Henry VIII, the Reign
French Naval Attack – Mary Rose Lost in the Solent – Death of Charles Brandon – the King Is Beguiled by Henry Howard’s War Efforts – Howard Replaced by Seymour – Peace Agreed – England to Retain Boulogne for Eight Years
Francis amassed a fleet at Le Havre and an army of thirty or forty thousand men to retake Boulogne. He also landed a small force in Scotland to join the Scots in an attack from the north.
The French battle fleet of two hundred and thirty-five ships entered the Solent on 18 July 1545; it was some four times larger than the defending English flotilla. The English navy, however, had the strategic advantage and, despite a brief French incursion onto the Isle of Wight, held the Solent.
The French were rebuffed and returned to Le Havre but at the cost of the Mary Rose, one of the English navy’s most famous ships, not as a result of French action but thanks to the weather: after a breeze blew up, she listed and water poured in through her open gun ports.
The Scots invasion force disintegrated.
Charles Brandon was expected to lead a large army back to France to secure Boulogne but the king’s great friend died on 22 August 1545. Four days afterwards, the captain of the garrison at Boulogne, Thomas Poynings, also died.
Henry VIII appointed Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey and son of the Duke of Norfolk, to replace Brandon, passing over the more able Lord Grey of Wilton, who was ready and waiting to take over from the unfortunate Poynings.
Appointed on 3 September 1545, Henry Howard was titled Lieutenant General of the King on Sea and Land for all the English possessions on the Continent. It was an ill-judged appointment, and calamity and catastrophe ensued. The cost of the war was ruinous but, so long as the king listened to Howard’s misleading accounts about its merits and his own military ability to run it, so it continued. The Privy Council was against it and even Howard’s father berated his son for encouraging the king to carry on with it.
Eventually, after a humiliating defeat on 7 January 1546 at St Étienne, Howard was relieved of his duties and Edward Seymour was appointed in his place. Seymour landed in Calais on 22 March 1546, and he negotiated a peace that was concluded on 7 June.
The Treaty of Ardres (also known as the Treaty of Camp) stipulated ratification within forty days, required payment of outstanding pensions and provided for peace with Scotland, but the most important outcome for Edward Seymour was that England retained possession of Boulogne for eight years, until 1554.
Henry VIII had failed in his quest to recover the lost Angevin Empire but Seymour had succeeded in his for possession of Boulogne.
Indeed, the twelfth clause of the Treaty of Ardres stated:
Thus Edward Seymour, in possession of Calais and Boulogne, had control of the Strait of Dover, from both sides of the narrow sea, effectively blocking that route from France to Scotland. The future Protector of England was detained in Boulogne until October 1546 securing English control. He would not allow any direct settlement with Scotland that did not absolutely guarantee the marriage of his nephew, the future King of England, to Mary Queen of Scots.
Links and Notes Part 51
Seymour negotiated a peace which was concluded on 7 June 1546 LP 1014
For Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey's exploits in detail see Henry VIII's Last Victim: The Life and Times of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey by Jessie Childs