Friday, May 29, 2009

Question from Jacque - Katherine of Aragon's ladies in the 1520s

How many ladies-in-waiting did Katharine of Aragon have around the 1520s and does anyone know all or some of their names?


kb said...

I am unaware of any comprehensive listing of Katherine of Aragon's ladies. Some are discussed in Anne Somerset's "Ladies in Waiting from the Tudors to the Present Day". Some are discussed in Agnes Strickland's volume on Katherine.

I suspect some information would be available in the Lord Chamberlain's paper's in The National Archives, Kew Gardens. This is where, most likely, some record of wag payments would exist.

There may be a doctoral student somewhere working on ths.

Foose said...

As kb notes, there appears to be no comprehensive listing extant. (Perhaps a future biographer of Catherine of Aragon might note this, and remedy it.) Neville Williams notes that Catherine's household numbered about 160 during her peak of influence, so it seems there must be some sort of record available to check.

One good starting point I found is Barbara Harris' "English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550," specifically the chapter entitled "Their Brilliant Careers." It lists a number of Catherine's attendants, but because the focus is not chronological you have to look around for the ones serving her in the 1520s. Harris says that "In the first year of Henry VIII's reign, Katherine of Aragon's household included thirty-three aristocratic women, eighteen of whom were the wives or daughters of peers. After that, the queen's household remained relatively stable in size." So of the 160 mentioned by Williams, you're looking for about 33 (rotating, probably, as women cycled in and out of the queen's household for marriage, etc.) females of higher rank (unless he was also including laundresses, perhaps, or other menials.)

I excerpted the following, who appear to be correct for at least the early 1520s by either the dates cited or the circumstances surrounding their being cited (i.e., they appear to be long-standing attendants):

-"The duchess of Norfolk [Elizabeth Stafford Howard] belonged to Katherine of Aragon's household for sixteen years ..."

-"Lady Maud Parr [Katherine Parr's mother] served her for over ten ..."

-"Jane Seymour and Margery Horsman served both Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn ..."

-"Mary (nee Scrope) Jerningham Kingston belonged to Katherine of Aragon's household from 1509 until at least 1527 ..."

-"Jane Parker first appeared at court in the 1520s ..." (However, Harris does not identify her as Catherine of Aragon's attendant, but to be a female at court you had to have some official position, so it might logically follow)

-"Lady Jane Guildford began her career [with Elizabeth of York]. She subsequently served [Henry VIII's] wife ..."

-"In 1529, Katherine of Aragon paid Elizabeth Blount, a knight's daughter [this appears to be a different Elizabeth Blount than the mother of Henry's son] and Lady Anne Grey ... 13 pounds 2s. 8d."

-"After Katherine of Aragon's death, [Henry VIII] granted an annuity of 40 pounds to one of her attendants, Margaret, Lady Grey."

-We also have Mary Boleyn Carey, who seems to have succeeded her mother in Catherine's household, and her sister Anne Boleyn. Margaret Pole became Mary's governess in 1520, so she was no longer with the queen.

Harris also mentions the young women who performed in a court masque in 1518, whose service may have carried over through the 1520s:

"Of the eleven other [than Mary "Rose" Tudor] women who performed that day, four (Lady Guildford the younger, Lady Carew, Elizabeth Blount, and Lady St. Leger) were members of the queen's household and five others (Anne Carew, Anne Wotton, Mary Fiennes and Margaret Bruges) were probably Maids-of-Honor or young women who were living in her ladies' chambers."

Lara said...

Thanks (as always!) for your comprehensive research Foose!

I just picked up Harris' book a month or so ago and I might have to dig into it sooner rather than later.