JANE'S COUNCIL and THE PROCLAMATION OF QUEEN MARY. Two documents, the first by Queen Jane's Council announcing Mary's proclamation, the second reporting on Queen Mary's speech at the Guild Hall in the face of Wyatt's Rebellion and on the arraignment of Jane father, 1553 and 1554
Lot 220
JANE'S COUNCIL and THE PROCLAMATION OF QUEEN MARY
Sold for £8,750 (US$ 14,707) inc. premium
Lot Details
JANE'S COUNCIL and THE PROCLAMATION OF QUEEN MARY
Two documents, the first by Queen Jane's Council announcing Mary's proclamation, the second reporting on Queen Mary's speech at the Guild Hall in the face of Wyatt's Rebellion and on the arraignment of Jane father, the first directed to the Bishop of Salisbury and six knights of Wiltshire, the second sent to one of these knights, comprising:

(i) Privy Council order announcing the proclamation of Mary as queen, subscribed by Thomas Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Goodrich Bishop of Ely as Lord Chancellor, the Marquess of Winchester as Lord Treasurer, the Earl of Bedford as Lord Privy Seal, the Earl of Shrewsbury, the Earl of Pembroke, Sir Thomas Cheyne as Treasurer of the Household, the humanist and late King's tutor Sir John Cheke as principal Secretary of State, and Sir William Cecil (afterwards Lord Burghley) as second Secretary of State, addressed at the head to the Lord Bishop of Salisbury and six knights residing in Wiltshire or nearby in Gloucestershire (all serving at some point as Members of Parliament), namely Sir Henry Long, Sir Anthony Hungerford, Sir William Wroughton, Sir John Marvyn, Sir James Stumpe and Sir John Thynne "and to every of them", sending their proclamation of Queen Mary which is to be read throughout the county : "wee havying no good oportunitie afore this tyme have proclaymed this day in the Citie of london, our sovereign lady Quene Marye to be in juste and laufull possession of thimperiall crowne of this realme, as by the proclamation sent to youe herewith more playnly shall appere. These be therfore to require youe any other former lettres or commaundmentes from us notwithstandyng, accordying to your bounden duties to shew your selfes faythfull and obedient subiects unto hir highnes, not only to see the said proclamation in hir name proclaimed, and to take order that the subiectes be kept in due and faythfull obedience unto hir"; and asking that they rally the gentlemen of the shire to her service; docketed by the recipient "The copy of the Councell lettre sent to the byshop of Sarum me & others the xxij July 1553", nineteenth- century pencil docket "Order to proclaim Queen Mary in Wilts 1553: B 18", 1 page, folded for delivery and filing, light dust-staining overleaf where folded and exposed, light dust-staining elsewhere but overall in fine and attractive condition, folio, "From Baynardes Castell the xixth of July 1553"

(ii) Report submitted to the same recipient by Thomas Chaffyn, subscribed "T.C.", headed "The oracyon made by the Quenes highnese to her Commons of the Cytie of London at the Guild hall upon Candlemas eve the ffirste yere of her most noble reigne", the first half of the letter providing the substance of the speech ("...The mother never toke more care fro her Childe borne to her great paynes than I have for you..."); the second half describing the Duke of Suffolk's arraignment for high treason at Westminster Hall on 17 February "upon Saturdaie laste paste" [i.e. Saturday, 17 February 1553]; with integral address leaf ("To the right Wurshipfull and hys singular good Master Yeve these with speade"), folded for delivery and with trace of seal, docketed by recipient "young chafyns Lettres of the queens highness oraction in gyldhall 1[st] February", 1 page, on paper bearing a Little Pot watermark, integral leaf dust-stained on the outside where folded and filed, very light weakness at folds, but overall in fine and fresh condition, folio, [London, between Sunday 18 February and Saturday 24 February 1554] (2)

Footnotes

  • QUEEN JANE'S COUNCIL PROCLAIMS MARY QUEEN, 'IN JUSTE AND LAUFULL POSSESSION OF THIMPERIALL CROWNE OF THIS REALME', BRINGING JANE'S NINE-DAY REIGN TO AN END -- a newly-discovered letter issued on the evening of Wednesday 19 July 1553, only hours after Jane's Council had proclaimed Mary queen at Cheapside Cross.

    Edward VI had died on the evening of 6 July, leaving behind the 'Device' by which he left the crown to the Protestant Lady Jane Grey. His death was not announced for several days, while the Duke of Northumberland, Lady Jane's father-in-law, and those who supported the Device, made preparations for her succession. Jane was, by order of Council, proclaimed queen at Cheapside on 10 July, with a letter announcing her accession circulated to the lords lieutenant of the counties. Meanwhile, however, Mary had escaped to her stronghold of Kenninghall in Norfolk where she was gathering increasing support. From there she wrote to the Council who, on 10 July, rejected her claims. Mary transferred from Kenninghall to Framlingham on 12 July, remaining there until making her way to London at the end of the month. On the 16 July, the Council sent a letter to the shires, declaring Mary to be the 'bastard daughter of the noble prince, King Henry VIII' who 'ceaseth not to spread and set out further most traitorously sundry untrue reports of our sovereign Lady Queen Jane and falsely also some of us of her Majesty's Privy Council'.

    As late as 19 July – the day of our letter – Sir John Cheke, its penultimate signatory, had written a letter on behalf of the Council to Lord Rich, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, reporting that Lord Oxford had gone over to Mary Tudor and urging him to remain loyal to Queen Jane: this admonition is signed by all those who have signed our letter, apart from Cecil (BL, Lansdowne MS 3, fols. 50r–51v). Jane had, since her proclamation, been housed at the Tower of London, with her Council. However, as Mary's support grew, a faction led by Shrewsbury, Bedford, Pembroke, and Arundel left the Tower and reconvened at Baynard's Castle. It was from there, at between five and six in the evening, that heralds were sent out to proclaim Mary queen at the Cross in Cheapside; the same spot where Jane had been proclaimed ten days earlier. Our letter, subscribed as it is by the presumably very reluctant Thomas Cranmer (whom Mary was to burn) and his fellow reformer John Cheke (whom Mary was to throw into the Tower), was written later that same evening.

    It may be thought that, in proclaiming Mary Queen, Jane's Privy Council became Mary's. But this is not the case. Mary had, from the time of her flight to Kenninghall, appointed her own Council. Nearly half of those who subscribed their names to the present document were never to be appointed to her Council, namely Cranmer, the Bishop of Ely and the two Secretaries, Cheke and Cecil. Of the others, Bedford was not to be appointed until 29 July, Cheyne until 6 August, Shrewsbury until 10 August, and both Pembroke and Winchester until 13 August (see Dale Hoak, 'Two Revolutions in Tudor Government: The Formation and Organization of Mary I's Privy Council', in Revolution Reassessed, edited by Christopher Coleman and David Starkey, 1986).

    These twists and turns in events find their reflection in our letter. The only excuse the Council gives for not proclaiming Mary earlier is that they did not have the chance: "Wee havying no good oportunitie afore this tyme". Indeed, the no doubt perplexed recipients are instructed that they must ignore all earlier pronouncements: "These be therfore to require youe any other former lettres or commaundmentes from us notwithstandyng, accordying to your bounden duties to shew your selfes faythfull and obedient subiects unto hir highnes".

    According to its endorsement, our copy of the letter reached its recipient – who identifies himself as being one of the six knights to whom it is addressed – on the twenty-second. Similar letters would, presumably, have been sent to all the counties, although ours appears to have been among the first and the only one written on the day itself to have survived. The Council registers mentions neither our letter nor any others proclaiming Mary queen being issued that day (although 'The Councillors of Q. Jane, their letter to the Lady Mary, acknowledging her Queen', endorsed by Cecil as sent on the 20th, must in fact have also been written that day: see John Strype, Memorials of the Most Reverend Father in God Thomas Cranmer, iii, 1854, Appendix lxxi). Only the next day do we find entries recording a proclamation sent to Essex at 'abowt eight of the clock thys mornynge' and 'newes of the proclamyne of the Queen's Highness yesterday ' being sent to Lynn (Acts of the Privy Council of England, vol. iv, 1552-1554, edited by John Roche Dasent, 1892, p. 299).

    If our letter was sent out earlier than others, it may be because it is addressed to the magnates of Wiltshire, where the Earl of Pembroke, owner of Baynard's Castle, had his power-base; furthermore his chief rival in the county, Lord Stourton, was the Duke of Northumberland's nephew and, although a Catholic, held out from declaring for Mary until victory was certain. For biographies of the Wiltshire magnates to whom the letter is sent, see the History of Parliament Trust, The House of Commons, 1509-1558, edited by S.T. Bindoff, 1982; for a notice of John Capon, Bishop of Salisbury, see the ODNB. In response to our letter, Sir John Thynne (of Longleat fame), was to proclaim Queen Mary at Warminster; and on 22 July, Thynne and with Sir James Stumpe and Sir William Wroughton, informed Mary that she had been duly proclaimed, for which they received her thanks three days later.

    The second letter, describing Queen Mary's famous speech at the Guildhall in the face of Wyatt's rebellion, is docketed on receipt in the same hand as the Privy Council letter. It is subscribed "T.C." and endorsed as being by "yong chafyn". For a list of the various Thomas Chaffyns who may have written the letter, see The House of Commons: unfortunately, as T.F.T. Baker there observes, 'Thomas was a baptismal name much favoured by the Chaffyns', two of them serving as MP for Salisbury.

    We have found no reference to the proclamation letter in the standard biographies and literature covering Queen Jane's nine-day reign and Mary's accession, including the Privy Council registers (see above). Chaffyn's letter was sold at Sotheby's, London, 29 October 1975, lot 57, together with the proclamation letter, which is briefly mentioned albeit under its docket date of 22 July.
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