chartley – a place out of time & a rebellion

Chartley A place out of time published Stafford Newsletter –  5 9 18

 

In the time of Elizabeth 1, the sleepy hamlet of Chartley on the Stafford-Uttoxeter Road was famous throughout the country. It was the home to one of the oldest families of the aristocracy – the Devereux and was visited by two Queens, though one was the prisoner of the other. Many people know that the  the famous Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned there before her execution. However most people think that Mary was kept in Chartley Castle, including Wikipedia and the Oxford History of England .

Yet Mary never entered Chartley Castle, which was a ruin by the time she made the first of two forced visits to Staffordshire.

 

Her name will always be linked to the half timbered moated manor house, burnt down in 1781 and being a forgotten place despite the Devereux making their home there after the Wars of the Roses. The Devereux men were barons, rewarded for their loyalty to the crown and their fighting qualities, players in political battles resembling Game of Thrones. One Baron backed Richard III at Bosworth, dying a fighting death along with his King. The family then backed the victorious Tudors, successfully. Walter Devereux was made Viscount Hereford by Henry VIII. The  tomb of this Walter is in Stowe church to this day.

 

However the story for which Chartley is still remembered starts with his grandson, another Walter Devereux. This Walter Devereux inherited the title of Viscount as a young man not yet 17, but favoured by fortune and the crown. As a protestant family the Devereux had not served Mary Tudor, and her death in 1558 opened doors to Protestants as Elizabeth 1 favoured the reformed church. In 1561 or 1562 this second Viscount Hereford  married Lettice Knollys, cousin to the new Queen. Lettice was one of the most beautiful women in Elizabeth’s court, and remained attracted to Courtly  glitz and glamour even when living in the Staffordsire countryside. Having had several children by Walter, after several years of marriage rumours began to circulate about a scandalous friendship with the Earl of Leicester. Nevertheless, this did not stop Elizabeth visiting in 1575, with her favourite in tow – the very same Earl of Leicester.

 

The family was well regarded by Elizabeth because of the service shown when Mary Queen of Scots made her first, forced visit to Staffordshire in 1569. Mary Stuart, a catholic, had fallen out so

badly with the protestant Scots that they rebelled, driving her out of Scotland in May 1568, and she only just crossed the border to Carlisle ahead of the Rebels. Having arrived in England, she called upon Elizabeth to provide an army to put her back on the Scottish throne.  The last thing that Elizabeth wanted was to put a Catholic Queen on the throne of a protestant country, and Mary was imprisoned at Tutbury  pending discussions with the Scots, who refused to have Mary back.

 

The result was that Mary was to be kept under House Arrest pending developments while her young son James grew up and was expected to inherit the Scottish throne. However this gave Elizabeth a major headache. Most of England north of the River Trent was still largely Catholic, Protestants living mainly south of the River. Mary provided an excuse to rebel and put a Catholic Queen on the English throne. The government relied on Tutbury being remote from the rebel areas, though it is just north of the River Trent.

 

Catholic plots developed and when the Catholic Duke of Norfolk revealed he wanted  to marry Mary, he brought  matters to a head. Elizabeth, who was unmarried and had not chosen a successor, was well aware Mary was heir to the throne as her cousin. If the two Catholics married they would be able to produce more Catholics to stand in line to the throne so Elizabeth forbade the marriage. To her horror the Catholic  Northern Earls rebelled. Elizabeth did not have a standing army or a police force, and when the Earls mobilised 6000 soldiers it was clear their army could march south unopposed as  Elizabeth struggled to mobilise troops.

 

The rebels occupied Durham cathedral on November 15th and broke the law by celebrating the Catholic mass. Worse, the target of the rebellion was clear. The Rebels were heading for Tutbury, aiming to liberate Mary before Elizabeth could get an army across the River Trent to stop them. A rebel army with an annointed Catholic Queen at its head could become unstoppable. This was Crisis with a capital K.

 

It was at this point that the Devereux loyalty to the Crown became a factor. Walter had been given joint responsibility with the Earl of Huntingdon, his father’s cousin, to keep Mary at Tutbury and ordered to keep a troop of horsemen ready for trouble. What then happened is not clear from the history books, though as Chartley is less than a days ride from Tutbury, it is not difficult to work out. On November 25th Mary was moved south across the River and taken under armed guard to Coventry. The Northern Rebellion collapsed. While the text books do not say who organised Mary’s removal, it is very clear who the Queen thought was responsible for saving her throne. She made Walter an Earl.

 

On 17th June 1571 Walter was also made a Knight of the Garter, the citation saying he was “one of the few peers of the old blood who, during the conspiracy of the Duke of Norfolk, remained faithful throughout to the queen”. Walter had completely removed the blot caused by his ancestor fighting for Richard III against Henry Tudor. And though he would not live to see the final stages in the story of Mary Queen of Scots and her time in Staffordshire, the rest of his family would see the tragedy unfold.

 

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Chartley A place out of time published Stafford Newsletter –  5 9 18

 

In the time of Elizabeth 1, the sleepy hamlet of Chartley on the Stafford-Uttoxeter Road was famous throughout the country. It was the home to one of the oldest families of the aristocracy – the Devereux and was visited by two Queens, though one was the prisoner of the other. Many people know that the  the famous Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned there before her execution. However most people think that Mary was kept in Chartley Castle, including Wikipedia and the Oxford History of England .

Yet Mary never entered Chartley Castle, which was a ruin by the time she made the first of two forced visits to Staffordshire.

 

Her name will always be linked to the half timbered moated manor house, burnt down in 1781 and being a forgotten place despite the Devereux making their home there after the Wars of the Roses. The Devereux men were barons, rewarded for their loyalty to the crown and their fighting qualities, players in political battles resembling Game of Thrones. One Baron backed Richard III at Bosworth, dying a fighting death along with his King. The family then backed the victorious Tudors, successfully. Walter Devereux was made Viscount Hereford by Henry VIII. The  tomb of this Walter is in Stowe church to this day.

 

However the story for which Chartley is still remembered starts with his grandson, another Walter Devereux. This Walter Devereux inherited the title of Viscount as a young man not yet 17, but favoured by fortune and the crown. As a protestant family the Devereux had not served Mary Tudor, and her death in 1558 opened doors to Protestants as Elizabeth 1 favoured the reformed church. In 1561 or 1562 this second Viscount Hereford  married Lettice Knollys, cousin to the new Queen. Lettice was one of the most beautiful women in Elizabeth’s court, and remained attracted to Courtly  glitz and glamour even when living in the Staffordsire countryside. Having had several children by Walter, after several years of marriage rumours began to circulate about a scandalous friendship with the Earl of Leicester. Nevertheless, this did not stop Elizabeth visiting in 1575, with her favourite in tow – the very same Earl of Leicester.

 

The family was well regarded by Elizabeth because of the service shown when Mary Queen of Scots made her first, forced visit to Staffordshire in 1569. Mary Stuart, a catholic, had fallen out so

badly with the protestant Scots that they rebelled, driving her out of Scotland in May 1568, and she only just crossed the border to Carlisle ahead of the Rebels. Having arrived in England, she called upon Elizabeth to provide an army to put her back on the Scottish throne.  The last thing that Elizabeth wanted was to put a Catholic Queen on the throne of a protestant country, and Mary was imprisoned at Tutbury  pending discussions with the Scots, who refused to have Mary back.

 

The result was that Mary was to be kept under House Arrest pending developments while her young son James grew up and was expected to inherit the Scottish throne. However this gave Elizabeth a major headache. Most of England north of the River Trent was still largely Catholic, Protestants living mainly south of the River. Mary provided an excuse to rebel and put a Catholic Queen on the English throne. The government relied on Tutbury being remote from the rebel areas, though it is just north of the River Trent.

 

Catholic plots developed and when the Catholic Duke of Norfolk revealed he wanted  to marry Mary, he brought  matters to a head. Elizabeth, who was unmarried and had not chosen a successor, was well aware Mary was heir to the throne as her cousin. If the two Catholics married they would be able to produce more Catholics to stand in line to the throne so Elizabeth forbade the marriage. To her horror the Catholic  Northern Earls rebelled. Elizabeth did not have a standing army or a police force, and when the Earls mobilised 6000 soldiers it was clear their army could march south unopposed as  Elizabeth struggled to mobilise troops.

 

The rebels occupied Durham cathedral on November 15th and broke the law by celebrating the Catholic mass. Worse, the target of the rebellion was clear. The Rebels were heading for Tutbury, aiming to liberate Mary before Elizabeth could get an army across the River Trent to stop them. A rebel army with an annointed Catholic Queen at its head could become unstoppable. This was Crisis with a capital K.

 

It was at this point that the Devereux loyalty to the Crown became a factor. Walter had been given joint responsibility with the Earl of Huntingdon, his father’s cousin, to keep Mary at Tutbury and ordered to keep a troop of horsemen ready for trouble. What then happened is not clear from the history books, though as Chartley is less than a days ride from Tutbury, it is not difficult to work out. On November 25th Mary was moved south across the River and taken under armed guard to Coventry. The Northern Rebellion collapsed. While the text books do not say who organised Mary’s removal, it is very clear who the Queen thought was responsible for saving her throne. She made Walter an Earl.

 

On 17th June 1571 Walter was also made a Knight of the Garter, the citation saying he was “one of the few peers of the old blood who, during the conspiracy of the Duke of Norfolk, remained faithful throughout to the queen”. Walter had completely removed the blot caused by his ancestor fighting for Richard III against Henry Tudor. And though he would not live to see the final stages in the story of Mary Queen of Scots and her time in Staffordshire, the rest of his family would see the tragedy unfold.

 

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