The Pilgrims Stories

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The Pilgrims Stories

The 14th Century had The Canterbury Tales, we have The Pilgrims Stories.
About The Canterbury Tales: The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written in Middle English by
Geoffrey Chaucer at the end of the 14th century. The tales (mostly in verse, although some are in prose) are told as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims as they travel together on a journey from Southwark to the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett at Canterbury Cathedral. (source Wikipedia)

At this wiki we are playing "the pilgrimage game". At the moment three pilgrims are heading for Santiago de la Compostela. During the long travel they all three made a story, non-fiction, about a certain character. The results of what they made is absolutely worth sharing and that's what this page is all about. Make yourself a fresh cup of tea or coffee and take the time to enjoy reading what they wrote about the following persons, in alphabetical order:

* Katherine Howard
* Mary Queen of Scotland
* Robert Dudley



I was born in 1521 or perhaps it was later, maybe 1522 or 23. My lady mother and my father had so many children they didn’t keep records. My father was a Howard; Edmund was his name, and he was a younger brother of my uncle, the great Duke of Norfolk. We were poor, since all the wealth and lands in the family went to my Uncle Thomas and very little to us, even though Mama and Papa had more children than he did. In 1531 Papa went to Calais to work and I was sent off to Lambeth to live with my Grandmamma, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk.

The Pilgrims Stories - The Tudors WikiMy years at Lambeth

My grandmother, Agnes Tilney, was born many years before His Majesty came to the throne and she was in truth my step grandmother. She was pretty when she was young, but when I went to live with her she was old and wrinkled, being at least fifty years in age. Lambeth was a large household, with many girls from noble but poor families and many servants. I had a lovely time there, mainly because Grandmamma was much at court and we were mostly left to ourselves.

Music Master Mannox
I did not study much in the way of reading or writing, but I did study music, for Grandmamma engaged a handsome music tutor, Master Mannox, to teach us all the virginals and to play upon other instruments as well. All the girls liked him but Master Mannox liked me the best. He kissed me often and cupped my budding bosom whilst I sat upon his knees as we practiced our music lesson. I giggled and squealed when we were together, sometimes returning his kisses and sometimes allowing him to chase me up and down the gallery. I did not learn much in the way of music, but I learned what a man likes in a girl. Master Mannox made my days more interesting, not to mention the music lessons, but I was not desirous to do what he truly wanted from me, you know, that secret thing husbands and wives do. He was handsome, but I wanted to wait for a better man. This made him angry but I couldn’t help that.

What husbands and wives do
Soon a better man did appear at Lambeth. His name was Francis Dereham and he was much handsomer than Master Mannox.
It was not long before Francis became my suitor. We girls shared a large dormitory and several of the girls had suitors as well. Whilst the rest of the household was asleep, we oftentimes invited our gentlemen to visit us there. They brought wondrous fare for us to dine upon and much wine to drink. Francis looked exceedingly handsome in his shirt and doublet and my head grew lighter and lighter as I drank the wine and we danced and ate and laughed. He climbed into bed with me, first on top of the covers in his hose and doublet, then under the cover without hose and doublet. At first I shivered in fright at such closeness with a man so much older than me, but I soon found that I liked it much. I called him husband and he called me wife; after all we were doing what husbands and wives do.

The handsomest man I had ever seen
The fun came to an end when Master Mannox, ( yes, he was still in the household) informed my Grandmamma, in a fit of temper, of the goings on in our dormitory. Francis fled to Ireland and I was called to Grandmamma’s room and whipped. I took solace in that Francis promised to come back and we would be married but I missed him terribly.
Life was now sad at Lambeth but I only had to endure my sadness a short while because soon I was sent to stay with my Uncle Thomas near court. There I met the handsomest man I had ever seen. His name was Thomas Culpepper and he was a cousin of Mama, whose name was Joyce Culpepper before she married Papa. He was so very beautiful and when he looked at me and smiled my heart beat so fast and my knees became so weak I could hardly stand it. He was a member of the King’s Privy Chamber, which means he sees the King all the time and talks with him and knows him well. I found I would soon be seeing him regularly at court, because Uncle Thomas managed to obtain for me a position in the new Queen’s household. It was cold when I moved to court…His Majesty married the lady Anne of Cleves on January 6th 1540, but the excitement of my new life and the heat burning inside me when Thomas looked at me kept me warm.

He couldn't take his eyes off of me
Soon, however, I was shocked to learn that another set of eyes were upon me, and of all people they belonged to the King himself! In spite of being a newlywed husband to Queen Anne, it seems the King had other interests than his new wife. Uncle Thomas told me that the King was not happy with his marriage and that he wanted to end it. He also told me that if I was a very good girl I would possibly be Queen of England, as the King had made it known that he found me beautiful. This frightened me a good deal…me Queen of England? But when I thought of all the dresses I would have and all the jewels and all the admiration from everyone at court I started to warm to the notion.

Becoming the Queen
And so it happened that His Majesty divorced Queen Anne. She was a nice lady but they just didn’t suit one another very well. Time went by in a whirlwind and before I knew it, it was summertime and I was married to the King. That meant I was Queen.
Now I loved being queen but there was one problem. The King was old and fat and smelly from this awful sore on his leg. He may have been handsome when he was young but he was no longer. I managed as best I could, especially during the night when I just closed my eyes and gritted my teeth. He wanted me to become pregnant but I know a little bit about these things and what he managed to do I did not think would make a baby.

My loved one

At dances and in the evenings I would catch Thomas’s eye whenever I could and he would wink and I would blush and that sort of fun made my life very exciting. My heart would throb whenever we exchanged words. His hand would brush my fingers when he handed me a note from His Majesty. Soon I realized I was in love and it was not with my husband the King.
The heat inside me built up, and when the King decided to go on progress up through Lincoln and York I started to think of ways I could possibly meet Thomas secretly, since he would be traveling too. I didn’t really know how to manage this but my lady in waiting, Jane Rochford came to my rescue. Somehow she knew what was going on and she offered to bring Thomas by the back stairs to my chamber when the King was asleep. She had it all worked out. All I had to do was make myself beautiful and be ready to receive him. This I managed very well, as he was surely the handsomest man I had ever known.
And so my beautiful Thomas and I spent many nights together, aided by Lady Rochford, doing what Francis and I had done before but now with no other girls in the room. I didn’t care about anything except to see Thomas, to please him and to feel him inside me. No one but us three knew and life could not be better.

The past that spoilt my futurethis is how Katherines life ended
Then the day arrived that marked the beginning of my end. Who in the world would come and ask for a position in my household but Francis!!! The years had not been kind, His face was harder and rougher but what he lost in beauty he made up for in swagger. I could not deny him the position and in return he boasted and huffed and puffed about how well he had known me before I was married to the King! I was appalled. Then things really came crashing down: the brother of one of the girls at Lambeth told my Lord Archbishop Cranmer about the nightly revels we used to have. Mary Lacselles, that cow who never had a suitor, told her brother John who told the Archbishop!! The Archbishop couldn’t bear to tell His Majesty to his face and so my downfall came in a note!!
Dereham was arrested and under torture confessed to knowing me as wife before my marriage. That might not have harmed me, as I was but a silly young girl then. But he also named my Thomas as my current lover, accusing me of adultery against the King.

And it all ended in tears ....
My handsome Thomas was arrested and I was taken to Syon in November 1541. I had been queen 15 months and now it was all over. Both Frances and my Thomas were executed on December 10th, Francis suffering the more horrible traitor’s death and my Thomas losing his head.
It is now February 12 and I sit here in this dreary room at the Tower, telling you my story. I am to die tomorrow. I have lost everything now…my position as Queen, my husband the King and most of all my Thomas. Why should I live? I wish to make a graceful end of it, though, and have asked for the block to be brought to me so that I might practice laying my head upon it. It will be my last act and I want to do well. I hear the keys at the door..they must be bringing it. I am afraid you must excuse me now. It is time for you to go.


by Ravenhair

The Pilgrims Stories - The Tudors Wiki
Her mother was Mary of Guise (Mary of Lorraine) and her father was James V of Scotland, each in their second marriage. Mary was born on December 8, 1542, and her father James died on December 14, so the infant Mary became Queen of Scotland when she was just a week old. James Hamilton, The Duke of Arran, was made regent for Mary, Queen of Scots, and he arranged her first betrothal with prince Edward, the son of Henry VIII, of England. But Mary's mother, Mary of Guise, was in favor of an alliance with France instead of England, and she worked to overturn this betrothal and instead arranged for her sweet ,beautiful daughter Mary, to be promised in marriage to France's Dauphin, Francis. The young Mary, Queen of Scotland, only six years old, was sent to France in 1548 to be raised as the future Queen of France. Mary married Francis in 1558, and in July 1559, when his father Henri II died, Francis II became King and Mary became Queen Consort of France.

The Pilgrims Stories - The Tudors Wiki

Mary's family and her return to Scotland
Mary, Queen of Scots, also known as Mary Stuart , she took the French spelling rather than the Scottish Stewart, was the granddaughter of Margaret Tudor. Margaret was the older sister of King Henry VIII of England. In the view of many Catholics, the divorce of Henry VIII from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and his marriage to Anne Boleyn were invalid, and the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth, was therefore illegitimate. Mary, Queen of Scots, in their eyes, was the rightful heir after Mary I ,of England, in the line of succession ,Henry VIII's daughter by his first wife.
When Queen Mary I died in 1558, without leaving an heir , Mary, Queen of Scots, and her husband Francis asserted their right to the English crown, but the English recognized Elizabeth as the heir. Elizabeth, a Protestant, supported the Protestant reformation in Scotland as well as in England. Mary Stuart's time as Queen of France was very short. When Francis died, his mother Catherine de Medici assumed the role of regent for his brother, Charles IX. Mary's mother's family, the Guise relatives, had lost their power and influence, and so Mary Stuart returned to Scotland, where she could rule in her own right as Queen of her native country.

Catholic versus Protestant
In 1560, when Mary's mother “Mary of Guise“ died, in the middle of a civil war she stirred up by attempting to suppress the Protestants, including John Knox , the Catholic and Protestant nobles of Scotland signed a treaty recognizing Elizabeth's right to rule in England. But Mary Stuart, returning to Scotland, managed to avoid signing or endorsing either the treaty or recognition of her cousin Elizabeth I,who by now was Queen of England. Mary, Queen of Scots, was herself a Catholic, and insisted on her freedom to practice her religion. But she did not interfere with Protestantism's role in Scottish life, she believed that each person had the right to worship God in their own right. John Knox, a powerful Presbyterian during Mary's rule, nevertheless denounced her power and influence.

Longing for the English throne
Mary, Queen of Scots, held on to hopes of claiming the English throne which she considered hers by right of birth. She turned down Elizabeth's suggestion that she marry Lord Robert Dudley, Elizabeth's favorite, and be recognized as Elizabeth's heir. Instead, in 1565 she married her first cousin, Lord Darnley, in a Roman Catholic ceremony. Some believed Mary thought that this would indeed put her even closer to the English throne.
Mary, Queen of Scots, was at first charmed by Darnley, and seemed to love him very much their relationship soon became strained. Already pregnant by Darnley, Mary, Queen of Scots, began to place trust and friendship in her Italian secretary, David Rizzio, who in turn treated Darnley and the other Scottish nobles with contempt.
The Pilgrims Stories - The Tudors Wiki
A dear friend is murdered
On March 9, 1566, Darnley and other prominent nobles murdered Rizzio, planning that Darnley would put Mary Stuart in prison and rule in her place. Many believed that Mary's match with Darnley was impetuous and unwise. Lord James Stuart, the earl of Moray, who was Mary's half brother (his mother was King James' mistress), opposed Mary's marriage to Darnley. Mary personally led troops in the "chase-about raid," chasing Moray and his supporters to England, outlawing them and seizing their estates. But Mary outwitted the plotters, and she convinced Darnley of her commitment to him, and together they escaped. James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who had supported her mother in her battles with the Scottish nobles, provided two thousand soldiers, and Mary took Edinburgh from the rebels. Darnley tried to deny his role in the rebellion, but the others produced a paper that he had signed promising to restore Moray and his fellow exiles to their lands when the murder was complete.

James, a new life
Three months after Rizzio's murder, James, the son of Darnley and Mary Stuart was born. Mary pardoned the exiles and allowed them to return to Scotland. Darnley, motivated by Mary's split from him and by his expectations that the exiled nobles would hold his denial against him, threatened to create a scandal and leave Scotland. Some say by this time ,Mary, Queen of Scots, was apparently in love with Bothwell. According to some historians this is how the plot went forth : “Mary Stuart tried to see her way out of this doomed marriage in many different ways and tried many different ways to escape from it. Bothwell and the nobles assured her that they would find a way for her to do so. Months later, on February 10, 1567, Darnley was staying at a house in Edinburgh, it is said that he could have been recovering from possibly smallpox.
The Pilgrims Stories - The Tudors Wiki

An ex-lover dies
He awakened to an explosion and fire, the bodies of Darnley and his page were found in the garden of the house, strangled to death. The public blamed Bothwell for the death of Darnley. Bothwell faced charges at a private trial where no witnesses were called. He told others that Mary had agreed to marry him, and he got the other nobles to sign a paper asking her to do so.But immediate marriage would violate any number of etiquette and legal rules. Bothwell was already married, and Mary would be expected to formally mourn her husband Darnley, for a few months at least. Because of her fragile alliance with England ,she heeded the advice,but to no avail.

A new marriage and the Casket Letters
Now for the Kidnapping Plot :
Then Bothwell was suppose to have kidnapped Mary, many suspected with her cooperation. His wife divorced him for infidelity. Mary Stuart announced that, despite her kidnapping, she trusted Bothwell's loyalty and would agree with the nobles who urged her to marry him. Under threat of being hanged, a minister published the banns, and Bothwell and Mary were married on Mary 15, 1567.
Mary, Queen of Scots, subsequently attempted to give Bothwell more authority, but this was met with angry and outrage. Letters ,known to be the “Casket Letters “ , whose authenticity is questioned by some historians, were found tying Mary and Bothwell to Darnley's murder.
The Pilgrims Stories - The Tudors Wiki
Fleeing to England to never return
Mary abdicated the throne of Scotland, making her year-old son James VI, King of Scotland. Moray was appointed regent. Mary Stuart later repudiated the abdication and attempted to regain her power by force, but in May, 1568, her forces were defeated. She was forced to flee to England, where she asked her cousin Elizabeth for vindication.
Elizabeth deftly dealt with the charges against Mary and Moray: she found Mary not guilty of murder and Moray not guilty of treason. She recognized Moray's regency and she did not allow Mary Stuart to leave England.
For nearly twenty years, Mary, Queen of Scots, remained in England.
Three separate conspiracies were launched, discovered and squelched. In 1586, Mary, Queen of Scots, was brought to trial on charges of treason in Fotheringay castle. She was found guilty and, three months later, Elizabeth signed the death warrant.Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed on February 8, 1587, facing death with the charm, determination and courage which she had brought to the rest of her life.

It was all to me ,very sad,that it indeed had to come to that fate.These two Great Queens,were couisins by blood,almost sisters by fate and life and politics made them enemies.They were both Great queens in their own right,both were beautiful and very intelligent.Both were commited to their religious beliefs and I truly believe that Elizabeth did everything in her power to spare her couisin the fate of death.For 20 years,she kept her in prisioned, knowing full well at any time she could have taken her life,and for all the threats and plots against her,she may have been justified in doing so.She even made Mary’s Son ( some say she made herself his godmother ) which she did not have to do, her heir to the English throne. No one can justifiy the taking of a life,but I believe that Elizabeth was regrettful and sorry for what she had to do.She took the life of another annointed Queen,who was not only her couisin,but her blood as well.In blood,they were made couisins , fate almost made them sisters, and life swore them enemies.
A sad fate for two great women,whose lives could have been so much better for them, maybe even friendship and love could have replaced what life destroyed.


ROBERT DUDLEY by royalfalcon

Starting with a brief summary of the Tudor Dynasty.
The Tudor Dynasty ruled England from 1485 until 1603. The family was of Welsh origin. Their founder was Henry Tudor a descendant through his mother (a formidable lady called Margaret Beaufort) of the legitimized House of Lancaster. Before Henry came to the throne the Country had been at war and battles had been fought between two rival branches of the House of Plantagenet
- York and Lancaster. York took the white rose as it's emblem and Lancaster adopted the red rose for it's emblem. The battles were known as The Wars of the Roses. Henry Tudor had spent many years in exile in Brittany. He landed in Wales with a small army of French soldiers and made his way to Bosworth
There against the odds he won a famous victory over Richard III and was crowned King Henry VII. He married Elizabeth of York who was the daughter of Edward 1V thus uniting the warring factions of Lancaster and York.

Waddesdon portrait of Robert DudleyThe Dudley family
The person I am focusing on is Robert Dudley, he was a member of a family who had a strong presence throughout the whole of the reign of the Tudor dynasty. Also as neither Robert or his brothers left a legitimate heir, their line died out at about the same time as the House of Tudor. Also like the Tudors the Dudleys had their fair share of triumph and adversity. Robert's grandfather was Edmond Dudley, he was a former Speaker in the House of Commons. He was a Financial Agent for Henry VII. When Henry's son Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509, Edmond and his partner Richard Empson were both thrown in The Tower charged with Treason and executed. It was widely thought that they were just scapegoats for some of Henry VII's more unpopular policies.

Career of John Dudley, father of Robert
Roberts father John held many important posts in the reign of Henry VIII amongst them the post of Lord Admiral.
Career of John DudleyAnother position that John held albeit briefly was that of Master of the Horse to Anne of Cleves. This was not held long for obvious reasons!! John Dudley was regarded as one of the best soldiers of his day. King Henry valued him and elevated him.. He was named in Henry's will as one of the council of 16 who were appointed to govern whilst Edward was in his minority. During the latter part of Edward's reign he became the most powerful man in the Country. However, it all went wrong for him when Edward died.

John Dudley's downfall
The Young King had not wanted his two sisters
to succeed him and he signed a device that stated that Lady Jane Grey and her heirs male should succeed to the throne. John Dudley backed Lady Jane Grey and it has to be said that he would have seen political advantage if she had become Queen as she was married to his young son Guildford Dudley.
However, the device was signed quite cleary in Edwards name and it is known that he was a young man with very strong ideas that would not easily be swayed from a path once he had set his mind to it.
The people would not accept Lady Jane and felt that Mary as Henry's eldest daughter was the rightful heir to the throne. John Dudley was found guilty of treason - judged by a jury that had almost all also pledged aliegiance to Lady Jane Grey. Dudley was executed on the 22nd August 1553. The Venetian Ambassador's assessment after Dudley's execution was "The friends of England must lament the loss of all his qualities with that exception (his last rashness)".

The Queen and "one of the most handsome men in the Country"

Robert had been imprisoned along with his brothers ( his younger brother Guildford was executed in February 1554 the same day as his wife Jane). Robert was still incarcerated when the Tower took in a very important prisoner. the young Princess Elizabeth. She had been brought there because it was suspected that she was involved in the Wyatt rebellion.
It is not known for certain that Robert and Elizabeth met whilst they were both prisoners in the Tower although it is certainly possible. What is known is that when Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen she immediately named him her Master of the Horse.- they would both go riding for hours together - they must have made a striking pair, her with her red hair flowing and he a typical knight in shining armour - he was widely regarded as one of the most handsome men in the Country. The Council l were much annoyed that he took her away from her official paperwork. Elizabeth also chose him to organize her Coronation. There was much talk at Court about the amount of time they spent together, but in the early days of their relationship it would have been impossible for either of them to even consider marriage because Robert was married already.

Rumours about a possible murder
He had married Amy Robsart the daughter of a wealthy Norfolk landowner when he was just eighteen years of age. Elizabeth had even attended his wedding and so also had Edward. Amy had been given permission to visit Robert when he was a prisoner in the Tower, although once Robert was at Court she saw very little of him. In 1560 Amy was to die in suspicious circumstances - falling down a small flight of stairs and breaking her neck. . There were many rumours as to what could have happened. There was talk that Amy might have committed suicide because she was depressed on hearing of her husband's relationship with the Queen. There was also talk that she had breast cancer and that had made her bones brittle . It was even said that Robert had murdered Amy, although this was extremely unlikely as he was an intelligent man and would have knwon that the finger of suspicion would have pointed at him... It also would not have improved his chances of marrying Elizabeth. A verdict of misadventure was brought, but the rumours continued.. Although the couple seemed as close as ever.

Lord Leycester Hospitalthe Queen's favourite
In 1562 Elizabeth contracted smallpox whilst staying at Hampton Court Palace. It was feared that she might die. Whilst in extremis she had requested that in the event of her death Robert should be made Protector of the realm. There would have been many who would not have accepted this and fortunately Elizabeth made a full recovery. But what is telling is that even when she was seriously ill she had thought of him and tried to protect giving him a position of authority. A favourite is never popular with many people at court because of the favours he receives from the sovereign. It was also noted that Robert was quite familiar with the Queen and she with him. Once whilst he was playing a game of tennis he took a napkin from the Queen's lap and wiped his face with it. His tennis partner the Duke of Norfolk was outraged and when he was made Earl of Leicester and given his chain of office Elizabeth could not resist tickling the back of his neck.

Patronage and Founding of The Lord Leycester Hospital
Robert Dudley was a patron of many diverse interests - along with his elder brother Ambose, he was a principal patron of Martin Frobisher's 1576 search for the North West Passage., he was also a principal backer of Sir Francis Drake's Circumnavigation of the World. He had a major interest in the Theatre and had his own company of players known as The Earl of Leicester's Men. The famous Tudor actor James Burbridge was a member. Also his interest in literature was well known he had around one hundred books dedicated to him. He was also instrumental in founding the official Oxford University Press.
In 1571 under Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth I he founded a hospital in Warwick (photo above) for aged and injured soldiers and their wives.

Elisabethan Gardens at KenilworthPutting the gardeners to work all night

It is unlikely that Elizabeth would have ever married Robert , or indeed have married anybody. She was married to her Country. Ironically, it was Robert she had told when she was a little girl that she would never marry. Perhaps it was her father's many tragic marriages and especially remembering the fate of her own mother Anne Boleyn that had firmly put her off marriage. Robert had asked her a few times and been rejected. He gave it one last throw of the dice in 1575 when Elizabeth visited him at his home at Kenilworth on her summer progress. It was to be the party of the century and it almost financially crippled Robert. The entertainment that was provided was lavish and talked about for years. It is even thought that William Shakespeare could have based his play A Midsummer Night's Dream on the activities.
There was even a story that Elizabeth had complained that she could not see the gardens from her bedroom window. Robert on hearing this had instructed his gardeners to work all night creating a garden. When Elizabeth awoke the next morning there was her beautiful garden (photo above) - she must have been speechless! Sadly inspite of Robert's best efforts she still refused to marry him.

"His Last Letter"
He married once more in 1578 to Lettice Knollys - she was a grandniece of Anne Boleyn's. Elizabeth was furious, but she soon forgave him.
In 1588 he was by her side at Tilbury when she made her famous speech before the battle against The Spanish Armada and she referred to him "never Prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject". Shortly after that famous victory Robert died. He had travelled to Buxton to take the waters and had written a letter to Elizabeth - there was nothing remarkable about the letter what was remarkable was the fact that Elizabeth kept it and wrote on it "His Last Letter" she had then placed it in a drawer by her bedside. It was still there fifteen years later when she died.
Although this has been a story mainly about Robert it is also about his remarkable family. who survived utter degradation not once, but twice and rose to the summit of power like a phoenix rising from the ashes.

As an interesting footnote. Many of you know that I am a volunteer for Historic Royal Palaces. One of the places I really enjoy working at in the spring and summer is Kew Palace within the famous Botanical Gadens. For many years the Palace was a home that belonged to King George III and his family. The palace is thought to be built on the foundations of a Tudor home that would have belonged to a courtier of note. There has been some speculation, but it is thought very likely that it would have been the home of,
none other than Robert Dudley!