Francis Dereham as played by Allen Leech
| born ? - executed 10 December 1541 by order of King Henry VIII |
Francis Dereham, a young gentleman of birth and substance, was one of the Duke of Norfolk's gentlemen-pensioners ( a liveried retainer). He was young, handsome, and well-bred, and Katherine Howard fell before his manifest charms. Exactly when Dereham began to haunt the Dowager's Lambeth residence is not recorded. He was merely one of the many young gallants who were attracted to the maidens chamber , and at first his attentions were directed not towards Katherine but to Joan Bulmer ... The maidens generally retired early, while their admirers, loaded with delicacies left over from banqueting in the great hall below stairs, would insinuate themselves into the communal bedchamber. 'Wine, strawberries, apples, and other things to make good cheer' were served at these midnight sessions ...
Later, when the more intimate details of their relationship be came public knowledge, one witness confessed that Mistress Katherine was so far in love that they...would 'kiss and hang by their bellies together as they were two sparrows'....That Katherine became Dereham's paramour is indisputable, but it is far from clear how long the alliance lasted.
The parting of the two lovers came in the autumn of 1539 when the Duke of Norfolk's influence finally arranged an opening at court for Katherine as one of the maids-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves.
" On 27 August , while the court was still in Pontefract, the net tightened around Katherine still further when her former love, Francis Dereham came to her seeking employment, with a recommendation from the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. Perhaps bowing to blackmail, the Queen made him her private secretary and usher of her chamber, but he proved a liability because he was prone to boasting arrogantly that, if the King died he was certain that Katherine would marry him. He also hinted at favours she had already granted him and aroused Culpepper's jealousy. Dereham had a violent temper: he attacked another gentleman usher, John Fell, who had objected to his remaining seated at a table after the Queen's Council had risen, and laid him out. It was fortunate for Dereham that this escaped the attention of his superiors. However, it would not be long before he was in more serious trouble than he could ever have imagined.
[When] Dereham was taken to the Tower , [he] would admit only that he and Katherine had been pre-contracted. Since a precontract was as binding as a marriage, and could be annulled only by an ecclesiastical court, this would render Katherine's marriage to King invalid.
Katherine might have escaped the fate awaiting her had she admitted to the precontract, but in a futile attempt to save herself, she denied that one had ever existed, although she confessed that she had had intercourse on many occasions with Dereham....When Dereham was questioned,... he denied it, asserting Thomas Culpepper " had succeeded him in the Queen's affections". ~ Alison Weir's Henry VIII : The King and his court.
Signature look: Young and handsome
"…Francis Dereham by many persuasions procured me to his vicious purpose, and obtained first to lie upon my bed with his doublet and hose, and after within the bed, and finally he lay with me naked, and used me in such sort as a man doth his wife, many and sundry times, and our company ended almost a year before the King's Majesty was married to my Lady Anne of Cleves and continued not past one quarter of a year… Now the whole truth being declared unto your majesty, I most humbly beseech the same to consider the subtle persuasions of young men, and the ignorance and frailness of young women." ~ Katherine Howard's own words in her confessional letter to the King (7 November 1541)
Romance(s): Katherine Howard (before she married the king)
Joan Bulmer? (it was rumored that she was involved with him before Katherine)
UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTER QUOTES
DEFINING EPISODES | MEMORABLE SCENES
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