Thomas Trahern

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Thomas Trahern (died 25 November 1542) was Somerset Herald, an English officer of arms. His murder in Scotland, which may have been related to the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion, was a setback to Anglo-Scottish relations.

Somerset Herald

Somerset Herald of Arms in Ordinary is an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. In the year 1448 Somerset Herald is known to have served the Duke of Somerset, but by the time of the coronation of King Henry VII in 1485 his successor appears to have been raised to the rank of a royal officer, when he was the only herald to receive coronation liveries.

Officer of arms state officer for heraldic, armorial or ceremonial duties

An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or state with authority to perform one or more of the following functions:

Pilgrimage of Grace

The Pilgrimage of Grace was a popular uprising that began in Yorkshire in October 1536, before spreading to other parts of Northern England including Cumberland, Northumberland and north Lancashire, under the leadership of lawyer Robert Aske. The "most serious of all Tudor rebellions", it was a protest against Henry VIII's break with the Roman Catholic Church, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and the policies of the King's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, as well as other specific political, social and economic grievances.


Somerset Herald

Trahern was made Somerset Herald in 1536. One of his early missions was to interview Thomas Darcy, who was implicated in the pro-Catholic rebellion called the Pilgrimage of Grace. He met Darcy at Templehurst, near Selby on 14 November 1536 accompanied by Henry Ray, Berwick Pursuivant. [1] Though this meeting was conciliatory, Darcy was subsequently executed. With the other heralds and pursuivants, Trahern attended the funeral of Jane Seymour on Monday 12 November 1537. [2] In August 1538 he was at the assize at York that condemned Thomas Millar or Milner, former Lancaster Herald. [3] Millar's crime was his submission to Robert Aske leader of the Pilgrimage of Grace at Pontefract on 13 October 1536. [4]

Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy de Darcy English politician

Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy of Darcy or of Temple Hurst, was an English nobleman, the only son, and heir, of Sir William Darcy and his wife, Euphemia Langton, the daughter of Sir John Langton. Darcy was opposed to the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and for his role in the Pilgrimage of Grace was convicted of high treason for delivering up Pontefract Castle to the rebels. He was executed on Tower Hill 30 June 1537.

Selby town and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England

Selby is a town and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England, 14 miles (22.5 km) south of York on the River Ouse, with a population at the 2011 census of 14,731.

Berwick Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary was an English office of arms created around 1460 for service on the Scottish Marches based at Berwick-upon-Tweed. In the 16th-century there was also a Herald or Pursuivant based at Carlisle on the west border.

Death and legacy

On 12 November 1542, the Earl of Hertford sent Trahern to James V of Scotland from Sir Robert Tyrwhitt's house at Kettleby in Lincolnshire. [5] Trahern was killed near Dunbar while returning to England from Edinburgh on 25 November 1542. He was accompanied by Henry Ray and the Scottish Dingwall Pursuivant. Although Ray stated the murderers were three English fugitives, John Prestman, William Leech of Fulletby, bailiff of Louth, and his brother Edward, veterans of the Pilgrimage of Grace, [6] Henry VIII treated his death in Scotland as a diplomatic incident and blamed James V of Scotland. [7] Henry Ray provided a statement;

Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset Nobleman

Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, was Lord Protector of England during part of the Tudor period from 1547 until 1549 during the minority of his nephew, King Edward VI (1547–1553). Despite his popularity with the common people, his policies often angered the gentry and he was overthrown. He was the eldest brother of Queen Jane Seymour (d. 1537), the third wife of King Henry VIII.

James V of Scotland King of Scots

James V was King of Scotland from 9 September 1513 until his death, which followed the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss. His only surviving legitimate child, Mary, Queen of Scots, succeeded him when she was just six days old.

Wrawby village in United Kingdom

Wrawby is a village in North Lincolnshire, England. It lies 2 miles (3 km) east of Brigg and close to Humberside Airport, on the A18. The 2001 Census recorded a village population of 1,293, in around 600 homes, which increased to 1,469 at the 2011 census. Wrawby is noted for its postmill.

"And then there came riding two men of horsbakk, and oon on fote with them, and overrode me the said Barwik and Scottishe pursivaunte, and ranne to Somersett, withoute speaking anye oon worde unto hyme. And oon of thies strange men ranne the said Somersett thorowe with a launce staff by hynd him, and oon other did strike hym to the harte with a dagger, and the thirde stroke the said Somersettis boye on the face with his sword. [8]

Trahern was buried in the parish church of Dunbar by Sir James Hamilton of Innerwick. Prestman and Leech sought sanctuary, but were imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle and on 28 February 1543 sent to London for execution. William Leech was hanged at Tyburn on 8 May 1543, and his two companions were executed on 12 June. [9] A later 16th-century English chronicle suggested that the distress caused by Trahern's murder contributed to the final illness of James V of Scotland. [10]

Innerwick village in United Kingdom

Innerwick is a coastal civil parish and small village, which lies in the east of East Lothian, 5 miles (8.0 km) from Dunbar and approximately 32 miles (51 km) from Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Castle castle in Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position on the Castle Rock. Archaeologists have established human occupation of the rock since at least the Iron Age, although the nature of the early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until 1633. From the 15th century the castle's residential role declined, and by the 17th century it was principally used as military barracks with a large garrison. Its importance as a part of Scotland's national heritage was recognised increasingly from the early 19th century onwards, and various restoration programmes have been carried out over the past century and a half. As one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite rising of 1745. Research undertaken in 2014 identified 26 sieges in its 1100-year-old history, giving it a claim to having been "the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world".

Tyburn village in the county of Middlesex close to the current location of Marble Arch in present-day London

Tyburn was a village in the county of Middlesex close to the current location of Marble Arch and the southern end of Edgware Road in present-day London. It took its name from the Tyburn Brook, a tributary of the River Westbourne. The name Tyburn, from Teo Bourne meaning 'boundary stream', is quite widely occurring, and the Tyburn Brook should not be confused with the better known River Tyburn, which is the next tributary of the River Thames to the east of the Westbourne.

Thomas Traherne's own coat of arms, including a chevron and three black herons, shows that he was a member of a Glamorgan family. [11]

Coat of arms unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon

A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design on an escutcheon, surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement which in its whole consists of shield, supporters, crest, and motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to an individual person, family, state, organization or corporation.

Chevron (insignia) V-shaped insignia used in various fields

A chevron is a V-shaped mark, often inverted. The word is usually used in reference to a kind of fret in architecture, or to a badge or insignia used in military or police uniforms to indicate rank or length of service, or in heraldry and the designs of flags.

Heron family of birds

The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae, with 64 recognised species, some of which are referred to as egrets or bitterns rather than herons. Members of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus are referred to as bitterns, and, together with the zigzag heron, or zigzag bittern, in the monotypic genus Zebrilus, form a monophyletic group within the Ardeidae. Egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons, and tend to be named differently because they are mainly white or have decorative plumes in breeding plumage. Herons, by evolutionary adaptation, have long beaks.


  1. "Letters and Papers Henry VIII, vol. 11, (1888), no. 1086". Retrieved 2013-09-19.
  2. Letters & Papers Henry VIII, vol. 12 part 2, (1891), no. 1060.
  3. Letters & Papers Henry VIII, vol. 13 part 2, (1893), no. 42.
  4. State Papers Henry VIII, vol. 1, part 1 & 2, John Murray (1831), 462 fn.
  5. Letters & Papers Henry VIII, vol. 17, (1900), nos. 1084, 1085.
  6. James, Mervyn, Society, Politics and Culture: Studies in Early Modern England, CUP (1986), 216.
  7. "Letters & Papers Henry VIII, 1542, no. 1140 (2)". 2003-06-22. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
  8. State Papers Henry VIII, vol. 5, part 4 cont., (1836), 225-232.
  9. Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, vol. 8, 170.
  10. Grafton, Richard, Chronicle at Large, vol. 2, London (1809), 488.
  11. Burke, Bernard, A General Armory, (1878).

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