The Tudor Society
  • James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell

    James Hepburn, 1st Duke of Orkney, 4th Earl of Bothwell and the third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, was the son of Patrick Hepburn, 3rd Earl of Bothwell and Lord High Admiral, known as the “Fair Earl”, and his wife Agnes Sinclair, daughter of Henry Sinclair, 3rd Lord Sinclair. In 1556, on his father’s death, James became 4th Earl of Bothwell and Lord High Admiral of Scotland.

    In 1559/1560 Bothwell visited Denmark on the way to France and met Anna Throndsen (Anne Thorssen). He is alleged to have seduced and even married Anne but deserted her. In 1566, he married Jean Gordon, second eldest daughter of George Gordon, Earl of Huntly, but the marriage was not a happy one, as Jean accused Bothwell of adultery with her maid and seamstress, Bessie Crawford. The marriage was annulled in May 1567 on the grounds of consanguinity. Eight days after the divorce, Bothwell married Mary, Queen of Scots.

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  • It’s Maundy Thursday today!

    Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, that final meal that Jesus Christ had with his disciples before his arrest.
    In Tudor times, on Maundy Thursday, the church was prepared for Easter with water and wine being used to wash the altars and it was traditional for people to go to confession. The three holy oils – the chrism oil, the oil of catechumens and the oil of the sick – were also blessed on this day.

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  • 11 April 1554 – Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger is executed

    On this day in history, 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.

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  • Holy Week and Easter

    I often think that living in Spain, a Catholic country, brings me that bit closer to life in Tudor England because their religious calendar – with all of its feast days, fasting, religious processions etc. – is still followed in countries like Spain today and whole villages and towns join in.

    I realise that festivals like Holy Week and Easter are still celebrated or commemorated by Christians all over the world, but in countries like the UK Holy Week is no longer a week-long festival celebrated by everyone. Mostly, it’s time to have a holiday and exchange cards and Easter eggs. Here in Spain, there are processions on days like Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, in every town and village, however small. Everyone gets involved in “Semana Santa”. It’s a big deal! A huge deal! And so it was in Tudor times, where daily life was tied to the religious calendar.

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  • This week in history 10 – 16 April

    On this day, 10th April…

    1512 – James V, King of Scotland, was born at Linlithgow Palace. He was the fourth child of James IV and Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII. He was the only one of James and Margaret’s children to survive childhood, and so inherited the crown of Scotland when his father was killed at the Battle of Flodden, 9th September 1513.
    1550 – Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, was re-admitted into Edward VI’s council.
    1559 – Death of Sir Rice Mansel, soldier and administrator, at his home in Clerkenwell. He served Henry VIII as Vice-Admiral in 1542, in France and Scotland, and in 1544 as Knight-Marshal. He was also Chamberlain of Chester.
    1585 – Death of Pope Gregory XIII, the Pope known for his introduction of the Gregorian Calendar, in Rome. He was succeeded by Pope Sixtus V.

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  • Palm Sunday – the start of Holy Week

    Palm Sunday is the sixth Sunday of Lent and marks the start of Holy Week. It commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem on a donkey the week before the Resurrection. It is an event which features in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and here it is from John:

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  • Tudor History Quiz

    Today’s quiz is another general Tudor history quiz so grab a coffee and a snack and enjoy testing yourself on your Tudor knowledge with this fun quiz.

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  • Tudor Society needs your advice

    The Tudor Society needs members’ advice

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  • Updated April 2017 Tudor Life Magazine

    Thank you to those of you who spotted that there was an error in the layout of April’s Tudor Life magazine. Part of Conor Byrne’s article was hidden behind an image.

    The magazine has been updated now and you can read it online or download it by going to the magazine page.

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  • Sir Francis Walsingham

    On this day in history, 6th April 1590, Elizabeth I’s principal secretary, Sir Francis Walsingham, died at around the age of fifty-eight. Although he had served the queen for many years, he died in debt, as he had underwritten the debts of Sir Philip Sidney, his son-in-law.

    Walsingham was an incredibly important man during Elizabeth I’s reign, being a statesman, private secretary, adviser, diplomat and spymaster, and he probably saved the queen’s life many times by uncovering various plots against her. Elizabeth called him her “Moor”.

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  • Expert Talk: Gareth Russell on Catherine Howard

    This month we have Gareth Russell, who is in the middle of a book tour of the USA as I write this post. He’s recorded us a wonderful talk about Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII.

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  • William Strachey 1572-1621

    On this day in history, 4th April 1572, the writer William Strachey was born in Saffron Walden in Essex, England. He was the son of William Strachey and Mary Cooke. He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and by 1605 had joined Gray’s Inn in London.

    Strachey married his first wife, Frances Forster, in 1595 and had two sons by her, William and Edmund. Frances had died by 1615 and William took a second wife, a widow called Dorothy.

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  • This week in history 3 – 9 April

    On this day in history…

    3rd April:

    1538 – Death of Elizabeth Boleyn, Countess of Wiltshire and Ormond, wife of Thomas Boleyn and mother of Anne Boleyn. Click here to read more.
    1559 – The second session of Parliament, in Elizabeth I’s reign, met after the Easter break. Its purpose was to obtain parliamentary sanction for royal supremacy and Protestant settlement.
    1559 – The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis, ending the Italian Wars, was signed between Henry II and Philip II of Spain. Click here to read more.
    1578 – Burial of Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox and daughter of Margaret Tudor and Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. She was buried in Henry VII’s Chapel of Westminster Abbey.

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  • Transcript of live chat with Wendy Dunn – Thomas Wyatt

    We had a wonderful chat with Wendy Dunn in the Chatroom on Friday, and it was very informative. We were discussing Thomas Wyatt and people had lots to say.

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  • An Overview of the Results of the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis 1559

    Thank you to regular contributor Heather R. Darsie for this article on the 1559 Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis.

    After sixty-five long years of war, the Habsburg and Valois families finally brought the Italian Wars to an end on 3 April 1559. The Italian Wars were fought over territory in Italy, particularly the duchy of Milan. In 1551 Henry II, King of France, carried on his father Francis’ battle with Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, which came to be between Henry II and Philip II of Spain by 1559. The purpose of the treaty was to settle all territorial disputes. The peace ushered in at Cateau-Cambrésis would last the better part of one hundred and fifty years.

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  • General Tudor History Quiz

    The iconic portrait of Henry VIII after Holbein

    Grab a coffee and your Sunday brunch and get those little grey cells working with this fun quiz on general Tudor history. Good luck!

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