The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • 13 September – William Cecil, Elizabeth I’s “spirit”

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th September 1520, William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and Queen Elizabeth I’s chief advisor, was born in Bourne in Lincolnshire.

    In today’s talk, Claire Ridgway, author of “On This Day in Tudor History, fleshes out William Cecil, the man Elizabeth I called her “spirit”. He’s a fascinating Tudor man, not only for his amazing court career, which took him from Edward VI’s reign to Elizabeth I’s reign, but also for his words of wisdom and the happy marriage that he had with his wife, Mildred.

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  • 12 September – Thomas Cranmer is in big trouble

    On this day in Tudor history, Thursday 12th September 1555, in the reign of Catholic Queen Mary, the trial of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, began in Oxford.

    Archbishop Cranmer, who had, of course, played his part in the annulment of Mary I’s parents’ marriage (King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon) was accused of heresy. Cranmer, however, did not recognise the authority of the court. His intelligent answers to his accusers were to do no good, and he became one of the famous Oxford Martyrs in 1556.

    Find out more about what happened at his trial, and what happened next, in this talk.

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  • The Chamber Books of Kings Henry VII and Henry VIII – new online resource

    Thank you so much to historian Lucy Worsley for sharing news of this new project on social media. The Chamber Books, covering the period 1485 to 1521, which the National Archives describe as the “earliest systematic private records of the financial decisions of an English monarch, giving an unparalleled insight into royal personality, the purchase of luxury items and material goods, the interaction of private and public, and the politics and finances of kingship”, have been transcribed and put online for us Tudor buffs to search and browse. You can read it in the original English and Latin, or as a modernised version (project ongoing).

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  • 11 September – Mary, Queen of Scots’ Eventful Progress

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th September 1561, eighteen-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, began her first royal progress in Scotland. Mary had been in Scotland for less than a month, having returned from France, and so wanted to see her homeland and her people, as well as showing her people their queen.

    But this royal progress was to be an eventful one for Mary, Queen of Scots – a brush with death and a violent altercation were included! I tell all in today’s talk.

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  • 10 September – Elizabeth I’s christening

    On this day in Tudor history, 10 September 1533, King Henry VIII and Queen Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth I), was christened at the Church of Observant Friars in Greenwich.

    Elizabeth I’s christening service was a lavish ceremony presided over by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, who also stood as the little girl’s godfather.

    In today’s talk, I share a contemporary source of Elizabeth’s christening service and also of the celebrations that followed.

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  • 9 September – Catherine of Aragon and the mystery of James IV’s body

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th September 1513, during the reign of King Henry VIII, English and Scottish forces clashed at the bloody Battle of Flodden.

    Henry VIII was campaigning in France at the time, so Catherine of Aragon was in charge as regent. It was a victory for Catherine and also for Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, who led the English troops against the Scots on that day. Henry missed this moment of victory.

    King James IV of Scotland died at the Battle of Flodden, but what happened to his body?

    In today’s talk, I give details of the battle, Catherine’s role in England’s victory, and explains what is thought to have happened to James IV’s remains.

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  • 8 September – The mysterious death of Amy Robsart, wife of Robert Dudley

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th September 1560, the body of Amy Dudley (née Robsart), wife of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was found at the bottom of some stairs in her rented home, Cumnor Place in Oxfordshire.

    What had happened to Amy? Was her death a result of “misfortune”, as decided by the coroner, or was it suicide or murder? Did Robert Dudley kill his wife? Did William Cecil kill Amy?

    In today’s talk, Claire Ridgway, founder of the Tudor Society, examines what happened that day and the theories regarding Amy Robsart’s mysterious death, an event that definitely put an end to the idea that Elizabeth I could ever marry Robert Dudley.

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  • Tudor inventors and inventions quiz

    How much do you know about the inventors and inventions of the Tudor period?

    Grab your favourite snack and beverage, make yourself comfortable, and test yourself with this week’s Sunday quiz!

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  • 7 September – Birth of Queen Elizabeth I, Gloriana

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th September 1533, at Greenwich Palace, Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, gave birth to a daughter who would grow up to be Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, Gloriana, Good Queen Bess, a queen who would rule England for over 44 years.

    Happy birthday to Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603)!

    Find out more about her birth, the reactions and celebrations in today’s talk.

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  • 6 September – Timothy Bright and shorthand

    On this day in history, 6th September 1615, in the reign of King James I, Tudor physician, clergyman and inventor of modern shorthand, Timothy Bright, was buried at St Mary’s Church, Shrewsbury.

    Bright is known for works published in Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, including his 1588 “Characterie: an Arte of Shorte, Swifte, and Secrete Writing by Character” in which he explains his invention, a system of straight lines, circles and half circles as shorthand. Bright’s work has, of course, helped people the world over.

    In today’s talk, I share some facts about Timothy Bright, an interesting Tudor man.

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  • Layer Marney Hall – Roving Reporter

    This month, Philippa Brewell, our roving reporter, visits Layer Marney Hall, a stunning Tudor building which was visited by Henry VIII and is incredibly well preserved today.

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  • Transcript of live chat with Cassidy Cash on William Shakespeare

    Thank you so much to Cassidy Cash for being our August expert speaker and for allowing us to grill her in the Tudor Society chatroom last week.

    Here is a transcript of the live chat…

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  • Tudor events at Little Moreton Hall – Music and dance in late Elizabethan England – 3 October 2019

    Little Moreton Hall is a beautiful Tudor manor house in Cheshire and is well worth a visit, and even more so when it’s got some wonderful Tudor events scheduled!

    You can see the full schedule on their What’s On page, but I thought I’d highlight their Music and Dance in late Elizabethan England talk as I know this will be fantastic. The talk is from Jane Moulder, who plays in the Renaissance music group, PIVA, and who is an expert on Tudor music. You might remember her articles on Tudor music from Tudor Life magazine. Here are details of her talk….

    An interesting and lively talk by the leading 16th century musician and historian, Jane Moulder from PIVA. Jane will share her discoveries on how music, dancing and singing were an important part of Tudor life, whilst opening up the fascinating world of the musicians and entertainers who would have visited Little Moreton Hall. She will also bring along some of the typical instruments of the period. Glass of wine or soft drink included in ticket price.

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  • Catherine Parr’s resting place

    Today is the anniversary of the death of Catherine Parr, queen dowager, on 5th September 1548, so I thought I’d share some photos I took of her resting place in St Mary’s Church at Sudeley Castle:

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  • 5 September – Death of Catherine Parr, sixth wife of Henry VIII

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th September 1548, the sixth and final wife of the late King Henry VIII, Catherine Parr, died at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire.

    At the time of her death, Catherine Parr was the wife of Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, her fourth husband, and she had given birth to a daughter, Lady Mary Seymour, on 30th August 1548.

    Catherine Parr was buried in the chapel at Sudeley Castle with Lady Jane Grey acting as her chief mourner. In today’s talk, I give details of Catherine Parr’s burial and the discovery of her remains in the 18th and 19th centuries, and her present resting place.

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  • 4 September – The death of Robert Dudley and Elizabeth I’s reaction

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th September 1588, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, died at Cornbury while on his way to Buxton to take the waters for his health.

    The death of her favourite, and the man that is considered to be her ‘true love’, was a devastating blow to Elizabeth I and her reaction to the news shows just how much she loved her “sweet Robin”.

    Leicester wrote to his queen just days before his death and “His Last Letter” was something that Elizabeth I treasured for the rest of her life.

    Find out more about Leicester’s death, his last letter and Elizabeth’s grief in today’s video.

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  • 3 September – Robert Greene and the Upstart Crow, William Shakespeare

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd September 1592, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabethan writer and playwright Robert Greene died in London.

    Greene was a prolific writer, but he is best known for a pamphlet “Greene’s Groats-worth of Wit bought with a Million of Repentance” which it was claimed he wrote on his deathbed. It is an important work because it is the first known contemporary reference to William Shakespeare as a playwright, although the reference to Shakespeare is actually an attack on the actor/playwright, who Greene saw as an “upstart crow”.

    Find out more about the pamphlet and why Greene, or whoever wrote it, launched an attack of the Bard, in today’s talk.

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  • 2 September – Sir Richard Grenville and the loss of The Revenge

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd September 1591, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, naval commander and explorer Sir Richard Grenville died at sea from injuries sustained while commanding his ship, The Revenge, in the Battle of Flores in the Azores.

    Unfortunately, Grenville’s death was a result of him disobeying orders and doing his own thing.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson, wrote about the battle and the loss of The Revenge in his “The Revenge: A Ballad of the Fleet”, and in today’s talk, Claire Ridgway, founder of the Tudor Society, shares excerpts from Tennyson’s poem and explains what exactly happened at the battle.

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  • The extraordinary story of the Anne of Cleves Panels – Sarah Morris – Expert Talk

    We are thrilled to have Sarah Morris with us this month as our guest expert. Sarah talks about the Anne of Cleves panels and that fact turned out to be stranger than fiction … enjoy!

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  • 1 September – Anne Boleyn becomes Marquess of Pembroke

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st September 1532, in a special ceremony at Windsor Castle, King Henry VIII elevated his sweetheart Anne Boleyn to the peerage by making her Marquess of Pembroke.

    This was a hugely significant act because Henry VIII made Anne a marquess in her own right, granted the title to her and her heirs male (legitimate or not) and gave her a title associated with his father, Henry VII, and uncle, Jasper Tudor. It also made her a rather wealthy woman, and a fitting consort for their trip to Calais to meet with King Francis I of France.

    Find out more about what happened on this day in 1532, who was there, and just what Anne Boleyn was given by King Henry VIII, in today’s talk.

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  • Tudor August events quiz

    Today is the 1st of September, so the perfect time to test how much you’ve remembered from my “on this day” videos, articles and talks from August. Let’s get those little grey cells working with this fun Sunday quiz. Good luck!

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