The Tudor Society
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 24 May

    A still of Anne Askew from The Tudors series, a portrait of Robert Cecil and an illustration of a monstrous child from a broadside ballad

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th May, Anne Askew and her husband were ordered to appear in front of the king’s council; a “monstrous child” was born in Chichester; and Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and Elizabeth I’s former Secretary of State, died…

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  • Witness Dramatic Clash of Lances as Leeds Castle Hosts The Queen’s Joust

    Leeds Castle will resound to the thunder of hooves and the clash of lances on shields over the May Bank Holiday weekend as it hosts The Queen’s Joust (25th – 27th May).

    Leeds Castle as it used to be!

    Travel back in time to a world of medieval knights and chivalry. Enjoy exhilarating displays of combat and action, elegant and exciting equestrianism, and medieval living and feasting.

    Competing over three days for the coveted Leeds Castle International Cup, a team of skilled fighters from France will battle against brave competitors from England.

    One of the stars of the English team is Emma Pearn. Emma saw her first jousting tournament when she was eight years old. She decided she wanted to become a jouster on that day. After years of training martial arts, fencing, and riding, she is now one of England's fiercest competitors.

    Gasp at the first crash of lances, cheer as your favourite knight gallops past, and watch as the combatants battle it out for the coveted cup, and for the honour and attention of the queen.

    Points will be accumulated across all three days, with the cup and prize of the queen being awarded to the highest scoring team. The tournament consists of four challenging events, each demonstrating strength and ability and, for the first-time, visitors can witness two jousts at 1pm and 3.30pm each day.

    In addition to the feats of strength and skill, all-day encampments offer a fascinating insight into 15th century trades and activities including blacksmithing forge, medieval food and drink, coin-minting, tailor’s workshop, weaving and spinning.

    This event is included with a Leeds Castle general admission ticket, best prices available in advance online.

    The daily programme of events

    Medieval Music & Dance - 10.30am, 2pm & 4.15pm
    Meet the Knights & Foot Combat - 11am
    The Joust - 1pm
    Arming the Knight - 2.30pm
    The Joust - 3.30pm

    How to get your tickets

    Online admission prices: Adult (16+) £31.50, Child £22.50, Family £74. For details and to book, visit www.leeds-castle.com . Leeds Castle, Broomfield, Maidstone ME17 1PL. T: 01622 765 400 E: [email protected].

    About Leeds Castle, Kent

    Leeds Castle is considered a national treasure, providing a window onto over nine hundred years of British history. It is a haven of tranquillity and offers a wealth of discovery and enjoyment for all ages.

    Situated five miles southeast of Maidstone in Kent, Leeds Castle’s rich and riveting history, including serving six of England’s medieval queens, to its elaborate transformation into a glamorous 1930s country house retreat for the influential and famous by Anglo-American heiress, Lady Olive Baillie, secures its place as one of the most visited historic attractions in Britain.

    The Castle and its estate is preserved and maintained by the Leeds Castle Foundation, a not-for-profit charity.

  • The Men Behind the Throne – Zoom Discussion on Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

    The Men Behind the Throne logo

    As part of my forthcoming event, The Men Behind the Throne: Tudor Statesmen, I’m running a zoom video discussion on Archbishop Thomas Cranmer this Sunday. I love doing these informal discussions as they’re a great way to get to know each other before the event and an hour of Tudor talk with like-minded people is bliss.

    There are still places left on The Men Behind the Throne, which is a completely online event and interactive too, and there’s an early bird discount until 31st May.

    [Read More...]
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 23 May

    Portraits of a young Elizabeth I, Henry VIII and Archbishop Cranmer

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd May, Henry Grey was finally installed as a Knight of the Garter; Elizabeth (future Elizabeth I) arrived as Woodstock, where she was to be kept under house arrest; and Henry VIII’s first marriage was finally annulled…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 22 May

    Portrait of Edward Seymour and statue of John Forest

    On This day in Tudor history, 22nd May, Edward Seymour, brother of Queen Jane Seymour, was sworn in as a privy councillor; Franciscan friar John Forest was burnt at the stake; and four men, including the Earls of Hertford and Surrey, were installed as Knights of the Garter…

    [Read More...]
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 21 May

    Portraits of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk and Philip II of Spain, and an engraving of William Tyndale

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st May, courtier, magnate and soldier Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, died; Philip II of Spain, consort of Mary I, was born in Valladolid, Spain; and Bible translator William Tyndale was arrested…

    [Read More...]
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 20 May

    Portrait of Bishop John Fisher

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th May, the pope made the imprisoned Bishop John Fisher a cardinal; Henry VIII and Jane Seymour became betrothed; and Matthew Hamont was burnt at the stake for heresy in Norwich…

    [Read More...]
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 19 May

    Photo of the White Tower and a miniature of Anne Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, Queen Anne Boleyn was executed at the Tower of London; Henry VIII was issued a dispensation to marry wife number 3, the future Elizabeth I was released from the Tower of London into house arrest; and it’s the Feast of St Dunstan…

    [Read More...]
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 18 May

    Photo of stained glass windows of Catherine Woodville and her second husband Jasper Tudor at Cardiff Castle, by Wolfgang Sauber

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th May, Catherine Woodville, Duchess of Buckingham and Bedford, sister of Elizabeth Woodville, died, and scholar William Thomas was executed for treason after being implicated in Wyatt’s Rebellion…

    [Read More...]
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 17 May

    Portraits of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, and Anthony Bacon

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th May, Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, was executed for treason; five men were executed as traitors for their involvement with Queen Anne Boleyn; and Elizabethan spy Anthony Bacon was buried…

    [Read More...]
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 16 May

    Portraits of Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th May, Sir Thomas More resigned as Lord Chancellor; Archbishop Cranmer visited an imprisoned Queen Anne Boleyn; Mary, Queen of Scots, landed on English soil; and William Adams, the inspiration for Shōgun’s John Blackthrone, died…

    [Read More...]
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 15 May

    Portraits of Mary, Queen of Scots and the Earl of Bothwell

    On this day in Tudor history, Queen Anne Boleyn and her brother, George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, were tried for high treason; Baron Darcy and Baron Hussey were tried for treason; and Mary, Queen of Scots married for a third time…

    [Read More...]
  • The Men Behind the Throne: Tudor Statesmen – Online Event – Register Now

    The Men Behind the Throne logo

    I’ve just opened registration for my forthcoming online event “The Men Behind the Throne: Tudor Statesmen”! There’s an early bird discount until 31 May and our very first zoom call discussion, which is on Thomas Cromwell, is this Friday, 17th May!

    In my interactive and completely online 11-day event, which starts properly on 30th June, I’ll be joined by historians Dr Joanne Paul, Caroline Angus, Melita Thomas, Phil Roberts and Dr Hannah Coates. We’ll be delving into the captivating lives of the Tudor statesmen who shaped England’s history alongside iconic rulers like Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I.

    Through video talks and zoom Q&A sessions with speakers – where you’ll be video chatting with the historian! – you’ll gain a fresh understanding of the roles and contributions of prominent Tudor statesmen, and insights into the political landscape of Tudor England, including court intrigues, power struggles, and the dynamics between monarchs and their advisors.

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 14 May

    Portrait of Henry VIII

    On this day in Tudor history, Henry VIII was suffering badly with his legs; the Creeping Parliament was held by James VI’s regent, the Earl of Lennox; and Lady Helena Gorges (née Snakenborg) was buried in Salisbury Cathedral…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 13 May

    A portrait of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th May, Mary Tudor, dowager Queen of France, married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk; Henry Percy denied a precontract with Queen Anne Boleyn; and Mary, Queen of Scots’ forces were defeated in battle…

    [Read More...]
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 12 May

    Portraits of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and Martin Luther

    On this day in Tudor history, Cardinal Wolsey presided over a book burning; four men were tried for sleeping with and plotting with Queen Anne Boleyn; Baron Hussey was charged with treason; and a friar refused to recant his allegiance to Rome…

    [Read More...]
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 11 May

    Carthusian monks

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th May, Henry VIII flung accusations at the clergy; the Grand Jury of Kent met in the fall of Anne Boleyn; two Carthusian monks were hanged in chains; and royal physician Dr Thomas Wendy died…

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  • The Intriguing Tradition of Proxy Weddings

    Proxy wedding thumbnail

    Join me as I delve into the fascinating world of proxy weddings, from historical royal unions to modern-day ceremonies. Discover the story behind Marie de Guise and King James V of Scotland’s proxy wedding, a common practice for diplomatic unions among European ruling houses.

    Learn about notable proxy marriages throughout history, including Catherine of Aragon and Arthur Tudor, Margaret Tudor and King James IV of Scotland, and Princess Mary Tudor and King Louis XII of France. Uncover the unique customs and rituals associated with these proxy weddings, from symbolic gestures to mock consummations.

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 10 May

    Portraits of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th May, a special court met to rule on Henry VIII’s Great Matter; the Grand Jury of Middlesex met to decide on whether Queen Anne Boleyn and five courtiers should be tried; the Duke of Norfolk’s secretary committed suicide; and an expedition to find the Northeast Passage set off…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 9 May

    A portrait of Marie de Guise

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th May, Henry VII’s remains were taken to St Paul’s Cathedral; James V of Scotland and Marie de Guise were married by proxy; and William Bradford, founder of the Plymouth Colony, died…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 8 May

    Portrait of Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th May, herald and chronicler Charles Wriothesley was born; there was war panic in London; and Elizabeth I gave her approval to the Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy…

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  • Shardlake – Dissolution by C J Sansom

    Shardlake video thumbnail

    Tim and I have just finished watching the new series “Shardlake” on Disney+. It’s based on C J Sansom’s historical novel, “Dissolution”, the first of his Shardlake series featuring 16th century lawyer and sleuth Matthew Shardlake.

    It’s a series of books we’ve both enjoyed so we thought Tim could share his review of the book and then we’d have an off-the-cuff chat about the series…

    [Read More...]
  • Acton Court – Tours and events booking now

    Acton Court will open to the public 29 May to 30 June 2024 for self-guided audio tours and events.

    Admission gives access to the grounds, the Royal Apartments, the ground floor area and any activities that may be taking place on the day. Audio guides plus visual and written information will be provided. [Read More...]

  • New Play – The Nine Day Queen

    We've been sent a message from Itchy Feet Theatre, a fresh and young theatre company. They have created a new play, The Nine-Day Queen, which some might be interested in going to support. It will be performed at The Barons Court Theatre, London, from the 14th-19th of May. The play starts at 7.30pm and tickets are still available. [Read More...]

  • #OTD in Tudor history – 7 May

    Bishop John Fisher

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th May, an imprisoned Bishop John Fisher was tricked into saying something that would lead to his execution; Queen Anne Boleyn’s chaplain was searched; English troops suffered heavy losses at the Siege of Leith; and the Earl of Bothwell got divorced…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 6 May

    Title page of The Great Bible and a portrait of Henry VIII

    On this day in history, Edmund Beaufort was executed, bringing the male Beaufort line to an end; Sir James Tyrell, a man who allegedly confessed to murdering the Princes in the Tower, was executed; Anne Boleyn allegedly wrote a letter from the Tower; and Henry VIII ordered The Great Bible “to be had in every churche”…

    [Read More...]
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 5 May

    A portrait of Sir Henry Sidney, sketch of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder and portrait of Anne Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th May, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Richard Page were arrested in the fall of Anne Boleyn; Agnes Tilney, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, was pardoned and released following the fall of her step-granddaughter, Catherine Howard; a religious radical was executed in Calais; and Lord Deputy of Ireland Sir Henry Sidney died…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 4 May

    The executions of Carthusian monks

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th May, claimant Edmund de la Pole was executed; four monks and a priest were executed for rejecting royal supremacy; an imprisoned George Boleyn received a letter and two more men joined him in the Tower; and Bess of Hardwick was buried…

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  • Royal Tudor Gardens – Guest Post by David Jacques

    Today we have a guest post from David Jacques, OBE, who is a garden and landscape historian. He discusses how the use of the garden changed during the Tudor period. Over to David...


    Medieval gardens were for rest and recreation, but with the advent of non-fortified palaces not only they but also their gardens were increasingly designed to impress. In Britain that is seen with the Tudor dynasty and continued till William of Orange’s response to Versailles at Hampton Court. [Read More...]

  • #OTD in Tudor history – 3 May

    An illumination of Cecilly Neville, and portraits of Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cranmer

    On this day in history, 3rd May, Cecily Neville, Duchess of York and mother of Edward IV and Richard III, was born; Archbishop Cranmer wrote of his shock about the investigation into Anne Boleyn; Sir Edward Rogers, a man who served three Tudor monarchs, died; and poet and farmer Thomas Tusser died…

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