The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • Livechat Transcript – Kate Cole – Tudor Witches

    We had an incredibly interesting live chat with Kate Cole discussing the witches and witchfinders of Essex. All were touched by how sad some of the stories of those executed as witches were. Thanks to all who joined us at this chat.

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  • Livechat transcript – Claire Ridgway – Interrogations of 1541

    Here’s the transcript of our great livechat event with Claire Ridgway where we were discussing the interrogations of those surrounding Catherine Howard when she fell in 1541. It was a fascinating chat!

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  • Making Tudor History Interesting for Young People

    Student and avid history fan, Emma Casson, is 18 years old and lives in the Netherlands. She contacted us as she wanted to share her experiences of learning about the Tudors and what she feels could be done to help history to flourish in the education system. Over to Emma…

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  • The 400th anniversary of the burial of Nicholas Hilliard, and Hilliard book news!

    On this day in history, 7th January 1619, Nicholas Hilliard, the famous Elizabethan goldsmith and miniaturist, was buried at the parish church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. This means that it’s the 400th anniversary of his burial!

    Hilliard is known for his beautiful portrait miniatures of the English court in the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, and his paintings of Elizabeth I: the “Pelican” portrait and the “Phoenix” portrait.

    Hilliard is a fascinating man and artist, and he is the subject of Dr Elizabeth Goldring’s new book, which is due to be released by Yale University Press on 12th February. Its title is Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist and here is the blurb

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  • 7 January

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history”, I talk about the death of Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII.

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  • 6 January

    Happy Epiphany! In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I talk about the wedding of Anne of Cleves and Henry VIII, an event that took place on this day in 1540.

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  • Witches and Witchcraft Crossword Puzzle

    Today’s Sunday fun is a crossword puzzle to test your knowledge on witches and witchcraft.

    If you haven’t listened to Kate Cole’s excellent expert talk on the subject then you might want to listen to that first…

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  • 5 January

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th January 1531, the Pope got rather cross with Henry VIII. Find out why in my video.

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  • 4 January

    Today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video is about William Roper, son-in-law of Sir Thomas More.

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  • Gibraltar – the key between these our kingdoms in the Eastern and Western Seas

    Tim and I had twenty-four hours in Gibraltar between Christmas and New Year so I thought I’d share with you some information about its history, as well as some photos.

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  • 3 January

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, Claire looks at 3rd January 1540 and 1541 and examines how different they were for Anne of Cleves.

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  • This month’s Live Chats – 4, 11 and 25 January

    I just wanted to remind you about January's live chats for Tudor Society members.

    Our expert speaker for December was historian Kate Cole. Her talk was about witches in Elizabethan and Stuart Essex, a fascinating topic. Kate will be joining us in the chatroom tomorrow (Friday 4th January) to answer your questions in a live chat session. If you haven't watched her video talk yet, you can view it at

    Our live chats take place in the Tudor Society chatroom at

    Here are the times for Kate's chat in different time zones:

    • London, UK - Friday 4th January at 11pm
    • Madrid, Spain - Saturday 5th January at 12am
    • New York, USA - Friday 4th January at 6pm
    • Los Angeles, USA - Friday 4th January at 3pm
    • Sydney, Australia - Saturday 5th January at 10am
    • Adelaide, Australia - Saturday 5th January at 9.30am

    Our expert speaker for this month is Samantha Wilcoxson, author of The Plantagenet Embers series of historical novels. Her talk is on Mary I, the subject of her novel Queen of Martyrs: The Story of Mary I and you can catch her talk at Samantha will be joining us in the chatroom on 25th January.

    Here are the times in different time zones:

    • London, UK - Friday 25th January at 11pm
    • Madrid, Spain - Saturday 26th January at 12am
    • New York, USA - Friday 25th January at 6pm
    • Los Angeles, USA - Friday 25th January at 3pm
    • Sydney, Australia - Saturday 26th January at 10am
    • Adelaide, Australia - Saturday 26th January at 9.30am

    Our informal live chat in January is also on Mary I and will give you chance to share your views on the woman who has gone down in history as "Bloody Mary". That chat will take place on 11th January.

    Here are the times in different time zones:

    • London, UK - Friday 11th January at 11pm
    • Madrid, Spain - Saturday 12th January at 12am
    • New York, USA - Friday 11th January at 6pm
    • Los Angeles, USA - Friday 11th January at 3pm
    • Sydney, Australia - Saturday 12th January at 10am
    • Adelaide, Australia - Saturday 12th January at 9.30am

    I do hope you can come to our chats, they're always fun and it's so good to talk Tudor.

  • 2 January

    What happened on 2nd January in the Tudor period? Here is today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video.

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  • Expert Talk – Mary I – Samantha Wilcoxson

    Our expert speaker this month wants us to re-examine our thoughts and beliefs about Mary I. Samantha Wilcoxson is the author of many books about the Tudors, and her talk is an excellent reminder that we must continually look at the facts in history.

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  • 1 January

    Here my “on this day in Tudor history” video for 1st January.

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  • New Year’s Day

    Happy New Year to you all! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all good things for 2019. Here at the Tudor Society, we have lots planned for this year – phew!

    As you will have noticed, every week I have been posting a “This week in history” article listing all of the “on this day in history” events for the current week, with links to read more where appopriate. Well, this year I thought I’d do something a bit different. I have decided to do a short daily video picking one particular event. Each video will be shared here on the Tudor Society website. I do hope you enjoy them.

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  • John Dudley Quiz

    John Dudley is a fascinating Tudor man, but how much do you know about him? Test your knowledge with this fun quiz. Good luck!

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  • January 2019 Tudor Life Taster

    Happy New Year! This month in Tudor Life Magazine, we have a bumper edition which is 94 pages long. It’s all about the Marys who made up the Tudor world…

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  • January 2019 – Tudor Life – Tudor Marys

    Happy New Year! This month in Tudor Life Magazine, we have a bumper edition which is 94 pages long. It’s all about the Marys who made up the Tudor world…

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  • Childermas or Holy Innocents’ Day

    Today is Childermas or the Feast of the Holy Innocents, a day that is still important in the Catholic Church and which was one of the Twelve Days of Christmas in Tudor times. Let me tell you about it in today’s Claire Chats video talk.

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  • Throwback Thursday – Our Tudor People section

    If you haven’t noticed, there are lots of lots of archives to explore on the Tudor Society website as we have been adding content on a more than weekly basis since August 2014.

    One section that you might have missed is our Tudor People section.

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  • Boxing Day or St Stephen’s Day

    In the UK today, 26th December is known as Boxing day and has become the day for spending your Christmas money at the post-Christmas sales or going for a bracing walk. We don’t think of it as the Feast of St Stephen.

    But in Tudor times, it commemorated the martyrdom of St Stephen, who was stoned to death for blasphemy.

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  • Merry Christmas to all Tudor Society members!

    Merry Christmas to all Tudor Society members!

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  • This week in history 24 – 30 December

    24th December:

    1545 – King Henry VIII made his final speech to Parliament. Historian Robert Hutchinson describes it as “both measured and compelling”, and writes of how Henry wanted “to impart a stern message” to all of his subjects.
    1604 – Death of Sir Thomas Cornwallis, Comptroller of the household of Mary I and member of Parliament, at the age of eighty-six. He was buried at Brome in Suffolk. Cornwallis was active in putting down Kett’s Rebellion in 1549 and in 1553, after originally proclaiming Lady Jane Grey as Queen in Ipswich, he swapped sides and swore allegiance to Mary I.

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  • Christmas Quiz 2018

    As this is our last quiz before Christmas, I thought I’d include some Christmas trivia questions and also some questions about Tudor events that happened around Christmas. So, grab your favourite Christmas tipple and a mince pie (or a slice of Christmas cake) and have a bit of fun with this quiz. Good luck!

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  • Christmas Carols

    Christmas just isn’t Christmas for me without listening to traditional Christmas carols, although I do like a bit of Michael Bublé! In today’s Claire Chats I talk about Christmas carols and their history.

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  • 21 December – A marriage and a death

    I just thought I’d highlight two “on this day in history” events for you today and give you links to read more about them:

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  • Throwback Thursday – Christmas Fun

    As it’s nearly Christmas (if you hadn’t noticed!), I thought I’d make today’s Throwback Thursday treat from the archives as Christmassy one.

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  • Catherine of Aragon’s halo?

    Thank you to Lynne for asking this question about Michael (Michel) Sittow’s portrait of a woman said to be Catherine of Aragon. The portrait of Katherine of Aragon painted by Michael Sittow on her marriage to Arthur shows Katherine with a halo around her headdress, and I read that the halo was painted on at a later date. I always thought that it was part of Katherine’s headdress, am I wrong?”

    The painting by Michael Sittow, shown here, is beautiful. We don’t actually know for certain who it is and there has been controversy surrounding it in recent years because the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna relabelled the portrait as being of Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, based on “Henry VIII’s Favourite Sister? Michel Sittow’s Portrait of a Lady in Vienna”, an article by Paul G. Matthews. You can read more about this in Katherine of Aragon or Mary Tudor? – The Re-identification of Michel Sittow’s Portrait of a Young Woman by Nasim Tadghighi. For me, it makes more sense that it is Catherine.

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  • The survival of the Bridgettine Order of Syon Abbey

    Engraving of original seal of the Abbess and Convent of Syon, Isleworth

    On this day in history, 19th December 1576, Katherine Palmer, Abbess of Syon, died in Mechelen. Katherine and her nuns had fled from England to the Low Countries in 1559, following the accession of the Protestant queen, Elizabeth I, and had finally settled at Mechelen. There, on 8th November 1576, a mob of Calvinists broke into the monastery and the courageous abbess confronted them. It is thought that confronting the mob, a traumatic response, led to her death just over a month later, on 19th December. She was laid to rest at Mechelen in the Church of the Augustinians.

    I dug a little into Katherine Palmer and her order. I found that she was of a gentry background and had given up that life to join the Bridgettine Order at Syon Monastery, in the parish of Isleworth, which had been founded by Henry V in 1415 and that had a reputation for its pious monastic life. Unfortunately, the abbey was dissolved in 1539 as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. However, the sisters kept their monastic life in small groups, one of which was led by Katherine.

    In 1551, Katherine and six nuns and four brothers relocated to Termonde in the Low Countries. They returned to England in 1555, in the reign of the Catholic queen, Mary I, at Cardinal Pole's urging, and refounded Syon. Katherine was elected as abbess. As I said earlier, they fled England in 1559, moving to Termonde and then Antwerp and on to Mechelen, where Katherine died in 1576.

    In his article for the Telegraph, Christopher Howse writes of how the order "went through astonishing sufferings from poverty and war, seeking refuge in France and Portugal" before finally settling back in England in 1861. In 1925, the order settled at South Brent, in Devon.

    What is amazing is that they are the only surviving pre-Reformation religious community in England - wonderful!

    Notes and Sources

    • Ridgway, Claire (2012) On This Day in Tudor History, MadeGlobal Publishing.
    • The survival of England's Syon, Christopher Howse, The Telegraph, 18 Oct 2008.