An Annotated Secondary Source Bibliography
for Use in Historical Research
on Lady Jane Grey
 
 
 
 
This bibliography provides a comprehensive listing of secondary works on Lady Jane Grey, as well as my own brief review and opinion of some of the more accessible modern works. Hopefully students and those interested in pursuing study or research on Lady Jane Grey will find the information useful. I have limited the list to those works that deal primarily with Jane Grey, excluding those that treat her as one in a larger group (collective biography) and modern fictional works. If I have missed a particular volume, please let me know.
 
     
     
 
American Sunday-School Union (corp. author). The Life and Death of Lady Jane Grey. Philadelphia: American Sunday School Union, 1831.
 
       
 
Baldwin, Edward. Life of Lady Jane Grey and of Guildford Dudley, her husband. London: Godwin, 1824.
 
     
 
Banks, John. The Innocent Usurper or, The Death of the Lady Jane Gray; a Tragedy. London: Printed for R. Bentley, 1694.
 
   
Written as a stage play, this heavily fictionalized melodrama is one of the principal sources for much of the mythology that surrounds the name of Lady Jane Grey, especially the notion that she was deeply in love with Guildford Dudley.
 
     
 
Bartlett, D.W. The Life of Lady Jane Grey. Philadelphia: Porter and Coates, 1886.
 
   
This is a hagiographic or panegyric work on Jane Grey emanating from the Victorian era when women were idealized for religious piety and personal meekness. Mr Bartlett sought to inspire young women to imitate the character of the beautiful and illustrious woman whose sad, yet in another sense glorious, career [the book] records. Unlike many of its predecessors, however, this work provides a concise overview of the entire Tudor period prior to 1550, with particular emphasis on the English Reformation. Mr Bartlett does make some use of authentic primary sources, though like his antiquarian peers he does not reveal where he found them.
 
     
 
Chapman, Hester W. Lady Jane Grey. London: Jonathan Cape, 1962.
 
   
Ms. Chapman’s biography of Jane Grey appeared just a few years before the modern feminist movement began. Almost presaging that movement, Chapman notes that a modern reassessment of Jane’s life is much needed, one that focuses on the primary sources rather than the accumulated hagiographic writing and popular mythology. Unfortunately, Chapman does not follow up on her own suggestion. Ms. Chapman was primarily a novelist and thus lacked the training required to produce rigorous historiography. She did nonetheless offer footnotes and cite primary source materials. Her volume is largely an edited and partially reworded version of Richard Davey’s work of 1909, however. She does not offer anything new; nor does she depart from the traditional portrayal despite noting the need for a reassessment of that portrayal.
 
     
 
Church of England Tract Soc.; no. 11. The Life and Death of Lady Jane Grey. Bristol: J. Chilcott, 1835.
 
       
 
Cook, Faith. Lady Jane Grey: Nine Day Queen of England. Darlington, UK: Evangelical Press, 2004.
 
   
Ms. Cook’s work, like Ms. Chapman’s, is predicated on an intriguing and valid premise: that Jane Grey was more than a mere puppet and victim. Ms. Cook does credit Jane Grey with great intelligence and a strong will, but she portrays Jane primarily as a single-faceted individual driven solely by her religion. Jane is, for Ms. Cook, less a complex young woman living in an era of sweeping change than a pious saint. Insufficient attention is given to Jane’s position as an aristocratic woman in a time of changing social and gender relations. She does offer, however, a great deal of background material, particularly on the issue of religion. But Ms. Cook, herself the daughter of missionaries, writes to serve a specific and narrow religious agenda. Her goal in this work is to place upon Jane Grey a “crown of righteousness” and to promote the evangelical strain of Protestant theology. Her publisher (Evangelical Press) produces only evangelical Protestant inspirational works. Ms Cook’s work is better than some recent works, but like so many before her, Ms Cook lacks training in historiographic methodology. She utilizes only a scant five primary sources, fewer even than does Ms Plowden. She quotes frequently and at length, but seldom if ever identifies the source from which she obtained the quotes. The book is entertaining and worth reading, but it is not “serious history.”
 
     
 
Dargaud, Jean Marie. Histoire de Jane Grey. Paris: L. Hachette et cie., 1863.
 
     
 
Davey, Richard. The Nine Days Queen: Lady Jane Grey and Her Times. London: Metheun & Co., 1909.
 
   
This work was perhaps the single most influential on the subject throughout the twentienth century, though it is in actuality nothing more than a historical novel full of fabrications. Mr. Davey was an antiquarian, or a person fascinated by the narratives and artifacts of the past. He wrote in an era when academic history was in its infancy, but he nonetheless attempted to make some limited use of what are now standard historiographic methodologies. Unlike his less scientific predecessors, he usually (though not consistently) cited his archival sources and often relied on primary source materials rather than later mythologies. He sometimes assessed his evidence critically, differentiating between fact and fiction (though his assessments are not always correct). But where sources were lacking, he too often simply invented them, such as the accounts of Jane’s christening or her ceremonial entry into the Tower of London. Davey’s depiction of Jane Grey continued the Victorian hagiographic tradition that portrayed her as a weak and submissive young woman, in large part because Mr Davey was himself a product of the Victorian era that constructed ‘Woman’ in an idealized form. Despite its mixed fact-fiction nature, however, it has laid the foundation for and been imitated, even paraphrased, by all subsequent biographers of Jane Grey working in the twentieth century.
 
     
 
Davey, Richard Parke. The Sisters of Lady Jane Grey and Their Wicked Grandfather. London: Chapman and Hall, 1911.
 
   
By the same author as the above, a continuation of the “story.”
 
     
 
de Lisle, Leanda. The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey. London: HarperPress for Harper Collins, 2009 and New York: Ballantine Books, 2009.
 
   
Ms de Lisle is the first writer with extensive academic training in history to tackle the subject of Jane Grey, though she writes specifically for a general audience rather than an academic one. Sisters deals with all three of the Grey girls, with Jane afforded a bit more than one third of the total volume. De Lisle’s work on Jane is a vast improvement over anything that has come before it. She deals extensively, for example, with the nature and origins of the mythology that surrounds Jane’s name while debunking much of that mythology. At the same time, she raises some absolutely fascinating ideas on what the myths say about the times in which they were created. Ms de Lisle discusses the routine ‘how and why’ of Jane becoming queen but argues that Jane was no mere puppet of John Dudley. She offers an entirely new and unusual interpretation of both Jane and her reign. And quite by coincidence, Ms de Lisle and I largely agree with each other on the conclusions.
Ms de Lisle makes extensive use of primary source materials, well beyond that seen in the works of other recent writers. While I might like to see more extensive use of footnotes, Ms de Lisle is to be credited for avoiding the frequent citational errors seen in the works of Davey and Plowden. Overall, this is without question the highest quality book available today on Jane Grey, both in terms of scholarly rigor and writing style.
 
     
 
Edwards, J. Stephan. A Queen of a New Invention: Portraits of Lady Jane Grey Dudley, England’s Nine Days Queen. Palm Springs: Old John Publishing, 2015.
 
     
 
. “Queen Jane, Where Are You?”, Tudor Life: The Tudor Society Magazine no.6 (February 2015), 8-17.
 
     
 
. “On the Birth Date of Lady Jane Grey,” Notes and Queries 54, no. 3 (Sept. 2007), 240–242.
 
     
  . “A Further Note On the Birth Date of Lady Jane Grey,” Notes and Queries 55, no. 2 (June 2008), 146–148.  
     
 
Gibbons, Thomas. The Life & Death of Lady Jane Grey. London: Printed for A. Cleugh, 2nd ed., 1792.
 
     
 
Godwin, William. Life of Lady Jane Grey, and of Lord Guildford Dudley, her husband. London: M.J. Godwin, 1824.
 
     
 
Goodridge, Esther. Lady Jane Gray. Peacehaven: Protestants Today, 1999.
 
     
 
The History of Jane Grey, Queen of England: With a Defence of her Claim to the Crown .... London: Printed and sold by T. Wilkins, 1792.
 
     
 
Hodgson, Francis. Lady Jane Grey: A Tale, in Two Books, with miscellaneous poems in English and Latin. New York: Garland Publishing, 1809, 1977.
 
   
Barely 50 of more than 350 pages are devoted to the supposed history of Jane Grey. The rest is simply an anthology of poems, epigrams, and tales. The portion that does address the sotry of Jane Grey does so in the form of an epic poem. This is a paean, not a history.
 
     
 
Howard, George. Life of Lady Jane Grey (aka Lady Jane Grey and Her Times). London: Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1822.
 
   
Howard introduces this wonderfully fanciful volume as “a series of facts, anecdotes, and documents”, but it relies far too heavily on outright fiction as a supposed “source” for history. Howard makes extensive use of Shakespeare’s history plays, for example, to provide ersatz “factual” background for the era. Given the era in which he was writing, Howard can perhaps be forgiven this indiscretion. The resulting study should never be taken as legitimate history, however. It must instead be treated as one small part of the accretion of works that ultimately constructed the modern mythology of Jane Grey.
 
     
 
Isham, Giles. “Queen Catherine Parr and Lady Jane Grey” in Northamptonshire Past and Present Vol. 4, No. 5, 1970/1: 293-4.
 
     
 
Ives, Eric. Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery. UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2009.
 
   
Ives is best known as the author of biographies of Anne Boleyn. Ives died in 2012, but was reportedly a lay preacher in the Methodist faith in his last years, during the time he turned to his new subject, Jane Grey. Ives argued that Jane was the rightful heir to the throne of England, according to his (Ives’s) interpretation of English law. He therefore cast Mary as a usurper, a characterization at odds with the majority of existing scholarship. The study is extensively researched and abundantly footnoted, but the writing style is at times disorganized. It is also often difficult to follow his evidence and arguments, owing in large part to their complexity. But most importantly, Jane figures only incidentally in this work. The book is instead a fresh look at John Dudley and a re-examination of ... almost an apologia for... Dudley’s role in the events of 1553. Ives interprets Dudley as an intensely loyal minister to Edward VI who carried out his master’s wishes, devoid of any personal dynastic ambition. Perhaps the most intriguing chapter in the volume is that entitled “Afterlife,” in which Ives examines the evolution of the myths and legends surrounding Jane’s name.
 
     
 
Laird, Francis Charles. Lady Jane Grey and Her Times. London: Sherwood, Neely and Jones, 1822.
 
   
This volume is the same as that by George Howard, above. The author(s) are one individual publishing under two names.
 
     
 
Levin, Carole. “Lady Jane Grey: Protestant Queen and Martyr.” In Silent But For the Word, edited by Margaret Patterson Hannay. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1985.
 
       
 
The Life and Death of Lady Jane Grey: With Some Extracts From Her Writings. New York: N. Y. Religious Tract Society, 1830s.
 
     
 
Lindsey, John. The Tudor Pawn: The Life of the Lady Jane Grey. London, 1938.
 
     
 
Luke, Mary. The Nine Days Queen: A Portrait of Lady Jane Grey. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1986.
 
   
Mary Luke’s “biography” of Jane Grey was sold at publication as factual history. It is not. It is historical fiction. Ms. Luke, like Hester Chapman, was principally a novelist. Throughout the book she ascribed to Jane a series of speeches, emotions, and thoughts that are not supported or evidenced by any historical record or document. Though entertaining, the work should never be considered a reliable account of the life of Jane Grey. Ms Luke also appears to have been responsible for the modern myth that Jane was born on precisely the same day as her cousin, Edward VI.
 
     
 
MacArthur, Arthur. The History of Lady Jane Grey. Glen Falls, N.Y.: Glen Falls Printing Co., 1896.
 
     
 
Mathew, David. Lady Jane Grey: The Setting of the Reign. London: Eyre Metheun Ltd., 1972.
 
   
The initial portion of the title of this book is very misleading, as the book is not actually about Jane Grey. Neither is it about her reign. Instead, it can best be described as a series of very brief sketches about some of the principal — and predominantly male — individuals involved in the succession dispute of 1553. Jane is herself mentioned only once or twice and only in passing throughout the first 135 of 165 pages of the main text. Even the 5-page chapter that bears her name offers very little information about Jane as a person, other than a repetition of exactly the same material so often extracted almost verbatim from Strickland and Davey. Even the single appendix to the volume, one that addresses the issue of portraiture, focuses exclusively on John Dudley, without mentioning Jane. The book might be better titled The Men Around Lady Jane Grey. Interestingly, Mathew is to date the only British person known to have published on the subject of Jane Grey who was also both a Roman Catholic priest and simultaneously a trained historian. Mathew took his BA in Modern History from Balliol College, Oxford, in 1923 and was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood in 1929. He later served as Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, titular Archbishop of Apamea (Syria), and Bishop-in-Ordinary to the British Armed Forces, until his retirement in 1963.
 
     
 
More-Molyneux, J. Letters Illustrating the Reign of Queen Jane, in Archaeological Journal, 30 (1873).
 
   
This article is in the antiquarian tradition in that it describes some “curious” artifacts of the past without offering much in the way of contextualization or analysis. The article was written by the owner of the letters described, a member of the family that owned Loseley Park in Surrey. He had inherited them from a More-Molyneux ancestor who had served as executor to the estate of their original recipient. The letters remained in the possession of the More-Molyneux family until quite recently, when they were placed on permanent loan to the Surrey History Centre in Woking. The letters, commonly known as the Loseley Manuscripts, constitute the largest single collection of documents bearing Jane’s autograph signature as Queen.
 
     
 
Muriel, John St. Clair. The Tudor Pawn: The Life of the Lady Jane Grey. London: Jarrolds, 1938.
 
       
 
Plowden, Alison. Lady Jane Grey and the House of Suffolk . New York: Franklin Watts, 1986 and Lady Jane Grey: Nine Days Queen. Stroud: Sutton, 2003.
 
   
Plowden’s two works are here reviewed together as the latter is largely a re-worked version of the former. Both versions are based very heavily on Richard Davey’s earlier work of 1909. Indeed, entire sections are little more than paraphrases of Davey’s text, and Ms Plowden repeats many of Davey’s citational errors. Her studies of Lay Jane Grey were until recently the most popular and widely read, however. Despite a complete lack of formal training in the profession of history (she was a former script-writer and editor for the BBC), she forged an admirable place for herself as a writer of histories, principally biographies, for a general audience. But because her audience was a general one, her works were largely narrative and lacked analysis. Like her predecessors, Ms Plowden again portrayed Jane Grey as a victim and puppet. She apparently did not attempt to access many of the documents and sources now readily available through various UK archives, and the result is a work that offers nothing new. Both volumes offer an excellent and entertaining story, but in my opinion they are little more than that. They are invaluable to the beginning student but lacking the scope and depth required for a serious historiographical study.
 
     
 
Prochaska, Frank. “The Many Faces of Lady Jane Grey.” History Today 35, no.10 (October 1984): 34-40.
 
   
Mr Prochaska offered a fascinating discussion of the many visual portrayals of Jane Grey in the twentieth century, particularly in film. Any fan of Hollywood history will enjoy this article. The article pre-dated the Paramount Pictures release in 1986 of the film Lady Jane, however, so that no discussion of that piece of fiction was presented, unfortunately. One wonders what Mr Prochaska would have had to say about that film....
 
     
 
Sidney, Philip. “Jane the Quene”: Being Some Account of the Life and Literary Remains of Lady Jane Dudley Commonly Called Lady Jane Grey. London: Swan Sonnenschein and Co., 1900.
 
       
 
Strickland, Agnes. Lives of the Tudor and Stuart Princesses, including Lady Jane Gray and her sisters. London: Longman Greens, 1868.
 
   
Miss Strickland is famous for her inspirational writings on women in history. Her works were all intended primarily as models of behavior for young women of the high-Victorian era, instructive texts on appropriate feminine deportment. As such, they promoted obedience, submission to masculine authority, religious piety, a selfless sense of duty to one’s family, etc. Miss Strickland was perhaps more responsible than any other single individual for popularizing the image of Jane Grey as a weak and submissive young woman of great piety and self-sacrifice. Her works and her portrayal of Jane Grey are entertaining, but must be read with a vigilant awareness of the time and place in which they were written and the social and cultural agenda that they served.
 
     
  Tallis, Nicola. Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey. London: Michael O'Mara, 2016; New York: Pegasus Books, 2016.  
   
When she wrote this book, Ms Tallis was a PhD candidate in History at the University College of London. She is also reportedly a protégé of Alison Weir, the highly-successful writer of popular works on historical subjects. Tallis has chosen to follow Weir’s lead and to produce a work of populist history rather than to capitalize on her academic training by providing us with the academic study that is still missing from the historiography on the Tudor period.
     The writing style is very engaging and highly readable, as one would expect of a book intended for the masses, and Tallis tells a good story. But there is a strong tendency displayed throughout to fill in details that are entirely missing from the historical record. Actions, personal thoughts, and even emotions are freely attributed to the historical characters, even where there is no primary source material available to support those attributions. Presumably Tallis bases them on reasonable speculation, but their presence differentiates the entire work from scholarly or academic historiography and places the volume firmly in the genre of popular history. Tallis’s book is, in fact, very reminiscent, at least in terms of its content, of Mary Luke’s The Nine Days Queen (see above), though Crown of Blood is by far the higher-quality volume.
     Tallis adheres to the traditional narrative that has long presented Jane Grey as a deeply pious young maiden who fell victim to the plots of others, especially John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. Dudley is himself once again portrayed as a Rasputin-like “evil counsellor” bent on the preservation of his own position and power, and as prime mover of the alteration of the succession. But quite surprisingly, given the author’s status as a PhD candidate, there are a number of errors of historical fact, though none are likely to be noticed by anyone but a specialist.
     To Tallis’s great credit, however, she is the first published author to quote directly from the documents related to Jane’s trial for treason in November 1553. Those documents are housed in the UK’s National Archives, and they are a challenge to decipher because they are in Latin and written using a nearly-undecipherable pre-modern handwriting style. Tallis is to be commended for decoding and making excellent use of this new material.
     On balance, Crown of Blood is a very enjoyable book to read for entertainment, and it may perhaps have limited utility for those wishing to study Jane Grey as a historical subject, though in this latter regard it should best be used in conjunction with the previous works of de Lisle and Ives (see above).
 
     
 
Taylor, Ida A. Lady Jane Grey and Her Times. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908.
 
   
As is typical of most “histories” written in the late-nineteenth or early-twentieth century, this volume relies heavily on sources of questionable reliability. Further, the author’s use of citations to identify her sources is extremely sparse. As for actual content, this book is less about Jane Grey than it is about those around her. Jane makes only very rare appearances in the first half of the narrative. On the whole, this book should be set aside and not considered by serious scholars.
 
       
 
Taylor, James D. The Letters of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days Queen, 1553: Containing letters from, to, and about Lady Jane Grey. Jefferson, N.C.: MacFarland Press, 2003.
 
   
Mr Taylor has clearly spent a great deal of time and effort in producing this volume. Unfortunately the result is largely useless for anything other than entertainment. It cannot in any way be legitimately called “history.” The book is replete with flaws, errors, and omissions. The result is, in my opinion, an amateurish mish-mash of authentic and fictional sources that serves only to confuse and mislead any unsuspecting reader seeking to investigate the life and times of Lady Jane Grey.
     Mr Taylor relied very heavily, for example, on a supposed “most valuable ... collection of letters” published in 1791 by Minerva Press. Mr Taylor seems not to have adequately assessed the origins of the supposed letters, a collection tellingly entitled Lady Jane Grey: An Historical Tale in Two Volumes. ‘Tale’ is the most significant word here. Mr Taylor notes that the letters had been “lost” to historians for over 200 years, until he “uncovered” the eighteenth-century book that contained them. He stated that William Lane (then owner of Minerva Press) “purchased [the letters] from an unidentified source ... possibly during the year of 1790 or 1791.” There is a good reason why the letters were “lost”: most trained historians can and would, after only the most basic research into their origin, immediately recognize them as complete fiction. And although Mr Taylor indicated in the conclusion to his book that he had read Dorothy Blakey’s The Minerva Press, 1790–1820 (London: Printed for the Bibliographical Society at the University Press, Oxford, 1939) [Taylor, p. 183], he apparently failed to comprehend from it that Minerva Press published fiction, notably “Novels, Tales, Romances, Adventures, etc.” Indeed, the Minerva name was by 1790 synonymous with popular fiction. An eighteenth-century critic noted, “It cannot be denied that most of the works issued by Minerva Press are ... completely expurgated of all the higher qualities of mind.” [See Dorothy Blakey, pp. 2, 18, 26] In modern terms, books by Minerva Press were considered, even in the late 1700s, pulp fiction, mere dime store novels.
     Mr Taylor noted that Lane “probably ... purchased the manuscript from an anonymous contributor.” That much is certainly true. But the contributor was also without doubt the actual author of the so-called letters. They constitute what is known today as an epistolary novel. Novelists of the late eighteenth century frequently constructed their stories in the form of a series of private letters, often using real historical figures as their protagonists. [See Godfrey F. Singer, The Epistolary Novel: Its Origin, Development, Decline, and Residuary Influence (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1933)] Modern readers unfamiliar with the long-dead fictional literary form can, unfortunately, be too easily led astray through failure to recognize the novelist’s device of attributing imaginary letters to real people.
     Taylor also correctly noted Blakey’s assertion that it is not possible to conjecture who the original author of the letters might have been. [Taylor, 183] That is because the author wished to remain anonymous. Late-eighteenth-century novelists frequently published anonymously, owing to the negative social stigma associated at that time with being a novelist (or even a reader of novels). The prejudice was so strong that all of the novels published by Minvera Press after 1795 were published anonymously. [Blakey, 48] The contributor of the so-called Lane Letters was anonymous because he or she did not wish to incur the disrepute attached to novel-writers, declining to add his/her name to the work.
     Mr Taylor asserted that “no evidence suggests the letters are false” [Taylor, 183], perhaps because he was not a trained historian (he was a maintenance man in an auto parts factory) and therefore lacked the skills necessary to assess adequately their reliability. Most persons with a more-than-passing knowledge of mid-Tudor England could quickly spot the many errors contained in the letters. The number and type of errors encountered make it indisputable that the letters are utter fiction. In the letter from Henry Grey to Northumberland, for example, [Taylor, p. 18-20, Lane Letter 86] Grey addressed Northumberland as “My Lord Protector.” Northumberland was never styled Lord Protector, the office having been abolished upon Edward Seymour’s fall from power in October 1549. Grey would never have addressed Northumberland by a title he did not hold. Northumberland’s correct bureaucrtic title was Lord President of the Privy Council.
     As a second example, many of the letters are supposedly to or from Jane’s cousin Lady Anne Grey. There were only three Anne’s in the Grey family during Jane’s lifetime. One was her paternal aunt, born in about 1520. In a letter to Lady Laurana, the supposed Lady Anne speaks of finding her father in perfect health. [Taylor, p. 150] The father of Jane’s aunt Lady Anne had died when Anne was ten years old, more than twenty years before the letter was supposedly written. Jane’s aunt Anne therefore cannot be the writer of the letters. A second Lady Anne was indeed Jane’s cousin and the daughter of John Grey of Pirgo. That later Anne, however, was born no earlier than the mid-1540s, making her no more than ten years old when the alleged letters were written and thus too young to be Jane’s correspondent. The only other Anne Grey known during Jane’s lifetime was the wife of John, Baron Hussey. This last Anne had herself died in 1547, again before the letters were supposedly written. It is thus easily discoverable that the Lady Anne Grey of the novel is unquestionably a fictitious character, though one perhaps based on a genuine historical person.
     Read Mr Taylor’s this book for what it is: a compilation of mostly fictional documents that take Jane Grey as their subject. But for legitimate fact-based history, look elsewhere. Far from clarifying any unresolved issues regarding the history of Lady Jane Grey, this work instead obscures the discernible truth with an overlay of fictional mud that leaves readers completely misinformed and confused and legitimate historians and history teachers scrambling to pick up the pieces.
 
     
 
Zahl, Paul F.M. Five Women of the English Reformation. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001.
 
   
Mr Zahl was a former minister, and his purpose was religious inspiration. This volume is very brief, and simply repeats the work of others.
 
     
       
       
     
 
Copyright © 2005 – 2016, J. Stephan Edwards
No portion of this site may be reproduced either in part or in whole without written permission of the author.