The Tudor Society
  • 26 January – Justice Spelman and Anne Boleyn’s trial

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th January 1546, judge of assize and law reporter, Sir John Spelman, died.

    Now, you may never have heard of Justice John Spelman, but his reports on the legal cases of people like Queen Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey have been very useful to historians – a wonderful resource.

    Let me tell you more about Sir John Spelman and what he had to say about Anne Boleyn’s trial.

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  • Boleyn Family Quiz

    This week’s Sunday quiz tests your knowledge of a prominent Tudor family, the Boleyn family. How much do you know about them? Find out with this fun quiz. Good luck!

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  • 25 January – Bonfires, torches, bells ringing…

    25th January is the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, an important day in Tudor times. It celebrated the conversion of Saul, a man known for his persecution of Christians, on the road to Damascus.

    In today’s talk, I explain the background of the feast day and shares a contemporary account of how St Paul’s Day was celebrated in the reign of Queen Mary I.

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  • 24 January – Can jousting heal the problems between Englishmen and Spaniards?

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th January 1555, in the reign of Queen Mary I, a great joust was held at Westminster between English and the Spanish knights. It was one of the events planned by Philip of Spain, Queen Mary I’s husband, to try and tackle the problems between Englishmen and Spaniards in London. Tensions had even led to violence and murder.

    Find out more about the problems, and how King Philip tried to tackle them, in today’s talk.

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  • The Dissolution of the Monasteries and its impact – Part 2: The benefits for Henry VIII and the impact on his country

    In last week’s Claire Chats talk, I talked about the monasteries in medieval times, monastic life, and how the monasteries and church were central to their communities.
    In the 1530s, in the reign of King Henry VIII, there was the dissolution of the monasteries and so today I want to look at what that involved, the reasons for it, and what impact it had on England and its people.

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  • 23 January – Elizabeth I opens the Royal Exchange

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd January 1571, after dining with its founder, Sir Thomas Gresham, Queen Elizabeth I opened the Royal Exchange in London.

    Find out more about the official opening, what the Royal Exchange was, why Gresham paid for its building, and what happened to it, in today’s talk.

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  • Katherine Ashley (Astley, née Champernowne)

    Katherine or ‘Kat’ Ashley (Astley, née Champernowne) is the purported daughter of Sir Phillip Champernowne, a wealthy landowner in Devon, and his wife, Katherine, daughter of Sir Edmund Carew. Although we do not know much regarding her early years, we do know that Kat received an education unlike that of her contemporary aristocratic women. For aristocratic women, their education centred on what would render them desirable for marriage and as such, learned dancing, sewing, embroidery and music in the place of reading and writing. As such, may aristocratic women were barely literate at all. Kat, however, received an education that was equal to that of a man, learning classical scholarship and developing an interest in humanism, her father being unusually committed to the education of his daughters. Kat’s humanist leanings and interests caught the eye of Thomas Cromwell, who suggested that she be appointed to the household of Princess Elizabeth. It is this appointment which would shape her life, and mark her as a historical figure worthy of note.

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  • Georgia Whitehead joins the Tudor Society team

    A warm welcome to Georgia Whitehead who is joining the Tudor Society team as an article writer for the website. Georgia will be ‘fleshing out’ important Tudor people with regular bio-style articles for us.

    I’ll let Georgia introduce herself…

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  • Live chat transcript – Matthew Lewis – 1483: The year of three kings

    Here’s the transcript of the wonderful live chat session that we had with author Matthew Lewis about his talk on 1483, an interesting year as England had three different kings.

    All full members are welcome to join us at these events, and you can either just watch or join in as you wish.

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  • 22 January – Wyatt’s Rebellion is planned

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd January 1554, Thomas Wyatt the Younger met with fellow conspirators at his home of Allington Castle in Kent. The purpose of their meeting was to make final plans for their uprising against Queen Mary I and her decision to marry Philip of Spain.

    This rebellion would come to be known as Wyatt’s Rebellion, although the leader at the start appears to have been Sir James Croft.

    Find out all about Wyatt’s Rebellion and what happened in this talk.

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  • 21 January – Henry Howard’s madding time

    On the night of this day in Tudor history, 21st January 1543, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, Thomas Wyatt the Younger and several other youths went on a five-hour rampage in London.

    Surrey regretted his actions, calling that night “a madding time”, but the king and the privy council took it seriously.

    Find out what happened to Surrey and his fellow vandals in today’s talk.

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  • 20 January – Miles Coverdale dies after preaching

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th January 1569, not long after he’d given the best sermon of his life, Bible translator and Bishop of Exeter, Miles Coverdale, died in London.

    Coverdale is known for completing the first English translation of the whole Bible and for his work on “The Great Bible”, which was put in every parish church in England. Find out more about this accomplished Tudor man in today’s talk.

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  • January 19 – Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th January 1601, Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, died at Wilton, the family home near Salisbury.

    Who was Henry Herbert?

    Let me tell you about this interesting Tudor man in today’s talk.

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  • Tudor Infidelity Crossword

    There were quite a few unhappy marriages and affairs at the royal court in the Tudor period. Tes your knowledge of Tudor affairs and Tudor mistresses with this week’s Sunday fun – the Tudor Infidelity Crossword.

    Simply click on the link or image below to open the crossword puzzle and print out.

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  • 18 January – Henry VII and Elizabeth of York get married

    On this day in Tudor history,18th January 1486, twenty-nine year-old King Henry VII married twenty year-old Elizabeth of York at Westminster Abbey.

    This was over two years after he had vowed to marry her and nearly 5 months after his victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Why did Henry VII delay in marrying Elizabeth of York?

    Find out what delayed the marriage, and more about the bride and groom, in today’s talk.

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  • Tudor Pets in celebration of St Anthony’s Day

    Happy St Anthony’s Day! Today is the Feast of St Anthony the Abbot, or St Anthony the Great, a third century Christian monk.

    In Spain, where I live, St Anthony is the patron saint of animals, particularly domestic animals, and so some of my Spanish friends have been sharing photos of their beloved pets on social media today and I’ve had various emails from online pet shops with special St Anthony’s Day offers. I thought I’d jump on the band wagon and celebrate this saint by sharing some resources on pets in Tudor times…

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  • 17 January – Poet Thomas Wyatt is arrested

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th January 1541, courtier, diplomat and poet, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, was arrested and sent to the Tower of London after being accused of corresponding with Cardinal Reginald Pole, and referring to the prospect of Henry VIII’s death.

    Wyatt was taken to the Tower and it looked like he’d be executed, but he was saved by Queen Catherine Howard, but at a huge cost.

    Find out more about what Wyatt was accused of, how he escaped execution and what he had to agree to, in today’s talk.

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  • The Dissolution of the Monasteries and its impact – Part 1: The Monasteries

    I love walking around the ruins of abbeys such as Rievaulx, Fountains and Jervaulx, they’re just so beautiful, and I like to imagine what they were like in their heyday, when they were vibrant and bustling communities of religious people, and were important to their local communities.

    The Dissolution of the Monasteries had such an impact on England, on its landscape and on its people, and so I want to spend the next couple of Claire Chats talks exploring this topic. Today, I want to talk about the monasteries themselves, what they were like and how they played a role in daily life.

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  • Remember me when you do pray – what’s Anne Boleyn’s message?

    Thank you so much to Tudor Society member Corinna Hahn for asking the following question for our “Expert Answers” section. It’s a very interesting question.

    I (Claire) opted to answer this one as I’ve done lots of research on the two books of hours in the collection at Hever Castle, and I was lucky enough to hold them and talk to my dear friend, castle supervisor, Owne Emmerson, about them back in May. I’ve included the video below my answer so that you can find out all about these beautiful books.

    Here is Corinna’s question in full:

    “I’ve got some questions about one book of hours that Anne Boleyn owned and that is now at Hever Castle. It’s the one with Anne Boleyn’s inscription under a prayer adjacent to a miniature of the presentation of Jesus in the temple. The inscription reads “Remember me when you do pray that hope doth lead from day to day.”

    This rhyme has intrigued me for years, since we don’t know when and where Anne wrote it, to whom she wrote it and what the real message behind her inscription was.

    It seems to me that Anne didn’t write in her prayer books heedlessly, every inscription she has left somewhere is there for a reason and where she placed her “Remember me” rhyme could possibly be a clue to the point of time when she wrote these words.
    My questions are: Under which text did she write her “Remember me” rhyme? Is there a transcription and/or translation of this text? Why did she place her message there? Was the rhyme she wrote meant as a prayer request or a farewell to someone? Is it known who owned the prayer book after her death? Where was the book before Hever Castle acquired it?”

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  • 16 January – Thomas Howard breaks his promise about Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th January 1572, Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, eldest son of the late Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was tried and found guilty of treason at Westminster Hall.

    Norfolk had promised Queen Elizabeth I that he would not get involved with Mary, Queen of Scots, ever again, but it was a promise that he just couldn’t keep. Once again, he had become involved in a plot against Elizabeth I and in support of Mary, Queen of Scots. He wouldn’t escape punishment this time.

    Find out exactly what happened in today’s talk.

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  • 15 January – The death of Catherine Carey (Knollys), daughter of Mary Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th January 1569, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Catherine Knollys (née Carey), wife of Sir Francis Knollys, daughter of Mary Boleyn, and cousin of the queen, died at Hampton Court Palace. She was about 45 years old.

    Sadly, Queen Elizabeth I had kept Catherine and her beloved husband, Sir Francis Knollys, apart during Catherine’s final day.

    Find out more about Catherine’s final days, the queen’s cruelty, Francis’s frustration, and Catherine’s lavish burial, which was paid for by the queen, in today’s talk.

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  • Trailer – Henry VI, the Shadow King – Lauren Johnson

  • Trailer – The Places of Mary, Queen of Scots – Gayle Hulme

  • 14 January – Francis Kett leaps and dances in the fire

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th January 1589, physician Francis Kett, was burned for heresy near Norwich Castle.

    A local minister described him as “leaping and dancing” in the fire, clapping his hand and praising God right up to the end. A courageous man.

    But how did Francis Kett come to this awful end?

    Find out more about this doctor, priest and condemned heretic in today’s talk.

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  • Trailer – The Year of Three Kings – Matthew Lewis

  • Trailer – Katherine Willoughby – Tony Riches

  • 13 January – The Prince of Poets

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th January 1599, Elizabethan poet and administrator in Ireland, Edmund Spenser, died in Westminster. He was described as “the prince of poets in his time” and is best known for his allegorical poem in praise of Elizabeth I, “The Faerie Queene”.

    But, did you know that he also upset William Cecil twice and that his most famous work is actually unfinished?

    Find out more about Edmund Spenser in today’s talk.

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  • 12 January – Elizabeth I goes to the Tower

    On this day in Tudor history, Thursday 12th January 1559, Queen Elizabeth I travelled by barge from Whitehall to the Tower of London to prepare for her coronation, which was due to take place on the 15th January.

    Of course, her journey wasn’t a low key one in a normal river barge, it was a lavish one with decorated barges, music and the usual artillery fire. Find out all about this river procession in today’s talk.

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  • January Tudor Events Quiz

    This week’s Tudor Society quiz tests your knowledge of events that happened in the month of January in the Tudor period.

    Grab your favourite snack and beverage, make yourself comfortable, and let’s get those little grey cells working! Good luck!

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  • 11 January – A coulourful Lord of Misrule

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th January 1579, courtier, Member of Parliament, Lord of Misrule and poet, George Ferrers, was buried at Flamstead, Hertfordshire.

    Ferrers was a rather colourful Tudor character. He caused a stir when he was arrested on his way to the House of Commons (the Ferrers’ Case), he was Lord of Misrule on several occasions and led a huge procession into London, and he had a hand in the arrest of John Dee. And that’s not all!

    Find out all about George Ferrers in today’s talk.

    [Read More...]
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