Honor Grenville: Life Story

Chapter 19 : The End

Lisle was dismissed from the post of Deputy, to be replaced by Lord Maltravers. who, coincidentally was to be Mary Arundell’s second husband after the death of Sussex.

In a first draft of a Bill to attaint Botolf and his fellows, on 17th July, the list was headed by the names of Lisle and Lord Leonard Grey, but they were removed before the third and final reading. The rest of the accused were executed on 4th August, together with other alleged traitors.

Despite this reprieve, Lisle remained confined to the Tower. In the following spring there were more executions – Lady Salisbury and Lord Leonard Grey among them. By July, it appeared that the King was relenting toward him – he had more freedom of movement and Henry had repeated his view that Lisle would only have erred through ‘ignorance’

By January 1542, Lisle’s arms had been returned to his Garter stall, which was a good sign. After the death of Katheryn Howard in February of that year, the Imperial Ambassador, Chapuys, reported that the King had a fancy for Anne Basset. If this were true, she might have pleaded for her step-father’s life.

Whatever his reasoning, eventually, Henry decided that his uncle should be released. According to Holinshed’s Chronicle, on 3rd March 1542, the King sent Mr Secretary Wriothesley to the Tower with a ring from his own finger and ‘comfortable’ words. Lisle was overcome with joy, but the shock was too much for a man who was at least 70 and might have been as much as 80 years old. He died in the night, probably of a heart attack.

It seems that Honor heard of the King’s forgiveness before she heard that Lisle had died, which must have made the loss of her husband doubly hard to bear. She herself was released and returned with her daughters Mary and Philippa to the Basset home of Umberleigh in Devon by 15th March.

At this point, Honor more or less disappears from the historical record, other than being mentioned in 1556 when the Lisles’ suit in Chancery for the lands of Painswick and Morton Valence was finally settled in their favour, increasing her income by £120 per annum.

In 1558, Honor and Lisle’s joint grandson, Arthur, made an exchange of lands with his uncle, George Basset, which conveyed Umberleigh to Arthur in exchange for Tehidy, with Honor holding Tehidy for her life. She died there in 1566 and is buried in Illogan Church – a location as far from the maelstrom of court life as it is possible to go. 

Listen to our interview with Renaissance English History Podcast on Honor Grenville here

 Honor Grenville

Honor Grenville

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