Thursday, May 2, 2013

Four Important Events on May 2

1536 – Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, is arrested and imprisoned on charges of adultery, incest, treason and witchcraft. She was taken to the Tower of London and to the very apartments she had used before her coronation:

As you know, Anne Boleyn was arrested on 2nd May 1536 at Greenwich Palace. Alison Weir writes of how Anne was accused of “evil behaviour” by Sir William Paulet, Sir William Fitzwilliam and her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, charged with adultery and informed that both Mark Smeaton and Sir Henry Norris had confessed their guilt. Anne denied these charges but it was no good, she was allowed to return to her apartments for her dinner, under guard, and then she was escorted by barge along the Thames to the Tower of London.

Although Traitor’s Gate is often pointed out as the place where Anne would have disembarked, Alison Weir points out that Anne, as Queen, was taken to the Court Gate in the Byward Tower, a private entrance. Here she was met by the Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir Edmund Walsingham, who was Sir William Kingston’s deputy and then Anne would then have been escorted along Water Lane (in the Outer Ward), past the back of the Lieutenant’s House to the entrance of the royal palace where she was to be imprisoned.

It was ironic that Anne Boleyn was imprisoned in the same lodgings that she stayed in before her coronation in 1533 – the Queen’s apartments in the Tower’s royal palace.

But where are these lodgings?

In “The Lady in the Tower”, Weir describes Anne’s lodgings as lying “on the east side of the inner ward between the Lanthorn Tower and the Wardrobe Tower” and writes of how these apartments were renovated for Anne’s coronation, with Cromwell spending the equivalent of over £1 million pounds to make them fit for the new queen. These Renaissance style apartments were therefore a luxurious prison for Anne Boleyn but a prison is a prison. If you go to the Tower of London today, it is not possible to see Anne’s prison because these lodgings were uninhabitable by the end of the 16th century and demolished by the end of the 18th century. The present half-timbered Queen’s House which overlooks the green is not where Anne was imprisoned as these apartments were not built until around 1540, at least 4 years after Anne Boleyn’s execution.

1559 – John Knox returns from exile to Scotland to become the leader of the beginning Scottish Reformation. He was thus able to contribute to the revolution that overturned the regency of Queen Mary of Guise for her daughter Mary, the Dauphine of France and Queen of Scotland, draft the Scots Confession for the Parliament, and argue with Mary, Queen of Scots.

1568 – Mary, Queen of Scots, escapes from Loch Leven Castle. She had been imprisoned there after the death of her husband Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and her abduction by and marriage to Lord Bothwell. Having lost the battle of Carberry Hill on June 15, 1567 before it even began, Mary was taken in custody to Edinburgh and then imprisoned in Loch Leven, where she miscarried and forced to abdicate. Then she escaped on May 2 and lost the battle of Landside eleven days later. By the middle of May in 1568 she was in England and in Elizabeth's custody.

1611 – King James Bible is published for the first time in London, England, by printer Robert Barker. According to the wikipedia article, things did not go smoothly:

The original printing of the Authorized Version was published by Robert Barker, the King's Printer, in 1611 as a complete folio Bible.It was sold looseleaf for ten shillings, or bound for twelve. Robert Barker's father, Christopher, had, in 1589, been granted by Elizabeth I the title of royal Printer, with the perpetual Royal Privilege to print Bibles in England. Robert Barker invested very large sums in printing the new edition, and consequently ran into serious debt, such that he was compelled to sub-lease the privilege to two rival London printers, Bonham Norton and John Bill. It appears that it was initially intended that each printer would print a portion of the text, share printed sheets with the others, and split the proceeds. Bitter financial disputes broke out, as Barker accused Norton and Bill of concealing their profits, while Norton and Bill accused Barker of selling sheets properly due to them as partial Bibles for ready money. There followed decades of continual litigation, and consequent imprisonment for debt for members of the Barker and Norton printing dynasties, while each issued rival editions of the whole Bible. In 1629 the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge successfully managed to assert separate and prior royal licences for Bible printing, for their own university presses – and Cambridge University took the opportunity to print revised editions of the Authorized Version in 1629 and 1638. The editors of these editions included John Bois and John Ward from the original translators. This did not, however, impede the commercial rivalries of the London printers, especially as the Barker family refused to allow any other printers access to the authoritative manuscript of the Authorized Version.

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