The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • Cuthbert Mayne, the first seminary priest to be martyred

    Today is the anniversary of the baptism of Cuthbert Mayne (Main, Maine), Roman Catholic priest and martyr, on 20th March 1544. He was baptised on the Feast of St Cuthbert in Youlston in North Devon.

    Cuthbert Mayne has gone down in history as the first seminary priest to be martyred. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Launceston on 30th November 1577.

    Let me tell you a bit more about this man…

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  • A shout out for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

    The Tudor Society love all things Tudor. Recently we’ve had an article in our monthly magazine from Nic Fulcher, a costume historian at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and we’ve also had our roving reporter visit the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. We’d like to give a huge THANK YOU to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust – here’s some information.

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  • 20 March – Forgetting God to love a king – Thomas Seymour’s end

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th March 1549, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron of Sudeley, was executed by beheading on Tower Hill.

    In today’s video, I talk about his execution and share the poem he wrote in his last days. I also give details of how some of Seymour’s contemporaries viewed him.

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  • 19 March – Romeo and Juliet author dies in a shipwreck

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th March 1563, Arthur Brooke, the man who wrote the very first version of the story of Romeo and Juliet in English, died in a shipwreck off the coast of Sussex.

    Find out more about Arthur Brooke and his version of Romeo and Juliet in today’s video.

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  • 18 March – The birth of Mary Tudor, Queen of France

    Henry VIII’s beloved sister, Mary Tudor, Queen of France, was born on this day in 1496 at Richmond Palace.

    In this video, I give a brief overview of Mary Tudor’s life.

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  • 17 March – Elizabeth I’s famous Tide Letter

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th March 1554, two members of Queen Mary I’s council turned up at Whitehall Palace to escort Elizabeth (future Elizabeth I) to prison at the Tower of London. Elizabeth was able to stall things for one day by writing a letter to her half-sister, the queen.

    In today’s video, I share Elizabeth’s famous letter and explain how it prevented the men from taking Elizabeth to the Tower that day.

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  • Tudor monarchs true or false quiz

    Today’s quiz tests your knowledge of our favourite monarchs, those of the House of Tudor. So, grab a coffee and your favourite snack, get yourself settled and let’s begin…. Good luck!

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  • 16 March – The martyrdom of two Catholic priests

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th March 1589, two Roman Catholic priests, Robert Dalby and John Amias, were executed as traitors at York.

    Let me tell you about these men and what led to their very brutal executions. I also give an eye-witness account of their executions – sorry!

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  • The Many Faces of Tudor England – 18 March to 31 December 2019

    Thank you to Ella Baker for sending me this press release on “The Many Faces of Tudor England” exhibition which starts at the Mary Rose Museum on 18th March. It sounds like a wonderful exhibition and well worth going to.

    The Many Faces of Tudor England
    18th March – 31st December 2019
    The Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth, UK.

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  • Dudley Castle – Philippa, roving reporter

    Philippa Lacey Brewell, the Tudor Society roving reporter, takes us around the ruins of Dudley Castle, in Dudley, West Midlands. This is a little known castle which is sadly in need of £5 million in restoration work to make it safe and to preserve it for the future. Philippa gets access to some areas which are not open to the public at the moment.

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  • March 15 – The Lady Mary causes a stir in London

    Mary I could be a tough cookie at times. She was courageous and strong-willed, and she showed that side of her personality on 15th March 1551 when she rode through the streets of London with a large company of knights, gentlemen and ladies doing something that was illegal and an act of defiance against her half-brother, King Edward VI.

    Find out more in today’s video.

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  • March 14 – A mumbling judge causes problems

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th March 1540, Sir John Port died at Bewdley. Unfortunately, he’s not remembered for his intelligence, his work or even his legal notes, which were published in the 20th century. No, he’s remembered for mumbling in a case and changing the outcome! Oh dear!

    I explain what happened and share more information on this man.

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  • 13 March – The hangings of conspirators Henry Cuffe and Sir Gelly Meyrick

    Back to executions – sorry, not sorry! There aren’t many days which are free of executions and today we have two!

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th March 1601, Henry Cuffe and Sir Gelly Meyrick were hanged at Tyburn for their part in the disastrous Essex’s Rebellion of February 1601.

    Who were these men and how did they become involved in the rebellion led by Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, a former favourite of Queen Elizabeth I?

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  • 12 March – The death of Thomas Boleyn, father of Anne Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th March 1539, Thomas Boleyn, father of Queen Anne Boleyn died at Hever Castle in Kent.

    In today’s video, I give details of his death and resting place, as well as looking at what happened to Thomas Boleyn after May 1536, with the executions of two of his children: Anne Boleyn and George Boleyn, Lord Rochford.

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  • March Live Chats – 23 and 29 March

    As usual, we have two live chats in the Tudor Society chatroom this month.

    Our informal live chat will take place on Saturday 23rd March and is on the topic of explorers, exploration and colonisation, so quite a broad topic! We can share book recommendations, discuss explorers, pose questions… Anything as long as it’s on that topic!

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  • 11 March – Giles Fletcher the Elder

    Giles Fletcher the Elder, the Elizabethan poet and diplomat, died on 11 March 1611. He had an interesting life and a good court career, but it’s his deathbed speech to his son, Phineas, that piqued my interest in this Tudor man. His legacy was so much more than the literature he produced.

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I give an overview of Fleltcher’s life and shares his deathbed words and the thoughts of his son who was with him.

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  • 10 March – Henry VIII and a nasty jousting accident

    Many people have heard of the jousting accident Henry VIII suffered in January 1536, but that wasn’t the first accident he suffered while participating in one of his favourite sports. On 10th March 1524, the king was struck on the brow while jousting, something that could have been incredibly serious and even fatal.

    What happened?

    In today’s video, I share a contemporary account of Henry VIII’s jousting accident.

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  • Lent Crossword

    Lent started this week so I thought I’d test your knowledge of Lent and how it was marked during Tudor times. If you get stuck, you can listen to Claire’s video talk on Lent.

    Click on the link or the picture of the puzzle below to open the puzzle and to print it out. Good luck!

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  • 9 March – Mary, Queen of Scots’ secretary is murdered

    On this day in history, 9th March 1566, a pregnant Mary, Queen of Scots witnessed the murder of her private secretary, David Rizzio. He was stabbed fifty-six times and one of the gang responsible was her own husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.

    What happened? Why was Rizzio murdered? How was Darnley involved? What happened next? All of these questions are answered in today’s video.

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  • 8 March – Sir Nicholas Carew’s sticky end

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th March 1539, former royal favourite Sir Nicholas Carew was beheaded for treason at Tower Hill.

    How did a man who was once Henry VIII’s good friend and Master of the Horse end his days on the scaffold? I give an overview of Carew’s life, rise and fall, and his part in Anne Boleyn’s fall, in today’s video.

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  • Shrovetide and Lent – Claire Chats

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, I look at what Shrovetide and Lent are, and how they were marked in the medieval and Tudor period, and discuss some of the traditions associated with them.

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  • 7 March – The Pope threatens Henry VIII

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th March 1530, Pope Clement VII threatened King Henry VIII with excommunication if he married again. Henry, of course, wanted to set aside his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and marry his sweetheart, Anne Boleyn.

    In today’s video, I explain the background of this threat and what happened next.

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  • 6 March – Juan Luis Vives and the young Mary I

    What has a Spanish scholar and humanist born on this day in Valencia, Spain, in 1492 got to do with the Tudors? Well, he helped shape the woman who would become Queen Mary I by advising her mother, Catherine of Aragon, on her education.

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I introduce Vives and his advice for Mary’s education, and also give details on the young Mary, including her intelligence and accomplishments.

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  • It’s Shrove Tuesday – time for Tudor-inspired pancakes!

    Today is Shrove Tuesday, the final day of Shrovetide and the last opportunity to use up forbidden foods and to have some fun before the abstinence of Lent – well, for some people anyway!

    At the Tudor court, Shrovtide was marked with entertainment such as jousting, pageants, music and masques, plus lots of feasting. Alison Sim, in her book “Pleasures and Pastimes in Tudor England”, describes one Shrovetide entertainment, “threshing the cock”, which consisted of tethering a cock and then people trying to kill it by throwing things at it. A prize was given to the person who killed it. Sim also writes of how “sometimes the cock was buried with just its head sticking out of the ground and then blindfolded people would try to kill it with a flail.” I’m so glad that we don’t do that today! Awful!

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  • 5 March – Thomas Seymour, Baron Sudeley, and 33 counts of treason

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th March 1549, a bill of attainder was passed against Thomas Seymour, Baron Sudeley, uncle of King Edward VI, finding him guilty of 33 counts of treason.

    In today’s video, I explain what happened and share some of the charges laid against this brother of Queen Jane Seymour.

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  • 4 March – Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Mary Boleyn star in the spectacular Chateau Vert Pageant

    A theme of unrequited love, damsels in distress, lavish costumes, a peal of guns, fruit throwing and dancing – the ingredients of the lavish entertainment put on for the royal court on this day in 1522. And two of the participants were King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn!

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I share an account of the spectacular Château Vert pageant performed at York Place (Whitehall Palace) on 4th March 1522 as part of the Shrovetide entertainment.

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  • 3 March – A secret marriage for Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk?

    3rd March 1515 is one of the dates given in the French contemporary sources for the secret marriage of Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, but did the couple really marry on this date?

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history”, I examine the English and French sources, such as letters and chronicles, to see which date they support for the couple’s secret marriage.

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  • The Tudors and Wales Wordsearch

    As it was St David’s Day on Friday, I thought we’d celebrate it and the Tudors’ Welsh links with this Tudor and Wales Wordsearch.

    Be warned, the words can go in all directions!

    Good luck!

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  • 2 March – The Shrovetide Joust

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I look at the Shrovetide joust, which took place on 2nd March 1522, and share Edward Hall’s wonderful account of the knights’ costumes and their mottoes.

    Was the theme of unrequited love aimed at anyone in particular?

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  • 1 March – Thomas Campion died and was laid to rest

    On this day in history, 1st March 1620, Tudor poet, composer and physician Thomas Campion died and was laid to rest.

    Campion was a prolific composer and poet, yet he died in quite humble circumstances. He did, however, escape imprisonment and worse after being implicated in a man’s poisoning. Find out more about this man in this video.

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