it recorded? What a surprise. BUT, in one thing Katherine herself signally failed. Her extraordinary beauty did not descend to Henry or his Beaufort mother!
Sources for the above illustration: The lost tomb of John of Gaunt and his wife Blanche, old St.Paul’s Cathedral, London. From The History of St Paul’s Cathedral in London by William Dugdale, 1658. Originally from Wenceslaus Hollar Digital Collection at University of Toronto. Likeness of Henry VII from civ6customization.gamepedia.com
This excellent Channel Four series reached part four on 28th April as Dr. Alice Roberts came to Norwich, showing streets, civic buildings and even a pub that I have previously visited, describing it as Britain’s most “Tudor” town. She began by describing Henry VII as “violently seizing” the English throne (or at least watching whilst his uncle Jasper and the Earl of Oxford violently seized it for him).
As the “Tudor” century progressed, she changed into a red woollen dress and explained how the sumptuary laws would have prevented her from wearing other colours and fabrics. Henry VIII’s attempts to obtain an annulment were mentioned, as was Kett’s Rebellion on Mousehold Heath under Edward VI. The Marian Persecution was described in detail and some of her victims in Norwich were named, most of them being burned at the “Lollards’ Pit”, where a pub by that name now stands. As we mentioned earlier, Robert Kett’s nephew Francis suffered the same fate decades later.
Dr. Roberts then spoke about the “Strangers”, religious refugees from the Low Countries who boosted the weaving industry, bringing canaries with them. Her next subject was Morris dancing as the jester Will Kemp argued with Shakespeare and danced his way up from London to the Norwich Guildhall over nine days. She was then ducked three times in the Wensum as an example of the punishment of a scold from Elizabeth I’s time.
Other shows in this series have covered Chester, York and Winchester whilst Cheltenham and Belfast will be covered in future episodes, each covering a town that epitomises a particular era in our history.
Yes, another post about Coldharbour (above) which stood in Upper Thames Street, London. But this time it concerns an apparent omission in ownership. It is a known fact that after Bosworth, Henry VII turfed the College of Heralds out of Coldharbour and handed the property over to his mother, Margaret Beaufort. Isn’t it? I mean, there’s no doubt about this?
Well, while following up another trail, I found myself in British History Online, specifically Old and New London: Volume 2. Pages 17-28, published originally by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878. Even more specifically, the section deals with Upper Thames Street, and thus the mansion known as Coldharbour, which has strong connections with Richard III.
The name of the house changed and was given different spellings over the years, but the house itself remained there at least from the time of Edward II until it was pulled down by the Earl of Shrewsbury who was guardian of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Here is the relevant extract:
“Among the great mansions and noblemen’s palaces that once abounded in this narrow river-side street, we must first of all touch at Cold Harbour, the residence of many great merchants and princes of old time. It is first mentioned, as Stow tells us, in the 13th of Edward II., when Sir John Abel, Knight, let it to Henry Stow, a draper. It was then called Cold Harbrough, in the parish of All Saints ad Fœnum (All Hallows in the Hay), so named from an adjoining hay-wharf. Bequeathed to the Bigots, it was sold by them, in the reign of Edward III., to the well-known London merchant, Sir John Poultney, Draper, four times Mayor of London, and was then called Poultney’s Inn. Sir John gave or let it to Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex, for one rose at Midsummer, to be given to him and his heirs for all services. In 1397 Richard II. dined there, with his halfbrother John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon, who then lodged in Poultney’s Inn, still accounted, as Stow says, “a right fair and stately house.” The next year, Edmund, Earl of Cambridge, lodged in it. It still retained its old name in 1410, when Henry IV. granted the house to Prince Hal for the term of his life, starting the young reveller fairly by giving him a generous order on the collector of the customs for twenty casks and one pipe of red Gascony wine, free of duty. In 1472 the river-side mansion belonged to Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter. This duke was the unfortunate Lancastrian (great-grandson of John of Ghent) who, being severely wounded in the battle of Barnet, was conveyed by one of his faithful servants to the Sanctuary at Westminster. He remained in the custody of Edward IV., with the weekly dole of half a mark. The duke hoped to have obtained a pardon from the York party through the influence of his wife, Ann, who was the king’s eldest sister. But flight and suffering had made both factions remorseless. This faithless wife obtaining a divorce, married Sir Thomas St. Leger; and not long after, the duke’s dead body was found floating in the sea between Dover and Calais. He had either been murdered or drowned in trying to escape from England. Thus the Duke of Exeter’s Inn suffered from the victory of Edward, as his neighbour’s, the great Earl of Worcester, had paid the penalties of Henry’s temporary restoration in 1470. Richard III., grateful to the Heralds for standing up for his strong-handed usurpation, gave Cold Harbour to the Heralds, who, however, were afterwards turned out by Cuthbert Tunstal, Bishop of Durham, whom Henry VIII. had forced out of Durham House in the Strand. In the reign of Edward VI., just before the death of that boy of promise, the ambitious Earl of Northumberland, wishing to win the chief nobles to his side, gave Cold Harbour to Francis, the fifth Earl of Shrewsbury, and its name was then changed to Shrewsbury House (1553), six days before the young king’s death. The next earl (guardian for fifteen years of Mary Queen of Scots) took the house down, and built in its place a number of small tenements, and it then became the haunt of poverty. . .”
Cuthbert Tunstall (1474–1559), Bishop of Durham (1530–1559)
Poor Cuthbert, he doesn’t look a happy man! But I digress. Ignoring the unworthy comment about Richard’s so-called ‘strong-handed usurpation’, there is, for Ricardians, a glaring omission in all this. What happened to Henry VII and Margaret Beaufort? The College of Heralds were turned out of Coldharbour before the Bishop of Durham ‘done the deed’ in the reign of Henry VIII. Yes?
Any comments, ladies and gentlemen? Is it just an error by the author of Old and New London?