The Tudor Society
  • 31 March – King Henry VIII as King Ahab, Anne Boleyn as Jezebel

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st March 1532, Henry VIII was left fuming after Friar William Peto likened him to King Ahab and preached against his quest for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Friar Peto also made a prophecy that some believe was fulfilled after the king’s death in 1547.

    I explain exactly what happened on this day 1532 to make Henry VIII so furious, what Peto said and what happened next.

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  • Tudor Women Quiz

    Test your knowledge of prominent Tudor women with this week’s Sunday quiz. Grab your favourite snack and beverage, make yourself comfortable, and let’s begin. Good luck!

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  • March 30 – A “pregnant” Mary I makes her will

    On this day in Tudor history, Queen Mary I wrote her will. She did it because she believed that she was just about to give birth, and, obviously, childbirth was a risky processes.

    Find out more about Mary’s will and what happened with this “pregnancy” in today’s “on this day” video.

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  • 29 March – As foul a lady as the smallpox could make her

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th March 1551, Mary Dudley married Henry Sidney. Happy anniversary to Mary and Henry!

    Both Mary and Henry served Queen Elizabeth I loyally and for many years, and, unfortunately, Mary suffered a great deal after she nursed the queen through smallpox in 1562.

    Find out more about Mary Dudley and Henry Sidney in today’s video.

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  • Elizabeth I – What did she die of?

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, Claire looks at Elizabeth I’s death on 24th March 1603, the various theories regarding her cause of death and what the primary sources said about her symptoms.

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  • Live chat tomorrow – 29 March – with novelist Wendy J Dunn

    As you will already know, historical novelist Wendy J Dunn is our March expert speaker. Wendy’s talk is on “The Journey of Writing Historical Fiction” and you can catch her talk at if you haven’t had chance to view it yet.Wendy will be joining us in the chatroom tomorrow, Friday 29th March, to answer your questions on writing historical fiction. One lucky participant will win one of Wendy’s novels. I know there are lots of you who are working on novels, or who want to do so in the future, so now’s your chance to “grill” a novelist. Wendy is also a playwright and poet, and she teaches writing, so a real expert to help us.

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  • 28 March – Anne Boleyn’s chaplain and almoner John Skip

    Today is the anniversary of the death of John Skip, Bishop of Hereford, on 28th March 1552.

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I talk about Skip’s time serving Queen Anne Boleyn as chaplain and almoner, and a controversial sermon he preached just a month before Anne’s fall.

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  • April 2019 – Tudor Life – Remembering the Dead

    What a wonderful magazine we have for members this month. Packed with stunning photos, top class articles and much more under the topic “Remembering the Dead”.

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  • Acton Court Open Days 2019

    The gardens of Acton Court, a lovely Tudor house that had a wing built for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn's visit on their royal progress of 1535, will be open to the public for three National Garden Scheme Days in June, and the house and grounds will be open for three Heritage Open Days in September.

    National Garden Scheme Open Days

    Sunday 2 June
    Sunday 9 June
    Sunday 16 June

    11am - 5pm
    Adult: £5 Pay at the Door
    Children: Free

    Visitors will have the opportunity of seeing a wide variety of early English, wild and traditional roses in Acton Court’s walled South Court.
    Light refreshments will be available.

    Special events on these days:
    2 June - The Tudor Garden - A Rose walk with Historic Gardener Mike Brown - 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3pm, Tickets £12 (Includes £5 NGS Entry to the Garden).
    9 June - Nature and Wildlife - The Hawk and Owl Trust will be on site with their birds, the Acton Court Bee Man, Dan Gillians, will have an exhibit of his bees, Organic Blooms will have a stall concentrating on flowers and plants that encourage wildlife, and Broadcaster Chris Sperring MBE will be conducting Nature Walks in the grounds at 12:00 and 2:30pm. All events included in £5 ticket.
    16 June - The White Rose and the Red: A Tudor concert, Music from the Age of Richard III and the early Tudors performed by The York Waits with Deborah Catterall, singer. 3pm, tickets £20 (including £5 NGS entry to the garden).

    Heritage Open Days

    Friday 13 September
    Saturday 14 September
    Sunday 15 September

    Blue Badge Guided Tours of House and Grounds
    Light refreshments will be available.

    Tour times:
    Friday 13 and Saturday 14 September: 11am, 11:30am, 12pm, 2pm, 2:30pm, 3pm
    Sunday 15 September: 11am and 12pm

    Tickets will be available from June
    Admission is free but reserve a place online

    Sunday 15 September: The Odhecaton 1501 - A Musical Revolution, concert, 3pm, Tickets £20 | £18 concessions

    For more information and for bookings, go to

  • 27 March – Reading the Bible in church could get you into trouble

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I share the story of William Hunter, a nineteen-year-old apprentice whose trouble started when he was caught reading the Bible to himself in church.

    William ended up being burned at the stake for heresy on 26th or 27th March 1555 in his hometown of Brentwood Essex.

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  • 26 March – Alchemy, astrology and angels – This man was involved with them all!

    A portrait of John Dee by an unknown artist

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th March 1609, John Dee, astrologer, mathematician, alchemist, antiquary, spy, philosopher, geographer and adviser to Elizabeth I, died.

    John Dee was a fascinating Tudor man and someone who narrowly missed getting into big trouble for his hobbies. Alchemy, talking with angels, mathematics… what wasn’t he into?

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  • 25 March – Happy New Year!

    No, I haven’t gone mad! Today, 25th March, was really the start of the calendar new year in Tudor times. Find out more in today’s video.

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  • 24 March – The end of Queen Elizabeth I, Gloriana!

    Today is the anniversary of the death of the iconic Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and a woman who is known as the Virgin Queen, Gloriana and Good Queen Bess, and whose reign has been called a Golden Age.

    In today's video, I talk about Elizabeth's last days and share contemporary accounts of her death on 24th March 1603. I also share some of Queen Elizabeth I's achievements.

    There are lots of resources on Elizabeth I on the Tudor Society and you can find others by using the search box.

    And if you only have 60 seconds to spare!

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1582 – Death of Sir James Dyer, judge, law reporter and Speaker of the House of Commons during the reign of Edward VI. His other offices included King's Sergeant-at-Law, Judge of the Common Pleas and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. He was buried at Great Staughton Church in Huntingdonshire, next to his wife.
    • 1619 – Death of Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick, nobleman and politician, at Warwick House in Holborn. He was buried at Felsted Church. Rich was married to Penelope Devereux, daughter of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, and Lettice Knollys, and sister of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. It was not a happy marriage, and the couple separated in 1590 after the birth of their second son, and divorced in 1605. Penelope began a relationship with Charles Blount, the future Lord Mountjoy, in 1590 and went on to have children by him.
  • March “on this day” events crossword puzzle

    How much have you learned from Claire’s “on this day in history” videos this month so far?

    Test your knowledge with this fun crossword puzzle on March “on this day” events from the Tudor period. Good luck!

    Click on the link or the image below to open the crossword puzzle and print it out.

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  • 23 March – Who’s queen: Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn?

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd March 1534, the Pope issued a bull proclaiming Catherine of Aragon to be England’s true queen and Mary the heir to the throne, while the English Parliament declared Anne Boleyn to be England’s rightful queen and her daughter, Elizabeth, the heir. Weird!

    In today’s video, I explain what was going on and what the 1534 Act of Succession stated.

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  • 22 March – Catherine Brandon (Catherine Willoughby), Duchess of Suffolk, a woman with spirit!

    A sketch of Katherine Willoughby by Hans Holbein the Younger

    Today is the anniversary of the traditional birthdate of Catherine Willoughby (married names: Brandon and Bertie), Duchess of Suffolk, the woman who married the king’s best friend, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, when she was just fourteen.

    Catherine is known for her patronage of the Reformed faith and Reformers, but in today’s video, I share some facts about this fascinating woman, including a story about her little dog.

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  • Burning at the stake

    I’ve talked about quite a few burnings at the stake recently as part of my “on this day in Tudor history” series of videos and this inspired me to look into the history of the punishment and to find out why it was used and how it was used.

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  • 21 March – This unworthy right hand! The end of Thomas Cranmer

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st March 1556, Thomas Cranmer, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, was burned at the stake in Oxford.

    Cranmer had served Henry VIII and Edward VI as Archbishop of Canterbury and had played a leading role in the Reformation, but he was, of course, seen as a heretic in the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I.

    In today's video, I share John Foxe's account of Thomas Cranmer's end.

    You can find out more about Thomas Cranmer here.

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1522 – Death of Christopher Urswick, courtier, diplomat, former confessor and chaplain to Lady Margaret Beaufort, and almoner to Henry VII. His ecclesiastical offices included Dean of York, Canon and Prebendary of St George's Chapel, Windsor and Dean of Windsor. He was also registrar of the Order of the Garter. He died at the rectory of St Augustine's in Hackney, and was buried there.
    • 1540 – Death of John de Vere, 15th Earl of Oxford. He died at Earls Colne in Essex, and was buried at Castle Hedingham on the 12th April. Oxford served Henry VIII as an Esquire of the Body, Lord Great Chamberlain and Royal Councillor. He was also a Knight of the Garter.
      1555 – Birth of Sir John Leveson, Kent landowner and Deputy Lieutenant of Kent. In 1601, Leveson helped put down the Earl of Essex's rebellion by commanding men on Ludgate Hill and giving no ground to Essex and his rebels. Essex and his men were forced to withdraw.
    • 1565 – Death of John Warner, Dean of Winchester and physician, at his home in Warwick Lane, London. He was buried at Great Stanmore in Middlesex.
    • 1591 – Death of Edmund Freake, Bishop of Norwich and then of Worcester. He was buried in Worcester Cathedral. In 1579, he tried Matthew Hamont, a Norfolk playwright, for heresy. Hamont was found guilty and burned at Norwich Castle.
    • 1617 – Burial of Pocahontas, the Algonquian Indian princess. Pocahontas was the daughter of Chief Powhatan (Wahunsonacock) of the Virginia Algonquian nation. She was renamed Rebecca in 1614 when she was baptised, and she married John Rolfe in Jamestown in April 1614. The couple, and their son Thomas, went to England in 1616. She was ill, probably from pneumonia or tuberculosis, when the family set sail for Virginia in March 1617 and had to be put ashore, where she died. She was buried at St George's in Gravesend, Kent.
  • Cuthbert Mayne, the first seminary priest to be martyred

    Today is the anniversary of the baptism of Cuthbert Mayne (Main, Maine), Roman Catholic priest and martyr, on 20th March 1544. He was baptised on the Feast of St Cuthbert in Youlston in North Devon.

    Cuthbert Mayne has gone down in history as the first seminary priest to be martyred. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Launceston on 30th November 1577.

    Let me tell you a bit more about this man…

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  • A shout out for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

    The Tudor Society love all things Tudor. Recently we’ve had an article in our monthly magazine from Nic Fulcher, a costume historian at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and we’ve also had our roving reporter visit the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. We’d like to give a huge THANK YOU to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust – here’s some information.

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  • 20 March – Forgetting God to love a king – Thomas Seymour’s end

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th March 1549, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron of Sudeley, was executed by beheading on Tower Hill.

    In today’s video, I talk about his execution and share the poem he wrote in his last days. I also give details of how some of Seymour’s contemporaries viewed him.

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  • 19 March – Romeo and Juliet author dies in a shipwreck

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th March 1563, Arthur Brooke, the man who wrote the very first version of the story of Romeo and Juliet in English, died in a shipwreck off the coast of Sussex.

    Find out more about Arthur Brooke and his version of Romeo and Juliet in today’s video.

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  • 18 March – The birth of Mary Tudor, Queen of France

    Mary Tudor, Queen of France, detail from a portrait of her and her second husband, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

    Henry VIII’s beloved sister, Mary Tudor, Queen of France, was born on this day in 1496 at Richmond Palace.

    In this video, I give a brief overview of Mary Tudor’s life.

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  • 17 March – Elizabeth I’s famous Tide Letter

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th March 1554, two members of Queen Mary I’s council turned up at Whitehall Palace to escort Elizabeth (future Elizabeth I) to prison at the Tower of London. Elizabeth was able to stall things for one day by writing a letter to her half-sister, the queen.

    In today’s video, I share Elizabeth’s famous letter and explain how it prevented the men from taking Elizabeth to the Tower that day.

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  • Tudor monarchs true or false quiz

    Today’s quiz tests your knowledge of our favourite monarchs, those of the House of Tudor. So, grab a coffee and your favourite snack, get yourself settled and let’s begin…. Good luck!

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  • 16 March – The martyrdom of two Catholic priests

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th March 1589, two Roman Catholic priests, Robert Dalby and John Amias, were executed as traitors at York.

    Let me tell you about these men and what led to their very brutal executions. I also give an eye-witness account of their executions – sorry!

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  • The Many Faces of Tudor England – 18 March to 31 December 2019

    Thank you to Ella Baker for sending me this press release on “The Many Faces of Tudor England” exhibition which starts at the Mary Rose Museum on 18th March. It sounds like a wonderful exhibition and well worth going to.

    The Many Faces of Tudor England
    18th March – 31st December 2019
    The Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth, UK.

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  • Dudley Castle – Philippa, roving reporter

    Philippa Lacey Brewell, the Tudor Society roving reporter, takes us around the ruins of Dudley Castle, in Dudley, West Midlands. This is a little known castle which is sadly in need of £5 million in restoration work to make it safe and to preserve it for the future. Philippa gets access to some areas which are not open to the public at the moment.

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  • March 15 – The Lady Mary causes a stir in London

    Mary I could be a tough cookie at times. She was courageous and strong-willed, and she showed that side of her personality on 15th March 1551 when she rode through the streets of London with a large company of knights, gentlemen and ladies doing something that was illegal and an act of defiance against her half-brother, King Edward VI.

    Find out more in today’s video.

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  • March 14 – A mumbling judge causes problems

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th March 1540, Sir John Port died at Bewdley. Unfortunately, he’s not remembered for his intelligence, his work or even his legal notes, which were published in the 20th century. No, he’s remembered for mumbling in a case and changing the outcome! Oh dear!

    I explain what happened and share more information on this man.

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