Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Marchioness of Exeter Contracts the Sweating Sickness, 1528

This is the letter that refers to the Marchioness contracting the sweat in the summer of 1528. Note that the court immediately abandoned the Exeters and the members of their household for fear of contagion. The sweat in 1528 took several well known courtiers lives including William Carey, the husband of Mary Boleyn and William Compton, the King's Groom of the Stool, best known for his battles with Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham over the King's affair with the Duke's sister. Anne Boleyn and her brother George also contracted the sweat that summer, but, like Gertrude, they survived.

“To Wolsey  [1528]

…This morning, at 7 of the clock, I delivered Your Grace’s letters to the King’s Highness; wherewith I assure Your Grace, His Highness was greatly comforted, and giveth unto Your Grace hearty thanks for the same, and especially for the good news he hath out of Italy from Mr. Doctor Stevyns. (Stephen Gardiner)  And this morning he hath word that my lady Marquis of Exeter is sick of the common sickness, which causeth His Highness to appoint to remove, upon Saturday, from hence to Ampthill, and hath commanded that all such as were in my said Lord Marquis’ company and my said Lady, to depart in several parcels, and so not continue together; and so he desireth Your Grace t do, if any such case shall fortune, as God forbid.  And glad he is to hear that Your Grace hath so good a heart, and that you have determined and made your will, and ordered your self anenst God; which will he intendeth shortly to send unto Your Grace, wherein Your Grace shall see and perceive the trusty and hearty mind that he hath unto you above all men living.   And also, this morning His Highness hath knowledge of the death, of one of his Chapel, which had divers promotions of his gift, and of yours by reason of the Chancellorship, which he desireth you to forbear the gift of any of them, unto such time that Your Grace have knowledge of his further pleasure in them.  And also he desireth Your Grace that he may hear every second day from you, how you do; for I assure you, every morning, as soon as he cometh from the Queen, he asketh whether I hear any thing from Your Grace…
Written at Your Grace’s house at Tittenhanger This Thursday, the 9th day of July, by your humble and most bounden servant, 

Thomas Heneage.[1]

[1] M. St. Clare Byrne, ed. The Letters of King Henry VIII, pg. 72.

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