The Tudor Society
  • Katherine Brettergh (1579 -1601)

    Sometimes my research leads me off on a tangent and that really is the joy of historical research, suddenly finding a little nugget of information that piques your interest and leads you off on a journey of discovery.

    While I was looking at this week’s “on this day in history” events from my book On This Day in Tudor History, I noticed that an entry for the 31st May was the death of Katherine Brettergh (née Bruen) in 1601:

    “Death of Katherine Brettergh (née Bruen), ‘exemplar of godly life’. Her biographer, Steve Hindle, writes of her deathbed crisis of faith “during which she raged against God’s unmercifulness and threw her Bible repeatedly to the floor”, and how “Her agonies formed the centrepiece of a polemical account of her embattled life appended to the two sermons preached by William Harrison and William Leigh at her funeral”, and which were published. Her crisis, they said, was a struggle between God and Satan for her soul.”

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  • The tomb of Elizabeth I and Mary I

    Thank you to Lynne for asking these two questions about the shared tomb of Queens Elizabeth I and Mary I: “Why did James I decide to bury Elizabeth I on top of her sister Mary? Why is Elizabeth I’s effigy visible with her mother’s coat of arms and nothing on display for Mary?”

    Let me tell you about their burials and their present resting place at Westminster Abbey.

    Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, died on 17th November 1558. Mary left instructions in her will for her mother’s remains, which had been buried at Peterborough Abbey, to be exhumed and brought to London so that Catherine could be buried with Mary. However, her instructions were ignored; Catherine remained at Peterborough and Mary lay in state at St James’s Palace until her funeral on 14th December 1558, when she was buried at Westminster Abbey with just stones marking her resting place. You can read more about her funeral in my article 14 December 1558 – Burial of Queen Mary I.

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  • Live Chat Transcript – Nathen Amin – Bosworth to the Coronation

    Thank you to everyone who attended our live chat on Friday night with Nathen Amin. Nathen was, as always, excellent and answered a lot of fascinating questions on Henry VII. Congratulations to Laurie who won a copy of Nathen’s book “The House of Beaufort”, we hope you enjoy this book as much as we do!

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  • Thomas Forde, John Shert and Robert Johnson: Catholic Martyrs

    On 28th May 1582, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Roman Catholic priests Thomas Forde, John Shert and Robert Johnson were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.

    In his Memoirs of Missionary Priests, Bishop Richard Challoner gives a biography of each of these Catholic martyrs. You can read it online at, but here are a few details about these men and what led to their horrific ends.

    Thomas Forde was a Devonshire man who was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, where he graduated MA in 1567 before becoming a fellow there. He resigned his fellowship due to the college’s Protestant stance and in 1571 he travelled to the English College, a Catholic seminary, at Douai in France, to study divinity. In 1573, Forde entered the priesthood and in 1576 he attained his degree in divinity. He then returned to England to evangelise, i.e. spread the Catholic faith. He was arrested on 17th July 1581 with Edmund Campion in Berkshire and taken to London. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London and condemned to death on 21st November 1581 for being involved in what Challoner describes as “the pretended conspiracy of the Rhemes [Rheims] and Rome”, although, as Challoner points out “he had never been in his life either at Rhemes or Rome; nor had the witnesses that appeared against him […] ever so much as seen Mr Forde before his imprisonment.

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  • This week in history 28 May – 3 June

    28th May:

    1509 – Death of Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon. He was buried at Tiverton.
    1533 – Archbishop Thomas Cranmer proclaimed the validity of Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn.
    1535 – Birth of Sir Thomas North, translator, in London.
    1582 – Executions of Roman Catholic priests Thomas Forde, John Shert and Robert Johnson at Tyburn. They were hanged, drawn and quartered.
    1611 – Funeral of Thomas Sutton, founder of the London Charterhouse.

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  • The Tudors Series Quiz

    Showtime’s TV series “The Tudors” was very popular and was responsible for igniting many people’s interest in Henry VIII and his six wives, but how much do you know about the series? Test your “The Tudors” knowledge with this fun quiz. Good luck!

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  • June 2018 – Tudor Life – The Seymours

    This month’s amazing 82 page Tudor Life magazine is a wonderful look at the Seymour family and their remarkable journey, both in royal history and in popular culture.

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  • 25 May 1553 – Lady Jane Grey and Lord Guildford Dudley get married

    On this day in history, 25th May 1553, Lady Jane Grey and Lord Guildford Dudley got married at Durham place in London.

    In the same letter to the Emperor in which de described Edward VI as “wasting away daily”, Jehan Scheyfve recorded the marriage of Jane and Guildford:

    “On the 25th of this month were celebrated the weddings of my Lord Guilford, son of the Duke of Northumberland, to the eldest daughter of the Duke of Suffolk; of the Earl of Pembroke’s son to the second daughter; and of the Earl of Huntingdon’s son to the daughter of the Duke of Northumberland. The weddings were celebrated with great magnificence and feasting at the Duke of Northumberland’s house in town.”

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  • Claire Chats – The men of May 1536

    As you know, I’ve just been leading the Anne Boleyn Experience Tour with Philippa Brewell of British History Tours and as well as being the resident historian on the tour, answering questions on Anne Boleyn and Tudor history, I also did a talk on the other victims of May 1536, i.e. the five men who were executed, the two men who were imprisoned and released, and the families left behind.

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  • Live chat reminder – Friday 25th May with Nathen Amin on Henry VII

    Nathen Amin was a big hit when he spoke to us last year on Henry VII’s ‘journey’ to Bosworth, i.e. his early life and time in exile, so we got him back for the next instalment of Henry VII’s life. You can view Nathen’s excellent video talk “Henry VII: Bosworth to Coronation” by clicking here.

    Nathen will be joining us in the Tudor Society chatroom tomorrow (Friday 25th May) to answer your questions on his talk, his research and anything Henry VII related. Our last live chat with Nathen was brilliant, so this one is bound to be! Please do join us. Here are the times in different time zones:

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  • 24 May 1546 – The Privy Council writes to Anne Askew

    On this day in history, 24th May 1546, letters were sent from Privy Council to Anne Askew (future Protestant martyr) and her estranged husband Thomas Kyme, ordering them to appear in front of the council:

    “Two of the Yeomen of the Chamber were sent to apprehende Sir Robert Wesdom, prest, and had with them letters to oone Kyme and his wief for their apparance within x dayes after receipt.”

    “Kyme” was Thomas Kyme, Anne Askew’s husband.

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  • Anne Boleyn Experience Day 5 – Farewell to Hever and to new friends

    Apologies for not writing this sooner but I was travelling. So, what did day 5 bring?

    The day started with the usual delicious Hever Castle breakfast. I haven’t mentioned the food, I don’t think, but it was out of this world. The chef at Hever went out of his way to help with our dietary requirements (vegetarians, vegans and some serious food allergies) and every dish was divine. There was so much choice for breakfast (hot and cold) that I am finding it very hard to come back down to earth here at home. I want my halloumi and avocado on a toasted English muffin with grilled tomato! Where is it? Oh dear!

    Over breakfast, we took the opportunity to pass around our special Anne Boleyn Experience books which had pages at the back for autographs, messages and addresses. Whenever I feel blue, I will take out my book and read the special messages from people who I now count as good friends. Then, unfortunately, it was time to do last minute packing and to have a last wander around the gardens.

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  • This week in history 21 – 27 May

    21 May

    Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk

    Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk

    1508 – Death of Giles Daubenay, 1st Baron Daubeney, administrator, soldier, and diplomat. He was buried in St Paul's Chapel, Westminster Abbey.
    1524 – Death of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, courtier, magnate and soldier, and grandfather of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. He was created Duke of Norfolk in 1514 as a reward for his part in the English victory at the Battle of Flodden.
    1527 – Birth of Philip II of Spain, King of Spain and consort of Mary I, at Valladolid, Spain. He was the son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Isabella of Portugal.
    1535 – The arrest of William Tyndale, Bible translator and religious reformer, in Antwerp, after he was tricked into leaving the English House owned by Thomas Pontz. He was condemned as a heretic and strangled, then burned in October 1536.
    1558 – Death of William Glyn, Bishop of Bangor, at Bangor. He was buried in Bangor Cathedral.
    1580 – Death of Sir John Thynne, member of Parliament and builder of Longleat. He was buried at Longbridge Deverill, Wiltshire.

    22 May

    Edward Seymour, Lord Protector

    Edward Seymour, brother of Jane Seymour

    1490 – Death of Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent.
    1537 – Edward Seymour, brother of Jane Seymour, was sworn in as a Privy Councillor.
    1538 – The burning of John Forest, Franciscan friar and martyr, at Smithfield for heresy, for his allegiance to Rome.
    1539 – Probable birthdate of Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford and son of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset (the Edward mentioned above). Hertford was also the husband of Katherine Grey, sister of Lady Jane Grey.
    1570 – Death of John Best, Bishop of Carlisle. He was buried in Carlisle Cathedral.

    23 May

    1547 - Henry Grey, 3rd Marquis of Dorset (future Duke of Suffolk) and father of Lady Jane Grey, was installed as a Knight of the Garter.
    1554 – The future Elizabeth I arrived at Woodstock, where she was put under house arrest. She had been released from the Tower of London on 19th May after being examined regarding Wyatt's Rebellion.
    1572 – Burial of John Carré, entrepreneur and glass manufacturer, at Alford parish church. According to his biographer, Andrew Spicer, Carré "is credited with the re-establishment of window glass production in England and for introducing the manufacture of cristallo tableware".
    1576 – Burial of Francis Barnham, alderman and draper, and husband of Alice Barnham, silkwoman and benefactor, at St Clement Eastcheap.
    1591 – Death of John Blitheman, composer of organ and vocal sacred music, and tutor of John Bull. He was buried at the parish church of St Nicholas Olave, London.

    24 May

    John Jewel

    John Jewel

    1522 – Birth of John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury and Apologist of the Church of England, in Berrynarbor, North Devon.
    1546 – Letters were sent from Privy Council to Anne Askew (future Protestant martyr) and her estranged husband Thomas Kyme, ordering them to appear in front of the council within fourteen days.
    1562 - Chronicler Raphael Holinshed recorded that on this day in 1562, a monstrous child was born in Chichester, Sussex.
    1576 – Birth of Elizabeth Chamberlain, Lady Chamberlain, daughter of Sir George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon (grandson of Mary Boleyn), and Elizabeth Spencer. Elizabeth I was Elizabeth's godmother.
    1612 – Death of Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, politician, courtier and Elizabeth I's Secretary of State, at Marlborough, Wiltshire. Cecil was the only surviving son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley.
    1616 – Death of Margaret Clifford, Countess of Cumberland, at Brougham Castle, Westmorland. She was buried in Appleby Church.

    25 May

    Lady Jane Grey

    Lady Jane Grey

    1524 – Death of Sir Thomas Lovell, administrator and Speaker of the House of Commons, at Elsings in Enfield.
    1537 – Hanging of John Pickering, Dominican friar, at Tyburn. Pickering had been found guilty of treason for his part in the Pilgrimage of Grace uprising.
    1551 – Croydon (London) and its neighbouring villages experienced a shock from an earthquake.
    1553 - A triple wedding took place at Durham House, the London residence of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. Lady Jane Grey married Guildford Dudley, one of the Duke’s sons, her sister Lady Katherine Grey married Lord Henry Herbert, son of the Earl of Pembroke, and Guildford’s sister, twelve year-old Lady Catherine Dudley, married Lord Henry Hastings. Click here for more information.
    1554 – Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, was moved from the Tower of London to Fotheringhay Castle. He had been implicated in Wyatt’s Rebellion.
    1607 – Funeral of John Rainolds (Reynolds), theologian and President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was buried in the college chapel.
    1625 – Death of William Barlow, philosopher and Church of England clergyman. He was buried in the chancel of Easton church, the church where he was rector.
    1632 – Death of William Knollys, 1st Earl of Banbury and courtier. He was the son of Sir Francis Knollys and Catherine Carey, and grandson of Mary Boleyn. He was buried at Rotherfield Greys.

    26 May

    Barbara Sidney, Countess of Leicester

    Barbara Sidney, Countess of Leicester

    1520 – Meeting of Henry VIII and Charles V at Dover Castle. Click here to read more.
    1536 - The Lady Mary, daughter of Henry VIII, wrote to Thomas Cromwell asking him to intercede with her father on her behalf, now that Anne Boleyn was gone. Click here to read more about the letter.
    1537 – Executions of Adam Sedbergh, Cistercian monk and Abbot of Jervaulx, and William Wood, Prior of Bridlington, at Tyburn. They were condemned for treason following the Pilgrimage of Grace.
    1538 – Death of Sir Anthony Fitzherbert, Judge and legal writer. He was buried at Norbury, Derbyshire. He is one of the best-known English legal writers of the sixteenth century.
    1583 – Death of Esmé Stuart, 1st Duke of Lennox, only child of John Stuart, fifth Seigneur d'Aubigny, and his wife, Anne de La Queulle.
    1596 – Burial of Thomas Bickley, Bishop of Chichester, in Chichester Cathedral.
    1604 – Death of Godfrey Goldsborough, Bishop of Gloucester. He was buried in the Cathedral.
    1621 – Burial of Barbara Sidney (née Gamage), Countess of Leicester, at Penshurst.
    1623 – Death of Francis Anthony, alchemist and physician. He was buried in the church of St Bartholomew-the-Great.

    27 May

    Margaret Pole

    Margaret Pole

    1492 – Birth of Sir Antonio Guidotti, merchant and diplomat, in Florence, Italy. Guidotti brought together England and France in 1549–50 in negotiations for peace and the restoration of Boulogne to France. His rewards from Edward VI included a knighthood.
    1536 – Cardinal Reginald Pole sent Henry VIII a copy of De Unitate (Pro Ecclesiasticae Unitatis Defensione). In it, he criticised the King's divorce and the trouble it had caused.
    1537 – Chronicler Edward Hall recorded that "there was a Te Deum sung in St Paul's cathedral for joy at the queen's [Jane Seymour] quickening of her child". Click here to read more about this.
    1541 – Execution of Margaret Pole, suo jure (in her own right) Countess of Salisbury. It is recorded that she was beheaded by "a wretched and blundering youth … who literally hacked her head and shoulders to pieces in the most pitiful manner". She was buried in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. Click here to read more about Margaret and her execution.
    1560 – Burial of Thomas Wendy, royal physician, at Haslingfield, Cambridgeshire.
    1601 – Death of Robert Beale, administrator and diplomat, at his home, Barn Elms, Surrey. He served Elizabeth I as a clerk of the Privy Council and as a special ambassador. He was buried in All Hallows, London Wall.
    1614 – Death of Peter Turner, physician and MP, in London. He had attended Sir Walter Ralegh in the Tower of London.

  • Anne Boleyn Experience Day 4 – Tower of London

    The Anne Boleyn Experience Day 4 tied in with the anniversary of the execution of Queen Anne Boleyn on 19th May 1536 and it was a fitting day to spend at the Tower of London and to be staying at Hever Castle, the Boleyn family home.

    On arrival at the Tower of London, we split into two groups and were then guided around the Tower by two fantastic Blue Badge Guides. After that, we had free time to grab lunch, see the White Tower, Beauchamp Tower, shop etc. Most of us also watched the performance on the South Lawn called “The Last Days of Anne Boleyn”, which was excellent. I’ll tell you more when I get home. We also laid roses with a card on the glass memorial. I decided to do this rather than have a Yeoman Warder lay them on Anne’s tile because I wanted tourists who didn’t know the importance of the date to see them and read it.

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  • May Tudor Events and People Crossword

    This week’s Sunday puzzle is a crossword on the “on this day in history” events of the month of May in the Tudor period. Test your knowledge and have some Tudor fun with this crossword – good luck!

    Hint: all the answers are on this website somewhere!

    Click on the link or picture below to open the crossword and print out.

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  • Anne Boleyn Experience Day 3 – Hampton Court Palace, in brief

    Hello! Apologies for not posting this yesterday, but it was a very busy day and I was just too tired to write this in the early hours of this morning.

    We are having a fantastic time. Lots of “pinch me, am I really here?” moments. Yesterday, after a delicious breakfast, we made our way by coach to Hampton Court Palace, that stunning Renaissance-style palace that Henry VIII pretty much stole from Cardinal Wolsey. OK, Wolsey gave it to him, but what do you say when the king notices that your palace is way better than any of his?!

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  • Anne Boleyn Myths – Part 2

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, I look at a few more myths that surround Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, and challenge them. Please do share your thoughts and any other myths that you have come across.

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  • Anne Boleyn Experience Day 2 – The magic of Hever Castle

    After a night of not much sleep at all – I was too excited to sleep! – we enjoyed a lovely breakfast in the Astor Wing of Hever Castle before having free time to enjoy the gardens and castle. I love walking through the gardens before the public arrives because I can pretend that I am the lady of the manor.

    The gardens just cannot be described in words. I cannot do them justice. They are breathtakingly beautiful. I did a couple of Facebook Live videos from the gardens and I hope my excitement and pure joy shone through, I was very excited. Then, I got even more excited because I visited the Hever Castle gift shop to find a display of my books. The staff were kind enough to allow me to take lots of selfies with my books. I also signed the copies they had so that they could sell them as signed copies. Seeing my books on sale in the shop of the Boleyn family home was truly a dream come true, one of those “pinch me” moments.

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  • Anne Boleyn Experience Day 1 – Arrival

    It’s 1.15am as I write this, that’s how much fun I’m having. I’m buzzing! Let me tell you all about my day.

    I travelled to London Victoria this morning and after having a Marks and Spencer’s lunch, I met up with my fellow tour guide, Philippa, and tour participant, Jodee, before meeting the rest of the group near Victoria. We then had fun [sarcasm] fighting our way through London traffic on the coach before reaching the lovely tree-lined lanes of Kent, aptly named the Garden of England. I would not want to be a coach driver navigating my way down those lanes!

    We arrived at Hever Castle [a squeal of excitement might have come out of my mouth at this point] and were shown to our beautiful rooms, each one uniquely furnished and decorated. They are lovely. You can just see the upper part of the castle through my leaded windows. We had time to freshen up before meeting for pre-dinner drinks. We then had a delicious barbecue. I’m a vegetarian and my quinoa burgers were to die for, so good! And the salad bar was great.

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  • Douglas Sheffield, Baroness Sheffield (c.1542/3-1608)

    Douglas Sheffield, née Howard, was the oldest daughter of William Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Effingham, Surrey, and his wife, Margaret Gamage. Her date of birth has been a source of debate among historians. However, Simon Adams has argued that the dates of 1542 and 1543 are the most likely due to her being seventeen upon her marriage in 1560. Her older brother was Charles Howard, 2nd Baron of Effingham and 1st Earl of Nottingham. Charles was a successful English statesman and Lord High Admiral under Elizabeth I and James I. Commander of the English forces, he was hugely influential during the Armada period and was renowned for having been a significant figure in the naval defence against Spanish invasion during the 1590s. Douglas was part of a distinguished and notorious noble family that had been instrumental in court politics since the early sixteenth century. While her father held the title of baron, his half-brother was the Duke of Norfolk, William enjoyed a successful career under all four of the Tudor monarchs, and this favour ensured his daughter made a good marriage; Douglas married John Sheffield, 2nd Baron Sheffield. The couple had two surviving children: Edmund Sheffield, later 1st Earl of Mulgrave, and a daughter, Elizabeth, who married Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormonde. The newly married couple were received well by the queen, who provided a wedding gift on 27th October 1560.

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  • The Anne Boleyn Experience Tour 2018 diary coming very soon!

    Hello everyone, I hope you’ve had a good start to the week. I’m just taking a break from running around the house like a headless chicken to write this. I’m trying to pack while leaving Tim and the kids instructions for what to do while I’m away, and trying to prevent dogs and cats from curling up in my suitcase! Aaaaggghhh!

    Anyway, I leave home tomorrow as I’m meeting up with Philippa, from British History Tours, and our group of Anne Boleyn Experience participants in London on Wednesday afternoon. This tour is running in association with the Tudor Society, so each day of the tour (16th-20th May) – WiFi willing! – I’m going to post a diary entry here on the Tudor Society. I know that for some of you visiting the UK is a real bucket list item, so you can live vicariously through me!

    As well as the diary entries, I’m hoping to share photos on Instagram (tudor.society) and to also do some Facebook Live videos on the Tudor Society Facebook page, so do keep an eye on our social media too.

    I’m so very excited. I love Hever Castle and to be staying there again will be wonderful.

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  • This week in history 14 – 20 May

    14 May:

    1511 – Death of Walter Fitzsimmons, Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Deputy of Ireland, at Finglas, Dublin. He was buried in the nave of St Patrick’s Cathedral.
    1523 – Death of Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux, courtier and soldier, at the Hospital of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem in Clerkenwell.
    1571 – Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox and regent to James VI, held the “Creeping Parliament”.
    1595 – Death of Anne Fiennes (née Sackville), Lady Dacre, at Chelsea. She was buried in the More Chapel, Chelsea, next to her husband, Gregory Fiennes, 10th Baron Dacre.
    1629 – Death of Jean Gordon, Countess of Bothwell and Sutherland. She is known for having been married, albeit briefly, to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, who went on to marry Mary, Queen of Scots. In 1573 she married Alexander Gordon, 12th Earl of Sutherland, and after his death she married Alexander Ogilvy of Boyne, the man she had been in love with before she married Bothwell.
    1635 – Burial of Helena Gorges (née Snakenborg), Lady Gorges, in Salisbury Cathedral. Helena was married twice, firstly to William Parr, Marquis of Northampton (brother of Catherine Parr), and secondly to Sir Thomas Gorges, courtier.

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  • Anne Boleyn True or False Quiz

    As we’re nearing the anniversary of the execution of Queen Anne Boleyn, I thought I’d choose her as the topic of this week’s quiz. Grab your favourite beverage and snack, get that thinking cap on and let’s test your knowledge of this famous Tudor queen!

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  • Anne Boleyn Myths – Part 1

    As it is nearing the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution, our informal live chat is on Anne Boleyn this month AND I’m getting ready to go on the Anne Boleyn Experience Tour, I thought I’d talk about some of the most prevailing myths that surround the second wife of Henry VIII. These are the myths that I am challenging and correcting on a regular basis.

    Here is Part 1 and I will be looking at a few more next week.

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  • William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1507-1570)

    William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, attributed to Steven van Herwijck

    William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, soldier and magnate and a man who served four monarchs, was the second son of Sir Richard Herbert of Ewyas (the illegitimate son of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, of the 8th creation) and his wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir Matthew Cradock of Swansea. Richard served King Henry VII as a gentleman usher. Very little is known of Herbert’s early life, only that he lost his father in 1510 and was then brought up by his mother and her third husband, William Bawdrip.

    In 1514, Herbert entered the service of Charles Somerset, Earl of Worcester, who was married to Herbert’s half-uncle’s daughter. John Aubrey recorded that William Herbert was known as ‘Black Will Herbert’ and that he was ‘a mad fighting fellow’. Aubrey also recorded that Herbert was illiterate, which seems to be a baseless accusation, and that he killed a mercer in Bristol and then fled to France, joining the army of Francis I. It is not known whether that claim was true and his name does appear in a coroner’s report.

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  • Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria (1538-1612)

    Jane Dormer became one of Queen Mary I’s foremost confidants during the 1550s. Born in 1538 at Eythrope, Buckinghamshire, she was the daughter of Sir William Dormer and Mary Sidney. Upon her mother’s death in 1542 she was brought up by her maternal grandparents. According to Jane’s biography, The Life of Jane Dormer, written by her secretary Henry Clifford) her upbringing shaped her academic career, as she ‘before seven years began to read the Primer or the office of our Blessed Lady, in Latin’. Evidently intelligent, the quote emphasises her traditional Catholic education with reference to the ‘blessed lady’. Her Catholicism, as shall be examined in this article, would later become symbolic of her identity. Similarly, her academic achievements in mastering languages were the result of her grandfather’s fluency, especially in Spanish; he served at the court of Charles V for a period.

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  • This week in history 7 – 13 May

    A sketch of Bishop John Fisher by Hans Holbein the Younger

    7th May:

    1535 – John Fisher, former Bishop of Rochester, was visited by Thomas Cromwell, Master Secretary, and member of the King’s Council. Cromwell read out the “Act of Supremacy” and Fisher refused to acknowledge the King as the supreme head of the Church, saying “The King owre Soveraign Lord is not supreme hedd yn erthe of the Cherche of Englande.” It is alleged that Richard Rich tricked him into saying those words, telling him that the King wished to know his real opinion in secret, but whatever the truth of the matter, Fisher was found guilty of treason and executed on 22nd July 1535.
    1536 – Queen Anne Boleyn’s chaplain, William Latymer, was searched by the mayor and jurates of Sandwich on his arrival back in England. He was returning from a business visit to Flanders, a visit he had undertaken on behalf of the Queen. Latymer had often brought Anne religious books back from the Continent, so it was lucky for him that he did not have anything which could have been deemed as heretical in his luggage. Records were made of the books that he was carrying and of those which he was having sent directly to London, but he was allowed to carry on with his journey.
    1540 – Death of Sir William Weston, Prior of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in England. He died at the priory on the day that the order to dissolve it was passed through the Commons. He was the uncle of Sir Francis Weston, a man executed in 1536 in the coup against Anne Boleyn.

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  • General Tudor History Quiz

    This week’s Sunday puzzle is a general Tudor history quiz. Grab your favourite snack and beverage, make yourself comfortable and let’s get testing your knowledge of Tudor history with this fun quiz.

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  • This month’s live chats – 12 and 25 May

    Just to let you know that this month’s live chats will be taking place on 12th and 25th May. Both chats will last one hour and will take place in the Tudor Society chatroom at and will last an hour each.

    Our informal chat will take place on Saturday 12th May and this month’s topic is Anne Boleyn. This is your chance to share your views on Anne, to ask me questions about her (I have done a bit of research on her!), to ask the views of other members, to share book recommendations, and to just talk Tudor.

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  • Morris Dancing

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, I look at the history of the tradition that we see in towns and villages all around the UK on May Day – morris dancing.

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