The Tudor Society
  • June 30 – Henry VIII and Catherine Howard set off on Progress

    Portraits of Henry VIII and his fifth wife Catherine Howard

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th June 1541, Henry VIII and his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, set off on their royal progress to the North.

    The main aims of the progress were to meet Henry’s nephew, King James V of Scotland, at York in September, and to show the king’s authority in the north, following the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion, and to humiliate his subjects with displays of submission from them.

    Here is my detailed video on this progress, which lasted from this day until the end of October, and was a huge undertaking with the whole royal court travelling from London as far north as York. It was on this progress that Catherine Howard had secret meetings with a member of her husband’s privy chamber, a certain Thomas Culpeper.

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  • June 29 – The Globe burns down

    On this day in history, 29th June 1613, in the reign of King James I, the Elizabethan playhouse, the Globe Theatre burned to the ground.

    The Globe, which had been built on Bankside in London in 1599 by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, William Shakespeare’s playing company, sadly perished due to a cannon misfiring and setting fire to the wooden beams and thatching during a performance of Shakespeare’s “Henry VIII”.
    It was rebuilt in 1614 but closed in 1642 and was demolished in 1644/5.

    In 1987, American director and actor, Sam Wanamaker, built a replica of the theatre, using records from 1599 and 1614, as a memorial to the original globe. Visitors today can enjoy its exhibition, which brings bring the Elizabethan world of Shakespeare to life, or watch a play there.

    Here’s a video from our archives with some photos I took when I visited The Globe a few years ago:

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  • June 28 – An execution in the reign of Henry VII

    Arms of Sir James Tuchet: Ermine, a chevron gules

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th June 1497, in the reign of King Henry VII, Sir James Tuchet, 7th Baron Audley, was executed.

    Audley was one of the commanders of the Cornish Rebellion, which had been caused by the king’s new legislation regarding tin mining and heavy taxation to fund his Scottish campaign.

    The rebellion had been initially led by blacksmith Michael Joseph and lawyer Thomas Flamank. Audley joined them as they marched through Somerset.

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  • June 27 – William Bradbridge, Bishop of Exeter

    Exeter Cathedral Chour

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th June 1578, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, seventy-one-year-old William Bradbridge, Bishop of Exeter, died at Newton Ferrers in Devon. He was buried on the north side of Exeter Cathedral choir.

    Bradbridge was about sixty-three when he was appointed, making him one of the oldest men to be made a bishop in Elizabeth’s reign.

    As well as his religious work, Bradbridge enjoyed farming.

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  • June 26 – Sir Edmund Carew

    A silhouette of a man's side profile

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th June 1513, in the reign of King Henry VIII, landowner, administrator and soldier Sir Edmund Carew was buried in the church of St Nicholas in Calais.

    Carew, who was about 49, was killed while serving as master of the ordnance in Henry VIII’s 1513 French campaign. The English force had pitched their tents a mile outside the town of Therouanne and chronicler Edward Hall records what happened next…

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  • Monday Martyr – The mysterious fall of Blessed Adrian Fortescue

    A painting of Fortescue located at the Collegio di San Paolo in Rabat, Malta

    This week’s Monday martyr is a courtier whose fall is shrouded in mystery.

    Sir Adrian Fortescue was beheaded at Tower Hill on 9th or 10th July 1539.*

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  • June 25 – Catherine of Aragon and Prince Henry get betrothed

    A portrait of a woman thought to be Catherine of Aragon by Michael Sittow

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th June 1503, seventeen-year old Catherine of Aragon became betrothed to the nearly twelve-year old Prince Henry, second son of King Henry VII.

    Catherine had been widowed in April 1502 when her husband, Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, eldest son of Henry VII, died. The king was keen to keep hold of her dowry so negotiated with her parents, Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, for her to marry his second son.

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  • June 24 – Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

    A portrait of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

    On this day in history, 24th June 1604, in the reign of King James I, courtier and poet, Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, died at the age of 54.

    Here are a few facts about Oxford, and you can view my video on him below:

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  • June 23 – Mathematician and physician Thomas Hood

    A silhouette of a man's side profile

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd June 1556, mathematician and physician Thomas Hood was baptised at St Leonard Eastcheap.

    In 1588, Hood was invited to become Mathematical Lecturer to the City of London after Elizabeth I’s privy council decided, following the Spanish Armada, that military officers and naval commanders should have a better knowledge of mathematics. He lectured until 1592.

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  • June 22 – The execution of John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester

    A sketch of Bishop John Fisher by Hans Holbein the Younger.

    On 22nd June 1535, John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, was beheaded on Tower Hill.

    Fisher, who had served Henry VIII’s grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was executed for treason for refusing to accept Henry VIII as the supreme head of the church.

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  • June 21 – Henry VIII travels to the Tower of London

    A portrait of Henry VIII from 1509 by Meynnart WewyckOn this day in Tudor history, 21st June 1509, England’s new king, the nearly 18-year-old Henry VIII, travelled from Greenwich to the Tower of London.

    Chronicler Edward Hall recorded:

    On the 21st day of this month of June, the king came from Greenwich to the Tower, over London Bridge, and so by Grace Church, with whom came many a well appareled gentleman, but in especial the Duke of Buckingham, which had a gowne all of goldsmithes work, very costly.

    It was traditional for monarchs to stay at the Tower of London, where they would create Knights of the Bath, before their coronations. Henry and his new bride, Catherine of Aragon, were due to process through the streets of London to Westminster on 23rd June, and their coronation would take place on 24th.

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  • June 20 – Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland dies of a gunshot wound

    Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland (c.1532-1585) by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, a posthumous three-quarter length portrait

    On this day in Tudor history, the night of 20th/21st June 1585, Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland, died at the Tower of London.

    Northumberland was found dead in bed with a gunshot wound and on 23rd June an inquest in the Star Chamber ruled that he had committed suicide. However, it was rumoured by Catholics that he had been murdered by Sir Christopher Hatton on the orders of Elizabeth I’s government. They claimed that he had been shot in the chest three times, which was not consistent with suicide.

    Northumberland had been imprisoned in the Tower in January 1584 for his Catholic beliefs and his involvement in plots to do with Mary, Queen of Scots. He was laid to rest in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower.

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  • Monday Martyr – Robert or Roger Ashton: martyred for a dispensation?

    The Tyburn Tree, the gallows at Tyburn

    This week’s Monday Martyr is Robert or Roger Ashton.
    In his 18th century book, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, Bishop Richard Challoner states that Robert (also referred to as Roger) Ashton was born in Croston in Lancashire and that he was executed at Tyburn on 23rd June 1592, in the reign of Elizabeth I, for “procuring a dispensation from Rome to marry his second cousin”. However, that may not be the only reason.

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  • June 19 – Mary, Queen of Scots has a son

    A painting of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her son, James VI of Scotland, James I of England

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th June 1566, Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to a son at Edinburgh Castle. He was her only son and he was fathered by her second husband, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley.

    The little boy was baptised Charles James in a Catholic service on 17th December 1566 at Stirling Castle. The name Charles was in honour of his godfather, Charles IX of France, Mary’s former brother-in-law, but he was known as James, after his grandfather, James V, and the other Stewart kings.

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  • June 18 – Catherine of Aragon appears at the Legatine Court

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th June 1529, Catherine of Aragon made her first appearance at the special legatine court which had opened at Blackfriars on 31st May to hear Henry VIII’s case for an annulment of their marriage.

    The couple had been summoned to appear on 18th, but only Catherine appeared, Henry sent proxies.

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  • June 17 – Sir George Blage

    A silhouette of a man's side profile

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th June 1551, in the reign of King Edward VI, Sir George Blage (Blagge), courtier, diplomat, poet and good friend of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, died at Stanmore in Middlesex. He is known for the Blage Manuscript, in which he collected the poetry of friends such as Wyatt.

    In Henry VIII’s reign, Blage carried out diplomatic missions, was a member of the king’s privy chamber and fought in the king’s 1543-45 French campaign. He also served as Chief Steward and Bailiff of Maidstone, and Comptroller of the Petty Custom of London, and as a member of Parliament.

    Blage was of the reformed faith and was arrested in July 1546 after he was heard denouncing the mass. Blage was condemned to death but, fortunately, was pardoned by Henry VIII.

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  • June 16 – Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton

    On this day in history, 16th June 1614, author, courtier and administrator Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, died at his house in Charing Cross. He died of gangrene after an operation on a tumour on his thigh.

    Northampton, who was the son of poet and courtier Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, and grandson of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, is known for his learning and intelligence, but also for his alleged involvement in the Overbury scandal.

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  • June 15 – Henry Fitzroy

    Miniature of Henry Fitzroy by Lucas Horenbout

    The 15th June 1519 is the traditional birthdate of Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, although the 18th is a more likely date.

    Fitzroy’s mother, Elizabeth Blount, known as Bessie Blount, was serving as one of Catherine of Aragon’s maids of honour when she was noticed by the king and became his mistress. After it was found that she was pregnant, she was sent to the Priory of St Lawrence, in Blackmore, Essex, by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey before her pregnancy became visible.

    Bessie’s baby boy was baptised at the chapel at Blackmore with Cardinal Wolsey acting as godfather.

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  • June 14 – William Peto becomes a cardinal and papal legate

    Painting of William Peto from the Church of Ognissanti, Florence

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th June 1557, William Peto was made cardinal and papal legate, replacing Reginald Pole.

    During Henry VIII’s Great Matter, Friar Peto served Catherine of Aragon and Princess Mary as confessor. On Easter Sunday 1531, he angered King Henry VIII when he preached a sermon comparing Henry VIII to King Ahab and Anne Boleyn to Jezebel. He warned the king to act to avoid Ahab’s unhappy end and to avoid the dogs licking up his blood as they had Ahab’s.

    In 1547, while Henry VIII’s coffin was resting at Syon, it was said that liquid dripped out of it and that dogs did indeed lick it up.

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  • June 13 – George Neville, 3rd Baron Bergavenny

    Sketch of George Neville, 3rd Baron Bergavenny, by Hans Holbein the Younger

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th June 1535, or possibly 14th, Tudor courtier and nobleman, George Neville, 3rd Baron Bergavenny, died at his home at Eridge in Sussex.
    He fell from favour after the fall of his father-in-law, the Duke of Buckingham, in 1521, but managed to rise again.

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  • Monday Martyr – A botched beheading: Margaret Pole’s execution

    This week’s #MondayMartyr is Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, who was beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII as a Catholic martyr.

    She was executed in 1541 in what was a truly awful botched execution, and for a crime she did not commit…

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  • June 12 – Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich

    A preparatory sketch of Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, by Hans Holbein the Younger

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th June 1567, Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, died at Rochford.

    Rich served Edward VI as Lord Chancellor and Mary I as a privy councillor, but he is mainly known for his involvement in the cases of Sir Thomas More and Protestant martyr Anne Askew.

    As solicitor general, in 1535, Rich was involved in prosecuting his former friend and colleague, Sir Thomas More. He interviewed More at the Tower and reported at his trial that More had denied the royal supremacy. This was enough to convict More.

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  • June 11- Sir Anthony Cooke of Gidea Hall

    The Cooke Memorial, St Edward's Church, Romford

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th June 1576, seventy-year-old humanist and educator Sir Anthony Cooke of Gidea Hall in Essex died.

    Cooke, who served in Henry VIII’s bodyguard and privy chamber, is more known for his role in education. He educated his daughters, who included Mildred Cecil, Anne Bacon, Catherine Killigrew and Elizabeth Hoby, to a high standard, teaching them Latin and Greek, and probably also modern languages and Hebrew. They were all noted for their scholarship.

    Although Anthony Cooke doesn’t appear in the records as a formal royal tutor, it does appear that he was involved in the young king’s education, possibly in an advisory or guiding role.

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  • June 10 – Two Carthusian monks are starved to death

    A painting of the imprisoned Carthusian monks

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th June 1537, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Blessed Thomas Green and Blessed Walter Pierson, two Carthusian monks from London Charterhouse, died in Newgate Prison from starvation. They were two out of nine monks who were purposely starved to death for refusing to accept the royal supremacy.

    A total of eighteen Carthusian monks were killed between May 1535 and August 1540. Some were hanged, drawn and quartered, some were hanged in chains and some were starved to death. They were all punished for refusing to accept Henry VIII as supreme head of the Church. All eighteen have been recognised by the Catholic Church as martyrs.

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  • June 9 – William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon

    Arms of William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, at Tiverton Church

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th June 1511, in the reign of Henry VIII, William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, died of pleurisy at Greenwich. He was buried at Blackfriars, London, with the honours due an earl, even though he hadn’t been officially invested yet.

    Courtenay was Henry VIII’s uncle, having married Katherine of York, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, and sister of Henry’s mother, Elizabeth of York.

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  • June 8 – Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, Mary, hopes for a reconciliation with her father

    A portrait of Mary I from 1544 by Master John

    On this day in Tudor history, 8 June 1536, Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, Mary, wrote to her father in hope of a reconciliation now that her stepmother, Anne Boleyn, was dead.

    Mary had been out of favour due to her refusal to accept the annulment of her parents’ marriage, her father’s supremacy and her status as illegitimate. She believed that Anne Boleyn was solely to blame for her troubles, writing that she understood that the king had “forgiven all her offences and withdrawn his displeasure”.

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  • June 7 – A queen’s physician is executed

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th June 1594, Elizabeth I’s physician, Roderigo Lopez (Lopes), was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn after being accused by the Earl of Essex of conspiring with Spanish officials to poison the queen.

    Portuguese Lopez settled in London in 1559. He was a physician at St Bart’s and then to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, before moving into Elizabeth’s employ.

    In 1584, a Catholic tract attacking Leicester accused Lopez of poisoning, but it wasn’t true. However, he made an enemy of Essex after he told Spanish officials details of Essex’s health.

    The charges against Lopez appear to be false. He maintained his innocence, and the queen seemed unsure of his guilt. It didn’t save him, though.

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  • Catherine of Aragon – The Case for Non-consummation by Amanda Glover

    Portraits of Catherine of Aragon and Arthur Tudor

    Portraits of Catherine of Aragon and Arthur TudorThank you to Amanda Glover for writing this guest article for us on the question of whether Catherine of Aragon's marriage to Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, was consummated.

    The story

    More than 500 years ago two teenagers married. Only four and a half months later the boy sadly died. Since then, historians have hotly debated whether the marriage was ever consummated.

    The girl was called Catalina, known in England as Catherine of Aragon, and the boy was Arthur, Prince of Wales, heir to the fledgling dynasty of the Tudors.

    But why was the question of the consummation so important?

    When Arthur died so tragically young, his ten-year-old brother, Henry became the heir to his father’s crown. In 1509, eight years after Arthur’s demise, the 17-year-old Henry ascended the throne as Henry VIII on the death of his father, Henry VII. One of his first acts was to marry Catherine, having obtained Papal dispensation, a necessity in the eyes of the Church because of Catherine’s first marriage to Arthur, which made the new couple “related”.

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  • June 6 – Musician William Hunnis

    Title page of A Hyve Full of Hunnye by William Hunnis

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th June 1597, Tudor musician William Hunnis died.

    Hunnis died a natural death, although he had been involved in a plot against the Crown in Mary I’s reign.

    Here are some facts about William Hunnis:

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  • Monday Martyr – Protestant Thomas Hawkes

    Thomas Hawkes clapping his hands above his head in an illustration from John Foxe's Book of Martyrs

    his week’s Monday Martyr is Thomas Hawkes who was burnt at the stake on 10th June 1555, in the reign of Queen Mary I, at Coggeshall in Essex.

    Hawkes ended up being brought before the Earl of Oxford because he hadn’t had his son baptised, because, as martyrologist John Foxe records, “he would not suffer him to be baptised after the popish manner”. The earl referred Hawkes on to Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London, who, with others also questioned Hawkes on his beliefs regarding the mass, the sacrament, the holy creed, holy water and other Catholic practices. These he also rejected, stating that they were contrary to the word of God.

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