The Tudor Society
  • 29 November – A courtier who served in four monarchs’ reigns and died a natural death!

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th November 1528, nobleman and courtier, Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu, was born.

    Montagu began his court career with the help of his father in Henry VIII’s reign. served as a privy councillor in Mary I’s reign, and died a natural death as a wealthy man in Elizabeth I’s reign. He even survived being implicated in a rebellion!

    Who was Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu, and just how did he manage to not only have an excellent court career, but leave a fortune to his grandson, when he was a Catholic in Elizabeth I’s reign?

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  • The Stuarts Crossword

    As tomorrow is the Feast of St Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, I thought we’d celebrate by testing your knowledge of the Stuarts, the royal dynasty of Scotland in Tudor times and the dynasty that inherited the throne of England following Elizabeth I’s death in 1603.

    How much do you know about the Stuarts/Stewarts? Test your knowledge with this fun crossword.

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  • Transcript of our live chat with Emma Levitt

    Thanks to those who came to our live chat last night. We learned even more about jousting and what an amazing event it would have been to see. Here is the transcript for those who missed it.

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  • 28 November – A drowned agent carrying gold for Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th November 1565, member of Parliament and political agent Francis Yaxley set sail for Scotland from Antwerp. Sadly, Yaxley’s ship was wrecked in a storm and he never reached Scotland, and neither did the gold he was carrying to Mary, Queen of Scots.

    But why was he carrying gold and who was it from? What happened to the gold? Find out all about Yaxley, how he came to be travelling from Antwerp to Scotland, and what happened to him and the gold, in today’s talk.

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  • 27 November – Former monk burnt at stake for importing books

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th November 1531, former Benedictine monk and reformist, Richard Bayfield, was burnt at the stake at Smithfield for heresy after Sir Thomas More had caught him importing heretical books into England.

    It wasn’t Bayfield’s first brush with the authorities. He’d been in trouble for heresy previously so was now deemed a “relapsed heretic”. This time, penance wasn’t enough, he was condemned to death.

    Find out more about Richard Bayfield, how he went from being a monk to a reformer, and how he ended up at the stake as a Protestant martyr. I also share John Foxe’s account of Bayfield’s burning.

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  • Glad tidings abound!

    In this week’s Friday video, I share a few bits of good news, and we all definitely need that!

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  • 26 November – The first men executed under Elizabeth I’s new law

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th November 1585, Catholic priest Hugh Taylor and his friend Marmaduke Bowes were hanged at York.

    They were the first men executed under Elizabeth I’s 1585 statute which made it treason to be a Jesuit or seminary priest in England or to harbour such a priest.

    These two Catholics were beatified in 1987 by Pope John Paul II as two of the 85 Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales.

    Find out more about these men and what this 1585 legislation was all about in today’s talk.

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  • December 2020 – Tudor Life – Make Good Cheer

    Merry Christmas to you! December is here and we should make good cheer who wishes! Enjoy the December 2020 magazine!

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  • Tudor Life December 2020 Taster

    Merry Christmas to you! December is here and we should make good cheer who wishes. This is the sample magazine.

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  • 25 November – A vicious man who saved an archbishop

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th November 1545, lawyer, member of Parliament, diplomat and ecclesiastical administrator, Sir Thomas Legh (Leigh), died.

    Legh was a faithful servant to King Henry VIII, but his work during the dissolution of the monasteries led to complaints against him and even rebellion.

    He was a vicious man, known for his harsh treatment of monks, but he also played a key role in protecting Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1543 when his enemies tried to bring him down.

    Let me give you a few facts about this Tudor man, Sir Thomas Legh…

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  • 24 November – John Knox, famous Scottish reformer and royal chaplain

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th November 1572, John Knox, the Scottish clergyman, famous Reformer , royal chaplain, and founder of Presbyterianism, died at his home in Edinburgh as his second wife, Margaret, read aloud from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.

    John Knox is known for bringing the Protestant reformation to the church in Scotland and his controversial views about women rulers, but he was also chaplain to King Edward VI and had a very eventful life, being taken prisoner by the French and being forced into service on the galleys of their fleet at one point.

    Find out more about John Knox’s life and career in today’s talk.

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  • 23 November – A plot to poison Elizabeth I’s saddle and Essex’s chair

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd November 1598, scrivener and sailor Edward Squire was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn for treason after being accused of plotting with Jesuits in Seville to poison Elizabeth I’s saddle and the Earl of Essex’s chair.

    Squire, who ended up in Seville after being captured by Spaniards while on a voyage with Sir Francis Drake, confessed under torture, but claimed his innocence at his trial and execution.

    But what exactly happened, and how and why did a Protestant scrivener and sailor end up accused of treason?

    Find out all about Edward Squire and the alleged plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I and her favourite, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, in today’s talk.

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  • 22 November – Explorer Sir Martin Frobisher dies of gangrene

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd November 1594, naval commander, privateer and explorer, Sir Martin Frobisher, died at Plymouth. He died of gangrene after having been shot in the thigh during hand-to-hand combat during a siege.

    Frobisher is best known for his three voyages in search of the Northwest Passage and his naval service during the 1588 Spanish Armada, for which he was knighted.

    Find out all about the life and career of this Tudor explorer in today’s talk.

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  • Quiz – Elizabeth I in movies and on TV

    As it was the anniversary of Elizabeth I’s accession this week, I thought we’d celebrate her reign once more with an Elizabeth I-themed quiz. This time, about portrayals of the queen in movies and on TV.

    Good luck!

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  • November 21 – John Bale, a churchman and playwright who courted controversy

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st November 1495, churchman, Protestant playwright, historian and Bishop of Ossory, John Bale was born in Suffolk.

    Bale wrote twenty-four plays, and a book on famous British writers, which is his most well-known work. His work on Protestant martyrs was also used by the famous martyrologist John Foxe.

    John Bale also courted controversy with his attacks on Catholics, and he spent a fair amount of time in exile.

    Find out all about this accomplished Tudor man in today’s talk.

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  • 20 November – Elizabeth I’s godson and his flush toilet

    On this day in history, 20th November 1612, in the reign of King James I, courtier and author Sir John Harington died.

    Why am I talking about a man who died in the Stuart period?

    Well, because he was Queen Elizabeth I’s godson and because during her reign he invented the Ajax, or “jakes”, England’s first flush toilet.

    Find out more about Sir John Harington and his flush toilet invention in today’s talk.

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  • Hever Castle – Roving Reporter

    In an exclusive visit, our roving reporter, Philippa Brewell, was able to go and film in Hever Castle, Kent.

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  • 19 November – Lord John Grey and how he escaped the axeman

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th November 1564, Lord John Grey, youngest son of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, died.

    He’s not the Lord John Grey of the wonderful Outlander series, but he is just as interesting.

    In Mary I’s reign, he was involved in a rebellion with his brothers, Lord Thomas Grey and Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, but unlike them was not executed.

    How did Lord John Grey escape execution? And why did he get into trouble again in Elizabeth I’s reign.

    Find out all about this Tudor lord in today’s talk.

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  • The Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society Tudor Calendar 2021

    Better late than never!

    Due to Covid restrictions, we’ve been unable to print our own calendars this year as we can’t get to our local printer or the post office at the moment, so we had to have a rethink. We’ve used Lulu.com’s print-on-demand service in the past, and were very happy with it, so we’ve gone back to that this year.

    So, here are the details of our 2021 Tudor Calendar…

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  • 18 November – A bishop ends his days in confinement

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th November 1559, Ralph Baynes (Baines), Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, died.

    Baynes had been actively involved in the persecutions of Protestants in Mary I’s reign, examining many well-known martyrs and featuring in John Foxe’s “Book of Martyrs”, but ended his days imprisoned in the home of Edmund Grindal, Bishop of London – why?

    Find out more about Ralph Baynes, his life and career, and how he came to be deprived of his bishopric and die the way he did, in today’s talk.

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  • Happy Accession Day! Enjoy some Elizabeth I resources

    As today is the anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, on 17th November 1558, I thought I’d share with you some links to Elizabeth I resources here on the Tudor Society website.

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  • 17 November – Elizabeth I’s accession

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th November 1558, twenty-five-year-old Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, became Queen Elizabeth I following the death of her half-sister, Queen Mary I.

    In today’s talk, I look at an alternative account of Elizabeth I’s words on her accession, one recorded by her godson, Sir John Harington. Hear Elizabeth I’s wonderful speech, which she used to motivate her supporters and to reassure those who’d served Mary I.

    I also look at Elizabeth’s words “This is the Lord’s doing…”, and note the importance of the previous line in the Psalm.

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  • 16 November – An Elizabethan earl and rebel who never learnt his lesson

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th November 1601, nobleman and rebel Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland, died while in exile at Nieuwpoort in Flanders.

    Westmorland had fled into exile following the failure of the Northern Rebellion, a plot to release Mary, Queen of Scots, from prison and to overthrow Elizabeth I. He didn’t learn his lesson, being involved in a further plot.

    The earl died a sad end in debt and separated from his wife and daughters, but it was his own fault.

    Find out more about the rebel northern earl in today’s talk.

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  • 15 November – A Princess of York

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th November 1527, a woman who called herself ““the excellent Princess Katherine, Countess of Devon, daughter, sister and aunt of kings”, died at Tiverton Castle in Devon.

    Katherine of York, Countess of Devon, daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, was just forty-nine when she died and had taken a vow of chastity after her husband’s death.

    In today’s talk, I give an overview of Henry VIII’s aunt’s life and explain why she took her vow of chastity. Find out all about her.

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  • Young Elizabeth I Wordsearch

    As this Tuesday, 17th November, is the anniversary of the accession of Elizabeth I, Gloriana and the Virgin Queen, I thought we’d celebrating by testing your knowledge of Elizabeth’s early life, her pre-accession days.

    Find the answers to the questions in this wordsearch and be warned: the words can go in any direction!

    Good luck!

    Simply click on the link or image below to open and print out.

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  • 14 November – Bad Signs for Culpeper and Lady Rochford

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th November 1541, an inventory was taken of “the goods and chattels, lands and fees of” Thomas Culpeper, a groom of King Henry VIII’s privy chamber and a man who had been having secret meetings with Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife.

    An inventory had also been taken of the possessions of Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, wife of the late George Boleyn, a woman who had allegedly helped the queen meet with Culpeper.

    But what was going on in November 1541 and what was listed in these inventories?

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  • 13 November – Murder by handgun in London

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th November 1536, mercer and member of Parliament Robert Packington (Pakington, Pakyngton) was shot to death by an unknown assailant while he was on his way to mass at St Thomas of Acre Chapel. He was shot with a wheellock pistol.

    Robert Packington has gone down in history as the first person in England to be killed by a handgun, but who killed him and why?

    Find out about Packington, his murder, and the theories regarding who ordered his murder, in today’s talk.

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  • Henry Machyn, the man and his diary

    One of my very favourite Tudor primary sources is the diary or chronicle of merchant-tailor Henry Machyn, who recorded events between 1550 and 1563.

    In this week’s Friday video, let me introduce you to Machyn and give you a bit of trivia about him, and explain how his diary started and how historians use it today.

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  • 12 November – Wily Winchester

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th November 1555, Mary I’s Lord Chancellor, Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, died. He was laid to rest at Winchester Cathedral in what is now known as the Bishop Gardiner Chantry Chapel.

    In today’s talk, I tell you about the life and career of “Wily Winchester”, a man who went from being a valued advisor to being imprisoned, and then got back into favour, crowned a queen and became Lord Chancellor! He led quite a life!

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  • The Feast of Martinmas

    Today is Martinmas, a feast day marked in medieval and Tudor times. Here is an extract from our November Feast Days page and our Tudor Feast Days ebook.

    11th November was the Feast of St Martin of Tours, a 4th century Hungarian born man who grew up in Pavia, Italy, and who knocked on the door of his local Christian church at the age of 10, begging to be made a catechumen, i.e. one who is receiving training in doctrine and discipline before baptism. Martin followed his father into the Roman army at the age of 15 and a story tells of how, when he was about eighteen years of age, he cut his woollen cloak in half with his sword and gave half to a beggar to keep him warm.

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