Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Striking Gentlemen

The Tudor age was filled with great lords who constantly watched over their rivals. But sometimes even the most sofisticated men of England turns to more "medieval" ways.
The Privy Counsil's members were appointed by the King and thus a seat on the council was a great honour. An honour that - according the Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey - should not befall those without the right ancestry. Henry Howard was immensely proud of his aristocratic roots and firmly believed that "lesser men" such as Edward and Thomas Seymour were not worthy of such an honour because they had merely been admitted to the King's inner circle due to the King's marriage to their sister.

Edward Seymour

In 1537 records show that Henry Howard had been arrested and imprisoned at Windsor for striking Edward Seymour! The incident took place at the royal residence of Hampton Court Palace and there were strict rules as to what was allowed; an violence in this manner - and between gentlemen - was certainly not allowed. The penalty was severe for the punishment and were it not for Thomas Cromwell's intereference, Henry Howard would have lost his right hand! This would have made a military career impossible which was one of the things that Henry wanted the most.

But, apparently, Edward Seymour was proud as well and determined not to be spoken against. His power grew steadily - especially after the death of Jane Seymour - and in 1546 the episode happened again. This time it was Edward Seymour who hit Bishop Gardiner in the face during a meeting of the Privy Council! Bishop Gardiner was a part of the staunch opposition to the Protestant Seymours and that had eventually resulted in yet another public outbreak amongst the greatest men in England.

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