The Tudor Society
  • 14 October – The trial of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th October 1586, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots, began at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire.

    Although Mary did not recognise the authority of the commission and had threatened not to attend, she had been informed that the trial would go ahead with or without her and so attended.

    Find out all about Mary’s trial, what she was charged with and the evidence that Sir Francis Walsingham had gathered in today’s talk.

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  • 13 October – The beginning of the end for Edward Seymour

    This day in Tudor history, 13th October 1549, was the beginning of the end for Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Edward VI’s uncle, for it was on this day that the king’s council abolished both his protectorate and his membership of the Council.

    Somerset had been left vulnerable by social unrest in the kingdom and when things got tense between him and John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, and his supporters, Somerset took action, action that would see him being branded a traitor.

    In today’s talk, I explain exactly what Protector Somerset did to provoke his downfall and what happened next.

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  • 13 October – Feast of St Edward the Confessor

    Today, 13th October, is the feast of St Edward the Confessor, the Anglo-Saxon king who reigned from 1042 to 1066 and who was canonised in 1161

    St Edward’s Day was the traditional day for the mayor of London to be chosen by the freemen at Guildhall.

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  • Queen Mary I and her reign quiz

    As Mary I was the topic of my Claire Chats talk this week, I thought it would be good to test your knowledge on this Tudor queen.

    How much do you know about Queen Mary I? Hopefully, you’ll be surprised by just how much you know!

    Grab your favourite snack and beverage, make yourself comfortable, and let’s begin… Good luck!

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  • 12 October – Jane Seymour gives birth to Edward VI

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th October 1537, the eve of the Feast of St Edward the Confessor, Queen Jane Seymour, third wife of King Henry VIII, gave birth to a baby who would become King Edward VI.

    Edward VI was born at Hampton Court Palace after a long and difficult labour. London celebrated the birth of England’s new prince, but, of course, happiness would soon turn to grief as Jane died on 24th October 1537.

    In today’s talk, I share contemporary sources of Edward VI’s birth and the subsequent celebrations, and also talk about the myth that Edward VI was born by caesarean (c-section).

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  • Remembering Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder

    Today is the anniversary of the death of Sir Thomas Wyatt. He died at Sherborne in Dorset on 11th October 1542. He had been complaining of severe headaches since 1539. Wyatt was just thirty-nine years old at his death, but his poetry is still enjoyed the world over, although the majority of his work was not published in his lifetime.

    To commemorate this anniversary, I thought I’d share with you some resources on Wyatt:

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  • 11 October – A procession and prayers for Queen Jane Seymour

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th October 1537, poor Jane Seymour was in labour with her first and only child, Edward VI.

    It was a long and difficult labour, and on 11th October, there was a solemn procession in the city of London to pray for her. After about thirty hours, Jane gave birth to a healthy baby boy, who would become King Edward VI.

    In today’s talk, I share contemporary sources about the procession and Jane’s labour.

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  • Mary I – The good, the bad and the ugly

    In this week’s Claire Chats talk, I am continuing my series on the Tudor monarchs, and examining their reigns for “the good, the bad, the ugly”, i.e. their achievements and the not-so-good stuff, by looking at the reign of Queen Mary I, who ruled from 1553 to 1558.

    This daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon has gone down in history as “Bloody Mary”, but let’s have a more balanced view, let’s look at some of her achievements as well as the “ugly” of her time as queen.

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  • 10 October – Elizabeth I comes down with Smallpox

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th October 1562, twenty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth I was taken ill at Hampton Court Palace, with what was thought to be a bad cold. However, Elizabeth actually had smallpox.

    It was thought that the queen would die, so there was panic over the succession, and it was at this point that Elizabeth chose Robert Dudley as “protector of the kingdom”. However, Elizabeth I survived and went on to reign until her death in March 1603.

    Elizabeth was nursed by her good friend, Mary Sidney, who also came down with smallpox and was badly disfigured by it.

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  • 9 October – Mary Tudor and Louis XII get married

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th October 1514, eighteen-year-old Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII and daughter of the late Henry VII, married fifty-two year-old King Louis XII of France at Abbeville in France.

    In today’s talk, I share contemporary accounts of Mary’s lavish entry into Abbeville on 8th October and the wedding on 9th October, including descriptions of Mary and her apparel.

    Of course, Mary wasn’t married to Louis for long as he died on 1st January 1515.

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  • Tudor Society 5 Year Anniversary Anthology

    It’s finally here! We’ve been working hard to put together the best articles from the last five years of Tudor Life magazine, articles from the top Tudor historians all in one anthology for you to enjoy.

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  • 8 October – Lady Margaret Douglas

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th October 1515, Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox and niece of King Henry VIII, was born at Harbottle Castle in Northumberland.

    Margaret Douglas was the daughter of Margaret Tudor, Queen Dowager of Scotland, and Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. She was born while her mother was travelling to Henry VIII’s court in London after feeling Scotland.

    Margaret was a fascinating lady, and in today’s talk, I share an extract from my book, giving an overview of this Tudor lady’s life.

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  • 7 October – The man who helped Robert Dudley propose to Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th October 1577, author, poet, courtier and soldier George Gascoigne died in Stamford, Lincolnshire.

    Gascoigne was a gifted poet and was hired in 1575 by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, to provide entertainment for Queen Elizabeth I’s visit to Leicester’s home, Kenilworth Castle. This was Leicester’s last ditch attempt at getting the queen to marry him and he hoped Gascoigne could help him.

    Find out all about Gascoigne’s masque, Zabeta, and what happened at Kenilworth, in today’s talk.

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  • Charles Brandon’s Marriage to Katherine Willoughby – Guest article by Tony Riches

    Charles Brandon, Tudor knight and best friend of King Henry VIII, is best known for secretly marrying Mary Tudor, the king’s sister – without Henry’s permission! Less well known is his last marriage, to Lady Katherine Willoughby.

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  • 6 October – The end of William Tyndale

    This day in Tudor history, 6th October 1536, is the traditional date given for the execution of William Tyndale, reformer, scholar and Bible translator.

    One of Tyndale’s works had helped King Henry VIII while another incurred the king’s wrath and led to Tyndale’s execution. Why? What happened?

    I explain what led to William Tyndale’s sad end in 1536, as well as sharing an account of his execution on that day.

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  • The King’s Beasts Wordsearch

    The King’s Beasts are statues of heraldic animals that stand on the bridge over the moat leading to the great gatehouse of Hampton Court Palace. There are ten in all, and they are copies of those carved to celebrate King Henry VIII’s marriage to his third wife, Jane Seymour in 1536. They represent the ancestry of Henry and Jane, and are…

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  • 5 October – A betrothal for Princess Mary (Mary I)

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th October 1518, two-year-old Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, became betrothed to François, the Dauphin of France, who was just a few months old.

    This betrothal was part of a treaty agreed between England and France, Henry VIII and Francis I.

    In today’s talk, I share details of what happened at the betrothal ceremony at Greenwich Palace, as well as explaining what else the treaty involved, and what happened to this betrothal in the end.

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  • 4 October – The Pilgrimage of Grace Rebellion is underway!

    On this day in Tudor history, Wednesday 4th October 1536, trouble erupted in Horncastle, Lincolnshire. This was part of what we know as the Lincolnshire Rising which, in turn, was part of the famous Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion.

    In today’s talk, I share exactly what happened in Horncastle, which included two murders, what the rebellion was all about, and how King Henry VIII responded to the rebel’s grievances. I read King Henry VIII’s own words to the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace.

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  • Gloucester Cathedral – Roving Reporter

    This month Philippa Lacey Brewell has been to Gloucester. Philippa takes us around and inside the stunning cathedral, showing us lots of detail including the cloisters where some of Harry Potter was filmed. She also shows us some links to Tudor history…

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  • 3 October – Thomas Wolsey, a mass, a treaty and a lavish masque

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd October 1518, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor, sang a mass to Henry VIII and the French ambassadors at St Paul’s Cathedral in celebration of a treaty between England and France.

    This mass wasn’t the only celebration, there was also a banquet and a lavish masque of lords and ladies dressed beautifully and disguised with masking hoods. And the masque included some well-known courtiers, people like Sir Francis Bryan and Bessie Blount, the King’s mistress.

    Hear a contemporary description of this masque in today’s talk…

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  • 2 October – William Tyndale, Anne Boleyn and a book for “all Kings to read”

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd October 1528, reformer and Bible translator William Tyndale’s book “The Obedience of a Christian Man” was published in Antwerp.

    A copy of this book owned by Anne Boleyn ended up being a catalyst of the English Reformation when it was confiscated from the suitor of one of Anne’s ladies as a heretical book. Henry VIII ended up reading it and proclaiming that “This Book is for me and all Kings to read.” It set him on his path to the break with Rome and saw him marrying Anne Boleyn as his second wife.

    Find out the full story in this talk…

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  • 1 October – Mary I’s coronation and a sumptuous feast

    On this day in Tudor history, Sunday 1st October 1553, Mary I was crowned queen at Westminster Abbey by Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester.

    It was a moment of real triumph for Mary and she was England’s first official queen regnant.

    In today’s talk, I share details from primary sources about Mary’s I’s coronation ceremony, and also the sumptuous banquet afterwards, which saw the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Arundel on horseback in the hall, and a challenge being made. What a spectacle it must have been!

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  • The life and death of Henry VI – Lauren Johnson – Expert Talk

    This month’s talk is about the fascinating but often misunderstood King Henry VI. Lauren Johnson goes into detail about life and death this little-known king.

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