In March 1533, Henry promised that he would repair the insult to Kings Henry II and John, who had been tricked into offering the realm in tribute to the Holy See. He was also determined to reunite the crown with the goods churchmen had appropriated from it.
Letters & Papers No 235 1533 Volume 6, dated 15 March 1533
Berkeley Castle to Thornbury Castle
14 August 1535
Berkley Castle to Thornbury Castle is a relatively short trip, the Roman Road that continues on towards Bristol is straight and flat. It is probable, given the size of a royal progress, that although the royal party moved down to Thornbury, the two castles are so close that some may have remained at Berkeley or shuttled between the two. After all, the progress was not due to leave Gloucestershire until 26 August.
From the outset, the furthest destination planned on the tour had been Bristol, before turning back east for the journey home to Windsor. It had been designed that way, Bristol was the centre of the Henry –Johnite cause.
Bristol was the ‘Western Capital of England’ and Robert of Gloucester had made it so, the city was the centre of Anglo-Angevin power against Stephen and his quest to bequeath the English crown to the de Boulognes during The Anarchy, ‘when Christ and His saints slept’. The settlement had strengthened its position during the reign of Henry I and as a result of his marriage to Elenore of Aquitaine, established trade routes from the port to France. Robert of Gloucester was an illegitimate son of Henry I, and in support of his legitimate half-sister he reinforced Bristol Castle, which formed the centre of command against Stephen and Matilda de Boulogne. Robert was grandfather to King John’s first wife Isabella, Countess of Gloucester.
In August 1535, there was plague at Bristol, deadly in its self, but that aside this was no romantic jaunt for a gluttonous middle age sloth and a queen that the Henry Johnites perceived as – and portrayed to their sovereign as – a scheming agent of the French king and his sister.
This was their country, from here their fore fathers had fought the de Boulognes for the kingdom of England, and at Thornbury Castle they began to turn the screw on the de Boulognes again.