• The Wars of the Roses Quiz

    The Tudors came to the throne of England following a time of instability and civil war, a time known as the Wars of the Roses. But how much do you know about the Wars of the Roses? Grab your favourite beverage and snack and let’s get those little grey cells working! Good luck!

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  • Roger Ascham

    Scholar and royal tutor Roger Ascham is thought to have been born around 1515 and he was educated in the household of Sir Humphrey Wingfield, a lawyer and a man who served as Speaker of the House of Commons in the 1530s. When he was about 15, he was sent to St John’s College, Cambridge, where he chose to devoted himself to the study of Greek. He graduated BA in 1533/4 and was nominated as a fellow before graduating MA in 1537. At Cambridge, he met Sir John Cheke and he taught William Grindal, who would go on to be a tutor to Princess Elizabeth from 1544 to 1548.

    In 1548, Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII, insisted that Ascham become her tutor after the death of William Grindal from the plague. According to his biographer Rosemary O’Day, Ascham “contrived a classical and Christian curriculum for the princess that was designed to equip her for a leading role in the state”, and used his pioneering language teaching method on her, double translation. He wrote about this method in “The Scholemaster”, his famous and influential treatise on education. He carried on tutoring Princess Elizabeth during Mary I’s reign, and was impressed by the Princess’ intelligence, her language skills and her “political understanding”.

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  • January 2018 – Tudor Life – Henry VIII

    Here is the full version of our 86-page January edition of Tudor Life Magazine. This month we have many articles about this fascinating king – all the way through to his final days.

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  • January 2018 Tudor Life Taster

    Enjoy this sample article from our 86-page January edition of Tudor Life Magazine. This month we have many articles about the fascinating Henry VIII – all the way through to his final days.

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  • Tudor Drinks – What did the Tudors drink?

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, I talk about what Tudor people actually drank, in a time when water was not safe to drink.

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  • Childermas or Holy Innocents’ Day

    Today, 28th December, is Childermas or Holy Innocents’ Day. It was part of the Twelve Days of Christmas in Tudor times and is a feast day that remembers the slaughter of the baby boys ordered by King Herod in Bethlehem when he heard of the birth of the Christ Child, “the Massacre of the Innocents”.

    The apostle Matthew told of the atrocity:

    “16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

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  • 26 December – The Feast of St Stephen

    The day after Christmas, which is today known as Boxing Day, was the feast day of St Stephen, the first Christian martyr or protomartyr. Stephen was stoned to death after being accused of blasphemy and his death was witnessed by Paul the Apostle, then known as Saul of Tarsus:

    Acts 7:54 – 8:2:

    “54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.

    55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

    56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

    57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,

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  • This week in history 25 -31 December

    25th December:

    Christmas Day – Happy Christmas!
    1549 – Death of Stephen Vaughan, merchant, merchant adventurer, diplomat and administrator, in London. He was buried at London’s St Mary-le-Bow. Vaughan served Sir Thomas Cromwell as a diplomat between 1524 and 1539, and moved into Henry VIII’s service on Cromwell’s fall. He acted as the King’s Chief Financial Agent in the Netherlands from 1544 to 1546, and became Under-Treasurer of the Tower of London Mint in 1544.
    1553 – Birth of Thomas Thomas, Puritan printer and lexicographer, in London. He became the printer of Cambridge University in 1583, and concentrated on printing Protestant theology and education works. He is known for his Latin dictionary.
    1569 (25th or 26th) – Killing of Sir John Borthwick, soldier, diplomat and Protestant, near Bewcastle in Cumberland. He was killed by the Forster family as he was fighting on the side of James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray and the Regent, against Mary, Queen of Scots’s forces. Borthwick had served Edward VI as a diplomat, Elizabeth I as a military commander and Mary, Queen of Scots as a diplomat.
    1587 – Death of Brian Darcy, magistrate, Sheriff of Essex, witch-hunter and contributor to the 1582 “A true and just recorde of the information, examination and confession of all the witches, taken at S. Oses”. “A True and Just Recorde” argued for harsher punishments for those found guilty of witchcraft.
    1634 – Death of Lettice Blount (née Knollys, other married names: Devereux and Dudley) at the age of ninety-one. Lettice died at her home at Drayton Bassett and was buried beside her second husband, Sir Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in the Beauchamp Chapel of St Mary’s Church, Warwick.
    1596 – Death of Sir Henry Curwen, member of Parliament, Justice of the Peace and Sheriff. He served Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I loyally.

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  • Tudor Advent Calendar 16 – 24

    Here are more of our daily advent videos packed with fun and facts from the Tudor period.

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  • Christmas fun

    As it’s Christmas Eve, I thought we’d have a Christmas-themed crossword puzzle today, rather than a history one. I hope you enjoy completing this. Merry Christmas!

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  • Sausages, sponges and silver: Modern New Year vs Roman Saturnalia

    Following on from yesterday’s article Io! Io! Io! Modern Christmas vs Roman Saturnalia, we have another article from Kevin Butcher, Professor of Roman History at Warwick University. If you’ve been watching our Tudor Society Advent Calendar videos, you’ll know that I mentioned Saturnalia in the talk I did on the Lord of Misrule tradition, and this article is interesting because the Tudor monarchs and nobility followed the Roman tradition of gift-giving at New Year.

    Ancient Romans celebrated the start of the New Year as part of a winter festival called Saturnalia – with sausages, sponges and silver given as gifts, alongside human sacrifice.
    Kevin Butcher, Professor of Roman history at the University of Warwick says that it was a time of the year known for inclusivity and role-reversal as well as riotous partying and the exchange of weird and wonderful gifts as New Year presents.
    Romans would make prayers and sacrifices to the gods, sometimes even human, in the hope of gaining the gods’ favour
    Before being moved to 1st January in 153 BC, the Roman New Year began on 1st March.

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  • Io! Io! Io! Modern Christmas vs Roman Saturnalia

    Thank you to the University of Warwick for sending me this interesting article by Kevin Butcher, Professor of Roman History. If you’ve been watching our Tudor Society Advent Calendar videos, you’ll know that I mentioned Saturnalia in the talk I did on the Lord of Misrule tradition.

    Whilst we celebrate Christmas, over 2000 years ago the ancient Romans were busy with their own winter festival; Saturnalia. Over-eating, drinking, singing, gift-giving, pranks, singing stark naked and theatrics were all associated with the festival, which was the most popular holiday of the year. Kevin Butcher, Professor of Roman history at the University of Warwick, says that the 25th December was also celebrated by Romans.

    Partying, pantomime, feasting and gift-giving are all established traditions of the Christmas season. At the same time of the year over 2000 years ago, Romans had the very same customs in celebration of a different festival – Saturnalia.

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  • Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick

    The brief life of Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick, can be interpreted as an exercise in the harsh realpolitik of fifteenth-century England. The only son and heir of George, Duke of Clarence, Edward was born on 25 February 1475 in Warwick; his sister Margaret had been born two years previously. He was the nephew of the first Yorkist king, Edward IV, who had seized the throne from Henry VI in 1461. Edward’s mother Isabel, sister of Richard III’s consort Anne Neville, died when he was an infant, and his father was executed for treason in 1478. The lands of Clarence were seized by the Crown, including those belonging to his infant son. In 1481, Edward was placed in the wardship of Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset. He attended the coronation of his uncle Richard in 1483 and was knighted at the investiture of Richard’s heir, also named Edward, at York in September. The prince died the following year and it is possible that the king considered the Earl of Warwick as his heir.

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  • Discover the Tudors Tour September 2018 – Early Bird Offer

    If you haven’t already heard, the Tudor Society has started offering Tudor history tours in association with British History Tours. We’re thrilled about this (any excuse for me to visit historic sites!). Our Anne Boleyn Experience Tour for May 2018 sold out quickly and now we’re offering a longer tour in September 2018: the Discover the Tudors Tour.

    As the Tudor Society is involved in this tour, we are sharing the news here first and letting you know about the special Early Bird offer. The first 8 places are £2800 per person, instead of £3100, a saving of £300! The tour is from 16th to 24th September.

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  • This week in history 18 – 24 December

    18 December

    1555 – Burning of John Philpott, former Archdeacon of Winchester and Protestant martyr, at Smithfield. He had been imprisoned in London's coalhouse prison after writing letters to fellow Protestants to encourage them to stay strong in their faith. He was moved to the tower of St Paul's Cathedral, where he was put into solitary confinement before being condemned for heresy by Bishop Bonner.
    1575 - Nicholas Harpsfield, historian, Catholic apologist, priest and former Archdeacon of Canterbury, died in London. He had been released from Fleet prison four months earlier due to ill health.

    19 December

    Anne de Montmorency

    1562 – The Battle of Dreux between Catholics, led by Anne de Montmorency, and Huguenots, led by Louis I, Prince of Condé, during the first war of the French Wars of Religion. The Catholics were victorious, but both commanders were taken prisoner.
    1576 - Katherine Palmer, Abbess of Syon, died in Mechelen during exile in Elizabeth I's reign. Just over a month earlier, on 8th November, her convent had been broken into by a mob of Calvinists, and it is thought that confronting the mob had been too traumatic for her. She was laid to rest at Mechelen in the Church of the Augustinians.
    1578 (19th or 26th December) – Executions of Egremont Radcliffe and a man called Gray at Namur in Belgium. They were beheaded in the marketplace after being suspected of poisoning Don John of Austria.
    1583 – John Somerville, convicted conspirator, was found dead in his cell at Newgate Prison. Death was by strangulation, and it was said that his death was suicide. His body was buried in Moorfields, and his head was put on display on London Bridge. Somerville had been convicted of high treason for intending to shoot and kill Elizabeth I.
    1587 – Death of Thomas Seckford, lawyer and administrator, at Clerkenwell in Middlesex. He was buried at Clerkenwell, but then moved to the family vault at Woodbridge in Suffolk. Seckford served Mary I as Deputy Chief Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster and Elizabeth I as Master of Requests and Steward of the Marshalsea court.

    20 December

    1541 – A “very sickly” Agnes Tilney, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London after the fall of her granddaughter, Catherine Howard, begged Henry VIII for forgiveness. She also confessed to having another £800 hidden at Norfolk House.
    1558 – Death of John Holyman, Bishop of Bristol and Rector of Hanborough in Oxfordshire. He was buried at Hanborough Church, in the chancel.
    1559 – Burial of John Bekinsau (Beckinsau), scholar and theologian, at Sherborne St John in Hampshire. Bekinsau was the author of the 1546 tract De supremo et absoluto regis imperio in support of Henry VIII's supremacy.
    1562 – Death of Margaret Kitson (other married name Bourchier and née Donnington), Countess of Bath. She was buried at the church in Hengrave, near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, which was near Hengrave Hall, the Kitson family seat. Margaret was the second wife of merchant adventurer Sir Thomas Kitson.
    1571 – Death of Richard Butler, 1st Viscount Mountgarret and son of Piers Butler, 1st Earl of Ossory and 8th Earl of Ormond. He was buried in St Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny city.
    1583 – Execution of Edward Arden, conspirator, at Smithfield. He was hanged, drawn and quartered after being convicted of high treason for plotting with John Somerville to kill Elizabeth I. Like Somerville, his body was buried at Moorfields and his head displayed on London Bridge.
    1606 – Death of Richard Reynolds (Rainolde), clergyman and author, in Essex. His work included the 1563 “ A booke called the foundacion of rhetorike, because all other partes of rhetorike are grounded thereupon” and “ A chronicle of all the noble emperours of the Romaines … setting forth the great power, and devine providence of almighty God, in preserving the godly princes and common wealthes” (1571).

    21 December

    Jasper Tudor

    Jasper Tudor

    1495 – Death of Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford and 1st Earl of Pembroke, at Thornbury. He was laid to rest at Keynsham Abbey, near Bristol. Jasper was the second son of Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois, half-brother of Henry VI and uncle of Henry VII. It was alleged that he had an illegitimate daughter, Helen or Ellen, who was the mother of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester. Click here to read more.
    1505 – Birth of Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton, Lord Privy Seal and Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII. He was the eldest son of William Wriothesley, York herald, and his wife, Agnes, and cousin of Charles Wriothesley, the Tudor chronicler.
    1539 – Death of Sir John Shelton, uncle (by marriage) of Queen Anne Boleyn and Controller of the Joint Household of Mary and Elizabeth, Henry VIII's daughters from July 1536. He was buried at Shelton Church in Norfolk, in the chancel.
    1540 (or 1542) – Birth of Thomas Allen, mathematician, astrologer and antiquary, at Uttoxeter in Staffordshire. Allen is known for his knowledge of mathematics, history and antiquity, astronomy and astrology, and philosophy. He served as Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester's astrologer and the horoscope he cast for poet Philip Sidney can be found in the Bodleian Library's Ashmole manuscripts. His links with John Dee, Thomas Harriot and other mathematicians, combined with his knowledge of astrology, led to him being labelled a necromancer or magician.
    1545 - William Cecil, the future Baron Burghley, married his second wife, Mildred Cooke (1526-1589), eldest daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, Edward VI's tutor. Click here to read more.
    1549 - Marguerite of Navarre (also known as Margaret of Navarre, Marguerite of Angoulême and Marguerite de France) died in Odos in France at the age of fifty-seven. Marguerite was the daughter of Louise of Savoy and Charles of Orléans, Count of Angoulême.
    1584 – Probable date for the death of John Herd, physician, author and Rector of Waddington. He was buried at Waddington. Herd had acted as Physician to Archbishop Thomas Cranmer from c.1551 until August 1555. Herd wrote a verse history of England, covering the period 1461-1509, and was also said to have written a catechism of Christian doctrine for the young.
    1598 – Death of Thomas Owen, judge and member of Parliament. He was buried at Westminster Abbey. Owen served Elizabeth I as Serjeant-at-Law, Queen's Serjeant and Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.
    1608 – Death of William Davison, diplomat and administrator, at Stepney. He was buried there, in St Dunstan's Church. Davison served Elizabeth I as a diplomat, carrying out embassies to the Netherlands and Scotland, and as secretary. He is mainly known for his role in the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. Davison claimed that Elizabeth I signed Mary's death warrant and told him that she wished the execution to take place in the Great Hall of Fotheringhay Castle without delay. As instructed, Davison asked Sir Christopher Hatton, the acting Lord Chancellor, to seal the warrant with the Great Seal of England to validate it. Elizabeth, on the other hand, claimed that she had signed the warrant and then asked Davison not to disclose this fact to anyone. When she learned that it had been sealed with the Great Seal, she then asked Davison to swear on his life that he would not let the warrant out of his hands unless he had permission from her. After Mary's execution, the poor Davison was arrested, tried and sentenced to imprisonment in the Tower, and heavily fined.

    22 December

    Bishop Fisher

    Bishop Fisher

    1480 – Baptism of Sir Edward Chamberlayne, soldier, a leading member of Oxfordshire gentry and Commissioner of the Peace for Oxfordshire (1506-1539) at Weston in Northamptonshire.
    1534 – An imprisoned John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, wrote to Thomas Cromwell beseeching him to provide him with a shirt and sheet, neither of which he had, some food, some books “to stir his devotion more effectually” and a priest to hear his confession. He also asked Cromwell to intercede with the King and to “move” him to release Fisher from “this cold and painful imprisonment”. Fisher had been imprisoned for denying the King's supremacy.
    1541 - Several members of the Howard and Tilney family, plus their staff, were indicted for misprision of treason for covering up the “unlawful, carnal, voluptuous, and licentious life” of Queen Catherine Howard while she lived with the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk at Lambeth.
    1545 – Birth of George Bannatyne, compiler of the “Bannatyne Manuscript”, at Edinburgh. The “Bannatyne Manuscript” is an anthology of Scots literature and included poems by Bannatyne, Alexander Montgomerie, Alexander Scott, David Lyndsay, William Dunbar, Robert Henryson and King James I.
    1557 – Burnings of John Rough and Margaret Mearing, Protestant martyrs, at Smithfield for heresy.
    1558 (22nd or 28th) – Death of John Christopherson, Bishop of Chichester. He was buried at Christchurch, Newgate Street. He had been put under house arrest following his definition of Protestantism as “a new invention of new men and heresies” on 27th November 1558, preached in response to a sermon at Paul's Cross.

    23 December

    Henri de Lorraine

    Henri de Lorraine

    1513 – Birth of Sir Thomas Smith, scholar, humanist, colonialist diplomat (in Ireland) and political theorist, at Saffron Walden, Essex. He was the second son of sheep farmer, John Smith, and studied at Cambridge University and also in France and Italy. He served Edward VI as a Secretary of State, and was one of Elizabeth I's most trusted counsellors. He served her as a diplomat, Secretary of State and Chancellor of the Order of the Garter. Smith was the author of “De Republica Anglorum; the Manner of Government or Policie of the Realme of England” and “The Discourse of the Commonweal”.
    1556 – Burial of Nicholas Udall (Yevedale), schoolmaster, cleric, humanist and playwright, at St Margaret's, Westminster. His play “Ralph Roister Doister”, which combined Latin comedy and English tradition, is regarded as the first English language comedy. He played a part in Anne Boleyn's coronation in 1533, composing verses for the pageant, and in 1534 he published his Latin text book, “Floures for Latine Spekynge”. In 1541, Udall was imprisoned for a few months at Marshalsea after committing buggery with his pupil Thomas Cheney, but he was back in favour enough the next year to be leading a group of scholars in translating “The Paraphrase of Erasmus upon the New Testament” for Queen Catherine Parr.
    Udall's other works included translations of Erasmus's “Apophthegms”, Pietro Martire's “Discourse on the Eucharist” and Thomas Gemini's “Anatomia”, and the play “Respublica”.
    1558 – Queen Elizabeth I moved from Somerset House to Whitehall Palace, which became her principal residence.
    1558 – Death of Sir John Baker, administrator, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Under-Treasurer of England, in London. He was buried in Cranbrook Church in Kent.
    1559 – Death of Henry Morgan, Bishop of St David's, at Wolvercote in Oxfordshire. He had been deprived of his bishopric after Elizabeth I's accession because of his refusal to accept the religious changes of her reign. He was buried at Wolvercote.
    1568 – Roger Ascham, scholar and royal tutor, was taken ill, probably with malaria. He died on 30th December.
    1588 – The assassination of Henri de Lorraine, 3rd Duke of Guise and founder of the Catholic League, at the Château de Blois. He was killed by King Henry III's bodyguards, “the Forty-five”, in front of the King. His brother, Louis II, Cardinal of Guise, was assassinated the following day. The League had been controlling France, and the King was forced to act against it.
    1599 – Burial of Thomas Byng, civil lawyer, Regius Professor of the Civil Law at Cambridge and Master of Clare College, Cambridge. He was buried in Hackney Church, Middlesex.
    1607 – Death of Sir John Fortescue, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in Elizabeth I's reign.

    24 December

    1545 - King Henry VIII made his final speech to Parliament. Historian Robert Hutchinson describes it as “both measured and compelling”, and writes of how Henry wanted “to impart a stern message” to all of his subjects.
    1604 – Death of Sir Thomas Cornwallis, Comptroller of the household of Mary I and member of Parliament, at the age of eighty-six. He was buried at Brome in Suffolk. Cornwallis was active in putting down Kett's Rebellion in 1549 and in 1553, after originally proclaiming Lady Jane Grey as Queen in Ipswich, he swapped sides and swore allegiance to Mary I.

  • Toni Mount talks about Tudor and Stuart dining

    As a special Christmas bonus for all Tudor and Stuart fans, here’s a video of a talk that Toni Mount made a few days ago. It’s all about the food that the Tudors and Stuarts ate and the way they ate it – a fascinating talk.

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  • Elizabeth Tudor Quiz

    How much do you know about Elizabeth Tudor, also known as Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, Gloriana and the Virgin Queen?

    Well, you can test your knowledge with this fun quiz. Grab your favourite beverage, get comfy and get that brain working! Good luck!

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  • Tudor Society Advent Video 1 – 15

    Here are daily short videos of Claire Ridgway in the build-up to Christmas. Each day Claire will be going live on Facebook and we’ll put those videos here too. Just a little Tudor Christmas fun each day.

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  • 14 December – A death, an accession and a burial

    On this day in 1542, James V died at Falkland Palace in Falkland, Fife, Scotland, after being taken ill following the Scots’ defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss on 24th November. It is not known what killed him – some argue that it was a nervous collapse, and others that it was a virus.

    While James was on his deathbed, his consort, Mary of Guise, gave birth to a daughter, and it was the six-day-old baby who became Mary, Queen of Scots on her father’s death. John Knox and the chronicler Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie both recorded that James uttered the words “it came wi a lass, it’ll gang wi a lass” (“it came with a lass, it will end with a lass”) as he lay dying, referring to how the Stuart dynasty began with a girl, through Marjorie Bruce, Robert the Bruce’s daughter, and how he feared it would now end with his daughter, Mary. However, the Stuart dynasty actually ended with another girl, Queen Anne, in 1714, and it is not known that James actually ever said these words.

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  • Christmas Party – this Friday (15th)!

    Just a reminder that you can join us in the chatroom at 11pm (UK time) this Friday, 15th December, for the Tudor Society Christmas party.

    Bring your favourite tipple and be prepared to socialise. You can introduce yourself, ask a historical question to start a bit of a debate, swap book recommendations, tell jokes…. whatever! I do hope you can join us, even if it’s just for 5 minutes, otherwise, I’ll just be talking to Tim!

    Here are the times in different time zones:

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  • This week in history 11 – 17 December

    11th December:

    1577 – Burial of Benjamin Gonson, Treasurer of the Navy and son of William Gonson, Vice-Admiral of Norfolk and Suffolk from 1536 until 1543. Gonson was buried at St Dunstan’s Church.
    1589 – Death of Patrick Lindsay, 6th Lord Lindsay of the Byres, at Struthers Castle in Fife, Scotland. Lindsay was a supporter of the Protestant Reformation, and one of the lords of the congregation. He was one of Mary, Queen of Scots’ guardians when she was imprisoned at Lochleven and was a Privy Councillor after she was deposed as queen.
    1607 – Death of Roger Manners, member of Parliament and Constable of Nottingham Castle. He was buried at Uffington Church in Rutland.
    1608 – Burial of Douglas Sheffield (née Howard), Lady Sheffield, at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster. Douglas was the eldest daughter of William Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Effingham, and the wife of John Sheffield, 2nd Baron Sheffield. Before her marriage, she served as a Maid of Honour to Elizabeth I. After her husband’s death, she had an affair with Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, which resulted in the birth of a son, Sir Robert Dudley, the explorer and cartographer, born in 1574. Douglas claimed that she and Dudley had married in secret when she was pregnant in late 1573, but she could not provide any evidence to support this when her son sought to claim his father’s and uncle’s titles after Elizabeth I’s death. Douglas went on to marry Sir Edward Stafford in 1579.

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  • Tudor Christmas Wordsearch

    It’s Sunday and time for our weekly puzzle!

    Today, you can test your knowledge of how Christmas was celebrated in Tudor times with this fun wordsearch.

    You can click on the link below or on the image to download it and print it out.

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  • Henry VII’s Court Entertainment

    In today’s Claire Chats video I look at two examples of court revels that took place in Henry VIII’s reign.

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  • Lady Katherine Gordon

    Born around 1474, Katherine Gordon was the daughter of George Gordon, second Earl of Huntly, and Elizabeth Hay. Her father acted as Chancellor of Scotland from 1498 to 1501. Little is known of Katherine’s early life, but she was reputed to be beautiful and charming. The future Henry VIII is said to have ‘marveled at her beauty and amiable countenance, and sent her to London to the Queen’. On 13 January 1496, when she was about twenty-one, Katherine married the Yorkist pretender Perkin Warbeck. Her husband had claimed to be Richard, Duke of York, son of Edward IV, since 1491. The prince had been incarcerated in the Tower of London by his uncle Richard III in 1483, and his fate was still unresolved eight years later. In 1495, Perkin arrived at the court of James IV of Scotland, having previously been supported by Charles VIII of France, Emperor Maximilian and Margaret, Dowager Duchess of Burgundy. Shortly after his marriage to Katherine, Perkin was granted Falkland Palace as a base for his adherents and as the headquarters at which his invasion of England was planned. Henry VII of England, in response to Warbeck’s activities, prepared an army with which to invade Scotland.

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  • This week in history 4 – 10 December

    4th December:

    1506 – Birth of Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy of Chiche, courtier and administrator. He was the son of Roger Darcy, Esquire of the Body to Henry VII, and his wife, Elizabeth (née Wentworth). Darcy served as a Privy Councillor in Edward VI’s reign, and also Captain of the Yeoman of the Guard and Lord Chamberlain of the Household. He was arrested for supporting the Duke of Northumberland’s bid to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne, but was pardoned in November 1553.
    1514 – Death of Richard Hunne, merchant tailor and leading member of the Lollard community in London. He had been arrested for heresy, and imprisoned in “Lollards’ Tower” in St Paul’s Cathedral on 14th October after the discovery of a Wycliffite Bible at his home, and his body was discovered hanging in his cell from a silk girdle. It was claimed that he had committed suicide, but a coroner’s jury ruled that the hanging had been faked, and that he had been murdered.
    1531 – Execution of Rhys ap Gruffudd for treason. He was beheaded after being accused of plotting against the King, although his biographer, R.A. Griffiths, points out that his trial was a “show trial” consisting of contrived testimonies and coached witnesses.
    1555 – Papal sentence was passed on Thomas Cranmer in Rome, depriving him of his archbishopric “and of all ecclesiastical dignities”. Permission was also given for the secular authorities to decide on his fate.
    1557 – Death of Robert King, Abbot of Thame and Bishop of Oxford. He was buried in Oxford Cathedral. King was one of the judges who sat in judgement at the trial of Thomas Cranmer in 1555.
    1585 – Death of John Willock, physician and Scottish reformer, at Loughborough in Leicestershire. He was buried at his church, All Saints, in Loughborough. Willock became the Chaplain of Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset, and father of Lady Jane Grey, in the 1540s.
    1595 – Death of William Whitaker, theologian and Master of St. John’s College, Cambridge, at the master’s lodge after going to bed with a hot “ague”. He was buried at St John’s. His works included Liber precum publicarum (1569), Ad rationes decem Edmundi Campiani jesuitæ responsio (1581), responses to Nicholas Sander and Edmund Campion, Disputatio ad sacra scriptura and Adversus Thomae Stapletoni (1594).
    1609 – Death of Alexander Hume, Scottish poet and writer. He is known for his 1599 “Hymnes, or Sacred Songs”, which includes his great poem “Of the Day Estivall” which describes a summer’s day, from dawn until dusk.

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  • Lettice Knollys and Robert Dudley Quiz

    Grab your favourite beverage and snack, get your thinking cap on, make yourself comfortable and test your knowledge of this famous Tudor couple with our Sunday quiz. Good luck!

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  • Transcript of live chat with Julian Humphrys – Flodden

    Thanks to all who came to last night’s live chat with Julian Humphrys from the Battlefields Trust. We had a great time and learned a lot of things about Flodden and other battles.

    For those who didn’t manage to make it into the chatroom, here is a transcript of our discussion.

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  • Keeping warm in Tudor times

    Brrrrr! I know I live in “sunny Spain”, but it’s got rather chilly here! What’s the weather like with you? I’m definitely more of a summer girl!

    This cold snap inspired this week’s Claire Chats and I hope you enjoy it.

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  • Expert Talk – Thornbury Castle by Sandra Vasoli and James Peacock

    This month’s expert talk is presented by two wonderful historians, Sandra Vasoli (author of the Je Anne Boleyn series and also Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower) and James Peacock (Historic Royal Palaces). The topic of the talk is Thornbury Castle, a place which has a LOT to do with the Tudors! You’ll love this talk, and you should look out for Sandra’s spooky tale at the end!

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