The Tudor Society
  • Anne Boleyn Experience Tour 2018

    British History Tours will soon be publicising its 2018 “Anne Boleyn Experience” tour which will run from 16-20 May 2018.

    The tour will be led by Philippa Lacey Brewell of British History Tours and Claire Ridgway (me!) and will be based at Hever Castle, childhood home of Queen Anne Boleyn. Participants will stay in a luxury private wing at Hever Castle and there will be tours of the castle, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. We’ll actually be visiting the Tower of London on 19th May, the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution.

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  • The queen and the royal potty

    Thank you so much to Tudor Society member Nancy for asking this question: “If the queen had to make a pottie stop between residences, how would that be accomplished? Does anyone know?”

    Social historian and re-enactor Bess Chilver has answered Nancy’s question, taking into account what a king would do as well. Over to Bess…

    Very interesting question. Our perception of a Royal, even now in these times of minimal deference, is that of a figure, remote and almost not human. Or at least, not subject to the usual human frailties and bodily functions.

    However, even a King or a Queen needs to use the (Royal) Potty sometimes, so where did they use it?

    Within their own properties, there were rooms specifically for their own private use. The Close Stool or Privy was the Medieval and 16th-century versions of the modern toilet. Mostly they worked in a similar way to a modern composting toilet except that the contents of the toilet would be removed by the night soil men. The effluent would be used for composting elsewhere – an excellent example of recycling.

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  • September 2017 Tudor Life – Katherine of Aragon

    Here is the full version of our 80-page September edition of Tudor Life Magazine. This month we focus on Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII.

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  • Mary Queen of Scots movie due in 2018

    Apologies for the delay in posting this news but I was away in Moscow when it was being shared around on social media. Thank you to all those who sent me messages about it.

    A new film due out in 2018 will be of interest to Tudor Society members, not only because it’s on Mary, Queen of Scots, but because it is based on John Guy’s excellent book on Mary, “My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots”, which is a must-read. The film’s cast includes Saoirse Ronan as Mary, Queen of Scots, Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I, Jack Lowden as Lord Darnley, Martin Compston as the Earl of Bothwell, Joe Alwyn as Robert Dudley, Brendan Coyle as Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, and David Tennant as Anthony Babington, so some big names.

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  • Gunpowder – New BBC drama starring Kit Harington

    Kit Harington, AKA Jon Snow, is starring alongside Peter Mullan, Mark Gatiss and Liv Tyler in a new drama coming soon to BBC One.

    Kit will be playing Robert Catesby, one of the plotters of the infamous Gunpowder Plot which sought to blow up the House of Lords at the opening of Parliament on the 5th November 1605, and to assassinate King James I. You can click here to read more about the plot, but here is a trailer for the drama. The BBC has not announced a date yet for the series to air.

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  • The Battle of Bosworth – An informal video

    Long term Tudor Society member, Catherine Brooks, recently went to Bosworth to see the events over the Battle of Bosworth weekend. She took a little video of the battle and then spoke to Tim Nightingale, one of the reenactors of the day. We hope you enjoy this video!

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  • Robert Dudley: His Last Letter

    On this day in history, 28th August 1588, an ill Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wrote what would be his final letter to his queen and life-long friend, Elizabeth I.

    I want to take this opportunity to share the Claire Chats video talk that I did on this subject back in September 2016. I hope you enjoy the talk.

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  • 28 August 1551 – A defiant Lady Mary

    On this day in history, 28th August 1551, Lord Chancellor Richard Rich, Sir Anthony Wingfield and Sir William Petre went to Copthall in Essex to see the Lady Mary (future Mary I), half-sister of their king and master, Edward VI.

    They had been sent to Copthall to deliver a message to Mary from the king. Edward VI was ordering Mary and her household to desist from celebrating the Catholic mass. Edward also ordered that Sir Anthony Wingfield should replace Robert Rochester as Mary’s comptroller.

    Mary was furious with the men and refused to obey them or her brother’s orders. The men reported what happened in a letter to the king and his privy council. Here is the whole letter:

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  • This week in history 28 August – 3 September

    On this day in history…

    28th August:

    1550 – Death of Thomas Magnus, administrator, Archdeacon of the East Riding of Yorkshire, member of the King’s Council and diplomat, at Sessay in the North Riding of Yorkshire. He was also buried there.
    1551 – Lord Chancellor Richard Rich, Sir Anthony Wingfield and Sir William Petre went to Copthall in Essex to see Edward VI’s half-sister Mary. The purpose of their visit was to deliver the King’s order that Mary and her household should desist from celebrating the Catholic mass, and that Wingfield should replace Robert Rochester, whom Edward’s council had removed, as Mary’s comptroller. Mary refused to obey them and they were forced to leave, having failed their mission.
    1553 – Death of Sir John Harington, administrator, in Bishopsgate, London. He was buried in Exton. Harington served Henry VIII as Esquire of the Body, Treasurer of War (1542 and 1543), Vice-Treasurer of the army for the 1544 French campaign and Treasurer of the expedition to France (1546).
    1583 – Burial of William Latymer, Chaplain to Queen Anne Boleyn, Dean of Peterborough, chaplain to Elizabeth I and author of the “Cronickille of Anne Bulleyne”, a biography of Anne Boleyn. He was buried in Peterborough Cathedral.
    1588 – Execution of William Dean, Roman Catholic priest and martyr, by hanging at Mile End Green, Middlesex. He was found guilty of high treason for being a Catholic priest.
    1588 – Execution of Franciscan friar and martyr, Thomas Felton, near Brentford, Middlesex. He was hanged, drawn and quartered for his beliefs, and for proclaiming that he could not accept a woman as supreme head of the Church.
    1588 – An ill Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wrote his final letter to his queen and childhood friend, Elizabeth I.
    1609 – Death of Sir Francis Vere (de Vere), soldier. He served in the English army in the Low Countries, and also in the 1596 Cadiz expedition. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

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  • Transcript of Lauren Browne – Rivals and Mistresses Part 1

    Here’s the excerpt from last night’s livechat with Lauren Browne for those who couldn’t make it to the chatroom.

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  • Quiz – Mary I’s ladies

    How much do you know about the ladies who served Mary throughout her life, from when she was a princess, through her being the illegitimate Lady Mary, and then on to her time as queen? Test yourself with today’s quiz. Good luck!

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  • Live chat reminder – it’s today!

    Just a quick reminder that historian Lauren Browne will be joining us later today in the Tudor Society chatroom to answer your questions on her recent talk on Rivals and Mistresses and to chat about this topic and her research.

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  • Elizabeth I and Ivan IV

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, Claire looks at the relationship between England and Russia in Elizabeth I’s reign, and specifically at some correspondence between Elizabeth I and Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible).

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  • Shane O’Neill

    Born in about 1530, Shane O’Neill (Seán Mac Cuinn Ó Néill) was the youngest son of Conn Bacach O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone. His father was forced to recognise Henry VIII as his overlord and monarch, acknowledging his laws and supremacy and agreeing to renounce the Pope. Conn petitioned the king for the earldom of Ulster, but was offered instead the earldom of Tyrone, which he accepted. He later travelled to England to formally submit to Henry in person. Conn’s eldest son Mathew was created Baron of Dungannon at this time and had the right to succeed his father as Earl of Tyrone. Shane, as an adolescent, was excluded from the negotiations leading to the settlement.

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  • 22 August 1485 – The Battle of Bosworth

    On this day in history, the 22nd August 1485, in rural Leicestershire near Market Bosworth, the armies of King Richard III and Henry Tudor faced each other in a battle that would see the death of the King and the beginning of a new dynasty: the Tudor dynasty.

    When Henry Tudor challenged the King on that August day, Richard III had been King for just over two years. He had gone from being Lord Protector to the young King Edward V, the twelve-year-old son of Richard’s brother Edward IV, to being King after Edward IV’s sons were declared illegitimate. His challenger, Henry Tudor, was the son of Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, and Lady Margaret Beaufort, a woman descended from John of Gaunt, third son of Edward III. As a Lancastrian, Henry had fled to Brittany in France, after Edward IV successfully regained the throne from Henry VI in 1471. He returned to England after his mother had conspired with Elizabeth Woodville, Edward IV’s widow, to arrange a marriage between Elizabeth’s daughter, Elizabeth of York, and Henry, and to promote Henry as an alternative to Richard III.

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  • This week in history 21 – 27 August

    On this day in history…

    21st August:

    1536 – Death of Robert Sherborn (Sherborne), former Bishop of Chichester, at Chichester. He was buried in the cathedral there. The elderly and conservative bishop was forced to resign his see in June 1536 after being examined by Dr Richard Layton.
    1551 – Death of Sir John Packington, judge. He was buried at Hampton Lovett in Worcestershire, where he had settled in 1528. Packington was an active member of the Council of the Marches, a justice for North Wales, Recorder of Worcester, a judge on the Brecon circuit in Wales, and Recorder of Ludlow.
    1553 – Death of Sir Thomas Heneage, courtier. Heneage served Henry VIII as Groom of the Stool and Chief Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, and served Edward VI as a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber. He was buried in the chancel of the parish church at Hainton, Lincolnshire.
    1568 – Death of Humphrey Llwyd, antiquary, translator and cartographer from a fever. He was buried in the north aisle of St Marcella’s (Llanfarchell) Church, which is also known as Whitchurch or Eglwys Wen. Llwyd is known for producing the first ever printed map of Wales.

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  • Troublesome unions

    It’s time for our weekly quiz so grab your favourite beverage and make yourself comfortable. Today’s topic is unauthorised weddings, relationships and betrothals. Good luck!

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  • 19 August 1561 – Mary, Queen of Scots lands at Leith

    On this day in history, on 19th August 1561 at six o’clock in the morning, Mary, Queen of Scots landed at Leith harbour, in Scotland, the country of her birth. The reason for her return to her homeland was the death of her husband, Francis II, King of France. He had died in December 1560 and was succeeded by his brother, Charles IX, with his mother, Catherine de’ Medici acting as regent for the ten-year-old boy. Mary knew that there was no sense in her staying in France. There was no place for her there, so she handed her jewels in to Catherine and set about planning her return to Scotland and making a fresh start.

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  • Claire’s bookcase – Elizabeth I

    In today’s Claire Chats video talk, Claire goes through the books she has on Elizabeth I, her reign and prominent people in her reign.

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  • 17 August 1510 – The end of Empson and Dudley

    On this day in history, 17th August 1510, the second year of King Henry VIII’s reign, Henry VII’s former chief administrators, Sir Edmund Dudley and Sir Richard Empson, were beheaded on Tower Hill after being found guilty of treason.

    Chronicler Edward Hall records:

    “The kynge beyng thus in hys progresse harde euery daye more and more complayntes of Empson and Dudley, wherfore he sent wryttes to the Shynfes of London, to put them in execucion, and so the xvii. day of August, they were both behedded at the Towre hyl, and their bodies buryed and their heades.”

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  • Thomas Kyd

    On this day in history, 15th August 1594, the playwright Thomas Kyd was buried at St Mary Colechurch in London. Kyd is known for his play “The Spanish Tragedy” (c.1587), and some scholars believe that he wrote a “Hamlet” play before that of William Shakespeare.

    Thomas Kyd was born in 1558 to Francis Kyd, a scrivener, and his wife, Anne. Although we don’t know the date of Kyd’s birth, we know that he was baptised at the church of St Mary Woolnoth in London on 6th November 1558. Usually, a baby was baptised within just a few days of birth so Kyd was probably born in the first few days of November.

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  • This week in history 14 – 20 August

    On this day in history…

    14th August:

    1473 – Birth of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV, and his wife Isabel Neville. Margaret was born at Farley Castle, near Bath.
    1479 – Date given as the birthdate of Katherine of York (Katherine, Countess of Devon), at Eltham Palace. Katherine was the daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, and she married Sir William Courtenay, the future Earl of Devon, in 1495.
    1513 – William Parr, Marquis of Northampton and brother of Queen Catherine Parr, was born.
    1539 – Death of Sir Peter Edgcumbe. Edgcumbe served as Sheriff of Devon and Cornwall at various times between 1494 and 1534, was at the 1513 Battle of the Spurs and was present at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520.
    1620 – Burial of Katherine Hastings (née Dudley), Countess of Huntingdon, in Chelsea Old Church. Katherine was the daughter of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, and his wife Jane, and was married to Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon. Katherine was buried in her mother’s tomb.

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  • 14 August – The births of Margaret Pole and William Parr

    On this day in history, 14th August, two prominent Tudor people were born: Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, in 1473, and William Parr, Marquis of Northampton, in 1513.

    Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, born on 14 August 1473, was the only surviving daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, and his wife, Isabel Neville. She was the niece of Edward IV and Richard III, and cousin of Elizabeth of York, Henry VII’s consort. Her brother, Edward, Earl of Warwick, was executed by Henry VII in 1499 in response to a request forwarded by the Spanish monarchs during the marital negotiations between Arthur, Prince of Wales, and Katherine of Aragon, since they feared that Warwick’s presence would encourage rebellion against the Tudor dynasty.

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  • Tudor Trivia Quiz

    It’s that time of week again! Sunday is the day of the week where we exercise the little grey cells with our Tudor quizzes. This week’s quiz is a Tudor trivia quiz – good luck!

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  • The Muscovy Company

    I’ve been inspired recently to research the links between Russia and the Tudors so I hope you enjoy this video talk on the Muscovy Company.

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  • Expert Live Chat – Saturday 26 August

    Historian Lauren Browne will be joining us in the Tudor Society chatroom on Saturday 26th August to answer your questions on her recent talk on Rivals and Mistresses and to chat about this topic and her research.

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  • 10 August 1512 – The Mary Rose’s first battle

    The Mary Rose as depicted in the Anthony Roll.

    On this day in history, 10th August 1512, the Battle of Saint-Mathieu took place. It was a naval battle in the War of the League of Cambrai and it was between the English and Franco-Breton fleets off the coast of Brest, in present day Brittany, France. England was allied with Spain and the Holy Roman Empire at this time.

    The Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s famous warship whose wreck was discovered in 1971 and raised in 1982, was chosen as the English fleet’s flagship by Sir Edward Howard, Admiral of the English fleet. It was her first battle. The twenty-five ship English fleet had set out from Portsmouth, on the south coast of England, after hearing news of the twenty-one ship French fleet gathering at Brest, and the two fleets engaged in Berthaume Bay on 10th August 1512.

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  • Online Tudor Summit – 3 and 4 September 2017

    Thank you to Roland Hui for letting me know about this online event.

    Join 16th-century historians and bloggers at The Tudor Summit 2017 happening online on September 3 and 4! Speakers familiar to Tudor Society members include Nathen Amin (author and founder of The Henry Tudor Society), Natalie Grueninger (creator of On the Tudor Trail), author Tony Riches, Rebecca Larson (creator of Tudors Dynasty and Roland Hui (author and blogger at Tudor Faces). The keynote address will be given by historian Sarah Gristwood, author of ‘Game of Queens’.

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  • Elizabeth I’s Tilbury Speech on film

    Today is the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth I’s rousing speech to the troops at Tilbury Fort on 9th August 1588. While we don’t have Elizabeth I herself on film, it’s a speech that has featured in many movies and TV series. You can read the various versions we have of the original Tilbury speech in my article from 2015, but here are a few famous depictions of that day in 1588.

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  • The Last Tudor and The Sisters Who Would Be Queen

    “The battle for the throne isn’t over yet” is the tagline of Philippa Gregory’s latest Tudor novel, “The Last Tudor”. Released yesterday, this novel focuses on the Grey sisters: Jane, Katherine and Mary, who, of course, had claims to the throne through their grandmother Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VII.

    The lives of these three young women were explored in one of my all-time favourite history books, “The Sisters Who Would Be Queen” by Leanda de Lisle. It is a wonderful book. It’s meticulously researched and highly readable, a winning combination, and deserves pride of place on every Tudor history lover’s bookshelf. Philippa Gregory’s novel is actually inspired by Leanda’s research so I’m looking forward to reading this novel. To celebrate the release of Philippa’s novel, Leanda has kindly shared the following excerpt from “The Sisters Who Would Be Queen” with us today:

    “On 10 October 1562, when Elizabeth was at Hampton Court, she had begun to feel unwell, with aches and pains in her head and back. She had decided to have a bath and take a short walk to shake it off. When she returned to her chambers, however, she became feverish. A physician was called. To Elizabeth’s irritation he diagnosed the potentially deadly Small Pox. Since there were as yet no blisters, she refused to accept the diagnosis, but sickness and diarrhoea followed and she became delirious. By 16 October the Queen could no longer speak. On the 17th she was unconscious.

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