8th November 1541 – Catherine Howard Confesses

On the 8th November 1541, Catherine Howard finally confessed to Archbishop Cranmer. He had returned that day intending to interrogate her, however, because she was still hysterical, he treated her more gently.

She confessed to Cranmer before going on to make a written confession. Here the beginning part of it where she refers to Francis Dereham:

‘Being again examined by my Lord of Canterbury of Contracts and Communications of Marriage between Deerham and me: I shall here answer faithfully and truely, as I shall make Answer at the last Day of Judgment, and by the promise I made in Baptism and the Sacrament that I received upon All-hallowes Day last past – First, I do say, that Deram hath many Times moved unto me the Question of Matrimony; whereunto, as far as I remember, I never granted him more than before I have confessed: And as for these Words, “I promise you, I do Love you with all my heart,” I do not remember that ever I spoke them. But as concerning the other Words, that I should Promise him by my Faith and Troth, that I would never other Husband but him, I am sure I never spake them.’

The main piece of evidence that would be used against Catherine is the letter she allegedly wrote to Thomas Culpepper. However, people debate the authenticity of the letter (just like Anne Boleyn’s in the Tower), as it is written differently:

‘Master Coulpeper, I hertely recomend me unto youe praying you to
sende me worde how that you doo. Yt was showed me that you was
sike, the wyche thynge trobled me very muche tell suche tyme that I 
here from you praying you to send me worde how that you do.
For I never longed so muche for [a] thynge as I do to se you and
to speke wyth you, the wyche I trust shal be shortely now, the
wyche dothe comforthe me verie much whan I thynk of ett and
wan I thynke agan that you shall departe from me agayne
ytt makes my harte to dye to thynke what fortune I have
that I cannot be always yn your company. Y[e]t my trust ys
allway in you that you wolbe as you have promysed me
and in that hope I truste upon styll, prayng you than that
you wyll com whan my lade Rochforthe ys here, for then
I shalbe beste at leaysoure to be at your commarendmant.
Thaynkyng you for that you have promysed me to be so
good unto that pore felowe my man, whyche is on of the
grefes that I do felle to departe from hym for than I do
know noone that I dare truste to sende to you and therfor
I pray you take hym to be wyth you that I may sumtym
here from you one thynge. I pray you to gyve me a horse
for my man for I hyd muche a do to gat one and
thefer I pray sende me one by hym and yn so doying I
am as I sade afor, and thus I take my leve of you
trusting to se you s[h]orttele agane and I wode you was
wythe me now that yoo maitte se what pane I take
yn wryte[n]g to you.

Yours as long as

lyffe endures



Catherine Howard’s letter to Culpepper (taken from the National Archives).


LP. XVI 1328

The History of the Reformation of the Church of England, Volume IV, by Gilbert Burnet, p505

National Archives – Catherine Howard loses her head

8th November 1541 – Catherine Howard Confesses to Archbishop Cranmer – The Anne Boleyn Files

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