Old Saint Paul’s Cathedral had a reputation for beggars and thieves. The beautiful nave which was called ‘Paul’s walk’ was considered a good place to socialize, gossip, do business and to pick up prostitutes.
The following is an original letter written in 1539 to Thomas Cromwell from a priest who confesses that he had misunderstood the word of God and begs for a royal pardon for getting married:
Most humbly and wise, I being not so bold as to appear before your Lordship until your pleasure is known, fear set apart compels me to write. This last Lent I did no less than write, and also to your presence I did approach, suing for your lordship’s gracious service; but now my suit is much other, for my misfortune has been to have conceived untruly God’s word, and not only with intellection to have thought yet, but externally and really I have fulfilled the same; for I, as then being a priest, have accomplished marriage; nothing pretending but as an obedient subject. For if the Kings Grace could have found it lawful that priests might have been married, they would have been to the Crown double and double faithful, first in love, secondly for fear that the Bishop of Rome should sit in his power unto their desolation. But now by the noise of the people I preserve I have done in so much, which say the that the King sit in judgement with all his council temporal and spiritual has subscribed a contrary order, that all priests shall be separate by a day; with which order I have contented myself: and as son as I heard it to be true, I sent the woman to her friends three score miles from me, and speedily and with all clarity. I have resorted hether to desire the King’s Highness of his favour and absolution for my so doing; praying and beseeching your Lordship’s gracious comfort for the obtaining of his gracious pardon: and I shall be your bounden servant in heart and also your continual service of it shall please your gracious lordship to accept it during my life: within the 18th day of June.
Yours bounden for ever,
In 1440 Johannes Gutenberg, a German blacksmith, introduced the printing press to Europe. He used printing ‘types’ for the first time to produce crisp clear letters and documents. The types were made from a unique metal called antimony which was often used for medical purposes.
Saint Thomas’s hospital in London was founded in around 1106 and was named after the popular Saint Thomas Becket, who it was believed had miraculous healing powers. The hospital community was shattered by Henry VIII’s policy of the forced dissolution of the monasteries. Thomas Cromwell’s deputy, Richard Layton, visited the ‘bawdy’’ hospital in 1538. The master, Richard Mabott, was accused of selling the hospital’s silver and exacting excessive fees from patients. On 14th January 1540, the hospital was surrendered to the King and the monks were pensioned off.
In the aftermath of the queen’s arrest, the King exhibited the behaviour of a man, who at the very least, wanted to believe his wife was guilty. He spent time being rowed up and down the river Thames on his Royal barge with loud music playing and surrounded by many court ladies. He grew a manly beard shortly Anne’s arrest and was never seen without it again. The full faced, larger than life and intimidating portraits of Henry with his legs outstretched and eyes staring at the viewer were all painted after Anne was dead.