The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • 9 January – A queen twice over!

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th January 1514, Anne of Brittany, Queen Consort of King Louis XII of France, died at Château Blois in France. Her corpse was buried in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis and her heart was buried at Nantes.

    Anne of Brittany was the mother of Queen Claude of France, the wife of a Holy Roman Emperor AND two Kings of France, and had been betrothed to one of the Princes in the Tower. A very interesting lady!

    And then there’s the story of her stolen heart!

    Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 8 January – Mary Shelton, Anne Boleyn’s cousin and lady

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th January 1571, Mary Shelton (married names: Heveningham and Appleyard) was buried at Heveningham Church, Suffolk.

    Mary Shelton was Queen Anne Boleyn’s cousin and lady-in-waiting, and may also have been King Henry VIII’s mistress. She also contributed to the Devonshire Manuscript with the likes of Mary Howard, Lady Margaret Douglas and Lord Thomas Howard.

    Find out more about Mary Shelton in today’s talk.

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  • 7 January – “You shall find Calais lying in my heart”

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th January 1558, in the reign of Queen Mary I, England lost Calais to the French.

    It was a devastating blow as Calais had been held by England for over 200 years and was an important port for English wool exports. Mary I was said to have exclaimed ““When I am dead and opened, you shall find ‘Philip’ and ‘Calais’ lying in my heart”.

    Find out exactly what happened in today’s talk.

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  • 6 January – Epiphany fun and feasting

    Happy Epiphany! Happy Kings’ Day! Yes, today is the Feast of the Epiphany, the day that commemorated the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child.

    Following on from yesterday’s Teasel’s Tudor Trivia about Epiphany Eve and Twelfth Night Cake, I thought I’d share with you some examples of how Epiphany was celebrated at the royal court. Find out what those Tudor people got up to on Twelfth Night in today’s talk.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – Twelfth Night and a yummy treat

    Teasel is busy ironing out her contract with Claire and Tim for future videos, but, in the meantime, she decided that she would allow this one to be filmed.

    In this talk, Claire and Teasel share the traditions they enjoy at Epiphany in Spain, and how these relate to Tudor England and the celebrations Tudor people enjoyed on Twelfth Night.

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  • 5 January – Richard Willes – A quirky Tudor man

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th January 1546, in the reign of King Henry VIII, geographer and poet, Richard Willes, was born in Pulham, Dorset.

    Richard Willes has been described as “One of the quirkier figures in the literary history not only of the college but of the Elizabethan period as a whole”, and he certainly was an interesting Tudor man. Find out about his literary accomplishments, and what exactly made him so “quirky”, in today’s talk.

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  • Tudor Rebels Wordsearch

    This week’s Sunday puzzle is a wordsearch which tests your knowledge of Tudor rebels, those men who caused problems for the Tudor monarchs and their governments.

    You can print out the wordsearch by clicking on the link or image below. Beware: the words can go in any direction. Good luck!

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  • 4 January – A rebel keeps his head

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th January 1575, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, courtier, diplomat and former rebel, Sir William Pickering, died at his home, Pickering House, in London.

    He died a wealthy man and died a natural death, a miraculous feat seeing as he was a friend of the Earl of Surrey and the Duke or Northumberland, both of whom ended up on the scaffold, AND he was one of the men involved in planning Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554. Wyatt lost his head, but Pickering kept his.

    How? What happened? Find out more about Sir William Pickering in today’s talk.

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  • 3 January – Martin Luther is excommunicated

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd January 1521, Pope Leo X excommunicated Reformer, German priest and professor of theology Martin Luther from the Catholic Church.

    In today’s talk, I explain what led to Luther’s excommunication, what happened when Luther was called to the Diet of Worms, and what happened next to this famous Reformer.

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  • St Laurence’s, Ludlow – Roving Reporter

    This month our intrepid roving reporter has gone to St Laurence’s, Ludlow, the church where the heart of Prince Arthur is buried. It’s a very large church with a fascinating history…

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  • 2 January – A visit for the dying Catherine of Aragon

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd January 1536, imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, visited his good friend, Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII and a woman who was now officially called the Dowager Princess of Wales.

    Catherine was seriously ill, in fact, she was dying, and this would be the last time that Chapuys saw her.

    Find out from Chapuys’ own account what happened in the four days he spent with Catherine of Aragon.

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  • 1 January – Henry VIII’s disastrous meeting with Anne of Cleves

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history talk”, Claire Ridgway, author of several Tudor history books, puts you out of your misery from the cliffhanger she left you with on 27th December, by telling you all about Henry VIII’s first meeting with his bride-to-be, Anne of Cleves, on 1st January 1540.

    This meeting between King Henry VIII and the woman who would soon become his fourth wife, was a bit of a disaster, but exactly how much of a disaster was it? The accounts differ and in the video I share two slightly different contemporary accounts, one given in a chronicle and one shared in the annulment proceedings a few months later in 1540.

    What happened on New Year’s Day 1540 at Rochester? Find out all about Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves’ first meeting in today’s talk.

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  • Happy New Year!

    A very Happy New Year to Tudor Society members! Here’s to a wonderful 2020 for all of us! Thank you for being a member and we look forward to bringing you lots of Tudor history this year.

    So far in 2020, we have Tony Riches, Sean Cunningham, Tracy Borman, Sarah Bryson, Kathleen Brogan and Sarah-Beth Watkins booked as speakers, and there are lots more to be scheduled – phew! It will be brilliant to hear them speak to us and to chat with them in the chatroom.

    How did those at the Tudor court celebrate New Year? Well, here are some videos I’ve done on the topic…

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  • Katherine Willoughby and the Protestant Martyrs – Tony Riches – Expert Talks

    This month we have a fascinating and educational talk from author Tony Riches, taking us into the world of Katherine Willoughby, a woman who knew all of Henry VIII’s six wives.

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  • Tudor Life January 2020 Taster

    January’s Tudor Life magazine is 76 pages long and is themed with information about the Grey family including, of course, Lady Jane Grey.

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  • January 2020 – Tudor Life – The Greys

    Here’s the full version of your monthly magazine: January’s Tudor Life magazine is 76 pages long and is themed with information about the Grey family.

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  • 31 December – The bishop who angered Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st December 1559, Owen Oglethorpe, Bishop of Carlisle, died while under house arrest in London. He was buried at St Dunstan-in-the-West on 6th January 1560.

    Oglethorpe is known for officiating at Queen Elizabeth I’s coronation in 1559, but also for infuriating the queen at Christmas 1558 by disobeying her instructions at Mass.

    What did Oglethorpe do?

    Find out about Owen Oglethorpe’s life and career, and how he upset the queen and ended his days under house arrest, in today’s talk.

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  • 30 December – Roger Ascham, Elizabeth I’s tutor

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th December 1568, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Roger Ascham, scholar and royal tutor, died. He was laid to rest in the St Stephen’s chapel of St Sepulchre without Newgate, London.

    Ascham served as tutor to Princess Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth I, and is also responsible for the idea that Lady Jane Grey had abusive parents.

    Find out more about Roger Ascham, his life and career, in today’s talk.

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  • 29 December – Japanese pirates

    On this day in history, 29th (or 30th) December 1605, in the reign of King James I, Elizabethan navigator and explorer, John Davis (also spelled Davys) died near Bintang, off the coast of Borneo.

    Davis died after being attacked by Japanese pirates. He was about 55 when he died.

    He is known for his voyages, for being the first Englishman to document a sighting of the Falkland Islands, for his 1594 “The Seaman’s Secrets” and 1595 “The World’s Hydrographical Description”, and for his invention, the Davis Quadrant, or the backstaff.

    Find out more about him, his final voyage and death, in today’s talk.

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  • Tudor people’s ages

    This week’s Claire Chats was about the ages that prominent people lived to in the Tudor period, so I was inspired to test you on this topic in this week’s quiz. I do hope you enjoy this bit of Tudor fun! Good luck!

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  • 28 December – Childermas or Holy Innocents’ Day

    Today, 28th December, is Childermas or Holy Innocents' Day, which was an important part of the Twelve Days of Christmas in Tudor times.

    In today's talk, Claire Ridgway, author of "On This Day in Tudor History", explains the origin of this feast day and how it was commemorated in the Tudor period.

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1510 – Birth of Sir Nicholas Bacon, lawyer, administrator and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal in Elizabeth I's reign. He was the second son of Robert Bacon, yeoman and sheep-reeve (chief shepherd), and his wife Isabel Cage, and he was the father of the famous philosopher, statesman, scientist and author, Sir Francis Bacon.
    • 1572 – Death of John Hales, member of Parliament, writer and administrator. He was buried in St Peter-le-Poer Church, Broad Street, London. Hales served as Clerk of the Hanaper, a Justice of the Peace and member of Parliament.
    • 1582 – Burial of goldsmith John Mabb at St Matthew Church, Friday Street, off Cheapside in London. Mabb was also Chamberlain of the City of London.
    • 1603 – Death of John Joscelin (Joscelyn), clergyman, antiquary and Old English scholar, at High Roding. He was buried at All Saints' Church, High Roding. Joscelin was Latin secretary to Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, and is known for his Old English-Latin dictionary and the work he did for Parker in discovering and publishing lost manuscripts.

    Transcript:
    Today is Childermas (Children’s Mass) or Holy Innocents’ Day, which was part of the Twelve Days of Christmas celebrated in the Tudor period.
    I’m going to share with you an excerpt from the Tudor Society ebook Christmas in Tudor times to explain this feast day...

    This feast day commemorates the massacre of the baby boys which King Herod ordered in Bethlehem, in an attempt to kill the infant Jesus Christ. The innocent babies were seen by the Catholic Church as the very first martyrs.

    The 16th century Christmas carol, The Coventry Carol, which was sung on 28th December, referred to the massacre:

    “Herod the King, in his raging,
    Charged he hath this day;
    His men of might, in his own sight,
    All children young, to slay.”

    The story is told in Matthew Chapter 2 and here it is from William Tyndale’s New Testament:

    “When Jesus was born at Bethlehem in Jury, in the time of Herod the king. Behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem saying: Where is he that is born King of the Jews? We have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king, had heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him, and he gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people, and asked of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him: at Bethlehem in Jury. For thus it is written by the prophet:
    And thou Bethlehem in the land of Jury, art not the least as concerning the princes of Juda. For out of thee shall come the captain that shall govern my people Israhel.
    Then Herod privily called the wise men, and diligently enquired of them, the time of the star that appeared. And sent them to Bethlehem saying: Go and search diligently for the child. And when ye have found him bring me word, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed, and lo the star which they saw in the east went before them, until it came and stood over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were marvellously glad. And went into the house, and found the child with Mary his mother, and kneeled down and worshipped him, and opened their treasures, and offered unto him gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And after they were warned of God in a dream that they should not go again to Herod, they returned into their own country another way.
    When they were departed, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in dream saying: arise and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt, and abide there till I bring thee word. For Herod will seek the child to destroy him.
    Then he arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt, and was there unto the death of Herod, to fulfil that which was spoken of the Lord, by the prophet, which saith: out of Egypt have I called my son.
    Then Herod perceiving that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, as many as were two year old and under, according to the time which he had diligently searched out of the wise men. Then was fulfilled, that which was spoken by the prophet Jeremy, saying:
    On the hills was a voice heard, mourning, weeping, and great lamentation. Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they were not.”

    As Matthew says, Herod failed to kill Jesus, but many infants were killed and they are known as the Holy Innocents.

    In “A Tudor Christmas”, Alison Weir and Siobhan Clarke write that in Tudor times, adults fasted on this day and sometimes children were whipped as they lay in their bed first thing in the morning, as a reminder of the suffering of those massacred infants. After that, though, they were given free rein to enjoy themselves for the rest of the day. Another custom associated with the day in the medieval period, was, according to Wikipedia, “refraining where possible from work on the day of the week on which the feast of Innocents Day had fallen for the whole of the following year until the next Innocents Day.” I do like that idea.

    In Spain, where I live, Childermas is a bit like April Fools’ Day, and pranks, or bromas, are played on people. One Spanish website gave ideas for bromas which included substituting salt for sugar, changing the time on the clock while the victim is sleeping, sticking a coin to the road or pavement so people can’t pick it up, putting toothpaste on a person’s face while they sleep, scaring them by hiding behind a door and jumping out at them, any of the tricks that you’d use on April Fools really. We had no idea about this tradition in Spain until our local barman played a trick on us with our drinks one 28th December.

    Feel free to play pranks on your friends and family today and just explain that you’re marking Holy Innocents’ Day.

  • 27 December – Anne of Cleves arrives in England

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th December 1539, Anne of Cleves landed at Deal in Kent in preparation for her forthcoming marriage to King Henry VIII. Anne of Cleves would be King Henry VIII’s fourth wife.

    Find out more about her journey, the background to it, and what happened next, in today’s talk.

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  • Tudor people’s ages

    “How old were they when they died?” is the question that has been on Tim’s mind, so, in today’s Claire Chats, I share the ages at death of some prominent Tudor people.

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  • 26 December – Boxing Day and Henry VIII’s will

    In today’s talk, I explain how St Stephen’s Day was celebrated in Tudor times and why it’s known as Boxing Day, before moving on to today’s “on this day event”.

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th December 1546, an ill Henry VIII made some changes to his will in preparation for his nine-year-old son, Edward, inheriting the throne. I explain all…

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  • 25 December – Christmas Day and Lettice Knollys

    Merry Christmas! A very Happy Christmas to you and yours!

    In today’s talk, I explain how Tudor people would have celebrated Christmas, before moving on to today’s “on this day” event, the death of Lettice Blount (also known as Lettice Devereux, Lettice Dudley and Lettice Knollys). Not only did she serve Queen Elizabeth I as a gentlewoman of the privy chamber, she was also the queen’s first cousin once removed, and was nicknamed the “she-wolf” by her royal mistress. Find out more about Lettice Knollys in today’s talk.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 24 December – Christmas Eve and the Yule Log

    In today’s final edition of Teasel’s Tudor Trivia, Claire and Teasel share about one of the Christmas Eve traditions of the medieval and Tudor period, the Yule Log.

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  • 24 December – Mumpsimus and Sumpsimus

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th December 1545, Christmas Eve, King Henry VIII made his final speech to Parliament.

    The king was concerned about the religious divisions in his realm and so chastised the Lords and Commons for their disagreements, and also the clergy for provoking this discord.

    In today’s talk, I share some of the king’s compelling speech from that day in 1545.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 23 December – What meat did Tudors eat on Christmas Day?

    In today’s Teasel’s Tudor Trivia, Claire and Teasel the dog share what is eaten on Christmas Day in the Ridgway household and what meat the Tudors would have tucked into.

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  • 23 December – Nicholas Udall and the White Falcon

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd December 1556, in the reign of Queen Mary I, Nicholas Udall (Yevedale), schoolmaster, cleric, humanist and playwright, was buried at St Margaret’s, Westminster.

    In today’s talk, I introduce this Tudor man and also share a ballad he wrote for Queen Anne Boleyn’s coronation celebrations in 1533. His ballad was about Anne Boleyn’s falcon badge and how it related to the queen.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 22 December – Beware of goblins!

    In today’s edition of Teasel’s Tudor Trivia, Claire and Teasel share with you how to avoid goblins in your household, and it’s all to do with your Christmas decorations. Please do heed this warning from poet Robert Herrick!

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