I would live your servant still
And you my Saint unnamed
—Thomas Campion, Second Book of Ayres [London, 1612], XVIII

1The last chapter examined the ways in which Mary and Elizabeth exploited display as a resource of the princely household to enhance their political status. Display also was a hallmark of court culture. Scholars have long employed the term "court culture" to describe the habits of dialogue and ceremonial exchange that distinguished Renaissance courts throughout Europe.1 The cultures that existed in the households of Mary and Elizabeth Tudor bore many similarities to those of Continental courts. The courtly pastimes of poetry, lively conversation, and platonic romance that feature in the classic articulation of court culture, Castiglione's Il Cortegiano (1528) were popular diversions in the preaccession households of the two princesses. Although these were not based in urban areas as were the royal courts, their household accounts indicate that the princesses drew on city resources, such as booksellers, to furnish the basic elements of their domestic court cultures.

2This chapter focuses on the divergent cultures that characterized the households of the princesses. An artistic and practical courtly culture of reverence existed in Mary's household. The princess overawed her staff but also evinced a strong sense of noblesse oblige toward her servants. The culture exhibited by Elizabeth's household was quite different, the staff treating their young mistress with parental affection. Her household created a Protestant, erudite, and—somewhat paradoxically—Italianate court culture, whose existence was not dependent on the princess. Elizabeth was the product of this domestic culture rather than its creator.

3The surviving household accounts, state documents, and literary representations reveal a network of mutual obligations and a sense of corporate identity determining the nature of daily interaction between each princess and her staff. The relationship between householder and live-in servant could be one of close familiarity. Senior officers, especially Privy Chamber servants, were constant companions of the householder, serving them at meal times, dressing them, and functioning as companions and personal assistants.2 This relationship of loyalty and obligation between princess and servant was initiated by the oath of service undertaken by each servant, resident and non-resident alike. Both Mary and Elizabeth understood the responsibilities implied in accepting people into their service. The following discussion shows that these domestic relationships were not only social but also political, this latter dimension of service and lordship defining the relationship between princess and servant while also setting the tone for the culture of the household—and on occasion, of far-reaching significance, as servants privileged loyalty to their mistress or to her household culture over and above loyalty to their sovereign.


The Household Covenant: Service and Governance

4Those who worked in Mary's and Elizabeth's households were not simply contract employees, but bound as members of a quasi-sacred corporation to serve and obey the head of household. This bond manifested itself in the ceremonial taking of an oath by which the servant entered a relationship of mutual obligation with the head of household; beginning in late medieval times, this relationship was known as the conventio.3 The household oath was the formal invocation of the conventio. The servant was obliged by the oath to render honest service to the householder, being strictly enjoined never to steal any goods of the household, nor to disrupt its "politique order."4 By accepting the oath, the head of household was obliged in turn to behave as a 'good lord' or mistress to the servant.

5The oath was usually little more than a straightforward promise to serve the head of household faithfully, together with an undertaking that the oath was undertaken honestly. The oath was witnessed by one or more senior staff members, or might in some case be taken before the entire household.5 Servants remained in the household for varying lengths of time, depending on their skills and positions; these ranged from temporary laborers who might be taken into service and released from it according to short-term need, all the way up to Privy Chamber servants who spent much of their lives in service in one household. Long-term service was a special feature of royal households, as such positions were highly coveted, and therefore very seldom relinquished once obtained. Both Mary and Elizabeth retained individuals who served in their Privy Chambers throughout much of the period covered in this study.6 For example, Beatrice ap Rice joined Mary's household in 1519 and continued to serve, along with her family, up to and after Mary's accession in 1553. Katherine Champernon joined Elizabeth's household in 1536 and served up to and after Elizabeth's accession in 1558 (excepting only those periods of Mary I's reign during which she was imprisoned). This was in keeping with late medieval practice in elite and royal households in which senior staff often served for many years. At the turn of the seventeenth century, it became more usual for servants to serve out seven year contracts.7

6Although there are no accounts of either princess receiving the oath from a kneeling servant offering his hands—as medieval knights did when offering feudal service to their lords—this household oath was, nevertheless, an echo of feudal ideals of service and obligation.8 Servants undertook not simply to perform their "offices" competently and honestly, but also to hold themselves personally bound to obey the householder in all things. The servant was literally "subject" to the householder's authority just as subjects were under the authority of the crown.

7The household oath's power to create political allegiance to the householder even before the crown can be seen in an incident related by John Foxe in the 1570 edition of Book of Martyrs. Foxe wrote of a certain Laurence Sherrif, a grocer who supplied Princess Elizabeth's household, becoming involved in a fist-fight with his best friend after hearing him make disparaging remarks about Elizabeth. At the time (early in the 1550s), Elizabeth was under house arrest and in political disgrace. Foxe justified Sherrif's violence merely by noting that as Sherrif was Elizabeth's grocer, he was "then servant unto the lady Elizabeth, and sworn unto her grace."9 It is little wonder, therefore, that if ever a dispute arose between the householder and the monarch, the members of the householder's staff found themselves obliged to confront a severe conflict of loyalties.

8A hint of this is discernible in the "Instruction Book" for Mary's 1525 Welsh household which, in common with other royal and elite establishments, was governed by a council.10 Because this was specifically a royal, viceregal household, the councilors governed a region of land just as the monarch's household had governed England since medieval times. . In 1525, Mary was the mistress of the household, and the king's heir; to whom, then, did the councilors owe their primary loyalty—to Mary or to the king? The Instruction Book indicates that the oath administered to those serving in her household owed a dual loyalty: one to Henry as sovereign and the other to Mary as titular head of household:

The Oathe for the Counsaylors
Ye shalbe true and faithful vnto the Kinge our Soveraigne lord kinge Henry the eight and vnto his heires . . . And ye shalbe faithfull and true vnto my lady princesse grace And ye shall according to yor iust discretion knowledge and oppenione give vnto her true and faithfull counsayle in all things as shalbe demaunded of you by way of good advise and counsayle . . . And also you shall perceaue [perceive] any thinge to be done or attempted contrary to her honor estate degree or suertie . . . so helpe you god and the holie Contents of this book.11

9Although the oath stipulates that the councilors must be the king's loyal subjects, the oath also binds the councilors to Mary as their mistress. Any apparent tension between the dual obligations embodied here was limited to the hypothetical; there could scarcely have been any realistic concern that the princess, then aged nine, would stage a rebellion against her father and call on her councilors to support her against the king. Moreover, the patronage through which the councilors obtained their appointments was that of Henry rather than Mary. The oath leaves no room for doubt that the councilors must uphold their loyalty to the king, even though they are swearing the customary oath of loyalty to Princess Mary as their mistress. The implication here is that those who composed and/or commissioned the "Instructions" understood that the customary oath taken by staff to the householder could, unless otherwise specified, come into conflict with a subject's loyalty to the monarch.

10The household oath was the mechanism, the enactment in ceremonial form (albeit in a rather minimal sense) of the concepts of service that bound the servant to the householder. Although the householder did not swear a reciprocal oath to the servant, both Mary and Elizabeth would, as the following discussion shows, exhibit a sense of obligation toward their household staff. The household oath manifested the household's existence as a corporate entity bound by a shared sense of identification with the householder. This corporate identity received reinforcement through various outward signs such as liveries and badges, communal dining and sleeping (except for the householder and his kin) and communal worship in the household chapel. Another source of corporate identity was the general expectation that the householder would utilize the material resources of the household to care for his servant, to be a "good lord" or mistress.

11Evidence suggests that householders took the responsibilities of domestic authority seriously. It was routine for heads of households to provide for the health and education of their servants, even extending beyond the term of service; it was not uncommon for lords to pay a stipend to faithful servants who had retired from their service due to advancing age.12 As discussed later in this section, both Mary and Elizabeth provided for their servants' welfare in a manner comparable with "benefits packages" offered in the present day by governments or employers. Each princess paid the medical, educational, travel and social expenses incurred by her staff. In return, she received a corporate following of faithful agents who were loyal to their mistress and to the religious and political ideologies she represented and espoused.


The Culture of Reverence and Princely Patronage in Mary's Household, 1519–1553

12This section traces the development of a culture of reverence that characterized Mary's household court. Beginning with the implications of the French marriage negotiations in 1518 and fostered by the court culture of Mary's Welsh household in the mid-1520s, Mary grew used to receiving complete obedience and reverential treatment from her staff. In return, Mary's household accounts indicate that she provided not only for the physical and social welfare of her domestic staff, but also dispensed political patronage via the "extraordinary" members of her Privy Chamber staff.

13As discussed in the preceding chapter, Mary's household began to expand dramatically in scale and wealth in the wake of the French marriage negotiations of 1518, and of Catherine of Aragon's final miscarriage in November of that year. Another consequence of these events was that some members of staff added to Mary's Privy Chamber were now drawn from the aristocracy. The appointment as Mary's governess of Margaret Pole, countess of Salisbury, was the strongest manifestation of this trend. By early 1519, Salisbury was serving as Mary's governess and the Lady Mistress of the household.13 Salisbury was royalty herself. She was the niece of Edward IV and a peer in her own right.14 Generally speaking, aristocrats appeared among the domestic staff only of monarchs, and even then in largely ceremonial capacities. That Mary employed someone like Salisbury as her governess indicated the high status accorded her by the political elite (if not, from time to time, by Henry VIII himself).

14Salisbury remained in Mary's service until at least 1535. It was unusual for such a high-ranking aristocrat with strong royal connections to serve permanently in the household even of a royal offspring.15 Salisbury left Mary's service temporarily during 1521, on falling under suspicion of assisting her cousin, Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, in the activities for which he would eventually be executed. Henry appointed a new governess for Mary drawn from the gentry: Jane Calthorpe, wife to the courtier, Sir Philip Calthorpe. Calthorpe was offered the position after the Dowager Countess of Oxford turned down the appointment because of illness. Calthorpe's social status was much more typical of those who served in previous and subsequent households of royal children. Jane Calthorpe's husband also served in Mary's household, probably as chamberlain.16 Although Salisbury had returned to Mary's service by 1525, the Calthorpes maintained their connection to the princess. Sir Philip's daughter would later serve in Mary's household and would wed Henry Parker, Lord Morely, one of Mary's most prominent supporters during subsequent years.17 Salisbury had returned to Mary's service when the Princess' household removed to the Welsh Marches, as evidenced by the prominent mention of her in the documentation for the Welsh household.18 Salisbury's service in Mary's household did not extend much beyond 1535 partly because Mary reached her majority at this time (she reached the age of nineteen in 1535), but even more importantly because Salisbury was arrested in 1539 and executed in 1541.

15In 1525, Mary's Welsh household included a Privy Chamber headed by Salisbury and staffed with her relatives, Katherine, Elizabeth and Constance Pole. Among Mary's senior staff in the marches was Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset, serving as Master of Horse in 1526.19 Later, the 1533 October checkeroll indicates that such exalted persons as the Ladies Douglas, Maltravers and Hussey supported Salisbury in the Privy Chamber. Margaret Douglas was not only aristocratic but also royal. She was Henry VIII's niece and Mary's first cousin. Ladies Hussey, Maltravers, and Kingston were the wives and daughters of important magnates and courtly nobility.20 A unique confluence of circumstances—Mary's childhood betrothals, her status as the king's only heir, her gender (even high-ranking women did not have places at court unless they served in a royal Privy Chamber), and her proximity in age to other single royal ladies such as Margaret Douglas—resulted in an unusually aristocratic Privy Chamber staff. The nobles of her childhood households "furnished" Mary's chamber to a high standard.

16 Cross Reference:
Read more about Mary's reception of the French envoys.
As attested by the Privy Council's account of Mary's reception of the French envoys in 1520, the social rank of household servants directly reflected the socio-political rank of the householder. In order to make a good impression on the envoys, the Privy Council had ensured that the highest ranking women—who were not in attendance on Queen Catherine in Calais—were present in Mary's chamber during the reception. The presence of elite women conferred significant social status on Mary's household. The Privy Council hoped and intended their presence would make an "honorable" impression on the French envoys. The service of these elite women in Princess Mary's household sent a very important message to this particular audience: while the monarch was abroad, his daughter's household assumed the function of the royal court. Only the household of the ruler's consort or heir could do this, in the absence of the monarch's household. Thus, the Privy Council, by staffing Mary's household with the highest-ranking aristocracy remaining in England, left the French envoys in no doubt of Mary's status as the next ruler of England.

17Servants in Mary's childhood households would have understood that the princess was an important personage—one deserving of their reverence—not only from the presence of aristocratic members of staff, but also from the attention she received from the royal family, nobility and foreign ambassadors. During the French marriage negotiations, Mary, as the matrimonial prize, was at court fairly frequently during 1518. The significance of this for Mary's household was that her staff witnessed high-profile diplomatic occasions. Mary was usually in her nurse's arms when she was displayed during audiences with foreign ambassadors.21 On these occasions, the household staff would have observed the deference paid to the princess, deliberately exaggerated as it was on occasion. During the French negotiations, the Venetian ambassador attended a carefully stage-managed presentation of Mary for his benefit. Sebastiano Giustiniani confessed himself impressed with the elaborate deference paid to the two-year-old Mary. He reported that Mary was not a child to be picked up and cuddled by indulgent adults. Dukes and cardinals had to bend low and touch only her hand, which the two-year-old Mary extended toward them for the reverential kiss. So strict was this observance that Giustiniani was left with the (erroneous) impression that Mary commanded greater reverence than did her mother, Queen Catherine.22

18The forms of these ceremonial occasions made a deep impression on contemporaries. As illustrated by the example of Foxe's account of Elizabeth's grocer, Laurence Sherrif, Mary's servants would surely have been similarly impressed (though less readily moved to violence, we must hope) on witnessing Mary receiving the homage of dukes, cardinals and foreign ambassadors. When Salisbury joined Mary's household at the conclusion of the French negotiations, this would have considerably reinforced the impression that Mary was destined for great things, and most probably held great significance for Mary's household staff. Helping their young mistress to prepare for the ceremonies surrounding her betrothal to the dauphin in 1518, her subsequent appearances during court festivals, and her later betrothal to Charles V (in 1521), those in her service must have come to regard Mary as more than a king's daughter, more even than the future monarch of England. It would have been strange indeed if her household staff had failed to regard her as someone very likely also to wear the consort's crown of France, or to bear the title of Holy Roman Empress. A clear indication that her staff were fully aware of these marriage negotiations and took them seriously can be seen in a work by Mary's later French tutor, Giles Duwes. Duwes later attributed to one of her ladies the admonition that Mary should learn French herself rather than have to rely on a fair maiden to translate "To your husbande and lorde were he either kyng or emperour."23


The Princely Court of the Welsh Household, 1525–1528

19Important as the French negotiations were in the development of Mary's household culture, evidence suggests that it was her Welsh household of 1525 that exercised a determinative influence on the household's evolving daily culture. Establishing a culture of reverence was, in fact, one of Henry VIII's goals for the Welsh household. His "Instructions" stipulated that her household servants treat the nine-year-old Mary with the reverence "as to so great a princess doeth appertaine."24 Salisbury's job description, as specified in the "Instructions," was to regulate Mary's environment to ensure that she was always presented to the public via her household as a personage worthy of special reverence:

thie that be lades gentlewomen and maydens being about her persone and also her chambers with others attendant vpon herr, vse themselves sadlei, honorable, vertuously and discreetly in words, countenance, gesture, behavior and deed wth humility, reverence, lowliness—due and requisite, so as of them proceed no manner of example of evill or vnfittinge manners or condicions, but rather all good and godly behauior.25

20These orders also manifest another more subtle function of the household, which was to impress on Mary herself her exalted status. These stipulations appear in the section that deals with Mary's daily routine, her education, and permitted pastimes. Their appearance among other orders concerning her upbringing argues that the servants' behavior also was intended to be part of her training. These orders would have the effect of instilling in Mary a sense of her own importance. Regulating the behavior of the servants toward Mary not only ensured that she was treated according to her rank but correspondingly trained Mary to expect this kind of treatment as her due.

21The Welsh household was a royal court. It even inspired a work modeled on Castiglione's The Courtier. Mary's French tutor Giles Duwes, printed in 1534, An Introductory for to Learn to Read, to Pronounce, and to Speak French.26 Duwes's book was clearly a response to The Courtier.27 In this work, Mary appears as a princely ruler participating in the courtly pastimes familiar to Castiglione's readers: lively conversation, artful service and platonic romance. The structure of the book is in dialogue form, as was Castiglione's. In Duwes's work, these dialogues appear in French with the English translation as a gloss. Throughout, Duwes presented Mary a princely ruler concerned that her staff fully participate in the artistic culture of the household. When a servant absented himself from dinner, thereby failing to contribute to the evening's diversion, preteen Mary threatened to withhold from him her royal patronage:

Ah/ maister Amencr [Almoner] I had nat wend that ye had so forgotten me. . . . And touchyng the profyte/ ye knowe that whan I dyd prayse your frenche/ ye dyd warant me that within a yere I shulde speke as good or better than you/ wherefore by suche condycion that so myght be/ trustyng more of the power of the kyng my father/ & of the good lady my mother than of myn owne/ dyd promise you a good benefyce/ for the impetration of the whiche me thynketh that ye ought to do some by dylygence.28

22A very young Mary is here chastising her much older servant for not fulfilling his role. His role is to entertain, instruct and advise his young mistress. In this account, Duwes emphasizes that Mary's servants are courtiers and that Mary's household on the Welsh Marches is a viceregal court. Duwes represents Mary as fully conversant with her own role. She was the presiding ruler of a court. She was the conduit of patronage in that she had direct access to its ultimate royal sources: "the power of the kyng my father/ & of the good lady my mother." Moreover, Duwes depicted Mary as the owner of a precocious grasp of the complex details of office holding and patronage, as demonstrated in her threat to the almoner that she would deny him "a good benefyce" (meaning a church office) that the man had evidently been coveting. While the idea of a child threatening the career advancement of an adult may strike a modern reader as chilling or even obnoxious, it was entirely consistent with Duwes's overall depiction of Mary as a princely ruler presiding over a princely court.

23According to Duwes, Mary's court very much conformed to the Castiglione model. Duwes described the culture of Mary's household/court as one characterized by erudition, gentle manners, lively conversations and a pervasive consciousness of Mary's status. He depicted the princess receiving messengers from foreign courts and discussing international politics, somewhat jokingly, with her Privy Chamber staff. As noted above, Duwes claimed that Mary was especially keen to enliven the dinner table with learned and elegant conversation. Repeatedly, Duwes depicted her servants as expressing sentiments to Mary that accorded with Duwes's own vow that "wherfore nothing to me shall be possible that having your commandement I do not fullfill to my power."29 According to the French tutor, the princess' servants tendered her artful, flattering, and sincere service just as Castiglione had advised his Italian courtiers to behave toward the duke of Urbino.

24According to Duwes, this court even had its own literary culture. Its courtly poems and letters, as in other royal courts, praised and flattered the ruler. Duwes himself dedicated a French poem to Mary as "most sovereign."30 When servants excused their absences from her presence, they wrote her elegant and hyperbolic letters. Among the letters Duwes includes (or composes?) from Mary's servants, the following panegyrical address was typical: "To the right high, right excellent, & right magnanimous, My right redouted Lady, my Lady Mary of England, my lady and mistress, greeting [you] with joy everlasting."31 According to Duwes, Mary played her part as the princely patron by commissioning the book. Since she herself gave the order, her tutor, "durst nat" refuse "because of mine obedience that by any service or sacrifice that to her I may do, fulfilling her most noble and gracious comandement . . ."32

25Duwes includes an episode of courtly love-play. Although only nine when the Welsh household was constituted, the tutor depicts Mary as a participant in the drawing of names on Valentines Day. When Mary drew, as her valentine, the name of her treasurer, Sir Ralph Egerton, a man old enough to suffer from gout, the young princess insisted on referring to him as her "husband adoptif." As his pretend wife, the princess took the treasurer to task for taking better care "of your goute . . . than ye do of your wyfe." She further laments that she can hardly believe "that the goute myght with holde a good husbande hauyng some loue to his wyfe" and begs Egerton to teach her what "a good husbande ought to teche his wyfe," that is, the full definition of love (intellectually speaking, one hopes). In true courtly fashion, the princess' "husband" then discourses at great length on the philosophical and moral definition of love.33

26Space does not allow for an exploration of the implications of Mary—as a female child authority figure—assuming mock sexual submission to an old male (although knightly) servant. What is important here is that this episode places Duwes' depiction of Mary's Welsh household within an emerging tradition of court culture. According to the French tutor, the princess presided over a court no different from that of other royal monarchs. She received foreign ambassadors, royal messengers and engaged in courtly pastimes. Whether or not Duwes was presenting a strictly realistic picture of her household throughout the mid-1520s is less important here than the fact that he depicted a court culture of reverence that anticipated the actual behavior of Mary's servants in subsequent years. Mary's servants would later risk their lives in the service of their "most sovereign" princess.

27Mary's household on the Welsh Marches was clearly an impressive establishment, and would have a direct effect on those she headed subsequently. A great proportion of her Welsh staff remained in her service right up to her accession in 1558. The October 1533 checkeroll of Mary's household reveals that more than two-thirds of her staff in 1533 derived from her 1525 household. This continuity existed in all levels of the household from Privy Chamber gentry attendants to kitchen staff.34 Consequently, much of her 1533 household would have begun their service with her when she was the de facto princess of Wales. Indeed, many continued their association with Mary from her Welsh household right through to her household after her accession.35

28Moreover, the senior officers of Mary's household continued to be drawn from the gentry and nobility. Salisbury's long service in Mary's household has already been noted. After Salisbury's arrest in 1539, Mary would not find a "servant" of social rank that matched Salisbury's. Not surprisingly, Mary would have trouble recruiting aristocratic staff after her disinheritance in 1536. Yet, by the late 1540s, the high social rank of her household officers attracted notice. During Edward's reign when Mary was once again the next heir, her conflict with the Edwardian regime over religion made service in her household too politically sensitive to attract staff among the high nobility. Nevertheless, the social standing of her household could still elicit favorable comment from knowledgeable observers. The Imperial ambassador noted in 1551 that her senior staff were all wealthy and of ancient lineage.36 The surviving household accounts and lists confirm the ambassador's assessment. Her chief officers, Robert Rochester, Francis Englefield, and Edward Waldegrave, were all knights from respected gentry families. From the death of Henry VIII, when Mary was once again heir to the throne and mistress of her own independent establishment, her Privy Chamber recruited staff mainly from gentry families who were associated with regions near her estates. Other gentry families such as the Dormers served in Mary's household out of personal loyalty to her and her political and religious agenda. The Dormers sent at least three women to serve in Mary's Privy Chamber including Jane Dormer, the future Duchess de Feria.

29 Cross Reference:
Read more about Anne Hussey.
The Welsh household began and intensified other trends besides low staff turnover and recruitment. It also played a significant role in the development of Mary's political image. Duwes's depiction presented Mary to the literate English polity as a princely ruler. There is corroborating evidence that suggests that Duwes's representation of a culture of reverence in Mary's Welsh household was more than just a literary construct. As indicated in the previous chapter, Anne Hussey, one of Mary's staff from the Welsh household, was so firmly established in the habit of reverence toward her mistress that she continued in it even after Mary's disinheritance in 1536. Lady Hussey's supreme reluctance to treat Mary as anything less than a sovereign princess was indicative that she certainly felt toward her mistress the reverence specified in Henry's "Instructions" for Mary's household on the Welsh Marches.


Household Perks: Mary's Practice of "Good Lordship," 1536–1543

30Mary's Privy Chamber accounts reveal that in return for this reverential service, she took seriously her responsibility to be a good mistress to her servants. The princess assumed responsibility for her household in 1532 at the age of sixteen.37 Her accounts and her correspondence both indicate that she provided for her servants from birth through marriage, retirement, and even until death. Moreover, these documents show that Mary identified her domestic staff as extensions of her public persona; what was done to them reflected on her, and vice versa.

31Mary served as godmother to a great many children of the aristocracy; indeed, it would be hard to find a noble or politically important family without at least one child born between 1536 and 1553 to whom Mary was godmother. Her financial support of her servants' children suggest that she also took on this role for many offspring of her senior staff. The accounts specifically list her as godmother to the son of one of her Privy Chamber grooms, Thomas Borough. Furthermore, she paid for the education of the children of her laundress Beatrice ap Rhys (spelled "Rice" in the accounts) and her husband David. There are frequent notations in the household accounts concerning their children, Henry and Mary. The April 1538 entry was typical: "Itm geuen to a prieste of Windesor who teacheth a Childe of Dauid ap Rice."38

32In due course, when Mary ap Rhys was ready to marry, the princess provided the taffeta wedding gown.39 The ap Rhys children were not the only ones to benefit from Mary's generosity in this way; in general, those who married while in the princess' service usually received a gift of some kind from the princess. In April 1537, her accountant recorded an "Itm geuen to the mariage of one of the Ewry the xvth Daye of this mounth."40 A Mistress Fynes received from the princess money "on her maryage to by her a kyrtell."41 Mary gave her servant, John Scutt, two deer to grace his wedding feast.42

33When her servants retired or left her service Mary continued to be their "good mistress." Her accounts record that David Candeland "my lades g[ra]ce olde sunte" received a small sum in July 1537.43 Sums like this were also disbursed to Richard Baker, Humphrey Andrews, and to a man designated in the accounts as Richard, "a pore man and sõmetyme wodberer."44 The princess provided for her servants even after their deaths. When William ap Richard and his wife died of plague while in her service in September 1537, Mary paid for their burial expenses.45

34Mary's accounts suggest that her servants enjoyed something analogous to the modern concept of an expense account. Two Privy Chamber women, Frances Elmer and Mary Brown, usually conveyed the princess' gifts to her noble godchildren and represented her at their christenings, and were always reimbursed for their traveling expenses.46 When her staff traveled away from the household to perform errands on her behalf, they were not expected to pay their traveling expenses out of their wages; Thomas Palmer and Thomas Borough, gentlemen of her Privy Chamber, appear regularly in her accounts as recipients of reimbursement for expenses incurred while on purchasing expeditions.47 When accompanied to court by her Privy Chamber gentlewomen, Frideswide Knight and Mary Brown, the princess paid for their boat passage from Greenwich to London.48 Also, whenever her servants had to lodge elsewhere, either on long trips on the princess' business, or because they had been in contact with people suffering from contagious diseases (and so were not allowed to return immediately to Mary's household), their "extra hospitium" expenses were reimbursed.49

35If her servants revered her, Mary, in return, conflated her interest with theirs. In 1533, when the Privy Council sent a delegation in mid-October to urge her to comply with the king's order that she renounce the title of princess, Chapuys reported that she insisted on receiving the delegation in front of her assembled household staff—driving home the point that what happened to her would also have consequences for her staff.50 After being deprived of her separate household that same year, Mary requested that the king find employment for the servants she would be unable to take with her to the new combined establishment.51 Mary's interests and those of the household were so closely aligned that, according to Chapuys, the king blamed Mary's servants for encouraging her to persist in her refusal to acknowledge the validity of the Boleyn marriage and her own illegitimacy.52 If this is to be believed, it implies that the household staff was supporting the political future of its mistress, even at the cost of its individual members' own employment. After all, Mary's refusal to submit had played a role in the king's decision to dissolve her independent establishment. The focus of this particular corporate identity was Mary and her political future, rather the collective economic interests of the household staff.

36Perhaps in recognition of the economic sacrifices made on her behalf, Mary did her best to ensure that her servants found employment (whether in her household or elsewhere) and were well treated. In 1536, when Mary submitted to the Reformation legislation and, consequently, was partially restored to Henry's favor, she began immediately to write to Henry's minister, Thomas Cromwell, about her servants. Indeed, nearly all of her handwritten correspondence that survives from this year concerns her servants—those she wanted to take into her service again, their treatment while performing errands on her behalf, and so on. Interestingly, she expressed gratitude to Cromwell for arranging her reconciliation with the king following her submission; she was grateful not just on her own behalf, but for "me and my seruants." She recognized the dependency of her staff on her own political fortunes. She acknowledged to Cromwell that her political rehabilitation had resulted in "benefite to my frendes and seruantes."53

37These statements also indicate that Mary regarded her servants as an extension of herself. When Thomas Wriothesley offered exceptional hospitality to one of Mary's agents, he received the rare compliment of a hand-written letter from Mary thanking him for the "intertaynyng [of] my seruant." 54 Her staff was part of her persona, like badges on livery. What was done to her would encompass her staff also, and vice versa. This sense of obligation and identification extended even toward her mother's old servants. After thanking Wriothesley for his treatment of her servant, Mary then went on to request that he take into his service an old servant of Queen Catherine's named Anthony Coke, declaring by way of recommendation that "I do love hym well."55 Mary continued to exert herself on behalf of her servants even after the 1530s. In April 1547, she wrote to Anne Seymour, duchess of Somerset (who had herself been a member of Catherine's Privy Chamber), on behalf of two other servants of the old queen, Richard Wood and George Brickhouse.56 Indeed, except for Mary's letters to the monarch—Henry VIII or Edward VI—it is hard to find correspondence from her before her accession which does not contain some request from her on behalf of at least one of her household servants.

38Mary's accounts indicate that the princess also funded in-house recreation for her servants, and fully participated in it herself. The accounts from 1536 to 1543 show that the princess continued to preside over an artistic courtly culture echoing that described by Duwes in reference to her Welsh household in the 1520s. Mary patronized scholars such as Henry, Lord Morley, and Sir Thomas Elyot.57 She continued the tradition of drawing valentines and rewarding her pretend husbands with jewelry. The accounts contain frequent notations of payments to musicians. The princess herself was noted for her musical proficiency.58 Something of the convivial atmosphere of her household court is suggested by the numerous entries concerning gambling. The princess was an avid card player and, in royal tradition, did not carry enough coin on her person to cover her debts. She therefore borrowed from her Privy Chamber servants, whom she later reimbursed. Another pastime was the game of bowls; apparently, Mary's staff preferred to stake their economic future on Mary's political potential, rather than her abilities at bowling. During one (presumably expensive) game, the princess' staff refused after a certain point to underwrite Mary in any further play, so that the princess was able to continue only by wagering her breakfast.59 Her servants' doubts proved well-founded; the princess lost her wager, and went hungry that morning.

39The household accounts reveal, not surprisingly, that Mary's patronage of her servants varied according to their social class. Those lower down the social scale typically received cash payments or gifts to cover expenses, or to mark social milestones. As noted above, Mary also sponsored the endeavors of her servants to obtain pensions and livings outside her household. The accounts do not preserve any indications that she offered similar reimbursement to the noble ladies who sometimes served in her Privy Chamber during her frequent sojourns at court. They were not given gratuities in the same way as staff of lower social class. Instead, Mary bestowed on her high gentry and noble servants gifts of jewels and political patronage.

40Notations in Mary's hand show that she scrutinized her Privy Chamber accounts personally, and even totaled the sums herself occasionally; her most intense concentration was reserved, however, for her jewelry inventory. She signed every page, and the inventory is liberally glossed with her handwritten corrections.60 Mary kept this jewel list with her long after her Privy Chamber accounts ended in 1543. The inventory even records a present of jewels given by Mary soon after her accession in September 1553 to her sister, princess Elizabeth. The list does not specify the reason for each individual gift, but the identities of the recipients, taken together with evidence from other sources such as letters, suggest that many of the jewels were awarded to ladies who had waited on Mary while she was at court. The recipients were all wives of prominent men at court or in government during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI. During Henry's reign, these women had places at court only while he was married; during Edward's reign, they had no place at court at all. This makes it likely that their service in Mary's Privy Chamber occurred only when the princess was at court. None of the high-ranking women listed in Mary's jewel list appeared in her household accounts as part of her permanent Privy Chamber staff. This is not to discount the possibility that some of the recipients were simply friends and relatives who never "served" in Mary's Privy Chamber; this category would include, for example, Princess Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey. With this caveat in mind, it is still possible to mine Mary's jewel list for clues to the composition of her political and personal networks.

41Several of those listed as recipients of jewels given by Mary can be confirmed as servants in her Privy Chamber. Most notable among them was Margaret Douglas; this group also includes the daughters of Sir John Shelton,l and Mary Kingston, wife of Sir William Kingston, the constable of the Tower.61 Of the numerous prominent women listed as recipients of jewels, there are many for whom no independent source confirms that they ever served in Mary's Privy Chamber; all the same, it is highly probable that they received their gifts in partial payment for such service while Mary was at court. Notable individuals in this category include Frances and Eleanor Brandon, Jane Dudley, and Anne Seymour. As discussed earlier, Seymour had served in Catherine of Aragon's household, and after Catherine's death in 1536, was among a number of her former servants who now transferred to Mary's service. One of Mary's most informal and affectionate surviving letters is to Anne Seymour. 62 Mary stood as godmother to Jane Dudley's son; the present of a jewel made by Mary to Dudley may be related to this.

42The foregoing discussion may appear to overlook the obvious explanation that in these gifts of jewelry are simply Mary's side of an exchange of New Year's gifts with these women. This notion is problematic, however: the list specifically records instances in which Mary presented jewels as New Year's gifts. For all others, the occasion of the gift is unspecified. It is unlikely, then, that all the presents of jewels made by Mary were simply New Year's gifts; several of those noted above may rather have been tokens of particularly important friendships. Mary's personal attention to the jewel list suggests that she did not give them out lightly. Admittedly, there is no concrete evidence that Mary gave jewels in return for extraordinary service in her Privy Chamber. There is, however, a curious confluence of circumstances that suggest strongly that there was political dimension to Mary's relationships with politically prominent women such as Anne Seymour, duchess of Somerset, Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk, Jane Dudley, Duchess of Northumberland and Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox. Among this group, Brandon and Douglas were themselves of royal blood, having claims to the throne inferior only to those of Henry's direct offspring. Dudley and Seymour were married to men who ruled on behalf of the underaged monarch, Edward VI. In the estimation of contemporaries, none of these women were considered apolitical. It is scarcely credible, then, that political matters would have been excluded from Mary's conversations with them.

43The question is whether Mary's jewel list provides credible grounds for speculating that these women regarded Mary as a political patron and/or client. The jewel list certainly indicates a relationship of some kind, and it would be difficult indeed to argue that there was no political component at all to the relations among such politically active and prominent women. It is not easy to assess, however, whether Mary was primarily the client or the patron in these relationships. Lines of patronage and clientage were not as simple as the terms might appear to indicate. The service of these politically well-connected women in Mary's Privy Chamber might seem to indicate that she served as their patron, with the flow of assistance primarily from Mary to those in her service; on at least some occasions, however, Mary asked for help from her servants, as for example when she sought Anne Seymour's help regarding the employment of her servant.63 It is entirely possible that these women served Mary in her Privy Chamber while she was at court, at times during which (Henry being between marriages) there was no queen-consort's chamber in which they could otherwise have been placed. In these circumstances, Mary might have sent a gift of jewels to an elite woman as a form of payment for her Privy Chamber service, while at the same time cultivating a political relationship; Anne Seymour's husband Edward, Earl of Hertford (future Duke of Somerset), for example, was among the most powerful men at the court of Henry VIII and would later become the Lord Protector for Edward VI.

44The ambiguity of these relationships, and the tendency of the domestic accounts to raise as many questions as answers, are both demonstrated in the documents relating to the relationship between Mary and Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth and final consort.

45Katherine Parr served in Mary's Privy Chamber at court in 1546 as an "extraordinary" member. "Extraordinary" membership in royal Privy Chambers was a status generally reserved for high-ranking nobility who were already so wealthy as to have no need for direct payment, and who in any case could not be expected to serve permanently in another's household since they had their own large establishment to oversee and manage. Parr's service as "extraordinary" member in the princess' chamber at court must be inferred from the circumstances, since her name does not appear among the permanent members of Mary's Privy Chamber listed for this period. Parr was resident at Henry's court in late 1542, and the only plausible explanation is that she served during this time in Mary's Privy Chamber.

46Lodgings at court were not made available to all noblewomen simply on grounds of status, nor even to all those whose husbands held official court positions. Women resident at the court of a male monarch were considered to serve in the "queen's side" of the royal household, or alternatively in the household of a dependent female relative of the monarch such as a sister or daughter resident at court.64 During the periods in between Henry's marriages, the queen's side of the royal household did not exist, sharply reducing the number of places for noblewomen at court; this was offset, however, by Mary's frequent periods of residence at court. Given the presence of Katherine Parr at court in 1542, the most logical inference is that she obtained her place there by serving in Mary's Privy Chamber.65

47This is the interpretation offered by one of Parr's modern biographers.66 Katherine Parr had a claim on Mary's patronage because her mother, Maud, had served in the Privy Chamber of Mary's mother, Catherine of Aragon. 67 As discussed previously, Mary was sensitive to the claims of those who had served her mother. It is most likely through Katherine Parr's service in Mary's Privy Chamber that she came to the notice of her future husband, Henry VIII. Indeed, during the period of Parr's residence at court, the Imperial ambassador reported that the king took to calling on his daughter frequently, sometimes two or three times in the same day.68 Katherine Parr's husband died in March 1543 while she was still in Mary's service; a few months later, in July, she married Henry VIII and became queen-consort of England.

48Parr's interactions with Mary during the course of this transition—from servant in Mary's Privy Chamber to queen-consort—provide another case in which the term "patron-client relationship" seems too rigid. Who was the patron and who the client? Parr first gained Henry's notice through her service in Mary's Privy Chamber, yet after her elevation to the consort's throne, she became more socially and politically prominent than the princess. From this time onward, it was by Parr's favor that Mary's lodgings at court were provided. Susan James, Parr's most recent biographer, argues that throughout this period, Mary was the client and Parr the patron, even giving the queen-consort credit for taking an instrumental role in securing the princess' restoration to her inheritance as formalized in the third Act of Succession (1544).69

49The evidence that James cites is, however, symptomatic of the problems involved. On the day of her wedding to the king, Parr bestowed on Mary two unspecified sums of cash.70 For James, this is evidence that Parr used her position as patron to make gifts to her client Mary. These same gifts could alternatively be read, however, as an expression of a client's gratitude (that is, Parr's) to her patron (the princess). When the Imperial ambassador complimented Parr on the deference she showed toward the princess even though, as queen-consort, she was now of higher rank, she demurred and observed that she considered it her duty to defer.71 For James, this is an example of special consideration graciously shown by the queen-consort to the demanding and unreasonable princess. An alternative reading is that it demonstrates a sense of obligation and gratitude toward the princess; this is further supported by Parr's subsequent agreement to accept into her royal household one of Mary's former servants, the widowed Lady Kingston, possibly at the princess' request.72 Parr later presented Mary with an extravagant set of gold bracelets set with rubies, diamonds, and emeralds—is this gift to be understood as an offering made in deference or rather in condescension?73 This study comes down firmly in the middle. Clearly, Princess Mary and Katherine Parr enjoyed a genuine personal friendship. The political dimension to their relationship was necessarily complicated by the ebb and flow in their respective political fortunes. Parr was elevated to the consort's throne in 1543, but only a few years later, on Henry VIII's death in 1547, she had to contend for precedence against Anne Seymour, duchess of Somerset. Meanwhile, on Henry's death, Mary was re-established as heir to the throne, and the "second person" in the kingdom after the sovereign. Taking all this into account, it is beyond doubt that the roles of patron and client were always ambiguous between the two women, and that they shifted over time as the political fortunes of each rose or fell.

50At times in their relationship, Parr appears to treat Mary as her patron; at others, the appearance is rather that she is extending her patronage to Mary. The political relationship between the two, with all its complexities and variations, may have been similar to those Mary held with other politically prominent women such as Frances Brandon, Jane Dudley, and Anne Seymour. Mary's jewel list indicates that these relationships existed, with their inevitable political resonances, even if it does not indicate that political patronage flowed always and exclusively from or to the princess. With her frequent visits to court and her blood relationship to the monarch, Mary was particularly well placed to offer patronage. For elite women who would otherwise have had no access to the court, during the periods between Henry's marriages, or subsequently while Edward held the throne while remaining a minor, service in the princess's household during her periods of residence at court provided important "career opportunities".74

51Another significant aspect of these relationships documented indirectly by the jewel list is their formation of an elite female network, of a kind not unique to Princess Mary.75 Although a victim of her father's complicated and contradictory view of women, Mary's jewel list demonstrates that she was able to incorporate herself into a female network that provided much needed political and (one can only hope) emotional support.

52Mary's household was a court, and its members courtiers who depended on their princely ruler for their room, board, entertainment, and livelihood. Mary's royal household/court, like that of her father, was a center of political patronage. Not only was the princess a generous employer to those members of staff most economically dependent on her; she also acted as a valuable conduit for royal patronage sought by the intermittent Privy Chamber ladies—her more socially exalted "courtiers". Katherine Parr's elevation to the consort's throne attests to Mary's ability as a political patron. The princess upheld her side of the conventio in regard to all those who served in her household and Privy Chamber. In return, her servants—from the "extraordinary", such as Katherine Parr, to the less exalted but essential permanent staff like the ap Rice family—offered Mary loyal and dedicated service. Their loyalty would play a decisive role in the coming political crises that became a feature of Mary's life during her brother's reign. Indeed, in the view recorded by one contemporary observer, Mary was eventually to owe her eventual elevation to the sovereign's throne to the loyal service of her household/Privy Chamber staff.

53Sitting on her ornate cushions beneath a rich cloth of estate or a canopy depicting her crowned initial, in a room lined with tapestries proclaiming her lineage, Mary appeared before her servants—many of whom had been with her for years, and some even for decades—as a quasi-sacred figure, to whom they had rendered homage as a "sovereign princess" since the 1520s. She cared for them, identified with them, and promoted their interests and political ambitions; they in turn regarded her as their "most sovereign" mistress for whom they were willing to risk imprisonment and even death. As noted in the following discussion, there is evidence that Mary herself considered her role as householder to be analogous to that of a bishop in his pastoral care for his congregation.

54As the immediate heir of Edward VI, Mary's actions from the young king's accession in 1547 through to his death in 1553 were of national consequence. Her refusal to conform to the Protestant services mandated in the Act of Uniformity in 1549 was regarded by Edward and the Privy Council as an act of deliberate provocation. Characteristically, Mary defied the new policies not just on her own behalf, but also on that of her household. Even though the new legislation had specifically outlawed the traditional Latin mass, Mary ordered its celebration with special pomp in her residences.76 This earned a swift reprimand from the Privy Council77 and a summons sent to three of her household officers, including her comptroller Sir Robert Rochester, to appear before the council and answer for Mary's defiance.78 Mary immediately protested the summons and claimed that her establishment was at a standstill in Rochester's absence "because the chief charge of my house resteth only on the travails of my said Comptroller."79

55Later, on August 14, 1551, the Privy Council again summoned Rochester to London, this time along with two others of Mary's senior officers, Sir Francis Englefield and Sir Edward Waldegrave.80 After due deliberation, the council ordered the officers to return to Mary's household, instructing them to inform the princess that her household must allow and attend the new Protestant service, further enjoining them to ensure, by virtue of their household offices, that the household complied with the Act of Uniformity. Mary's officers were appalled. They protested to the council that they could hardly presume to issue commands to their revered mistress in her own house. The Privy Council argued that their first loyalty was to the king, and that they held on that account ample authority to act as they were instructed. Rochester, Englefield, and Waldegrave duly returned to the princess' household; Mary refused even to allow her senior officers to deliver their message to her, let alone to regulate the household's religious observances.81

56The Privy Council subsequently summoned the same officers before them yet again to report on their progress. On learning that the officers had refused to countermand Mary's direct orders, the council again ordered them to return to Mary's house and to carry out their original commission:

. . . the which thing they all refused to do, albeit they were enjoyned to do the same in vertue of their allegeaunce and as commaunded from the Kinges Majestie, the said Rochester and Walgrave saying that they had rather endure whatsoever punisshement or emprisonment the Lordes shuld think mete for them, and Sir Fraunces Inglefeld alledging that he could neither fynde in his harte nor in his consyence to do it.82

This was an alarming development from the government's point of view. The officers clearly felt their highest obligation was to their mistress, higher even than their allegiance to the crown. The council regarded this so gravely that it ordered Rochester, Waldegrave, and Englefield to be committed to the Tower of London.83 Imprisonment in the Tower was a fate reserved for those under suspicion of high crimes against the state, and prisoners were seldom released alive. On the advice of the Privy Council, King Edward himself wrote to the princess, warning her that her household defiance posed a danger to "the commen tranquilytie of our realm."84 The Privy Council dispatched a delegation to Mary on August 24, having as its mission the delivery of instructions to Mary's household staff that all attendance at the forbidden mass must cease. Anticipating resistance, the council ordered the delegation to underline this message with a reminder of fundamental civic responsibility: "in the whiche clause ye shall use the reasons of their naturall deuty and allegaeaunce that they owe as subjectes to their Sovereign Lorde, which derogateth all other erthly duetyes."85 In effect, the council was instructing the delegation to deliver clarification to the individual members of Mary's household: of the two corporate entities with a claim on their loyalty, that of the body politic must take priority over that of the body domestic.

57When the delegation arrived, Mary refused to surrender her household authority. She spoke confidently, both of her servants' loyalty, and of her own ability to maintain control over their actions no matter what threats the the delegation might hold over them: "none of your nue Service (said she) shalbe used in my howse."86 According to the delegation's report, she openly scoffed at their attempts to use her servants to subvert her authority within her household:

And after this we declared unto her Grace according to our instruccions for what causes the Lordes of the Kinges Majesties Counsell had appointed Rochester, Inglefeld, and Walgrave, being her servantes, to open the premisses [forbidding the Latin mass] unto her, and how yll and untruly they had used themselfes in the charge committed unto them, and besydes that, how they had manifestly disobeyed the Kinges Majesties Counsell, &c. To this she sayd it was not the wysest counsell to appoint her servantes to comptrolle her in her owne howse, and that her servantes knew her mynde therin well ynough, for of all men she might wurst endure any of them to move her in any suche mattiers, and for their punyshment my Lordes may use them as they think good.87

58This is quite a revealing exchange. Mary displayed serene confidence in her ability to suborn the allegiance of her officers away from the king. Her household was her private princedom and the council was foolish to send her own subjects to issue commands to her in her own domain. She considered that her senior officers did no more than their rightful duty in refusing to try and override her authority. Her statements make it plain that even if Rochester and his colleagues had attempted to regulate her household without her permission, they would have failed. Her writ, rather than the king's, was the only one that ran in her household.

59It took a direct order from the king himself to persuade Mary eventually to back down and cease public celebration of the Latin mass in her manors.88 Mary reported to the Imperial ambassador that Edward was considering the dissolution of her household, and this may also have played a part in her decision to reach an unequal compromise with the king.89 She refused to allow the new Protestant service to be celebrated in her manors. She continued to petition, unsuccessfully, for the privilege to hear the Latin mass in her Privy Chamber. In return for her partial submission, her officers were returned to her.90 Although Mary had lost the battle, the actions of her household resulted in a widespread understanding that her establishment was a bastion of the "old religion", which the majority of English subjects still practiced (albeit now in private). According to the later recollection of one of her Privy Chamber ladies, the princess' household was during this period "the only harbour for honourable young gentlewomen, given any way to [Catholic] piety and devotion."91

60Mary herself regarded her household as a congregation. Earlier, in 1550, while toying with the idea of seeking asylum at the court of Charles V (see Appendix B), she reportedly told the Imperial ambassador that what held her back and gave her the most pause was "the thought of leaving my household, which, though small, is composed of good Christians who may, in my absence, become lost sheep."92 It needs to be emphasized at this point that this phrasing is that of the nineteenth-century editors of the Imperial ambassador's dispatches. The phrasing is distinctive enough to suggest that the editors were probably replicating the pertinent fragment of the original document. This abstract alone, however, cannot be regarded as conclusive evidence of Mary's attitude toward her household.

61There is other evidence suggesting that Mary, in common with other secular heads of household, exercised thaumaturgical or priestly functions. A notation in her accounts for April 1537 indicates that she performed the sacerdotal function of christening a child.93 In an age in which monarchs were believed capable of healing diseases by their touch, it is possible that, on occasion, the princess performed minor religious ceremonies for her neighbors, servants, and clients. The high rate of infant mortality made secular christenings of dying infants relatively commonplace. All too often, it fell to the midwife to perform a rudimentary christening ceremony for an infant who survived only a brief time after birth.94 Mary's status as a wealthy householder and member of the royal family gave her special credibility in thaumaturgical capacities such as the performance of christening ceremonies.

62Further evidence that Mary regarded herself as a religious authority figure and her household as her personal parish comes from her above-mentioned confrontation with the Privy Council. Mary's refusal to allow, in her own house, the use of the Protestant service mandated by her brother's government, represented a serious political challenge to the monarch's authority. Scholars have commonly offered the supposed weakness of the Edwardian government as the primary reason for Mary's successful defiance. In 1974, Lawrence Stone identified "the absence of charismatic leadership" during Edward VI's reign as one of the causes for political instability; yet the behavior of Mary's household suggests that Catholics, in particular those associated with Mary's household as dependents, had found in the princess a leader of sufficient thaumaturgical charisma that they were willing to risk death on her behalf.95

63Much to the astonishment and dismay of the Privy Council, Mary's household staff placed their obligations to the princess above those to the government. Mary exercised a religious authority over her household that her contemporaries likely considered similar to that of a bishop over the souls in his episcopate. The princess' household staff were her "flock" in the sense that they were under her religious authority. Mary evidently felt herself charged with the responsibility not merely for the physical well-being of her household's members, but also for their spiritual welfare.

64Among unmarried English princesses both before and after her time, Mary exercised a spiritual authority not shared by any other, save for her half-sister Elizabeth; those living in nursery households or at the royal court were not charged with the physical and spiritual welfare of their staff, since their households were mere subsidiaries of the monarch's. In a real sense, the positions of Mary and Elizabeth as heads of their respective households provided each of them with an opportunity to serve an apprenticeship as a religious leader not available to any other princess before or after. Even before acceding to the throne and assuming governance of the English church, both Mary and Elizabeth had already exercised authority as religious leaders over their respective household staffs, tenants, and clients. When John Knox protested against any female heading the English church in his infamous First Blast of 1558, he was attempting to put the toothpaste back in the tube: Mary had been determining the religious policy of her household since 1547.


Elizabeth Tudor's Protestant Family: 1533–1553

65The culture of reverence and patronage in Mary's household may well have found echoes in other elite establishments, though not, apparently, in that of Princess Elizabeth. The younger princess' servants were certainly loyal, obedient, and conscious of their mistress' royal blood, but the feeling they demonstrated toward her was much more of a parental nature. The household practiced a familial culture committed as much to reforming religion as to providing a stable environment to its young mistress.

66From her birth in 1533 until she turned sixteen in 1550, Elizabeth was legally a minor. Elizabeth's account books and correspondence, government depositions, and the letters of her servants, all suggest that after 1536, the combination of her youth and relative lack of status made it impossible for the princess to overawe her staff in the same way as Mary. Instead of learning the habit of reverence, Elizabeth's servants assumed responsibility for her upbringing and education. The household's officers and staff, rather than its young mistress, set its agenda and established its artistic and practical culture, which was distinguished by erudition, Protestantism, and an interest in contemporary Italian artistic influences. As demonstrated later in this discussion, this household culture forged a corporate identity and persona so strong that it existed independently of its titular figurehead, Princess Elizabeth.

67Royal infants, including Mary and Prince Edward, were generally "raised" by the servants of their nursery households rather than by their parents; this was especially true, however, in Elizabeth's case. Younger than Mary and of less importance than her younger half-brother Edward, she received correspondingly less of Henry VIII's attention—even to the extent that, on occasion, the king had to be reminded somewhat forcibly of her existence.96 97 Thereafter, they encountered each other only during Elizabeth's short and infrequent visits to court, during the years from 1543 until Henry's death in 1547. This paternal neglect, combined with her mother's early death, meant that Elizabeth experienced very little interaction with her biological parents. Under these circumstances, as detailed later in this section, her household staff took on the responsibilities of supervising her development and arranging for her education—subject of course to the king's approval.

68From its inception, Elizabeth's household employed many of the princess' maternal kin. The first to serve as steward was Sir John Shelton; his wife Lady Anne—the paternal aunt of Anne Boleyn—was also employed in the household as the chief gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber. Elizabeth's first governess, Margaret Bryan, was distantly related to the Boleyns (being the half-sister of Anne Boleyn's mother). John Ashley, a Boleyn relative by the marriage of an aunt, joined the household sometime before 1540. Weak as these blood ties might seem to the modern reader, they weighed seriously with Elizabeth herself; for example, when John Ashley was arrested during the Seymour crisis of 1549, the princess interceded on his behalf, asking that he be released "for he is my kinsman"—even though his relation to her consisted of nothing more substantial than the marriage of his maternal aunt to the brother of Elizabeth's maternal grandfather!98

69Up to the time of her death, Anne Boleyn exercised an important, albeit indirect, influence on the development of her daughter's household culture; this is indicated by the presence of so many Boleyn relatives among the staff, combined with the evidence presented previously of the interest Anne took during her reign in the material splendor of her daughter's environment. Henry VIII funded the household, and had the final say in all important aspects of his daughter's upbringing such as the time at which she should be weaned, but Anne largely determined the routine behavior and agenda of the household.99 She instructed Anne Shelton to safeguard Elizabeth's status on Mary's arrival in the conflated household in 1534, in part by making sure that Mary did not attempt to claim the princely title.100 By installing her relatives as servants, and supplementing Henry's expenditure on the household with her own purchases of lavish clothing for Elizabeth, Anne sought to ensure that Elizabeth would receive the treatment due to a princess and heir to the throne. She may even have begun to draw up plans for Elizabeth to receive a Protestant humanist education.101

70 Cross Reference:
Read more about the conflict between Bryan and Shelton.
Anne Boleyn's death in 1536 effectively removed almost all direct parental authority from Elizabeth's household. During the summer of that year, the king concentrated all his paternal attention on Mary. Aside from the finances of his daughters' combined household, the only aspect of it in which he took an active interest was the selection of staff who would secure Mary's submission to the Reformation legislation.102 At this point, the familial atmosphere that had been an asset to Elizabeth's household now became something of a liability. The effective disappearance of parental authority created a vacuum in which the staff jockeyed for position like squabbling family members. As already mentioned, the steward Sir John Shelton came info open conflict with Elizabeth's governess Margaret Bryan over the level of hospitality the household could offer. A central point in the conflict was the continuing uncertainty as to the relative seniority of these two important individuals within the household.

71According to Bryan's 1536 letter to Cromwell, Shelton "sayth he es master of thys hows."103 Affronted by this challenge to her position, Bryan sniffed "what fashion that shal be, I cannot tel. For I have not sen et afor." She pointedly reminded Cromwell that the king had created her a baroness in her own right, and that it was she who had been entrusted with the initial upbringing of the king's two eldest children, Mary and Richmond. She closed the letter with the complaint that Shelton "wel not be content" to be ruled by her. Cromwell's response, which presumably contained the king's decision as to the handling of the situation, has not survived. In any case, the parties to this conflict were ultimately separated through subsequent events: on the birth of Henry's son prince Edward in 1537, it was decided that Bryan should leave Elizabeth's household to become the infant prince's governess.

72Bryan and Shelton could each have been motivated to their opposing roles in this conflict by personal investment in the status of Elizabeth and her household. Both were related to her, albeit somewhat distantly. It is beyond doubt, however, that there was a crisis of authority within the establishment. Clearly, three-year-old Elizabeth was too young to assert any authority of her own over the household—as Bryan put it, "to kepe syche rewl yet." There was a power vacuum at the top of the establishment, created by the combination of several circumstances: Elizabeth's age, her uncertain status as both illegitimate and yet the king's acknowledged daughter, and a distinct lack of interest on the part of her only surviving parent. As the Bryan/Shelton conflict illustrates, the most influential members of the household staff attempted to establish the chain of command among themselves, until such time as the princess was old enough to exercise authority herself. Neither Bryan nor Shelton referred the matter to the three-year-old Elizabeth for obvious reasons.

73The Bryan/Shelton conflict presaged a division of authority along gender lines that persisted in Elizabeth's household. Katherine Champernon replaced Margaret Bryan as Elizabeth's governess in 1536, but it is unclear whether she was the "Lady Mistress" of the entire household as Margaret Salisbury had been in Mary's childhood household.104 Elizabeth later referred to Champernon as "her mistress," that is, her governess, but not as the mistress of the household. 105 Furthermore, Elizabeth would later award sole credit to Champernon for her upbringing, suggesting that her governess was responsible for regulating her Privy Chamber environment—that is, functioning in a role very similar to that of Salisbury in Mary's household. Evidence suggests, however, that Champernon as governess did not overrule the steward or Thomas Parry, the "cofferer" (treasurer). Judging from the later testimony of the governess and of the cofferer, they divided household authority between them. Parry administered household accounts and, later, Elizabeth's property, while Champernon was in charge of the princess' Privy Chamber.106 While Elizabeth remained too young to wield authority directly, her household staff divided authority among themselves, along gender lines.

74 Table 1Table 1: Elizabeth's Household Staff and Maternal Relatives Champernon's 1536 entrance into Elizabeth's household not only ushered in a smoother modus operandi, but also reinforced the familial atmosphere of earlier times, bringing in some important connections at court (see Table 1). Sometime around 1540, Champernon married John Ashley, another member of Elizabeth's staff, the aforementioned kinsman to the princess. This meant that Elizabeth was literally being raised by her relatives. Champernon's sister Joan married the important Henrician courtier, Sir Anthony Denny. This reinforced a preexisting Denny connection to Elizabeth via Denny's sister Joyce. Joyce married John Cary, a brother of William Cary who had married Elizabeth's maternal aunt, Mary Boleyn.107

75It is unclear exactly when Thomas Parry joined Elizabeth's household, but he was certainly present before 1547 (probably well before then), by which time he was dealing with enquiries as her cofferer.108 His presence brought in another Boleyn connection: his wife Anne had a previous marriage to her first husband Adrian Fortescue, who was the son of Alice Boleyn, an aunt of Queen Anne's.109 Parry also connected the household to William Cecil, an important political ally and later Elizabeth's chief minister, already a rising official at Edward VI's court. Parry was of the Vaughn family who were, in turn, related by marriage to the Cecil family.110 It was a connection that both Cecil and Parry acknowledged, as attested by their frequent correspondence during the 1550s.111 The connection to the Cecils, specifically William Cecil, would also have significant repercussions for Elizabeth and her princely household.

76Reinforcing this familial context in Elizabeth's household was the frequent presence of her half-siblings. For accounting purposes, she shared a household with Mary. Although Mary refused to accept that Elizabeth outranked her from 1533 until 1536, she publicly acknowledged the familial relationship even during this period. There is evidence that Mary was fond of her younger half-sister, such as her letter to their father in 1536 in which she commends Elizabeth to him. 112 In subsequent years, Edward frequently shared accommodation with his half-sisters, especially with Elizabeth, as Mary increasingly spent her time at court. The household environment in which Elizabeth matured was thus overtly familial, thanks to the frequent presence of her half-sister and half-brother, combined with the constant comfort of her maternal kin serving on her staff.


Educating Elizabeth

77It is unclear whether anyone other than Champernon was involved in educating Elizabeth between 1536 and 1544.113 In 1544, however, a shift in educational arrangements for the princess came brought about through the king's decision that Prince Edward should no longer regularly share accommodation with his half-sisters, presiding instead over an expanded establishment of his own. Although the Prince and Elizabeth subsequently shared residences from time to time, the separation of their establishments was henceforth much more clearly delineated. The important consequence for the princess's education was that she and her half-brother could no longer take lessons together, even if they had done so previously.114 John Cheke, a famous scholar of St. John's College, Cambridge now supervised the Prince's lessons. William Grindal, a colleague of Cheke's, became Elizabeth's tutor at this time.115

78Cheke and Grindal were part of a humanist Protestant circle at Cambridge that included another of Elizabeth's future tutors, Roger Ascham. They advocated the combination of humane and thorough education in the classics with an overtly Protestant outlook. Three other scholar-politicians were associated with this group centered around St. Johns in particular, and on Cambridge in general: Sir Anthony Denny, William Cecil, and John Ashley.116 All three were associated, to varying extents, with Elizabeth's household in 1544. Denny and Cecil were related to senior officers in the princess' establishment (one by marriage, the other by blood), and Ashley was a member of staff.

79It was this household nexus that resulted in the appointments of the tutors to the younger royal children. Denny was among the leading advocates of Cheke's appointment as Prince Edward's tutor.117 The scholar's advice in such matters was known to be important to Henry VIII, Denny having emerged as one of the leading patrons of humanist learning at court in the early 1540s, along with the king's physician William Butts. As soon as he had secured Cheke's appointment, Denny asked him (probably at the request of his sister-in-law, Katherine Champernon) to recommend a tutor for Elizabeth. Cheke solicited his mentor, Roger Ascham, for a suggestion; Grindal's name was put forward as a suitable candidate for the princess' tutor. This was not the first instance in which Ascham interested himself in Elizabeth's education: after his old college friend John Ashley married Katherine Champernon c.1540, Ascham began a correspondence with the governess as to the methods she should employ in instructing her pupil.118 Ascham would eventually emerge from behind the tutorial throne, being formally appointed as Elizabeth's tutor in 1549 on Grindal's death.119

80It was Elizabeth's household, then, that directed her education and shaped her religious agenda. The combined efforts of Denny, Champernon, Ashley, and Ascham ensured that Elizabeth received her education under the guidance of Protestant champions of the "new learning", in the persons of William Grindal and Roger Ascham. In regard to the princess' education, the household staff had acted in loco parentis.


The Seymour Crisis, 1549

81The January 1549 arrest of Thomas Seymour, brother to Protector Somerset and fourth husband of Katherine Parr, led to serious political ramifications for Elizabeth. The princess was interrogated by a crown agent, acting on the suspicion that she had been involved in Seymour's treasonous plots to overthrow his brother's government. The behavior of her household during the Seymour crisis was highly revealing of the ways in which Elizabeth interacted with her senior staff, particularly with Katherine Champernon-Ashley. The crisis also revealed the various ties that bound the household staff; they were loyal to their mistress not just in the most narrow and literal sense, but also much more broadly to her future potential, to each other, and to their shared ideals. The depositions that Champernon-Ashley and Thomas Parry gave to government investigators also revealed the extent of the underaged Elizabeth's authority in her own establishment.

82The person who came closest to acting as a mother to Elizabeth, other than members of her household staff, was her father's last wife, Katherine Parr. Step-mother and daughter shared an interest in the promotion of the Protestant religion. After Henry VIII's death, both Mary and Elizabeth remained with Parr until April 1547. Mary finally departed around the time she obtained legal title to her estates; Elizabeth continued to visit Parr regularly throughout the remainder of 1547 and continuing until the summer of 1548. Around late April or early May 1547, Parr married Thomas Seymour, Lord Admiral of England. During this period, Elizabeth also spent time at Denny's manor at Cheshunt, and at the estates and manors composing her own considerable princely endowment, granted to her in May 1547; the princess probably took the opportunity, during her visits to the Parr/Seymour establishment, to solicit advice regarding the administration of her now considerable properties. This phase of relations between the Tudor half-sisters and their step-mother drew to a close in May 1548, when Katherine Parr removed northward to Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire to await the birth of her child. She died from complications from childbirth a few months later, in September 1548.

83Thomas Seymour was arrested in January 1549 on charges of treason. Among these was the allegation that he had tried to lure Elizabeth into a matrimonial alliance after Parr's death without first obtaining the permission of the Privy Council as stipulated in Henry VIII's will.120 Shortly thereafter, Thomas Parry and Katherine Champernon-Ashley were also arrested, and were questioned to determine whether they—and their mistress, princess Elizabeth—might have been involved in Seymour's alleged matrimonial schemes involving the princess. Having been taken to the Tower and threatened with charges of treason, they "made their confession."121 Based on the information they gave, the Privy Council dispatched Sir Robert Tyrwhitt and his wife to Elizabeth's residence at Hatfield to place her under house arrest. Under this arrangement, Lady Tyrwhitt now became Elizabeth's governess.122

84Tyrwhitt arrived at Hatfield to carry out this commission by the end of January, less than two weeks after Seymour's arrest. He realized quickly that Elizabeth and her staff had anticipated this turn of events, and had reached agreement among themselves as to their testimony before it was even taken.123 This collusion became clear to him when he read the "confessions" of Champernon-Ashley and Parry. These depositions related little more than some earthy horseplay involving Seymour, Parr, and Elizabeth. The investigators, eager to strengthen their case against Seymour, pressed the servants for further revelations that would directly implicate the princess and Seymour in a plot to marry as a prelude to usurping the throne. The servants steadfastly maintained that their mistress had consistently refused to countenance any talk of her marrying Seymour. Under questioning by Tyrwhitt, Elizabeth herself provided no additions of substance to the accounts already obtained from her servants. Tyrwhitt was suspicious, and wrote to Protector Somerset of his conviction that they must all have agreed on the story beforehand: "they all sing the same song."124

85In the face of this adversity, Elizabeth's household staff had operated as a unit. The evidence bears out Tyrwhitt's assessment that Elizabeth, Parry and Champernon-Ashley had anticipated their interrogations, and agreed in advance the substance of their depositions; there is considerable consistency among the three, just as their interrogator had noted. The only significant deviation arises from the confused account given by Thomas Parry of an embrace between Seymour and Elizabeth. When Tyrwhitt showed Elizabeth this deposition, she was clearly irritated, describing her cofferer as a "false wretch."125 It is not certain that the principal cause for this outburst was the departure from the narrative previously agreed, but the consistency of the depositions on all other points supports this interpretation. Elizabeth and her staff would hardly have been alone in presenting a carefully formulated version of past events to avert suspicion; this was fairly common practice.126

86Moreover, for Elizabeth and her household officers, there was even more at stake than securing their personal safety under the intense scrutiny of the Edwardian government. Seymour was a committed Protestant, whose religious sympathies had been one of his most important attractions in the eyes of Katherine Parr.127 This is significant in the light of the close personal friendship between Parr and Elizabeth.128 It is true that Seymour had shown himself somewhat mercurial in his faith, and had managed to alienate other leading Protestants of his time such as the preacher Hugh Latimer.129 Nevertheless, Elizabeth and her household had spent much of 1547 in his company, and knew him to be sincere in his Protestantism, even though he was not the most deeply religious of men. Champernon-Ashley's statements appear to distance the household as a whole from Seymour, while refusing to provide any further evidence against him. The governess allowed that Seymour had behaved inappropriately toward Elizabeth, but asserted all the same that she never witnessed anything overtly romantic pass between them; in particular, she takes responsibility for any mention of marriage upon herself. According to all three depositions, not only was the princess innocent of plotting any treasonous marriage alliance, but so indeed was Seymour. Furthermore, Tyrwhitt noted that Elizabeth spoke in Seymour's defense, and would "not hear anything said against him."130 In doing so, the princess and her household were fulfilling a pledge Elizabeth had made to Seymour in a letter sent some time previously, in which she wrote that she was a friend "not wonne with trifels, nor lost with the like."131

87The corporate household worked primarily to shield the princess from the damage her reputation could suffer as a result of this crisis. Champernon-Ashley's strategy for protecting Elizabeth's reputation was to take any blame upon herself. In her testimony, she talked of having teased the princess about her future marriage prospects, especially regarding Thomas Seymour.

88The governess claimed that she repeatedly brought up Thomas Seymour's name in conversation with Elizabeth, despite noticing that the princess seemed to indicate embarrassment. She went on to state that she had urged the princess to write a letter of condolence to Seymour on hearing of Parr's death in September 1548, pressing the issue in the face of Elizabeth's refusal until finally the princess forbade any further discussion.

89Understandably, this has led historians to dismiss Champernon-Ashley as a rather silly gossip.132 This could, however, have been a deliberate strategy on the part of the governess to rescue Elizabeth's personal and political reputation. The governess was, arguably, at pains to take the burden of guilt on herself.

90The stakes were high indeed. As Elizabeth herself made clear, her public reputation—and, by implication, her political standing—were put at serious risk by this scandal. The princess requested that Protector Somerset safeguard her reputation from the damage that would inevitably result from the Seymour investigation. In her letter bearing this request, Elizabeth pointed out that the treatment of her household officers directly affected the public perception of her as a credible politician. She justified her request that Lady Tyrwitt be replaced as her governess "bicause . . . the people wil say that I deserved throwgh my lewde demenure" to have a new governess.133 In this same letter, she thanked Somerset for authorizing the Privy Council to issue orders that the "ivel reportes" about her be quelled. She refused, however, to name the rumor-mongers and explained in the letter that, if she did name names, people would then label her a tattletale: "that shulde be but a briding of a ivel name of me . . . and so get the ivel wil of the people, wiche thinge I wolde be lothe to have."134

91There is yet another significant insight to be gained from these depositions. Those of Champernon-Ashley and Parry indicate that the fourteen-year-old Elizabeth was not fully in control of her household; she was still an adolescent who needed their guidance. The princess acknowledged this herself in the letter mentioned earlier, assuring the Protector that she did not object to the idea of having a governess; she was not requesting "that I tak upon me to rule my selfe."135 Champernon-Ashley's deposition fosters the impression (perhaps deliberately) that Elizabeth still lacked the emotional maturity to take direct charge of the household staff, and that the presence of a governess was still very much called for. When Seymour cut Elizabeth's gown "in a hundred pieces," Champernon-Ashley recalled that she disciplined the princess: "I chid with her grace when she came up that she was so trimmed."136 Parry's deposition notes that on another occasion, the governess had reduced Elizabeth—nominally the head of the household—to tears.137

92Champernon-Ashley was able not only to intimidate Henry VIII's youngest daughter, but also to withold from her charge the power of decision regarding financial assets. The governess' deposition records that she and Parry had corresponded regarding Seymour's 1548 offer to loan the princess his London townhouse. (This was intended to offset the requisitioning by Somerset of Elizabeth's London residence, Durham Place.) The governess strongly urged Elizabeth not to accept Seymour's offer without first consulting Sir Anthony Denny. The governess then wrote to Parry, informing him that she would soon come to London herself to "tell him her mind" regarding Seymour's offer of the London townhouse, evidently clear in her mind that she should take this decision on behalf of the young princess.138

93As Champernon-Ashley continued her narrative of this proposed lease from Seymour, her tale begins to reveal the tensions that inevitably arose, as an underaged but precocious householder began to assert her authority over staff whose trust she had not entirely secured. As the governess prepared to go to London, Elizabeth did at least demand to know "what she would do there."139 On hearing the reply that she intended to speak to Parry and to Seymour, Elizabeth was forced to issue a direct order to the governess not to do so "for it would be said that she [Elizabeth] did send her."140 The governess obeyed the princess.

94Incidents of this kind come as no great surprise in the context of a governess' dealings with her young charge; they would seem far less appropriate, however, to the relationship between a servant and her mistress. Champernon-Ashley may have deliberately exaggerated her dominance, the better to support her strategy of diverting blame away from Elizabeth. All the same, the governess was evidently in a position to discipline the princess: she ignored Elizabeth's requests not to mention Seymour; she persisted in offering unwanted advice; and she considered that she had sufficient authority to take charge of the princess' property dealings regarding Durham Place. It is little wonder that Elizabeth referred to Champernon-Ashley as her mistress, rather than the other way around.141 Tyrwhitt observed that Elizabeth's affection for her governess was unusually strong.142

95Perhaps most striking to the investigator was the princess' emotional dependence on her governess. Elizabeth readily acknowledged this, albeit in characteristically pedantic fashion. In a letter to Somerset, Elizabeth indicated how much she felt she owed to her governess and to her household in general:

. . . she hathe bene with me alonge time, and manye years, and hathe taken great labor, and paine in brinkinge of me up in lerninge and honestie, and therfore I ought of very dewtye speke for her, for Saint Gregorie sayeth that we ar more bounde the them that bringeth us up wel than to our parents, for our parents do that wiche is natural for them, that is bringeth us into this worlde but our brinkers up ar a cause to make us live wel in it.143

96I am not suggesting that the governess exercised more authority in the household at this juncture than did the princess. Although only fourteen, Elizabeth was evidently beginning to assert control in her own right. Her governess could advise her to write a condolence letter to Seymour, but could not force her to do so. When the princess expressly forbade Champernon-Ashley to intervene in the arrangements for the loan of Durham Place, the governess obeyed. The governess' testimony shows that from 1547 through 1548, Elizabeth was transitioning from child/pupil to adult/householder. The governess could discipline the princess, or even attempt to strong-arm her, without fear of punishment; but she could not disregard Elizabeth's direct orders. During these years, 1547–1553, the princess and her staff underwent a realignment in their respective roles. Elizabeth developed her abilities in establishing and exercising her authority, while her staff came to accept her assumption of increasing responsibility. Nevertheless, the Champernon-Ashley testimony, together with Tyrwhitt's and Elizabeth's letters to Protector Somerset, indicate collectively that Elizabeth continued to rely considerably on her staff. They were still her "bringers-up", to whom she owed filial loyalty.


The Italianate Culture of Protestantism in Elizabeth's Household, 1548–1553

97Katherine Champernon-Ashley (and also, very likely, Thomas Parry) returned to Elizabeth's household probably no more than a few months after Seymour's execution in March 1549.144 By September 1549, Elizabeth was finalizing plans to visit the court.145 The crisis had passed, leaving Elizabeth and her household relatively unscathed. It is likely that the household culture that the governess had helped to create also survived intact; certainly it continued to develop.

98Any description of the "household culture" of Elizabeth's establishment must necessarily be impressionistic. There are far fewer records from Elizabeth's household, as compared with the documentation of Mary's household. There is almost no surviving correspondence between Elizabeth and her household staff, and little mention in state papers of Elizabeth's household before 1553. Certainly there is no representation of Elizabeth's household comparable to Giles Duwes' contribution to The Courtier genre for Mary's household. What follows can only be offered as tentative conclusions, based on a documented congruence of the beliefs, tastes and associations of some of Elizabeth's most important household staff: the Ashleys, Roger Ascham, Balthasar Castiglioni (not to be confused with Baldassare, author of The Courtier), and finally the Cecils with their extrahousehold links to figures such as Robert Morrison and William Thomas.

99With these caveats in mind, it would appear that the household culture of Elizabeth's preaccession households comprised two seemingly contradictory elements: Protestant erudition on one hand, and an appreciation for Italian artistic forms on the other. Elizabeth's education had continued in a decidedly Protestant vein from the 1540s. When Grindal died in early 1548, Elizabeth appointed Roger Ascham as her tutor, overriding the advice of her close friends and frequent hosts, Katherine Parr and Thomas Seymour, who wanted to place one of their Protestant clients in this position.146 The princess' determination in this regard evidences her commitment, at the age of fourteen, to continuing her humanist education and Cambridge connections. Ascham was a leading proponent of the virtues of a classical education. He advocated learning Latin and Greek straight from ancient texts, rather than through modern grammar books.147

100Ascham was also a fan of Italian Renaissance culture. His correspondence was full of his ambition to travel someday to Italy—a desire he eventually fulfilled in the mid-1550s.148 He taught both Elizabeth and Prince Edward, now King Edward VI, to write in the italic script fashionable in Italy.149 Ascham was only one among many Protestant intellectuals in England who were fascinated by contemporary Italian culture.

101Although many English Protestant humanists had rejected Roman Catholicism, they embraced the ideals embodied in The Courtier. Although it would not be printed in English until 1560, it was already very popular in manuscript form, many pedagogues—both Catholic and Protestant—preferring to read it in the original Italian.150 The popularity of this book, and specifically its model of courtly behavior and the ideal of the civilized life, helped to fuel the vogue for all things Italian that was sweeping the elite and erudite of England. Even the young king was connected to this Italian craze through his tutor in political thought, William Thomas, who printed in 1549 his popular History of Italy.151

102Elizabeth absorbed this interest in Italianate culture. She employed an Italian, Balthasar Castiglione (perhaps a relation to the author of The Courtier?) to tutor her in his native language.152 Ascham claimed that she spoke Italian as if it were her native language. During this period, she sent Edward her translation from the Latin of Bernadino Ochino's "Sermon on the Nature of Christ," a piece she chose to render into Italian.153 Her letters to friends were peppered with Italian phrases and references to Greco-Roman mythology. An example of this comes from an undated (c. 1559) letter to her maternal cousin, Catherine Knolles, in which Elizabeth signed herself "cor rotto" ["broken hearted" over Knolles' voluntary exile to the Continent].154 As noted in the previous chapter, the tapestries she chose from Henry VIII's inventory depicting Greco-Roman gods. Even her account books were decorated with pictorial initials in this style.

103Elizabeth's household accounts indicate that this Italianate—and decidedly Protestant—culture was mannerist in its aesthetic but not baroque. Rather, it practiced an austerity that was fashionable at this time among Protestants. Accounts for the household are extant for only one year of this period, from October 1551, until September 1552. Although they contain elaborate decoration, they do not contain the level of detail regarding Privy Chamber expenditure found in Mary's accounts from 1536 until 1543.155 There are no references in the accounts to valentines, card games, or entertainments. It is possible that the household did not engage in these pastimes—possibly because, as examined more closely later on in this study, Elizabeth's revenues generally failed to cover her household expenses.156 Elizabeth used such discretionary income as she possessed to sponsor the spread of Protestantism and humanist education. She patronized London booksellers, specifically those who sold bibles. She gave money to "Skollars of Cambridge" and, even-handedly, "to a pore Skollar of Oxforde." She was godmother to the child of John Cheke, tutor to Edward VI, and sent an obligatory present.157

104Another possible explanation for the absence of entertainments of the kind that pepper Mary's household accounts is provided by the growing fashion among Protestants at this time to eschew "frivolous" pastimes such as dancing, gaming, and feasting. An example of this was the government's order that people should refrain from making gifts to the king to mark New Year's Day in 1549, since that custom was now deemed too strongly reminiscent of the Catholic festivities that had formerly marked the occasion.158 The influence of this Protestant austerity on Elizabeth's household culture is suggested by the style of dress she affected during this period. John Aylmer, a tutor to Elizabeth's cousin Jane Grey, and later (after Elizabeth's accession) bishop of London, wrote that during the years 1548–1553, the princess refused to wear "the rich jewels and clothes left her by her father" and preferred simple apparel, marking herself out as a Protestant by doing so. Aylmer also related a story that around this time, Princess Mary made a present of an ornate gown to Jane Grey who, as a Protestant, declined it with the explanation that it would be morally wrong to accept such a gift and desert the example of "my lady Elizabeth, which followeth God's word."159 Grey aligned herself unmistakeably with Elizabeth and Protestantism as signified by the preference for simple dress, and distanced herself from the Catholic and ornately appareled Mary.

105The combination of limited funds and an austere aesthetic did not absolve Elizabeth of the responsibilities attendant upon her position as head of a household. Like Mary, Elizabeth practiced "good lordship" over her staff. This is illustrated, for example, by her payment of burial expenses for her servants. When Robert Arden fell ill in November 1550, Elizabeth paid his expenses during his recovery until March 1551.160 The accounts are full of notations indicating that she reimbursed her staff for their traveling expenses.161 As noted earlier, Elizabeth's accounts are not as extensive or detailed as Mary's, but the limited quantity of material that survives shows bears out this practice of good lordship with a Protestant orientation; she provided for the burial, travel, and health expenses of her servants, and subsidized scholars and booksellers. Like Mary, Elizabeth kept a careful eye on expenditure and signed every page of the accounts herself.162

106Taken together, these admittedly disparate fragments of evidence suggest that the culture of Elizabeth's household was quite distinct from that of Mary's. The former was overtly Protestant in its employment and patronage of reformist scholars; economic realities and religious fashion dictated that its style should be plain, symbolizing its religious alignment. There were seemingly paradoxical hints that this ostensibly Protestant and frugal household paid tribute nevertheless to the artistic culture of Catholic Italy. This notion cannot be pushed too far, however, because the evidence is at best impressionistic. It is worth noting, however, that the altar cloths inherited by Elizabeth from her father's storehouses were decidedly ornate, perhaps approaching the Catholic mannerist style then currently in fashion, exemplifying a personal preference for ornate chapel furnishings that the princess retained even in years yet to come. Such a preference was so strongly associated with Catholicism that it would later lead some of her subjects to question the sincerity of Elizabeth's profession of the Protestant faith, in view of her fondness for sumptuous "papist" altar cloths.163

107These chapel furnishings, contrasted against Elizabeth's simple apparel and bookish interests, must have made a striking impression on a visitor to the princess' establishment. The tapestries—one at least showcasing Greco-Roman myths, and another depicting strong and learned women from the City of Ladies—in combination with other ornate chapel goods, amid all the Protestant simplicity in dress and pastimes, would have served to emphasize both the complexities and the abilities of the young woman who stood second in line to the throne from 1547 to 1553, already the nominal head of her own princely household.


Elizabeth's Self-Determined Household, 1553–1558

108There are indications from other sources that her household was as loyal to its own culture as it was to the princess herself. An important aspect of that culture was its independence from her personal leadership. As the events of the Seymour crisis indicated, Elizabeth remained at this time emotionally dependent on her senior staff. Moreover, her governess and cofferer had helped to arrange for her humanist Protestant education through their connections to Roger Ascham, Anthony Denny, and William Cecil. As the subsequent discussion illustrates, her senior staff were not motivated in these endeavors solely by a benevolent interest in nurturing Elizabeth's mental and social development; they believed also in the furtherance of the Protestant and humanist agenda, and showed themselves ready to campaign actively in this cause even if they created political embarrassment to their mistress by doing so.

109Elizabeth's household staff depended more on each other than on their still underaged mistress for their sense of corporate household identity, according to John Ashley's later account of the scholarly fellowship he enjoyed with Roger Ascham. Ashley harkens back to a time when Ascham was Elizabeth's tutor and traveled with her as part her household throughout 1547–1548 as she visited Katherine Parr at Chelsea and Sir Anthony Denny at Cheshunt:

. . . our friendly fellowship together at Cheshunt, Chelsea and here at Hatfield, her grace's house; our pleasant studies in reading together Aristotle's Rhetoric, Cicero, Livy; our free talk mingled always with honest mirth; our trim conferences of the present world, and too true judgments of the troublesome time that followed.164

110It is telling that in this account Elizabeth is not mentioned as part of this "friendly fellowship." Indeed, the emphasis on "free talk" suggests a relaxed atmosphere that the princess' presence would likely have inhibited. The account hints that at least some—and possibly a great deal—of the household's culture existed independently of Elizabeth. The household officers rather than the princess had fostered the establishment's Protestant and scholarly interests during the period when their mistress remained too young to assume authority in her own right. Her style of dress, and purchases of bibles, indicate that once she was old enough, she fully participated in this Protestant culture, and was indeed the product of it.

111Ashley's account hints that this shared culture created a bond and a sense of corporate loyalty among the household members, reinforcing the cohesion built up during the years when Elizabeth was too young to assume control of the household. The household staff was forced to be self-reliant, and had created a culture that reflected the interests and affiliations of its senior staff; in this, it stood in clear contrast to the culture of Mary's household, which was strongly focussed on the princess at its head.

112An example of this internal cohesion and independence within Elizabeth's staff is found in a letter written by her household officers to Queen Mary's Privy Council in 1554; they acted in this as a corporate body, independent of Elizabeth's nominal leadership. In February 1554, Sir Thomas Wyatt led a rebellion with the aim of overthrowing Queen Mary, instead placing Princess Elizabeth on the throne. The government, suspecting Elizabeth's complicity, had "invited" her to court.165 She declined the invitation and pleaded illness. Perhaps Elizabeth's senior household officers feared this would be seen as a rather obvious ploy on the part of their mistress. In any case, the household staff felt it necessary to send a letter expressing unequivocal loyalty to Mary's Privy Council and to its president, Bishop Stephen Gardiner:

May it please your good Lordship, That albeit we attend here on my Lady Elizabeth's Grace, our Mistress . . . we do not forget our most bounden Duty, nor yet our Readiness in Words and Deeds to serve her Highness [Queen Mary] by all the Ways and Means that may stand in Us, both from her Grace, our Mistress, and of our own Parts also . . .166

113Perhaps Elizabeth had encouraged —or at least permitted—the sending of this letter. In any case, the larger point is that she did not sign it; it was not sent in her name. The letter thus provides a compelling demonstration of the corporate persona the princess' household had created and adopted, operating as such without reference to Elizabeth's nominal leadership.

114The mixture of parental concern and executive autonomy exhibited by Elizabeth's household in sending this letter features also in descriptions by contemporaries of activities undertaken by the princess and her household staff during the years 1553–1558. The princess was deprived of her freedom from early 1554 until mid-1555, spending part of this time imprisoned in the Tower of London, and the remainder under house arrest. As made clear by John Foxe's Book of Martyrs and Sir Henry Bedingfield's correspondence with the Privy Council, the formidable group identity revealed in the officers' letter to the Queen was a source of emotional and political strength to the princess, yet at the same time a source of worry.

115Foxe's narrative of Elizabeth's incarceration, in his famous account of the implementation of Marian religious policy in Book of Martyrs (1563), is as much about Elizabeth's servants as it is about the princess. This most likely came about through a reliance on Foxe's part on the servants' testimony; his methodology favored eyewitness accounts, and studies of state papers to which he could gain access. The likelihood that he based his narrative on the statements of Elizabeth's staff presents some problems. His sources may have led him to exaggerate the role of Elizabeth's servants; moreover, his narrative did not appear, even at the earliest, until almost a decade after the alleged incidents took place. Some of the incidents described appear only in the 1583 edition, nearly thirty years later. This increases the likelihood of distortion, inaccuracy, and manipulation to suit later agendas. Although there is evidence that Foxe's narrative of Elizabeth's tribulations did indeed include exaggerations (as detailed in the footnotes), his account does at least preserve the impressions and ideals of Elizabeth's servants during the period. 167

116Throughout, Foxe presents Elizabeth's servants as tireless advocates committed to maintaining her status as heir to the throne and leader of the Protestant opposition. In his opinion, their labors in this regard begin immediately upon Elizabeth's arrest.168 In his melodramatic depiction, Queen Mary's commissioners arrived at Elizabeth's residence in the middle of the night, barging their way inside and leaving the servants "aghast", and told the princess that they had orders to bring her to court "either quick or dead."169 Foxe represents the commissioners as deliberately rude and disrespectful of Elizabeth's status as the Queen's successor. He contrasts their behavior with that of Elizabeth's staff, recording that the servants, maintaining the highest standard of good hospitality, "entertained and cheered" the commissioners "as appertained to their honors."170 In this way, Elizabeth's household servants, by observing the conventions of hospitality incumbent on an elite household, were upholding Elizabeth's status even as the commissioners had sought through their behavior to undermine it. In Foxe's opinion, the commissioners had treated the princess as a criminal, but her household contradicted this by continuing to offer a deliberate and princely hospitality.

117Given the strength of her household's corporate identity and the role Elizabeth's staff had played in her development, it is hardly surprising that the princess turned to them in difficult moments, much as a child seeks parental comfort. According to Foxe, when Elizabeth first arrived at the Tower in February 1554, Elizabeth refused to enter, whereupon one of her gentlemen ushers burst into tears. At this point, Elizabeth remonstrated with him that he was failing in his duty to her: "shee demaunding of hym what he mente so vncomfortably to vse her, seeing shee tooke hym to be her comfortour and not dismayor."171 Perhaps the most dramatic instance related by Foxe of Elizabeth's reliance on her staff to be her "comforters" occurred much later during the period of her imprisonment, taking place on the night that Sir Henry Bedingfield removed her from the Tower and lodged her at Richmond in preparation for her journey to house arrest at Woodstock Manor in April 1554. It is illustrative of Foxe's overall depiction of the relationship between Elizabeth and her servants, and for that reason is worth quoting at length:

[At Richmond] she . . . called her gentleman usher, and desired him, with the reaste of hys company to pray for her. For this night (quod shee) I thinke to dye. Wherewith he being striken to the hart, sayde: God forbid that any such wickednes should be pretended agaynst youre grace. So cõforting her as well as he could, at laste burst oute in teares, and wente from her downe into the court, wher wer walking the Lord of Tame [Sir John Williams], and Sir Henry Benifield: and he staieng asyde the Lord of Tame . . . he spake on this wise: . . . Why I come to you at this tyme, is to desire your honour unfainedly to delcare vnto me, whether anye daunger is ment towards my maistres this night or no that I and my poore fellowes maye take such part as shal please god to appoint. For certenly we will rather dye, then she should secretely and innocently miscary . . .172

118Foxe relates that Lord Thame assured the servant that Elizabeth was not in any danger. The servant conveyed as much to the princess, but she was unable to take comfort in the assurance. The next day, as Foxe describes, she presented herself again to her servants, figuratively, as a lamb being led to slaughter. As she traveled by barge down the river Thames from Richmond, she spotted some of her servants gathered together at the quayside to watch her dock. She sent a messenger to them with the words "tamquam ovis,"—like a sheep—trusting that her erudite staff would be able to finish the rest of the Latin phrase. Later, after her release from house arrest, Foxe claims that when she was brought to court, she feared for her life and again turned to her servants: she "desyred her gentlemen and gentlewomen to praye for her, for that shee could not tell whether euer shee should see them againe or no."173

119Foxe's depiction of Elizabeth's emotional dependence on her servants is echoed by Bedingfield's correspondence with the Privy Council. At Woodstock, Elizabeth was surrounded mostly by Privy Chamber servants whose first loyalty was to Mary. One of the few servants of her choosing was Elizabeth Sands, who, as the queen quickly learned, was an outspoken Protestant. Mary wrote to Bedingfield that Sands was "a pson off an evyll opinion, and not fyt to remayne aboute or sayde systers p[er]son."174 Apparently, Queen Mary was aware of Elizabeth's emotional attachment to her servants, and warned Bedingfield that separating Sands from Elizabeth would be difficult; she urged that he should "by the best meanes ye can p[er]swade hir to be contented to have the sayde Sands removed from hyr."175 Foxe claimed that Sands had little choice but to depart from Princess Elizabeth's household and subsequently to leave the country, to join the English Protestant ex-patriot community on the Continent.176 According to Bedingfield, this occasioned "great mourning" on the part of Elizabeth.177

120The princess' emotional dependence on her servants indicates psychological bonds of a more intense nature than those between Mary and her servants. Where Mary could practically shrug off the incarceration of her most trusted household officer, Sir Robert Rochester, Elizabeth constantly sought the comfort and strength of her gentlemen ushers and Privy Chamber ladies—at least according to the depictions offered by Foxe and Bedingfield. This intense bond found further expression in the refusal of her household staff to abandon the princess, even when they were forbidden to serve in her household.

121While it clearly lay within Mary's regal power to order the dismissal of one or two individual servants from Elizabeth's household at Woodstock, it remained beyond her to bring about any significant weakening of its stubborn cohesion as a corporate body. Shortly before Elizabeth left the Tower, Bedingfield wrote to the Marian Privy Council for guidance concerning "my ladyes gracs s'v[au]nts lieng about" the Tower gates, even though their mistress, still being imprisoned at that time, was clearly in no position to employ them.178 After Elizabeth was moved from the Tower to Woodstock, members of her household staff took up residence at a nearby inn, establishing it as something like an unofficial base of operations for their reconstituted corporate body, and further confounding Bedingfield's ability to isolate Elizabeth.

122This situation came about in part through the practice, common at the time, of requiring state prisoners to bear the costs of their own imprisonment. Elizabeth perforce retained possession of her estates, so that she had income from which to pay the wages and living expenses of Sir Henry Bedingfield and his servants, besides the servants that the queen placed in Elizabeth's Privy Chamber. Not surprisingly, this arrangement led to friction between Thomas Parry, Elizabeth's cofferer, and Bedingfield. Parry refused to settle the demands for payment presented to him until he received an official warrant from the queen, making clear that Elizabeth's household was responsible for Bedingfield and his staff.179 This made it necessary for Elizabeth to consult regularly with a group of her senior household officers to oversee the provisioning of the Woodstock staff.

123This provided the princess' household staff with all the opportunity they needed. Although actual numbers are hard to come by, an apparently substantial portion of Elizabeth's household established themselves at the nearby Bull's Inn. Bedingfield claimed that there were far more of her officers resident at the Inn than the one or two individuals the government originally envisioned would be needed to manage the provisioning of the Woodstock establishment. Thomas Parry the cofferer led the way in Champernon-Ashley's absence (at this time, she was herself imprisoned in the home of Sir Roger Cholmley, under suspicion of complicity in the Wyatt rebellion).180 Initially, Parry had campaigned to reconstitute the household at Woodstock manor itself, but Bedingfield objected to this, sending a complaint to the Privy Council—which responded by asserting that the resident clerk of the kitchen could disburse the necessary sums to pay for supplies and the wages of the Woodstock establishment, bypassing Parry entirely.181 Not to be outmaneuvered, the cofferer then set up his headquarters close by Woodstock at the Bull's Inn, much to the consternation of Bedingfield who described it, in June 1554, as "a m'velous coularbyll place to practise" subversion. It was not just Parry himself who resided there:

. . . that syns hys com[m]yng hyther wth thoose that remayneth wth hym, daylie there hath repared unto hym to the nomber off xlti psons In hys owen lyverie, besydes the daylie repare off my ladys gracs s'vnts, beeng mannye more then have cause to repare hyther for any p[ro]vision.182

124Bedingfield's emphasis here on the servants in Parry's livery suggests that he suspected that the cofferer had circumvented the official restriction of Elizabeth's household by putting some of her servants in his own livery. Bedingfield limited the success of any such strategy by drawing the government's attention to it in this account.

125He wrote another letter to the Privy Council about the political danger of allowing such a large group of servants to reside at the Bull's Inn: "Even as I adv'tised yor l[ordships] longe agooe: the house also beeng a common Inne, wherin thei dooe lye, and thei so politicque as thei bee, I can gette no knowledge off there doengs by eny espiall."183 An indication of the difficulties this presented to him is contained in his October report of Parry's continuing presence at the Bull:

Mr Parry, thys greate ladies coferer, dothe Intende to kepe hys awdyte here in Thys towne at the Inne where he lyethe, & auppon that colour theys viij or x dayes laste paste divers of hys s'vaunts hathe repayred to thys the quenes highnes howse [Woodstock], seking occasion to speke wt their fellowes, whych beynge answered that they myght not dooe, dep[ar]ted Imediatelye; and thereuppo[n] I sent incontynentlye to the same Mr Parry, declaryrynge their repayer to this howse. And he answered him that wente of that message, that he hadd warnyd all hir gracs s'vaunts, not beinge appointed to wayte dayly, uppon there alegiuance not to come eny nerer thys howse then hys lodginge, and was, as he saide, for hys owne p[ar]te sorye theye should sooe mysuse them selfes, p[ro]mysinge to dooe as much as lyeth in hym that yt shall nooe nmore be sooe. I praye yor L[ordships] lette me know yor plesures how to use them yf the happen to make the lyke attempte, After thys my second warnynge.184

126It would be interesting to know for certain which allegiance Parry was invoking in this passage—that which the servants owed to Mary as their Queen, or that which they clearly felt toward their mistress the princess Elizabeth? Perhaps Bedingfield himself was uncertain, for he was not mollified by Parry's disingenuous protestations. He begged the Queen and the Privy Council that they relieve him of the impossible task of guarding a prisoner whose household refused to be disbanded. The circumstances were such that even as jailer, he could not completely isolate his prisoner: "there ys an evident waye that I cannot avoyde by enye possible mense, butte that daylye & howerlye the sayde Parye maye have & gyve intelligence" to the princess.185 It is little wonder that he begged for relief, confessing that the end of his guardianship of Elizabeth would be "the Joyfulleste tydyngs that ever came to me."186

127Bedingfield did not have to wait long. The experiment of guarding a state prisoner whose household was determined to remain constituted and nearby its mistress was brought to an end in April 1555. It had lasted a year; the constant problems in containing the household staff had exhausted the government, as attested in a letter of October 1554 from Queen Mary to Bedingfield. Attempting to stem the torrent of correspondence he had been sending to the Privy Council, the queen asserted that that she had complete confidence in him, urging that he should feel fully empowered to take whatever steps he deemed necessary to restrain the activities of the princess' servants "wherin ye shall dooe us acceptable s'vice"; in other words, there was really no need for Bedingfield to request official advice on every trivial point relating to the princess and her obdurate household.187 Limiting the access of Elizabeth's servants to their mistress had proved an impossible task. Elizabeth would technically remain under house arrest (under a new "governor," Sir Thomas Pope), but there were no further attempts to separate her from her own household staff, nor to keep her under strict house arrest.

128Although Elizabeth's household had displayed an impressive level of corporate cohesion, even to the point of frustrating Bedingfield's efforts to isolate the princess, this tendency to act without direct reference to the princess did not always work in her favor. From late 1553, Elizabeth judged it politically expedient to attend the reinstated Latin mass, and to give no outward sign of her own Protestant beliefs. Her household staff did not follow suit. Foxe detailed the Protestant activities—now illegal—of some of her servants.188 A groom of her chamber refused to hear mass. Her chaplain, residing with her in the Tower, claimed not to know how to perform mass properly. One of her gentlewomen lent the princess a copy of her own contraband English bible.189 Throughout Mary's reign, Elizabeth's servants were regularly summoned before the Privy Council to account for their nonattendance at Mass.190 Although Elizabeth conformed scupulously from 1553 onward, her servants continued to keep books now forbidden, and absented themselves from Mass.

129It is tempting to interpret these acts of religious nonconformance on the part of her servants as a covert ploy approved by Elizabeth to maintain her credibility with her Protestant supporters, at a time when she felt constrained to conform outwardly to Catholicism. There is, however, no evidence to support this view. Indeed, a 1554 letter from Elizabeth to William Paulet, marquis of Winchester (and confidant of Queen Mary) suggests that the princess regarded her household's public defiance as an unwelcome frustration of her efforts to allay the government's suspicions concerning her political and religious intentions. She begged Paulet and his colleagues on the Privy Council not to associate her with the subversive activities of her household members. She asked that "of my owne things and doeings [that] myne owne words may stand in most creditt with you." Elizabeth sought to distance herself from "them of my nowne family [household]" whose nonconformity, she claimed, did not reflect her own intentions.191

130Perhaps Elizabeth was being disingenuous here. However, it is possible, and perhaps even probable, that she was perfectly sincere in what she wrote. Although personally committed to the Protestant faith, she would later demonstrate as Queen an acute awareness of the strength of Catholic practices and belief still remaining in the kingdom, and would alienate many of her Protestant supporters by refusing to authorize a radically Protestant realignment of the church after her accession.192 As heir to the throne, the princess understood the political threat she posed to her sister's regime, presenting by her very existence a focus for the disaffected. At the time of her letter to Paulet, she was still under house arrest at Woodstock, having been the figurehead (perhaps unwillingly) of a rebellion that had come very close indeed to overthrowing Mary. Elizabeth had every reason to cultivate an image of obedience at this time, and the actions of her servants threatened to undermine her efforts toward this goal. The princess' letter achieved some degree of success: a few of her servants were implicated in another conspiracy in 1556, but on this occasion, the government did not automatically assume Elizabeth's complicity.193

131Nevertheless, the continued subversive activities of her servants caused Elizabeth to remain politically estranged from her sister throughout the rest of Mary's reign. The autonomy of Elizabeth's household was a source both of support and of difficulties for her during this period. Her servants worked as a group to support her throughout her imprisonment, but their subsequent activities increased the risk that, whether she wished it or not, she might be viewed as the Protestant alternative to the queen's Catholic regime. Elizabeth's household—with its unusually strong sense of corporate identity—could frustrate efforts to neutralize her politically. However, this same household persona meant that the staff did not feel themselves bound by the letter of her directives. The household as a corporate body was capable of setting its own agenda that, and of pursuing it without the benefit of the princess' leadership—or even, at times, of her approval.

132The loyalty of Elizabeth's household staff to the princess is certainly evident in the letter written early in 1554; this same letter, however, also demonstrated strongly the staff's corporate independence. To its members, the princess was their focus, their figurehead, their symbol. Elizabeth's household, as demonstrated in the above letter, and by its ability to reconstitute itself at the Bull's Inn, possessed its own internal cohesion and an identity that was only partly dependent on the princess. This was a Protestant, collegiate household, committed to the new religion and education. It was capable of taking unilateral action not only to protect its mistress, but also to safeguard its own existence and agenda. This cohesion had been achieved during the period in which the princess' youth precluded her from assuming full authority over her staff. Rather, she was dependent on her servants; as she put it, they were her "bringers-up." It is little wonder that the seventeenth-century scholar John Strype, whose transcription remains the only source of the letter written by the princess' household staff in 1554, referred to Elizabeth's servants as her "Governors" who had the "Care and Government" of the princess.194

133This is not to suggest that Elizabeth failed to grasp the implications of her lineage, or to assert her authority over her staff. Champernon-Ashley's testimony during the Seymour crisis indicates that as early as 1548, Elizabeth was at least beginning to take the household reins of power into her own hands. Clearly, however, the household worked as a unit whether or not its mistress was able physically to preside over it. This was not true of Mary's household; when Mary was deprived of her own establishment in 1533, there is no record that her staff remained together, stubbornly constituted as a household in exile. In sending the 1554 letter, Elizabeth's officers functioned as a corporate entity to the extent of corresponding on their own collective behalf, independent of their mistress. Even Foxe's narrative of Elizabeth's servant asking Lord Thame if there were any sinister designs on his mistress describes a declaration by the same servant, as to the action the household as a whole—"I and my fellows"—will take to defend her. In almost all instances, Elizabeth's servants are represented as a group, working with their "fellows" toward the common goals of protecting their mistress' interests and pursuing their own.

134Elizabeth's household functioned quite literally as a family, in both the early modern and the contemporary sense. It was bound by the conventio, and by blood. This situation brought to the establishment a combination of rewards and problems. On the positive side, in light of Anne Boleyn's early death and Henry VIII's neglect, the household's bringing up of the princess during her early years was aided by the Boleyn familial connections amongst the staff to each other and to Elizabeth. Negatively, the household was subject to tensions of the kind that often characterize families. The Bryan/Shelton conflict over the scale of hospitality in Elizabeth's household has no counterpart in the records relating to Mary's preaccession household. Elizabeth's youth and her uncertain political future, combined with a lack of parental authority, meant that her preaccession household was forced to construct its own modus vivendi. As a body, it determined its own identity and agenda, setting policies for itself rather than depending on the underaged princess to do so.

135Unlike princesses before them, Mary and Elizabeth did not spend their years prior to marriage living at court or in dependent establishments in the country. Mary lived at her own court during two periods: from 1525 until 1528, and from 1547 until 1553. Elizabeth likewise lived at her own court, during this second period. During these periods, the princesses were not royal dependents. They did not serve, in the usual way, as disposable assets to be used in cementing diplomatic alliances useful to the crown. Rather, they were leaders of corporate followings. Their households—each probably employing, on average, somewhere between seventy-five and a hundred individuals throughout the period—were bound to their respective mistress in various ways. Initially, the oath known as the conventio bound the servant to the royal householder, making its taker their mistress' sworn man or woman. As good householders, Mary and Elizabeth each fulfilled their side of the conventio by providing for the welfare of their servants and dispensing patronage to their noble staff (e.g. Katherine Parr) and scholars (e.g. Roger Ascham).

136These ties of ceremony and patronage were reinforced by the artistic and practical cultures manifested in each household. Although each establishment adhered to its own distinct aesthetic, they both reflected, in their different ways, interpretations of Castiglione's courtly ideal. Mary's household was an expression of her personal will. Her household culture revolved around her tastes and interests; following the model of Urbino as described in The Courtier, it engaged in the courtly pastimes of intellectualized love-play, witty conversation, and scholarship—along with less exalted but more accessible entertainments such as gambling. Elizabeth, on the other hand, was the product of her household's interests, and of its mission to raise and educate her. Elizabeth both absorbed and contributed to the Protestant, Italianate, and academic culture her household had created.

137These formal, economical, and cultural bonds forged strong group identities amongst the men and women who served in the households of the two princesses. In addition to the daily benefits of convivial socializing and emotional support, the half sisters also reaped political rewards from their corporate households. The culture of reverence in Mary's establishment culminated in the direct support of her servants for her religious defiance of the government's Protestant edicts, even at the risk of their own lives. This unquestioning obedience to her directives, even when it entailed a treasonous disregard of royal commands, bolstered Mary's public reputation as a determined leader of the Catholic opposition. Based on the behavior of her household staff, few of Mary's future subjects could have been left in any doubt of her religious views, or of her determination and ability to stand by them.

138Elizabeth's parental household shielded the princess from the political fallout of Thomas Seymour's arrest. Its autonomy, continuing to operate even without direct reference to the princess, allowed her household to reconstitute itself even during the period of her house arrest at Woodstock. This not only undermined the government's efforts to isolate the princess; it also maintained her princely status. Political prisoner as she was, Elizabeth still had a royal household, even if she herself was prevented from presiding over it in person. At the same time, her household's loyalty to the Protestant culture it had created meant that the princess herself was not always the primary focus of the household's allegiance. Nevertheless, even this independence, politically dangerous as it proved on occasion, ensured that Elizabeth continued to be identified as a leader of the Protestant resistance.

139As elite women, Mary and Elizabeth were not alone in reaping the political benefits of managing and heading their own households. Other aristocratic women acquired de facto authority over their kin, neighbors, servants, and clients by virtue of their positions, in some instances as a widow heading her own household, and in others as a wife managing the household of which her husband was nominally the head.195 Not only did Mary and Elizabeth head their own households in their own name; again in common with other noble and gentry women, they also owned property. One of the major functions of their households, like those of other elite women and men, was to serve as administrative centers for the management of properties. The next chapter of this study presents a closer examination of the estates that the princesses received after Henry VIII's death.


Note 1: To list but a few among many: A. G. Dickens, ed., The Courts of Europe: Politics, Patronage and Royalty [London, 1977]; N. Elias, The Court Society [Oxford, 1983]; R. G. Asch, ed., Princes, Patronage and the Nobility: The Court at the Beginning of the Modern Age [Oxford UP, 1991], and J. Adamson, ed., The Princely Courts of Europe: Ritual, Politics and Culture under the Ancien Regime, 1500–1700, [London, 1999] back

Note 2: Harris, English Aristocratic Women, p. 76 back

Note 3: Woolgar, The Great Household, p. 30 back

Note 4: Taken from a phrase found in a set of instructions issued by the crown for Mary's 1525 household, urging Mary's household officers to maintain the "good politique profitable and substantiall order of the householde"; BL Cotton Vitellius, C.i., f. 9v back

Note 5: BL Harley 479, f. 7r as cited in Woolgar, Great Household, p. 30 back

Note 6: Woolgar, Great Household, p. 37 back

Note 7: Fletcher, Gender, Sex . . . , p. 212 back

Note 8: E. G. Kimball, Serjeanty Tenure in Medieval England [Yale UP, 1936], pp. 18–68 back

Note 9: Bk.12, p. 2296, accessed at
http://www.hrionline.ac.uk/johnfoxe/main/12_1570_2296.jsp back

Note 10: Wolffe, Crown Lands . . . , pp. 54–55 back

Note 11: BL Cotton Vitellius, C.i., f.7r back

Note 12: Woolgar, Great Household, p. 39 back

Note 13: Initial evidence for Salisbury's appointment comes from LP, III, pt.1, 805; on May 13, 1520, Salisbury received as Mary's governess the revenues of a wardship, presumably as wages. Before 1520, Mary's governess was Margaret Bryan, who would later serve in the same capacity in both Elizabeth's and Edward's households. Before Bryan, Elizabeth Denton held the post but she may not have served. It seems most likely that Bryan was Denton's deputy and held the office in reversion until Denton's death. See LP, II, pt. 1, 454 and pt. 2, 3802 back

Note 14: For full treatment of Pole, see H. Pierce, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury 1473–1541: Loyalty, Lineage, and Leadership [Wales UP, 2003] back

Note 15: Mertes, English Noble Households, p. 65 back

Note 16: Loades, p. 30 back

Note 17: Madden, p. 277 back

Note 18: LP, III, 1673 back

Note 19: Loades, p. 41 questions whether Dorset ever actually served in this capacity, but not the actual appointment itself back

Note 20: Lady Kingston (Mary Scrope Jerningham) had previously served in Katherine of Aragon's household, and as a nonresident member of Mary's household from 1536 to 1538. Harris, English Aristocratic Women, p. 17, fn. 37 back

Note 21: CSP Venetian, II, 1287 back

Note 22: CSP Venetian, vol. II, 1010, 1287 back

Note 23: Giles, Du Wes, An Introductory for to Learn to Read, to Pronounce, and to Speak French [1532?], ed. R. C. Alston, Facsimile [Menston, UK, 1972], sig. T3v back

Note 24: "Instructions," f. 24v back

Note 25: "Instructions," ff. 8v–9r. My italics. There is a blank space in the manuscript between the two words of the phrase "vnfitting manners" back

Note 26: Although printed in 1534, scholars have argued persuasively that the scale of the household described by the French tutor as well as the named personnel were more reflective of the Welsh household than of Mary's later 1530s households. Loades, p. 43 and G. Walker, Persuasive Fictions: Faction, Faith and Political Culture in the Reign of Henry VIII, [Scolar Press, 1996], p. 203 back

Note 27: Printed in Italy in 1528, The Courtier did not appear in a printed English translation until 1560 but was, apparently, read widely at Henry's court by the early 1530s. See Starkey, Reign of Henry VIII, p. 33 back

Note 28: Duwes, sigs. Aa4r–Bb1r back

Note 29: Duwes, sig.A4r back

Note 30: Duwes, sig.Aa2v back

Note 31: Duwes, sig.U4r back

Note 32: Duwes, sig. A4r back

Note 33: Duwes, sig. Bb2r back

Note 34: Loades, pp. 346–357 provides a detailed chart tracing the service of many of Mary's staff throughout her households from 1516 until her death in 1558. For continuous service of kitchen servants like Oliver Hunt from 1519 to 1533, see LP, III, 970; BL Harley 6807, f.5r, f.8v and Madden, pp. 12, 40, 56, 65, 71, 75, 89, 104, 113, 161. back

Note 35: Madden, pp. 205-276 and Loades, pp. 358–369 back

Note 36: CSP Spanish, X, Jan.14, 1550, p. 5 back

Note 37: BL Stowe 141, f. 13r–v back

Note 38: Madden, p. 67 back

Note 39: Madden, p. 17 back

Note 40: Madden, p. 25 back

Note 41: Ibid. back

Note 42: Madden, p. 144 back

Note 43: Madden, p. 30 back

Note 44: Madden, pp. 20, 39, 55, 69 back

Note 45: Madden, p. 39 back

Note 46: Madden, pp. 9, 21, 28, 53, 70, 121 back

Note 47: Both of these men appear too frequently in the accounts to permit a full list here; see index entries in Madden, pp. 213 and 254. back

Note 48: Madden, p. 28 back

Note 49: LP, III, pt. 2, 3375 back

Note 50: CSP, Spanish, IV, pt. 2, 1137 back

Note 51: CSP, Spanish, IV, pt. 2, 1161 back

Note 52: CSP, Spanish, IV, pt. 2, 1144. November 3, 1533 back

Note 53: BL Cotton Otho, C.X., ff. 266r–v back

Note 54: BL Cotton Otho, C.X., f. 276r back

Note 55: Ibid. back

Note 56: PRO SP 10/1, no. 30; abstracted in CSP Edward, Domestic, 36 back

Note 57: For Elyot, see Madden, p. 82; for Morley, see Dowling, Humanism in the Court of Henry VIII [Kent UK, 1986], p. 228 back

Note 58: R. K. Marshall, Mary I [London, 1993], p. 6 back

Note 59: Madden, p. 88 back

Note 60: It was, apparently, common practice for householders or household managers (usually women) to sign the household accounts and inventories; for example, Margaret Beaufort (mother of Henry VII) signed her accounts: Jones and Underwood, The King's Mother . . . , p. 159 back

Note 61: Ives, Anne Boleyn, p. 246; Loades, p. 115 back

Note 62: TNA SP 10/1, no.38 abstracted in CSP Domestic Edward VI, 36. back

Note 63: CSP Domestic Edward 36 back

Note 64: C. I. Merton, "The women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth: Ladies, Gentlewomen and Maids of the Privy Chamber, 1553–1603" [Cambridge, unpublished PhD, 1992], pp. 38–40 back

Note 65: S. E. James, Kateryn Parr: The Making of a Queen, [Aldershot, UK, 1999], p. 90 back

Note 66: Ibid. back

Note 67: Ibid. back

Note 68: Loades, p. 117 back

Note 69: S. James, Kateryn Parr [Aldershot, UK, 1999], pp. 130–134 back

Note 70: BL Royal MS. 17 B XXVIII, f. 61v back

Note 71: CSP, Spanish, VIII, p. 2 as quoted in James, Kateryn Parr, pp. 130–131 back

Note 72: Harris, English Aristocratic Women, p. 222 back

Note 73: Madden, p. 185 back

Note 74: Harris, English Aristocratic Women . . . , p. 211 back

Note 75: Harris, English Aristocratic Women, p. 10 back

Note 76: Loades, p. 143 back

Note 77: Mary protested the legislative changes in religion pushed through by the Edwardian government in 1547. See BL Cotton Faustina C. ii; f. 66r–67v for Protector Somerset's reply to Mary's letter of protest (which itself does not survive) concerning the 1547 repeal of the Act of Six Articles back

Note 78: APC, II, p. 238 back

Note 79: Quoted from an unidentified source in Prescott, p. 123 back

Note 80: APC, III, pp. 333–36 back

Note 81: Ibid. back

Note 82: APC, III, p. 341 back

Note 83: APC, III, p. 352. back

Note 84: APC, III, p. 341 back

Note 85: APC, III, p. 345 back

Note 86: APC, III, p. 350 back

Note 87: Ibid. My italics back

Note 88: CSP, Spanish, X, pp. 350, 359 back

Note 89: CSP, Spanish, IX, p. 257; X, pp. 362–364, 410 back

Note 90: APC, III, p. 503 gives the date for their release from the Tower as March 1551, but this does not make sense since they were not committed to the Tower until August 1551. The more plausible date is March 1552 back

Note 91: H. Clifford, The Life of Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria, ed. Rev. Joseph Stevenson [London, 1887], p. 61. back

Note 92: As abstracted in CSP Spanish, X, pp. 124–135 back

Note 93: Madden, p. 26 back

Note 94: J. Eales, Women in Early Modern England, 1500–1700 [London, 1998], p. 87 back

Note 95: Lawrence Stone, "Patriarchy and Paternalism in Tudor England: The Earl of Arundel and the Peasants' Revolt of 1549," Journal of British Studies, 13/2 (May 1974), pp. 20–21 back

Note 96: As attested in Margaret Bryan's letter to Cromwell in 1536 and Mary's letter to Henry VIII already cited; BL Cotton Otho X, f.234r back

Note 97: LP, XIX, pt.1, 780 for 1542 encounter back

Note 98: BL Lansdowne 1236, f. 35; CW, p. 35. For Ashley's descent, see Collins, Jewels and Plate, p. 199. back

Note 99: LP, IX, 568 back

Note 100: Ives, Anne Boleyn, p. 247 back

Note 101: Ives, Anne Boleyn, p. 272; Dowling, Humanism, pp. 233–234 back

Note 102: Prescott, Mary Tudor, p. 79 back

Note 103: BL Cotton Otho X, f. 234r. Source of all subsequent quotations from this letter. back

Note 104: LP, X, pp. 494–495 and XI, Oct.10, 1536 back

Note 105: CSP, Edward, Domestic, 181 back

Note 106: Haynes, State Papers, p. 96 back

Note 107: R. Clutterbuck, The History and Antiquities of the County of Hertford . . . , London, 1815], vol. II, p. 107. back

Note 108: Haynes, A Collection of State Papers . . . , p. 96 back

Note 109: Dictionary of National Biography, entries under "Fortescue" and "Parry" back

Note 110: Thomas Parry and William Cecil had a common ancestor: their great-grandmother Maud Vaughan; Clutterbuck, II, p. 340 back

Note 111: CSP Edward Domestic, 362, 363, 445, 468, 727, 735 back

Note 112: LP, IX, 132 back

Note 113: For discussion as to which individuals may or may not have initially educated Elizabeth, see Dowling, Humanism . . . , p. 63; Ryan, Roger Ascham, p. 104; Johnson, Elizabeth I, p. 16 back

Note 114: Most of Elizabeth's biographers have assumed that she and Edward shared their lessons, but Maria Dowling argues that the princess' gender would have resulted in a different educational program. See Dowling, Humanism, p. 211 back

Note 115: Starkey, p. 27 back

Note 116: Dowling, Humanism, pp. 62–3, 106, 212, 234; Starkey, pp. 26–7; Ryan, Roger Ascham, p. 16 back

Note 117: Ibid. back

Note 118: Ryan, Roger Ascham, p. 104 back

Note 119: Ryan, Roger Ascham, pp. 102–118 back

Note 120: CSP Edward Domestic, 191 back

Note 121: Haynes, State Papers, p. 96. All subsequent references to Katherine Champernon-Ashley's testimony can be found in CW, pp. 25–30 back

Note 122: Haynes, A Collection of State Papers, pp. 107–108 back

Note 123: Haynes, A Collection of State Papers, p. 89 back

Note 124: Ibid. back

Note 125: Haynes, A Collection of State Papers, p. 88 back

Note 126: N.Z. Davis, Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and their Tellers in Sixteenth-Century France [Stanford UP, 1990], passim back

Note 127: James, Kateryn Parr, p. 92 back

Note 128: See letters 1, 2, 4, 8, and 10 from Elizabeth to Parr printed in Collected Works, pp. 5–7, 10–13, 17, 20 back

Note 129: H. Latimer, Sermons and Remains, ed. G. Corrie [Cambridge, 1844], I, pp. 161–165, 228–229 back

Note 130: Haynes, A Collection of State Papers, p. 108 back

Note 131: CW, p. 19 back

Note 132: Starkey, p. 73 back

Note 133: BL Lansdowne 1236, f.33; CW, p. 32 back

Note 134: Ibid. back

Note 135: Ibid. back

Note 136: CW, p. 28 back

Note 137: Haynes, A Collection of State Papers, pp. 99–100 back

Note 138: CW, p. 26 back

Note 139: Ibid. back

Note 140: Ibid. back

Note 141: CSP Edward VI, Domestic, 181 back

Note 142: Ibid. back

Note 143: BL Cotton Vespasian MS, F. III, f.48; CW, pp. 25–30 back

Note 144: Collins, Jewels and Plate, pp. 201–202 back

Note 145: CSP Edward, Domestic, 362 back

Note 146: Ryan, Roger Ascham, p. 102 back

Note 147: R. Ascham, The Schoolmaster (1570), ed. E. Arber [Birmingham 1870], pp. 25–31 back

Note 148: Ryan, Roger Ascham, p. 135 back

Note 149: Ryan, Roger Ascham, p. 107 back

Note 150: Dowling, Humanism, p. 200 back

Note 151: The History of Italy (1549) by William Thomas, ed. George B. Parks [Cornell UP, 1963], see Parks's introduction for discussion of the English interest in Italian culture back

Note 152: CSP Mary, 456 back

Note 153: M. Perry, The Word of a Prince [Woodbridge, UK, 1990], pp. 49–50 back

Note 154: BL Lansdowne 94, art. 10, f. 21 back

Note 155: All quotations are from "The Household Account of the Princess Elizabeth, 1551–2," ed. Viscount Strangford, The Camden Miscellany, 2, [Camden Society, 1853], hereafter cited as "Accounts" back

Note 156: On the eve of her accession, Elizabeth claimed that her landed revenues had never been adequate to her expenses; M. J. Rodgríguez-Salgado and S. Adams, "The Count of Feria's Dispatch to Philip II of 14 November 1558," Camden Miscellany, 4th ser., vol. 28 [London, 1984]. Hereafter "FD" for Feria Dispatch back

Note 157: "Accounts," pp. 80, 81, 85, 89 back

Note 158: Bodleian Smith 68, f.44 back

Note 159: Quoted in J. Strype, Historical Collections of the Life and Acts of the Right Reverend Father in God, John Aylmer, Lord Bishop of London in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth (Oxford, 1821), pp. 195–196 back

Note 160: "Accounts," p. 84 back

Note 161: "Accounts," e.g. pp. 86, 89–90 back

Note 162: "Accounts," pp. 49–50, 94 back

Note 163: S. Brigden, New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors, 1485-1603 [New York, 2000], p. 216 back

Note 164: As quoted in Starkey, p. 81. Ashley's account prefaced Ascham's Report and Discourse of the Affaires and State of Germany [1555] back

Note 165: Strype, Ecclesiastical memorials, [1816] IV, pp. 130-132 back

Note 166: Strype, Historical Memorials, 1781, Vol. III, p. 82 back

Note 167: B. Usher, "Backing Protestantism: the London Godly, the Exchequer and the Foxe Circle" from John Foxe: An Historical Perspective, ed. D. Loades [Aldershot, UK, 1999], pp. 105–134 back

Note 168: John Foxe, Acts and Monuments of These Latter and Perillous Dayes . . . [London, John Day, March 20, 1563], sig. 1710v back

Note 169: This is, likely, an example of a Foxian exaggeration; CSP Mary, 86 back

Note 170: Foxe, 1563, sigs. 1711r–v back

Note 171: Foxe, sig. 1712r back

Note 172: Foxe, (1563) sig. 1713v back

Note 173: Foxe, sig. 1715r back

Note 174: C. R. Manning, "State Papers relating to the custody of the Princess Elizabeth at Woodstock, in 1554 . . .", Norfolk Archaeology . . ., 4 (1855), p. 166; hereafter these Bedingfield Papers will be cited as "BP" back

Note 175: Ibid. back

Note 176: Foxe, [1583 ed.], p. 580 back

Note 177: BP, pp. 166–171 back

Note 178: BP, p. 141 back

Note 179: BP, p. 176 back

Note 180: Collins, Jewels and Plate, p. 206; CSP Mary, 87, 426 back

Note 181: BP, p. 155 back

Note 182: BP, p. 194 back

Note 183: BP, pp. 194, 196, 211 back

Note 184: BP, p. 220 back

Note 185: BP, p. 176 back

Note 186: BP, p. 221 back

Note 187: BP, p. 214 back

Note 188: Foxe, 1583, p. 580 back

Note 189: Foxe, 1583, pp. 580, 610; 1563, sig.1712r back

Note 190: BP, p. 219 back

Note 191: BL Harley 37, f.14v; late-seventeenth-century copy. I am grateful to Janel Mueller for allowing me to quote from her original transcript. This letter does not appear in her modernized edition of Elizabeth's letters in CW back

Note 192: N.L. Jones, Faith by Statute [London, 1982], pp. 114–115; C. Haigh, English Reformations [Oxford, 1993], pp. 235–250 back

Note 193: Starkey, Elizabeth, p. 193 back

Note 194: Strype, Ecclesiastical Memorials . . . , [1781], III, p. 82 back

Note 195: B. J. Harris, English Aristocratic Women 1450–1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers [Oxford UP, 2002], p. 6 back