Part One : The Art History Theory : Induction, Deduction, Conclusion.



Part Two : The artist’s communication security

Art & Information Theory. Art & Academia. Art & NIET.



The tomb of Lady Jane Guildford in Old Chelsea Church

Lady Jane Guildford, Sir Richard Guildford, Sir Edward Guildford

John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland.



“Why is the Duchess of Northumberland buried in an obscure parish church ?”



The roles played by Chroniclers Hall and Holinshead



Sir Philip Sidney and Elizabeth I



James IV Version of the Bible








Sir Thomas More and The Princes in the Tower

Part One


The conventional and unconventional symbols

in the portrait Sir Thomas More and his Family

(Nostell Priory, Nr. Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England)


I may now draw attention to the persons depicted life-size in this large painting (approximately 3.5 x 2.5 meters). From left to right, the Latin inscriptions identify :

Margaret Clement (née Giggs), adopted daughter of Thomas More and wife of Dr. John Clement ; Elizabeth Dauncey (née More), second daughter of Sir Thomas More and wife of Sir William Dauncey ; Sir John More (More's father) ; Anne Cresacre (fiancée of John More II) ; Sir Thomas More ; John More II (More's son) ; Henry Patterson (More's "Fool") ; and, in front of Patterson : Cecily Heron (née More), More's youngest daughter and wife of Giles Heron ; Margaret Roper (née More) wife of William Roper and More's eldest daughter ; Lady Alice (second wife of Sir Thomas More). An unmarked man is reading in a back room and an oddly marked mystery man stands in a doorway.


This man is dressed in the old Italian style and all other persons depicted are dressed in the English style. The name above his head is 'Johanes heresius' (sic), with 'ius' heavily marked.

Line 1 reads : ‘Johanes heresius Thomae'. Line 2 reads : ‘Mori famul: Anno 27' (sic). Since 'famul:' is an abbreviation, presumably, for 'famulus' or 'secretary', this person has been identified as More's secretary, John Harris. However, the word 'heresius' has not been given a capital letter, unlike all other surnames in the painting. It means it is not a surname 'Harris'. And if not a surname, then 'heresius' perhaps means what it means in the Latin Vocative when addressing, for instance, a king : 'heres' ('heir') and 'ius' ('right' or, ‘rightful') -- the ‘rightful heir'.


‘John the rightful heir’ is located 'head and shoulders' higher in the family group (the person of highest status was conventionally placed highest in a portrait in the sixteenth century), meaning he is of higher status than Thomas More, who is depicted seated. Infrared photographs of the mystery man show that the top of his hat is higher than the hat of any other depicted, one more symbol of seniority. (See : “Bookstall” CD ROM) There is more.


The artist has painted an optical illusion above the head of 'Johanes heresius' beneath a series of fleur-de-lis (a symbol of royalty) above the doorway. Seen from the left, there appears to be a door, which is half-open -- seen from the right, an angled view of the doorframe. The effect of the illusion is to make the door 'disappear'. [01]

In addition, he is wearing a sword (a servant ? wearing a sword ? in an informal portrait ?) and one curiously bent finger is touching the pommel of the sword handle. He holds a parchment with two seals and near his sword is a buckler (a warrior's status symbol) with a polished rim and spokes. [02]


If what is pictorially represented is translated into familiar French language -- an 'optical illusion' is 'porte-à-faux' (literally, 'false door'). [03] The man holds the parchment 'il tient le parchemin' means, in courtly French, 'he holds the right and title of nobility'. The spoke of a wheel is 'rai' and the rim 'jante', a split-homophone of 'régente', and 'le bouclier du régente' means 'buckler of the king'. The ceiling timbers are not in perspective above his head, an artist's 'line-fault', or 'faute de ligne' or 'faute de lignage', which also means a 'fault in the lineage'.


I have to draw attention to one or two hidden lines. For instance, the top of the mystery man's hat is on the same horizontal line as the top of the /M/ in More's name, which is centrally placed above More's head. The intersection of the vertical and horizontal lines forms a right angle. The free-hanging cords of the clock weights enable all lines and angles to be measured 'true' without recourse to assumed verticals on doors or window frames. The statistically improbable right angle signals an unconventional pictorial part "message" : 'The man of highest status is quartered on Sir Thomas More' (living with him).

Similarly, the pendant on the collar of SS, the gold chain of office on More's shoulders, is not hanging centrally but has been moved to the observer's right. A vertical line upwards from the pendant to the higher clock weight and a horizontal line leftwards from the same point to the purple-and-gold flag iris forms a right angle at the base of the clock weight.


The door of the clock is open and the round decorative emblem shows a solar eclipse. The single clock hand is represented by a right hand with the index finger pointing 'near the eleventh hour'.

The impression is that : (1) The Sun is a symbol of the royal house of York. (2) The mystery man is a Duke of York, marked by a hidden perpendicular from the arc of the sun's corona (a symbol carried on the personal arms of the second son of the English kings : i.e. the Duke of York). (3) Someone has just died, since the curtain is drawn, the emblem shows a black eclipse and Thomas More is oddly unshaven (symbols of 'death' and 'mourning').

The second statistically improbable right angle marks the purple-and-gold flag iris, suggesting a second royal personage, since the colour and flower are both associated with royalty. Either this is a tautology or, since the existence of a purple-and-gold flag iris is unknown to horticulture, the artist is referring in an allegorical mode to a Royal Standard Bearer, an official position at court. (See : 'standard', or 'flag'; 'stem', 'bearing-stem' or 'bearer', for 'iris' ['iris', in Greek], Oxford English Dictionary. See also Isaiah II, 'The [royal] stem shall come forth from Jesse'). [04]

The impression is that this non-existent purple-and-gold flag iris signifies a person of higher status than a Duke of York (placed higher in the painting). If true, it was this person of higher status who had just died (marked by the black eclipse) and was now left quartered ('left-quartered') in the heart of the former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, More's office at the time (with which the gold pendant and collar of SS are generally associated).


Investigation shows that seven of the heads in this painting are almost certainly from the original sketches made by Holbein of the More family in their Chelsea home, during his first visit to England in 1526 until 1528 and now in the Royal Collection at Windsor. This does not mean the painting is dated some time between 1526 and 1528. The sketches may have been amalgamated into the painting some time later. That may not be obvious to us at first today, but plainly obvious to More’s family and friends some five years later, during Holbein's second visit to England, when the family documentation shows, it was painted by Holbein in the Roper family home at Eltham in Kent.


I must now draw attention to the facial skin of 'Johanes heresius'. It has a 'waxy' quality compared to the realistic facial skin of Henry Patterson standing beside him.

The impression is that the artist has 'waxed young' 'Johanes heresius'. [05] Since Holbein does this in two other paintings where names and ages (or dates) are included and the person is depicted at least half his known real age, the hypothesis was tested that 'Johanes heresius' is depicted in the picture at half his known real age. He is not 27 years ('anno 27') but 54. The impression is that the man of highest status, a notional person (one who only apparently exists), conjecturally the second son of an English king and the rightful heir -- must factually pre-suppose a deceased elder brother, a Prince of Wales (the title of the first son of the English kings).


Examination of the open book on Margaret Roper's lap (right foreground) shows two pages of Seneca's Oedipus and that Margaret is pointing, unmistakably, to the word 'Oedipus'. Beside her, Cecily Heron is counting on her fingers. The impression is that Margaret is pointing to some sort of tragedy concerning a king while Cecily signals: 'One king or two kings -- one tragedy or two tragedies ?’

The lines depicted in Latin on the two pages are from a speech by Seneca's Chorus in Act Two, beginning : 'Fata, si liceat mihi fingere arbitrio meo...' ('If it were permitted to me to change Fate according to my will...'). It continues in the sense that he (or 'she') would have matters other than they are. The facing page is headed 'L. AN. Seneca' or 'Lucius Annaeus Seneca' or, more probably, 'Lucii Annaei Senecae' (Latin Genitive).

However, Oedipus solved the riddle of the Sphinx and the name is sometimes given to persons good at solving puzzles (See : 'Oedipus', OED). The latest opinion for the birth year of Thomas More opts for 1477, either 6/7 February. 'L. AN.' means 'fifty years' or 'fiftieth year' in French, which corresponds with the age written above More's head 'an / no 50'. 1477 add 50 equals 1527. Bearing in mind the open clock door and that the time has been changed -- the artist appears to declare that this portrait was not painted in 1527 when the clock was stopped 'near the eleventh hour' (the pendulum is missing). It means that 1527 was not the date of the execution of the painting but the year of the family matters referred to in the painting -- a retrospective painting.


Examination of each book depicted shows : (1) the open book in Margaret Clement's hand (far left) contains blank pages and her middle finger is pushed into the spine of the book.


(2) The closed book under Elizabeth Dauncey's right arm (second from left) is Seneca's Epistolae (written along the edge). (3) The book by the head of Sir John More (seated beside Sir Thomas More) is de Consolatione Phil[-osophiae] by Boethius (written along the edge) containing (according to Geoffrey Chaucer's translation) 'his complaints and miseries'. [06]


(4) The book being read by the man in the back room shows the claw marks of a small animal across the open pages. We will return to this again.


(5) John More II is reading a book, most intently. It has long been conjectured whether John More was overshadowed by his classically trained sisters. Above his head the artist has written : 'Joannes Morus Thomae / Filuis anno 19' (sic) -- or 'John, Son of Thomas More, aged 19'. ‘Filuis?’ We do not have to be experts to know that the word is ‘Filius’ or ’Son’ (‘slightly backward’ in Latin ?). This corroborates family documentation and is relevant to known history : 'John More, Sir Thomas's son, was reckoned foolish and his picture represents him as such. But by the help of a good education he was able to write one or more Latin letters to Erasmus.’

Also to be considered are the three flower arrangements in the portrait, two of which are neatly blended and matched, and one other which is un-neat, un-blended and un-matched. This latter marks Margaret Clement. Another non-existent flower, a purple peony of similar colour to the flag iris, is included with its lower edge on the same line as the base of the lower of the two clock weights (above More's head) and the top of the hat of 'Johanes heresius'. [07]

Similarly, from the purple peony, the line of the lute marks Margaret Clement, and above, a similar line marks Elizabeth Dauncey through the line-faulted viol. Both women are positioned under a fringed canopy (a symbol of marriage). On the shoulder of the viol is an improbably placed f-hole in the shape of a down-curved pair of horns, and behind the heads of the two women is a large plate. In front of the plate, a vase is covered with a cloth. Elizabeth is oddly depicted with only one glove and her little finger is strangely bent.


The floor is strewn with rushes and a small dog with one ear cocked is seated at Thomas More's feet. [08]

If we project a line from the cupolas of the two Belladonna lilies in the left-hand flower arrangement to the centre of the cocked ear of the little dog, the line passes precisely between the heads of the two women. Another projected line, from the pink depicted in the right-hand window to the same point in the centre of the dog's cocked ear, touches the noses of 'Johanes heresius' and Cecily Heron, and where this second line meets the first line at the centre of the ear -- an obtuse angle is described.


It is clear that these factual observations make no sense in English. However, a French version produces a series of linguistic equivalents, which do indeed make sense. Similarly, if we identify the flowers, their symbolism in their own language of flowers (long forgotten) may be understood. I concluded that the lines and angles were not random but had been mathematically calculated since the alignment referred to at least one intermediate point between the extremities. I observed that each one of these points had a linguistic equivalent : 'These lines, touch secretly upon persons A, B and C ; are directed at A and B and C ; or concern A and B and C' -- and that they ALL made sense.


In view of the large canvas, virtually all the detail is visible. In addition to the central placement of the figure of Thomas More, and the figure of Margaret Roper (which dominates the right foreground), two other details are points of focus -- the clock at the top and the small dog at the bottom, both near the centre-line.


An unconventional pictorial representation of the artist's name might be a small dog : 'Fetch-the-bone' in English, 'Hol-bein' in German ('holen', 'to fetch' and 'bein', 'bone'). The clock with the open door may be taken to mean that the time had been changed and, from the central placement, that this was an important factor. The impression is that 'obtuseness in the family had come to Holbein's ear'. From the placement of the plate behind the heads of Margaret Clement and Elizabeth Dauncey, the pictorial statement suggests the two women were not at ease with one another since 'être dans son assiette' means, ‘to be at ease’ in familiar French or, literally, 'to be in one's plate'. The artist has NOT placed the two heads 'in the plate'.

An inquirer may be surprised that 'peony' is a sixteenth century name for a physician (See Note 7) and purple means 'royal' -- thus a royal doctor, or a doctor who is royal. Since the flower stands on the same line as the base of the lower clock weight and the top of the mystery man's hat it suggests that 'Johanes heresius' ('John, the rightful heir') is the doctor in question. Factually, a certain John Clement was indeed a member of More's household, described as a tutor, and was later appointed president of the Royal College of Physicians, but this was many years after the death of Holbein. Unless, of course, it means what it suggests : John Clement was a royal AND a doctor. I have to draw attention that Dr. John Clement gained his M.D. abroad, at the University of Siena, Italy, in March 1525.


The placement of the viol marking Elizabeth Dauncey implies "violation" by the royal doctor ('violer', 'to violate'), that she had cuckolded her husband, William Dauncey ('les cornes', the 'horns' of a cuckold) ; and, from direct inspection, that she was visibly pregnant and in maternity clothes. The book of Seneca's Epistolae Elizabeth is carrying under her arm, records the author's commentary on Vices and Virtues. The impression of the singleton glove with the finely embroidered wristband is that a glove apparently lacks the companion of the pair. Curiously, 'le pair lui manque', or 'le père lui manque') means that a woman lacks the father of her child. It is similarly possible, in the case of the famous portrait of Elizabeth I, that the single glove she carries is a most offensive reference by the artist to a parental union unblessed by the Pope ('Le [Saint]-Père lui manque'). If true, in the process of removing her glove (the little finger 'pops-out' when taking off a glove), Elizabeth is revealing her extremities (fingers) or 'extremes of behavior', 'elle nous découvre ses extrémités' in French. The curious curb-shaped little finger or 'doigt courbé' is a homophone of 'doit courber', or 'she must curb her extremes of behavior with fine excuses', taking 'la broderie' in familiar language to mean some sort of elaborate justification or excuse. Elizabeth is unconventionally portrayed in profile. Heads of state and their consorts have been depicted in profile over a considerable period of time, a convention reserved for persons of highest status on medals and coins, not in paintings at this time. We will return to this again. For the present, I have to draw attention that Margaret Roper and Cecily Heron are similarly dressed in maternity clothes and there are reports that eleven ‘grandchildren’ were later seen running around the house.


Although Elizabeth Dauncey was only married on 29 September 1525, the artist claims the child of the illicit union was born live and Elizabeth miscarried foetuses by her legitimate husband on two separate occasions. Around her waist there is a gold-coloured piece of material knotted underneath her stomach, which falls in two bands at the ends of which are fringes. The unconventional green pattern on the bands appears to represent pronounced and heavy veins such as might be seen on any large animal.


'L'enfant est noué' means, literally, the child is 'knotted' or, in familiar language, 'born with an impediment', implying 'illegitimacy'.


CODE: 'Deux traits / ornés / veinés / verts / deux frangés' ('Two bands / gilded / veined / green / two fringes or 'both fringed'), is homophonic substitution and linguistically equivalent in French to CODE : 'Deux trés/ors nés / venaient / verts / d'oeu/f rangé' ('Two treasures, born green, came from the proper egg').


Margaret Clement (similarly in profile) is portrayed with a large 'derrière', a reticule, an elaborate piece of jewellery hanging from her waist and an inexpensive white rabbit-skin cap (the other women have expensive headdress). She is depicted on the left, on the fringe of the family. The meaning of her finger in the spine of the book suggests 'le doigt dans l'épine' or 'she keeps on at him'. This means the royal doctor, presumably, who 'fights' with her, since 'lute' is a homophone of 'lutte' or 'fight'.

                                                                    “VXOR JOHANNIS / CLEMENS”

The covered vase is taken to be a reference by the artist to the expression 'vase d'élection' or 'The Chosen One' (a king) and the covering of the vase with a cloth suggests the artist did not like Margaret Clement, he paints her unflatteringly, and his opinion was 'Le vase est couvert', meaning 'The Chosen One is justified' (or 'covered'). [09]


The distinct impression is that Margaret is ‘left on the fringe' of the family and someone else, not the artist, may 'fill in the blank pages'. It seems that Margaret was unfortunately shaped (her reticule is a synonym of 'ridicule'), the elaborate jewel suggesting a certain derogatory pre-Grand Siècle preciousness; and, that she was a 'précieuse'. The placement of the untidy, but by no means unsightly flower arrangement, denotes ‘an untidy arrangement’ (her marriage).


The artist's inclusion of the purple peony is a reference to the husband of Margaret Clement (Dr. John Clement), presumably, since she is the named wife of John Clement ('uxor Johannis Clemens') and concurrently suggests : 'The doctor who was royal', John Clement, and 'Johanes heresius', were one and the same notional person.


This decrypt and interpretation appears to gather substance when it is noticed that the young man in the back room is depicted with the short hairstyle worn only by monks but the monk's tonsure is missing : the 'hair is there' or, (a short step from the pictorial sublime to an English subsidiary) 'Harris-there'. John Harris was indeed Thomas More's secretary over a substantial period of time. The colour of the background against which John Harris's head is portrayed is not a true green but a false green (compared with the true apple green colour of his doublet). [10] In painters' jargon, the false-green colour depicted is 'vert faux', a homophone of 'vers faux' meaning 'something does not ring true'. Finally, since 'à la griffe on reconnait le lion' (‘one recognizes the lion by his claw marks’) may also mean, in familiar French, that 'one recognizes the master by certain characteristics', (for instance, the mark of a potter’s thumbnail pressed into a clay pot before firing), the claw marks on the pages of the book ('les griffes') suggest the mark of the master painter of Basel, Holbein.


The impression is that Doctor John Clement was of royal blood but this was not known by his wife Margaret (the book with the blank pages) ; that his real age in 1527 was not 27 but 54 years (the series of Holbein's paintings with 'waxy' skin : Code for “half-age paintings”) ; and, due to the death of the unknown person of higher status in the same year (the solar eclipse and the purple-and-gold flag iris), Clement was addressed as the rightful heir to the throne (the styling 'heres-ius'). The carpet on the sideboard suggests the covering-up of confidential matters 'cacher la crédence sous le tapis', literally ‘to hide the sideboard under the carpet’ (‘crédence’ means ‘confidential matters’ in courtly French). The rushes (strewn on the floor) are linguistically equivalent to 'jonchère' or 'rush-strewn', a near-homophone of 'Jean-cher' or 'John-dear' (hidden in the family group).

By deduction, it may be seen that the alleged true year of birth of Dr. John Clement is 1473 (1527 minus 54). In this connection, Richard, Duke of York, the younger son of Edward IV, was the only prince born in the male line in 1473 ; and, he and his elder brother, Edward V, were said to have died in or about 1483. This allegation is contained in Thomas More's History of King Richard the Third, written some thirty years later (commenced in 1513 according to nephew William Rastell in the preface of the printed version of the book in Rastell's 1557 edition of More's Workes) and circulated only in manuscript, presumably, before that date. [11] This book is regarded as a major source for the denigration of King Richard III as the instigator in the murder of the princes, at the ages of about 13 and 10 years, in the Tower of London. From factual material in this painting the present author concludes that Thomas More is alleged to have laid down a smokescreen over the continued existence of the two princes by implying that they died in or about 1483, that the book was a blind and the artist had revealed this in a secret method of communication.


It may be seen that the artist depicts only three fingers of More’s hand at the centre of the painting beneath the red velvet sleeve. More appears to be signaling with three fingers. The elements of the three fingers and the red velvet sleeve may be taken to refer jointly to More's Richard, since '[faire] le Richard (III)' means ‘he made [or ‘wrote’] the book Richard III’, which is a homophone of 'faire le richard', meaning 'to pretend to be a rich man'.

It is not at all clear, but since red velvet is a symbol of a rich man and since More has only two sleeves, the impression is that the artist is referring to an odd event in history we have not heard before, perhaps a More family in-joke. [12]


Finally, the artist appears to comment one more time on More's book, the centre piece of this truly arcane composition. From direct inspection, it may be seen that the artist shows Thomas More wearing the "S"-pattern chain usually associated with the Duchy of Lancaster.

Conventionally, the central placement reflects the high importance attributed to the chain by the artist. This is surely correct, in substance and in fact. However, whereas the esses are depicted conventionally on the left side of the chest -- upon closer examination it may be observed that the esses have been reversed, reflected mirror images, on the right side of Thomas More. These conventional and unconventional esses and their placement marking More's History of King Richard the Third are simultaneously relevant to a pictorial representation of the words :


'D'un côté -- est-ce (esses) gauche ?

De l'autre côté, réflection faite,

Est-ce (esses) adroit ('à droite') ?'


Or, in familiar English language : 'On the one hand, is it gauche (clumsy) ? On the other hand, upon reflection -- is it adroit (clever) ?'


I take this to mean that the artist questions the plan of deception and whether More's attempt to lay down a literary smokescreen by writing the book was clumsy or clever ; and, presumably, time would tell.


The conclusion was finally reached that the central placement of More's Richard was the 'confidential matter' referred to by the carpet on the sideboard, that Tudor deception in a previous century was the raison d'être of the portrait, and everything flowed from this point. It was seen that Edward V (b. 1470) is reported by the artist to have died, aged fifty-eight, some five months after the fiftieth birthday of Thomas More, in 1527. Since New Year 1528 began on Lady Day (March 25), it means the death was in mid-July 1528 (all the flowers are in bloom at this time). [13] Finally, I have to draw attention that the flower selection includes floral symbols of royalty and mourning (fleur-de-lis and irises) and that the odd and enigmatic quality of this remarkable painting reflects, presumably, the sorrow of those who were aware of the royal death ; and, that the witness, Holbein, who was an invited guest living in More's house, between 1526 and 1528, was secretly communicating these matters for posterity.




Sir Thomas More and the Princes in the Tower

Part Two



The Findings : Photographic ; Documentary ; Scientific.


In 1950 Paul Ganz published his book The Complete Works of Hans Holbein the Younger. I have to draw attention to Ganz’s observation of certain anomalies in the oeuvre : 'Holbein sometimes resorted to riddles.' [14]


Since art history has not produced conclusive proof of Holbein's riddles to-date, leaving the case open to renewed examination, I intend to prove beyond any possible shadow of doubt that the picture puzzles, the so-called ‘riddles’ described by Professor Ganz with true scientific openness, are elements of a secret method of communication, not pure code and not purely scientific but a rebusform, which I have termed and named 'covert rebus'. [15]


In this connection, I have to draw attention that Holbein drew and painted a large number of contra-factual and other unconventional elements in his work. These anomalies have linguistic equivalents, which make sense, relevant to known history ; the criteria of my theory of the unconventional symbols (TOTUS) born of interest out of a background of methods over a substantial period of time. The impression is of a new witness leaving a solid core of evidence, private and political, for on going historical and art historical conjecture.


My initial observations and findings are described and explained in my personal view of the life of a truly great artist and extremely brave man, Hans Holbein the Younger.





The conjecture surrounding the first More family group portrait by Holbein and the later family group portraits by Rowland Lockey has been reported over a substantial period. We will return to the Lockey versions later.


For the present, investigation reveals a new option concerning the group portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger of the More family ; namely, that the artist painted two versions. (1) The Chelsea version, in distemper-on-cloth (during his first visit to England, 1526-1528) ; and, (2) The Well Hall/Nostell Priory version, in oil-on-canvas (commenced and completed during his second visit to England, after 1532).


It is not contradicted and is not in dispute that more than sixty years later, in 1593, Rowland Lockey was commissioned to paint perhaps two or more modified versions for Sir Thomas More's grandson, Thomas More II, which Lockey may have achieved with associates. I have to draw attention to one large oil-on-canvas, now in the National Portrait Gallery, (2765) [16] ; and, (2) the miniature-on-vellum, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, (15-1973). [17]


In this connexion, it is factual that the year '1530' (or '1532') and the name 'Rowlandas Locky' appear on the Nostell painting. On the one hand we will consider carefully the Roper family tradition that Holbein painted this portrait for Margaret and William Roper, daughter and son-in-law of Thomas More. On the other hand we will consider the simple fact that the Rowland Lockey signature is not reported on any other portrait. The reader may therefore not be surprised that art history has not produced conclusive evidence of the correctness of the Lockey attribution of the Nostell painting. Further, since the 1530 or 1532 date is impossible for Rowland Lockey (fl.1590), I propose to consider a number of indications proving that : (1) The painting has at all times been in More family ownership. (2) The 'Rowlandas Locky' inscription and date mistakenly was added in 1752. (3) The objections to the Holbein attribution are post mid-18th century and later than the spurious additions of 1752. [18]


In this connexion, the painting was examined by two art historians in the first half of the 18th century, the Reverend John Lewis [19] and George Vertue (d.1756). [20] Lewis made a four-page description of the painting, in 1717, which includes specific details within 10 cms of the area where to-day can be seen the 'Rowlandas Locky' inscription and date. However, neither Lewis nor Vertue report the name or date on the painting. This is NIET negative evidence, defined as 'what is not there and which, reasonably, one might expect to find there'. The impression is that the inscription was not present, nor hidden (say, by the frame) when Lewis and Vertue examined the painting.


The infrared photograph of the ‘Rowlandas Locky’ inscription, taken at the National Gallery, London (1951), revealed ‘interference’, confirmed in writing by The National Gallery. [21] Microscopic examination of the date, by the Courtauld Institute, London (1978), identified three different applications of paint. The first (possibly, '1752'), similar to the remainder of the inscription, had been changed by small additions of dark brown/grey overpaint and blue/black semi-transparent overpaint, to '1530' or '1532'. [22] This overpainting was brought to the attention of the Hamilton Kerr Institute at the University of Cambridge (1979).


The Hamilton Kerr infrared vidicon examination confirmed the microscopic findings of the Courtauld Institute, interpreted by the present author :


1st line : 'das 2 crs' (long flowing terminal "s", with vowel suppressed?)

2nd line : 'fecit a Dr' (or 'Pr'?)

3rd line : '1752' (possibly)


The interpretation of the inscription reads :


'The two curs' (in English), and/or 'the overpainting'

('das zweiter cursus', in German) / '[by]' /either,

a 'Doctor', or 'Debtor', or 'Priest', or 'Protestant',

/ in '1752'.


The inscription has been rubbed and changed, by the addition of small paint strokes, to 'Rowlandas Locky / fecit / 1530' (or '1532'). The date '1752' is inscribed with the same paint as the remainder of the original inscription. The part-word 'Rowlan-' was a later addition to the 'das' with a different paint application in a flowing Georgian script with different pitch to the letters.


The best-fit hypothesis is that a Doctor/Debtor/Priest/Protestant defaced the Nostell portrait, a Catholic symbol belonging to a famous Catholic family, in or about 1752. This person (perhaps, Dr. Stephen Switzer, an amateur painter and ardent follower of Zwingli, engaged to landscape the gardens at Nostell in 1752) painted a pig's snout over the little dog's muzzle, interpreted as 'schweinhund' or 'pig-dog', a most offensive gesture. [23]


At the same time, a dated admission was perhaps added 'das 2 crs / fecit a Pr / 1752'. The impression is that the owner of the painting in 1752, Sir Rowland Winn, ordered a restorer to cover up the overpainting of the pig’s snout on the little dog's muzzle. The restorer, perhaps the German-born perpetrator, Dr. Switzer, was instructed to overpaint the pig's snout to the condition seen today. Sir Rowland Winn, because of a remarkable double-coincidence, which is explained and made clear for the first time, permitted the odd (and spurious) 'Rowlandas Locky / 1530 (or 1532)' inscription to be added simultaneously, by the restorer, to the painting.


In this connection, I have to draw attention to the report from abroad, in the same year 1752, of the destruction by fire of Holbein's group portrait painted at the Chelsea home of Sir Thomas More which later was removed to the Bishop of Ölmutz's palace at Kremsier, then in Germany. This picture, in distemper-on-cloth (a poor medium which does not last) was in a 'deplorable' condition in 1604, reported by Carel van Mander. It is widely accepted that this is the version, the Chelsea version (c. 1527), accidentally destroyed in the conflagration.


The second part of the coincidence concerns the interference on the Nostell painting in the same year, presumably, 1752. Investigation reveals that Sir Rowland Winn had paid his brother-in-law, Sir Edward Dering, a 'moiety' (£1500) of the value, £3000, in order to have sole possession of the portrait. It is not at all clear, but the large sum (paid before 1752) suggests Sir Rowland Winn believed his oil-on-canvas painting was an authentic work by Holbein. Although there is no record of payment to a restorer at this time, the impression is that sometime after receiving the news from Germany, the owner did indeed instruct someone with expertise to remove the overpainting and, at the same time, ordered the restorer to add the 'Rowlandas Locky' inscription. We may conceivably conclude that Rowland Winn permitted the addition in the genuinely mistaken belief that his was a Lockey copy. Why should he do this ?


One option (coincidentally and unhelpfully!) is that William Burton had reported in the late sixteenth century having seen a modified version of the More family group in Rowland Lockey's workshop in Fleet Street, London. I have to draw attention that Burton's sighting is now identified with the painting in the National Portrait Gallery, London, commissioned about 1593, by the descendants of John and Ann More (née Cresacre), the male branch of the family. The contents of this modified version, notably the dress, indeed reflect the years 1527 and 1593.


Investigation is on going into other options for Sir Rowland Winn's apparent rejection of his wife's more than two hundred year-old More family tradition on the authenticity of the painting by Holbein ; and, the odd absence of a recorded payment to a professional restorer.


In view of the finding that the Locky inscription and date were later additions on the Nostell portrait, comparative studies were recommended by the Hamilton Kerr Institute, to take place at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Preliminary examination of reports in the NPG file on the modified group portrait of Sir Thomas More and his Descendants by Rowland Lockey (2765) revealed grounds for the supposition that the composition, thickness or application in the primary layers of the NPG version was significantly different from the priming layers applied by the artist in the Nostell painting. Further examination suggested, apart from a similarity in the weave of both canvases, that the Nostell painting was indeed another version, possibly by Holbein, requiring further investigation. [24]


By June 1981, the Hamilton Kerr Institute had completed their examination with the latest technology, including pigment analysis by micro-chemical techniques, supplemented by x-ray and microprobe analysis. Infrared photographs of the line fault in the viol, drawn by the artist in black charcoal on the primary applications of the white primary layers, showed conclusively that the line fault was deliberately included. The line fault now made sense, the linguistic equivalent relevant to known history. [25]


Later, pigment analysis of samples, taken from selected points in the layout, confirmed the anomalies drawn in black charcoal and the figures in red chalk. We know that Holbein sometimes drew outlines of his sitters in red chalk. There was no evidence of old paint butting new paint, which suggested a period of months (rather than years) for the execution of the painting.


Upon receipt of the positive report and recommendation of the Hamilton Kerr Institute, the decision was made by the owners to radiocarbondate a piece of canvas from the Nostell Priory painting. [26] The department of geosciences of the University of Arizona at Tucson offered to assist in an attempt to eliminate a Holbein attribution using the latest technology. Briefly, using a conventional timescale, the radiocarbon findings on the latest possible date the flax was cut for processing into canvas (1520, with 95% confidence ; 1525, with 99% confidence) make anything other than a Holbein attribution 'highly improbable' (Damon). See above : Note [18]


The best-fit hypothesis is that Holbein painted the Nostell picture for More's daughter and son-in-law, William and Margaret Roper, in the Great Hall of the Roper family home at Well Hall, Eltham in Kent, sometime during his second visit to England, after 1532. Family documents show Holbein living in Eltham at or about this time. Investigation shows that Holbein became court painter to Henry VIII in or about 1536 and lived for a short period in the Whitehall Palace in his workshop above the north archway to the palace, still known as Holbein’s Gate one hundred years later.


From about 1536, it became dangerous for Holbein to consort openly with the remaining members of the More circle who were still under suspicion after the execution of Sir Thomas More in 1535. The last entry of a salary paid to Holbein is Midsummer 1541 (Archaeologia, Vol. XXXIX, "Discovery of the Will of Hans Holbein", Black, W.H. and Franks, A.W., 1863). However, a few months before, when Holbein was receiving from the king a salary of £30 per annum, less 10% tax, a salary of the same amount is recorded by one Hans Holbein of the parish of St. Andrew Undershaft in the City of London. This identification is confirmed by the lawyer who drafted Holbein’s Will. Holbein’s name is also found on a subsidy roll in 1541 and 1543. The Well Hall/Nostell Priory painting was finished, presumably, sometime before Holbein’s death from the plague, which ravaged London in 1543. Holbein died in his bed and was buried in the next parish in the church of St. Katherine Cree. Thomas More may never have seen the painting. This closely follows the traditional family account.


The chronology and particular similarities of the folds in the gowns of the sitters suggest that the Lockey version was copied from the Holbein painting at Eltham, which later passed to Nostell with a young Roper heiress, Susannah Henshaw, in or after 1729, when she married Sir Rowland Winn of Nostell, the ancestors of the present owner, the Lord St. Oswald.





It is not yet possible to quantify the probability of the cryptographic concealment in the drawings and paintings of Hans Holbein the Younger. Such assessment is today based on tried and tested statistical arguments and, to be valid, large samples are necessary. The evidence described and explained in Part One is sufficient to suggest that a through investigation of the entire area is justified. The mathematics and cryptographic techniques and other arguments needed to reach a conclusion should also be of interest. This recommendation is by Professor F. Piper of the Department of Mathematics at the University of London, a leading UK expert in the field of cryptology. 


In view of the added element of 'secrecy' to the word transformations by the artist (hence, Holbein's covert rebus), we will have to consider : (1) The discreet placement of the factual and contra-factual material ; and, (2) The end-on relationship of the unconventional and conventional elements.


First, I have to inform the reader of the results of my own amateur investigations into the art world. Since there is no authority in this particular field -- indeed, the unconventional symbols are un-recorded -- I tested the theory that these latter were pictorial representations of linguistic equivalents; and, I repeated the experiment upon several hundred or more unconventional elements in some seventy-three works attributed to the artist, successfully.


The conclusion was that the artist had left information for posterity concerning his sitters, personal and political, mostly but not entirely in the French language. This at first seemed odd. One is perhaps naive to expect Holbein only to have spoken German. Investigation showed that Holbein senior moved from Augsburg to Basel when Holbein junior was a young man and that there were (and still remain) French and German speaking communities in that city today. Holbein worked in France (for the Duc de Berri) and travelled widely in France when French was the language of the artist (a jargon language) and the most-spoken language in Europe. I was unable to discover the place of birth of Holbein's mother. Perhaps she was French or spoke French. From direct inspection of the languages he used in cryptic form in his paintings, beside his first language, German, Holbein had some knowledge of Greek and Hebrew and a good working knowledge of Latin and French by the time he arrived in England, aged about 29 years in 1526.


In this connection, we will also have to consider with care if the witness Holbein suffered from mythmania and if we should believe him. Or, was it all a pack of lies ? We must also look for an explanation and motive for the method in which he left his information. Clearly, he could have left a diary, possibly in code, hidden somewhere in a building, or buried deep in the ground for someone to find perhaps in another century. In this way, there would be little personal risk. It is this central point of risk to which I must now draw attention.


It might seem undeniable that Holbein's paintings were 'on the wall', for anyone to see. There was no attempt to guarantee communication security. Most paintings were on display by their proud owners and not hidden away. At any moment, an educated “enemy” might see and understand the secret method of communication. Holbein was revealing the greatest secret in England’s royal history. There was considerable risk of discovery. In the event, the risk was not merely confiscation of goods and chattels, but death.





I have briefly to draw attention, for just one minute, to a hypothetical 'first artist' who improved a method until finally his viewers, like children, understood pictures. Why should he do this ? One option is that he had a novel idea. He wanted to communicate information with better and better images of his painted symbols and devoted much time to it. The artist perhaps received certain psychological gratification, social status and economic rewards from his labours. However, in this section my reservations concern 'information by symbols', what is conventional and unconventional, generally -- and, in particular, Holbein's remarkable concealment system in art. The reader may be surprised that Holbein was a much-valued friend of some of the greatest letter writers of the sixteenth century, More and Erasmus -- and yet, apart from some brief notes in German on his sketches, no letter or other communication from the artist has been found to-date.


For the present, we may leave Holbein's pictorial images and turn to word images in written information. I have to draw attention to the simple fact that words are also symbols. Like pictures, the word is not the thing but a symbol of the thing -- my central theme here. In this connexion, we may now turn to the inventor of information theory, Claude Elwood Shannon, born in Petoskey, Michigan, on 30th April 1916. I want to consider, very briefly, Shannon’s theory of 'redundancy' and how this theory is closely related and inter-connected with the anomalies we see in Holbein.


In 1948 and 1949, Claude Shannon published two articles in the famous Bell System Technical Journal, "A Mathematical Theory of Communication" and "Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems". David Kahn (historian of cryptology) writes :


Both papers present ideas in densely mathematical form. The first gave birth to information theory ; the second dealt with cryptology in information-theory terms. Foremost among the new concepts was that of redundancy. Redundancy retains, in information theory, the essence of its meaning of needless excess, but it is refined and extended. Roughly, redundancy means that more symbols are transmitted in a message than are actually needed to bear the information. For example, the 'u' of 'qu' is redundant because 'q' is always followed by 'u' in English. Many 'the's of ordinary language are redundant ; persons sending telegrams get along very well without them. Redundancy arises from the excess of rules with which languages burden themselves. All such limitations exclude perfectly usable combinations of letters. If a language permitted any permutation of, say, four letters to be a word, such as "ngwv", then 456,976 words would exist. This is approximately the number of entries in an unabridged English dictionary. Such a language could therefore express the same amount of information as English. But because English prohibits such combinations as "ngwv", it must go beyond the four-letter limit to express its ideas.


Thus, English and indeed most languages are more wasteful, more redundant, than Kahn's hypothetical four-letter language. [27]


It might seem undeniable that Italian cryptographers of the 16th century were aware of redundancy when they ordered their cipher clerks to drop the second letter of a doublet, as the second 'l' in 'sigillo'. These suppressions themselves function as a rough form of cryptography and make plaintexts harder to solve. The reader may be surprised that Holbein moved freely in court circles where codes were used daily. We know that the artist was invited into the home and circle of friends of the most famous intellectual in Henry VIII's Tudor England, Sir Thomas More, when multi-lingual communication by letters was commonplace between persons at home and abroad. Holbein perhaps travelled down the Rhine from Switzerland to Flanders, then to England. He also journeyed widely in Germany and Italy. I have now to draw attention to Hans Holbein's contemporary, Leonardo da Vinci, who, not with words but with things ('non verbis sed rebus'), made curious substitutions in his notebooks.


We may now usefully integrate the foregoing oddities (which may, at first, seem unrelated and disconnected but which are, in fact, closely inter-related and inter-connected) into certain new matters, which concern us. [28]


Since Leonardo is credited with this innovation of the rebus, we may perhaps conclude that this was an artist's lively interest in substituting pictorial equivalents for the linguistic elements of a text. Investigation shows that the rebus is reported to have first appeared in Picardy (known as the Rébus de Picardie) in or about 1525. Holbein was in Picardy at about this time. [29]


It is this central point to which I must finally draw attention. Since there are no marks for scholarly effort -- only for results – it may seem that only in the hands of a master do written words and painted pictures provide an image to the life. To make the cryptosystem work was little more than to avoid self-contradiction and redundancy. The risk was that Holbein's texts looked cold, unemotional, even suspiciously dull and contrived. And yet, the part-“messages” stayed in place over a considerable period of time. This is slightly troubling.






A worrying feature of the material I have to present shows that these matters concerning Tudor history and art history have been canvassed over a substantial period of time. My reservations concern the official response to the public interest -- which is required to assume, that all is well. This is a little troubling and I will return to it later. [31]


For the present, we are concerned with methods, and, as in this developing case, the method of approach to a problem is sometimes more important -- in order to obtain a correct hypothesis -- than the seemingly all-important problem itself, which may be resolved by other means. In this connexion, it is most unlikely that we will arrive at a correct solution unless we begin with a correct hypothesis.


I have first to draw attention that Holbein had sacrificed the aesthetic quality for the sake of the rebus in at least seventy-three portraits -- something unheard of in the world of art. Since the probability of the present author being the only person to observe the phenomenon over the considerable time period is very, very low -- we might reasonably expect to find that at least one other person had seen and recorded at least one or two of the several hundreds of unconventional elements in the work of the artist.


In fact, Professor Paul Ganz published his initial observations in 1950, some twenty-five or more years before the present author examined the same evidence in 1976, which leads us to a derived second option. The unconventional elements were seen but perhaps not understood by Professor Ganz and, to his great credit, Ganz did not try to rationalize them away. However, Ganz was not the first, presumably, nor would he be the last to see them. Since TOTUS had not been invented in 1950, it is possible that the cryptosystem remained undetected on the cogent grounds that the theory, born of an idea, and however imperfect and incomplete, must always come first. On the other hand, it may be argued that TOTUS was not necessary in order to see the unconventional elements. TOTUS is required to understand the unconventional elements. Lastly, probability argues that at least one person had guessed there were hidden meanings in the paintings, which they only imperfectly understood and cautiously remained silent. In this connexion, the reader may not be surprised that some of Holbein's finest work is recorded for the first time in an inventory belonging to Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel and Surrey, in the next century. For the moment, we may safely assume that all was not well -- far from it -- and that there is a case to answer on why the official view prevails and is regarded as definitive.





I have to draw attention, as already explained and made clear, this present commentary does not mean nor does it imply that academia has failed in its duties. This is not the case. Those duties have been carried out with great care and undoubted success over a substantial period of time. My reservations concern an odd system that had developed and did not match advances and procedures in other scientific fields. There must be a proper and effective checking procedure and the inquiry will want to know what was the system for checking: was it a good one, and was it operating properly. I suggest that any new or old method which omits to state criteria and fails to follow systematic verification and falsification of all known evidence, positive and negative, without offering a best-fit hypothesis based soundly upon a balance of probability, in an on-going method of inquiry, is an inherently inadequate procedure.


In this connexion, an inquirer may not be surprised to find that the end-on relationship of factual and contra-factual material and the use of conventional and unconventional symbols by Holbein is precisely the method used by Thomas More in The History of King Richard III and Utopia. There was a hidden reality behind the outer show : if the princes lived on.


Perhaps, we should listen with profound respect, neither believing nor disbelieving, but just remembering one brave man among many. Alternatively, we may conceivably decide that Holbein was a credible and independent witness, a German-born observer and competent reporter of the great persons and events of the sixteenth century -- a man whose art concealed his art -- requiring changes to the history of Tudor England. It is a matter for the reader to decide the recommendations presented at the inquiry and to ensure that those recommendations are not shuffled off until another century. I have therefore written to each one of the German Länder, the Stendige Konferenz der Kultusminister der Länder in der Bundesrepublik and a small selection of the great German Museums requesting that the complete Holbein oeuvre of paintings and drawings be brought together for open discussion in a public exhibition in Germany. The Bundesministerium des Innern in Bonn has most kindly offered to pay some of the expenses but the expert response remains negative, which is a pity, since there is no more I can do.






The tomb of Lady Jane Guildford in the More Chapel of Old Chelsea Church.

Photograph, by Sue Adler.

By kind permission of the Rev. Leighton-Thomson, dated 9 August 1991.

The inscription on the plaque :




I have to draw attention to the ‘High and Mighty’ attribution on the memorial plaque above. One viewer’s option is as follows :

“I would like to point out that the two “princely” attributions on the Northumberland Monument are entirely consistent when translated into modern English: ‘The right noble and excellent princess Lady Jane Guildford’ and ‘the right high and mighty prince John Dudley, late Duke of Northumberland’.”


Notwithstanding the logic of the above argument, I have to draw attention nonetheless, for just one minute, to the entry ‘High and mighty’ in the Oxford English Dictionary :

(a) formerly used as an epither of dignity;

(b) colloq. Imperious, arrogant ; affecting airs of superiority. Hence ‘High-and-mightiness’ : the quality of being ‘high and mighty’ ;

(c) also as a title of dignity or a mock title. (See : ‘high’, p. 277)


The OED list of sources from 1400 to 1896 include the following :


1400 in ELLIS orig. Letts. Serv. 11.I.3. Right heigh and mighty Prynce, my goode and gracious Lorde.

1423 in 15th Rep. Hist. MSS. Common, App. VIII. 33. Ane he and mychty lord, George of Dunbare, Erl of the March.

1548 HALL Chron. Edw. IV 229 Right high and mightie prince, right puyssant and noble kyng. [See : Note 1]

1559 Bk. Common Prayer, Prayer Queen O Lord our heavenly father, high and mighty King of Kynges.

1654 WHITLOCK Zootomin 83 Book-learned Physitians, against which they bring in their high and mighty word Experience.

1694 tr. Milton’s Left State I Apr. 1656 Most High and Mighty Lords, our dearest friends.

1825 J. W. CROKER Diary Nov. in C. Papers (1884) Lord Grey, in his high and mighty way, was proceeding to make light of all this.

1855 THACKERAY Newcomes I 229. Some of those bankers are as high and mighty as the oldest families.

1876 Fam. Herald 30 Dec 129/2. I feel certain his serene high-and-mightiness has never ridden in a hay-waggon in his life.

1896 Westm. Gaz. 13 June 2/2. This high-and-mightiness is not calculated to endear the Under Secretary to the Press in general.


Since each description in the above source material is either literary or rhetorical in origin, leaving the case open to renewed investigation, and in the absence of a precise legal definition, which is odd, I propose to add a NIET definition that is published for the first time in the case of a person cited who is not of the blood royal.


For instance, although born a commoner and this is beyond any possible shadow of historical doubt, John Dudley (1502-1553), Duke of Northumberland, is styled on the Monument of the Duchess of Northumberland, Lady Jane Guildford (1509-1555) in the More Chapel of Old Chelsea Church in London, ‘the right high and mighty prince John Dudley’, etc.


I have further to draw attention to the Introduction, by R. A. Foakes, to King Henry VIII in the Arden edition of the works of William Shakespeare, Methuen & Co., 11 New Fetter Lane, EC4. First published in 1957, reprinted 1964, this publication 1968. The author writes (p.xxxii) :


The last scene of Henry VIII probably pays a compliment not only to Queen Elizabeth and to James, but to Princess Elizabeth as well. It begins with Garter King of Arms crying out a blessing on the young Princess Elizabeth daughter of Henry,


‘Heaven, from thy endless goodness, send prosperous life, long and ever happy, to the high and mighty princess of England, Elizabeth.’ (V.iv.1-3)


This passage, taken from Holinshead [See; Note 4], is, of course, a formula, but to an audience of 1613 it is likely to have recalled the wedding, for after the ceremony and sermon that followed, in the words of Henry Peacham, a witness :


Mr. Garter, Principall King of Armes, published the stile of the Prince and Princess to this effect. All Health, Happiness and Honour be to the High and Mightie Princes, Frederick…and Elizabeth 1.

(1. Henry Peacham, The Period of Mourning…together with Nuptiall Hymnes [1613], H2v).


I have further to draw attention that the description on the Northumberland Monument is of the year 1555 and the description at the wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Frederick V, taken from Holinshead, is fifty-eight years later in 1613.


R. A. Foakes notes the description is ‘a formula’ but does not describe and explain the formula as we might expect. However, Garter King of Arms published the styling of the Prince and Princess based on a known formula in 1613, presumably, the same as in 1555 ; namely, an epithet of dignity for a person either not born of the blood royal or born with some sort of impediment. 


I now propose for better or worse to twist the theory until it fits the facts, all the facts, positive and negative, without exception, in an on going method of inquiry.



§The Leslau Conjecture


(a) From 1485 onwards and during the 118 years dynasty of the Tudors (1485-1603), we may assume that successive Garter Kings of Arms were aware of the sudden disappearance of the York rightful heirs, Edward V and Richard, Duke of York.

(b) It might be unwise to assume that successive Garter Kings of Arms were unaware of the reappearance of the two princes under false names and identities.

(c) New evidence suggests that successive Garter Kings of Arms kept faith with both houses, notwithstanding their oath of allegiance to the Tudor legal heirs to the crown, in case of a change of fortunes. The York rightful heirs might return to power. The method employed was the ‘high and mighty’ styling of the legal heirs and their descendants.


In this connection, we may assume that successive Garter Kings of Arms knew the genealogies of the following dramatis personae. I have to draw attention that each one of these persons may be described as either a ‘high and mighty’ prince or princess :


1. King Henry VIII (1491-1547).

2. Elizabeth I (1533-1603), daughter of Henry VIII.

3. Princess Elizabeth -- [Queen of Bohemia (1596-1662), eldest daughter of James VI of Scotland (afterwards, James I of England) and Anne of Denmark] – married the Elector Palatine, Frederick V, in 1613.

4. James 1 of England (1566-1625), son of Henry Stewart (1546-1567) Lord Darnley, and Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587), only daughter of James V of Scotland (1512-1542) and Mary of Guise (1515-1560), granddaughter of James IV (1473-1513) and Margaret Tudor (1489-1541), sister of Henry VIII.


I have further to draw attention that at least one Garter King of Arms has described the Tudor descendants of the legal heirs, on the basis of written evidence presented by Henry Peacham in 1613, as ‘High and Mighty’.



Sir Richard Guildford:


Holbein claims that Edward V, son of Edward IV, was taken into the family of one-time Comptroller of the Royal Household, Sir Richard Guildford, assuming the identity of Sir Richard’s eldest son, also known as Sir Edward Guildford. Edward V was about the same age of as Sir George Guildford and three years older than Sir Henry Guildford. They may have known each other as childhood companions at the royal court before 1483.



Discussion :


¶”Why was a Dudley Duchess not buried in one of the Dudley Family vaults in England ? Uniquely, why was this Duchess of Northumberland buried in an obscure parish church in Chelsea ?


Holbein tells us Edward V also known as Sir Edward Guildford died in mid-July 1528 and was secretly buried by Sir Thomas More in the chapel More bought in 1527 in Old Chelsea Church. Lady Jane Guildford decided in 1555, and this is “testable” by excavation and DNA profiling, to be buried near her father. Later, one of Lady Jane’s eight daughters, the Countess of Huntingdon was buried in the same church. Her memorial plaque is on the East Wall.



The Chroniclers

¶The role played by Edward HALL, Chronicler :


On the basis of new evidence -- that at least one Garter King of Arms has described the Tudor descendants of the legal heirs as ‘High and Mighty’ - (See: NOTES & REFERENCES, ‘HIGH & MIGHTY’, above)– it follows that the odd styling of Edward IV in 1548 by Chronicler HALL ‘Right high and mightie prince, right puyssant and noble kyng’ (Chron. Edw IV 22) was the action of a careful lawyer, which Hall was, covering his back in the event of a York change of fortune after the death of Henry VIII in 1547.


¶The role played by Raphael Holinshead.


The contributor Sidney Lee of the entry HOLINSHEAD or HOLLINSHEAD, Raphael (d. 1580?) in the Dictionary of National Biography describes ‘castrations’, ‘expurgations’, ‘copies’; and, ‘protestant bias is very marked throughout and his treatment of early times is very uncritical’. The section (pp. 1024-26) ends as follows :


The Elizabethan dramatists drew many of their plots from Holinshead’s pages, and nearly all Shakespeare’s historical plays (as well as Macbeth, King Lear, and part of Cymbeline) are based on Holinshead’s Chronicles. At times (as in the two parts of Henry IV) Shakespeare adopted not only Holinshead’s facts, but some of his phrases (c.f. T. P. COURTENAY’s Commentaries on Shakespeare’s Historical Plays and W. G. BOSWELL-STONE’s Shakespeare’s Holinshead, 1896). Many illustrative extracts from Holinshead’s work have been printed by the editors of Shakespeare’s historical plays. The dramatist seems to have used the edition of 1586-7.


Upon the basis of this expert opinion I offer the option that we may expect a prejudiced writer to be prejudiced in his work perhaps only slightly more sophisticated than a hack and much less honest.



Discussion :

¶James VI of Scotland and the Authorised Version of the Bible:


If the Louvain DNA findings are positive you may conceivably decide that the dedication in the Authorized Version of the Bible to the 'high and mighty' James VI of Scotland (who became James I of England) was part of the on-going protest by English Roman Catholics that James VI of Scotland was a descendant by marriage on the distaff side of the Tudor legal heirs pending a reversal of fortunes for the York rightful heirs. You may further conceivably decide that this insulting and provocative 'high and mighty' dedication was a clever ploy by certain recusants to get him to respond by challenging it publicly and that it might be wiser, therefore, to ignore this undoubted personal snub to His Royal Majesty. You may further conceivably decide James KNEW that each one of the descendants of Sir Edward Guildford was being kept under surveillance by his agents more than one hundred years after Guildford's death, successfully. It was merely one more failed "Popish Plot".



“Royal Cousins”

¶Lady Jane Guildford and her most famous grandson, Sir Philip Sidney.

Rightful heirs in the reign of a Legal heir, Elizabeth I.

Anecdotal history

The styling of Lady Jane Guildford in 1555 ‘Ye Right Noble and Excellent Princess’ is a royal styling. It means either Lady Jane Guildford was the daughter of a king or the wife of a prince. We have eliminated the option that Lady Jane Guildford was the wife of a prince leaving the option that Princess Jane also known as Lady Jane Guildford, was the sole heir, daughter and mother of the thirteen grandchildren of Sir Edward Guildford, conjecturally Edward V. For instance, conjectural grandson of Edward V, Guildford Dudley, married Lady Jane Grey and sat on the throne of England during the so-called Anarchic Period -- father John Dudley insisting his son be known as ‘king’. Guildford Dudley’s brother, one more conjectural grandson of Edward V, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was courting Elizabeth I. Conjecturally, Edward V’s granddaughter, Mary Dudley, was the wife of Sir Henry Sidney and mother of Edward’s great-grandson, Philip Sidney of Penshurst in Kent.



Sir Philip Sidney


We know that oppressive regimes behave in certain ways. For instance, we know the Mafia prefer to keep their enemies close and dependent until they are got rid of. In this connection, Sir Francis Walsingham, first head of the British Secret Service, so described by the historian of cryptology, David Kahn, would have known, presumably, that Sir Philip Sidney was the great-grandson of Edward V and a rightful heir. How did Walsingham deal with this potential “enemy” ? He allowed his daughter to marry the rightful heir ! Sir Philip Sidney (whose godparents were the Catholic King Philip II of Spain and his widowed grandmother, Lady Jane Guildford, "the right noble and excellent princess", sole heir of Sir Edward Guildford) son of Sir Henry Sidney and Mary Dudley, according to the traditional family history, was "housetrained" at Penshurst in Kent. The conclusive proof of the nobility of this remarkable renaissance man, Sir Philip Sidney, who was offered the throne of Catholic France -- is in his bones and it is now possible to test this.



The on going inquiry: Elizabethan, Jacobean and Stuart.


Finally, I have to draw attention that the first version of Holinshead’s Chronicles was dedicated to Lord Burghley, William Cecil, the leading minister supporting the Tudor legal heirs ; the second version was dedicated to the Earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley, (conjecturally, the York rightful heir) ; and, the third version was dedicated to Sir Henry Sidney (husband of conjectural York rightful heir, Mary Dudley, and father of Sir Philip Sidney). (See: DNB ‘HOLINSHEAD’)


Nonetheless, Shakespeare pursued the subversive sub-plot of ‘usurpation’ in each one of 19 historical plays, which did not go unnoticed. For instance, Master of the Revels Edmund Tylney warned Shakespeare and his co-writers to leave out certain lines in the long lost play Sir Thomas More. Shakespeare’s original folio text bears Tylney’s handwritten ‘Leave out at your perilles’ relevant to 149 lines banned by Tylney, the official censor of the day. The reader may not be at all surprised that Tylney, a cousin of Antony Babington of the famous Babington Plot to take the life of the legal heir, Elizabeth I, erased Shakespearean linkage to the alleged rightful heir, John Clement, and his life on the run, where the text says :


‘Alas, Alas, say now the king is clement, and comes too short of that great trespass as but to banish him. Whither will he go? To Spain? To Flanders? To the German Provinces? Nay anywhere that not adheres to England.’ 


Investigation reveals John Clement visited each one of these countries during his life abroad, allegedly “banishment” by the authors of the play, which was subsequently banned.


I most gratefully acknowledge the expert assistance of Thomas Merriam in this investigation of the Shakespearean and other multi-disciplinary problems relevant to the ‘high and mighty’ and ‘noble and exellent’ styling, which may require further contextual endorsement from the College of Arms. In this connexion, I am asked by Merriam to add the following small points :

(a) The play SIR THOMAS MORE was not printed until the 19th century.

(b) It is incorrect of speak of its “folio” version, since this is usually understood as a size for printing.


May I add that the attribution to Shakespeare is not accepted by all scholars and Merriam is the only person who has endorsed Shakespeare as one of the writers on the basis of his own first hand research, using new methods and new technology. Finally, make of it what you will, no-one has satisfactorily refuted Merriam’s methods to-date. If you wish to test Thomas Van Ness Merriam’s theory of a personal fingerprint in written language, you will find a number of articles published on the Internet (Try : “Styleometry”), which are standard works of instruction for law enforcement officers and other security agencies today.





[01] The ‘false door’ is the earliest example of an optical illusion I have been able to find to date in the history of portraiture.

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[02] ‘buckler’, a small round shield. A warrior’s status symbol. ‘To take up the bucklers’ -- to enter the lists, present oneself as a champion. ‘To deserve to carry the buckler’ (with negative expressed or implied) -- ‘to be worthy to be remotely compared with’: modern equivalent ‘to be fit to hold a candle to’. (See : Oxford English Dictionary, ’buckler’, 1985)

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[03] ‘porte-à-faux’ -- Fig. ‘en porte-à-faux’ means ‘in an unstable condition’. (See : Dictionnaire de la Langue Francaise, ed. J. Robert, Paris, ‘porte-à-faux’, 1978)

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[04] The Standard Bearer to Henry VIII in 1527 was Sir Edward Guildford. Buried in the More Chapel of Old Chelsea Church is the daughter and sole remaining heir of Sir Edward Guildford, Lady Jane Guildford. The plaque, dated 1555, attributes a royal styling to Lady Jane Guildford : “The Right Noble and Excellent Princess, Lady Jane Guildford...” This makes sense when the criteria of the theory of notional persons are applied. The “legend” prepared by a Tudor case officer in the fifteenth century required Edward V to assume a false name and identity, Edward Guildford, eldest son of Sir Richard Guildford, Comptroller of the Royal Household. Thereafter, Edward V was also known as Sir Edward Guildford. Later, in the sixteenth century, his daughter, Princess Jane, was also known as Lady Jane Guildford. DNA profiling of John Clement and Edward Guildford will test if they are brothers. The next step is to compare these two profiles with the profile of their supposed father, Edward IV. (See : “The Princes in the Tower”, LESLAU J. Moreana XXV, Vol. 98-99, Dec. 1988, pp. 17-36) (See: ‘High and Mighty’ : an interpretation)

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[05] The ‘half-age’ paintings.

In Sir Thomas More and his Family, Holbein appears to ‘wax young’ John Clement and Lady Alice More, an elegant innovation. Comparison of the date of the work and the known ages of the persons portrayed implies a half-age painting. There are at least two other examples of paintings of known persons depicted at half-age : the portrait of the artist’s wife and the Flemish artist and innovator, Quinten Matsijs.

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[06] Perhaps an allusion to Geoffrey Chaucer’s translation of Boethius’s de consolatione philosophiae. (See : English Early Text Society, London 1868, p. 129, “The First Book of Boethius, Containing his Complaints and Miseries.”)

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[07] The word ‘peony’ is derived from Paion or Paeon, physician to the gods in Greek mythology. ‘Peony’ also means ‘physician’. (See : ‘peony’, OED)

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[08] A small dog is seated on the robe of Queen Jane Seymour, similar to the small dog in the portrait Sir Thomas More and his Family, in the copy painted in oil by R. van Leemput, 1667, after Hans Holbein, of the Whitehall fresco of Henry VII, Elizabeth of York, Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. (See, for example : Holbein le Jeune, ed. P. Vaisse, Flammarion, Paris, 1972, p. 108)

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[09] “The Chosen One”, or “The Chosen Vessel”

The divine anointing of the early kings in the Second Book of Kings, or hereditary kingship, is associated with a cup of oil. The allusion is to a person chosen by God.

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[10] ‘False-green’

‘False-blue’ or, as in Sir Thomas More and his Family, ‘false-green’, is painters’ jargon, meaning the painter has used paint which has inadvertently become mixed with an unwanted colour. The artist conventionally removes the false colour and reworks the area with the wanted colour. (See : Robert, Paris, p. 1933. ‘Bleu faux, Peint. Couleur fausse, ton faux, qui s’écartent du naturel.’)

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[11] Elizabeth I had been ruling a little more than four years when Judge in the High Court of England, William Rastell, More’s sister Elizabeth’s son by John Rastell, went overseas to Flanders with others of the More circle, never more to return. William Rastell had married Winifred Clement, eldest daughter of John and Margaret Clement. An entry in the register of the University of Louvain suggests that William Rastell was elevated in status by his royal father-in-law notwithstanding he was born a commoner. (See : Matricule de L’Université de Louvain, ed. A. Schillings, 1961, Vol. IV, #133, August 1562: ‘Dominus Guilelmus Rastell, Anglus, nobilis’.) The styling ‘Dominus’ and ‘nobilis’ was by ‘grace and favour’, presumably, and not by bloodline descent. A modern case : the children of Princess Margaret have a blood claim to the English throne but not their father, Earl Snowdon ( Anthony Armstrong-Jones).

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[12] See : Reportory of the Court of Aldermen of the City of London” (Vol. IV, fol. 134b). The entry is dated 18 November 1522 :


It is agreed, that, Sir Thomas More, Under-Treasurer of England, for his labour and pain, that he took for the city, in making of a proposition, at the caring and receiving of the Emperor’s Grace, unto this City, shall have, towards a gown of velvet, £10.


In May 1522, the Emperor Charles, en route for Spain from Flanders, visited Henry VIII, who instructed More to prepare a reception in the City, which included a dinner in the Guildhall in the presence of the Aldermen of the City of London. The award of £10, ‘towards a gown of velvet’, was made six months later, in November 1522. Erasmus reports More’s appearance. The impression is of a modest man of medium height and build, modestly dressed in black and white and truly indifferent to any form of outward show. The best-fit hypothesis is that the Aldermen wanted Sir Thomas More to buy a velvet gown. More’s family knew of the award and that £10 was enough for two sleeves only. Although we cannot be certain today, either the unconventional gown with the overpowering red velvet sleeves was the artist’s invention or indeed More’s compromise and family in-joke. More’s friend appears to hit some sort of important mark with nothing more deadly than a paintbrush.

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[13] The true and untrue year of death of Sir Edward Guildford.

The theory of notional persons requires a case officer for each notional person. The case officer is responsible for falsification of the date, place and circumstances of death of the notional person, which is kept secret. The notional person does not make a Will but provision is made for his last wishes to be carried out by the case officer as if he had, in fact, made a Will. The case officer later arranges the ‘official’ death, usually some years later, which is published. Similarly, the case officer puts in place a false date, location and circumstances of birth of the notional person. In the case of Sir Edward Guildford, Master Secretary Thomas Cromwell instructed one John Johnson alias Anthony, to report the reported circumstances of Sir Edward Guildford’s official demise to Cromwell in writing, presumably, and as by now we should expect, there was no Will of one of the most important men in England who is most unlikely to have been unceremoniously buried in the middle of the night without an attendant priest to take confession, no lawyer or his sole remaining heir, the Duchess of Northumberland, Lady Jane Guildford, or friends, family or extended family or other independent witness :


Yesterday, I was informed that Sir Edw. Goldford, warden of the Five Ports, was buried in the morning at 1 o’clock at Ledys, and died without confession or any other sacrament of Church, neither had torch, nor taper, nor bell-ringing, but was put into the earth without ceremony. I shall be with you on Friday. Rochester, Sunday morning. Hol. p. 1


(See : Letters & Papers, Foreign & Domestic, Henry VIII, Vol. 7, 1534, ed. J. Gairdner, publ. Longmans, 1883, APPENDIX 27, JOHN JOHNSON alias ANTHONY to CROMWELL, 7 JUNE).


The officially alleged place of burial was Leeds Castle in Kent and, as we may by now expect, no trace can be found. The alleged date of death (4 June 1534), once again as we should expect, was six years after mid-July 1528, the true year of death alleged by the witness. If investigation reveals the remains of Sir Edward Guildford in Chelsea Church, where he was allegedly buried by Sir Thomas More in the More Chapel, this is strong evidence of the cover-up, implicating very important persons, and many a good man has been hanged for less.

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[14] Ganz, P. The Paintings of Hans Holbein the Younger, First complete edition, Phaidon, London 1950.  See : Introduction, p. 11: '[...] Holbein sometimes resorted to riddles and painted in the background of the portrait a slip of paper, covered with writing and closed with sealing-wax.' In several portraits (see below), on a wall, Holbein indeed depicts two waxes holding a parchment 'deux cires tiennent le parchemin', in French; which is a homophone of 'deux sires tiennent le parchemin', meaning, familiarly : 'two lords hold the right and title of nobility'.

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[15] The impression is that all writers on Hans Holbein the Younger, before and since Ganz, omit discussion of the TOTUS theory, first published privately in The Watergate in 1976. See also : "Did the Sons of Edward IV outlive Henry VII ?", The Ricardian, Journal of the Richard III Society, Vol. IV, No. 62, Sept. 1978, pp. 2-14, and subsequent editorial and reader comment. See also : Leslau, J. "The Princes in the Tower", Moreana XXV, Vol. 98-99, Dec. 1988, pp. 17-36.

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[16] The National Portrait Gallery version of the More Family Group, by Rowland Lockey. (1593)

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[17] The Victoria & Albert Museum version Sir Thomas More, his father, his household and his descendants, by Rowland Lockey. Vellum, 24.6 x 29.4 cms ; 9 11/16ths x 11 9/16ths inches, in a walnut cabinet with double doors.

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[18] Kurz, O. "Rowland Locky", Burlington Magazine, Vol. XCIX, 1957, pp. 13-16. This article was inconclusive on the matter of the authenticity and attribution of the Nostell painting to Rowland Lockey. More than a quarter of a century later, the scientific evidence gives the painting to Holbein. See the report, dated 14th February 1983, from Professor Paul E. Damon of the department of geosciences at the university of Arizona, at Tucson, to Jack Leslau, showing successful test results of the radiocarbondating of the canvas of the Nostell painting :







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[19] The Life and Death of Sir Thomas More, ed., Lewis, J., London, 1729, pp. 168-171. See also, four-page document written and signed by Lewis at Well Hall, Eltham in Kent, dated March 1716/1717, in the Muniments Room at Nostell Priory.

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[20] Vertue, G. The Celebrated Painter Hans Holbein, Mss. and Notebooks, Vol. IV, Oxford, 1936, 11ff.

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[21] Infra-red photograph of the 'Rowlandas Locky' and date inscription, showing ‘interference’, with acknowledgement to the Photographic Department of the National Gallery, London, 15th March, 1951.

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[22] Analysis of the ‘interference’ to the ‘Rowlandas Locky’ inscription, by the present author, with grateful acknowledgement to Robert Bruce-Gardner of the Courtauld Institute, University of London ; and, Pamela England and Chris Hurst of the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge.


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[23] Infrared detail of a pig’s snout overpainted on the nose of the small dog seated under the chair of Sir Thomas More. This snout has been subsequently overpainted to the condition seen today. The white arrow indicates a charcoal dot, confirmed by microprobe analysis on the primary layers, relevant to the hidden lines in the painting. Black and white photograph of infrared image : with acknowledgement to Pamela England and Chris Hurst, Hamilton Kerr Institute, 1981.


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[24] Report of Technical Examination of NPG No. 2765 Sir Thomas More and his descendants, by Rowland LOCKEY, partly after Hans Holbein. Oil on Canvas. 89"x 130", signed J. Plesters, Senior Experimental Officer, Scientific Department, The National Gallery, London, WC2 and dated 30 July, 1971.


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[25] This photograph of infrared detail in the Nostell Painting shows two curved lines drawn in charcoal by the artist on the primary layers showing through the upper paint layers of the viol. The artist creates a line fault by not following the charcoal lines, which is seen by direct observation on the painting. Since the line fault has a linguistic equivalent, that makes sense, relevant to known, you may conceivably decide the life fault was deliberate.

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[26] Analytical Report of Sir Thomas More family group at Nostell Priory, attributed to LOCKEY. Record 638, signed and dated Pamela England, 20.11.1980.



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[27] Kahn, D. The Code-breakers, unabridged, publ. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973. Also published in paperback by Sphere Books Ltd., 1973, See : Ch. 20 "The Anatomy of Cryptology", p. 443-457.

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[28] Marinoni, A. I Rebus di Leonardo da Vinci, ed. L.S. Olschi, Firenze, 1954, p. 153. The reproduction is of folio 1269recto in the royal collection at Windsor. Or, see : Georg Olms Verlag, Das Bilderrätsel, Hildersheim & New York, 1973, pp. 294-5 where folio 1269verso is reproduced.

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[29] Encylopaedia Brittanica, publ. Chicago, 1943. See : ‘rebus’

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[30] Negative Intelligence (or 'Evidence') Evaluation Theory (NIET):

Evidence which is not there is defined as negative evidence, and evidence which is there is defined as positive evidence. We assume that positive evidence can be fake -- negative evidence cannot -- and thus investigate the potentially more reliable evidence. The significant absence of information is tested on the basis of NIET negative evidence -- people, things, and ideas -- which is not there and which we might reasonably expect to find there. We test the assumption that NIET negative evidence is, fundamentally, positive evidence (NIET negative evidence does not mean negative evidence which latter uniquely implies falsification of a hypothesis). In Conan Doyle's short story "Silver Blaze", 'the dog that did not bark' is NIET negative. Sherlock Holmes stressed the importance of what was not there and what, reasonably, he expected to find there. The dog did not bark because the "unknown" person was its master.

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[31] Bibliography : Morison, S. & Barker, N. The Likeness of Thomas More, Burns & Oates, London, 1963, pp. 18-28. Lewi, A. The Thomas More Family Group, National Portrait Gallery, 1974, (N.B. Angela Lewi is in error : William Roper did not have a son, William). Trapp, J. B. & Herbrüggen, H. S. "The King's Good Servant" Sir Thomas More, National Portrait Gallery, London, 1977, Cat. No. 1, p. 18. See also : “Addenda & Corrigenda”, Moreana Vol. XVI, No. 61, pp. 43-50. There were certain errors of fact that had to be added to and/or corrected by the authors in this edition of Moreana.

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1. The solar eclipse seen on the personal arms of the Duke of York over a substantial period, omitted on the combined arms of the Duke and Duchess of York, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, has a long and interesting history. For many centuries, the death of a Prince of Wales is signified by the black shadow eclipsing the Sun symbol of the House of York, which eclipse in turn passes to reveal the inherited Sun kingdom of the Duke of York. The most recent lunar eclipse of the sun was observed and reported in the UK, in S. Devon and Cornwall, 11 August 1996. The previous eclipse covered a narrow region of Iraq--N. India--Indo-China--Borneo, in October 1995. Another eclipse was seen and reported in South America, in Chile, November 1994.


2. Holbein reports the death of Edward V, also known as Sir Edward Guildford, in mid-July 1528. Holbein further reports that the younger brother of Edward V, Richard, Duke of York, also known as John Clement, was the rightful heir to the throne during the reign of the legal heir, Henry VIII. John Clement married Thomas More’s adopted daughter, Margaret Giggs. Clement was More’s “son-in-law”. It is not at all clear but eleven grandchildren are reported to have been living in More's Chelsea home during the period 1525 to 1535. One of those grandchildren, Thomas Clement, godson of Thomas More, is alleged by “our” contemporary witness, Hans Holbein the Younger, to have been a grandson of Edward IV.


First published 010401

Reviewed 011002

Last revision 030310


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