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Thomas Culpepper as played by Torrance Coombs
| Born c.1514 - Executed December 10th, 1541 by order of King Henry VIII |
Character's backstory: Thomas first found his way to the royal court under the patronage of Arthur, Viscount Lisle, the Lord Deputy of the English settlement at Calais, around the year 1535 during Anne Boleyn's time but only came to prominence after 1537. He advanced quickly in the king’s affections. He was distantly related to the Howard family. He became a great favourite of King Henry VIII and one of his most trusted attendants. He was part of the group of privileged dignitaries who greeted Henry's German bride Anne of Cleves.
Culpepper was certainly aggressive in seeking a relationship with the new queen Katherine Howard and the two were meeting secretly in 1541, including during the Northern Progress. In October of that year, Katherine’s pre-marital liaisons with two men had come to the attention of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, through John Lascelles brother of Mary Hall who had served at Lambeth for Agnes Tilney, dowager Duchess of Norfolk, who then informed Henry VIII. The Council then interrogated several of Katherine's maids (Joan Bulmer etc) and a former lover Francis Dereham.
Ambassador Marillac heard that 'Dereham to show his innocence [under torture most likely] said that Culpepper had succeeded him in the Queen's affections'.
Culpepper tried to save himself by arguing that he had met with Katherine only because the young queen was 'dying of love for him', and would not let him end the relationship. She argued otherwise and told her interrogators that Culpepper ceaselessly begged for a meeting and she was too fearful to refuse*. The queen later confessed to meeting with Culpepper, although exactly what transpired during the meetings is debated by historians. There is no conclusive proof that the two had sexual relations, but the secrecy which surrounded their meetings and the intention to deceive the king was more than enough to warrant a charge of treason.
Culpepper was convicted for treason on 1 December and beheaded at Tyburn on 10 December.
*See Also : Katherine Howard Controversies
for more on the possibility of Culpepper's sexual harassment of the young queen.
Gentility:From a noble family - connected to the Howards
Position: Page, becoming a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber in 1537, keeper of the king’s armour in 1538, and keeper of the royal manor of Penshurst Place, Kent, the following year.
Personality type: He was known as a particularly unpleasant individual. Arrogant, selfish, cruel and conceited.
"...a handsome, delinquent boy and a favourite of men and women alike. ...he had a queue of female admirers. But with Katherine , it seems it was different. She was his female equivalent and there was an instant, powerful attraction between them. Soon it was rumoured they would marry. But there were quarrels and they drifted apart. 'If you heard such a report ', Katherine dismissively assured a former admirer, 'you heard more than I do know'." ~ David Starkey Six Wives
Signature look: He was described as a "beautiful youth"
Culpepper confessed that he
“ intended and meant to do ill
with the queen and that in like wise
the queen so minded to do with him.”
Father: Sir Alexander Culpeper of Bedgebury & Hardreshull c.1470 - 1541
Mother: Constantia Chamberlayn; c.1470 - 1542
Brother: John Culpeper of St. Stephens; c.1495 - Unknown
Sister: Catherine Culpeper; c.1496 - Unknown
Sister: Elizabeth Culpeper; c.1497 - Unknown
Sister: Johanna Culpeper; c.1498 - Unknown
Sister: Margaret Culpeper; c.1499 - Unknown
Sister: Anne Culpeper; c.1500 - Unknown
Brother: Sir Thomas Culpeper of Bedgebury; c.1501 - 13 May 1558
Step-Sister: Alice Culpeper; c.1491 - Unknown (Daughter from previous marriage to Agnes Davy
Trivia : Thomas Culpepper and Katherine Howard were 6th cousins once removed - Culpepper/Howard genealogy
Queen Katherine Howard (1541)
UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTER QUOTES
DEFINING EPISODES | MEMORABLE SCENES
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Latest page update: made by Neta07
, Jan 31 2012, 3:47 PM EST
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Keyword tags: Allan Leech Francis Dereham Jane Boleyn Jane Rochford Joanne King katherine howard showtime the tudors Tamzin Merchant the tudors thomas culpepper Torrance Coombs tudors characters
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