Usually I write about people on "this side of the pond", so to speak. I know a lot of the family has trouble imagining people who lived 5 or 6 generations ago, so I try not to confuse the issue by talking about 15 or so generations ago. Except, once in a while, I have to break my self-imposed rules, because it's just too much fun.
I confess it: I am interested in ALL my ancestors, no matter where or when they lived. Some are more easily researched than others, and some are more worth writing about than others. I came across a fun little book on Amazon.com, called "Who's Who at the Tudor Court" by Victoria Evans, and I couldn't resist making up a short list of the people mentioned in the book, who are also our ancestors. These people are fascinating! Here's what I found, subject always to additional information:
Direct ancestors in the Holbrook line:
John Gage, my 15th great grandfather, held numerous posts in the court of Henry VIII, but as a Catholic, fell from favor when the King divorced or had his marriage annulled to Catherine of Aragon. He returned to court upon the accession of Mary I, and held her train at her coronation and at her wedding. He -was married to Philippa Guildford, who was probably at court as a lady in waiting from time to time, but I didn't find reference to that in this book.
Richard Rich, my 13th great grandfather, is known as a torturer and persecutor of Protestants, which is not exactly a high recommendation, but it does show that he had power. He was Lord Chancellor under King Edward VI, and held other various offices during his lifetime. His wife was Elizabeth Jenks, and again, she was probably part of the court, too.
William Sandys, my 12th great grandfather was the father of the Archbishop of York. He may actually be a collateral, and not a direct ancestor, so I'll work on that connection.
Edward Seymour, my 12th great grandfather, was Lord Protector of England during the minority of Edward VI. He was in and out of favor with the court, but generally landed on his feet.
Direct ancestors in the Allen line:
Stephen Gardiner, my 15th great grandfather, perhaps. The evidence on this is somewhat controversial. He was the Lord Chancellor during the reign of Queen Mary I, and was a Roman Catholic bishop who helped Henry VIII try to obtain an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon from the Pope.
William Parr, Mary Salisbury Parr (his wife) and their daughter, Maud Parr, were appointed to various offices during the reign of Catherine Parr, William's cousin and Henry VIII's last queen. Mary Parr Lane was a lady in waiting to Queen Catherine, so it is likely that her husband, Ralph Lane, was at court, too.
John Russell-my 13th great grandfather, served as Lord Admiral and Lord Privy Seal. He accompanied Henry VII and other Kings on various trips and really led quite a life.
We also have famous collateral relatives, including of course Queen Jane Seymour, Henry VIII's third wife and sister to Edward Seymour, and their father Thomas Seymour.
I think my most interesting discovery was finding that the Thomas Cromwell who is our relative was the same gentleman who was so prominent in helping Henry VIII marry Anne Boleyn, and who then lost his head to the executioner a few years later.
More of each person mentioned here (except for William Sandys, which is why I am suspicious) can be found in Wikipedia articles, and I encourage you to read them. Some even are shown in drawings by famous artists like Hans Holbein. Rather than summarize the articles further, this will at least let you know that our family had a part in history. Of course, the most famous Tudor, Henry VIII, is also likely our ancestor, through an illegitimate daughter.
If you enjoyed this recap, I'm glad. If you didn't, I'll get back to American folks on my next post, I promise!