Sunday, March 28, 2010

Question from Bettina - Anne of Cleves' household after the divorce

I'm wondering about Anne of Cleves after she was divorced and retired to Richmond, or more specifically, her household. It seems her old household was dissembled after the split from Henry and some of her ladies went on to serve Katherine Howard. But what about Anne? Did she still enjoy the full household a member of the royal family would have, just made up of new people (or a mix of old and new ones), at Richmond? And what happened with that huge castle after it became her residence? Even with a full-size entourage and the number of servants that entailed, wouldn't a big part of it have simply stood empty?


kb said...

I don't know how big Richmond was in the day. Did she take up permanent residence at Richmond?

In the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, available at the Internet Archive, there is a lot of information about her dower lands granted to her when she came to England and her 'alimony'. At the divorce, Henry allotted her at least 2 houses, an allowance and an income amounting to at least 5,000 marks per annum.

It appears that Henry paid her household staff as warrants exist for payments for her chamberlain, steward, receiver, cofferer, clerk comptroller, what looks like 6 grooms, 2 'dutch women', secretary, cook, physician, butler,maybe 5 footmen. These payments were to the 'strangers' i.e. foreigners. See L&P, vol 15, p. 526.

She would have had additional English staff as well as some maids of honor from elite households.

Bettina said...

It appears Anne spent a lot of time at Richmond, maybe even most her time in the years immediately following the divorce! She entertained Henry and his children there on several occasions; it just seemed odd to me that a castle that was obviously big enough to serve as one of Henry's residences before would suddenly be half-empty, because full household of her own or not, there's no way Anne was housing even a third of the people Henry would have been bringing with him, right? (She also got Bletchingley and Hever Castle, which were still big, but at least somewhat smaller scale, I'd imagine.)

And that's fantastic, thank you so much! I'd checked Google Books for the Letters & Papers, but could only find one volume. I wasn't aware she still had so (comparatively) many people from Cleves in her employ.