This weeks suggestion is as follows: Week 2, King — January 8 is Elvis’ birthday. January 15 is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Do either of these “Kings” remind you of an ancestor? Or, taken another way, do you have a connection to royalty? Did you ancestor flee from an oppressive king?
For this one, I chose my fifteenth great-grandfather, Henry VII. There is enough history out there written about Henry VII and his reign so I’m not going to copy and paste it all here.
“Henry was born at Pembroke Castle, Wales in 1457, and he was the only son of Edmund Tudor and Lady Margaret Beaufort. His father died two months before he was born, which meant that the young Henry spent much of his life with his uncle, Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford.” – from Henry VII by S. B. Chrimes & George Bernard (1972)
“He also honoured his pledge of December 1483 to marry Elizabeth of York, daughter and heir of King Edward IV. The marriage took place on January 18, 1486 at Westminster. The marriage unified the warring houses and gave his children a stronger claim to the throne. The unification of the houses of York and Lancaster by Henry VII’s marriage to Elizabeth of York is represented in the heraldic symbol of the Tudor rose, a combination of the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster.”
“In 1502, fate dealt Henry VII a blow from which he never fully recovered: his heir, the recently-married Arthur, died in an epidemic at Ludlow Castle and was followed in 1503 by Henry VII’s queen, Elizabeth of York, in childbirth. Not wishing the negotiations that had led to the marriage of his elder son to Catherine of Aragon to go to waste, he arranged a Papal dispensation for his younger son to marry his brother’s widow — normally a degree of relationship that precluded marriage in the Roman Catholic Church. Also included in the dispensation was a proviso that would allow Henry VII himself to marry his widowed daughter-in-law. Henry VII obtained the dispensation from Pope Julius II (1503–13) but had second thoughts about the value of the marriage and did not allow it to take place during his lifetime. Although he made half-hearted plans to re-marry and beget more heirs, these never came to anything. On his death in 1509, he was succeeded by his second son, Henry VIII (1509–47). He is buried at Westminster Abbey. Popular lore suggests that Henry died of a broken heart following the deaths of his son and heir, Arthur, and his wife, Elizabeth of York.”
“Henry VII’s elder daughter Margaret was married first to James IV of Scotland (1488–1513), and their son became James V of Scotland (1513–42), whose daughter became Mary, Queen of Scots. By means of this marriage, Henry VII hoped to break the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France. Margaret Tudor’s second marriage was to Archibald Douglas; their grandson, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley married Mary, Queen of Scots. Their son, James VI of Scotland (1567–1625), inherited the throne of England as James I (1603–25) after the death of Elizabeth I. Henry VII’s other surviving daughter, Mary, first married the elderly King Louis XII of France (1498–1515) and then, when he died after only about 1 year of marriage, she married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk without her brother’s (now King Henry VIII) permission. Their daughter Frances married Henry Grey, and her children included Lady Jane Grey, in whose name her parents and in-laws tried to seize the throne after Edward VI of England (1537–53) died.”
Ashley, Mike (2002). British Kings & Queens. Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1104-3.
NOTE: There is some argument about whether or not Lady Arabella Stuart is the mother of Mary Seymour Barrett, so this connection is one I call ‘tenuous’ as there are arguments on both sides for the legitimacy of Mary Seymour Barrett. However, I believe enough evidence exists , based on the document of research below:
It is believed by some sources that Mary BARRETT DYER (1612-June 1,1660) is actually the daughter of William SEYMORE, Second Duke of Somerset (Sept 1, 1587-Oct 24, 1660) during his short marriage to Lady Arabella STUART (1575-Sept 25, 1615). See BC Bardy’s “Life of Arabella Stuart.” It is also possible that Mary was a cousin of her husband, William Dyre (his spelling on the Providence Compact, other early RI records records have Dyar)
Their marriage (meaning William Seymore & Arabella Stuart) had been prohibited by James I, Arabella’s cousin. When James learned of their June 22, 1610 marriage, both were imprisoned. Arabella managed a clever escape for them both but she was caught and later died in the Tower of London. Even James suspected them of having a child. They were definitely together long enough. Arabella was confined for a time at her uncle’s estate, long enough to have given birth, and during that period she refused to travel on the basis of her “frail health.” Many family members and supporter’s wished to see her or her heir take the throne, although she herself did not wish to, and would have been able to provide her with the means to protect such a child.
Three years after Arabella’s death James had the matter investigated. Far from settling the matter, his “final report” added fuel to the rumors. He declared that “If such a child existed, it was of no threat to him” period. He should have been able to find out, and it would have been to his advantage to declare that no child existed.
Given her age (born about 1612), the high level of education Mary Dyer obviously had; her closeness to Ann Marbury Hutchinson (a member of the royal court and relative of Arabella who would have been in her 20’s when Mary was born), the mystery of such a woman having appeared, seemingly from nowhere at age 22, the day she married William Dyer (from a family with close ties to the families of Ann Marbury and William Hutchinson) is just too much to be coincidence.
In one of her letters to William she mentions “Rachel weeping for her lost child” as if it were a code that they both understood. Add to this, Arabella’s closest confidant, her aunt Mary, became estranged from her during her last year in the Tower over an unmentioned matter about their respective religions. Mary was a Catholic and Arabella was a Protestant, but from what we do know, the matter was not about either Arabella’s choice of faith, or her tolerance for her aunts. Was it possibly over Arabella’s desires for the upbringing of her daughter?
We do know that shortly after the death of king James would have reached them (and after the death Ann Hutchinson and her family) Mary Dyer left New England for London. Leaving a new born child, in addition to her other children, she sailed alone to England in the dead of winter, not the prefered time to travel. She remain there for some time, during which she became familiar with George Fox, later becoming a Quaker. Her husband visited her there, and no credable reports of marital difficulties between them have surfaced. She returned home after Cromwell took the power of the throne for himself. After this time she throws herself into her support for the Quakers, ending in her death.
Pieces of her court gowns are “prized possessions” of members of some of the royal relations. Is this because she was considered a Quaker martyr or because she was an heir to the Stuart throne?
(Brian Tompsett, University of Hull, Hull UK)