Life and Character

King Edward VI: His Life and Character
By Sir Clements Robert Markham


As Edward progressed with his studies, he became more and more interested in the work that was to occupy his life, more and more desirous of mastering the details of statecraft. His tutors were still with him or near him. As Dean of Westminster, Dr. Cox was close at hand. Dr. Cheke remained as a Gentleman of the Chamber and was knighted.

Following Sir John Cheke's advice, the young King began to keep a regular Journal in March 1550, which has been preserved.[1]  It ends in November 1552. It begins with a brief resume of the proceedings of the previous years of his reign, including a spirited and well-written account of the campaign in Scotland. His Journal records his movements, his sports, as well as public events; and clear notices of the affairs of the Emperor and of his war with Henry II. This attention to foreign affairs shows that he read the dispatches of his ambassadors with care.

Edward VI was well served by his diplomatists. Sir John Mason was an excellent linguist and a close observer, with liberal economic views. Sir Philip Hoby was a negotiator of ability. Sir Richard Morrison was a more conscientious man and not a time-server. He was at the Court of the Emperor. Sir William Pickering did good service at Paris.

But the most valuable, as regards guidance in a King's duties, and not the least faithful of Edward's servants, was Master Thomas, the Clerk of the Council. William Thomas was a native of Radnorshire, and was a student at Oxford in 1529. He then passed several years in Italy, returning in 1549.  He studied at Bologna and Padua, acquiring a thorough knowledge of the Italian language. He had written a 'History of Italy' and an Italian grammar and dictionary, the first of its kind. His style is always lucid and his orthography better than that of most of his contemporaries. He went to Paris in 1551 with the embassy of the new Marquis of Northampton (Parr), touching the marriage of the French Princess Elizabeth. For his years, Thomas was one of the most learned men of his time.[2]

As the King increased in years and knowledge, the Council, perhaps Dudley began to show uneasiness and even jealousy. Thomas had undertaken to be Edward’s political instructor, but it had to be without the knowledge of the Council. One of Edward's faithful Gentlemen of the Chamber, Sir Nicholas Throgmorton, was the confidential agent who carried papers between the King and the Clerk of the Council. Edward had copies of the Council Minutes, with notes on the decisions. 'The commonplaces of State ' contained a number of questions and answers respecting affairs of State, including the conduct of a campaign. Edward was well acquainted with the unsatisfactory condition of the people caused by former misgovernment. He asked many questions with a view to the reform of abuses, and wrote a treatise in which he compared the State and its problems with a man's body, its ailments and remedies. His essay on a Free Mart was probably based on conversations with Sir John Mason. Thomas supplied him with notes on the coinage, and on the steps for restoring its purity. There are several notes on the subject in his Journal. He was also concerned about the crown debts. No adequate measure had been taken for their payment except the sale of chantries. The Council attempted no scheme of economy, and at length  the young King himself introduced measures of retrenchment in the household expenses. The procedure of the Council itself also received his  attention, and he had a scheme ready for its more efficient working by small committees for the different departments.

We can now picture to ourselves the young King in his study at Westminster, engaged on the State problems, with Barnaby or Sydney as his companion.  The window looked out over the river alive with ferries and barges, and on the towers of Lambeth beyond, embosomed in trees. Below was the privy garden between the palace wall and the river parapet. Bound the walls were Edward's favorite books. There was his Latin grammar on vellum, bound in red silk.[3] On the shelves were Herodotus, Plutarch, Cicero, Petrarch, Ptolemy's Geography of 1548 (Venice), the Cronica de Espafia of Diego de Valera (1517), Hall's Chronicle, Polydore Virgil,[4] the Coverdale Bible these certainly, among others.  Outside in the gallery was the world map of Cabot, engraved by Clement Adams, and on a side table was the clock made for King Edward by Bastien le  Senay, the royal clockmaker.

The boy King would sit near the window, his fair young face with a slight frown, showing that he was deep in thought.[5]  For the secret of his learning and his readiness to assume the reins of government was a constitutional power of concentrating his thoughts on the work in hand, and a constitutional habit of husbanding and dividing his time. He had a time for conversation and receptions, a time for study, and a time for play, especially when he got away to Greenwich or Oatlands.

In the time for study he sat at his little desk which was covered with black velvet, garnished with plates of copper gilt. Inside there was a till of cypress wood containing an inkstand of silver gilt, and two little silver boxes for sand. In the desk, besides papers, there was a gold brooch  with a face of white agate, fifteen triangular buttons of gold, enameled black and white, and as many small gold buttons. By his side, as he sat at his desk, Edward had a chest containing the reports and other documents supplied by Master Thomas, and the records of the Council's proceedings.  He always carried the key of this chest about with him.

Ruding gives the credit of restoring the coinage to the King himself. He says, 'In 1553 the coinage was nearly reduced to a perfect standard by the wise determination and unwearied exertions of the late King.' Edward also turned his attention to a reduction of the household expenses. The King’s books of receipts and expenses were kept by Sir William Cavendish, Treasurer of the King's Chamber;[6] and some of them have been preserved. A considerable saving had been effected before the close of the reign.

Several documents belonging to Edward are enumerated by Burnet and Strype:

·        A discourse by William Thomas, for the King's use, whether it be expedient to vary with time.
·        A discourse whether it be better for a Commonwealth that the power be in the nobility or the commonalty.
·        A discourse entitled, "What Prince's amity is best."
·        A discourse touching His Majesty's outward affairs.
·        A discourse touching the reformation of the coin.
·        A paper by the King concerning a free mart in England.
·        A paper by Sir William Cecil on the method in which the Council represents matters of State to the King.
·        A method for the proceedings in the Council, in the King's own handwriting.
·        Certain articles desired by the King's Majesty, for the quicker, better, and more orderly dispatch of causes by His Majesty's Privy Council. This document is not in Edward's own handwriting, but it is interlined by him in many places.

These documents bear witness to the grasp the young King was getting of affairs of State, and to the thorough way in which he was preparing himself for the duties of his high office. Several books were presented to him, among others 'the Poesye of Princylye Practice,' by Sir William Forrest.


Somerset would not be satisfied with the very liberal treatment he had received from the Council. He must have been induced to conspire by some evil adviser. The Duchess was at his elbow, with fatal influence over his weak nature. He entered into a conspiracy to overcome the Council and its gendarmerie; and to recover the post of Protector. With this object he surrounded himself with soldiers of the Scottish and French wars, desperate characters whose good faith was not always to be relied upon. These were Sir Miles Partridge, who was knighted for his gallantry at the siege of Roxburgh; Sir Ralph Vane, who was knighted at Boulogne, and created a knight bannerette for his valor at Musselburgh; Sir Thomas Arundel (of the Arundels of Lanherne), who had seen much service; and Sir Thomas Palmer,[7] a cousin of Sir Henry Sydney, who was knighted at Roxburgh, and did good service in Scotland and in putting down the Norfolk rising. They were all reckless soldiers of fortune. It would be necessary to surprise and overcome the gendarmerie,  so men, with arms, were collected by Vane in Somerset's house; and the original plan included the deaths of Northumberland, Northampton, and  Pembroke. Palmer, probably seeing that failure was inevitable owing to the vacillation and incapacity of the leader, disclosed the whole scheme to Northumberland, who at once communicated it to the Council. On October 17, 1551, all the arrests were affected. The conspirators were taken by surprise. Somerset, his Duchess, his brother-in-law Sir Michael Stanhope, Arundel, Partridge, and Vane were sent to the Tower. Of Somerset’s household, Newdigate, A. Seymour, Palmer, Crane and his wife, Hamond, Bannister, and Vaughan, were secured for their evidence. Lords Arundel,  Dacre, Paget, and Grey were arrested, but soon released. The Sieur de Berteville, a French mercenary, who was to be employed to commit the murders, was also secured. Crane's confession confirmed the evidence of Palmer. Berteville[8] confessed, and Hamond gave evidence that he knew of Berteville's employment for the work.

On December 1 Somerset received a fair trial] before twenty-six peers, with Winchester presiding as Lord Steward. His imprisonment had been strict, and the Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir John Markham, was dismissed for allowing the Duke to walk abroad, as we are informed in Edward's Journal.

The charges were that Somerset had treasonably collected men in his house with an evil intent, that he made a party to get himself made Protector again, that Vane had collected men to attack the gendarmerie, that Somerset had designs against the lives of several of the Council.

The Earl of Rutland gave evidence of Somerset's plan to get himself made Protector again. Lord Strange swore that Somerset had employed him to urge the King to break with France, and marry Lady Anne Seymour. Somerset swore that he had not. Somerset admitted that he had collected men in his house. He admitted an evil design against Northumberland. He confessed to having talked of killing Northumberland, Pembroke, and Northampton, but added that he did not intend to do it. He confessed that he had hired Berteville. His own admissions were quite sufficient. They confirmed the evidence of the confessions.

The sentence of the Lords, after acquitting Somerset for treason, but condemning him for felony, was that he should suffer death. Sir Michael Stanhope, Arundel, Vane, and Partridge received the same sentence. The execution of Somerset took place on January 22, 1552. He had given his poor brother no trial and a shorter shrift.[9]  This story is unsupported by any other evidence. It is clearly false, for Palmer's evidence was true in the main, because it was corroborated by other evidence, and by Somerset himself. It is, therefore, impossible that either Northumberland or Palmer can have said what Renard puts into their mouths. Renard knew that any story disgraceful to Northumberland would please the Emperor, and did not hesitate to retail it. Mr. Froude hesitated to adopt the story, which he evidently considered doubtful.

It is a melancholy story. Somerset was a man of fair abilities, naturally disposed to moderation, but vacillating and easily influenced. His wife was a woman of strong will and violent passions. Owing to her power over him, though he doubtless loved his son, he disinherited him; though he felt affection for his brother, he beheaded him; though he cared for his nephew, he ill-treated him. Hopelessly incapable as a conspirator, he engaged in a plot which was sure to fail.

The Duchess was a worse conspirator. Released from the Tower by Mary, she married a gentleman of her household, Mr. Newdigate, and lived to the age of ninety, dying in 1587. There is an enormous tomb to the memory of this dreadful woman in the St. Nicholas Chapel in Westminster Abbey. Her portrait by Antonio Moro was at Strawberry Hill. It is now the property of Lord Stanhope.

King Edward made entries in his Journal of his uncle's arrest, of the evidence of the trial, and of the execution. He added no remark. He narrated these events, in a letter to his friend Barnaby, without remark. There is not a word against his uncle, but there is not a word of regret. His ward disliked Somerset and with good reason.

His belief, on clear evidence, was that his uncle intended to commit an atrocious crime, and that he had confessed. That being the case, it was not only natural to make no comment, but it was the proper course for Edward to take in making entries in his Journal, and in writing to a friend. It would have been wrong to say anything against his uncle, but, in the circumstances, the boy showed no want of feeling in remaining silent.


Paulet, Marquis of Winchester presided as Lord Steward

Old Nobility
Bourchier, Earl of Bath.
Stanley, Earl of Derby.
Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon.
Nevill, Lord Abergavenny.
Audley, Lord Audley.
Brooke, Lord Cobham.
Stourton, Lord Stourton.
Zouch, Lord Zouch.

Tudor Creations
Manners, Earl of Eutland.
Eatcliffe, Earl of Sussex.
Somerset, Earl of Worcester.
Conyers, Lord Conyers.
Bray, Lord Bray.
Cromwell, Lord Cromwell (Somerset's nephew).
Ever, Lord Ever.
Borough, Lord Borough.
Vaux, Lord Vaux.
Windsor, Lord Windsor.
Wentworth, Lord Wentworth (Somerset's cousin).
Wharton, Lord Wharton.

Creations During the Minority
Duke of Northumberland.
Marquis of Northampton.
Earl of Bedford.
Earl of Pembroke.
Lord Paget of Beaudesert.
Lord Eich.
Lord Willoughby of Parham.
Lord Darcy of Chich.


Ignorance of geography has been the cause of many blunders and even disasters, especially in this country, and there is no branch of knowledge that is more necessary for an English statesman. Few are more neglected. Alfred the Great was our first geographer, and his annotated edition of Orosius gave to his subjects a good general knowledge of the world and its inhabitants in his day. Alfred was the first to describe an Arctic expedition.  His descendant, Edward VI., was the first to dispatch one.

Young Edward received instruction in mathematics and in the sphere from Sir John Cheke, and he acquired a knowledge of mathematical geography as it  was then understood. In his fourteenth year his tutor had a quadrant made for him, which was constructed and engraved for him in 1551. There are the initials of the designer, J.C. It is of brass, ten and a half inches across, with a square of the shadows, an arrangement for finding the hour,  a circle with the signs of the zodiac, revolutiones cycli lunae et solis, and a table to find Easter. At the back there is a table of sines and cosines.[10] Edward also had an astrolabe made  by Bastien le Senay.

In the long gallery there were six other astronomical instruments; and in the secret study, called the Chaier house, Edward had an instrument with dials of white bone, and two cases of instruments lined with black velvet.

The arrival in England of Sebastian Cabot, the Emperor's chief Pilot, gave occasion for the King to acquire knowledge of the phenomena of compass variation. At that time there was an eminent Italian geographer at Edward's court, named Guido Gianeti da Fau. He was held in high esteem, and it was at his suggestion that Cabot was engaged to explain the variation of the compass to the King, and to make a map showing the line of no variation.[11]

We learn the degree of proficiency attained by Edward in these geographical studies, from Jerome Cardanus, who was in London towards the end of the reign. Cardanus said that Edward VI was skilled in natural philosophy, music, and astronomy. 'He learnedly opposed me as to the cause and course of comets.'[12]

Edward had the 1548 edition of Ptolemy, which was the latest book on the subject, and among his friends there was one who was well able to guide his geographical studies. This was Clement Adams, the schoolmaster of the henchmen or pages at Greenwich Palace. Adams was born at Buckington in Warwickshire in 1519, and was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge. He received his appointment at Greenwich on May 3, 1552, but was previously known to the King. For Edward possessed a copy of the 1544 map of the world by Sebastian Cabot, and a part of it was re-engraved by Adams in 1549. The map engraved by Adams hung in the privy gallery at Westminster, outside Edward's study door.[13]

Dr. Cheke had charge of the 'Collectanea' of Leland,[14] so that the young King was able to obtain a very complete acquaintance with the topography of his native country. His main object seems to have been to store up knowledge for use in the work of government. At least one pilotage book then existed, probably more; and Edward made it his business to know about all the roadsteads and havens, not only within his own realm, but also in Scotland and France, how the tides served, the depths of water, and what winds were best for bringing a ship to them.[15] It was printed for the Hakluyt Society in 1889, with an introductory account of the MS. by Mr. Gairdner.) He also studied fortification, and several notes in his Journal show that he was versed in its principles as then in use.

In consultation with Captain Winter, young Edward took a very active interest in the promotion of long sea voyages, and the encouragement of trade with distant countries. His enthusiasm spread to those around him, and we find at least two of the Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber, Sir Henry Sydney & Sir Thomas Wroth, entering into the plans of their master.

There was already a trade between England and the Levant, the voyages being to Candia and Chios. In November 1550 we find the barque Aucher fitting out for the voyage, her owner visiting her at Dover;[16] and in 1553 the Matthew Gonson sailed on the same voyage. Edward lent two of his own ships  for the Levant trade, which created an excellent nursery for seamen, Richard Chancellor, the future Arctic voyager, and Matthew Baker, afterwards  chief shipwright, having served on board the Aucher,

The Levant trade led to enterprises outside the Mediterranean. The first voyage to Morocco was that conducted by Captain Thomas Windham in 1551. In the second Barbary voyage the King took a very special interest, his great friend Sir Thomas Wroth being one of the principal adventurers. The expedition, consisting of the Lion of London (150 tons), commanded by Captain Windham and the Buttolfe (eighty tons), sailed from Bristol in May, and returned in October 1552.

The great geographical event of Edward's reign was the dispatch of an Arctic expedition. Under the auspices of the King and Sydney, the Company of Merchant Adventurers was induced to undertake this voyage to Cathay by the northeast. The whole subject was considered by the merchants with the greatest care, in communication with Sydney; the route, the management and discipline, the ships, the stores and equipment, and the merchandise to be taken, was discussed.

The most important matter of all was the selection of a good commander. The Merchant Adventurers chose Sir Hugh Willoughby, because he was a friend of Sydney, a goodly personage, of tall stature, and of singular skill in the service of war, a Willoughby of the Woolaton family. He was to be Captain General, in the Bona Esperanza, of 120 tons. The second ship of 160 tons was named after the King, the Edward Bonaventure. Richard Chancellor, who had been in Sydney's service, was selected, from many applicants, on his old master's recommendation, to command the second ship.  Sydney made a speech to the Merchant Adventurers, commending the enterprise, which, he said, would be profitable and honorable to our country. The preparations were completed, and King Edward addressed letters missive, in several languages, to the potentates inhabiting the northeast parts of the world toward the mighty empire of Cathay, commending the right valiant and worthy Sir Hugh Willoughby to their good offices. The letters were dated May 10, 1553, the same day on which the ships sailed. Passing Greenwich there was a great crowd on the shore, and the courtiers stood at the windows of the palace. The poor young King was very ill, but fortunately this early part of May[17] was when he seemed better, and when, for a short time, there were hopes of his recovery.

The departure of the expedition was the crowning act of Edward's geographical work. He had studied this mother of the sciences most diligently for the use he hoped that his knowledge would be to his people. He fostered commerce, and lent his own ships to encourage the Levant trade. He dispatched the first Arctic expedition. He enriched his country by opening the first trade route to Russia. The history of the voyage was recorded by Edward's geographical adviser and faithful servant, Clement Adams.[18]


There is a reason for giving lists of the Arctic crews. It is to show that Arctic expeditions train valuable men, and that the good done by King Edward did not end with the single voyage to Russia. It will be seen that of the fifty men in the Edward Bonaventure as many as nine distinguished themselves afterwards.


Edward, with all his learning, his eager search after knowledge that would be useful to his people, and his serious thoughts, was a boy, and was as fond of fun and of games as any other boy.

His heart yearned for the affection of near relations, but as regards female relatives he was indeed an orphan. His good stepmother was dead. His elder sister and godmother, a gloomy Spanish fanatic, could not supply her place, yet the warm-hearted boy felt affection for Mary. On March 18, 1550, she came to see him, riding through the town with a great cavalcade, all having rosaries round their necks. Brother and sister went to the Council together, but Mary defied them, declaring they had not any right to interfere until the King was of age, and refusing to desist from having Mass in her house. She thought they would not dare to proceed to extremities. Edward and Mary dined together, and the King presented his sister with the Manor of Hunsdon. Having defied the Council, she rode back to her Essex home. She paid him one more visit at Greenwich, on June 11, 1552, after his illness.[19]  After his accession Edward only saw his ‘sweet sister Temperance' on occasions of formal visits. On March 17, 1551, Elizabeth came to St. James's with a great company of knights and ladies.[20] On the 19th she came through the park to the Court, and was received with much ceremony.  But the brother and sister corresponded, and Edward was in the secret of Sir William Pickering having delivered a token, consisting of a  fair diamond, to the Princess Elizabeth. His cousins, Frances Duchess of Suffolk and Eleanor Countess of Cumberland, came to Court on State occasions, but they were too old to be companions. Lady Jane Grey first appeared at Court during the reception of the Dowager of Scotland. Edward and Jane became intimate. They were exactly the same age, with the same tastes. It would have been a most happy union.

Edward had to seek for his most intimate friendships among the gentlemen of his household. There were ten gentlemen of the Privy Chamber, and it was ordered that two should sleep in the ante-room, and a page in the bed-chamber. All these gentlemen were ten to fifteen years older than Edward, except Barnaby. Six certainly were faithful and devoted servants and friends. These were Sir John Cheke, Sir Henry Sydney, Nicholas Throgmorton, Sir Thomas Wroth, Sir Henry Nevill, and Barnaby.

Sir John Cheke had been known to the King since his early childhood, and had been his tutor for eight years. He was a friend on whom Edward could implicitly rely. In May 1550 Cheke was taken very ill, and his life was in danger. Several letters were written by Cheke from his bed of sickness to his beloved pupil, containing admonitions and advice. In one he recommended Aristotle, 'to whom I beseech you often to resort, especially two chapters in his Politics, " de mutatione regni" and "per quse regna servantur." For your divinity continue diligently reading Sapientia, Ecclesiastics, and the New Testament.' The King sent his tutor many messages, and interested himself in Cheke's earnest request that Dr. Day, the deprived Bishop of Chicheater, might be liberated from prison and given subsistence. Dr. Day afterwards showed his gratitude.

At last the doctors reported to the King that there was no hope, and that his tutor must die. 'No,' said Edward, ' Cheke will not die this time; for this morning I begged his life in my prayers and obtained it.'[21] Cheke did recover and remained Edward's faithful and beloved friend and servant to the end.

Henry Sydney was the son of Sir William Sydney by Anne, daughter of Sir Hugh Pagenham. The father was at the battle of Flodden and had seen much  service. He died in 1553, and Sir Henry received the grant of Penshurst, which had been held by his father. Edward VI. and Sydney were close  friends, with many ideas and pursuits in common. Sydney married Lady Mary Dudley, daughter of the Duke of Northumberland, and was the father of Sir  Philip Sydney and of the Countess of Pembroke.

Sir Thomas Wroth was son of Robert Wroth of Durance in Enfield by Jane Hawte, and great great-grandson of John Wroth, Lord Mayor of London in 1361.  Edward liked to exercise and play with Sir Thomas, whom he had knighted at the coronation, although there was a great difference of age between them. Once Wroth won ten yards of black velvet from the King; and he was a great favorite, receiving the keeperships of Sion and Enfield Park, and several manors.[22]

Nicholas Throgmorton was beloved by Edward because he had been the intimate and faithful friend of his uncle Thomas, the ill-fated Lord Sudeley. He was himself a wholly reliable servant and friend, and a man of considerable ability. He managed the confidential and secret communications between the King and Mr. Thomas, the Clerk of the Council.

Of Henry Nevill we do not hear much, except that he was faithful, and Barnaby Fitzpatrick was more like a devoted and beloved brother than an ordinary friend.

The other four gentlemen of the Privy Chamber were not so intimate with the King. Sir Philip Hoby was an old diplomatist and an intriguer. Lord Strange and William Stanley came of a treacherous race, and the former confessed to having been employed by Somerset as a spy. Robert Dudley was chief carver. John Dudley Earl of Warwick was Master of the Horse. The office of Chamberlain was performed by Lord Darcy of Chich.

The King's more intimate friends arranged his movements, his hunting at Oatlands, and his games at Greenwich. At Westminster the time was much occupied in studies, business, and receptions, but on Christmas Eve the Court generally got away to Greenwich, where there was plenty of fun.

Edward VI was the captain of games and sports. He tells us that in 1549 he organized what he called a 'triumph.' Six gentlemen were to challenge all comers at barriers, jousts, and tourneys, and also to keep a fortress with a garrison of forty men against not more than a hundred assailants.  The event came off at Greenwich.

On June 3, 1550, on the occasion of the marriage between John Dudley Earl of Warwick and Lady Anne Seymour at Sheen, the King arranged some events.  After the dinner was finished and the dancing over, Edward and the ladies went into some ante-chambers made of boughs, whence they saw six  gentlemen on each side run the course of the field twice over. Then three of one side and two of another ran four courses apiece. Last came the Count of Regunete, with three Italians, who ran four courses with all the gentlemen, and afterwards fought at tourney. Next day, when Robert Dudley was married to Amy Robsart, the King had some more fun. Certain gentlemen strove who should first take away a goose's head which was hung on cross poles. There was also tilt and tourney on foot, and a great number of gentlemen ran at the ring.

On June 19, 1550, Edward records a grand entertainment given at Deptford in his honor, by the Admiral, Lord Clinton. Before supper men stood in the bows of boats, without holding anything, and ran at each other until one fell into the water. After supper there was a fort built on a lighter in the Thames, with three walls and a watch-tower. That grand old seaman, Captain Winter, acted as leader with a garrison of thirty or forty soldiers in yellow and black. To the fort also belonged a galley painted yellow, with men and ammunition in it. Presently there came four pinnacles with their crews handsomely dressed in white, intending to assault the castle with clods, squibs, canes of fire darts, and bombards. In the assault they carried the outer wall of the castle, driving the garrison into the second ward. There the besieged men rallied, sallying forth and driving away the pinnacles. One was sunk, all the crew jumping out and swimming in the river. Then came Lord Clinton with three other pinnacles, who won the castle by assault, beat the top of it down, and captured the yellow galley. Edward gave warm thanks to the Admiral for all this fun, and returned to Greenwich.

On March 31, 1551, the King got up some sports in which he was himself to take part. There were to be three events. Edward, with sixteen servants of his chamber, was to run at base, shoot, and run at the ring with any seventeen others of the Court. The first day of the challenge came off on April 1. It was prisoner's base or running. To his great delight the King won. The second event came off on April 6. It was 'shooting at rounds’ and rovers.' The former was shooting at a target. 'Rovers' was when the mark was a tree or gate, and the distance was greater, the arrows being shot at considerable elevation. The winner had the right of naming the next object. The name was from 'roving' from one object to another. The King lost the challenge at shooting at rounds, but he won at 'rovers,' which was a much more difficult game.
The challenge at running at the ring, the third event, came off on May 3. King Edward came on the ground with sixteen foot and ten horsemen, dressed in black with coats pulled out with white taflety. Then came the lords, each having three men in the same dress, and the gentlemen with their footmen in white fustian pulled out with black taffety. The opponents all came in yellow taffety. The King's party touched often, which was counted as nothing, and at length the yellows took the ring thrice in 120 courses. Edward's side lost, which seemed very strange to him, for his people had touched so often. After the running at the ring, the King got up a tourney, six of his side against six of theirs.

On May 14 King Edward held a review of his guard. There mustered before him a hundred archers, all of the guard, with two arrows apiece. They then shot together at an inch board. Some pierced quite through and stuck in the other board, several pierced it with the heads of their arrows, the board being very well seasoned timber.

It was ordered that the King should always have in his guard a hundred archers and a hundred halberdiers, either good wrestlers or casters of the  bar, or leapers, or tall men of personage. He would thus always have plenty of good men for his games.

On July 4 Lord Clinton invited the King to a banquet at Deptford, to see two of his new ships launched the Primrose and the Mary Wittoughby.  The King got two of his gentlemen, Sir Henry Sydney and Sir Henry Nevill, with Sir Henry Gates, to challenge all comers. The event came off on January 3, 1552. There were as many as eighteen defendants.

Lord Williams Sir Anthony Browne
Lord Fitzwalter Mr. Norris
Lord Bray Mr. Digby
Lord Fitzwarine Mr. Knollys
Lord Ambrose Dudley Mr. Paston
Lord Robert Dudley Mr. Gary
Sir George Howard Mr. Drury
Sir William Stafford Mr. Courtenay
Sir John Parrat Mr. Warcup

These ran six courses apiece at tilt against the challengers, and accomplished their courses right well. The challengers entered the tourney, followed by the defendants with two more added, Mr. Tyrell and Mr. Robert Hopton. Both sides distinguished themselves, the King being umpire, and so the challenge was accomplished. In the same night there was first a play, and afterwards a dispute between one that was called Riches, and  another that was called Youth, as to which was the best. After some pretty reasoning, six champions were chosen on either side:

On the side of Youth On the side of Riches
Lord Fitzwalter Lord Fitzwarine
Lord Ambrose Dudley Sir Robert Stafford
Sir Anthony Browne Mr. Courtenay
Sir William Cobham Mr. Digby
Mr. Gary Mr. Hopton
Mr. Warcup Mr. Hungerford

All these fought, two to two, at barriers in the hall. Then there came in two appareled like Almains (the Earl of Ormonde and Jacques Granado), and two came in like friars (Mr. Drury and Thomas Cobham); but the Almains would not suffer the friars to pass until they had fought. After this followed two masques, one of men, the other of women. Then there was a banquet of 120 dishes. This day was the end of Christmas, and an uncommonly jolly Christmas the young King had made of it.

On January 7, 1552, Edward was again entertained at Deptford by Lord Clinton, and on the 17th he got up a match between six gentlemen of a side at tilt.

John Dudley Earl of Lord Ambrose Dudley
Warwick Lord Fitzwalter
Lord Robert Dudley Sir Francis Knollys
Sir Henry Sydney Sir Anthony Browne
Sir Henry Nevill Sir John Parrat
Sir Henry Gates Mr. Courtenay
Anthony Digby

John Dudley's side won by four taints. These are the events recorded by King Edward; of course there were many unrecorded; and there never was a better or more genial Captain of Games than Edward VI.


Barnaby had been the King's constant companion from his childhood, and their affection for each other had never been shaken. It was with great reluctance that Edward made up his mind to part with his friend for a short time. The plan was that Barnaby should go to Paris, make himself master of French, and see something of the world, perhaps some operations of war. He was to go to Paris with Lord Clinton's mission, but to be under the special charge of Sir William Pickering, the resident Ambassador. Barnaby was then seventeen. The King's instructions were that he was to be presented to the King of France by Lord Clinton, and when not at Court he was to reside with Pickering. He was to have four servants. Edward told him to send news, learn French, and avoid ladies. Yet if the King of France desired him to dance, he was to do so. His apparel was to be comely, and his chief pastimes were to be tennis, hunting, and riding. If there was war he was to go to it to learn the art. When he wanted money he was always to advertise the King, and he would send it. In order to give him a better position at the French Court, he was created Baron of Upper Ossory. The King mentions Bartholomew Campaigne as his financial agent. Edward was anxious that his friend should gain experience by accompanying Henry II in his first campaign against Charles V., which he did from April to October 1552.

The affection between these two lads is very touching. The King's letters are full of arrangements to supply Barnaby with money for his necessities and to buy mules. He would have sent his own mules from England, but he did not think they were good enough. The King was also busy in securing Barnaby’s rights to his lands and inheritances in Ireland.

In April 1552 Edward had an attack of measles and smallpox, but he quite recovered, as he told his friend in a letter dated May 3rd. Great preparations were then made for a progress on an important scale. Edward was to be accompanied by the Lord Treasurer, the officers of his household, four Kings of Arms, including Ulster, an office recently created by Edward, and two Heralds - altogether 120 mounted men, a brilliant cavalcade. The Duke of Northumberland was absent, attending to affairs in the northern marches.

On June 27, 1552, the King went by water to Putney, whence he rode to Hampton Court, and thence to Oatlands, his favorite country seat, where he remained a week. On July 15 he was at Guildford, and on the 20th he reached Petworth. This was the seat of Percy Earl of Northumberland, then under attainder. It was in the hands of the crown, and the Earl of Arundel had the shooting. From Petworth, after a rest of five days, Edward rode on to Cowdray, the seat of his old friend Sir Anthony Browne. It was a fine house built by Fitzwilliam Earl of Southampton. On the off days the King had a good deal of hunting, and he complained to Barnaby that there was a little too much banqueting at Cowdray. His next halting place was Halnaker, and on July 30 he came to a house called Warblington, belonging to Sir Richard Cotton, the Controller of the Household. August 4 found him at Waltham, a house which the Lord Treasurer had recently 'obtained' from the See of Winchester.

On August 8 King Edward rode into Portsmouth, and here, for two days, he was in his element, devising improvements in the fortifications with Master Chaderton, the Master Gunner. There were to be new forts on each side of the entrance to the harbor, and alterations at the south angle of the enceinte. Edward discussed all the details.

From Portsmouth the King went to Titchfield, the seat of the Earl of Southampton. King Edward met with a loyal reception from the town of Southampton, and went thence to Beaulieu, also Wriothesley property, and once a famous abbey of white monks. August 18 brought him to Christchurch, near the New Forest, where there was rest for a few days.

From Christchurch Edward wrote a charming letter to Barnaby. 'Whereas you have been occupied in killing your enemies, in long marches, in painful  journeys, in extreme heat, in sore skirmishings, and divers assaults, we have been occupied in killing of wild beasts, in pleasant journeys, in  good fare, and in viewing of fair countries.' At Christchurch the King received three letters from his friend. On August 23 he went on to Woodlands in Dorsetshire. On the 24th he had a most loyal reception at Salisbury, and on the 28th came to Wilton, the seat of the wealthy Earl of Pembroke.  His next resting place was Mottisfont, the seat of Lord Sandys of the Vine, once a priory of Austin Friars. On September 5 he came to Winchester, where another cordial reception awaited him.

From Winchester King Edward went to the splendid seat of the Lord Treasurer at Basing, where he rested for three days, and then went to Newbury and Reading, reaching Windsor on the 15th. He began to pine for his dear friend, Barnaby, who had been absent nearly a year. He wrote to him, from Windsor, telling him to come back and again from Hampton Court.

The progress was a great success, and all the people were in love with their gracious young King. He was the best and most popular Sovereign that England had seen for many a long day. But alas  the end was approaching. On November 14 Edward again wrote to his friend, saying 'I look for you shortly.' On the 22nd he made the last entry in his Journal.

Barnaby was hurrying back from the seat of war. On December 9 he took his final leave of the French Court at Compiegne, with honorable testimonials from Henry II. A few days afterwards the two friends were united, never again to be parted but by death.


The saddest event in history is the crushing of bright and well-founded hopes. Young Edward had given abundant proofs of his goodness and his abilities, and had raised the brightest hopes throughout England. Though only a boy, he had devoted himself to his duties, and with greater success than most men. He was fully aware of the evil consequences of bad and dishonest government by his predecessors and his Council. He had studied the remedies and was ready to apply them. His reign is forever memorable for the establishment of the Church of England, the purest form that Christianity can take in days of modern civilization, and the nearest to the divine original. His reign saw the completion of the Prayer Book as we now possess it, except for a few changes after the Restoration. He made a cordial alliance with France. He promoted trade with foreign countries, and he dispatched an Arctic expedition, the best nursery for our navy. Yet, even at the last, he was only in his sixteenth year.

The year opened gloomily. The King had overtaxed his strength during the progress. A bad cough tormented him through the winter. In April his lungs were seriously affected, and he was spitting blood. Dr. Owen, who had attended on Edward since his birth, was quite at a loss, and called in other physicians. The King was removed to Greenwich, and the change of air seemed to do him good. In the first week of May a decided improvement was reported. On May 7 the Duke of Northumberland wrote to Sir William Cecil that 'our Sovereign Lord doth begin very joyfully to increase and amend,  the physicians having no doubt of the thorough recovery of his Highness.' His sister Mary wrote a letter on May 16 congratulating her brother on his  recovery from what she called a 'rheum cough.' But a day or two afterwards he was much worse. The very worst was feared.

Northumberland was in dismay. He had neglected to calculate on this possibility. He was as rapacious as his colleagues, with greater personal ambition. But it would be unreasonable not to credit him with some feeling for the public good. A man, who had worked for the public service, as he had done, for over fifteen years, and had guided the helm of State for nearly four years, must have been largely influenced by public motives. With the accession of Mary all he had labored to establish would be swept away: the Established Church, the headship of the sovereign, the French alliance. In their places there would be papal usurpation, probably persecution, and ruinous subservience to Spain. A patriotic statesman might well think it his duty to endeavor to avert such a disaster. Suffolk and Northampton would follow him blindly. Pembroke, and apparently Shrewsbury, acted with him, but not blindly. Doubtless there were hurried consultations and decisions. Pembroke had great wealth and great influence.

It was decided that the two half-sisters should be passed over, and that Jane Grey should be placed next in succession. This would be a wise and patriotic arrangement under the circumstances. But their next decision was a fatal blunder. Northumberland and Pembroke determined to marry the two sisters, Jane and Catherine Grey, to their two sons. Jane was only fifteen, Catherine barely thirteen. The marriages took place at Durham House in the Strand, Northumberland's town residence, on May 21. It was thus made to appear that personal ambition was the motive of the change; which aroused the jealousy of the Council and the suspicion of the people. These marriages were conceived and solemnized on the spur of the moment. If Northumberland had ever thought of it before, he would not have allowed all his sons who had reached man's estate to marry John to Anne Seymour, Ambrose to Anne Whorwood, Robert to Amy Robsart. He would have reserved his eldest son for Jane. As it was, there was only his fourth son Guilford, a lad not yet seventeen, left for Jane. These marriages were a fatal blunder, and probably destroyed any small chance there might have been of success.

The selection of Jane Grey was quite proper, and, with the consent of Parliament, would have been legal. Jane, though so young in years, had already shown firmness, capacity, and knowledge of affairs. Her learning in divinity and religious controversial subjects was profound. Roger Ascham, when he visited her at Bradgate, found her reading Plato in Greek. A competent modern judge said that her Latin was so good and so classical that it would be dangerous for any scholar of the present day to enter into competition with her. Her disposition was gentle and affectionate, but firm as a rock where any principle was concerned. There was sympathy and affection and community of tastes between King Edward and his cousin. Jane would have made him an ideal wife. She would have been an ideal Queen Regnant.

Northumberland's next step was the delicate one of persuading the dying King to alter the succession by Letters Patent. He knew that they would not be valid until they were ratified by an Act of Parliament, but Parliament was to meet on September 18. The consent of the King and of all the notables of the realm would be a necessary and important preliminary step.

The Duke of Northumberland must have represented to Edward that the accession of Mary would mean the destruction of the reformed religion and many other calamities. This would have a great effect on the young King's mind, and to avert such ruin to gospel truth and such a calamity to his people he would feel that an alteration of the succession would be right. Mary was legally illegitimate, and she had formally acknowledged the fact.  Parliament empowered Henry VIII to settle the succession, but with regard to claimants who were legally in the succession, which Mary, as a bastard, was not.[23] 

There was a dispensation for Catherine's marriage, which was, therefore, a true marriage. There was no such betrothal as was alleged in the case of Anne. Her marriage was, therefore, a true one. In reality both sisters were perfectly legitimate, but not in the eye of the laws as dictated by Henry VIII. It must have been much more difficult to persuade Edward to consent to the disinherit of Elizabeth, a dear sister, who was also a good Protestant. It must have been represented to him that if he allowed the exclusion of Mary, the exclusion of Elizabeth was inevitable, because the two cases were identical. The difficulties arising from the exclusion of one, and not both, would be insuperable, both being disqualified on the same grounds. Very unwillingly, and as it were through force of circumstances, authority was at length obtained.

It was characteristic of Edward that, when he had once consented to alter the succession, though he was very ill and suffering, he took the matter into his own hands. He drew up a device for the succession, written by himself, and the judges were required to embody it in a legal document.  Chief Justice Montagu represented that Letters Patent could not override an Act of Parliament. He was told that they would be ratified by Parliament, and that meanwhile he would have a pardon under the Great Seal. He said that he had sixteen children to think of, one of them maimed for life at the battle of Musselburgh.

On June 15 Montagu was ordered to come to Greenwich again with three other judges and the law officers. They were taken to a chamber behind the dining-room, and then brought before the King with all the Council present. Montagu was an old, weak man. He considered that Mary could not legally punish treason done in a former reign; so he consented to draw up the Letters Patent. They were engrossed on parchment. On June 21 thirty-three of the Council signed. Cranmer was long doubtful, but eventually signed from conviction. Finally twenty-three peers, nine eldest sons of peers, three prelates, twenty-three great officers of State and officers of the Household, the Lord Chancellor, two Chief Justices, six judges and the law officers of the Crown, the Lord Mayor and twenty City merchants, in fact, all the notables of the realm, signed the Letters Patent declaring Jane to be the rightful heir to the crown. There were eighty-seven signatures.
All this worry and excitement must have hastened the poor boy's end. He was dying of a rapid consumption. He was surrounded by devoted and loving friends, who guarded him from all danger and watched over him with untiring devotion.[24] Sir John Cheke, Sydney, Wroth, Throgmorton, and Barnaby were always with their dying master. They raised him up in their arms to make his breathing easier, and ministered to him continually.

On July 6 Edward was sinking fast. He was raised up by one or other of his loving friends, and towards evening he gasped out his last prayer in broken sentences:

Lord God, deliver me out of this miserable and wretched life.
Take me among thy chosen.
Howbeit not my will but thy will be done.
Lord, I commit my spirit to thee.
0 Lord, thou knowest how happy it were for me to be with thee.
Yet for thy chosen's sake, send me life and health that I may truly serve thee.
0 my God! bless thy people, and save thine inheritance.
0 Lord God, save thy chosen people of England.
0 my Lord God, defend this realm from papistry,
That I and my people may praise thy holy name
For Jesus Christ's sake.
A little later the dying boy said something in so low a voice that it was not understood. Dr. Owen told him that he was heard to speak, 'but what you said we know not.' The King smiled, and said that he was praying to God. After an interval of silence, he said 'I am faint. Lord, have mercy upon me, and take my spirit.' These were his last words. Towards nine in the evening the dearly loved King breathed his last, in the arms of one of these faithful friends - Henry Sydney, it is said.

There stood round his bed Sir Henry Sydney, Sir Thomas Wroth, Dr. Owen, Dr. Wendy, Barnaby, and a page named Christopher Salmon.  Surely never did purer spirit ascend to Heaven. Never was king so deeply mourned, and never was there greater cause. The Will of King Edward VI is in the form of a rough draft in the handwriting of Sir William Petre, the Secretary of State.

·        In the young years of any of my heirs my executors are not to enter upon any wars, except on occasion of invasion, nor to suffer religion to be altered.
·        Payment of debts to be made, not by devices recently decided, but by other means. The expenditure of the household to be reduced.
·        My sisters each to have £1000 a year, and £10,000 for marriage, if approved.
·        Crown lands not to be given away in fee simple.
·        Debts to be paid with as much speed as may be.
·        All injuries to be recompensed.
·        The College of St. John at Cambridge to have £100 a year and a new college to be erected.
·        This was out of affectionate regard for Sir John Cheke  and Sir William Cecil, who were both of St. John's.
·        'A grant to the city of London touching the Savoy.
·        'All who have grants from us, to enjoy our grants.
·        'My father's tomb, and those of Henry VI and Edward IV to be made at Windsor.'

This Will shows how closely the young King watched the proceedings of his Council, and how clearly he saw their mistakes. No wars were to be undertaken in a minority such as that unwise Scottish enterprise. The payment of crown debts was not to be effected by seizing church property, but by honest finance. Crown lands were not to be given away in fee simple among them. Thus the King's last words contain a well-deserved rebuke, and intimation that, young as he was, he had been watching and understanding their practices.

Edward's unfeeling sister entirely disregarded all the wishes expressed in his Will. Personally she had received nothing but thoughtful liberality and kindness from him.

The physicians and Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber duly reported that his Majesty King Edward VI died of a consumption, at about nine in the  evening on July 6, 1553.

Fortunately the accession of Mary was delayed for a fortnight, and that gave time for the King's friends to remove his papers and literary remains to places of safety. Hence several of young Edward's writings were preserved for posterity. Mary could only destroy the letters to Cranmer, and perhaps some of Barnaby's letters.

The funeral was delayed for a month. Mary was persuaded by those who were less bigoted and more politic than herself, not to interfere with the funeral of her brother according to the ritual of the Church of England, then by law established. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, the arrangements being made by his devoted servants and friends, under the superintendence of Sir Gilbert Dethick, the Garter King at Arms. The body was brought by water from Greenwich to Westminster Stairs, where the procession was formed.
On August 8, 1553, the sad procession wended its way to Westminster Abbey, where, six and a half years before, the people had seen the bright boy  crowned, a sight filling them with fond hopes for the future. Now all was over, and a black cloud was hanging over the land.

First came a great company of children and clerks singing.
Next two Heralds.
A standard with a dragon.
The King's servants in black.
A standard with a white greyhound.
Officers of the household.
Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber.
Former comrades of the King.
More Heralds.
A standard.
Norroy mounted, bearing the helmet and crest.
Grand banner of arms.
Divers other banners.
Clarenceux mounted with target, garter, and sword.
Garter mounted with the King's coat armoury.
The chariot with horses trapped to the ground.
On each horse a man in black, each with a banneret of the King's arms.
On the chariot, which was covered with cloth of gold, the effigy lying piteously with crown of gold, great collar, sceptre, and robes.
Great banner of the Garter.
Great banner of the Red Cross.
Great banner of Queen Jane Seymour's arms.
Great banner of the Queen Dowager's arms.
Chief Mourner
The Marquis of Winchester.
The Earl of Oxford The Earl of Sussex
The Earl of Shrewsbury The Earl of Bath
The Earl of Worcester The Earl of Pembroke
Lord Abergavenny Lord Windsor
Lord Borough Lord Berkeley
Lord Stourton Lord Cobham
All in mantles of cloth of gold lined with white satin.

The grave was near the east end of the Lady Chapel, under an altar of brass, with four fluted pillars and capitals supporting a canopy. It has since been destroyed. Only the King's name on the pavement now marks the place.

The Archbishop of Canterbury read the beautiful funeral service of the Church of England. He had christened his godson Edward, had crowned him, and the King's burial was destined to be the last public service the future martyr would ever perform. Good old Cranmer! All hope for religion, liberty, even faith, seemed to have departed. The earnest labors of the old man's life seemed to have been useless. All seemed buried in young Edward’s grave. Yet it was not so. England had to pass through a fiery furnace of persecution. But it would be extinguished. Then all Edward's good work would be restored, to last for ages. Cranmer was burnt before the Promised Land was reached. Yet his martyrdom, equally with those of Ridley and Latimer, 'lighted a candle which, by God's grace, has never been put out.'

Dr. Day, the popish Bishop of Chichester, who had been deprived, preached the funeral sermon. Sir John Cheke had interceded for him with Edward, and the young King had interfered in his behalf. He now showed his gratitude for help and kindness from a sovereign whose death all had cause to mourn.

Several authentic portraits of Edward VI are in existence, most of them attributed to Holbein, but as Holbein died in 1543, none of them can be by  him which were painted after Edward reached his seventh year.

  1. A portrait at Hampton Court.
  2. A child's head as sketched by Holbein.
  3. A finished picture, half length, done in 1538, the property of the Earl of Yarborough. A duplicate at Herrenhausen. Engraved by Hollar.
  4. A whole length at the age of two, at Sion, by Holbein.
  5. The Duke of Buccleuch's miniature, age four.
  6. A portrait when aged seven, at Burleigh.
  7. The picture at Christ's Hospital, painted when he was nine.
  8. A profile in Holbein's Portfolio at Windsor.
  9. Another excellent portrait at Christ's Hospital which, in the time of Elizabeth, belonged to Sir Anthony Mildmay.
  10. The portrait at Petworth represents Edward in the year of his accession; probably by Guillim Stretes. It was engraved for Lodge's portraits. 
  11. A portrait at Windsor at the age of fifteen, also probably by Guillim Stretes.
  12. A portrait at Kimbolton.
  13. A portrait at Loseley in Surrey, painted in 1547 at the time of the coronation.
  14. A portrait at St. Chad's, Lichfield. The King at the age of twelve.
  15. A portrait at Chicksands, Beds. The King at the age of fifteen.
  16. A portrait at Norford, Norfolk.
  17. A portrait painted in 1552, which the King presented to Barnaby. It is now the property of Lord Castletown, Barnaby's representative. This is  the latest. The shape of the face is more oval, and the expression older.
  18. The great picture at Bridewell. The King transferring that palace to the City. It was engraved by Vertue in 1750.
  19. Portrait by Guillim Stretes, panel, circular frame, a foot across, at the Manchester Exhibition.

Painters to Edward VI.: Anthony Toto, Guillim Stretes, Nicholas Lygarde.



Duke of Northumberland.
Duke of Suffolk.
Marquis of Northampton.
Marquis of Winchester (Lord Treasurer).
Earl of Oxford.
Earl of Arundel.
Earl of Shrewsbury.
Earl of Westmorland.
Earl of Huntingdon.
Earl of Worcester.
Earl of Pembroke.
Earl of Bedford (Lord Privy Seal).
Lord Abergavenny.
Lord Grey de Wilton.
Lord Clinton (Lord High Admiral).
Lord Cobham.
Lord Bray.
Lord Windsor.
Lord Wentworth.
Lord Willoughby of Parham.
Lord Darcy of Chich.
Lord Paget of Beaudesert.
Lord Eich.

Eldest Sons of Peers

The Earl of Warwick (Northumberland)
Lord Pitzwarine (Bath)
Lord Fitzwalter (Sussex)
Lord Talbot (Shrewsbury)
Lord St. John of Basing (Winchester)
Lord Eussell (Bedford)
Lord Fitzgerald (Kildare)
Lord Strange (Derby)
Lord Thomas Grey (brother of Suffolk)

Dr. Cranmer (Archbishop of Canterbury)
Dr. Goodrich (Bishop of Ely. Lord Chancellor)
Dr. Ridley (Bishop of London)

Great Officers of State

Sir J. Baker (Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Sir J. Gates (Chancellor of the Duchy)
Sir T. Cheyney (Lord Warden of Cinque Ports)
Sir W. Petre, Sir W. Cecil (Secretaries of State)
Sir E. North
Sir Anthony St. Leger
Sir Anthony Browne
Sir J. Mason
Sir H. Gage


Sir W. Cavendish (Treasurer)
Sir E. Cotton (Controller)
Sir E. Sadleir (Wardrobe)
Sir John Cheke
Sir Thomas Wroth
Sir Henry Sydney
Sir N. Throgmorton (Gentlemen of the Chamber)
Sir Ed. Southwell
Sir E. Sackville
Sir M. Berkeley
Sir E. Blount
J. Lucas


Chief Justices Montagu, Cholmley.
Chief Baron Bradshawe.
Master of the Eolls Southwell.
Judges Brown, Portman, Bowes.
Speaker J. Dyer.
Attorney-General Griffin.
Solicitor-General Gosnold.


The Lord Mayor—Sir G. Barne
Sheriff of Middlesex
Six Aldermen
Six Merchants of the Staple
Six Merchant Adventurers
(Eighty-seven Signatures.)


King Edward left religion settled by the Act of Uniformity, the Prayer Book, and the Articles of Religion. He had plans ready for paying the crown debts, for restoring the currency, for promoting trade, and for ameliorating the condition of the people. His Will provided for his sisters. His learned and high-minded young cousin Jane had the ability and firmness to complete his work. His friendly relations with France, so important for the welfare of his country, would be maintained. With these hopes and in this belief the young King died.

The Council and the great officers of State duly proclaimed Queen Jane on July 10, 1553, in accordance with the Letters Patent they had all signed, and in anticipation of the assent of Parliament. Jane herself was a minor, a child of fifteen, a passive instrument. The Council was alone responsible.

But it was a forlorn hope. For a chance of success months of preparation were necessary. An attempt to secure the person of Mary failed. She rode away to Norfolk to gather her supporters. The people were ignorant of Mary's true character. Northumberland marched against her, but the general feeling was for the princess who was next in succession by Act of Parliament, and of whom they knew nothing. The attempt was bold and courageous.  If the country had known Mary as she came to be known afterwards, Northumberland would have had the unanimous support of the nation. As it was his troops would not obey him. In his absence the cowardly and treacherous Council abandoned the young Queen to whom they had sworn allegiance, and  fearing for their own safety, they proclaimed Mary on July 20. The worst traitor was Pembroke. He had worked with Northumberland throughout. A man of great influence and great wealth, his support was necessary for the attempt. But seeing how things were going, he went into the City on the 19th and made a violent speech in favor of Mary.

This turned the scale. For Pembroke safety and riches came before honor.

Northumberland was of course condemned to death, and by the very same treacherous and dishonored politicians who had joined him in proclaiming Jane. The Marquis of Northampton, the Archbishop, the young Queen, Sir Thomas Palmer, Sir John Gates, and the five young Dudleys were also condemned. The Duke's end was sad enough. The attempt was bold. It failed, and he did not want to pay the penalty. He cannot be blamed for returning to the religion of his youth. But he abandoned all dignity when he begged for his life.[25]  He had never feared death. Winning his spurs under Suffolk, he served his country valorously at Leith, at Boulogne, and in the charge at Musselburgh, and he went alone among the Norfolk rebels with his life in his hand. He was brave enough. Mr. Froude, who has a kindly word for him, suggests that he felt his cause to be bad. But he cannot have thought that.

Sir John Gates, the young King's faithful Chancellor of the Duchy, and Sir Thomas Palmer were beheaded with the Duke on August 22.

For two reasons Northumberland's memory deserves respect. His invariable loyalty, to and consideration for his young master cover a multitude of sins. His very able command of the fleet when England was threatened with invasion should remind us that Dudley was a gallant Admiral before he was a politician. His flagship, the Great Harry, was entirely destroyed by fire within a week of her Admiral's death.[26]

It has been said that Mary showed leniency at the opening of her reign, because she only had eleven people condemned to death, of which number only three were executed at once. But two more were executed soon afterwards, one was deprived of all his titles and ruined, another died in prison, another was burnt. Only two of the young Dudleys escaped, having powerful protectors. It must be remembered who the traitors were, from Mary’s point of view. They were the principal notables of the kingdom the Privy Council, the great officers of State, a third of the Peerage, the Judges, the Law Officers, the Speaker, the Lord Mayor, and the principal City merchants. Some were too powerful to be touched, and able to protect their friends. Others could not well be removed. The administrative business of the country must be carried on. This could not be done by the Rochesters and Inglefields of Mary's household. She was obliged to pardon many 'traitors,' and to be satisfied with three executions at first. It was not leniency but necessity.

But we have only to do with Mary in her attempted destruction of her good brother's work, and in her treatment of his relations and friends.

She began, in a packed Parliament, with the repeal of Edward's legislation. The Act of Uniformity, the Prayer Book, the Articles of Religion, were abolished, and the atrocious Act for burning heretics was reimposed on December 12, 1554. In defiance of the interests of the country, and the wishes of the people, Mary next negotiated a marriage with the Prince of Spain, son of her cousin, the Emperor Charles V, who was made King of Naples for the occasion. To prevent this national calamity there was an insurrection in Kent under Sir Thomas Wyatt, and attempts were made at risings by the Duke of Suffolk in the Midlands, and by Sir Peter Carew in Devonshire. These attempts failed. Hundreds of the poor followers of Wyatt were hanged, and the City of London was like a shambles. The Duke of Suffolk, his brother Lord Thomas Grey, and Guilford Dudley, a lad of seventeen, were beheaded.

The worst crime was the execution of Jane. Mary's cousin was a child of fifteen, a minor and not responsible, a passive instrument in the hands of the Council. The members of that Council, the treacherous men who had proclaimed and had then betrayed and deserted her to save themselves, were alone responsible. They were now seeking pardons and favors from Mary. Not one raised his voice against the death of the victim they had betrayed.

The girl Queen[27] showed the nobility and beauty of her character in adversity. She sustained her weak vacillating father by her loving exhortations, and strengthened him to die with dignity. She patiently listened to the arguments of popish bigots who were sent to persecute her, while her learning enabled her to refute their sophisms. She died as she had lived, a true Queen, firm, courageous, gentle. Yet she was only just sixteen. The crime was perpetrated on February 12, 1554.  England has had no more noble sovereigns than the young boy and girl cousins, King Edward VI and Queen Jane.

After all these executions, Mary was unsatiated. Her own sister Elizabeth was to be the next victim. Here was the great danger for the country.  After Jane's death, Elizabeth was the sole hope of England. She was thrown into prison, and several victims were tortured to extract evidence against her. But the judges declared there was no case. Lord Howard of Effingham vowed vengeance if she was made away with in prison. Elizabeth was  sent from the Tower to Woodstock as a prisoner, as she believed, to be murdered,' tanquam ovis' she said. When Philip arrived he insisted that Elizabeth should be liberated and treated as a princess. Philip certainly saved several other lives, whether from policy or, as it may perhaps be hoped, at least partly, from a better motive.

Lord Paget made his peace, and was on Mary's Council. To his credit be it recorded that he opposed the continuance of vindictive executions. He declared that the people would not endure it. A certain amount of timidity was mingled with Mary's severity. She was frightened of her ruthless father, and signed the recantations he demanded. She was alarmed, to some extent, by Paget's representations of the danger of her proceedings. Thus Paget succeeded in saving the young Dudleys except Guilford, and the sons of Lord Cobham.

The Marquis of Northampton was spared because his brother-in-law Pembroke was too powerful to offend, but he was attainted, and deprived of all his titles.

The religious persecutions were the most horrible events in Mary's reign. Five prelates and 270 other innocent persons were burnt at the stake.  Among young Edward's preachers were the devout and kind-hearted Ridley, honest and fearless old Latimer, and the accomplished Bradford. The Archbishop of Canterbury, too confident in his courage, refused to escape, which he could easily have done. The good old man knew not his own weakness. He could not face the horrors of the stake, and he recanted. Mary's conduct with regard to Cranmer shows her want of intelligence even more than her vindictive cruelty. She insisted on his being burnt, after suffering many insults and indignities. If she had kept her word Cranmer would have gone forth a discredited and broken-hearted old man. As it was, he tore up the recantation and threw it in the faces of his tormentors, declaring that the hand that signed the accursed document should be burnt first. Thus King Edward's beloved godfather, who christened, crowned, and buried him, finally won a martyr's crown.

Great numbers of prelates and other dignitaries of the Church of England, with many members of their flocks, escaped abroad.  We now turn to the fates of young Edward's nearest and dearest friends.

The Duchess of Suffolk, mother of his young Brandon companions, escaped abroad with her husband, Mr. Bertie. Her son, Lord Willoughby, was born in the church porch at Wesel, and eventually the Duchess and Mr. Bertie found a hospitable refuge with Sigismund, King of Poland. Mary wanted to confiscate the property of the Duchess, but Parliament asserted itself for once, and refused assent to the injustice.

Edward's tutors, Dr. Cox and Sir John Cheke, escaped abroad. But the saddest fate was that of the latter, the young King's beloved and lifelong friend. Cheke was travelling in Flanders when he was treacherously kidnapped by Philip's order, and handed over to Mary. He had not the courage or strength of will to face the fearful ordeal of being burnt. He consented to recant in order to escape this agonizing form of death. He had to do so in the most public and insulting manner in Mary's presence. He went forth a shamed and broken-hearted man, and died on September 13, 1557, just a year before the Marian terror had run its allotted course.

John Hales, the patriotic opponent of enclosures, escaped abroad.

Of the Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber, Barnaby was protected by his cousin, the Earl of Ormonde. Sir Henry Sydney does not appear to have been molested. Sir Thomas Wroth escaped abroad, with King Edward's able diplomatist, Sir Richard Morrison, and many others. John Harington, the faithful servant and friend of Edward's favorite uncle, Lord Sudeley, was thrown into prison, as an adherent of Elizabeth.

Nicholas Throgmorton was seized and tried for his life. But he successfully defended himself, in spite of the injustice and partiality of Judge Bromley. The jury would have no more slaughter, and boldly acquitted him. It was a most courageous thing to do. The honest and patriotic jurymen were imprisoned and heavily fined.

Grafton, the King's printer, was discharged. Handsome Cuthbert Vaughan, the keeper of Edward's dogs, escaped hanging by a hair's breadth.

Of the Secretaries of State, Petre was always a concealed papist. Cecil outwardly complied, and escaped death. Sir Thomas Smith retired to Hill Hall. He would neither fly the country nor comply. For some reason or other he was not molested. It is supposed that Gardiner protected him, more likely it was Paget.

The fate of young Edward's able and learned political instructor, Master William Thomas, was very sad. He was dismissed from all his employments by Mary. He took refuge with Sir Peter Carew in Devonshire, but Sir Peter fled to France, followed by a great number of young gentlemen of the West Country. Mary demanded that they should be given up, but Henry II nobly refused. Thomas wandered from county to county, and was captured in Gloucestershire on February 20, 1554. Brought to the Tower, he heard that he was to be tortured to extort some accusation against the Princess Elizabeth. He feared for his powers of endurance, and tried to drive a knife into his breast, but was prevented. Such a self-immolation would surely have been pardonable. He was tortured but remained steadfast, and nothing was extorted from him. He was tried on an accusation of having argued against the Spanish marriage, and compassed the Queen's life. There was one witness named Arnold, proved by Throgmorton to have been a notorious liar.[28]  It was a murder with the mockery of judicial forms. The trial was at the Guildhall on May 8, 1554. On the 18th Master Thomas was drawn on a sledge to Tyburn, hanged, beheaded, and quartered. His head was stuck on London Bridge, his quarters in front of his house. His last words were 'I die for my country.'

Mary ended by breaking King Edward's peace with France, plunging the country into a disastrous war by order of her Spanish husband, and losing Calais.

At last the unhappy bigot was called to her account. Perhaps her sanity may be doubted. The five years of misrule came to an end. England had to pass through a fiery furnace of persecution, and then the prayer of the good young king was mercifully and happily answered.

XX. Edward's Sister 'Temperance'

Edward had well called his sister 'Temperance,' for it was by temperance and moderation that she restored prosperity to the country. She showed by  many acts that she revered the memory of her young brother, and forgave her exclusion on the Letters Patent, as a step taken under pressure and in  sickness. She forgave the Dudley family and was warmly attached to the two surviving sons, as the friends of her childhood.

The great Queen's first measures were to restore her brother's legislation, and to adopt his plans. In re-enacting Edward's Act for the Uniformity of Common Prayer and the Administration of the Sacraments it was declared that the repeal by Mary's Parliament was void and of none effect. The repeal, it was further declared, 'caused a great decay of the due honor to God, and discomfort to the truth of Christ's religion.'

Edward's legislation was restored and again made law, and so it has remained to the present day.  Even before that, Elizabeth had, by the agency of Sir Thomas Gresham, taken steps to adopt the measures about which young Edward had been so anxious, the payment of the crown debts, and the restoration of the currency. It was a difficult undertaking, after years of misgovernment, but it was achieved with thoroughness and completeness.

Next came the Queen's kindly acts of restitution. Of the five young Dudleys, John Earl of Warwick had died in prison, Guilford had fallen a victim to Mary's cruelty, Henry was killed at St. Quentin, Ambrose and Robert survived. Elizabeth restored Ambrose to his father's Earldom of Warwick, and created Robert Earl of Leicester.  The Marquis of Northampton was restored to all his honors and titles.

The exiled divines of the Church of England were welcomed back. Several were made Bishops. All were provided for. Among them Dr. Alexander Nowell, formerly Headmaster of Westminster School, who had written the 'Catechismus Brevis' for young Edward, had escaped to Germany. On his return he was made Archdeacon of Middlesex, Prebendary of Westminster, Canon of Windsor, Principal of Brasenose, and Rector of Much Hadham, where he became a famous angler, giving his fish to his parishioners. He lived to a great age, and died in 1602.

The body of Peter Martyr's wife, which had been dug up by Mary, was restored to consecrated ground at Christ Church, and was honored by having the relics of St. Frideswide buried with it.

The Duchess of Suffolk and Mr. Bertie returned happily to Grimthorpe, and their son Lord Willoughby became one of the great Queen's most trusted diplomatists and generals.

Of young Edward's tutors, Dr. Cox had escaped to Frankfort. Elizabeth made him Bishop of Ely. The well-loved Sir John Cheke had died in shame and sorrow. The Queen knighted his son, and made him Secretary to the Council of the North.  When honest John Hales returned from exile, he was restored to his Clerkship of the Hanaper.

Of the Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber, when Sir Thomas Wroth returned from Strassburg he was most graciously received and was in great favor. He lived for many years at Enfield, and was a member of Parliament.[29]

The great Queen's first measures were to restore her brother's legislation, and to adopt his plans. In re-enacting Edward's Act for the Uniformity of Common Prayer and the Administration of the Sacraments it was declared that the repeal by Mary's Parliament was void and of none effect. The repeal, it was further declared, 'caused a great decay of the due honor to God, and discomfort to the truth of Christ's religion.

Sir Nicholas Throgmorton became an eminent statesman and diplomatist, and was for many years in high favor with the Queen. Of the best loved, Sydney and Barnaby, we will speak last.

Of the Secretaries of State, Petre trimmed his sails to the change. Sir William Cecil became Lord Burleigh, the Queen's faithful and most trusted Minister. Sir Thomas Smith was employed on important diplomatic missions.

Master William Thomas, King Edward's good friend and adviser, was not forgotten. Respect was shown to his memory by the reversal of the unjust sentence, and his restoration in blood. Many friends had mourned his untimely and cruel death.

Sir Henry Sydney had been a most faithful and loving friend of the young King. He was son-in-law of Northumberland. Sir Henry became one of the finest examples of an Elizabethan statesman, able, upright, and fearless. He distinguished himself as Lord Deputy of Ireland, where he had opportunities of befriending Barnaby. He was a Knight of the Garter, and survived until 1586.

It is probable that the impetus given to Arctic enterprise by Edward VI was felt down to the time of the voyages of Frobisher. For Sir Martin Frobisher appealed to Sir Henry Sydney to obtain for him the Queen's approval, through Ambrose Dudley Earl of Warwick, his brother-in-law. If Sydney took action, he would have been impelled to do so by the memory of the interest his dear young master took in Arctic discovery.

Barnaby was the best beloved. On the death of Edward he appears to have put himself under the protection of his cousin the Earl of Ormonde. He was a charming lad, and grew up to be an honorable and faithful subject of the great Queen. He returned to Ireland, governing his estates with valor and wisdom. He was a diligent and watchful opponent of the Queen's enemies, defeating and killing Rory O'More among other rebels. His old friend Sir Henry Sydney held him in high estimation, and knighted him in 1566. For some reason Barnaby incurred the enmity of the Earl of Ormonde, who brought charges against him, and he was committed to Dublin Castle. Sir Henry Wallop declared the charges to be false. In 1560 Barnaby had married Jane, daughter of Sir Rowland Eustace, Viscount Baltinglas, and had a daughter Margaret. His wife and daughter appear to have been abducted, and he died of a broken heart in the house of a surgeon named Kelly in Dublin, on September 11, 1581. His only child Margaret married James Lord Dunboyne.  Sydney said of Barnaby: 'He was the most sufficient man that ever I found of that country birth.' He was succeeded in his estates (not as Baron of Upper Ossory) by his brother Florence.

Lord Castletown, the present head of Barnaby's family, still possesses the portrait of Edward VI, given to his ancestor by the King, and seven of Edward’s autograph letters addressed to Barnaby when he was in France.

Here the story ends. It began with the boy and girl, Edward and Elizabeth, loving brother and sister, studying and playing together in their Hertfordshire homes. The boy became King, and in a few years he was struck down with a mortal illness. His death would bring evils on his country, his religion, and his friends, unless by some means they could be averted. He was induced to attempt the avoidance of these calamities even at the price of sacrificing the interests of his sister. But it was not to be. He was spared the knowledge, yet the terrible storm burst over the country, overwhelming all that was dear to him.

His cousin Jane fell a victim with many others. His sister narrowly escaped destruction. In due time the sky cleared. The sun shone once more. The gloom was dispelled; and the great Queen restored her young brother's legislation, carried out his plans, and befriended all the survivors of those who had been dear to him. Elizabeth cherished the memory of the well-remembered companion of her early years.

[1] Cottonian MSS, The Journal was printed by Bishop Burnet in his History of the Reformation, and more recently, in 1857, by J. G. Nichols. Hallam doubted whether Edward wrote it, and Froude thought that Thomas might have written part. Burnet and Nichols had no doubt that Edward wrote the Journal; and, indeed, there is not the slightest ground for any doubt. Edward may have copied notes or memoranda into it, which were furnished to  him from time to time. The Journal consists of sixty-eight leaves folio
[2]The works of William Thomas were his History of Italy, 4to., 1549; his Italian Grammar and  Dictionary for the Better Understanding of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, 4to., 1550; Common Places of State, MS. written for Edward VI.; Of the  Vanity of the World, 8vo., 1549; Translation of Cato's Speech and Valerius's Answer from Dec. IV. of lAoy, 12mo., 1551
[3] The King gave Thomas a special but secret order to prepare for him a note on the coinage. Legend on coins: 'Timor Domini fons  vitse vel sapientise.
[4] The charges for the household for a week in 1549 were £828, or £43,000 a year.  Polydore Virgil took his leave, and went back to Italy in 1551, after forty years in England.
[5] Now in the library at  Lambeth
[6] Mar; issued a misleading proclamation with  regard to a pure standard, which was contradicted by the indenture, which debased the coinage 1 dwt. worse than by the indenture of 6 Edward VI.
[7] Thomas Palmer, of the Palmers of Angmering in Sussex, was a trine.  Both his two brothers attained to some distinction.
[8] Berteville -was at the battle of Musselburgh or Pinkie, and  his narrative of the battle was published by the Bannatyne Club, 1825. We are told of his employment by Somerset to kill the Duke of  Northumberland, by King Edward in his Journal
[9] Simon Renard, the Emperor's Ambassador in Mary's time, told his master that Northumberland had an  interview with Somerset's sons before his execution, and confessed 'Avoir procurfi sa mort a tort et faulsement.' Also that Palmer admitted that  'L'accusation qu'il advancha et maintint centre le feu Protecteur estoit fausse, fabriquee par le diet due et advouee par lui, a la requeste du  diet due.'
[10] The quadrant of Edward VI. was purchased by Sir Augustus Franks, and is now in the British Museum
[11] Luis Sanuto (Geographia, Lib. I. fol. 2) is the authority for Sebastian Cabot having explained the variation of the compass to  Edward VI. His informant was Gianeti. See also Biddle's Sebastian Cabot, p. 177
[12] The King granted £200 to Sebastian Cabot, 'by way of reward, in March 1551 (Strype, Ecel. Mem. II. Ft. ii. p. 217).
[13] Hakluyt tells us that there  was another copy of the Clement Adams map at the Earl of Bedford's house at Chenies, and that there were others in merchants' houses (Hakluyt, I.  xliv.).
[14] Leland came from Lancashire, where he was born in 1506. He was at St. Paul's School and Christ’s, Cambridge; was ordained, and librarian to Henry VIII. In 1537 he composed a Latin poem on the birth of Edward. In 1533 he was appointed the King's antiquary, and made his famous antiquarian tour from 1534 to 1543. In 1542 he became Rector of Haseley. He died in April 1552, and his manuscripts, according to his agreement, became the property of the King, including the Itinerary and the Collectanea (afterwards published by Hearne). Dr. Cheke had charge of them, for the King's library. Choke's son gave them to Humphrey Purefoy, whose son gave them to W. Burton, the historian of Leicestershire. Burton presented them to the Bodleian Library.
[15] There were pilots' sailing directions in those days. There was one manuscript on the subject, written in the fifteenth century, for the circumnavigation of England and the voyage to Gibraltar. It originally belonged to Sir John Paston, but in Edward's time the possessor was Sir Gilbert Dethick. Sir  Gilbert received the appointment of Garter from Edward, who might well have had the use of the MS. or of a copy (Lansdowne MSS. No. 285
[16] Sir Anthony Aucher of Hantsborne, in Kent, was a contractor and ' the King's Victualler.'  Later in the reign Sir Anthony was Marshal of Calais.
[17] On May 6 Dudley reported that the King was  much better
[18] Adams wrote the narrative in Latin, as he received it from Richard Chancellor, as Eden tells us: 'Nova Anglorum ad Muscovites navigatio Hugone Willowbeio equite classis prsefecto, et Richardo Cancelero navarcho.  Auctore Clements Adams, Anglo.' First printed in Hakluyt in 1589, with an English translation. Clement Adams died on January 9, 1589, and was buried at St. Alphege' Church in Greenwich.
[19] Mary, born at Greenwich, February 8, 1516, was then aged thirty-five.
[20] Elizabeth, born September 7, 1533, was then aged seventeen.
[21] This speech of Edward VI was attested as having been made, by the Earl of  Huntingdon who heard it. Huntingdon was then a boy. When aged eighty-four he told it, in 1624, to Sir Thomas Cheke of Pyrgo, who told it to  Fuller
[22] Sir Thomas Wroth's grandson, Sir Robert Wroth, married Sir Henry Sydney's granddaughter Mary, daughter of Robert Sydney  Earl of Leicester.
[23] No doubt both Mary and Elizabeth were bastards by law. It had been enacted that there had been no true marriage between Henry and Catherine, owing to her previous marriage with Henry's brother. Consequently Mary was legally a bastard. It had been enacted that there had been no true marriage between Henry and Anne Boleyn, because she was previously betrothed to the Earl of Northumberland. Consequently Elizabeth was legally a bastard.

[24] The story about a woman undertaking to cure Edward, but refusing to tell the means, and of his having been handed entirely over to her, is absurd on the face of it. The story is told by Hayward, a very untrustworthy authority, without giving any reference. The Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber would not have allowed anything of the kind. The tale about the shocking condition of Edward's body cannot be true. It is the unreliable gossip of a foreign ambassador. Such a state of the body could only be caused by mineral poisons, and Edward was certainly not poisoned. It was matter of life and death to Northumberland that Edward should continue to live and not die. Edward's disease (consumption) would give rise to nothing of the kind.
[25] Of all Simon Renard's fabrications the most  absurd is that Mary wanted to spare Northumberland, but that he prevented it. Of course the story is not corroborated by anyone else. Renard knew that his master desired the execution of Northumberland, and he wanted to have the credit of having gratified that desire, in spite of some  opposition.
[26] His wife died and was buried  at Chelsea in 1554.
[27] Jane has exactly the same right to be reckoned among the sovereigns of England as Edward V. Both were proclaimed by the Council and great officers of State, but neither was acknowledged by Parliament. The cases are identical.
[28] Wyatt, after torture and when hoping for mercy, also accused Mr. Thomas of proposing the Queen's death. He was accusing others to save himself, including the Princess Elizabeth. His evidence in such circumstances is quite worthless, as Strype has pointed out. Wyatt recanted  before he died, certainly as regards Elizabeth, and probably as regards his other accusations extorted under torture.
[29] Fuller dedicated one of the books of his Church History to Sir Henry, a  great-grandson of Sir Thomas Wroth.

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