The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • 7 September 1533 – The birth of Elizabeth I

    At three o’clock in the afternoon of Sunday 7th September 1533, the eve of the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen Elizabeth I was born at Greenwich Palace.

    Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and she came to the throne following the death of her older half-sister, Queen Mary I, on 17th November 1558. She reigned for over forty-four years, until her death on 24th March 1603, and her reign became known as a “golden age”. Elizabeth I has gone down in history as Good Queen Bess, the Virgin Queen and Gloriana.

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  • Elizabeth Somerset, Countess of Worcester, one of Anne Boleyn’s ladies

    Born around 1502 in Bechworth, Surrey, Elizabeth was the daughter of Lucy Neville and Sir Anthony Browne; with the latter serving as standard-bearer to Henry VII and occupying the post of Lieutenant of Calais.

    Little is known of Elizabeth’s early life, however, her family did have connections to the royal court. Her father was a trusted courtier, and in 1508 her sister Anne married Sir Charles Brandon, one of the future King Henry VIII’s closest friends.

    During the 1520s Elizabeth was of marriageable age, and in around 1526 she was matched with Henry Somerset, the second Earl of Worcester. This was an elevated match as her father was neither royal nor noble, however, his descendants were members of parliament. Somerset’s first wife, Lady Margaret Courtney, granddaughter of Yorkist queen Elizabeth Woodville, had died without issue. Elizabeth and Henry married before 1527 and would go on to produce nine children, with many living into adulthood.

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  • Tudor Pin Badge Competition

    Hello to all full society members!

    Well, we’ve had an incredibly busy time packaging up all the pin badges for full members, and we’ve sent them all out now… they should be arriving in your post box any day now!

    We thought we’d have a little fun, with a fantastic prize to give away too!

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  • This week in history 4 – 10 September

    On this day in history…

    4th September:

    1504 – Birth of Antoine de Noailles, soldier and French diplomat at the English court in Mary I’s reign, at Château de la Fage.
    1539 – William, Duke of Cleves, signed the marriage treaty promising his sister, Anne of Cleves, in marriage to King Henry VIII. The Duke then sent the treaty to England, where it was ratified and concluded by early October.
    1550 – Death of Sir Thomas Paston, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber in the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI.
    1588 – Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester died at his lodge at Cornbury, near Woodstock in Oxfordshire.
    He had been ill for some time with a recurring stomach ailment, and so had decided to travel to Buxton to take the waters, but he died on the way.
    1590 – Death of Sir James Croft, Lord Deputy of Ireland, member of Parliament and conspirator. Croft was one of the leaders of Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554, but although he was sentenced to death for treason, he was eventually released and pardoned. He served Elizabeth I as Comptroller of the Household, but was imprisoned briefly in her reign for negotiating with the Duke of Parma without permission. Croft was buried at Westminster Abbey, in the Chapel of St John the Evangelist.

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  • Elizabethan Theatre Wordsearch

    This week’s puzzle to get those little grey cells working is a wordsearch. Not only do you have to find the words (and they can be in any direction – ha ha!) but you have to solve the clues first. This wordsearch tests your knowledge of the Elizabethan Theatre. Good luck!

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  • 10 minute Tudors with Leanda de Lisle

    Historian Leanda de Lisle has just sent me a link to a podcast she’s just published, the first in a new series on the Tudors and Stuarts. This one is called “Anne Boleyn: The Last Mystery”.

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  • Robert Wingfield’s Vitae Mariae – A first-hand account of the events of July 1553

    In today’s Claire chats video talk, I delve into the “Vita Mariae Angliae Reginae”, Robert Wingfield of Brantham’s account of Mary I’s successful coup d’état in July 1553. It is a fascinating primary source as it gives us details of Mary’s side of things, what was happening in East Anglia then.

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  • Expert Talk – The Lives of Tudor Women – Elizabeth Norton

    Elizabeth Norton, author and historian, is this month’s guest expert. This month she talks about the role of women in the Tudor era, from the lowest of the low all the way up to the queens that we often hear about.

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  • Anne Boleyn Experience Tour 2018

    British History Tours will soon be publicising its 2018 “Anne Boleyn Experience” tour which will run from 16-20 May 2018.

    The tour will be led by Philippa Lacey Brewell of British History Tours and Claire Ridgway (me!) and will be based at Hever Castle, childhood home of Queen Anne Boleyn. Participants will stay in a luxury private wing at Hever Castle and there will be tours of the castle, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. We’ll actually be visiting the Tower of London on 19th May, the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution.

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  • The queen and the royal potty

    Thank you so much to Tudor Society member Nancy for asking this question: “If the queen had to make a pottie stop between residences, how would that be accomplished? Does anyone know?”

    Social historian and re-enactor Bess Chilver has answered Nancy’s question, taking into account what a king would do as well. Over to Bess…

    Very interesting question. Our perception of a Royal, even now in these times of minimal deference, is that of a figure, remote and almost not human. Or at least, not subject to the usual human frailties and bodily functions.

    However, even a King or a Queen needs to use the (Royal) Potty sometimes, so where did they use it?

    Within their own properties, there were rooms specifically for their own private use. The Close Stool or Privy was the Medieval and 16th-century versions of the modern toilet. Mostly they worked in a similar way to a modern composting toilet except that the contents of the toilet would be removed by the night soil men. The effluent would be used for composting elsewhere – an excellent example of recycling.

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  • September 2017 Tudor Life – Katherine of Aragon

    Here is the full version of our 80-page September edition of Tudor Life Magazine. This month we focus on Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII.

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  • September 2017 Tudor Life Taster

    Enjoy this sample of our 80-page September edition of Tudor Life Magazine. This month we focus on Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII.

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  • Mary Queen of Scots movie due in 2018

    Apologies for the delay in posting this news but I was away in Moscow when it was being shared around on social media. Thank you to all those who sent me messages about it.

    A new film due out in 2018 will be of interest to Tudor Society members, not only because it’s on Mary, Queen of Scots, but because it is based on John Guy’s excellent book on Mary, “My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots”, which is a must-read. The film’s cast includes Saoirse Ronan as Mary, Queen of Scots, Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I, Jack Lowden as Lord Darnley, Martin Compston as the Earl of Bothwell, Joe Alwyn as Robert Dudley, Brendan Coyle as Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, and David Tennant as Anthony Babington, so some big names.

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  • Gunpowder – New BBC drama starring Kit Harington

    Kit Harington, AKA Jon Snow, is starring alongside Peter Mullan, Mark Gatiss and Liv Tyler in a new drama coming soon to BBC One.

    Kit will be playing Robert Catesby, one of the plotters of the infamous Gunpowder Plot which sought to blow up the House of Lords at the opening of Parliament on the 5th November 1605, and to assassinate King James I. You can click here to read more about the plot, but here is a trailer for the drama. The BBC has not announced a date yet for the series to air.

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  • The Battle of Bosworth – An informal video

    Long term Tudor Society member, Catherine Brooks, recently went to Bosworth to see the events over the Battle of Bosworth weekend. She took a little video of the battle and then spoke to Tim Nightingale, one of the reenactors of the day. We hope you enjoy this video!

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  • Robert Dudley: His Last Letter

    On this day in history, 28th August 1588, an ill Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wrote what would be his final letter to his queen and life-long friend, Elizabeth I.

    I want to take this opportunity to share the Claire Chats video talk that I did on this subject back in September 2016. I hope you enjoy the talk.

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  • 28 August 1551 – A defiant Lady Mary

    On this day in history, 28th August 1551, Lord Chancellor Richard Rich, Sir Anthony Wingfield and Sir William Petre went to Copthall in Essex to see the Lady Mary (future Mary I), half-sister of their king and master, Edward VI.

    They had been sent to Copthall to deliver a message to Mary from the king. Edward VI was ordering Mary and her household to desist from celebrating the Catholic mass. Edward also ordered that Sir Anthony Wingfield should replace Robert Rochester as Mary’s comptroller.

    Mary was furious with the men and refused to obey them or her brother’s orders. The men reported what happened in a letter to the king and his privy council. Here is the whole letter:

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  • This week in history 28 August – 3 September

    On this day in history…

    28th August:

    1550 – Death of Thomas Magnus, administrator, Archdeacon of the East Riding of Yorkshire, member of the King’s Council and diplomat, at Sessay in the North Riding of Yorkshire. He was also buried there.
    1551 – Lord Chancellor Richard Rich, Sir Anthony Wingfield and Sir William Petre went to Copthall in Essex to see Edward VI’s half-sister Mary. The purpose of their visit was to deliver the King’s order that Mary and her household should desist from celebrating the Catholic mass, and that Wingfield should replace Robert Rochester, whom Edward’s council had removed, as Mary’s comptroller. Mary refused to obey them and they were forced to leave, having failed their mission.
    1553 – Death of Sir John Harington, administrator, in Bishopsgate, London. He was buried in Exton. Harington served Henry VIII as Esquire of the Body, Treasurer of War (1542 and 1543), Vice-Treasurer of the army for the 1544 French campaign and Treasurer of the expedition to France (1546).
    1583 – Burial of William Latymer, Chaplain to Queen Anne Boleyn, Dean of Peterborough, chaplain to Elizabeth I and author of the “Cronickille of Anne Bulleyne”, a biography of Anne Boleyn. He was buried in Peterborough Cathedral.
    1588 – Execution of William Dean, Roman Catholic priest and martyr, by hanging at Mile End Green, Middlesex. He was found guilty of high treason for being a Catholic priest.
    1588 – Execution of Franciscan friar and martyr, Thomas Felton, near Brentford, Middlesex. He was hanged, drawn and quartered for his beliefs, and for proclaiming that he could not accept a woman as supreme head of the Church.
    1588 – An ill Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, wrote his final letter to his queen and childhood friend, Elizabeth I.
    1609 – Death of Sir Francis Vere (de Vere), soldier. He served in the English army in the Low Countries, and also in the 1596 Cadiz expedition. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

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  • Transcript of Lauren Browne – Rivals and Mistresses Part 1

    Here’s the excerpt from last night’s livechat with Lauren Browne for those who couldn’t make it to the chatroom.

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  • Quiz – Mary I’s ladies

    How much do you know about the ladies who served Mary throughout her life, from when she was a princess, through her being the illegitimate Lady Mary, and then on to her time as queen? Test yourself with today’s quiz. Good luck!

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  • Live chat reminder – it’s today!

    Just a quick reminder that historian Lauren Browne will be joining us later today in the Tudor Society chatroom to answer your questions on her recent talk on Rivals and Mistresses and to chat about this topic and her research.

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  • Elizabeth I and Ivan IV

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, Claire looks at the relationship between England and Russia in Elizabeth I’s reign, and specifically at some correspondence between Elizabeth I and Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible).

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  • Shane O’Neill

    Born in about 1530, Shane O’Neill (Seán Mac Cuinn Ó Néill) was the youngest son of Conn Bacach O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone. His father was forced to recognise Henry VIII as his overlord and monarch, acknowledging his laws and supremacy and agreeing to renounce the Pope. Conn petitioned the king for the earldom of Ulster, but was offered instead the earldom of Tyrone, which he accepted. He later travelled to England to formally submit to Henry in person. Conn’s eldest son Mathew was created Baron of Dungannon at this time and had the right to succeed his father as Earl of Tyrone. Shane, as an adolescent, was excluded from the negotiations leading to the settlement.

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  • 22 August 1485 – The Battle of Bosworth

    On this day in history, the 22nd August 1485, in rural Leicestershire near Market Bosworth, the armies of King Richard III and Henry Tudor faced each other in a battle that would see the death of the King and the beginning of a new dynasty: the Tudor dynasty.

    When Henry Tudor challenged the King on that August day, Richard III had been King for just over two years. He had gone from being Lord Protector to the young King Edward V, the twelve-year-old son of Richard’s brother Edward IV, to being King after Edward IV’s sons were declared illegitimate. His challenger, Henry Tudor, was the son of Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, and Lady Margaret Beaufort, a woman descended from John of Gaunt, third son of Edward III. As a Lancastrian, Henry had fled to Brittany in France, after Edward IV successfully regained the throne from Henry VI in 1471. He returned to England after his mother had conspired with Elizabeth Woodville, Edward IV’s widow, to arrange a marriage between Elizabeth’s daughter, Elizabeth of York, and Henry, and to promote Henry as an alternative to Richard III.

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  • This week in history 21 – 27 August

    On this day in history…

    21st August:

    1536 – Death of Robert Sherborn (Sherborne), former Bishop of Chichester, at Chichester. He was buried in the cathedral there. The elderly and conservative bishop was forced to resign his see in June 1536 after being examined by Dr Richard Layton.
    1551 – Death of Sir John Packington, judge. He was buried at Hampton Lovett in Worcestershire, where he had settled in 1528. Packington was an active member of the Council of the Marches, a justice for North Wales, Recorder of Worcester, a judge on the Brecon circuit in Wales, and Recorder of Ludlow.
    1553 – Death of Sir Thomas Heneage, courtier. Heneage served Henry VIII as Groom of the Stool and Chief Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, and served Edward VI as a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber. He was buried in the chancel of the parish church at Hainton, Lincolnshire.
    1568 – Death of Humphrey Llwyd, antiquary, translator and cartographer from a fever. He was buried in the north aisle of St Marcella’s (Llanfarchell) Church, which is also known as Whitchurch or Eglwys Wen. Llwyd is known for producing the first ever printed map of Wales.

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  • Troublesome unions

    It’s time for our weekly quiz so grab your favourite beverage and make yourself comfortable. Today’s topic is unauthorised weddings, relationships and betrothals. Good luck!

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  • 19 August 1561 – Mary, Queen of Scots lands at Leith

    On this day in history, on 19th August 1561 at six o’clock in the morning, Mary, Queen of Scots landed at Leith harbour, in Scotland, the country of her birth. The reason for her return to her homeland was the death of her husband, Francis II, King of France. He had died in December 1560 and was succeeded by his brother, Charles IX, with his mother, Catherine de’ Medici acting as regent for the ten-year-old boy. Mary knew that there was no sense in her staying in France. There was no place for her there, so she handed her jewels in to Catherine and set about planning her return to Scotland and making a fresh start.

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  • Claire’s bookcase – Elizabeth I

    In today’s Claire Chats video talk, Claire goes through the books she has on Elizabeth I, her reign and prominent people in her reign.

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  • 17 August 1510 – The end of Empson and Dudley

    On this day in history, 17th August 1510, the second year of King Henry VIII’s reign, Henry VII’s former chief administrators, Sir Edmund Dudley and Sir Richard Empson, were beheaded on Tower Hill after being found guilty of treason.

    Chronicler Edward Hall records:

    “The kynge beyng thus in hys progresse harde euery daye more and more complayntes of Empson and Dudley, wherfore he sent wryttes to the Shynfes of London, to put them in execucion, and so the xvii. day of August, they were both behedded at the Towre hyl, and their bodies buryed and their heades.”

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  • Thomas Kyd

    On this day in history, 15th August 1594, the playwright Thomas Kyd was buried at St Mary Colechurch in London. Kyd is known for his play “The Spanish Tragedy” (c.1587), and some scholars believe that he wrote a “Hamlet” play before that of William Shakespeare.

    Thomas Kyd was born in 1558 to Francis Kyd, a scrivener, and his wife, Anne. Although we don’t know the date of Kyd’s birth, we know that he was baptised at the church of St Mary Woolnoth in London on 6th November 1558. Usually, a baby was baptised within just a few days of birth so Kyd was probably born in the first few days of November.

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