The Tudor Society
  • 21 June – Lady Jane Grey is Edward’s heir

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st June 1553, letters patent were issued stating that the dying King Edward VI’s heir was Lady Jane Grey, eldest daughter of the king’s cousin, Frances Grey (née Brandon), Duchess of Suffolk.

    Why was Lady Jane Grey his heir when Edward had two half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, and who else was listed in his “devise for the succession”. Find out more about Edward VI’s plan for the succession in today’s talk

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  • Tudor Fathers True or False Quiz

    Today is Father’s Day in several countries so I thought I’d made Tudor fathers the theme of our Sunday quiz this week.

    It’s a true or false quiz, so at least you have a 50% chance of getting each question right! Good luck!

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  • 20 June – Anne of Cleves is cross about Catherine Howard

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th June 1540, Henry VIII’s fourth wife, Queen Anne of Cleves, complained to her advisor about her husband’s interest in one of her maids of honour, a certain Catherine Howard. What was going on and what happened next?

    Find out more about the final weeks of Henry VIII’s and Anne of Cleves’ marriage in today’s talk.

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  • 19 June – A bad end for a priest threatening William Cecil with hell

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th June 1573, Jesuit priest and former rector of a Lincolnshire parish, Thomas Woodhouse, was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.

    Blessed Thomas Woodhouse was the first priest to be executed in Elizabeth I’s reign, and he was beatified in December 1886 by Pope Leo XIII.

    When you hear what he said to William Cecil, Lord Burghley, you can understand just why he was seen as a traitor by Burghley and Elizabeth I’s government. Not wise words in those times, but he stuck to his faith and principles.

    Find out more in today’s video.

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  • How medieval and Tudor people tried to protect themselves from the plague

    This week’s Claire Chats talk has been inspired by the precautions that many of us are taking at the moment to protect ourselves against Covid-19, coronavirus.

    We’re using social distancing, quarantine and face masks, but how did medieval and Tudor people try and protect themselves from illnesses like the plague and sweating sickness? Find out in this today’s Claire Chats talk:

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  • 18 June – Robert Recorde, his urinal and the equals sign

    Yes, you read that title right! On this day in Tudor history, 18th June 1558, the will of Welsh mathematician, physician and mint administrator Robert Recorde was proved.

    Recorde invented the “=” sign and wrote books on mathematics and also a urological treatise “The Urinal of Physick”.

    Let me tell you all about this man and his works, which have such catchy titles!

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  • 17 June – Mary, Queen of Scots is imprisoned in Scotland

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th June 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned at Loch Leven Castle following her surrender at the Battle of Carberry Hill on 15th June.

    Sadly, while she was imprisoned there, she miscarried twins and was forced to abdicate. She eventually escaped, but her freedom was only temporary.

    Find out more about this time in Mary, Queen of Scots’ life in today’s talk.

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  • 16 June – Sir John Cheke, scholar and statesman

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th June 1514, English classical scholar and statesman, Sir John Cheke was born in Cambridge.

    Cheke was the first Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge University, tutored King Edward VI, served as Secretary of State to Queen Jane (Lady Jane Grey) and was imprisoned by Mary I for his reformed faith. He died a broken man after denying his faith to survive. Find out more about him in today’s talk.

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  • 15 June – Tudor Court Fools

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th June 1559, William Somer (Sommers), court fool to Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I, died in Shoreditch, London.

    Somer managed to survive upsetting the king by calling Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth names, although the king apparently was so furious he wanted to kill him, and he died a natural death in Elizabeth I’s reign.

    Somer wasn’t the only court fool at the time, Jane the Fool served Anne Boleyn, Catherine Parr and Mary I. Find out about Will Somer and Jane the Fool, the Tudor Court Fools, in today’s talk.

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  • 14 June – Two courtiers in trouble for supporting Mary

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th June 1536, not long after the fall of Anne Boleyn, two courtiers, Sir Anthony Browne and Sir Francis Bryan, were interrogated regarding their alleged support of Mary, daughter of King Henry VIII by Catherine of Aragon.

    Both men had been involved with the Catholic conservatives and Seymours who had worked to bring Anne Boleyn down and who wanted Mary restored to the succession, but now they found themselves in a spot of trouble.

    What happened and how did Bryan and Browne get out of trouble?

    Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • June Tudor Events Crossword

    Today’s Sunday puzzle will be nice and easy for you if you’ve been watching my “on this day in Tudor history” videos or reading the transcripts. How much can you remember about events that happened between 1st and 14th June in the Tudor period? Test yourself with this fun crossword puzzle.

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  • 13 June – A pregnant Catherine Parr goes to Sudeley

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th June 1548, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, and his wife, Catherine Parr, the dowager queen, set off from Catherine’s manor of Hanworth in London to travel to Seymour’s seat of Sudeley Castle. They were accompanied by Lady Jane Grey and around 100 others.

    Seymour wanted his wife to enjoy the final months of her pregnancy safe in the Cotswolds away from the Plague in London and for his first-born child to be born at Sudeley.

    In today’s talk, I share details on who accompanied the couple, what Sudeley was like and what happened next.

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  • 12 June – Thomas Cromwell’s quaking hand and most sorrowful heart

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th June 1540, a clearly frightened Thomas Cromwell, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his arrest on 10th June for treason, wrote to King Henry VIII regarding his “most miserable state”, asking for mercy, and pleading his innocence.

    I share Cromwell’s letter in today’s talk. It is an eloquent letter but also a very moving one. His fear is palpable.

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  • Wildlife in Tudor Britain

    As well as Tudor history and all things Harry Potter, I love wildlife. When we first moved to Spain, I loved discovering the new creatures on my doorstep – from colourful new bugs in the garden and geckos in the house, to mountain goats on cliff faces at the side of roads and snakes crossing in front of us. Brilliant!

    The sounds of wildlife during lockdown inspired me to do this Claire Chats talk on the animals that could be found in Britain in the medieval and Tudor periods…

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  • William Warham (1450-1532)

    William Warham was born in Church Oakley in Hampshire to parents Robert and Elizabeth. His origins were humble, evidenced by a commemorative brass in Church Oakley presumably set up by William himself, the brass carrying with it no emblems of social distinction. His uncle was also a carpenter, which further hints at his humble upbringing. William was educated at Winchester College and New College, Oxford, becoming a fellow in 1475 and acquiring a doctorate in canon law.

    In 1448, Warham moved to London to take up a post in the Court of Arches, and two years later, it is believed he went to Rome as a proctor of John Alcock, Bishop of Ely. Soon after, he began to procure sinecures, including the archdeaconry of Huntingdon and the precentorship of Wells. In 1491, Warham performed his first secular duty when he was appointed to the English party sent to Antwerp to discuss disputes with merchants. In 1493, he travelled to Burgundy to meet with Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, to attempt to halt support for Perkin Warbeck, a pretender to the English throne. In February 1494, he received his long-awaited royal preferment to the mastership of the rolls. This position granted him numerous opportunities as be began to negotiate the marriage of Prince Arthur and Katherine of Aragon with the Spanish ambassador. In 1501, his negotiations with Emperor Maximilian I ensured that he was able to hand over a major threat to the reign of Henry VII – Edmund de la Pole.

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  • 11 June – St Barnabas Day and garlands

    Happy St Barnabas Day!

    Yes, 11th June is the Feast of St Barnabas, a feast day that was celebrated by the Tudors by decorating churches with garlands of flowers.

    Find out more about St Barnabas and how he was commemorated in medieval and Tudor times in today’s talk.

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  • 10 June – Elizabeth I’s Frog

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th June 1584, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Francis, Duke of Anjou and Alençon, died in Paris. It is thought that he died of malaria.

    Why am I talking about a French duke? Well, for a time, he was a suitor of Queen Elizabeth I and the queen even affectionately called him her “frog”. It looked like Elizabeth would actually marry him.

    Find out more about what happened between Elizabeth and her dear “frog” in today’s talk.

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  • 9 June – William Paget, a man who served 4 monarchs

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th or 10th June 1563, William Paget, 1st Baron Paget, diplomat and administrator, died, probably at his estate of West Drayton in Middlesex.

    By his death, he’d served four Tudor monarchs and even though he’d fallen from favour and been imprisoned, he kept his head and climbed back in favour.

    But who was Baron Paget? Well, let me give you a few facts about this Tudor man.

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  • 8 June – Elizabeth Woodville

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th June 1492, in the reign of King Henry VII, Elizabeth Woodville, died at Bermondsey Abbey.

    Elizabeth Woodville was the wife of King Edward IV and mother of Elizabeth of York and the Princes in the Tower, King Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, but there’s far more to her than that.

    Enjoy this overview of Elizabeth Woodville’s life.

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  • 7 June – A water pageant for Jane Seymour

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th June 1536, there were celebrations for England’s new queen, Jane Seymour, third wife of King Henry VIII.

    The celebrations consisted of a river pageant on the River Thames in London, from Greenwich Palace to Whitehall (York Place).

    Find out all about this river pageant in today’s talk.

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  • Which Tudor Thomas? Part 2

    The multitude of Thomases in the Tudor period keep us on our toes, don’t they? There are just so many of them. How much do you know about prominent Tudor Thomases? Get those little grey cells working with today’s quiz.

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  • 6 June – Trouble bews in Bodmin

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th June 1549, an army of rebels assembled at Bodmin in Cornwall, and there was a town meeting in which the rebels’ demands were put forward.

    What were these rebels rebelling against?

    The recent religious changes, particularly the new law concerning the Book of Common Prayer.

    Trouble ensued and their grievances became a full-blown rebellion, the Prayer Book Rebellion. You can find out what happened next and how the rebellion ended in today’s talk.

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  • 5 June – Maria de Salinas, Catherine of Aragon’s friend

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th June 1516, Spaniard Maria de Salinas married William, 10th Lord Willoughby of Eresby.

    Maria and William were the parents of Catherine Willoughby, who went on to marry Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Maria was also a good friend of Catherine of Aragon and managed to be with the queen in her final hours, even though she wasn’t supposed to be there.

    Find out more about Maria de Salinas in today’s talk.

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  • The Philosopher’s Stone

    This week’s Claire chats has been inspired by my two great loves, history and Harry Potter, and I consider the real Nicholas Flamel and the legends surrounding him, and also George Ripley and the Ripley Scroll.

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  • 4 June – Lightning strikes St Paul’s

    On the afternoon of this day in Tudor history, Wednesday 4th June 1561, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, London was hit by a tremendous thunderstorm. Fires caused by lightning strikes destroyed one church and damaged St Paul’s Cathedral.

    Find out more about the storm, how St Paul’s was damaged, the reactions to the lightning strike, what Queen Elizabeth I did, and what happened next, in today’s talk.

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  • Expert answer – Would grooms and ushers be able to visit home?

    Thank you to Wendy for submitting this question. Wendy wrote:

    “Hi I am researching a novel set in 1495. In it my main character and his son are Grooms and Ushers to the King which would be Henry VII. It’s a fictional story and the characters are fictional, but I have some questions:

    How much freedom would they have? For instance is it likely that the King would dismiss them from court to go home at regular intervals? Would they be able to go home if they requested to because they needed to, or would they have certain times they are allowed home? They live in Somerset so I am estimating it will take them a few days to get home and a few more to get back.”

    Historian and historical novelist Toni Mount gave this answer:

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  • Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon (1526-1556)

    Edward Courtenay was the second and only surviving son of Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter, and his second wife, Gertrude Courtenay.

    Little is known about his early life, but we know that he spent some of his early childhood in the household of Mary Tudor. Dowager Queen of France. After she died in 1533, however, he returned to his family and received tuition from Robert Taylor. When his father fell afoul of King Henry VIII for his support of Katherine of Aragon and his correspondence with the Poles, Edward, aged twelve, was sent alongside his parents to the Tower of London and imprisoned. Edward’s father was executed on 9th December 1538, and his mother was released after eighteen months of imprisonment.

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  • Tudor History Challenge 8 – Henry VIII’s six wives

    Thank you to Tudor Society members who also subscribe to the Anne Boleyn and Tudor Society YouTube Channel – we’ve just hit 45,000 subscribers!

    To celebrate, I jumped at the opportunity to humiliate Tim with another Tudor History Challenge. This time, it’s on the six wives of Henry VIII.

    Why don’t you play along and see if you can do better than Tim?

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  • 3 June – The Royal Supremacy

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd June 1535, Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VIII’s vicar-general, issued orders regarding the royal supremacy to the bishops of the kingdom.

    But what was the royal supremacy and what were the clergy expected to do?

    Find out all about the royal supremacy, the orders sent and how bishops reacted, in today’s talk.

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  • 2 June – Queen Jane Seymour

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd June 1536, Jane Seymour made her first public appearance at Greenwich Palace.

    She’d married King Henry VIII on 30th May 1536, and this public appearance was just two weeks after Anne Boleyn’s execution, so it must have caused quite a stir.

    Find out more about this public appearance, and also about Jane Seymour herself, in today’s talk.

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