Documentary Notes – ‘Henry VIII: Patron or Plunderer’ Part 1

Henry VIII c.1520.
Henry VIII c.1520.

Jonathan Foyle.

April 1509 Henry VIII takes refuge in the Tower of London.

Public image – kills Empson and Dudley.

Coronation = cloth of gold, jewels on horseback, Hall’s Chronicle, Thomas More – lawyer commissioned to make a speech, “golden age”.

Humanism influenced More and Henry, also chivalry – Erasmus,

Eltham Palace – Henry was raised away from the centre of London.

Glenn Richardson.

John Skelton taught him Latin, French, etc. Influenced by Margaret Beaufort and William Blount Lord Mountjoy.

New learning – grammar, rhetoric, morals, history. History of his own ancestors.

1503 Prince Henry was betrothed to Katherine of Aragon.

Strength of the Tudor family – influence, wealth, power. Demonstrated by buildings like King’s College Chapel.


Greyhound = loyalty, dragon = Welsh roots, portcullis – Yorkist, red rose, Lancastrian.

Renaissance prince.

Lady chapel in Westminster Abbey is Henry VII’s burial place.

Royal residences – changed, not castles with moats, supposed to display wealth, power and peace.

Hampton Court Palace, built by Cardinal Wolsey.
Hampton Court Palace, built by Cardinal Wolsey.

Hampton Court – William Bolton, renaissance and classical.

Royal family, envoys and foreign ambassadors – has to appeal to lots of people.

Demonstrates “European ambition”.

Tapestries – stories and morals. Thomas Campbell – portable to move with the court, practical, could be used as propaganda. Expensive to make/buy. Cost £100 compared to a Holbein painting £5.

Hampton Court eclipsed Henry’s palaces. Henry lost Westminster in a fire in 1512. Henry tried to build a copy in 1516 called Newhall – doesn’t exist today, replaced by an Elizabethan copy.

Supported Tudor dynasty – Tudor rose, pomegranate.

Field of the Cloth of Gold 1520.

Little to do with peace – “cultural warfare” and ostentation.

Nobles tried to emulate their king – ostentation, ambition, leave an impression on the king.

Tudor celebrations – music, dancing, masqueing, drinking and feasting. Henry composed and performed ‘gentil prince de renom’.

No one dared criticise him “patron rather than creator”.

Edward Stafford 3rd Duke of Buckingham c.1520
Edward Stafford 3rd Duke of Buckingham c.1520

Could overstep the mark – threatened. Thornberry Castle and the Duke of Buckingham, executed 1521, claim to the throne.

Debate = divorce and great matter. Defence of the sacraments earned Henry the title defender of the faith – now seems hypocritical.

Andrea Clark – British library, book of hours.

1527 “scruples of conscience” – Leviticus vs. Deutronomy, contrary to divine law, pope couldn’t dispense, monastic libraries.

Henry’s own intellectual prowess.

Henry was very involved – notes and highlighting, intellectual foundations.

Henry thought he was being punished for sin – marrying his brother’s wife, no male heir.

Realism in visual arts. Hans Holbein 1526 arrived in England.

Painted the family of Thomas More and got a position at court. 1527 French embassy, Holbein started work at Greenwich – triumphal arch at the banqueting house, painting of the Battle of the Spurs 1513.

Court painters had to have a range – portraits, sets, etc.

Whitehall mural destroyed 1698 – Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York – Henry’s most famous portrait.

Elaborate, distortion – power, strength, wealth – defines our image of Henry today.

Anne Boleyn Hever Castle Portrait
Anne Boleyn Hever Castle Portrait

1 June 1533 Anne Boleyn’s coronation – More and Fisher arrested. Act of succession and act of supremacy.

Henry isolated – rooted in tradition.

Conservatism “was his trump card.”

Ruthless using any force to secure his crown and dynasty.

2 thoughts on “Documentary Notes – ‘Henry VIII: Patron or Plunderer’ Part 1

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