The Tudor Society
  • 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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  • Sir Francis Bryan – Sarah-Beth Watkins – Expert Talk

    Our expert speaker this month is Sarah-Beth Watkins, and in this talk she discusses Sir Francis Bryan, Henry VIII’s most notorious ambassador, taking us right through his life from birth to death… simply amazing!

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  • 1 June – Christopher Marlowe’s death and inquest

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st June 1593, the inquest into the death of playwright, poet and translator Christopher Marlowe took place.

    Twenty-nine-year-old Marlowe, writer of such famous works as “Tamburlaine”, “Dr Faustus” and “The Jew of Malta”, had been fatally stabbed at a house in Deptford Strand, London, by a man named Ingram Frizer on 30th May 1593, but what happened?

    In today’s “on this day” talk, I share William Danby’s coroner’s report on what happened that fateful day.

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  • 31 May – Henry VIII’s annulment and a special Blackfriars court

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st May 1529, a special legatine court opened at Blackfriars in London. The court’s purpose was to hear the case for an annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, and it was presided over by papal legate Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.

    Find out about the context of this court, what happened at the court and what happened next in today’s talk.

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  • Tudor Catherines Crossword Puzzle

    Catherine (or Katherine) was a very popular name during the Tudor period, many parents perhaps honouring Queen Catherine of Aragon by naming their daughters after her, but how much do you know about the prominent Catherines of this period?

    Test your knowledge with this fun crossword puzzle. Have fun!

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

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  • 30 May – Knights of the Bath for Anne Boleyn’s coronation

    On this day in Tudor history, on the night of 30th/31st May 1533, as part of the celebrations for Queen Anne Boleyn’s coronation, which was scheduled for 1st June, eighteen men were created Knights of the Bath.

    What did this mean? What happened in this night-long ceremony?

    Find out in today’s talk.

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  • 29 May – John Penry and his scandalous writings

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th May 1593, Welsh religious controversialist, and a man regarded by Welsh historians as the pioneer of Welsh nonconformity, John Penry was hanged at St Thomas-a-Watering in Surrey.

    John Penry was linked to the Martin Marprelate tracts and the resulting Marprelate Controversy, not for writing them, but for helping to run the secret press that printed them.

    Find out more about Penry, his life and his work, and his involvement with these tracts, and how appealing to William Cecil didn’t save him from the hangman’s noose, in today’s talk.

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  • Executions as entertainment

    In last week’s Claire Chats talk, I looked at executions and the way that they were stage-managed and how victims stuck to a set format for their execution speeches and wanted to make a good end.

    In today’s Claire Chats, I look at why executions were public and how they ended up being entertainment for the people.

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  • Transcript of live chat with Julian Humphrys

    Thanks to all who came to the chatroom to join us for the live chat with Julian Humphrys where we talked about the siege of Malta. Here is the transcript for those members who couldn’t get to the chat. See you next time?

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  • May 28 – The Spanish Armada sets sail

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th May 1588, the Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon in Portugal bound for the Spanish Netherlands.

    With the Pope’s blessing, King Philip II was going to invade England and depose the heretic, Queen Elizabeth I. The stop at the Netherlands was simply to pick up the Spanish forces there.

    What happened next and why did the Spanish Armada fail?

    Find out all about the Spanish Armada and how England was victorious in today’s talk.

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  • 27 May – Margaret Pole’s botched execution

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th May 1541, the frail sixty-seven-year-old Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, was executed at the Tower of London.

    The former governess of Princess Mary had an awful end because the usual executioner was away from London, and one account has led to stories of her tormented ghost reliving her final moments at the Tower.

    Find out why Margaret Pole was executed and what happened in today’s talk.

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  • Gertrude Courtenay, Marchioness of Exeter (d.1558)

    Gertrude Courtenay was the daughter of William Blount, 4th Baron Mountjoy, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Say. Little is known about the early life of Gertrude, but we do know that she married Henry Courtenay, Earl of Devon, in 1519.

    As Henry Courtenay was the first cousin of Henry VIII, Gertrude had married well and as such had a high place in court, attending the queen at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. In 1525, her husband was created the Marquess of Exeter, making Gertrude a marchioness. Gertrude gave birth to a son named Edward in 1526, but her other son, Henry, died in infancy. When Henry VIII decided to divorce Katherine of Aragon, Gertrude’s husband signed the petition to the Pope asking him to grant an annulment. However, although supportive of the divorce, Exeter and Gertrude felt sympathy for Katherine and opposed the new evangelical ideas of Cromwell and Cranmer. As such, Gertrude became embroiled with Elizabeth Barton, the Holy Maid of Kent. Barton predicted the death of the king should he marry Anne, and such ideas were treasonous. Gertrude involved herself with Elizabeth Barton and travelled in secret to meet her and brought her to the Courtenay house in Surrey. When Barton was arrested for treason, Gertrude was cited in the investigation and wrote to Henry VIII to assure him of her loyalty, feigning ignorance of Barton’s treason.

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  • June 2020 – Tudor Life – The Poor

    This month’s magazine is all about the Tudor poor, and it’s 82 pages long packed with great articles!

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