It’s a new season of “The Tudors” on Showtime, and there are new historical figures to grab our fancy and learn about! I would say the most notable personality in question from tonight’s season premiere is Thomas Culpepper, future partner-in-adultery to Katherine Howard.
Here’s what Tudorswiki has to say about the scandal. Apparently, Thomas and his brother, Thomas (named identically like many young noble men at the time, in case one died and the family needed a back-up) were both at court at the time. The younger one was the member of Henry’s Privy Chamber and Kitty’s flirtation target. According to this source, “There is some documentary evidence that one of the Culpepper brothers raped a parkkeeper’s wife and murdered the man who came to her assistance … most historical texts seem to indicate that it was” our man from tonight’s episode. Eeeesh. (But although it looks “likely,” remember that it’s not a definite.)
For the record, Antonia Fraser relates the same incident in The Wives of Henry VIII. “Three or four of Culpeper’s men held her down in a thicket in the park, while Culpeper ravished her. He then killed one of the villagers who tried to deliver the wretched woman. This sordid tale ended with the King pardoning Culpeper for what was evidently, from the King’s angle, considered merely as the sexual piccadillo of a high-spirited young buck. ”
(Just for fun, here’s where he lay for the final time).