The Tudor Society
  • Livechat transcript – Stephanie Mann – Thomas More

    Stephanie Mann on Thomas More

    Read the transcript from our live chat session with Stephanie Mann about Thomas More.

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  • The Fall of Anne Boleyn – audio day by day

    Listen to a sample of The Fall of Anne Boleyn which we’ll be serialising from 1 to 19 May.

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  • Catherine of Aragon – A true maid?

    In today’s Claire Chats, I talk about Catherine of Aragon, her marriage to Arthur Tudor and its implications in Henry VIII’s quest for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine.

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  • May 2016 Tudor Life Magazine

    May’s magazine is a celebration of the arrival of Summer … let the merriment begin!

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  • 28 April 1603 – Elizabeth I’s funeral

    On 28th April 1603, Queen Elizabeth I’s funeral took place in London.

    After her death on 24th March 1603, the body of Queen Elizabeth I was placed inside a lead coffin and carried by night in a torchlit barge along the Thames from Richmond Palace to Whitehall. There, the Queen was to lie in state until her funeral, giving time for the new king, King James I (VI of Scotland) to travel down to London. While the coffin lay in state, a life-size effigy of the Queen, dressed in her royal robes, was placed on top of it to act as a symbol of the monarchy while there was no monarch in England.

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  • This week in history 25 April – 1 May

    On this day in history events for 25 April to 1 May.

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  • It is Not in the Stars to Hold Our Destiny, but in Ourselves by Heather R. Darsie

    Around 23 April 1564, a great mind was born in a small English market town. Such an immortal mind was baptised on 26 April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. With inauspicious beginnings as the third of six children born, first to survive infancy, to a leather merchant and landed heiress, William Shakespeare would go on to lead the life of an intellectual lion, whose roar can still be heard throughout the world today.

    Shakespeare’s first poems, “The Rape of Lucrece” and “Venus and Adonis” were dedicated to his patron, Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, in the early 1590s. Beginning around 1594, Shakespeare joined a theatrical company known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, with the name changing to the King’s Men upon the accession of James I in 1603. Shakespeare is credited with writing more than 154 sonnets and 37 plays.

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  • 23 April 2016 – Shakespeare 400

    Today, 23rd April 2016, is the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare on 23rd April 1616, a day which is also traditionally his birthday.

    Now I’m fond of Shakespeare, not only because I grew up just 12 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon, bis birthplace, but also because I love his work. I studied his plays at school and university, and I was fortunate to see a few of his plays being performed by the RSC. I have vivid memories of seeing Jonathan Pryce and Sinead Cusack in Macbeth and Jerome Flynn and Sophie Thompson in As You Like It. To this day, I can still recite Macbeth Act 1 Scene 1 by heart and a fair few lines of Hamlet’s To be or not to be soliloquy. And one of my favourite films is Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo and Juliet. Yes, it’s safe to say that I love the Bard!

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  • An Evening with the Authors

    Claire & Tim Ridgway, plus 17 other authors, many well-known history bloggers AND the Mary Rose Museum will be getting together on 24 September in central London for an amazing event “An Evening with the Authors”.

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  • An evening with the authors – 24 September 2016, London

    Yay! I’m so excited! On 24th September eighteen of MadeGlobal Publishing’s authors will be in London for “an evening with the authors”. This is your chance to mingle with 18 Tudor history authors (many of whom are Tudor Society contributors), have your photo taken with them by a professional photographer, get their autographs, discuss your book idea with MadeGlobal Publishing, and fire questions at the authors in a Q&A session.

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  • The Religious Calendar

    In today’s Claire Chats I talk about the importance of the religious calendar in Tudor people’s lives.

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  • Quixotic Musings: the Adventurous Life of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra by Heather R. Darsie

    iguel de Cervantes Saavedra, author of Don Quixote, died on 22 or 23 April 1616 in Madrid. Born in about 1547 to a deaf surgeon, Cervantes spent his childhood in poverty. The profession of surgeon was not at all high-paying. Cervantes’ exact date of birth is unknown, but a baptismal certificate was discovered that lists his baptism date as 9 October. It is posited that Cervantes was born on 29 September, St. Michael’s day, hence his forename of “Miguel.” Cervantes and his family moved from place to place in pursuit of better employment for his father. It is unknown what, if any, formal education Cervantes had, but he did learn how to read and became an avid reader.

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  • Exploring English: Shakespeare – Free online course

    As part of the celebrations for Shakespeare 400, the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death on 23rd April 2016, Shakespeare Lives, FutureLearn and the British Council are running a six-week online course – Exploring English: Shakespeare.

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  • 21 April 1509 – The death of Henry VII and the accession of Henry VIII

    On this day in history, 21st April 1509, fifty-two-year-old King Henry VII died at Richmond Palace, passing the throne on to his seventeen-year-old son Henry, who became King Henry VIII.

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  • Queen Elizabeth II Quiz

    As today is the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, I thought I would mark the occasion with a fun quiz on her. How much do you know about Queen Elizabeth II? Test yourself now. Good luck!

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  • What is a Groom of the Stool? by Sarah Bryson

    The Groom of the Stool, or, as the official title was known, The Groom of the King’s Close Stool, has gone down in history as one of the grossest jobs available. As the name suggests the Groom of the Stool was responsible for attending to the King’s toileting needs. The Groom would care for the King’s toilet, known in the Tudor period as a ‘Stool’. He would be responsible for supplying water, towels and a washbowl for the King when he had finished his business. There is some debate as to whether or not the Groom of the Stool was responsible for wiping the King’s behind, with some believing he did and others thinking his duties did not extend to that extreme.
    While being responsible for the King’s bodily functions may seem quite disgusting for us in today’s times when going to the bathroom is considered to be a private matter, it was very, very different in the Tudor age.

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  • This week in history 18 – 24 April

    On this day in history events for 18-24 April.

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  • Livechat with Stephanie Mann 29 April

    Stephanie Mann on Thomas More

    Stephanie Mann will be in the chatroom 29/30 April…

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  • Scientific analysis of Shakespeare’s will

    The National Archives have “carried out innovative archival and scientific research into the will of one of the world’s greatest ever playwrights: William Shakespeare” and you can read all about it on their website.

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  • In the news quiz

    Do you keep up to date on history news? Test yourself on recent discoveries and history news with this fun quiz.

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  • Researching a print and portrait

    How I went about researching a print and portrait being sold on eBay as Anne Boleyn.

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  • Katharine of Aragon’s Spain by Heather R. Darsie

    The AlhambraThank you to Heather for sharing with us this article on "Katharine of Aragon's Spain: the Moorish Influence of Convivencia on the Newly-Modern Kingdom".

    Prior to Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, the Catholic Monarchs, finally removing the last Islamic presence from the Kingdom of Granada, there was a considerable Islamic and Jewish presence that lasted over 700 hundred years.

    The Muslims first came to Spain during the Umayyad conquest of Hispania around the year 711, when they invaded from North Africa. At the time, the Iberian Peninsula was a Visigoth kingdom. The area of the Iberian Peninsula controlled by the Muslims was called Al-Andalus. After the invasion, conversion from Christianity to Islam was advantageous. There was relative peace in Muslim-controlled Spain for about three hundred years. The main cities of Al-Andalus were Granada, Toledo and Cordoba.
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  • Derek Wilson in History of Royals magazine

    Regular contributor, Tudor Society member and historian Derek Wilson has just informed me that an article he has written on Richard III is the lead feature article in the very first issue of “History of Royals” magazine which comes out on 14 April.

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  • Impressions of “I am Henry” by Heather R. Darsie

    Our regular contributor Heather R. Darsie reviews the short film “I am Henry”…

    I had heard and read of the acclaim achieved by Flying Dutchman’s film, “I am Henry,” but did not know what to expect. I sat down with my laptop, thinking I was about to watch simply another film about the dynamic between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. I could not have been more wrong.

    The setting is simple but beautiful, and the lighting lends itself to that of a person whose mind is slowly being overtaken by the dreamy haze of death. The color balancing is consistent throughout and gives the appearance that the film is lit indeed by only the source light of the January sun and candles. Great care was taken in planning each shot and it shows. Put simply, the thoughtful cinematography was executed flawlessly.

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  • This week in history 11 – 17 April

    11 April

    Marguerite de Navarre

    Marguerite de Navarre

    1492 – Birth of Marguerite de Navarre (also known as Marguerite of Angoulême and Marguerite de France), sister of Francis I of France, daughter of Louise of Savoy and Charles, Count of Angoulême, and author of "Miroir de l'âme pécheresse".
    1533 – The Royal Council was ordered by Henry VIII to recognise Anne Boleyn as Queen.
    1548 – Death of Sir John Welsbourne, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to Henry VIII and Justice of the Peace.
    1554 - Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger was beheaded and then his body quartered for treason, for leading Wyatt's Rebellion against Queen Mary I.
    1609 - Death of John Lumley, 1st Baron Lumley, conspirator (Ridolfi Plot, patron and collector. His library was said to be one of the largest in England, and he collected manuscripts, books, paintings, sculptures, marble busts and furniture. Lumley was buried at night, probably so that he could be buried with a Catholic service, in the Lumley Chapel of St Dunstan's in Cheam.

    12 April

    Edward de Vere

    Edward de Vere

    1533 – Thomas Cromwell became Chancellor of the Exchequer.
    1533 - Anne Boleyn attended mass on Easter Saturday “with all the pomp of a Queen, clad in cloth of gold, and loaded (carga) with the richest jewels”. It was her first public appearance as Queen, and it was time to make a statement that she was Henry VIII’s rightful wife and Queen.
    1535 – Death of Giles Duwes (Dewes), musician, royal librarian and French tutor to Henry VIII's children: Arthur, Henry, Margaret and Mary, and to Henry VIII's daughter, the future Mary I. He also taught Mary I music. He was buried in the church of St Olave Upwell in London.
    1550 – Birth of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, courtier and poet. The Oxfordian theory of Shakespearean authorship proposes that de Vere wrote Shakespeare's works and some believe that he was the illegitimate son of Elizabeth I.
    1587 – Death of Sir Thomas Bromley, Lord Chancellor to Elizabeth I, at York House in London. He was buried in Westminster Abbey. It was Bromley who had presented Elizabeth I with Parliament's petition for the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, and it was he who applied the Great Seal on her execution warrant in 1587.
    1639 – Death of courtier Robert Carey, 1st Earl of Monmouth, youngest son of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, and grandson of Mary Boleyn.

    13 April

    Sir Thomas More

    Sir Thomas More

    1534 – Sir Thomas More was summoned to Lambeth to swear his allegiance to the “Act of Succession”.
    1557 – Death of John Brydges, 1st Baron Chandos of Sudeley, landowner, soldier and Lieutenant of the Tower of London. He died at Sudeley Castle. When Lady Jane Grey was in the Tower, she gave him her English prayer book in which she wrote a homily for him, and when Elizabeth was in the Tower, he was accused of being too lenient with her.
    1598 – Henry IV of France issued the Edict of Nantes granting the Huguenots freedom of religion in France.
    1606 – Death of Richard Day, Church of England clergyman, printer and son of the famous printer John Day, who had printed John Foxe's “Actes and Monuments”. In 1578 Richard printed his own translation of “Christ Jesus Triumphant” by Foxe, and then got into trouble with his father when he started printing his father's works without his permission. His father had his printing equipment and stock seized, and Richard was forced to become a clergyman, becoming Vicar of Mundon, Essex.
    1630 – Death of Anne Howard (née Dacre), Countess of Arundel, at Shifnal. She was laid to rest in the Fitzalan Chapel of Arundel Castle. Anne was the eldest daughter of Thomas Dacre, 4th Lord Dacre of Gilsand, and wife of Philip Howard, 13th Earl of Arundel. Anne was a staunch Catholic and harboured priests.

    14 April



    1556 – Death of Sir Anthony Kingston, former Constable of the Tower of London, at Cirencester while on his way to be tried in London. He was accused of conspiring to rob the Exchequer for money to support Henry Dudley and his plot against Mary I. Dudley appears to have been planning an invasion of English exiles from France to topple Mary and replace her with Elizabeth.
    1565 – Birth of Edward Gresham, astrologer, astronomer and magician, in Stainsford, Yorkshire. He is known for his treatise “Astrostereon” and his astrological almanacs, published between 1603 and 1607.
    1578 - James Hepburn, 1st Duke of Orkney and 4th Earl of Bothwell, died aged forty-four at Dragsholm Castle after being imprisoned and held in appalling conditions by Frederick, King of Denmark. It is said that the imprisonment caused Bothwell to go insane. Bothwell was the third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.
    1587 – Death of Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland, at Greenwich. He'd been taken ill earlier that month. He was buried on 15th May at Bottesford, Leicestershire.
    1599 – Death of Sir Henry Wallop, member of Parliament and administrator, in Dublin while serving there as Treasurer-at-War. He was buried in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

    15 April

    1530 – Death of Gilbert Tailboys, 1st Baron Tailboys and first husband of Elizabeth (Bessie Blount), mistress of Henry VIII. He was laid to rest in South Kyme Church.
    1545 – Death of Sir Robert Dymoke, champion at the coronations of Henry VII and Henry VIII. He also served in the households of Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn.
    1589 – Burial of Frances Radcliffe (née Sidney), Countess of Sussex and founder of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. She was buried in Westminster Abbey, in the Chapel of St Paul.
    1599 – Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, was sworn in as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
    1624 – Burial of Sir John Scudamore, husband of Mary Shelton, who served in Elizabeth I's Privy Chamber, at Holme Lacy. It was alleged that Elizabeth I broke one of Mary's fingers in a temper.

    16 April

    Guy Fawkes

    Guy Fawkes

    1512 – The Mary Rose began her first tour of duty in the English Channel on the hunt for French warships.
    1521 – German Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, appeared in front of Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms. He had been summoned to the diet to either recant or reaffirm his religious views.
    1550 – Birth of Francis Anthony, alchemist, apothecary and physician. He was probably born in London and was the son of Derrick Anthony, a goldsmith. Anthony was imprisoned twice for practising as a physician without a licence, and is known for his aurum potabile (drinkable gold), made from gold and mercury, which he claimed had amazing curative powers. His works included Medicinae chymicae et veri potabilis auri assertio (1610).
    1570 - Baptism of Guy Fawkes, conspirator, at the Church of St Michael le Belfrey in York.
    1578 – Burial of Thomas Drant, Church of England clergyman and poet. He was part of the “Areopagus” intellectual circle at court, but also had an ecclesiastical career and was chaplain to Edmund Grindal, Bishop of London. He is known for his work on prosody (metre), and actually drew up some rules concerning it, which were mentioned by Edmund Spenser, Gabriel Harvey, Philip Sidney, Edward Dyer and Fulke Greville.
    1587 – Death of Anne Seymour (née Stanhope), Duchess of Somerset and wife of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector during part of Edward VI's reign. Anne was a reformer and a literary patron. She died at Hanworth Place and was buried at Westminster Abbey.
    1595 – Death of Ferdinando Stanley, 5th Earl of Derby and literary patron. His sudden death caused rumours of poisoning and witchcraft, but nothing was ever proved. Stanley was patron of the Strange's Men company of players, which probably included William Shakespeare, and he was also a patron of poets. It is thought that he also was a poet.

    17 April

    Nicholas Throckmorton

    Nicholas Throckmorton

    1534 - Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor, was sent to the Tower of London after refusing to swear the “Oath of Succession”.
    1554 – Sir Nicholas Throckmorton was acquitted of treason for being involved in Wyatt's Rebellion. The jurors were arrested straight after the trial and Throckmorton remained in prison until January 1555.
    1554 – Thomas Wyatt the Younger's head was stolen in the rejoicing after Throckmorton's acquittal.
    1554 – Birth of Stephen Gosson, Church of England clergyman, satirist and anti-theatrical polemicist. In 1579 he published his “Schoole of Abuse, containing a pleasant invective against Poets, Pipers, Plaiers, Jesters and such like Caterpillars of the Commonwealth”.
    1568 – Birth of George Brooke, conspirator, son of William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham and his wife Frances (née Newton). Brooke conspired with Sir Griffin Markham and William Watson to kidnap King James I and end the persecution of Catholics. The plot was called the Bye Plot, and never took place because the authorities found out about their plans. Brooke was arrested, tried at Winchester 15th November 1603 and executed on Winchester Castle green 5th December 1603.
    1595 – Execution of Henry Walpole (St Henry Walpole), Jesuit martyr, in York. He was hanged, drawn and quartered. He was accused of treason on three counts "Walpole had abjured the realm without licence; that he had received holy orders overseas; and that he had returned to England as a Jesuit priest to exercise his priestly functions".

  • 11 April 1554 – The Execution of Thomas Wyatt the Younger

    On the 11th April 1554, Sir Thomas Wyatt the younger was beheaded and then his body quartered for treason, for leading Wyatt’s Rebellion against Queen Mary I.

    Wyatt had already shown his opposition to Mary when he supported Lady Jane Grey’s claim to the throne after the death of Edward VI – he escaped punishment that time – but he felt compelled to act when he found out about Mary I’s plans to marry King Philip II of Spain.
    The plan was to have a series of uprisings in the South, Southwest, Welsh Marches and Midlands, and then a march on London to overthrow the government, block the Spanish marriage, dethrone Mary and replace her with her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth, who would marry Edward Courtenay. Unfortunately for Wyatt, other rebel leaders like the Duke of Suffolk (Lady Jane Grey’s father) and the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey (who had nothing to do with the revolt), the plan failed.

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  • Quiz – Medieval plants and flowers and their symbolism

    In medieval times, flowers and plants were often used in art, literature and rituals as symbols. How much do you know about plants and their symbols? Find out with this fun quiz.

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  • 9 April 1533 – No Longer Queen by Sarah Bryson

    On 9th April 1533, the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk accompanied by a delegation from King Henry VIII met with Queen Katherine of Aragon at her residence at Ampthill where she had been moved to in February. When they arrived they informed Katherine that she was no longer Queen of England, but from that day forward she had to style herself as the Dowager Princess of Wales. Katherine took the news with grace but refused neither to use the new title nor to believe that Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn was valid.

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  • Tudor Cooking with Claire – Hippocras

    I’m always coming across mentions of hippocras when I’m reading primary source accounts of banquets, coronations and christenings. It was something that was served at the end of a banquet with wafers and “spice plates”. I love trying out things I read about so I looked in my books for a contemporary recipe and a modernised version. Here is the result:

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  • David Baldwin

    I’ve just seen the news on Facebook that historian and author David Baldwin passed away on Monday (4th April). It is such sad news.

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