The Tudor Society
  • Halloween, All Hallows Eve and Soul Cakes

    The 31st October was and is, of course, All Hallows Eve or Halloween. Although it was a religious festival in medieval and Tudor times, it has its roots in Pagan celebrations and it comes from Samhain, the Celtic new year festival which was celebrated from sunset on 31st October to sunset on 1st November. On that night, it was believed that the veil between the world of the living and that of the dead was at its thinnest and that the souls of the dead and evil spirits could walk the earth. Church bells were rung, bonfires were lit and people wore masks to ward off these spirits and to send them on their way. Farm buildings and homes were also blessed to protect them from evil spirits and witches.

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  • Edward VI “Monarch Series” book out now

    We’ve completed the work on the next book in our Monarch Series – it’s the turn of Edward VI.

    You can download ALL of the monarch series books for free as full access members of the Tudor Society.

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  • Henry VII Quiz

    King Henry VII by an unknown artist

    Henry VII was the founder of the Tudor dynasty but how much do you know about him? Get those brain cells working and enjoy this fun quiz from Rebecca Larson.

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  • The Beginning of a Dynasty: The Coronation of Henry VII

    Thank you to our regular contributor, Heather R.Darsie, for writing this article on the coronation of Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty.

    On 30 October 1485, Henry VII’s coronation was held, and he became the first Tudor monarch. The date of 30 October was chosen in part because he wished to be crowned king before the next sitting of Parliament, which took place on 7 November. By having his coronation before the next sitting of Parliament, which was the first to take place after the Battle of Bosworth, Henry would not need Parliament to declare him the rightful king. There are not any contemporary descriptions of the coronation, but there are several items that show the careful and shrewd character which the 28-year-old Henry employed to make certain his claim to England was sound. All that is really known is that Henry’s coronation took place at Westminster Abbey.

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  • Windsor Castle and St George’s Chapel

    Sarah Bryson talks about some of the history of Windsor Castle, and shares what it was like to see Charles Brandon’s Garter Place in St Georges Chapel.

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  • Expert live chats timetable – 28 October Open Day

    live_chat_melanieHere is a reminder of our expert live-chats programme for today's Tudor Society Open Day. Just head on over to the at the following times to get asking your questions and discussing these Tudor people and topics. We hope you enjoy it and a big thank you to all of these historians and authors.

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  • Recommended Reading Report

    Enter your details to be in with a chance to win the Open Day 2016 prize, plus we’ll send you a link to your free report …

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  • November 2016 Tudor Life Magazine

    Health is the theme of this month’s Tudor Life magazine. It’s jam packed with articles on health and disease, plus a fun quiz where you can find out what might have killed you in the Tudor era!

    This 72-page magazine will keep any Tudor history lover busy – enjoy!

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  • Tudor Society on Facebook and Twitter

    Due to popular demand (thank you to all those who mentioned it!), I’ve set up a Facebook page and Twitter account for the Tudor Society. This means that you can stay informed via social media regarding new posts and additions to the site and also share news with friends. I hope that this will also spread the word about the Tudor Society.

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  • November expert speaker – Janet Wertman on Jane Seymour

    Coming soon to the Tudor Society is our November expert talk! November’s speaker is Janet Wertman, author of Jane the Quene: Book One of the Seymour Saga, who will be talking about her research into the life of Henry VIII’s third wife, Queen Jane Seymour, for her historical novel. Janet’s talk will be followed by a live-chat session with her later in November.

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  • This week in history 24 – 30 October

    On this day in history events for 24th to 30th October.

    24 October

    1521 – Death of Robert Fayrfax (Fairfax), church musician and composer, in St Albans. He was buried in the abbey there. Fayrfax was a Gentleman of the Chapel of the households of both Henry VII and Henry VIII, and attended the 1521 Field of Cloth of Gold. His works included the Magnificat Regale, Salve regina, six masses and English part-songs.
    1525 – Death of Thomas Dacre, 2nd Baron Dacre of Gilsland, from a fall from his horse in the English borders. He was buried at Lanercost Priory, in the Dacre family mausoleum. Dacre fought at the Battle of Bosworth on the side of Richard III, but was able to earn Henry VII’s trust and favour afterwards. Henry VII put Dacre in charge of the English west march and he was active in the borders, until he was imprisoned in early 1525 after trouble in the borders. He was fined and released in September 1525.

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  • Free Jane Seymour audio lesson 24 October 2016

    To commemorate the death of Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII, are offering everyone the chance to listen to module 3 of their new seven-unit course, “The Six Wives of Henry VIII: Monarchy and Matrimony in Tudor England” for free just for today.

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  • 24 October 1537 – Death of Queen Jane Seymour

    On this day in history, 24th October 1537, Queen Jane Seymour, third wife of King Henry VIII and mother of the future Edward VI, died at Hampton Court Palace. She died twelve days after giving birth to little Edward and it is thought that she died of puerperal fever, a postpartum infection.

    Here are some primary source accounts of her illness and death:

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  • Tudor History Quiz 3

    Get those little grey cells working with this general Tudor history quiz by Rebecca Larson. Good luck!

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  • Researching Edward VI

    In today’s Claire Chats I talk about the research I have recently been doing on Edward VI, how I went about it and the primary sources I found.

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  • Who was Cesare Borgia?

    800px-cesare_borgia_duke_of_valentinoisI had the pleasure of sharing a table with Samantha Morris, author of Cesare Borgia in a Nutshell at the Evening with the Authors event in London recently and her enthusiasm for the Borgia family is infectious. I know they're not Tudor, but they're fascinating and are another family that is surrounded by myth and controversy, and that has larger than life characters.

    Thank you to Samantha for joining us today with this short biography of Cesare in celebration of the recent release of her book.

    Born at some point between 1475 and 1476, Cesare Borgia was the son of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia and Vanozza Cattanei. It was only after Rodrigo's ascension to the Papacy that Cesare and his siblings were formally recognised as his children. Cesare was brought up in the church, eventually becoming a Cardinal – a career that he did not want. He believed he was meant to be a soldier, and that he was meant to follow the career that had been laid out for his brother Juan.
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  • Henry VIII’s Lost Sister: Elizabeth Tudor

    A big welcome to historian Elizabeth Norton who joins us today with a guest article as part of the virtual book tour for her newly released book The Lives of Tudor Women.

    The Tudor dynasty is bookended by two princesses named Elizabeth Tudor, who serve as the full-stops between which the lives of countless women were lived. The second Elizabeth Tudor, whose death brought the dynasty to an end in March 1603, is, of course, well known. But the other, who was born in 1492, is largely forgotten. As the playmate of his early childhood she is, however, Henry VIII’s lost sister.

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  • 18 October 1555 – Elizabeth is free to go to Hatfield

    hatfieldhouseoldpalaceOn this day in history, the 18th October 1555, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, finally received permission from her half-sister, Mary I, to leave court and travel to her own estate at Hatfield, rather than return to house arrest in Woodstock.

    Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth I, had been treated with suspicion by Mary and her council since Wyatt's Revolt in early 1554. David Starkey says of the Revolt: "The rebellion of 1554 - known from the leader of its most important sector as Wyatt's Revolt - brought Elizabeth to her nadir. It led to the most dangerous and difficult time of her life when she feared imminent execution or murder. She even expressed a preference as to how she should die: like her mother, by the sword, rather than by the axe."1
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  • Sir Philip Sidney 1554-1586

    On this day in history, 17th October 1586, the poet, courtier and soldier, Sir Philip Sidney, died as a result of an injury inflicted by the Spanish forces at the Battle of Zutphen in the Netherlands. His body was returned to England and laid to rest on the 16th February 1587 in St Paul’s Cathedral.

    Philip Sidney was born on the 30th November 1554 at Penshurst Place, Kent. He was the eldest son of Sir Henry Dudley and Lady Mary Dudley, sister of Elizabeth’s favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and daughter of John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland. Sidney was educated at Shrewsbury School, where he met Fulke Greville, and Christchurch, Oxford, and in 1572 he was chosen by Elizabeth I to undertake an embassy to France to negotiate a marriage between the Queen and the Duke of Alençon.

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  • This week in history 17-23 October

    On this day in history events for week 17th to 23rd October.

    17th October:
    1560 – Baptism of Walter Marsh, spy and Protestant martyr, at St Stephen’s Church, Coleman Street, London. Marsh was burned to death in Rome’s Campo dei Fiori after having his tongue and hands cut off. He had been accused of being paid by Elizabeth I to spy on Catholics and showing contempt for the Eucharist.
    1586 – The poet, courtier and soldier Sir Philip Sidney died as a result of an injury inflicted by the Spanish forces at the Battle of Zutphen in the Netherlands. His body was returned to England and laid to rest on the 16th February 1587 in St Paul’s Cathedral.

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  • Age Quiz

    Just how old were the Tudor monarchs and prominent Tudor people when they came to the throne, when they married or when they died? Test you knowledge with this fun quiz from Rebecca:

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  • 15 October 1537 – Edward VI’s Christening

    On this day in 1537, three days after his birth, Henry VIII’s son, the future Edward VI, was christened in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court in a lavish ceremony. You can read a primary source account of the christening in an article I wrote over at The Anne Boleyn Files – click here.

    In 2015 Lucy Worsley and David Starkey celebrates the 500th anniversary of Britain’s finest surviving Tudor building, Hampton Court Palace, in a documentary which saw a re-enactment of the christening of Prince Edward, the future Edward VI.

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  • The trial of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in history, 14th October 1586, the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots began at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire.

    Mary, Queen of Scots had, at first, refused to appear before Elizabeth I’s commission, but had been told by William Cecil that the trial would take place with or without her. She appeared in front of the commission at 9am, dressed in a black velvet gown and a white cambric cap and veil. Mary then protested against the commission, arguing that the court was not legitimate, and arguing against the fact that she was not allowed legal defence and was not able to call any witnesses.

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  • 14 October – 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings

    I know it’s not Tudor but today is the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 so regular contributor Heather R. Darsie has written this factfile for us.

    Edward II – King of England. Known as the Confessor. Died childless; cousin of William the Bastard. In 1051 Edward promised William that William would inherit the throne upon Edward’s death. Edward, when close to death in early 1066, told Harold that Harold would inherit the throne from Edward.

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  • Medieval Medicine – Expert talk with Toni Mount

    Toni mount joined us on a fascinating talk about medieval and Tudor medicine. Here’s the recording!

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  • 12 October 1537 – Birth of King Edward VI

    Today is the anniversary of the birth of Edward VI, son of Henry VIII and his third wife, Jane Seymour, in 1537 at Hampton Court Palace.

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  • Henry VIII – Defender of the Faith

    On 11th October 1521, Pope Leo X conferred upon King Henry VIII the title of Fidei Defensor, “Defender of the Faith”.

    Letters and Papers contains a record of “Wolsey’s speech on presenting the bull for the title of Defender of the Faith”:

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  • This week in history 10 – 16 October

    On this day in history events for week beginning 10th October…

    10th October:
    1505 (10th or 11th) – Death of William Barons (Barnes), Bishop of London and former Master of the Rolls. He was buried at St Paul’s Cathedral.
    1530 – Death of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquis of Dorset, magnate, soldier and courtier. He was buried at Astley Collegiate Church in Warwickshire. Grey’s offices included Constable of Warwick Castle and of Kenilworth Castle, and he also acted as Chief Answerer at the marriage of Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon. Grey was also the grandfather of Lady Jane Grey.
    1549 – Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector, was ordered to leave Windsor Castle and to give himself up. He had moved there with the young Edward VI on the 6th October, from Hampton Court Palace, after learning that his protectorship was in danger.

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  • Katherine of Aragon Quiz

    Rebecca’s quiz this week is on Katherine of Aragon, first wife and queen consort of King Henry VIII. How much do you know about this fascinating Tudor lady?

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  • Claire’s visit to London Charterhouse

    In this week’s Claire Chat’s video I talk about my recent visit to London Charterhouse and the history of the site. I hope you enjoy the talk and the photos.

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