Elizabeth Bryce (b. - c.1542)

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Death: Died
Managed by: Scott Hibbard
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About Elizabeth Bryce

Elizabeth Bryce, died before 1542, was the granddaughter of a London goldsmith, Sir Hugh Bryce (d. September 22, 1496) and his wife, Elizabeth Chester (d.1504). It is not certain when her father, James, died, but Elizabeth was still underage and unmarried in 1498. She married another goldsmith, Robert Amadas (1470-by April 14,1532). They had two daughters, Elizabeth, who died before her parents, and Thomasine. In 1526, Robert Amadas was appointed Master of the Jewel House to King Henry VIII. Amadas owned a house in Aldersgate and land in Essex. Upon his death, Elizabeth inherited Jenkins, a “mansion house” in Barking, and on August 28, 1532, married Sir Thomas Neville (c.1475-May 29,1542) in the chapel there. He was the younger brother of Baron Bergavenny and a lawyer. He and Elizabeth had no children and she died before him. Here the “facts” become contradictory. According to Carolly Erickson’s biography of Henry VIII’s daughter, Queen Mary, Mrs. Amadas "began, in 1533, to spread ‘ungracious’ statements about the king’s occult destiny.” She said these prophesies had been known to her for some twenty years. She kept a “painted roll of her predictions” which included battles and deaths and conquest by Scotland, as well as Anne Boleyn’s death within six months by being burnt at the stake. The story that Mrs. Amadas claimed, in 1532, that she had once been the king’s mistress, has fairly wide circulation. Since she specified that she met him in Sir William Compton’s house in Thames Street, this must have been before Compton’s death in 1528 . . . if it ever happened. And if, indeed, she called Anne Boleyn a harlot and spoke out against the king setting aside his wife, then it would have been difficult indeed for her to marry Thomas Neville when she did. Wikipedia, never the most reliable of sources, summarizes “what everyone knows” about Elizabeth Amadas, which is that she was arrested for her treasonous statements and that Richard Amadas was ordered to pay several hundred pounds to the crown, although whether to free his wife or because there was plate missing from the Jewel House is not clear. Of course, since Amadas had died early in 1532, either would have been a good trick. That Elizabeth was “given to tantrums and strange visions,” as Alison Weir recounts, is equally suspect, although both she and G.W. Bernard give sources in the L&P for the affair with the king and the prophesies. Kelly Hart, in The Mistresses of Henry VIII, repeats all the stories about Elizabeth Amadas and adds that Robert Amadas owed the king £1,771 19s.10d. for missing plate. She also says that Elizabeth died within four months of her second marriage but gives no sources for this information. Sharon Jansen, in Dangerous Talk and Strange Behavior, has a different take on Mrs. Amadas. Indeed, she doesn't think the self-proclaimed prophet was Elizabeth Bryce at all. Jansen identifies the Mrs. Amadas who compared herself with Catherine of Aragon and Elizabeth Stafford, Duchess of Norfolk as an abused wife as the wife of John Amadas (by 1489-1554/5), a member of the king's household with properties in Devon, Cornwall, and Kent. He was married by 1519, but his wife's name is unknown. They had a son and a daughter and she had died by 1542, when he remarried.

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