TudorHistory.org Blog

Questions & Answers Blog

Table of Contents

Copyright, image use
and linking information

Contact information


APPENDIX VII.

THE SECOND INSURRECTION OF THE DUKE OF SUFFOLK.


The flight of the duke of Suffolk is mentioned in p. 37 of the present volume, and his being brought back prisoner to the Tower of London in p. 53. No other record of his trial is known to be extant than that furnished by our chronicle at p. 60; neither are we informed of the object of his second rising against queen Mary, further than that he was induced to listen to some immature schemes, which seem to have contemplated the substitution of the princess Elizabeth (with the earl of Devonshire as her consort) for queen Mary (see Tytler, ii. 384), or at least the prohibition of the queen's proposed match with Philip. A material mistatement of an early historian (bishop Cooper) has helped to cast a doubt and mystery upon this matter. The only particulars known concerning it are as follow:

When the news first arrived in I,ondon that sir Thomas Wyat "was up in Kent," the duke of Sufiolk was resident at his house, late the Carthusian monastery of Sheen, [1] in the parish of Richmond. Surrey. Whatever part he may have undertaken to perform in the conspiracy, he was scarcely prepared to execute it; [2] but, to avoid arrest, he fled hastily to his own estates in Leicestershire and Warwickshire. According to our Chronicle this took place on the 25th of January; a letter of the earl of Shrewsbury states, that it was on friday the 26th: "The duke of Suffolk is on friday stolen from his house at Shene, and run away, with his two brethren, to Leicestershire; for he was met at Stony Stratford. My lord of Huntingdon is gone into those parts after him, with (blank) against him. The duke is proclaimed traitor."[3]

Bishop Cooper asserted in his Chronicle, that the duke during his journey, "in divers places as he went, again proclaimed his daughter, but the people did not greatly incline to him."

This statement is certainly untrue; if the duke had so done, it would have been alleged against him at his trial. His professed object was identical with Wyat's, to oppose the queen's alliance with Spain, and he "made proclamation only to avoid strangers out of the realm." (see p. 60.)

Indeed, the distinct contradiction which Holinshed makes to the report that the duke had again proclaimed his daughter as queen, was evidently directed against bishop Cooper's assertion, [4] though he is not mentioned by name. This contradiction is given both by Holinshed and Stowe, as follows: "Where some have written, that he shoulde at his last going downe into the countrey make proclamation in his daughter's name, that is not so; for whereas he stoode by in Leicester, when by his commaundement the proclamation was there made against the queenes maryage with the prince of Spain, &c. master Damport, [5] then maior of that towne, said to him, 'My lord, I trust your grace meaneth no hurt to the queenes majesty' 'No,' saith he, 'master maior,' laying his hand on his sword, 'he that would her any hurt, I would this sword were through his heart; for she is the mercifullest prince, as I have truly founde her, that ever reigned, in whose defence I am, and will be, readie to die at her foote."

Holinshed correctly says, that the duke, "in the towne of Leycester and other places, [6] caused proclamation to be made in semblable wyse as sir Thomas Wiat had done, against the queenes matche, which she ment to make with the sayd king of Spain, but fewe there were that woulde willingly harken thereto.

"But now ye must understande, that before his comming downe hee was persuaded that the citie of Coventrie woulde be opened unto him, the more part of the citizens being throughly bent in his favour, in so necessarie a quarrell for defence of the realme against straungers as they were then persuaded. But, howsoever it chaunced, this proved not altogither true; for, whether through the misliking whiche the citizens had of the matter, or throughe negligence of some that were sente to sollicite them in the cause, or chiefly, as should seeme to be most true, for that God woulde have it so, when the duke came with sixe or seaven score horsemen well appointed for the purpose, presenting himselfe before the citie, in hope to be receyved, hee was kept oute. For the citizens, through comfort of the earle of Huntingdon that was then come downe, sent by the queene to staye the countries from falling to the duke, and to rayse a power to apprehende him, had put themselves in armor, and made all the provision they coulde to defende the citie againste the sayde duke; whereupon, perceyving himselfe destitute of all such ayde as hee looked for among his frends in the two shires of Leicester and Warwick, he got him to his manour of Astley, distant from Coventrie five myles, where appoynting his companie to disperse themselves, and to make the best shift eche one for his owne safegard that he might, and distributing to everye of them a portion of money, according to their qualities, and his store at that present, hee and the lorde John Grey his brother bestowed themselves in secrete places there within Astley Parke; but throughe the untrustynesse of them to whose trust they did commit themselves, as hath bene credibilye reported, they were bewrayed to the earle of Huntingdon, that then was come to Coventrie, and so apprehended they were by the sayde earle, and afterwardes brought up to London.

"The duke had ment at the first to have rid awaye (as I have credibilye hearde), if promise had been kept by one of his servaunts, appoynted to come to him to bee his guyde; but when he, either feyning himselfe sicke, or being sicke indeede, came not, the duke was constrayned to remayne in the parke there at Astley, hoping yet to get awaye after that the searche had bene passed over, and the countrie once in quiet. Howsoever it was, there he was taken, as before is sayde, togither with his brother the lord John Grey."

Some further traditional particulars of the duke's capture are thus given by Dugdale in the History of Warwickshire: "Finding he was forsaken, he put himself under the trust of one Underwood, as 'tis said, a keeper of his park here at Astley, who hid him some few days in a large hollow tree there, standing about two bow-shoot south-westwards from the church: but, being promised a reward, betray'd him.''

In the MS. annals of Coventry, the two attempts of the dukes of Northumberland and Suffolk upon its loyalty are blended as if they had been immediately in connection:

"1554. The duke of Northumberland sent to have the lady Jane proclaimed; but the mayor, being ruled by Mr. Edward Sanders, the recorder, would not doe it, but having orders speedily proclaimed queen Mary. Then was taken in Coventry great store of armour; and there was a cry that the city was firing in four places, which caused the common bell to be rung, the gates shut, and the walls manned, but there was no hurt. The duke of Suffolk was brought prisoner, and kept in alderman Warren's house," -- where our own chronicle (p. 54) states that he remained for three days.

The following entries occur during the same year in the Accounts of the trading companies of that city. [7]

Drapers' Company. -- "Md. that we have payd for our occupacyon on the xxxj daye of Januarye, when the duke of Suffolk was takyn. Payd for wachynge to the harnys men for vij dayes and viij nyghts, lviijs. vjd."

Carpenters.-- "Payd a man for wachyng v dayes and v nyghts, iiijs. ijd."

Cappers. -- "P'd to iij sowdyers, for iij dayes and iij nyghtes wachyng, iiijs. vjd. P'd to iij men [tha]t wached duryng [th]e tyme of [th]e erle of Huntingdon lyeng hear, xxvjs. vjd. Payd to Wyllyam Sturrop, for ij sheffe of aros, vjs. Rec. of [th]e craft towards pament of the wachement, xxs."

Dyers.-- "P'd for harnessyng ij men for wachyng iij dayes for the quenes besynes, iijs. P'd more for harnessing them iij nyghts, ijs. P'd for preste money, xijd."

Smiths. -- "The dewke of Northehumberland. Item, bowght of John Skelton, smyth, a payer of Allemane ryvetts, lakyng ij taces, and a gorgett, viijs. Item, paid for canves to lyne the gorgett, iijd.; a byll, xxd.; lynyng of iij gorgetts, ijd.; a gyrdell, ijd.; a dossen of poynts, ijd.; a bowe strynge, ob.; to the harnes men at Saynt Mary Halle, vjd.; for iij Scotts cappes, vs.; a gesterne, vs.; a braser and a schotyng glove, viijd.; a payer of spelnths, xxd.; to the harnes men when they went to the Graye Fryer yatt, ijs.; iij harnes men for ther wages, xviijd. The second daye wages, xviijd.; mendynge of a gesterne, viijd.; lether and naylls to mend the harnes, 1d. ob.

"The Duke of Suffolke It'm, p'd for prest money to the harnes men, vijs. vjd.; ilj men wages for iij days and iij nygtts, vijs. vjd.; a man wages, viijd.; iij days and ij nygtts wages, viijs. vjd.; iiij nygtts and iij days wages, vijs.; ij nygtts wages, ijs.; ij dossen poynts, iiijd."

Holinshed continues, -- "but his brother the lord Thomas gotte awaye in deede at that time, meaning to have fledde into Wales, and there to have got to the sea side, so to transport himselfe over into Fraunce, or into some other forren part: but in the borders of Wales he was likewise apprehended, through his great mishappe, and folly of his man, that had forgot his cap case with money behinde in his chamber one morning at his inne, and comming for it again, uppon examination what he shoulde be, it was mistrusted that his master shoulde be some suche man as he was in deede, and so was stayde, taken, and brought up to London, where he suffered."

This unfortunate occurrence seems to have ensued after lord Thomas Grey had lain concealed for about two months. Mr. Robert Swift, in his letter [8] to the earl of Shrewsbury, April 12, 1554, writes that the lord Thomas Grey "was taken goynge towardes Walles, and is cumyng up." A MS. chronicle of Shrewsbury supplies the place where and the person by whom he was apprehended. "The lord Thomas, brother to the ducke of Suffolke, was taken at Oswestrie in Wales by master Rycharde Myttoon of Shrosbery, being then bayliffe; which felle out at leangthe to the sayde master Myttoon's greate hynderance." Upon this the historian of Shrewsbury remarks,-- "what this was does not appear. Mr. Mytton's first wife was daughter to sir Edward Grey of Envile, who, as a kinsman of the fugitive, might be offended with his son-in-law for thus arresting his relation, and might find means, in the disposal of his effects, to signalize his resentment: but the truth of this is only to be known by those who can search into the private papers of this ancient family, if any such remain, of the period in question." [9]

Modern writers are generally content to characterise the duke of Suffolk as a very weak man -- a judgment which his conduct throughout the period embraced in the present volume seems abundantly to justify. His friends had, however, something to allege in his praise; and the following character of him, fuller than was usually bestowed upon great men by the chronicles of his age, appears in the pages of Holinshed, and may appropriately close the present note:

"Suche was the ende of this duke of Suffolke, a man of high nobilitie by byrthe, and of nature to his friendes gentle and courteous, more easie in deede to be led than was thought expedient, of stomacke nevertheless stoute and hardie, hastye and soone kindled, but pacified streight againe, and sorie if in his heate ought had passed him otherwise than reason might seeme to beare; upright and plaine in his private dealing, no dissembler, nor well able to beare injuries, but yet forgiving and forgetting the same, if the partie woulde seeme but to acknowledge his fault, and seke reconcilement. Bountifull hee was and very liberall, somewhat learned himselfe, and a greate favorer of those that were learned, so that to many he showed himself a very Mecaenas; no lesse free from covetousnesse than voide of pride or disdainful hautinesse of mind, more regarding plaine-meaning men than clawback flatterers: and this vertue hee had, he coulde patiently heare his fautes told him, by those whom he had in credit for theire wise dome or faithful meanings towards him, although sometime he had not the hap to reforme himself thereafter. Concerning this last offence for the which he died, it is to be supposed he rather toke in hand that unlawfull enter price through others' perswasion than of his owne motion, for anye malicious ambition in himselfe."

Mr. Lodge might have properly made this character an accompaniment to the excellent portrait of the father of queen Jane, which is engraved in Harding's collection of Illustrious Personages.

Footnotes