What the Well-Dressed Couple Brought to the Tower

In October 1551, Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, and his wife Anne were committed to the Tower. (The duke would be executed on January 22, 1552, the duchess would remain a prisoner until released by Mary I in August 1553.) Here, from Henry Ellis’s Original Letters Illustrative of English History, are the items that the couple asked to be brought to them. (Plainly, the duchess was not the sort of lady to drink her beer while lounging in T-shirt and cutoffs.)

” Things necessarie for the Duke of Somerset, which he praythe to have: Firste one gowne; item, one velvet cappe; item one night cappe; item, two dubletts; item, ij. payre of hose; item, iij. shirtes; item ij night kerchers; item vj. hande kerchers; item iij. dussen pointes; item ij. payre of velvet shoes; item, iij. table clothes; item iiij hande towells; item iij. cupbourde clothes; item one dusson table napkings; item x11 in money to paye for his wasshinge, clensinge, and other necessaries.

” Thinges necessarie for the Duches of Somerset, which she prayeth to have. Firste one waste cote of velvyt wrought; item, ij. payre of knitte hose; item ij. payre of knitte sieves; item, one payre of wollen hose, which was in a plate cheste that mistres Susan kepte; item, vij. plane smockes which was last made; item, vj. highe collerd patletts and ruffes to the same; item vj. wayste smockes, whereof iij. wrought; item, vj. froc kerchers, whereof iij. fyne; item, ij. duble railes; item, vj. hand kerchers; item, the laces that mistres Pursbey had in keapinge; item, the crimisyn satten boxe with the stuffe that is in it; item a gowne of blacke velvyt egged with genetts, or else the gowne of blacke satten egged with black jenetts; item, a kirtle of blacke velvet playne; item a verdingale; item, a peace of skarlet for a stomycher; item, a piece of pointinge ryben; item, some blacke silke and white threde; item iij. little books covered with blacke velvyt which be in the cheste where this linning lyethe; item ij. payre of gloves; item, one payre of lether slippers; item xxli. in money to paye for wassinge, clensinge, and other necessaries; item ij. standing pottes for wyne and bere; item, ij. cuppes for bere, and a nest of boilles for wyne; item, vj. silver disshes, and ij. silver sawcers, and one dusson of pewder dishes; item, iiij. sylver plates; item, iiij. sylver spoones; item, iiij. table clothes; item iiij. hand towells; item, ij. dusson table napkins; item, iiij.cupboarde clothes.”

5 thoughts on “What the Well-Dressed Couple Brought to the Tower”

  1. Susan Higginbotham

    Kathryn, I enjoy those Susans that have been slipping in the Tudor letters also!

    Ragged Staff, how true! Here in the States, prisoners are issued orange jumpsuits. The duchess would probably have a heart attack.

    Mystica,, so do I!

  2. I think it's often over-looked that rich Tudor prisoners paid for their upkeep, and depending on their status/crime, some were treated remarkably well – Walter Raleigh being one.

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