THE WILL OF KING EDWARD THE SIXTH, AND HIS DEVISE FOR THE SUCCESSION TO THE CROWN.

King Edward's devise, entirely autograph.
(MS. Petyt 47, f. 317.)

My deuise for the succession.

l. For lakke of issu (masle) of my body (to the issu (masle) cumming of thissu femal, as i haue after declared). To the L Frau[n]ceses heires masles, For lakke of (if she have any) such issu (befor my death) to the L' Janes (and her) heires masles, To the L Katerins heires masles, To the L Maries heires masles, To the heires masles of the daughters wich she shal haue hereafter. Then to the L Margets heires masles. For lakke of such issu, To th'eires masles of the L Janes daughters. To th'eires masles of the L Katerins daughters, and so forth til yow come to the L Margets (daughters) heires masles.

2. If after my death theire masle be entred into 18 yere old, then he to have the hole rule and gouernau[n]ce therof.

3. But if he be under 18, then his mother to be gouuernres til he entre 18 yere old, But to doe nothing w[i]t[h]out th'auise (and agreme[n]t) of 6 parcel of a counsel to be pointed by my last will to the nombre of 20.

4. If the mother die befor th'eire entre into 18 the realme to be gouuerned by the cou[n]sel Prouided that after he be 14 yere al great matters of importaunce be opened to him.

5. If i died w[i]t[h]out issu, and ther were none heire masle, then the L Fraunces to be (gouuernres) rege[n]t. For lakke of her, the her eldest daughters, and for lakke of them the L Marget to be gouuernres after as is aforsaid, til sume heire masle be borne, and then the mother of that child to be gouuernres.

6. And if during the rule of the gouuernres ther die 4 of the counsel, then shal she by her letters cal an asse[n]ble of the counsel wtin on month folowing and chose 4 more, wherin she shal haue thre uoices. But after her death the 16 shal chose emong themselfes til th'eire come to (18 erased) 14 yeare olde, and then he by ther aduice shal chose the[n].

 

Engagement of the Council and others to maintain the Succession as limited by the King.
(MS. Petyt 47, f. 316. In the handwriting of Secretary Petre, the signatures all autographs.)

 

Wee whose names be underwrytten, having hertofore many tymes harde the Kinges ma[jes]te our most gracious soveraygne lordes earnest desire and expresse commawndment toching the limitation of the succession in the imperiall crowne of this realme and others his majesties realmes and dominions; and having seen his majesties own devise toching the sayd succession, fyrst holly wrytten with his most gracious hande, and after copied owt in his majesties presence, by his most high commawndment, and confirmed with the subscription of his majesties own hande, and by his highnes delyveryd to certayn judges and other lerned men, to be wrytten in full order: Doo, by his majesties speciall and absolute commawndment, eftsones given us, agree, and by these presentes signed with our handes and sealed with our seales, promys by our othes and honours to observe, fully performe, and kepe all and every article, clause, brawnche, and matter conteyned in the sayd wryting delyveryd to the judges and others, and subscribed with his majesties hande in six severall places; and all suche other matter as his majestie by his last will shall appoynt, declare, or commawnd, toching or concerning the limitation of his sayd imperiall crowne. And wee do further promys by his majesties said commawndment never to varie or swarve, during our liefes, from the sayd limitation of the succession: butt the same shall to the utter most of our powers defende and mayntayne. And if any of us, or any other, shall att any tyme herafter (which God forbydd) varye from this agreement or any part thereof, wee and every of us doo assent to take, use, and repute hym for a breaker of the common concord, peax, and unite of this realme, and to doo our utmost to see hym or them so varying or swarving, punisshed with most sharpe punisshment, according to their desertes.

T. CANT.
T. ELY, CANC.
WYNCHESTER.
NORTHUBRLAND.
J. BEDFORD.
H. SUFFOLK.
W. NORTHT.
H. SHREWESBURY.
F. HUNTYNGDON.
PENBROKE.
E. CLYNTON.
T. DARCY.
G. COBHAM.
R. RYCHE.
T. CHEYNE.
JOHN GATE.
WILLIAM PETRE.
JOAN' CHEEK,
W.CECILL.
EDWARD MOUNTAGU.
JOHN BAKERE.
EDWARD GRYFFYN.
JOHN LUCAS.
JOHN GOSNOLD.

Besides the letters patent of the 21st of Jun 1553, which were designed to place the Lady Jane next in succession to the crown, there are two other documents extant, exhibiting the Earlier stages of this daring effort of Northumberland's policy.

By way of introduction it may be remarked, that several acts of parliament passed in the reign of Henry VIII had encouraged the theory that the succession was in the sovereign's power of appointment. By the 28th Hen. VIII. it was limited to the issue that might arise from his marriage with Jane Seymour, and in default thereof it was enacted "that your highness shall have full and plenar power and authority to give, dispose, appoint, assign, declare, and limit by your letters patent under your great seal, or else by your last will made in writing, and signed with your most gracious hand, at your only pleasure, from time to time hereafter, the Imperial Crown of this Realm". By the 35th Hen. VIII. the ladies Mary and Elizabeth, though both then illegitimate by former acts of parliament, were placed next in succession in default of issue of their brother or further issue of the King, but both their titles were to be "with such conditions as by his highness shall be limited by his letters patent, under his great seal, or by his majesty's last will in writing, signed with his gracious hand"; and on the failure of all the three children and their issue the succession of the crown in reversion or remainder was to be limited by the King's appointment as before, according to the terms of the act 28 Hen. VIII. already recited.

In conformity with the enactment of his 35th year, King Henry made a will, and by that will the crown was to devolve:

1. on his son Edward and the heirs of his body;

2. on his own heirs by Queen Catherine Parr or any other future wife;

3. on his daughter Mary;

4. on his daughter Elizabeth;

5. on the heirs of the body of his niece the Lady Frances;

6. on those of her sister the Lady Eleanor;

7. to the next rightful heirs. In the event of either the Lady Mary or the Lady Elizabeth marrying without the consent of the privy council, they were respectively to be passed over as if they were dead without lawful issue.

These, then, formed the precedents on which the Duke of Northumberland assumed that the succession might again be modified by the act of the reigning monarch, expressed by letters patent and by a last will, -- to be confirmed by act of parliament, as the opportunity for such ratification might arrive.

The main difference of King Edward's devise from King Henry's settlement consisted in the total exclusion of his two sisters. In the exclusion of the descendants of his aunt Margaret, Queen of Scots, on whom the crown ultimately devolved after the lapse of half a century, he merely followed the precedent of his father's will.

Another remarkable feature of the devise is this, that, as originally drawn, it contemplated only a male successor. It will be remembered that England had as yet obeyed no reigning Queen; and that the empress Maud and Margaret, Countess of Richmond had been instances of heiresses living whilst their sons sat on the throne. Henry VIII. had indeed bequeathed the crown in contingent remainder to his daughters; but, after them, the next remainder created by his will was to "to the heirs of the body of the Lady Frances" his niece, not the the Frances herself. Thus the Duchess of Suffolk had been already passed over by Henry, as she was now again by Edward. Following the like scheme throughout, all the other female heirs were passed over in favor of their male issue not yet born. Now, it was an extraordinary circumstance in the state of the Blood Royal at this period, that, whilst the living descendants of Henry VII were (exclusive of the Scottish line) seven in number of the female sex, there was not one male except King Edward himself. (See the Table prefixed to these remarks.) It was this fact that conferred genealogical importance, in the political speculation of the time, on the Earl of Devonshire, as a male descendant of King Edward IV and on Cardinal Pole, as the male descendant and representative of George, Duke of Clarence.

The first limitation of King Edward's settlement was, to the Lady Frances's issue male born before the King's death, and in default of such issue to the Lady Jane's heirs male. This arrangement would have fully answered the Duke of Northumberland's ambitious views, had Edward survived the birth of a son to the Lady Jane. In that case the infant would have succeeded to the crown immediately on King Edward's death, and Northumberland would have been grandfather of the actual monarch.

But the rapid decline of the King's health did not allow time for the project to arrive at maturity. It became necessary to name some existing person as an immediate successor, and to terminate an arrangement, which, designating only a future and unborn heir, might have the effect of placing the crown in abeyance. Under these circumstances, the obvious course would have been to prefer the Lady Frances, she being the first in order of the heirs female already nominated. This did not suit Northumberland's purpose. It would have had the effect of transferring his own power into the hands of the Duke of Suffolk, Frances' husband. Besides, the Duchess of Suffolk was still a young woman (she was seventeen months younger than Mary Tudor), and might live long. She might even yet have a son, if not by her present by a future husband, and thus totally exclude Northumberland's posterity.

The next alternative was to appoint Jane to be the positive heir to the throne. This was actually done, by altering the words

------ "to the L' Janes heires masles,"

into "to the L' Jane and her heires masles."

In the King's autograph "devise" a pen is drawn through the letter s, which still remains on the paper, and the words "and her" are written above the line. The Duke of Northumberland's immediate object, namely the succession of the Lady Jane, was thus attained; and, for consistency's sake, her sisters the ladies Catherine and Mary were placed in the like condition of personal inheritance, in the letters patent, though this does not appear in the devise; whilst the Lady Margaret was inconsistently passed over, as in the devise when first written, and (like the Lady Frances) was named only as conveying a contingent remainder to her male issue.

It is obvions that Northumberland undertook a task which had many difficult stages before it could result in success. In the first place he had to reconcile the King to his views, next the council, thirdly the lawyers, fourthly the parliament, fifthly, and above all, the nation. In the first of these endeavours he had, so far as we know, little or no resistance: the King, probably chiefly influenced by religious arguments, not only assented to his minister's suggestions, but exercised his personal authority to coerce the council and the lawyers. How the project was carried with these parties we are informed, by the apology of Archbishop Cranmer, and by the respective narratives of Secretary Cecil and chief justice Montagu. With a parliament, as parliaments were then, there can be little doubt of its success had it come to the trial. With the nation, when the struggle arrived, the Duke's failure was entire, for no minister was ever more unpopular, or more universally hated, than this "tyrant" as he was called, the merciless "bear of Warwick". We find French Ambassador Noailles attributing Queen Jane's ill-success rather to the people's hatred of the overbearing Duke than to their love for Mary -- "toutes ces choses sont advenues plus pour la grande bayne que l'on porte a icelluy duc, qui a voulu tenir un chacun en craincte, que pour l'amitie que l'on a a ladicte royne". (Ambassades, ii. 80).

 

Besides, such was the people's sense of justice, and so entirely was their opinion of hereditary right involved in that sentiment, that even the most devoted Protestants were, from their conscientious loyalty, among the most faithful supporters of the Lady Mary.

To return to the mode of procedure in framing the legal settlement, as evidenced by the existing documents. The first step must have been some dictation to the youthful monarch, either in a written or oral form. The next step was the King's drawing out, entirely with his own hand, "My devise for the succession". The third step, after the alterations we have already considered and others had been made, was to make a fair transcript: this was done by Secretary Petre, and the King added his signature to each of the six paragraphs. This authenticated copy was then delivered "to certain judges and other learned men", that they might prepare the settlement accordingly. At the same time an engagement was entered into, by which the council pledged themselves, by their signatures, to support the said limitation of the crown, and to punish any person attempting to vary or swerve from it. The document says seals also, but the seals were not added (unless, indeed, it was executed in duplicate).

The Noailles, who was in the confidence of the Protestant party, wrote home to his master on the 26th Jun, that the King had made his will nine days before - viz. on the 17th, four days before the actual date of the letters patent. Noailles had probably received an account of the council meeting at which the King propounded his devise- 26 Jun 1555. "Il y a aujourd'huy neuf jours que le roy vostrc bon fils et frere feit son testament, par lequel il ordonne et venlt, par sa derniere volnnte, qne sa couronne tumbe a Jeanne de Suffolck, comme je vous ay cy-dessus escript, [no former intimation of the fact or intention is preserved in Noailles's letters,] et le parlement de Hoestcemestre a este remis jusqnes a la fin du mois de Septembre, qui est, comme je pense, pour confirmer sesdictes dispositions". (Ambassades de Noailles, ii. 49).

Lastly, the letters patent were duly drawn, and executed on the 21st of Jun.

King Edward proceeded further, to prepare minutes for his last Will: these also were transcribed by Secretary Petre, and the transcript in his handwriting is preserved in the same repository with the foregoing.

In the conviction that more accurate copies of these very important documents than it was customary to edit in the days of Burnet or Strype, will be acceptable to historical inquirers, I have transcribed them with great care. The first is the King's "devise", in which the reader will please to observe that all words printed in Italic type are those which in the original have the pen drawn through them, and that the parentheses denote the words inserted above the lines.

 

Letters Patent for the Limitation of the Crown.

From the transcript of Ralph Starkey in the MS. Harl. 35, f. 364, which is preceded by this title: "A true coppi of the counterfet wille supposed to be the laste wille and testament of Kinge Edwarde the Sixt, forged and published under the Great Seale of Englande by the confederacie of the Dukes of Suffolke and Northumberlande, on the behalfe of the Lady Jane, eldest daughter to the said Duke of Suffolke, and testefied with the handes of 101 of the cheife of the nobilliti and princepall men of note of this Kingdome; dated the 21 day of Jun an[n]o. 1553"; and followed by this memorandum: "This is a true coppie of Edward the Sixte his will, taken out of the originall under the Greate Seale, which Sir Robert Cotton delyvered to the Kinges majestie the xijth of Apprill 1611, at Roystorne, to be canseled".

EDWARD.

Edwarde the Sixt, by the grace of God Kinge of Englande, Fraunce, and Ireland, defender of the faith and of the church of England and also of Ireland in earth the Supreme Head, to all our nobles and other our good loving faithfull and obedyente subjects greeting in our Lord God everlastinge. Forasmuch as it hath pleased the goodnes of Almightie God to visit us with a longe and werie sickenes, wherby wee doe feele our selfe to be with the same partly growen into some wekenes, albeit not doubteing in the grace and goodnes of God but to bee shortly by his mightie powre restored to our former helth and strength, and to lyve here in this transitory world and life such and so long tyme as it shall please God to stand with his most godly providence and determinacion, wherunto we doe with all our hart moste humbly, wholy, and clEarlye submit ourselfe; and callynge nowe to oure rememberance howe necessarye a thinge it is [to] have the estate of the emperiall crowne of these our noble realmes of England and Ireland, and our tytle of France, and the dominiones and marches of the same, to be so contynued and preserved as the same be not destitute of such a heade and governer as shalbe apte and meete to rule and governe the same our realmes and other our dominiones for the quiete preservacion of the common welth of our good lovinge and faithfull subjects; which sayd emperiall crowne, together with all the tytles, honoures, preheminences, and hereditaments therunto belonging, did lawfully discend and come by good, juste, right, and lawfull tytle and course of inheritance in fee simple to our late and moste deare father of worthie memorie Kinge Henry the Eight, beinge lawfull and true inheritore therof in fee simple by the auntient lawes, statutes, and customes of this realme; AND NOTWITHSTANDING that in the tyme of our sayd late father, that is to saye, in the xxxvth yeare of his raigne, ther was then one estatute made, entitled, An Acte concerninge the Establishment of the King's Majesties succession in the Imperiall Crowne of this Realme, wherby it is enacted, that in case it should happen our sayd late father and us, then beinge his only sone and heire apparent, to decease without heires of our bodye lawfully begotten, to have and inherite the said imperiall crowne, and other of our said late father's dominiones, accordinge and in such manner and forme as in the said Acte made in the said xxxvth yeare is declared, that then the said imperiall crowne, and all other the premysses specified in the said Acte, should be in the Ladye Mary, by the name of the ladie Mary our said late fatheres daughter, and to the heires of the bodye of the said Ladye Mary lawfully begotten, with such conditiones as by oure saide father shoulde be lymetted by his letteres pattentes under his great seale, or by his laste will in writyng signed with his hand; and for default of such issue the said imperiall crowne and other the premisses should be to the Lady Elizabeth, by the name of the ladie Elizabeth our said late father's second daughter, and to the heire, of the bodye of the said Lady Elizabeth lawfully begotten, with such condiciones as by our said late father should be lymetted by his lettres pattents under his great seale, or by his laste will in writinge, signed with his hande, as in the said Acte made in the said xxxvth yeare of our said late father's raigne, amongest diveres and sondry other things and provisyons therin contayned, more playnely and at large it doth and may appeare. AND FOR ASMUCH as the said lymytacion of the imperiall crowne of this realme, beinge lymmited by authorite of parleament as is afforesaid to the said ladie Mary and ladie Elizabeth, beinge illegitemate and not lawfully begotten, forasmuch as the mariage had betweene our said late father and the Lady Catherine, mother to the said Lady Marye, was clEarly and lawfully undone, and separatione betweene them had by sentence of divorse accordinge to the ecclesiasticall lawes; and likewise the mariage had betweene our said late father and the Lady Anne, mother to the said ladie Elizabeth, was also clearely and lawefully undone, and separation betweene them had by sentence of divorse accordinge to the ecclesiasticall lawes; which said severall divorsements have bene seve rally ratefyed and confirmed by authority of diveres actes of parleamente remaininge in their full force, strength, and effecte; wherby as well the said Lady Marye as also the said ladie Elizabeth to all intents and purposes are and be clEarly disabled to aske, claime, or challenge the said imperiall crowne, or any other of our honores, castelles, manores, lordeshipes, lands, tenements, and hereditaments as heire or heires to us or to any other person or persones who soevere, aswell for the cause before rehearsed, as also for that the said Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth be unto us but of the halfe bloud, and therfore by the auntyent lawes, statutes, and customes of this realme be not in heritable unto us, although they were legitimate, as they be not indeed. AND FORASMUCH ALSO as it is to be thought, or at the leaste much to be doubted, that yf the said Lady Mary or ladie Elizabeth should herafter have and enjoy the said imperial crowne of this realme, and should then happen to marry with any stranger borne out of this realme, that then the same stranger, havinge the governemente and the imperiall crowne in his hands, would rather adhere and practice to have the lawes and customes of his or their owne native countrey or countreyes to be practised or put in nre within this our realme, then the lawes, statutes, and customes here of longe time used, wherupon the title of inheritance of all and singular our loving subjects doe depend, which would then tende to the utter subversion of the comon-welth of this our realme, which God defend. UPON ALL WHICH CAUSES AND MATTERES, and upon diveres other consideratyons concerninge the same, wee have oftentymes, aswell sithence the tyme of our sickenes as in the tyme of oure helth, wayed and considered with our selfe, what wayes and meanes were moste convenyent to be had for the staye of our said successyon in the said imperiall crowne, yf it should please God to call us out of this transitory lyfe havinge no issue of our bodye lawfully begottone. And callinge to our remembrance, that the ladie Jane, the Ladye Catherine, and the ladie Marye, daughters of our entirely beloved cosen the ladie Fraunces, nowe wife to our lovinge cosene and faithfull counsellor Henry Duke of Suffolke, and the ladie Margarete, daughter of our late cosene the ladie Elleonore deceased, sister of the saide ladie Frauncis, and the late wife of our welbeloved cosen Henry Earle of Cumberland, being very nigh of our whole bloude, of the parte of our father's side, and being naturall-borne here within the realme, and have ben also very honorably brought upe and exercised in good and godly learninge, and other noble vertues, so as ther is greate truste and hope to be had in them that they be and shalbe very well inclined to the advancement and settyng forth of our comon welth; WETHERFORE, upon good deliberation and advise herein had and taken, and haveinge also (thankes be to the livinge God) our full, whole, and perfect memory, doe by these presents declare, order, assigne, limett, and appointe that yf it shall fortune us to decease havinge no issue of our body lawefully begotten, that then the said imperiall crowne of this our realmes of England and Ireland, and of the confynes of the same, and our tytle to the crowne and realme of Fraunce, and all and singular honnores, castelles, prerogatyves, privelyges, preheminences, authorities, jurisdictions, dominions, possessions, and hereditaments to us and our said imperiall crowne belonginge, or in anywise appertaininge, shall, for lacke of such issue of our bodye, remayne, come, and be unto

(1) THE ELDEST SONNE OF THE BODYE OF THE SAID LADY FRAUNCIS, LAWFULLY BEGOTTONE, BEINGE BORNE INTO THE WORLD IN OUR LYFETYME, and to the heires males of the bodye of the said eldeste sonne lawfully begotten, and so from sonne to sonne as he shalbe of auncienty in birth, of the bodie of the said Lady Frauncis lawfillly begotten, beinge borne into the world in our lyfetyme, and to the heires males of the bodye of every such sonne lawfully begotten; And for defaulte of such sonne borne into the world in our lyfetyme of the body of the said Lady Frauncis lawfully begotten, and for lacke of the heires males of the bodie of every such sonne lawfully begotten, that then the said imperiall crowne, and all and singular other the premisses, shall remayne, come, and be,

(2) TO THE LADIE JANE, eldeste daughter of the said ladie Frauncis, and to the heires males of the said bodye of the said ladie Jane, lawfully begotten; And for lacke of such heires males of the bodie of the said Lady Jane lawfully begotten, that then the imperiall crowne and all and singuler other the premyses shall remaine, come, and be unto

(3) THE LADY KATHERINE, second daughter of the said ladie Frauncis, and to the heires males of the bodie of the said ladie Catherine lawfully begotten; And for lacke of suche heire male of the bodie of the said ladie Catherine lawfully begotten that then the imperiall crowne, and all and singuler other the premisses, shall remayne, come, and be

(4) TO THE LADIE MARYE, thirde daughter of the saide ladie Frauncis, and to the heires males of the bodie of the saide ladie Marye, lawfully begotten; And for defaulte of such heires males of the bodie of the said ladie Marye laste before named, lawfully begotten, that then the said imperiall crowne, and all and singuler other the premisses, shall remaine, come, and be unto

(5) THE ELDESTE SONNE OF THE BODIE OF THE FOURTH DAUGHTER OF THE SAID LADY FRAUNCIS, and to the heires males of the body of the same eldest sonne lawfully begotten, and so from sonne to sonne as well of the bodie of the said fourth daughter as from sonne to sonne of the bodie of any other daughter of the said ladie Fraunces, lawfully begotten, as the same other daughter and her said sonne shalbe of auntienty in birth, and to the heires males of the body of everie such sonne lawfully begotten; And for defaulte of such sonne, and of the heires males of the body of every such sonne lawfully begotten, that then the said imperiall crowne and all and singuler other the premisses shall remaine, come, and be to

(6) THE ELDESTE SONNE OF THE BODYE OF THE LADY MARGARETE, daughter to the ladie Eleanore, sistere to the said ladie Fraunces, lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the bodie of the same eldeste sonne lawfully begotten, and soe from sonne to sonne as he shalbe of auntientye in berth of the body of the said Lady Margarete lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the said bodie of every such sonne lawfully begotten; And for defaulte of such heire, that then the said imperiall crowne and all and singuler other the premisses shall remaine, come, and be to

(7) THE ELDESTE SONNE OF THE BODY OF THE ELDESTE DAUGHTER OF THE SAID LADY JANE, lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the bodye of the same eldest sonne lawfully begotten, and so from sonne to sonne as he shalbe of auncienty in byrth, of the bodie of the saide eldest daughter of the said Lady Jane lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the bodie of every such sonne lawfully begotten; and for lacke of such heire that then the said imperiall crowne, and all and singuler other the premisses, shall remaine, come, and be to the eldest sonne of the bodie of the seconde daughter if the said ladie Jane lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the body of the same eldest sonne lawfully begotten; and so from sonne to sonne as well of the body of the second daughter of the said Lady Jane lawfully begotten, as from sonne to sonne of the bodies of any other daughter of the said Lady Jane lawfully begotten, as the same other daughter and her said sonne shalbe of auncientie in berth, and to the heires males of the body of every such sonne lawfully begotten; And for defaulte of such sonne, and of the heires males of the body of every such sonne lawfully begotten, that then the said imperiall crowne and all and singuler other the premisses shall remaine, come, and be unto

(8) THE ELDESTE SONNE OF THE BODY OF THE ELDEST DAUGHIER OF THE SAID LADY KATHERINE lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the body of the said eldest sonne lawfully begotten, and soe from sonne to sonne as they shall be of auncientye in berth, of the body of the said eldest daughter of the said Lady Catherine lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of every such sonne lawfully begotten; and for lacke of such heires that then the said imperiall crowne and all and singuler other the premisses shall remaine, come, and be unto the eldeste sonne of the body of the seconde daughter of the said Lady Catherine lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the bodye of the said eldeste sonne lawfully begotten, and so from sonne to sonne as well of the body of the said Lady Catherine lawfully begotten, as from sonne to sonne of the bodye of any other daughter of the same Lady Catherine lawfully begotten, as the same other daughter and her said sonne shalbe of auncientie in berth, and to the heires males of the body of every such sonne lawfully begotten; And for defaulte of such sonne, and of the heires males of the body of every such solme, lawfully begotten, that then the said imperiall crowne and all and singuler other the premysses shall remaine, come, and be

(9) TO THE ELDESTE SONNE OF THE BODY OF THE ELDESTE DAUGHTER OF THE SAID LADY MARYE, sister to the said ladie Catherine, and to the heires males of the body of the same eldeste sonne lawfully begotten, and so from sonne to sonne as he shalbe of auncientie in berth, of the body of the said eldeste daughter of the said Lady Mary, sister to the said ladie Kathe rine, lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the body of every such sonne lawfully begotten; and for lacke of such heire that then the saide imperiall crowne, and all and singuler other the premisses, shall remayne, come, and be to the eldeste sonne of the body of the second daughter of the said Lady Mary, sister to the said ladie Catherine, lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the bodye of the same eldest sonne lawfully begotten, and so from sonne to sonne as he shalbe of auncientie in berth, as well of the bodye of the saide seconde daughter of the said Lady Marye, sister to the said Lady Catherine, lawfully begotten, as from sonne to sonne of the bodie of any other daughter of the said Ladye Mary, sister of the said ladie Catherine, lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the bodye of every such sonne lawfully begotten; And for defaulte of such sonne, and of the heires males of the bodye of every such sonne lawfully begotten, that then the said imperiall crowne, and all and singuler other the premisses, shall remaine. come and be

(10) TO THE ELDESTE SONNE OF THE BODY OF THE ELDESTE DAUGHTER OF THE SAID FOURTH DAUGHTER OF THE SAID LADY FRAUNCIS lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the bodye of the same eldeste sonne lawfully begotten, and so from sonne to sonne as he shalbe of ancientie in berth, of the body of the said eldeste daughter of the said fourth daughter of the said Lady Frauncis, lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the bodye of every such sonne lawfully begotten; and for default of suche sonne, and of the heires males of the bodie of every suche sonne lawfully begotten, that then the said imperiall crowne, and all and singuler other the premysses, shall remaine, come, and be

(11) TO THE ELDESTE SONNE OF THE BODY OF THE ELDESTE DAUGHTER OF THE BODY OF THE SAID LADIE MARGARETE lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the bodie of the same eldeste sonne lawfully begotten, and so from sonne to sonne as he shalbe in ancientye in berth of the bodye of the said eldeste daughter of the said Lady Margarete lawfully begotten, and to the heires males of the bodie of every suche sonne lawfully begotten.

AND OUR MYNDE, DETERMINACION, AND PLEASURE IS, that if after our decease any such heir male as is before declared, and being Kinge of this realme, be entered into eighteene yeares of age, that then he shall have the whole rule and governance of the said imperiall crowne, and other the premisses; but yf after the decease of the said Lady Jane, Lady Catherine, and Lady Marye, to whom as appertaineth the estat of the crowne, such heire male Iymyted and appoynted as aforesaid be under the age of seven teene yeares complete, that then his mother to be the GOVERNOR of the said imperiall crowne, and other the premysses, untyll the said heire male shall enter his age of eighteene yeares, and that she shall doe nothinge without the advise of sixe persons, parcell of a COUNSELL to the numbere of xxx persons, to be appointed by us in our laste wille; and yf the mother of such heire malle, lymited and appointed as is afforesaide, shalbe deceased before any such heire malle shalbe entytled to have the said imperiall crowne, and other the premysses, or shall dye before the same heire malle should enter into his age of eighteene yeares, as is afforesaid, that then the said imperiall crowne, and other the premisses, shalbe governed by the counsell; provided alwayes, that after the said heire malle shalbe of the age of xiiij. yeares complete, all matters of importance shall be opened and declared unto him; And yf duringe the rule of the said mother, beinge governor as is afforsaid, it shall fortune iiij. of the counsell to dye, that then she by her lettres shall have authoritye to call an assemblie of the whole counsell remaininge, within one month then next followinge, to chose iiij. more to be of the said counsell, to make uppe the said counsell of xxx. persons, in which choyse she shall have only iij. voyces; but after her deathe the xxvi of the said counsell of xxx persons shall chuse so many persons to be of the said counsell as shall with themselves make up the said counsell to the said numbre of xxx. persons; provided alwaies that the said heire malle, when he shall come to the age of xiiij. yeares, shall chuse, by the advise of the said counsell, so many to be of the said counsell as shall then want of the said numbre of xxx. persones to make upe and fulfille the said numbre of the said counsell of xxx. persones. And wee will that this our declaracion, order, assignemente, lymetacion, and appointemente, be truly observed, performed, and kepte in all things; and further, we will and charge all our nobles, lords spirituall and temporall, and all commoners of these our said realmes and the marches of the same, upon their allegiance, that they and every of them doe performe and execute this our present declaracion and lymetacion concerninge the succession of the crowne of these our said realmes, and other the premysses; and to see this our said declaracion and lymetacion concerninge the same established, ratefyed, and confirmed, as well by authoritye of parleamente as by all waies and meanes as they can, to the beste of their poweres; and to represse, reforme, repeale, and make voyde all actes of parlement and all other thinges that shall seeme or be in any wise to the contrary, lett, or disturbance of theis our pleasure and appointement, as they will answere affore God, tender the comon-welth of these our realmes, and avoide our indignation and displeasure; and in witnes that this is our very true mynde and intent touchinge the successyone of our said imperiall crownc and all other the premisses, wee have hereunto sette our signe manuall and our greate seall the xxjth daye of Jun, in the 7th yeare of our raigne, in the presence of our counsellores and other our nobles, whose names are under written, to witnes, recorde, and testefye the same.

T.Cant'. T.Ely, Canc. Winchester. Northumb'land. Jo.Bedford. H.Suffolk. W.North'ton. Arundell, Oxynforde. H.Westmerland. F.Shrewesbury. John Warwyk. W.Worcester. F.Huntington. Penbroke. E.Clinton. T.Darcy. Nic.London. Henry Aburge. G.Cobham. Willam Grey. G.Talbott. T.Fitzwauters. William Windesor. J.Bray. Thomas Wentworthe. John St.John. R.Riche. William Willoughby. Francys Russelle. J.Fytzwarin. G.Fitzgerald. H.Strange. Thomas Gray. Chenye. Will'm Bu . . . Richard Cotton. John Gate. William Petre. W.Cecil. John Cheek. Roger Cholmeley. Edward Mountague. Henry Bradschawe. John Bakere. Homfre Browne. Henry Portman. Robert Bowes. Jo.Masone. R.Sadler. Ric. Sakevyle. Edward Northe. A.Sentleger. William Paget. Tho.Wrothe. Henry Sydney. Morris Barkley. N.Throgmorton. Ryc.Blount. Henri Gage. Ric.Southwelle. John Williams. Henri Norres. Antoni Browne. James Dyer. John Gosnold. Will. Fitzwilliam. Will'm Croke. Henry Nevill.
George Barnes, mayre.
John Gresham. Andrew Judde. Ric.Dobbys. W.Damselle. Augustin Hinde. John Lambarde. Thomas Offley. Willm Garrard. Lawrance Wether. Edward Rogeres. Adrian Poinings. p[er] me William Huett. R. Bret. p[er] me William Chester. Antony Broune. John Raynford. Ro.Sowthwell. By me Thomas Lodge. Thomas Bowere. Emanuel Lucar. John Wither. Wm.Bury. Richarde Mallorye. Henry Fisher. Xp'ofore Dawntesey Ric.Chamberlyn. Henry Broune. Richarde Hilles. William Knight. William Gyfford. Ric.Broke. W.Bury.

 

From the manner in which the signatures of this important document are written in the book which contains the only known transcript of it, there is some difflculty in distinguishing the classes of persons who were summoned to sign it, particularly among the latter signatures. In the Early names, however, they appear to follow the true precedence in which they were affixed to the original. They may be distributed in classes as follow.

Great Officers of State and Peers. The Archbishop of Canterbury (Cranmer), the Lord chancellor (Thomas Goodricke, Bishop of Ely), the Lord treasurer (the Marquess of Winchester), the great master of the household (Duke of Northumberland), the Lord privy seal (Earl of Bedford), the Duke of Suffolk, the Marquess of Northampton, the Earls of Arundel, Oxford, Westmorland, Shrewsbury, Worcester, Huntingdon, and Pembroke, the Lord admiral Clinton, the Lord chamberlain Darcy, the Bishop of London (Nicholas Ridley), the lords Abergavenny, Cobham, Grey of Wilton, Windsor, Bray, Wentworth, Rich, and Willoughby of Parham.

Elder sons of peers. The Earl of Warwick son of the great master, Lord Fitzwalter son of the Earl of Sussex, Lord Talbot son of the Earl of Shrewsbury, Lord St. John of Basing son of the Lord treasurer, Lord Russell son of the Lord privy seal, Lord Fitzwarine son of the Earl of Bath, Lord Fitzgerald heir to the forfeited Earldom of Kildare (to which he was soon after restored), Lord Strange son of the Earl of Derby.

The younger brother of the Duke of Suffolk. Lord Thomas Grey.

Officers of the household. Sir Thomas Cheney treasurer, Sir William (Cavendish treasurer of the chamber?) Sir Richard Cotton comptroller, Sir John Gates vice-chamberlain.

Secretaries of State. Sir William Petre, Sir William Cecil, and Sir John Cheke.

Judges. Sir Roger Cholmley chief justice of the King's bench, Sir Edward Montague chief justice of the common pleas, Henry Bradshaw chief baron of the exchequer, Sir John Baker chancellor of the exchequer, Sir Humphrey Browne justice of the common pleas, Sir William Portman justice of the King's bench, Sir Robert Bowes master of the rolls.

The King's serjeant. James Dyer.

The solicitor-general. John Gosnold.

Privy councillors. Sir John Mason, Sir Ralph Sadler, Sir Richard Sackville chancellor of the court of augmentations, Sir Edward North, Sir Anthony St. Leger, Sir William Paget, Sir Richard Southwell.

Knights of the King's privy chamber. Sir Thomas Wroth, Sir Henry Sidney, Sir Maurice Berkeley, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, Sir Richard Blount, Sir Henry Gage.

The Lord mayor. Sir George Barnes.

Aldermen (six) . Sir John Gresham, Sir Andrew Judd, Sir Richard Dobbs, Sir Augustine Hinde, Sir John Lambard, Sir Thomas Offley.

The King's sheriff of London and Middlesex. Sir William Garrard.

Sherifffs,-- of Surrey, Sir Anthony Browne; -- of Kent, Sir Robert Southwell.

Merchants of the staple (six), and rnerchant adventurers (six).

In one or other of these characters attended Sir William Hewitt, Sir William Chester, Sir Thomas Lodge, then or afterwards aldermen

We miss the names of the attorney-general Edward Gryffyn and John Lucas master of the requests, which are among the signatures, attached to the engagement made in the King's presence. The former retained his place in the service of Queen Mary.

 

King Edward's Minutes for his Last Will, as transcribed by Secretary Petre.
(MS, Petyt 47, f. 416.)

These minutes contain only the less important items intended for the King's Will. It was probably proposed to combine them with a recital of the arrangements stipulated by the Letters Patent, and with a nomination of the executors or council who the King states in his Devise were to be appointed by his Last Will.

To bee conteyned in my last will, as parcell thereof: First, thatt during the yong yeres of any my heyre or successour, my executours shall nott agree to enter into any warres, except uppon occasion of invasion to be made by enemyes: nor, to the best of ther powers, shall suffer any quarell to be onjustly pyked by our subjectes wherof any warre may ensue.

Seconde, our sayd executours shall nott suffer any peece of relligion to be altred, And they shall diligently travayle to cause godly ecclesiasticall lawes to be made and sett forthe: suche as may bee agreable with the reformation of relligion now receyved within our realme, and that doone shall also cause the canon lawes to bee abolished.

Thyrdly, our sayd executours shall nott only follow the devises allredye begoon and agreed uppon for the payment of our debtes, butt also by other good meannes devise for the spedie payment of our sayd debtes.

Fowrthly, they shall consider to bee discharged all superfluous charges, bothe in th'excessive expenses of our howshold and chamber, and in the overgreatt number of cowrtes, by uniting the same according to the statute provided in thatt behalf, and such other superfluous charges.

Fyftly, my will is, that my sistars Mary and Elizabeth shall follow th'advise of my executours, or the more part of them, in ther mariages, And if they so doo, and will be bownde to lyve in quiett order, according to our appoyntment, and as by our sayd executors shall bee appoynted, we will, thatt they, and eythar of them, shall have of our gift one thousande powndes yerly, by way of annuite owt of our cofers. And if they doo marry by th'advise of our sayd executors, or the more part of them, then we will thatt eythar of them shall have towardes ther mariages, of our gift, ten thowsande powndes, over and above the money for ther mariages given by our father's bequest.

Syxtly, our pleasure is, thatt our sayd counsaylours shall nott agree to

give any landes or tenementes to any person in fee-simple or fee-tayle other than excheted landes: nother shall tbey grawnt any landes in fee-ferme, nor annuitees, butt only to suche as have served us, and eyther hadd charge of vc men in thefelde, or have hadd charge of some sort uppon our frontyours, or have byn captaynes of shippes uppon the sees (or shall serve our succes sour for the tyme being in some place of speciall trust:) [13] nor any leasses in reversion to any, other than to the servantes of our suceessour for the tyme being.

All our debtes to be payd with as moche speed as may be.

All injuries, if any have byn doone, to be recompensed; and the parties, ther heyres, or chyldren, recompenced, according to equite and good justice.

The college of S. Jones in Cambrige to have of our gifte in landes cli by yere, towardes the mayntenaunce of ther charges.

A new college to be erected, to be endowed in landes to the dooble yerly rentes of the sayd college of St. Jones, to be buylded upp and made by discretion of our executours, within the space of vij. yeres.

The grawnt made to the maior and cytey of London tochinge the Savoy and landes therof to be performed.

All such as have hadd grawnt of us of any landes, offices, or fees, to enjoy our grawnt.

All such as have payd ther moneys uppon any bargayn for landes, to have ther bookes and bargaynes performed.

To bee bestowed in high wayes, and to the power (i. e. poor), by discretion of our executours, the summe of (blank).

The King my father's tombe to be made upp.

Monumentes to bee made of the burialles of E. the iiij. and H. the vjth. [*]

[*] This, as well as in the preceding item, alludes to a non-executed clause in the will of his father King Henry: who, after directing his own tomb at Windsor, which was then "well onward and almoost made therefore alredye, with a fayre grate about it", to be completed, adds, with reference to two of his predecessors interred in Saint George's Chapel, "Also we will that the tombes and aultars of King Henry the vj. and also of King Edward the Fourth, our great-uncle and graunt-father, be made more princely in the same places where they now be, at our charges". All these directions were finally disregarded.

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