The Tudor Society
  • 31 August – The Bloody Flux and a burning

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st August 1545, a contagious disease known as the ‘Bloody flux’ hit the port of Portsmouth, killing many of the men serving on the ships in its port.

    But what was the Bloody Flux? What were its symptoms and why did it kill so many soldiers and sailors?

    Find out about the disease, famous victims of the Bloody Flux, and how it is still affecting people today…

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  • 30 August – A treaty and Catherine Parr gives birth

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th August 1525, the Treaty of the More was agreed between King Henry VIII of England and Louise of Savoy, who was acting as regent for her son, King Francis I of France, while he was imprisoned by imperial forces.

    Why was Francis in prison? What were the terms of the Treaty of the More? How did this treaty affect Henry VIII’s daughter, Mary? And what happened next.

    Find out all about the Treaty of the More and its consequences…

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  • Rioghnach O’Geraghty – In Memoriam

    It is with a sad heart that we must write this post. Sadly, Rioghnach O’Geraghty passed away a few days ago in her home in South Australia.

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  • The Pole Family Crossword Puzzle

    As today is the anniversary of the arrest of Geoffrey Pole in 1538, I thought I’d test your knowledge of the Pole family, an important family in Tudor England.

    How much do you know about the Poles?

    Find out!

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  • 29 August – St John the Baptist and Geoffrey Pole

    Today, 29th August, is the Feast of the beheading of St John the Baptist. Lovely!

    In this video, I share the story behind this Tudor holy day, a story which is often depicted in illuminations in manuscripts and psalters.

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  • 28 August – Robert Dudley’s last letter to Elizabeth and Mary receives an unwelcome visit

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th August 1588, an ailing Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wrote his final letter to his queen and childhood friend, Elizabeth I. He wrote it while on his way to Buxton, in Derbyshire, to take the waters for his health.

    The letter is very special because Elizabeth labelled it “His Last Letter” and kept it close by her until her own death in 1603.

    In this video, I share a transcript of Robert Dudley’s last letter, and talk about Elizabeth I’s reaction to his subsequent death.

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  • 27 August – Two Tudor battles

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th August 1557, St Quentin was stormed by English and Imperial forces. Admiral de Coligny and his French troops, numbering only a thousand, were overcome by around 60,000 soldiers, and St Quentin fell. Henry Dudley, the youngest son of the late John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, was killed by a cannonball during the storming.

    Find out about the siege and battle, and what happened next…

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  • The Most Dangerous Place in England – Norham Castle – Julian Humphrys

    For today’s video, we have our battlefields expert, Julian, telling us about Norham Castle, situated right on the border between England and Scotland. Not a safe place to be!

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  • 26 August – A devastated Mary I and Anne Boleyn prepares to give birth

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th August 1555, Queen Mary I and her husband, Philip of Spain, departed from Whitehall in preparation for Philip’s return to the Low Countries.

    This was an awful time for Mary I. She had just come out of confinement after months of believing she was pregnant, and now her husband was leaving her. He’d be gone for over 18 months.

    Find out more about Mary’s state of health and mind, the arrangements for Philip’s departure, and Mary’s reaction…

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  • September 2021 – Star Crossed Lovers

    Tragic Tudor romances are always fascinating to learn about, and we’ve dedicated this months magazine to this topic. Romeo and Juliet always come to mind when you mention star crossed lovers but there are so many more real-life couples to learn about.

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  • 25 August – A uncle of queens and Kett’s Rebellion

    On this day in history, 25th August 1554, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, magnate, soldier and uncle of Queens Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, died of natural causes at his home of Kenninghall in Norfolk. He was laid to rest in St Michael’s Church, Framlingham, Suffolk.

    Find out more about this important Tudor man, and how he escaped the axe-man and died at a good age in his bed…

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  • Virtual Exhibitions – The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570

    The Met Museum has a virtual tour of their Medici exhibition. This stunning exhibition features over 90 works in a wide range of mediums, from paintings, sculptural busts, medals, and carved gemstones to drawings, etchings, manuscripts, and armour.

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  • 24 August – Cecily of York and an awful massacre

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th August 1507, Cecily of York, Viscountess Welles, died at Hatfield in Hertfordshire. She was buried at “the friars”.

    Cecily was, of course, the daughter of King Edward IV and his queen consort, Elizabeth Woodville, and the sister of Elizabeth of York and the Princes in the Tower, but there’s far more to her than that.

    Did you know that she married without permission and had to be sheltered by Lady Margaret Beaufort?

    Find out all about Cecily of York’s life…

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  • 23 August – A siege and a courtier goes all out to impress

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd August 1548, Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury, arrived at the Siege of Haddington, in East Lothian, Scotland, with a large army. This siege was part of the Anglo-Scottish war known as the War of the Rough Wooing between England and Scotland., regarding Henry VIII’s desire to marry his son, Edward, off to Mary, Queen of Scots.

    What happened at this siege and to Haddington after it?

    Find out…

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  • 22 August – John Dudley’s execution and the Battle of Bosworth

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd August 1553, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, was beheaded on Tower Hill for his part in putting his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey, on the throne. Northumberland's friends and supporters, Sir John Gates and Sir Thomas Palmer, were also executed.

    Northumberland was actually scheduled to die the previous day and the crowd turned up to see, the scaffold was prepared and even the executioner was ready... but, instead, the duke was taken to church.


    Find out why and also hear a contemporary account of the duke's execution...

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  • Battle of Bosworth Quiz

    Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth. The battle took place on 22nd August 1485 and was between the forces of King Richard III and Henry Tudor. Henry’s forces defeated those of Richard, and Henry became King Henry VII.

    Test your knowledge of the battle with this fun quiz and scroll down for more resources on the battle.

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  • 21 August – A sad end for a bishop and the Inventor of Britain

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st August 1536, two months after he was forced to resign his bishopric, Robert Sherborne (Sherborn), former Bishop of Chichester, died at Chichester. He was buried in the cathedral there.

    He was around 82 years of age and it seems a sad end to a man who had done his best to keep his bishopric in order and to serve his king and country.

    Find out more about Robert Sherborne, Bishop of Chichester, and what led to his forced resignation…

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  • Bloody Mary: Live!

    This play looks like it's going to be a fun one! Bloody Mary: LIVE! will play from August 24-September 5, 2021 in performance and bar space The Treehouse as part of Assembly Festival Garden for the Coventry City of Culture 2021 (UK).

    © Ashley Garrett Photography

    The show features Mary Tudor, as a teenager, performing a stand-up set to explain why she burned all those people at the stake. In her set, she confesses what it was like to be the daughter of Henry VIII, to watch her parents go through the worst divorce and to grow up a little bit jealous of her younger sister Elizabeth I. This biting new play is written and performed by Olivia Miller and was shortlisted for the 2020 Les Enfants Terribles Award.

    Performance Details

    Location: The Treehouse, Assembly Festival Garden, Coventry
    Prices: Concessions - £7, Early Bird - £9, Standard - £10
    Dates & Times: August 24-September 5, 20:30 daily
    Running time: 1 hour
    COVID safety: Open air bar

  • Did Elizabeth of York really have an affair with Richard III?

    Thank you to Şebnem for asking “Did Elizabeth of York really have an affair with Richard III?”, something which has been popularised by the “Cousins’ War” series of novels by Philippa Gregory and the TV adaptations of them.

    Is there any truth to this idea? Was Elizabeth of York in love with Richard III? Did Richard and his niece become lovers? And did Richard III poison Anne Neville, his queen?

    I look at what history tells us about Elizabeth of York and her uncle, Richard III.

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  • 20 August – A proxy wedding for James VI and England gives thanks

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th August 1589, twenty-three-year-old King James VI of Scotland married fourteen-year-old Anne of Denmark by proxy at Kronborg Castle, Helsingør, Denmark.

    James had chosen Anne of Denmark as his bride after praying and meditating over portraits of her and Catherine of Navarre, and Anne was very excited about marrying him. Unfortunately, married bliss didn’t last long.

    Find out more about the proxy wedding, Anne’s eventful voyage, their real wedding and their married life…

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  • Hans Holbein’s Portrait of Queen Catherine Howard? by Roland Hui

    A big thank you to our resident art historian, Roland Hui, for this excellent article on a Tudor miniature by Hans Holbein the Younger which is causing controversy at the moment.

    Over to Roland…

    In an essay on the portraiture of Henry VIII’s six wives, art historian Brett Dolman offered the depressing, but sobering, opinion that pictures of one of them, Catherine Howard, may not even exist:

    “Catherine left no documentary proof that her portrait was ever painted during her lifetime, and perhaps, we are searching for the impossible.”…

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  • Tudor History Challenge XI

    I’ve just published this video on the Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society YouTube Channel to celebrate reaching 60,000 subscribers and thought Tudor Society members would enjoy playing along.

    Can you beat Tim?

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  • 19 August – A defiant Mary I and the return of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th August 1551, Princess Mary, the future Mary I, wrote to her half-brother King Edward VI regarding orders that he had sent, orders that she was not going to obey.

    As historian Henry Ellis noted, this letter is evidence of Mary’s talent at writing and her intellect, and it also shows just how stubborn she could be. But then Edward was stubborn too! He wasn’t going to let his sister defy him but she wasn’t going to obey him and compromise her faith – oh dear!

    Find out more about the situation, and hear Mary’s words to Edward…

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  • 18 August – John Dudley and Virginia Dare

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th August 1553, less than a month after his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey or Queen Jane, had been overthrown by Queen Mary I, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, was tried for treason at Westminster Hall in London.

    During his trial, Northumberland pointed out that it couldn’t be treason to be acting by royal warrant and that some of those judging him had acted under the same warrant, but it did him no good.

    Find out what happened at his trial, what his reaction was to his sentence, and what happened to William Parr, Marquess of Northampton, and John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, who were tried with him…

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  • 17 August – Sweating sickness kills a humanist scholar, and Dudley and Empson the Scapegoats

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th August 1517, Italian humanist scholar, cleric and poet, Andreas Ammonius died in London from sweating sickness. He was laid to rest at St Stephen’s, Westminster.

    Ammonius had also served Henry VIII as his Latin secretary and was a great friend of the famous humanist scholar, Erasmus. Find out more about Ammonius and the sweating sickness epidemic which caused his death…

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  • August Feast Days and Martyrs Crossword Puzzle

    Apologies for being a day late with the weekly quiz, but better late than never!

    This week, we’re testing your knowledge of August Feast Days and people who were martyred in August – a cheerful subject!

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

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  • 16 August – A family’s sacrifice and the Battle of Spurs

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th August 1599, soldier and Lord President of Munster in Ireland, Sir Thomas Norris, died at his home, Mallow Castle, in Cork, as a result of an injury he’d sustained in a skirmish with Irish troops on 30th May 1599. His brother, Henry, died just five days later. Thomas’s brothers, John, William and Maximilian, who were also soldiers, died in 1597, 1579 and 1593 respectively.

    Queen Elizabeth I recognised the sacrifice of this family and wrote a letter of condolence to her friends, Henry Norris, 1st Baron Norris, and his wife, Margery Williams. Find out what she wrote to the grieving couple…

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  • 15 August – The Oaten Hill Martyrs and a lady-in-waiting who was attacked by Elizabeth I

    On his day in Tudor history, 15th August 1588, Catholics Robert Wilcox, Edward Campion, Christopher Buxton and Robert Widmerpool were examined while imprisoned in the Marshalsea prison in Southwark, London.

    These men ended up being executed, three of them for being Catholic priests and one for giving aid to priests. All four died with courage and in 1929 were beatified.

    Find out more about these men and how they came to be executed in this video…

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  • 14 August – William Parr and Margaret Pole

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th August 1513, William Parr, Marquess of Northampton and brother of Queen Catherine Parr, was born.

    William Parr is a fascinating man. He had a wonderful court career, his first wife eloped and left him, his divorce was granted and then rescinded, he was imprisoned in the Tower but then released, his marital happiness was rather shortlived… but he died a natural death!

    Find out more about William Parr…

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  • 13 August – Irish friars come to a sad end and a proxy wedding for Mary Tudor

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

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th August 1579, Roman Catholics Friar Conn, or Connatius, O’Rourke and Patrick O’Healy, Bishop of Mayo, were hanged just outside Kilmallock, co. Limerick.

    So desperate was Sir William Drury, Lord President of Munster, to get rid of these two Catholics, that he used martial law to find them guilty of treason, rather than giving them a trial.

    Find out why, what Drury did to poor Bishop O’Healey, and what happened to their remains afterwards, in this video…

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