• Discover the Tudors Tour Day 6 – Kenilworth Castle and Bosworth

    After another yummy breakfast the Arden Hotel’s veggie cooked breakfast is delicious, by the way – we headed off to spend the morning at Kenilworth Castle.

    Kenilworth Castle dates back to the 12th century, but for us Tudor history lovers it’s the link with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, that gets us excited. Leicester, who was of course Elizabeth I’s good friend and favourite, and, I believe, the love of her life, was granted the castle in 1563. In 1575, the Queen visited Kenilworth Castle for 19 days, the longest visit she made to any courtier, and Leicester made many changes to the castle in anticipation of her visit, including creating a chase, building a gatehouse and bridge over the mere, building a four-storey block of state apartments, and creating a beautiful privy garden. He also commissioned special entertainments for the queen in a last-ditch attempt to woo her.

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  • The Château de Blois

    I’ve finally managed to go through my photos of the Château de Blois so here is a Claire Chats video on the Château de Blois, along with galleries of my photos. I hope you enjoy browsing through them.

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  • Discover the Tudors Tour Day 5 – Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon

    I grew up near Stratford-upon-Avon so today was a special day for me, seeing my home area through the eyes of others and also seeing places that had been on my doorstep for years but that I’d taken for granted and never visited, or that hadn’t been open when I lived here.

    As a huge Shakespeare fan, I had ben waiting for this day of the tour with bated breath and as good luck would have it, it came round quickly. The weather forecast predicted that the day might not be for the faint-hearted, with rain and drizzle forecast, but all’s well that ends well and the day really was such stuff as dreams are made on. Sorry, that’s too much of a good thing and I think I’ll stop the Shakespeare phrases and get on with the diary entry!

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  • Discover the Tudors Tour Day 4 – Hatfield House

    After breakfast, we said goodbye to the Harte and Garter Hotel and travelled on to Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.

    Although the main palace is Jacobean, having been built in 1611, in the reign of James I, it houses many treasures from the time when there was a 15th century palace on the site, the home that Elizabeth knew in her childhood and youth. The only part of that former palace that still survives today is the part of the houses that houses the Banqueting Hall with its wonderful original timber roof.

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  • Discover the Tudors Tour Day 3: Hampton Court Palace

    Today was our Hampton Court Palace day and although I have been many many times, I always learn something new and I always enjoy my time there. It was a perfect day.

    We had a two-hour private guided tour from Siobhan, who focused on the Tudor side of things – the history of the original palace built for Cardinal Wolsey, the Tudor kitchens, the Great Hall, Presence Chamber, Haunted Gallery, the Chapel Royal, the Tudor Garden with Edward VI’s nursery… – and then we had free time to enjoy lunch and to visit other parts of the palace. Philippa and I visited the Young Henry VIII exhibition, the William and Mary State Apartments, the Royal Tennis Court and the Cumberland Art Gallery whose rooms are on the footprint of what was Henry VIII’s apartments (there are still some Tudor doorways, stairs and a tower room). We had a fabulous time.

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  • Discover the Tudors Tour – Day 2: Windsor

    After a breakfast spent gazing out of the hotel window at Windsor Castle opposite, our group had a guided tour of Windsor Castle. Our guide, Amanda, gave us a Tudor-focused tour, giving us an overview of the castle’s history and then pointing out the parts built by our very favourite dynasty. She also pointed out parts that we all saw on TV back in May when Prince Harry married Meghan – we walked where George Clooney walked – ha!

    We couldn’t have asked for a better day as it was lovely and sunny. I think my favourite part was visiting the chapel and saying hello to Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, as well as Charles Brandon, Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, Henry VI and a few others, and also seeing the stall plates of some of my favourite Tudor Knights of the Garter. It really is a jaw-droppingly beautiful place.

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  • This week in history 17 – 23 September

    17th September:

    1558 – Death of Walter Devereux, 1st Viscount Hereford, at the Devereux seat at Chartley in Staffordshire. He was buried in Stowe church. Devereux served Henry VIII as joint Constable of Warwick Castle, as a member of the jury at the trial of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, in 1521, in the government of the Welsh Marches, as Steward in Princess Mary’s household at Ludlow and Chamberlain of the Court of General Surveyors. He also served Edward VI as a Privy Councillor.
    1563 – Death of Henry Manners, 2nd Earl of Rutland, courtier and soldier, during an outbreak of the plague. He was buried at Bottesford parish church in Leicestershire. Manners served Edward VI as Warden of the East and Middle Marches on the Scottish borders, joint Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, and Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. He was imprisoned when Mary I came to the throne for his support of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, but was released into house arrest and then pardoned. He served Mary I as Captain-General of Horsemen and Lieutenant and Captain-General in Calais. During Elizabeth I’s reign, he served as Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire and Rutland, and President of the Council of the North.
    1575 – Death of Heinrich (Henry) Bullinger, the Swiss reformer and theologian, in Zurich. Bullinger succeeded Huldrych Zwingli as pastor at Grossmünster and head of the church in Zurich. His main work was “The Decades”, a theological work, but his sermons were also translated and published, and he wrote historical works.
    1577 – The Edict of Poitiers ratified the Treaty of Bergerac, which had been signed between Henry III of France and the Huguenot princes.

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  • Discover the Tudors Tour – Day 1

    As promised, here is my diary entry for day 1 of the Discover the Tudors tour..

    I didn’t get much sleep last night as I was buzzing. I was so excited about the tour. I took the train to London early so that I had time to do a bit of shopping and get some lunch before meeting Philippa and the group. I met up with Philippa, my co-leader, for a coffee to catch up and then we headed off to meet the tour group.

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  • Tudor Prisons and Prisoners Crossword Puzzle

    This week’s puzzle has as its theme the London prisons of the Tudor period and the people who ended up being imprisoned in them. How much do you know about Tudor prisons and prisoners? Test yourself with this fun crossword puzzle.

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  • The destruction of religious shrines

    As today is the anniversary of the destruction of the Shrine of Our Lady of Caversham, near Reading, on 14th September 1538, I thought I’d do a Claire Chats on religious shrines and their destruction in the 1530s.

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  • Anne Parr, Countess of Pembroke (1515-1552)

    Anne Parr was born on 15th June 1515, in the early years of Henry VIII’s reign. Her parents were Sir Thomas Parr and Maud Green. Thomas was an English knight, courtier, and Lord of the Manor of Kendal in Westmorland (current day Cumbria). Perhaps more famously known in contemporary historiography as the younger sister of Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII, Anne Parr has remained a particularly elusive character in terms of research, when compared to her fashionable contemporaries. However, she led an equally interesting and eventful life. Despite the Parr daughters having a northern-born father, they grew up in the south of England. Their father’s seat at Kendal castle was, during their childhood, falling into disrepair, and living in the south was more practical in terms of their father’s role at court; Westmorland simply being too far from the centre of government and monarchy. In a manner more cosmopolitan, the Parr family resided at their modest house in Blackfriars, where Anne and Katherine were likely born and raised. This relative closeness to the court was convenient for Maud Parr, who was one of Queen Catherine of Aragon’s primary ladies in waiting.

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  • New Facebook video

    Have you seen our new Facebook header video? We’re really excited about it!

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  • This week in history 10 – 16 September

    10th September:

    1515 – Thomas Wolsey was made Cardinal.
    1533 – Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, was christened at the Church of Observant Friars in Greenwich.
    1543 – Death of Sir Edward Chamberlayne, Oxfordshire gentleman and soldier. He was buried at Woodstock.
    1547 – The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, part of the War of the Rough Wooing between England and Scotland. Click here to read more.
    1549 – Death of Sir Anthony Denny, Henry VIII’s great friend and groom of the stool, at Cheshunt. He was buried in St Mary’s Church, Cheshunt.
    1557 – Execution of Joyce Lewis (née Curson and other married name Appleby, Lady Appleby), Protestant martyr, at Lichfield. She was burned at the stake for her Protestant beliefs.
    1569 – Death of Gilbert Bourne, Bishop of Bath and Wells, at Silverton in Devon. Bourne was deprived of his see in Elizabeth I’s reign after refusing to take the “Oath of Supremacy”. He was buried in Silverton Church.
    1604 – Death of William Morgan, Bishop of St Asaph and Bible translator, at the Bishop’s Palace at St Asaph. He was buried there in the cathedral church.

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  • Elizabeth I: True or false quiz

    Elizabeth I is the iconic Tudor monarch who has gone down in history as Good Queen Bess, the Virgin Queen and Gloriana, but how much do you know about her? Test yourself with this fun true or false quiz. Good luck!

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  • This month’s Live Chats – 14 and 27 September

    Just to let you know the details of September’s live chats. The informal chat will take place on Friday 14th September and the expert one will take place on Thursday 27th September.

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  • Elizabeth I Resources

    There are so many articles, videos, talks etc. on Elizabeth I on the Tudor Society site so I thought I’d make a list of some of them, you can find others by using the search box.

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  • Elizabeth I: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    In today’s Claire Chats, I’m commemorating the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth I’s birth on 7th September 1533 with a video looking at her achievements and her weaknesses and the downsides of her reign. Please do share your views as comments below.

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  • Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London

    Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London (c. 1500-1569)
    Birth: c. 1500
    Place of birth: probably Hanley, Worcestershire
    Parents: Elizabeth Frodsham, wife of Edmund Bonner, sawyer. However, it was alleged that his father was actually George Savage, rector of Davenham, Cheshire.
    Education: Broadgates Hall (now Pembroke College), Oxford, where he studied civil and canon law. In 1526, he received a doctorate in civil law and was admitted to the College of Advocates, London.

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  • Have you seen our testimonials?

    Since Sept 1 2014 we’ve been happily adding more and information to the Tudor Society, including weekly videos, monthly expert talks, live chat transcripts, monthly magazines and so much more!

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  • Robert Dudley Resources

    As it is the anniversary of the death of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, on 4th September 1588, I thought it would be good to share links to some Robert Dudley resources we have here on the Tudor Society website.

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  • Transcript – Sarah-Beth Watkins – Margaret Tudor

    Here is the transcript of our live chat with Sarah-Beth Watkins, all about Margaret Tudor. Thanks to all those who joined us in the chatroom. Remember that all full members are welcome to our live chat events and we time them so that they are at a reasonable hour, wherever you live in the world!
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  • Expert Talk – King’s College Chapel and Tudor Cambridge – Julian Humphrys

    Enjoy the September expert chat by Julian Humphrys on King’s College Chapel and Tudor Cambridge. Julian has a real passion for the history of Cambridge, and his talk is a fascinating look at the rich history of the city.

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  • This week in history 3 – 9 September

    3rd September:

    1553 – Edward Courtenay was created Earl of Devon. He had been imprisoned in 1538, at the age of twelve, due to his family’s links with the Poles and Nevilles, but was released shortly after the accession of Mary I.
    1557 – News reached London that the English and Imperial troops had been successful in storming St Quentin, and there were widespread celebrations; bonfires were lit, bells were rung and there was singing. The good news was marred, however, by news of the death of Henry Dudley.
    1588 (3rd or 5th September) – Death of Richard Tarlton, actor and famous clown, in Shoreditch. He was buried in St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch. Tarlton was a member of the Queen’s Men, but is famed for his post-play jigs as a clown.
    1592 – Death of writer and playwright Robert Greene in Dowgate. He died from a fever and was buried in a churchyard near Bedlam. Greene was a prolific writer, writing autobiographical works, plays and romances, but is best known for his pamphlet “Greene’s Groats-worth of Wit bought with a Million of Repentance”, which is the first contemporary reference to William Shakespeare. It was actually an attack on Shakespeare, whom Greene accused of plagiarism, and of being uneducated.
    1597 – Death of Sir John Norreys (Norris), military commander, at his brother Thomas’s home, Norris Castle in Mallow, co. Cork. He died in his brother’s arms, and it is thought that his death was due to trouble from old wounds, perhaps gangrene. Norris served as a soldier in France, the Low Countries and Ireland.

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  • Wars of the Roses and Tudor Battles Puzzle

    The 15th and 16th centuries were bloody times and there were a lot of battles. But how much do you know about the battles of the Wars of the Roses and the Tudor period? Find out by downloading, printing and completing this fun crossword puzzle. Good luck!

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  • The Battle of Bosworth continues

    In this week’s Claire Chats, I explain the situation with Bosworth Battlefield, what it’s all about, what happened at the planning meeting and what we can about it.

    Please so sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/planning-hinckley-bosworth-gov-uk-stop-building-a-high-test-track-on-bosworth-battlefield

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  • Live chat with Sarah-Beth Watkins on Friday (31 August) and book giveaway

    Just a reminder that our expert chat is taking place in the Tudor Society chatroom at https://www.tudorsociety.com/chatroom/ this Friday, 31st August.

    Our August expert speaker, Sarah-Beth Watkins, will be joining us to answer your questions on Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII, sister of Henry VIII, and wife of James IV. If you haven’t managed to watch Sarah-Beth’s talk yet, then you can watch it at https://www.tudorsociety.com/expert-talk-sarah-beth-watkins-margaret-tudor/.

    Here are the times in different time zones:

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  • Good news for Bosworth Battlefield (at the moment)

    The result of the Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council’s planning committee regarding plans to build a driverless car track on part of Bosworth Battlefield is great news for those of us who objected to the plans.

    Dan Martin, reporting on the meeting on Leicestershire Live, reported that councillors voted 12 to 2 to defer on a decision tonight. This was following Councillor Stuart Bray’s proposal to defer a decision.

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  • A defiant Mary stands up to her brother, King Edward VI, and his men

    On this day in history, 28th August 1551, Lord Chancellor Richard Rich, Sir Anthony Wingfield and Sir William Petre went to Copthall in Essex to see the Lady Mary (future Mary I), half-sister of their king and master, Edward VI.

    They had been sent to Copthall to deliver a message to Mary from the king. Edward VI was ordering Mary and her household to desist from celebrating the Catholic mass. Edward also ordered that Sir Anthony Wingfield should replace Robert Rochester as Mary’s comptroller.

    Mary was furious with the men and refused to obey them or her brother’s orders. The men reported what happened in a letter to the king and his privy council. Here is the whole letter:

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  • Fun with the English language

    Thank you to Tim for letting me know about this video by Aaron Alon, “What If English Were Phonetically Consistent?”. It’s a fun video to watch on a Monday morning, and it’s also very interesting.

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  • September 2018 – Tudor Life – The Dudleys

    In this month’s Tudor Life magazine we delve into the life of the well known Dudley family. This family was unlike any other, and they enjoyed favour throughout the Tudor period, with Robert Dudley even possibly being a potential consort to Queen Elizabeth.

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