The Tudor Society
  • Tudor Movies

    I have several friends who are using lockdown as an excuse to catch up on movies and to watch classic movies they’d missed, it’s a great idea if you’re stuck at home with not a lot to do. And for a Tudor history lover, there is a very long list of Tudor-inspired movies to choose from, dating from the early 1900s to the present day. Let me tell you a bit about some of them.

    Do feel free to share any I’ve missed and please do consider reviewing one for our magazine or website – thank you!

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  • A message from Claire

    Just a quick message from me at this strangest of times.

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  • Owen Tudor (1400-1461)

    The grandfather of Henry VII, Owen Tudor, or Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur, was born in 1400. He was the son of Maredudd ap Tudur ap Goronwy and Margaret, daughter of Dafydd Fychan. He is believed to be descended from a prominent Welsh family, and it is thought that Owen’s family took part in the Glyndwr Rising, one of the last major attempts for Welsh independence. Little is known about the early life of Owen Tudor, and, in fact, a large proportion of his life is highly mythologised.

    There are theories that Owen fought at Agincourt and became an esquire of King Henry V. In 16th century France, it was said that he was the illegitimate son of an alehouse keeper, and in 18th century Wales, it was purported that his father was a fugitive murderer. These rumours are largely unfounded and show just how much speculation there is regarding the early life of Owen Tudor. We know that in May 1421, an ‘Owen Meredith’ joined the service of Sir Walter Hungerford, who was the steward of the king’s household where he served in France. Following this appointment, his life once again becomes shrouded in mystery. It is within these years, however, that we know Owen Tudor met Queen Catherine, and this meeting has inspired romantics and writers of historical fiction and poetry for years. It is rumoured that the relationship between Owen Tudor and Catherine began when Owen met Catherine by falling into her lap while dancing, while another story claims that Owen Tudor caught Catherine’s eye while he was swimming! Regardless of how they met, however, their subsequent relationship would change the English monarchy, removing the Plantagenet dynasty and replacing it with their very own Tudor one.

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  • 2 April – The death of Prince Arthur

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd April 1502, Arthur, Prince of Wales, son and heir of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, died at Ludlow Castle. He was just fifteen years old, and had only been married to the Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon for four and a half months.

    In today’s talk, I discuss his death and the theories regarding Arthur’s cause of death, which include sweating sickness, consumption, testicular cancer and Atypical Cystic Fibrosis.

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  • 1 April – William Harvey, his experiments and blood circulation

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st April 1578, English physician William Harvey, was born in Folkestone, Kent. Harvey has gone down in history as being the man who discovered the circulation of blood, and he was also physician extraordinary to King James I and King Charles I.

    How did Harvey work out that the heart pumped the blood around the body and how was his challenge of Galen’s work received?

    Find out more about William Harvey’s work, and also his role in the pardoning of women accused of witchcraft, in today’s talk.

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  • The Lives of the Brandon Men – Sarah Bryson – Expert Talk

    Welcome to this month’s expert talk – Sarah Bryson is sharing her knowledge and passion for the Brandon men in this wonderful hour and 15 minute presentation which is packed with information.

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  • April 2020 – Tudor Life – The Lancasters

    Here’s the full version of your monthly magazine: all about the house of Lancaster. The magazine is a whopping 80 pages long and it’s chock full of top articles as normal.

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  • Tudor Life April 2020 Taster

    The April edition (number 68!!!) of Tudor Life focuses on the Lancasters, and it’s great to learn all about this house. The magazine is a whopping 80 pages long and it’s chock full of top articles as normal.

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  • 31 March – John Donne, the bell tolls for thee

    On this day in history, 31st March 1631, the Tudor and Stuart metaphysical poet, satirist, lawyer and clergyman John Donne died.

    Donne had an amazing career, going on voyages, serving as a royal chaplain and diplomat, and writing sermons, songs, satires and poetry, including an erotic poem, “The Flea”.

    Find out more about John Donne and hear some of his work in today’s talk.

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  • 30 March – Thomas Cranmer and his protestation

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th March 1533, at the Passion Sunday service, Thomas Cranmer, Archdeacon of Taunton, was consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury.

    His consecration was not like those of others before him, however, because as well as making the usual oath promising to be faithful to the papacy and to denounce heretics, he also made a protestation to show that his oath would not conflict with his loyalty to King Henry VIII and his commitment to reforming the church. Hmmmm…. complicated.

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  • 29 March – Children encourage John Laurence at his sad end

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th March 1555, in the reign of Queen Mary I, Protestant and former Dominican priest, John Laurence, was burned at the stake for heresy in Colchester.

    At his burning, young children encouraged him with their prayers.

    Find out more about his John Laurence’s sad end in today’s talk.

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  • Transcript of livechat with Tracy Borman – Henry VIII’s men

    What a wonderful live chat we had last night with Tracy Borman. We were chatting about Henry VIII and his men.

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  • True or false: Myth or history

    Let’s put the troubles of this workd to one side for a few minutes and have some fun with Tudor history.

    This week’s quiz is a true or false quiz on Tudor myths, rumours and scandals. What was actually true? See if you know with this fun quiz.

    Good luck!

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – What did Tudor children wear? – Part 1 – Tudor babies

    You might remember that Teasel and I did a talk on Tudor diapers (nappies) a few weeks ago and that we promised to follow that up with a talk on what Tudor babies and children wore. Well, here you go!

    In today’s edition of Teasel’s Tudor Trivia, Teasel and I share our research on how Tudor mothers would dress their babies. Next time, we’ll be looking at what Tudor toddlers and children wore.

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  • 28 March – The amazing Raphael

    This day in history, 28th March 1483, is one of the dates out forward as the birthdate of Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, or Raphael as he is known, the Italian Renaissance artist and architect.

    Did you know that Henry VII owned a piece of art by Raphael and that Henry VIII admired his work?

    Find out a bit more about Raphael and see some of his beautiful works of art in today’s talk.

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  • 27 March – Arrangements are made for Prince Arthur to marry Catherine of Aragon

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th March 1489, the Treaty of Medina del Campo was signed between England and Spain. One part of it was the arrangement of the marriage between Arthur, Prince of Wales, and Catherine (or Catalina) of Aragon. It was signed by Spain on this day and ratified in 1490 by Henry VII.

    Find out more about this treaty and the betrothal and marriages (yes, plural!) of Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, and Catherine of Aragon in today’s talk.

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  • Tudor Memoirs and Diaries

    Samuel Pepys’ diary has been very useful to historians because it gives a first hand account of the Restoration, the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London, so at the moment I’m keeping a daily diary for future historians to use as a source on the Coronavirus. Who knows if anyone will ever read it, but keeping it is also keeping me sane.

    It made me think about the memoirs and diaries from the Tudor period, and just how useful they are at giving us an insight into the lives of Tudor people.

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  • 26 March – Robert Carey and his eventful ride to King James

    On this day in history, late on 26th March 1603, two days after the death of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Robert Carey arrived at Holyrood in Edinburgh, Scotland, to inform King James VI that Queen Elizabeth I was dead and that James was now king.

    It took Carey just two days to get from London to Scotland, and he had an accident on the way, but it was all worth it. Find out about his journey and what happened in today’s “on this day in Tudor history” talk.

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  • 25 March – Margaret Clitherow, the Pearl of York, and her awful end

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th March 1586, Good Friday and also Lady Day, the Feast of the Annunciation, Catholic martyr Margaret Clitherow (née Middleton), known as “the Pearl of York”, was pressed to death at the toll-booth on Ouse Bridge in York, under 7 or 8 hundredweight. She was executed for harbouring Catholic priests.

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  • 24 March – Robert Rich and Penelope Devereux, an unhappy marriage

    On this day in history, 24th March1619, Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick, Tudor nobleman and politician, died at his London home, Warwick House in Holborn. He was laid to rest at Felsted Church in Essex.

    Rich was an incredibly wealthy man and a good catch for Penelope Devereux, sister of the Earl of Essex, but their marriage was unhappy and she had an affair. Find out more about Rich and his marriage in today’s talk.

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  • 23 March – The last abbey is dissolved

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd March 1540, Waltham Abbey, an Augustinian house in Essex, was surrendered to the Crown. It was the last abbey to be dissolved in Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell’s dissolution of the monasteries.

    Find out more about this historic abbey, its origins and what’s left today, and also who profited from its lands, in today’s talk.

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  • 22 March – William Bourne, his life and his submarine

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd March 1582, gunner, mathematician and writer, William Bourne was buried at Gravesend in Kent.

    This popular author, who was able to explain technical matters for the common man in his books, was also a gunner, mathematician and inventor, yet he received no university education. He also drew plans for a submarine, although he never built it.

    Find out more about the fascinating William Bourne and his works in today’s talk.

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  • Tudor March Wordsearch

    Every day, I post “on this day in Tudor history” videos here on the Tudor Society. How much information have you actually taken in from them? Test your knowledge of March Tudor history events with this fun wordsearch, Be warned, words can go in any direction!

    Click on the link or image below to open and print out.

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  • 21 March – Elizabeth I takes to her bed

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st March 1603, a dying Queen Elizabeth I finally took to her bed.

    Elizabeth I had been queen since November 1558, but now she was dying. She had deep-rooted melancholy, couldn’t sleep and was refusing to eat. She spent her days lying on cushions in her withdrawing chamber. But on 21st March, she was finally persuaded to go to bed.

    Find out more about these last days in this talk.

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  • 20 March – St Cuthbert Mayne, an Elizabethan priest and martyr

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th March 1544, Cuthbert Mayne (Main/Maine) or St Cuthbert Mayne, Roman Catholic priest and martyr, was baptised in Youlston in North Devon.

    Cuthbert Mayne has gone down in history as the first seminary priest to be martyred. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Launceston on 30th November 1577, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

    Let me tell you a bit more about this Elizabethan martyr.

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  • Tudor history from home

    Here in Spain, we’ve been on lockdown since Monday due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Now, I could use this as inspiration to talk about epidemics, the plague, influenza and sweating sickness in history, but I’m not. I’ll give you links to my talks on those, but I want to stop thinking about the nasty stuff.

    So, with so many people around the world in lockdown or self-isolating, I thought I’d give you some ideas for keeping occupied and getting your Tudor history fix.

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  • 19 March – Elizabeth Seymour, Lady Cromwell

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th March 1568, Elizabeth Seymour, Lady Cromwell, died. She was around fifty years old at her death.

    Elizabeth was the sister of a queen, and a lord protector, and two of her brothers were executed as traitors, but what else do we know about Elizabeth Seymour and how is she linked to the Cromwell family and a portrait once thought to be of Queen Catherine Howard?

    Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 18 March – Elizabeth I is arrested

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th March 1554, Palm Sunday, the twenty-year-old Lady Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth I) was escorted by barge from her home at Whitehall Palace along the River Thames to the Tower of London, and imprisoned there.

    Elizabeth had been implicated in Wyatt's Rebellion, a rebellion that sought to depose Queen Mary I and put Elizabeth, the queen's half-sister, on the throne in her place.

    Where was Elizabeth imprisoned? What happened to her? Find out more about Elizabeth's arrest and her time in the Tower of London in today's talk.
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  • Informal live chat – 21 March – The Tudors on TV

    Apologies for the short notice, but things are a bit chaotic with the lockdown here in Spain. This month’s informal live chat will be taking place this Saturday, 21st March, and the topic is The Tudors on TV and in film. We’ll be discussing TV programmes, movies, documentaries, adaptations of Tudor novels etc. and do feel free to share recommendations or pose questions to other members.

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  • 17 March – Alexander Alesius and his terrifying vision of Anne Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th March 1565, Scottish theologian and Reformer Alexander Alesius (also known as Ales, Aless), died in either Leipzig or Edinburgh.

    Alesius wrote a huge number of theological works, was friends with reformers Philip Melancthon and Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, but had a row with the Bishop of London at one point.

    Let me tell you a bit more about Alexander Alesius and also a terrifying vision or nightmare he experience in the early hours of 19th May 1536, the day of Queen Anne Boleyn’s execution.

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