Katherine Grey is buried in the village of Yoxford, she
died on 27th January 1568 at Cockfield Hall in Yoxford.
Katherine was the younger sister of the ill fated Lady
Jane Grey who was Queen of England for just 9 days
before being beheaded by a relative Tudor Mary.
Katherine's grandmother was Henry VIII s youngest
sister, Princess Mary.
Katherine was only fourteen when her sister and her
father were both executed. Despite her youth Katherine
was already married to the son of the Earl of Pembroke.
The wedding took place in May 1553, at a double ceremony
with her older sister Jane, who wed the Duke of
Northumberland's son Guildford. Katherine was considered
the prettiest of the Grey girls, being small like Jane
and with the Tudor red-gold hair and fair complexion.
After her sisters death in 1554, her father-in-law the
Earl of Pembroke was keen to distance himself from the
disgraced Greys and he banished poor Katherine and had
the marriage to his son annulled. Despite having had her
older sister killed, Tudor Mary stood by her Grey
relatives and allowed Katherine's mother Frances and her
two remaining children (Katherine and Mary) to remain at
court. She even granted the mother Frances permission to
remarry. Which she did just three weeks after her
husband's execution, to her steward, Adrian Stokes, a
young man fifteen years Frances's junior.
However, after the death of Tudor May, when Elizabeth
the First came to the throne in November 1558, Katherine
and her sister Mary were considered by many as a threat
to Elizabeths rule. Like many Katherine had been brought
up to believe that Elizabeth was the illegitimate
daughter of an executed adulterer and traitor and
therefore did not have a legitimate claim to the throne
of England. Elizabeth was aware of this and for herself
also disliked her Grey cousins as much as they disliked,
and feared her.
So it was that Elizabeth began to curtail the two
sisters privileges. Then rumours began to circulate that
the Spanish wanted to marry Katherine off to one of
their royal nobleman, this worried both Elizabeth and to
be fair Katherine as well. So Katherine took matters
into her own hands and wed Edward Seymour, without the
knowledge or the authority of Queen Elizabeth. Edward
and Katherine kept their marriage secret, sleeping
together several times in the palaces of Westminster and
Greenwich, though never spending an entire night
Queen Elizabeth, still un-aware of the marriage, sent
Edward away to France with Thomas Cecil (eldest son of
William Cecil) on a European tour to finish both their
educations. Whilst Edward was away Katherine discovered
she was pregnant. Unfortunately her letters to her
husband, pleading for him to come home were delayed and
Katherine could no longer hide her condition from the
Queen. She broke down and confessed her story to Robert
Dudley, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth, hoping he would
intercede on her behalf with the Queen. Dudley listened
to her story, promised nothing, and the next morning
told everything to the Queen.
Elizabeth put the then heavily pregnant Katherine,
straight into the Tower of London and this was where
Katherine gave birth to her son. Edward returned home
but neither he nor Katherine were able to produce
evidence of their marriage, they couldn't even produce
the minister. So the Archbishop of Canterbury ruled
there had been no marriage and censured them both for
having committed fornication.
The Lieutenant of the Tower felt sorry for the sad pair
and allowed Edward access to Katherine in her prison in
the Tower. The inevitable occurred and Katherine found
herself pregnant again. Her second son was also born in
the tower and two tower warders acted as godfathers. The
Queen, who had been content to let Katherine languish in
the tower indefinitely, was enraged, she proceeded to
throw Edward into the tower, but took Katherine out. For
the next seven years Katherine was moved around the
country staying in a variety of houses under a series of
wardens, she never saw her husband again. Her health
which had already begun to deteriorate in the tower,
became worse. In 1567 she was sent to Cockfield Hall in
Yoxford, her latest keeper was Sir Owen Hopton. By now
Katherine was gravely ill with tuberculosis. At nine
o'clock, on 27th January 1568 aged just twenty-seven
Katherine Grey died. She was buried at Yoxford.