The Tudor Society
  • 31 August – The end of Robert Samuel in the reign of Queen Mary I

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st August 1555, in the reign of Queen Mary I, the queen who has gone down in history as “Bloody Mary”, Robert Samuel, a former minister, was burned at the stake in Ipswich, Suffolk.

    Robert Samuel was burned as a heretic, a Protestant martyr. He had continued to minister privately, after being deprived of his living, and he had refused to leave his wife. He stayed firm to his Protestant faith and became one of the Ipswich Martyrs as a result.

    In today’s talk, I give some details about this Tudor man, his visions, his death, and the women who became connected with him and who also died as a result.

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  • 30 August – Little Mary Seymour, a Tudor mystery

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th August 1548, Catherine Parr, Queen Dowager (sixth wife of King Henry VIII) and wife of Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, gave birth to a healthy daughter at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire. Thomas and Catherine named the little girl Mary after her godmother, the future Queen Mary I.

    Lady Mary Seymour would soon be orphaned, and by the age of two she had disappeared from the records. What happened to Mary Seymour?

    I talk about the various theories regarding Mary Seymour’s fate. What a Tudor mystery!

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  • Mary Tudor and Charles of Castile – A betrothal or proper marriage?

    Carrying on from my recent Claire Chats talk on proxy marriages, I just wanted to look at the negotiations for a marriage between Mary Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII, and Charles of Castile (later Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor), and the end result, a ceremony that took place in December 1508.

    What’s interesting is that the service in 1508 was different to what had actually been agreed between Henry VII and Emperor Maximilian. Let me explain…

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  • A couple of Tudor treats

    As it’s nearing our 5-year anniversary, here at the Tudor Society, as well as working hard on the special anniversary edition of Tudor Life Magazine (an extra edition) for you, I’m also offering these two Tudor treats. I hope you enjoy them.

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  • 29 August – The sad story of Geoffrey Pole

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th August 1538, Geoffrey Pole, son of Sir Richard Pole and Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, was arrested. He was already on thin ice, having been a staunch supporter of Queen Catherine of Aragon and Princess Mary, but he now was suspected, like other members of his family, of being in communication with his brother, Cardinal Reginald Pole, a man who had upset King Henry VIII by writing a treatise against him and his policies.

    Unlike other members of his family, including Margaret Pole, Geoffrey managed to survive this trouble – how? Why? What happened?

    I explain all in today’s talk.

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  • 28 August – Mary defies Edward VI

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th August 1551, the thirty-five-year-old Mary, future Mary I, received a visit from a delegation of men sent by her half-brother, thirteen-year-old King Edward VI.

    Mary was being defiant and disobedient. She was ignoring her half-brother’s orders and was breaking the laws of the land. What was she doing? She was continuing to celebrate the Catholic Mass in her household.

    In today’s talk, I explain exactly what happened on this day in 1551, drawing on the report that the delegation gave to the king and his council. It gives us a wonderful insight into the pre-accession Mary I and her character.

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  • September 2019 – Tudor Life – Tudor Childhood

    Here's the full version of your monthly magazine: September's Tudor Life magazine is packed with articles about Tudor Childhood, along with a whole lot of other fascinating things about Tudor people and places.

    This month the magazine contains:

    • The childhood of Henry VIII by Sarah-Beth Watkins
    • Catherine of Aragon’s Childhood by Susan Abernethy
    • Childhood facts for the Tudor Kings and Queens by Gareth Russell
    • Everyday lives of Tudor Children by Alan Wybrow
    • Four Fantastic Tudor Places a quiz by Catherine Brooks
    • Elizabeth at the Court of Henry VIII by Roland Hui
    • Tudor Gardens by Toni Mount
    • Sarah Morris is our Guest Expert Speaker on The Anne of Cleves Heraldic Panels
    • The Progresses of Elizabeth I Member Spotlight Beth V. Gunter
    • Editor’s Picks: Tudor Childhood by Gareth Russell
    • Tudor History is Everything - an interview with Claire Ridgway by Catherine Brooks
    • A spin around Tutbury Castle by Claire Ridgway
    • Queenship at the Renaissance courts of Britain / John Morton book reviews by Charlie Fenton
    • Critical Friendships by Wendy J. Dunn
    • From the Spicery: On Game by Rioghnach O’Geraghty
    • On this day in Tudor History by Claire Ridgway

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  • 27 August – Battle of Dussindale

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th August 1549, the Battle of Dussindale took place near Norwich, in East Anglia. It ended Kett’s Rebellion once and for all.

    I explain what happened on that day in 1549 and what happened to the rebels who survived the battle.

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  • 26 August – Queen Anne Boleyn takes her chamber

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th August 1533, Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, prepared for the birth of her first child by “taking her chamber” at Greenwich Palace. This child was of course the future Queen Elizabeth I.

    “Taking her chamber” was common practice in Tudor England, and in today’s talk, I explain all of the rituals and traditions involved, as well as describing what Anne Boleyn’s chamber would have been like.

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  • 25 August – Kett’s Rebellion causes trouble

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th August 1549, Robert Kett and his rebels launched an attack on the south side of Norwich and burned a number of buildings.

    Kett’s Rebellion lasted from July 1549 until the Battle of Dussindale on 27th August 1549, but what was it all about? What were the rebels’ grievances?

    Find out more about this rebellion in the reign of King Edward VI in today’s talk.

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  • Battle of Bosworth Wordsearch

    22nd August was the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth Field, the battle that took place on 22nd August 1485 and which saw the death of one king and the beginning of a whole new royal dynasty: the Tudors.

    I thought it was only right to have the battle as our theme for this week’s puzzle. This Sunday’s brainstretcher us a wordsearch. Warning – words can go in any direction!

    Click on the link or image below to open the wordsearch and print it out. Good luck!

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  • 24 August – The St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th August 1572, on the Feast of St Bartholomew, an awful massacre too place in Paris, and it was followed by further atrocities in other towns and cities.

    Those who suffered were Huguenot men, women and children, French Protestants. But what happened and why?

    I explain all in today’s video…

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  • 23 August – Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn visit a royal favourite

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd August 1535, royal favourite and keen reformer Sir Nicholas Poyntz welcomed King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, to his home Acton Court in Iron Acton, South Gloucestershire, as part of the couple’s royal progress.

    It was important for courtiers to impress the king and his consort, and Poyntz built a new wing on his property just for the royal couple!

    I tell you all about it in today’s talk.

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  • Courtiers and royal progresses – Claire Chats video

    The summer months were the traditional time for the monarch and his/her consort to get out of smelly and disease-ridden London and to go on royal progress.

    Now although the monarch owned many properties and estate dotted around the country, s/he would also ‘honour’ courtiers by choosing to visit them and stay with them while on progress. Can you imagine what a mixed blessing this was? How honoured you’d feel to be on the itinerary, but how worried you’d be at the cost of impressing the king or queen!

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, I give some examples of courtiers who welcomed monarchs into their homes, just what was involved, what they did to try and impress, and what happened.

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  • 22 August – The Battle of Bosworth Field and the beginning of the Tudor dynasty

    Today is the anniversary of the battle which started the Tudor period: the Battle of Bosworth Field. The Tudor dynasty on the throne of England began on this day, when Henry Tudor’s forces beat those of King Richard III, and Richard was killed.

    In today’s talk, I explain what happened on that day in rural Leicestershire, and how Henry Tudor was victorious even though Richard III came into battle with a huge advantage.

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  • Tudor & Stuart Witchcraft & Medicine Tour – open for bookings!

    In this video, I introduce this October 2020 tour that she is co-leading with Philippa Lacey Brewell of British History Tours.

    The Tudor and Stuart periods were fascinating times, where medicine, science, astrology, religion and superstition were all inextricably linked, and in this exciting new tour we delve into these wonderful topics and learn from expert tour guides and speakers. Plus we get to visit some stunning places!

    Find out more and book your place at

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  • 21 August – Humphrey Llwyd, a Welshman who should be remembered

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st August 1568, antiquary, translator and cartographer Humphrey Llwyd died from a fever.

    Llwyd is known as the Inventor of Britain and a key figure in the Renaissance in Wales, but what exactly did he do to deserve such recognition?

    In today’s talk, I share some facts about this interesting, but little-known, Tudor Welshman, as well as failing to say his mame properly – sorry!

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  • 20 August – Elizabeth I gives thanks for the Protestant Wind!

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th August 1588, there was a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s to thank God for his divine intervention when England defeated the Spanish Armada. It was thought that God had sent his Protestant Wind to save England from Catholic Spain.

    Find out more about this in today’s talk.

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  • 19 August – Mary, Queen of Scots returns to Scotland

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th August 1561, Mary, Queen of Scots returned to her homeland, Scotland, from France following the death of her first husband, King Francis II of France.

    In today's talk, I explain the context of her return to Scotland, which would, of course, be the start of her troubles.

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1531 – Burning of Thomas Bilney, Protestant martyr, at Lollard's Pit, just outside Bishopsgate. Although he was burned as a heretic, he actually denied his reformist views and affirmed his Catholic faith at his execution.
    • 1551 – Princess Mary, the future Mary I, wrote to her brother Edward VI regarding the instructions the officers of her household were given about forbidding her chaplains to say Mass and any of her household to hear Mass.
    • 1578 – Death of John Harpsfield, humanist, scholar and Roman Catholic priest, in London. He was buried in St Sepulchre Church, London. Harpsfield is known for his leading role in the Marian persecutions of Protestants and his nine sermons, which appear in Edmund Bonner's 1555 “Homilies”.
    • 1591 – Death of Welsh clergyman and Bible translator Thomas Huet at Tŷ Mawr, Llysdinam, Brecknockshire. He was buried in the chancel of Llanafan Fawr church. Huet helped Richard Davies and William Salesbury translate the “New Testament” into Welsh in 1567.
    • 1601 – Death of William Lambarde, writer, antiquary and lawyer, at Westcombe in East Greenwich. He was buried in St Alphege Church, East Greenwich, but in 1710 his monument was moved to the Lambarde chapel in St Nicholas's Church, Sevenoaks. Lambarde's works included his 1570 “Perambulation of Kent”, the 1581 “Eirenarcha: or of the Office of the Justices of Peace” and the 1591 “Archeion, or, A Discourse Upon the High Courts of Justice in England”.
  • 18 August – Virginia Dare and the lost colony

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th August 1587, the first child born to English settlers in the New World was born in the Roanoke Colony. Her name was Virginia Dare.

    This colony has become known as the lost colony because all 115 colonists disappeared.

    I explain what happened in today’s talk.

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  • August Birthdays Crossword Puzzle

    This week’s Sunday puzzle is a crossword puzzle testing your knowledge of August Tudor birthdays.

    How much do you know about Tudor people born in August, or those born in August who came to prominence in the Tudor period?

    Why not test yourself with this fun crossword puzzle? Good luck!

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  • 17 August – The end of Empson and Dudley

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th August 1510, King Henry VII’s former chief administrators, Sir Edmund Dudley and Sir Richard Empson, were beheaded on Tower Hill as traitors even though they had served the former king loyally.

    What happened? Why were these two advisors executed by their former master’s son?

    I explain what led to Empson and Dudley’s executions.

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  • 16 August – Henry VIII claims victory for a non-battle

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th August 1513, the Battle of Spurs took place at Guinegate, or Enguinegatte, in France.

    It actually wasn’t a pitched battle at all, as the French knights fled the scene, but that didn’t stop Henry VIII claiming victory and doing a bit of exaggerating.

    I explain what exactly happened on this day in 1513 in today’s talk.

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  • Proxy Weddings – Claire Chats video

    This week’s Claire Chats video talk has been inspired by an “on this day in Tudor history” event from this week and some comments and questions I received about it – the proxy wedding of Princess Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII, and King Louis XII. I thought I’d explain what proxy weddings were/are, why they were needed, and share some examples of historical proxy weddings.

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  • 15 August – Mary Scudamore and the hot-tempered Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th August 1603, Lady Mary Scudamore (née Shelton), a member of Elizabeth I’s Privy Chamber and one of her favourite sleeping companions, was buried at Holme Lacy in Herefordshire.

    Mary was very close to the queen but suffered the queen’s wrath at one point. I explain all in today’s “on this day” talk.

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  • 14 August – Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th August 1473, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, was born.

    Margaret Pole is an interesting lady – the niece of Edward IV, Countess of Salisbury in her own right, governess to Mary I… and she came to a rather awful and sticky end.

    Let me tell you a bit more about this fascinating Tudor lady and what happened to her.

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  • 13 August – A proxy wedding for Princess Mary Tudor

    On this day in history, 13th August 1514, Princess Mary Tudor, youngest surviving daughter of the late King Henry VII and sister of King Henry VIII, married King Louis XII of France by proxy.

    In today’s talk, I share details of the ceremony, and what everyone was wearing, and explais the symbolic consummation.

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  • 12 August – Thomas Phaer and some interesting Tudor remedies!

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th August 1560, Thomas Phaer (Fair), translator, lawyer, physician and paediatrician, made his will after suffering an accident.

    Phaer has become known as the “Father of English Paediatrics” for his works, which include “The Book of Children”. In today’s talk, Claire Ridgway, author of “On This Day in Tudor History”, gives a few more details about this man and shares some of his rather interesting remedies for caring for children.

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  • 11 August – Henry VIII treats friars abominably

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th August 1534, or shortly before, the friars observant were expelled from their religious houses due to their support of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife, and their refusal to accept the king as supreme head of the Church in England.

    These men were treated abominably by Henry VIII and his government and you can find out about their treatment and their fates in today’s talk from Claire Ridgway, author of “On This Day in Tudor History”.

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  • Quiz – Who said it?

    “Who said it?” is the theme of this week’s Sunday quiz! Can you match the quotation with the person, or the person they’re talking about? I’m sure you can!

    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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