As today is the anniversary of the death of Pope Clement VII in 1534, a death said by some to have been caused by poisoning, I thought I’d test your knowledge of Tudor poisonings with a fun crossword puzzle.[Read More...]
Tudor Poisonings Crossword Puzzle
September 25 – Stephen Borough, Tudor explorer
On this day in Tudor history, 25th September 1525, in the reign of King Henry VIII, explorer, navigator and naval administrator Stephen Borough (Burrough) was born at Borough House, Northam Burrows, Northam, in Devon.
Borough was an Arctic explorer who learnt his navigational skills from first his uncle and then Spanish pilots in Seville.
Borough discovered Novaya Zemlya and the Viagatz Strait (Kara Strait), which was named the Burrough Strait until the late 1800s.[Read More...]
September 24 – The executions of priest William Spenser and the man who harboured him
On this day in Tudor history, 24th September 1589, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Roman Catholic priest, William Spenser, and layman Robert Hardesty were executed at York. Spenser was executed for being a priest, and Hardesty for sheltering him.
In 1987, the two men were beatified as two of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England and Wales.
Find out more about William Spenser and Robert Hardesty, and how they came to their awful ends…[Read More...]
Heart burial in Tudor times
I’ve received quite a few questions recently regarding the practice of heart burial in Tudor times, so I thought I’d share these talks on heart burial, and burial in general, from our archives…[Read More...]
September 23 – Bishop John Jewel dies
On this day in Tudor history, 23rd September 1571, John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, died at Monkton Farleigh Manor. He was laid to rest in Salisbury Cathedral.
Forty-nine-year-old Jewel had been taken ill while preaching a sermon in Lacock, Wiltshire.
Jewel’s life and career spanned the reigns of King Henry VIII, Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I and Elizabeth I – a time of huge religious change. He was a clergyman, a Protestant exile, a theologian and bishop, and someone who spoke up for what he believed.[Read More...]
September 22 – Amy Robsart, wife of Robert Dudley, is buried
On this day in Tudor history, 22nd September 1560, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Amy Dudley (née Robsart) was buried in the chancel of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford.
Amy, who was married to Elizabeth I’s favourite, Robert Dudley, had been found dead at the foot of the stairs of the house she was renting. The coroner ruled her death as caused by “misfortune”.
Amy was buried in a lavish ceremony at St Mary’s, a funeral which cost Robert Dudley over £2,000.
Find out more about her burial, and who attended…[Read More...]
September 21 – Henry Pendleton, a strong preacher but fickle man
On this day in Tudor history, 21st September 1557, in the reign of Queen Mary I, theologian and chaplain Henry Pendleton was buried at St Stephen’s, Walbrook, London.
Pendleton, who was a friend of Bishop Bonner, is known not only for his strong preaching, which led to him being shot at once, but also for his changing religious faith. Pendleton went from staunch Catholic to zealous Protestant back to staunch Catholic. He even took part in disputations with his former friends and saw them imprisoned and burnt.
Find out more about Henry Pendleton, his life, career and changing religious beliefs…[Read More...]
September 20 – The end of conspirator Anthony Babington
On this day in Tudor history, 20th September 1586, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, conspirators Anthony Babington, John Ballard, John Savage, Chidiock Tichborne, and three others, were executed near St Giles-in-the-Fields in London.
They were hanged, drawn and quartered after being found guilty of treason for the Babington Plot, which sought to assassinate Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots.
Find out more about Anthony Babington, the Babington Plot, the men involved, how it was discovered, and how it led to Mary, Queen of Scots’ execution…[Read More...]
Tudor royal funerals
People all over the world have tuned in to watch the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II today, a queen who reigned for over 70 years and who was descended from Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland, and, therefore, King Henry VII, as well as having Boleyn blood.
The funeral procession and ceremony were full of tradition and ritual, and our Tudor ancestors would recognise much of it, so I thought I’d share with you some information on Tudor royal funerals.[Read More...]
September 19 – Thomas Cavendish, a Tudor explorer
On this day in Tudor history, 19th September 1560, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Thomas Cavendish was baptised at St Martin’s Church, Trimley St Martin in Suffolk.
Explorer, navigator and privateer Thomas Cavendish is known for his imitation of Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the globe, which he undertook in 1586. He is also known for being the first Englishman to explore the island of St Helena, in the mid-Atlantic. Unfortunately, Cavendish also had a reputation as a spendthrift, and his final voyage was a failure.[Read More...]
September 18 – The would-be king consort Edward Courtenay
On this day in Tudor history, 18th September 1556, in the reign of Queen Mary I, Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, died at Padua in Italy.
Courtenay, who died from a fever, had been sent to the Continent after being implicated in Wyatt’s Rebellion. The 1554 rebellion sought to replace Queen Mary I with her half-sister, Elizabeth, who would marry Courtenay.
Let me tell you more about Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, and how he was a prospective bridegroom for both of Henry VIII’s daughters…[Read More...]
Royal Burials Quiz
As it’s the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday 19th September, I thought that I’d test you on the burials of Tudor royals.
Let’s get those little grey cells working![Read More...]
September 17 – The Earl of Rutland dies of plague
On this day in Tudor history, 17th September 1563, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Manners, 2nd Earl of Rutland, died.
The courtier and soldier died during an outbreak of the plague, which was rife in London that year and killed about 24% of London’s citizens.
Manners had served King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I, so had a long and interesting career, which also saw him imprisoned at one point.[Read More...]
September 16 – A third dose of sweating sickness kills John Colet
On this day in Tudor history, 16th September 1519, in the reign of King Henry VIII, scholar, humanist, theologian, Dean of St Paul’s and founder of St Paul’s School John Colet died.
Colet had suffered three attacks of sweating sickness between 1517 and 1519, and it was the third one that killed him.
Humanists such as Erasmus were influenced by Colet’s work.
Let me give you an overview of the life of John Colet…[Read More...]
September 15 – Elizabeth I’s role in the Battle of Arques
On this day in Tudor history, 15th September 1589, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, a battle was fought at Arques in France.
The Battle of Arques was part of the final war of the French Wars of Religion, a series of conflicts in France from 1562-1598 between Catholics and Huguenots. It was a battle between the troops of the new French king, Henry IV, and the troops of the Catholic League led by Charles of Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne.
The battle wasn’t looking good for Henry IV, but then everything changed when troops sent by Elizabeth I arrived on the scene.
Find out more about what led to this battle, what happened at the battle, and what happened next…[Read More...]
September 14 – The death of Sir William Kingston, Anne Boleyn’s gaoler
On this day in Tudor history, 14th September 1540, Sir William Kingston died at his home in Painswick in Gloucestershire.
Sir William Kingston was a Knight of the Garter and comptroller of the king’s household during Henry VIII’s reign. He was also Constable of the Tower of London while Queen Anne Boleyn was imprisoned there in May 1536. His daily letters from the Tower to Thomas Cromwell in May 1536 are a wonderful resource for historians.
Kingston had an impressive career serving Henry VIII and was rewarded for his loyal service.[Read More...]
September 13 – The birth of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
On this day in Tudor history, 13th September 1520, in the reign of King Henry VIII, William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, was born in Bourne in Lincolnshire.
William Cecil was Queen Elizabeth I’s chief advisor and a man she called her “spirit”.
Cecil is a fascinating man whose court career took him from serving King Edward VI to Queen Elizabeth I.[Read More...]
September 12 – Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll, dies suddenly
On this day in Tudor history, 12th September 1573, Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll, died suddenly at Barbreck.
Argyll was a Protestant reformer, and leading politician in the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, and he’d got married just six weeks earlier.
On the night he died, he showed no signs of illness before retiring to bed, so his death was very sudden.
Argyll was the third most important noble in Scotland, the most important highland chief, and a founder of the Lords of the Congregation. He went from opposing Mary, Queen of Scots, to leading her troops in battle.[Read More...]
Queen Elizabeth II Crossword Puzzle
To mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II on 8th September 2022, I thought I’d test your knowledge of this queen, who descended from Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII, and Mary Boleyn, sister of Queen Anne Boleyn.[Read More...]
September 11 – An eventful royal progress for Mary, Queen of Scots
On this day in Tudor history, 11th September 1561, Mary, Queen of Scots, set off on her first royal progress in Scotland.
Eighteen-year-old Mary had been in Scotland for less than a month, having returned from France following her husband Francis II’s death. Now, she wanted to see her homeland and her people, and show the people their queen.
This royal progress was to be an eventful one. It included a brush with death and a violent altercation!
Let me tell you more…[Read More...]
September 10 – The 1547 Battle of Pinkie Cleugh
On this day in Tudor history, Saturday 10th September 1547, the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh took place in Edward VI’s reign.
The battle, also known as the Battle of Pinkie, took place near Musselburgh, in Scotland, on the banks of the River Esk. Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, led the English forces and defeated the Scots, killing between 6,000 and 15,000 of them.
It was a bloody battle, but it had started off well for the Scots.
Let me share an eye-witness account of how the battle changed so dramatically…[Read More...]
September 9 – Mary, Queen of Scots is crowned
On this day in Tudor history, 9th September 1543, nine-month-old Mary, Queen of Scots, was crowned queen at the Chapel Royal of Stirling Castle.
It was the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden and the death of Mary’s grandfather, King James IV of Scotland.
Find out more about how Mary came to the throne, her coronation ceremony, in which Mary howled, and how she was already promised in marriage to Henry VIII’s son, the future Edward VI…[Read More...]
The Death of Elizabeth II
I was shocked and saddened by the news, yesterday, of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. It seems strange to be shocked when she was 96 years of age and her health had been declining in recent months, but I’m British and she’s the only monarch I’ve known. Her image is known the world over and when I lived in the UK, I saw her image and heraldry everywhere and on a daily basis. I can’t believe she’s gone and that there’s a new monarch, King Charles III.[Read More...]
September 8 – The burial of John Shakespeare, father of William Shakespeare
On this day in Tudor history, 8th September 1601, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, John Shakespeare, father of playwright William Shakespeare, was buried at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon.
John Shakespeare was a glover and whittawer from Stratford, and he was also an important man in the town. He’d served as high bailiff, chief alderman and deputy bailiff, and had been given the right to educate his children at the local grammar school for free.
He wasn’t just an upstanding member of the town, though, he also ran into trouble at times…[Read More...]
September 7 – The wedding of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and Catherine Willoughby
On this day in Tudor history, 7th September 1533, the very same day that Queen Anne Boleyn gave birth to a daughter (the future Elizabeth I), forty-nine-year-old Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, married his ward, fourteen-year-old Catherine Willoughby.
The marriage took place just over two months after the death of his previous wife, Mary Tudor. Queen of France.
Find out more about Charles and Catherine, how they came to be married, what their marriage was like, and what happened to them…[Read More...]
September 6 – The inventor of modern shorthand
On this day in history, 6th September 1615, in the reign of King James I, Timothy Bright, was buried at St Mary’s Church, Shrewsbury.
Bright was a Tudor physician and clergyman, and also invented modern shorthand
Bright is known for works published in Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, including his 1588 “Characterie: an Arte of Shorte, Swifte, and Secrete Writing by Character” in which he explains his invention, a system of straight lines, circles and half circles as shorthand. Bright’s work has, of course, helped people the world over.[Read More...]
September 5 – The death of Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London
On this day in Tudor history, 5th September 1569, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London, died in Marshalsea Prison.
Bonner had started his career in Henry VIII’s reign and was not just a churchman, he was also a diplomat. He’d been nicknamed “Bloody Bonner” in Mary I’s reign from being in charge of burning reformers in London.
Find out about his life, career and how he ended up dying in prison…[Read More...]
Anne of Cleves True or False Quiz
As yesterday was the anniversary of the marriage of Anne of Cleves and Henry VIII being agreed in 1539, I thought I’d test your knowledge of this fourth wife of Henry VIII with a true or false quiz.[Read More...]
September 4 – Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, dies.
On this day in Tudor history, 4th September 1588, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, died at Cornbury.
He was on his way to Buxton to take the waters for his health.
The death of her favourite, and the man that is considered to be her ‘true love’, was a devastating blow to Elizabeth I and her reaction to the news shows just how much she loved her “sweet Robin”.[Read More...]
September 3 – Death of playwright Robert Greene
On this day in Tudor history, 3rd September 1592, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabethan writer and playwright Robert Greene died in London.
Robert Greene was a prolific writer, but he is best known for the pamphlet “Greene’s Groats-worth of Wit bought with a Million of Repentance”. It was said that he wrote the pamphlet on his deathbed.[Read More...]