Saturday, February 26, 2011

Question from Lauren - Catherine Howard and Traitor's Gate

Is it true that Catherine Howard was taken through Traitor's Gate, as the Beefeaters told me?

Also, where is she said to haunt?


Marilyn R said...

On All Souls’ Day, 2nd November 1541,at Hampton Court, Henry read Cranmer's letter advising him of the rumours of Katheryn's loose behaviour before her marriage, and laughed off the accusations. Nevertheless, Manox and Dereham (her former love interests) were picked up for questioning and by November 5th all appeared to be true.

The following day Henry quietly removed to a meeting with advisors in fields surrounding Hampton Court on the pretext of a hunting trip, then at dusk had himself ferried to London in an anonymous vessel and would never see his fifth wife again.

As yet, Katheryn suspected nothing, and the story that she ran screaming hysterically down the corridors at Hampton Court in an attempt to plead with her husband, who supposedly was in the chapel there,is a myth. One of the galleries she is supposed to have run through is said to be haunted by her.

Katheryn was taken from Hampton Court to Syon, a nunnery recently dissolved, on 12th November and from there on February 10th 1542 by covered boat to the Tower, so would very likely have entered by the watergate - known to later generations as "Traitors' Gate".

Roland H. said...

According to contemporary sources, as prisoners, both Anne Boleyn and later her daughter Princess Elizabeth were brought into the Tower of London through the Byward Tower drawbridge after landing on Tower Wharf. They did not come in by the watergate as commonly thought.

That said, Katheryn Howard probably entered by the Byward Tower entrance too.

marilyn R said...

I think you could well be right, Roland.

Roland H. said...

According to Eustace Chapuy’s letter to the Emperor (dated Feb. 25, 1542):

“Some days after, that is to say on the afternoon of the 10th, the Queen after some difficulty and resistance was conducted to the Tower by the river. The Lord Privy Seal, with a number of privy councillors and a large retinue of servants, went first in a large oared barge; then came a small covered boat with the Queen and four ladies of her suite, besides four sailors to man the boat. Then followed the duke of Suffolk in a big and well-manned barge, with plenty of armed men inside. On their arrival at the Tower stairs, the Lord Privy Seal and the duke of Suffolk landed first; then the Queen herself, dressed in black velvet, with the same honors and ceremonies as if she were still reigning.”

The ‘Tower stairs’ mentioned by Chapuys would be the one leading up to Tower Wharf from the river. The water-steps still used today are more or less in the same place as the ones in Tudor times.

Therefore, Katheryn did indeed land at the wharf, and was taken into prison via the drawbridge leading into the Byward Tower (the main riverside entrance to the Tower of London). The drawbridge can be seen in the famous 1597 bird’s eye view map of the Tower.