Elizabeth BLOUNT

(B. Talboys of Kyme / B. Clinton of Marstoke)

Born: ABT 1502/12, Kinlet, Shropshire, England

Died: AFT 6 Feb 1539

Father: John BLOUNT (Sir)

Mother: Catherine PERSHALL

Associated with: HENRY VIII TUDOR (King of England)

Children:

1. Henry FITZROY (D. Richmond)

Married 1: Gilbert TALBOYS (1 B. Talboys of Kyme) 1522

Children:

2. George TALBOYS (2 B. Talboys of Kyme)

3. Elizabeth TALBOYS (B. Talboys of Kyme)

4. Robert TALBOYS (3 B. Talboys of Kyme)

Married 2: Edward FIENNES CLINTON (1 E. Lincoln) BET 1533/35, Kinlet, Shropshire, England

Children:

5. Catherine CLINTON FIENNES (B. Borough of Gainsborough)

6. Bridget CLINTON FIENNES

7. Margaret CLINTON FIENNES (B. Willoughby of Parham)


Blount,Elizabeth(BTalboys)brass.jpg (57432 bytes)

Elizabeth Blount's funeral Brass

British Museum 


Daughter of John Blount of Kinlet and Catherine Pershall, heiress of Knightly and Lady in Waiting to Catalina of Aragon, when she was living with her husband Arthur Prince of Wales at Ludlow. Elizabeth was to become one of Queen Catalina's  damsel of the most serene queen  from May 1512. Twelve was the minimum age, at that time, that a girl could be accepted for a court position. Elizabeth's father, however, might have brought her with him to court at an earlier date. He was an esquire of the body to Henry VII and became one of the King's Spears under Henry VIII in 1509. On 8 May 1513, she was paid 100s, recorded in the King's Book of Payments, half the annual amount paid to a maid of honor to the queen. From Michaelmas 1513, she received full wages of 200s per annum.

Elizabeth was very bright, and so good at singing and dancing that she partnered the King in the "mummery" which was part of the Christmas celebrations of 1514, while the Queen was still recovering from the loss of a new baby yet again. Elizabeth "wan the King's harte", and her father was promoted to "Esquire of the Body", which meant personal attendance on the King in his bedroom.

Elizabeth was not the first schoolgirl to be Henry VIII's mistress. Her friend, Elizabeth Bryan, was given a diamond necklace, a mink coat and a husband, Nicholas Carew when she gave birth to a son at the age of twelve, she was called "the young wife". And Henry VIII gave her mother 500.

Just when Elizabeth Bluont became Henry VIIIs mistress is uncertain. Some sources suggest that Bessie was replaced in a masque at Yuletide 1514 because the Queen knew of the affair. Others believe that Bessie's intimacy with the King did not begin much before Jul 1515, when her father was granted a two-year advance on his wages as a Spear.

Elizabeth Blount became pregnant and delivered a wealthy son in 1519, probably about 16 Jun. Cardinal Wolsey arranged for Elizabeth to live in Jericho Priory, Blackmore, Essex. The King visited her so often, and his baby son, it become a standing joke with courtiers that the King had "gone to Jericho". In 1522, Elizabeth was replaced in the King's affections by Mary Boleyn. Just returned from France with her younger sister Anne.

Henry had plans for his only son, but they did not include his son's mother. Cardinal Wolsey arranged a marriage for Elizabeth to Gilbert Talboys. He was the son of Sir George Talboys of Kyme, a descendant of the Umfravilles, Earls of Angus and the ancient Lords of Kyme, but unfortunately barking mad. Gilbert was knighted in 1524, in 1525, he was appointed Sheriff of Lincolnshire. They had a son, George, to be followed by Robert and Elizabeth (who was to be Baroness Talboys after the early deaths of her brothers, and married twice, the second time to Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick).

In 1525 Elizabeth and Gilbert were ordered to take up residence in Lincolnshire, and moved into the castle of South Kyme, built by Gilbert's ancestor, Gilbert De Umfraville, Earl of Angus, in the mid 14th century.

In 1530, Wolsey died at Leicester, having been summoned from York, where he lived after being pushed out of his once powerful position. The government of the country had changed, and this included the King's Council in the North. In 1529, the Duke of Richmond came to live with his father at court and was made Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.

Richmond's mother was back at court too. Gilbert, who had been made Baron Talboys, had died. Leaving him to be buried in the Priory at South Kyme, Elizabeth headed back to the court. Her son, Baron George Talboys was placed with his brother. Elizabeth's brother George Blount, was also one of Richmond's companions. They were joined by the Duke of Norfolk's son, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, who was to become Richmond's closest friend and brother-in-law, as he was to marry his sister Mary Howard.

Anne Boleyn replaced her sister Mary (who had got married) as the King's mistress. The King put her in a bedroom newly redecorated, with mirrors on the ceiling. And gave her a black satin nightgown edged with fur to wear in it. If Richmond's mother, had hoped, now she was free, that the King now planning his divorce, would marry the mother of his son (this was certainly suggested as a possibility at the court), she had a serious rival. And she was joined by others, Mary Boleyn's husband died and she returned to the court with her two children. Her son was thought to be the King's and this was possible. The Queen was still in her state apartments. Anne discovered Henry VIII making love to Jane Seymour. The Court must have been an interesting place at that time. 11th Jul 1531, Anne's rivals dispersed.

Elizabeth Talboys went back to South Kyme. Her mother now 50 and enjoying freedom, sent her three younger daughters to live with their sister and find local husbands. Isabella married William Reade and Rosa married William Gresley.

Elizabeth herself had attracted the unwanted attentions of Lord Leonard Grey. This ageing military man, saw the wealthy widow as a way to solve his pressing debts. He came along to one of Elizabeth's hunting parties, and "just happened" to be stranded for the night, making full use of the time to chat up his hostess. Thinking she must have been bowled over by his charm, back in his guest bedroom at 12 o'clock on 24th May he wrote to Cromwell asking him to press his marriage proposal, enclosing 5 in gold, and two more letters for the King and the Duke of Norfolk. Cromwell did write to Elizabeth.

In 1534, Elizabeth Talboys decided it was time she remarried. She chose Edward Fiennes, Lord Clinton, much younger than her, but his lands adjoined hers. They were to have three daughters, Bridget (was to marry Robert Dymoke of Scrivelsby and later lived at South Kyme); Catherine (was to marry Lord Borough of Gainsborough) and Margaret (was to marry Charles Lord Willoughby of Parham).

In May 1536, when Anne Boleyn was executed, it was not just simply a personal whim of her husband. It was a political execution.

In Lincolnshire, where the Duke of Richmond and his mother had much influence, opposition to the King was becoming organised. The greatest part of the wealth of Lincolnshire was in the hands of the Church, the great abbeys were the chief landowners and employers. Now church possessions and finances once sacrosanct were exposed to the scrutiny of the King's commissioners sent to audit their affairs.

The Church first, others next. The clerics were joined in their protest meetings by tradesmen who saw their livings threatened. Not only did they lose valuable custom and employment if the Church establishments, such as abbeys, and priories were closed and their wealth confiscated. Once the King's commissioners had audited and dealt with the Church they could move on to investigate everyone else's financial affairs and tax them accordingly.

On Saturday 30th Sep, some local people, feeling threatened by the imminent arrival of the commissioners, collected the keys of the church and handed them to a shoemaker, Nicholas Melton to keep safe. He thus became "Captain Cobbler" the leader of a rebellion against the King. By Monday 2nd Oct, men from Horncastle and East Rasen arrived in Louth. By then a large crowd, they marched to Caistor where the King's Commissioners were at present taking inventories of church property. Here they were joined by Sir Robert Dymoke and his sons and friends who "just happened to be staying with them at that time". From Goltho, home of Richmond's step-grandmother, Lady Talboys' chaplain arrived with a large group of armed men. More than 500 armed retainers from South Kyme joined the rebels, under the leadership of Sir Thomas Percy, a relative of the Talboys family, (who "just happened to be there for the hunting") and a similar number headed by Edward Dymoke.

The same Monday, 2nd Oct, Edward, Lord Clinton left home on horseback, with just one servant. He headed first for Sleaford, and Lord Hussey. Hussey had been Princess Mary's Chamberlain, and his wife had been imprisoned for continuing to refer to her as "Princess Mary" not "The Lady Mary". Hussey had been assured of the support of the Emperor (Mary's cousin) and seemed a natural leader of the rebellion against the King. But he was not their leader. Clinton galloped on to Nottingham, then on to Lord Huntington at Ashby. By Friday, he reached the Earl of Shrewsbury at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. He carried letters from Cromwell. Meanwhile the rebels were joined by other groups of armed men, alerted by beacons, and had spread across the Humber to Yorkshire. The Member of Parliament for Lincoln, Thomas Moigne met Robert Aske, who led the rebellion in Yorkshire (where it was called the Pilgrimage of Grace).

Henry VIII's answer to the grievances that had been put to them was read out in the Chapter House of Lincoln Cathedral by Moigne. The King had never yet heard that a prince's counsellors and bishops should be appointed by ignorant common people, and least of all by the "rude commons of one of the most brute and beastly shires in the realm". The rebellion was put down with punishing retribution and many executions. 

The rebellion failed because there was no one uniting leadership and cause. Had the Duke of Richmond still been alive, then he might have been there, at his palace of Collyweston, by Stamford, with an army at least as large as the 5,000 men the Duke of Suffolk brought with him. As the King's son and the heir to the throne, he would have provided an alternative to his now very unpopular father. Had this been the original motivation for the rebellion, which started in the part of England in which he had the most influence, in which he had stayed most often in recent years, and in which he had the greatest number of contacts and relatives including his mother.

Elizabeth Lady Clinton, escaped retribution, thanks to her own mother, Catherine Blount, who was a valuable friend and informer to Cromwell. She returned to court as lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves, but not for long. She died, and Lord Clinton wasted no time in replacing her with a new wife, Ursula Stourton, who took her place at the court. Lord Clinton took his dead stepson's title of Admiral of England, his first marriage had been a good career move.

If the King had been told there were plans for an uprising to replace him with his son, then that might account for his reaction to his son's death, it might even account for his timely death.

 

Sources:

Murphy, Beverly A.: Bastard Prince

DNB entry under "Blount [married names Tailboys, Fiennes de Clinton], Elizabeth"

For more information visit this website:

Tudor Bastard
King Henry VIII's Son: Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset and his mother, Elizabeth Blount
by Heather Hobden
ISBN 1 871443 30 X
price 7 [includes postage and packing]
A4 card and comb covers, illustrated