• This week in history 10 – 16 December

    10th December:

    1541 – Thomas Culpeper, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, and Francis Dereham, a member of Queen Catherine Howard’s household, were executed at Tyburn. Culpeper and Dereham were tried on 1st December 1541 at the Guildhall, and convicted of treason. Both were executed on 10th December 1541, but Culpeper was beheaded while Dereham had to face the brutal traitor’s death of being hanged, drawn and quartered. Culpeper was buried at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate (Holborn).
    1591 – Executions of Edmund Gennings, Roman Catholic priest, and Swithin Wells, Roman Catholic, on a scaffold set up outside Wells’ house at Holborn. They were hanged, drawn and quartered for treason due to their Catholic faith and for celebrating the mass.

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  • Don’t miss Kate Cole’s “The Witches of Elizabethan and Stuart Essex” talk!

    Everybody’s heard of the Pendle Witches, but historian Kate Cole feels there are far more interesting witches from Elizabethan and Stuart Essex. We hope you enjoy Kate’s fascinating talk.

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  • General Tudor History Quiz

    Every Sunday we have a bit of Tudor history fun. Sometimes it’s a crossword puzzle or wordsearch, and other times it’s a quiz. Today it’s quiz. So, grab yourself a snack and your favourite beverage, make yourself comfortable, and let’s get those little grey cells working!

    Good luck!

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  • Have you read this month’s magazine?

    The December issue of Tudor Life Magazine which is produced by the Tudor Society and edited by historian and author Gareth Russell is a wonderful read. Its theme is the Cecil family, but it also has a Christmas section.

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  • Happy birthday Mary, Queen of Scots!

    Today is the anniversary of the birth of Mary, Queen of Scots, on 8th December 1542. She was the daughter of James V of Scotland and his second wife, Marie de Guise, and the granddaughter of Margaret Tudor (Henry VIII’s sister) and James IV of Scotland.

    One of the mottos associated with Mary, Queen of Scots, is “En ma Fin gît mon Commencement” , or “In my End is my Beginning”, and she is more famous for her brutal end at the hands of the axeman on 8th February 1587.

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  • Open Weekend Day 2 – We hope you’re enjoying it!

    The open weekend kicked off brilliantly yesterday with lots of registrants visiting the site and diving into the archives. We hope you thoroughly enjoyed having a good look around.

    Yesterday, we added our usual Friday video talk to the site. This week, Philippa Brewell, our raving reporter, gave us a virtual tour of the beautiful ruins of Wenlock Priory. It really is a stunning place.

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  • 3 Expert Answers from our Archives

    As part of our Tudor Society open weekend I'd like to share three expert answers from our archives with you. Tudor Society members can submit questions and have them answered by Tudor experts. You can find more in our archives.

    Elizabeth I arriving at Nonsuch

    Thank you so much to Tudor Society member Nancy for asking this question: "If the queen had to make a potty 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?


    Catherine of Aragon

    Thank you to Tudor Society member Angela for asking the question "Should Ferdinand of Aragon have insisted on Katherine's return when Prince Arthur died?". Historian Amy Licence, who is the author of Catherine of Aragon: An Intimate Life of Henry VIII's True Wife has answered Angela's question...

    This is a complex question, because Katherine's position in England fluctuated during the period of her widowhood between 1502 and 1509. Also, we have to consider the dual impulses in Ferdinand, as a father on one hand, and as a monarch on the other, playing on the international stage, on which all his children were pawns for the furtherment of the Spanish Empire. Out of Katherine’s parents, it was Isabella of Castile who played a more active role in terms of writing to Henry VII before and after her daughter’s wedding, so she was really the commanding figure of the pair until her death in 1505. We must be careful too, with the word “should,” because it is suggestive of hindsight. We know what an awful time Katherine was to have during her widowhood and later, at the hands of Henry VIII, but back then they didn’t know how things would turn out.


    Thank you to Ana for asking "Why did Henry VIII get so fat? Was he really obese because he ate too much? Or because he was ill?". Here is Kyra Kramer's answer:

    Henry was a man of large appetites, in so many ways. Until he was in his late 30s, he was an Adonis and Olympic-level athlete, and he ate to match the calorific needs of his muscular, 6'2" body. Like many athletes, he continued to eat this way even when middle age slowed down his metabolism, meaning that while he still rode and jousted as much as ever, he was getting a bit thick in the middle. We've all, I believe, seen this happen to formerly strapping men. They call it the "dad jeans" phase in America; when men start wearing jeans a little bigger, a little looser, and with a little more room in the backside. They are by no means obese, but they are no longer the ab-showing gods of their youth.

    That was the stage Henry was in when he had his terrible jousting accident in January of 1536. After the accident, he never jousted again. His legs had become too weak (either from the osteomyelitis-related ulcers or from McLeod's syndrome) to hold himself into the saddle when a lance struck him. However, he did still ride long hours almost every day in hunting, and while he remained an equestrian, his girth remained in check. Sadly for the king, the ulcers on his legs began to be too painful to ride or to even move around easily. In a relatively short time period Henry changed from a sportsman to a near-invalid.


  • Expert Talk – Gareth Russell – Catherine Howard: Personality and Private Life

    To celebrate our Tudor Society open weekend, we have a special bonus expert talk this month from historian Gareth Russell, author of “Young and Damned and Fair: The Life and Tragedy of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII”.

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  • Wenlock Priory – Philippa, roving reporter

    In this week’s Friday video talk, Philippa Lacey Brewell, the Tudor Society roving reporter, takes us around the beautiful ruins of Wenlock Priory in Much Wenlock, Shropshire.

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  • How Charles VIII, King of France, met Anne of Brittany – Rozsa Gaston

    On Dec. 6, 1491, Anne of Brittany married Charles VIII, King of France, in a secret ceremony at Langeais in France’s Loire Valley. Both were betrothed to others. Rozsa Gaston is our expert speaker for February but she wanted to share a short radio interview that she recently did…

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  • Throwback Thursday – Our Tudor Society e-book series

    There is so much on the Tudor Society site now – 4 years of archives, phew! – so you may not have noticed our Tudor Society e-book series.

    We have an e-book on each of the Tudor monarchs, plus one on The Spanish Armada of 1588 and another on Tudor Feast Days. They’re available in several different formats and can be read on your e-reader, device or computer.

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  • 6 December – The Feast of St Nicholas and the Boy Bishop

    The 6th December was and is the feast of St Nicholas, or St Nicholas of Myra, the 4th century Bishop of Myra (modern-day Demre in Turkey), who is the patron saint of children, as well as sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, brewers, pawnbrokers and students.

    In medieval and Tudor times, it was traditional for a choirboy to be chosen on 6th December or Childermas (Holy Innocents’ Day) as “Boy Bishop” to act as bishop and to lead processions around communities, collecting money for the church and parish funds, and to lead some religious services.

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  • Open Weekend Schedule 7-9 December

    This coming weekend is our Tudor Society open weekend!

    From 7th to 9th December, those who register - register at www.tudorsociety.com/open-weekend-2018/ will be able to use the site just as they are full-access members of the Tudor Society. It's a wonderful opportunity for Tudor history lovers to see what we're all about.

    Simply use the categories on the top menu bar or in the side menu to explore. There will also be new Tudor treats going live on the website that weekend too and I just wanted to give members and registrants a heads-up so you know what’s coming. Don’t worry, if you're an open weekend registrant you will be sent details of how to log-in beforehand so that you can access the following treats and links to them.

    Note: You will be able to access the links and treats between 7th and 9th after you have logged in.

    7 December

    Philippa’s Roving Report goes live – Every Friday, we have a video talk go live on the Tudor Society website, usually a Claire Chats video on a Tudor topic, but this week it’s a virtual tour of an historic property from our roving reporter, Philippa Lacey Brewell.

    Bonus Expert Talk – To celebrate our open weekend, we have a special bonus talk from historian Gareth Russell, author of Young and Damned and Fair: The Life and Tragedy of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII. Gareth’s talk is on Catherine and I just know you’ll enjoy it. This talk goes live on the site on 7 December.

    8 December

    Live chat – Gareth Russell will be joining us in the Tudor Society chatroom on Saturday 8th December to answer your questions on Catherine Howard, his book and his research. Feel free to grill him. The chatroom can be found at https://www.tudorsociety.com/chatroom/

    Here are the times of the chat in different time zones:

    • London, UK - Saturday 8th December at 11pm
    • Madrid, Spain - Sunday 9th December at 12am
    • New York, USA - Saturday 8th December at 6pm
    • Los Angeles, USA - Saturday 8th December at 3pm
    • Sydney, Australia - Sunday 9th December at 10am
    • Adelaide, Australia - Sunday 9th December at 9.30am

    All you have to do is log-in, enter the chatroom and then you can participate as much as you like, whether you feel happier lurking and reading other people’s questions and Gareth’s answers, or whether you want to dive in and ask questions or comment on people’s views. You simply enter your question in the text box and hit “send” or Return. These chats are always fun and interesting.

    If you are unable to come to the chat, you can always log-in later and have a read through the chat to see the questions and Gareth’s answers. We also publish transcripts of each expert live chat for our members.

    Expert Answers – Tudor Society members are able to put questions forward to be answered by Tudor history experts. We’ve had some very interesting questions and we’ll be highlighting three of these today.

    9 December

    Sunday is quiz time. Each Sunday we publish a Tudor history themed quiz, crossword puzzle or wordsearch for members to enjoy. Look out for this Sunday’s quiz!

    More to enjoy

    Each month, we invite a historian or author to give an expert talk to our members. These talks are recorded on video and published on the site on the first of the month. We then invite the speaker into the Tudor Society chatroom later on in the month to answer members’ questions. Our expert speaker for December is historian Kate Cole who is speaking to us about Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart Essex, a fascinating subject. You can view her video talk at https://www.tudorsociety.com/expert-talk-the-witches-of-elizabethan-and-stuart-essex-kate-cole/

    We also have an informal chat each month in the chatroom. We discuss a different topic each month. It’s lovely to talk Tudor!

    The Tudor Society produces a Tudor history focused magazine each month, Tudor Life Magazine. You can read the December edition, which has the Cecil family as its theme, but also has a special Christmas section, at https://www.tudorsociety.com/december-2018-tudor-life-the-cecils/

    The open weekend is your chance to explore the Tudor Society. There is so much on the site, from our regular Claire Chats video talks to our Tudor Society E-book series, from primary sources to bios of Tudor people... Enjoy over 4 years of archives! Browse by using the top menu bar.

    I do hope you enjoy using the Tudor Society this weekend!

  • Lady Anne Bacon (née Cooke) 1527/8-1610

    Anne Cooke was born the second daughter (and sixth child) of Anthony Cooke; noted tutor to King Edward VI. As the patriarch of the Cooke household, Anthony was renowned for his progressive attitude towards female education. Befitting his position, Cooke earned a distinguished reputation as England’s pre-eminent humanist scholar, alongside figures such as Sir Thomas More. Similarly, he chose to train his daughters in the same classical curriculum that he offered his four sons. (The family had four sons and five daughters) Contemporary academics, such as Dr Katherine Mair, argue that the Cooke sons have failed to remain relevant in twenty-first century historiography, in contrast to the impeccably educated Cooke daughters; women noted for their erudition and learnedness. Anne and her sisters excelled academically, in similarity to Thomas More’s daughter, Margaret, and shared a variety of scholarly interests. These included: Latin, Greek and translations. The women effectively violated the expected standards of sixteenth-century femininity by engaging in independent religious debate and writing. In terms of this article, it will intend to discuss several themes regarding Anne’s life, including her epistolary pursuits, religion, and general life.

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  • This week in history 3 – 9 December

    3rd December:

    1536 – A proclamation was made to the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace offering them a pardon. The rebellion dispersed, but was followed by another rebellion, Bigod’s Rebellion, in early 1537. Click here to read more.
    1577 – Death or burial of William Downham, Bishop of Chester and former
    Chaplain of Elizabeth I before her accession. He was buried in the choir of Chester Cathedral.
    1600 – Death of Roger North, 2nd Baron North, peer and politician in Elizabeth I’s reign, at his London home in Charterhouse Square. He was given a funeral service at St Paul’s, followed by a burial at Kirtling in Cambridgeshire. North was a friend of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and served Elizabeth I as Privy Councillor and Treasurer of the Household.

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  • Katherine Parr Quiz

    This Sunday’s brain-stretcher is a quiz on the life of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife. How much do you know about this fascinating Tudor lady? Grab your favourite drink and snack, make yourself comfy, and let’s begin… Good luck!

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  • Expert Talk – The Witches of Elizabethan and Stuart Essex – Kate Cole

    This month’s talk is by the fascinating Kate Cole on her favourite topic, the witches of Elizabethan and Stuart Essex. We’ll be joining Kate in the chatroom in early January, but until then … enjoy this talk!

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