February 7, 1542 – Bill of Attainder Passed Against Catherine Howard and Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford

Janet Wertman

Catherine Howard and Jane Rochford, from BC America's The Tudors Catherine Howard and Jane Rochford, from BBC America’s The Tudors

Today marks an important point in the surprisingly complex legal case against Catherine Howard: the passage of the Bill of Attainder that declared Catherine Howard and Jane Rochford guilty of treason and all their properties forfeit. The Bill was more than a simple attainder: it also made it treason for a woman with an unchaste reputation to marry the King, and for any third person who knew of such unchastity to conceal it. It further made it treason for a queen to commit adultery, and for anyone to incite someone to have “carnal knowledge” of the queen.  The Bill was introduced into Parliament on January 21 – but took two weeks to pass.  Even then, February 7 did not establish the final sentence: the Bill lingered for another three days. The Council finally “signed” it on February 10 by writing…

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