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The Tudor Society
  • 25 November – A vicious man who saved an archbishop

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th November 1545, lawyer, member of Parliament, diplomat and ecclesiastical administrator, Sir Thomas Legh (Leigh), died.

    Legh was a faithful servant to King Henry VIII, but his work during the dissolution of the monasteries led to complaints against him and even rebellion.

    He was a vicious man, known for his harsh treatment of monks, but he also played a key role in protecting Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1543 when his enemies tried to bring him down.

    Let me give you a few facts about this Tudor man, Sir Thomas Legh…

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  • 24 November – John Knox, famous Scottish reformer and royal chaplain

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th November 1572, John Knox, the Scottish clergyman, famous Reformer , royal chaplain, and founder of Presbyterianism, died at his home in Edinburgh as his second wife, Margaret, read aloud from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.

    John Knox is known for bringing the Protestant reformation to the church in Scotland and his controversial views about women rulers, but he was also chaplain to King Edward VI and had a very eventful life, being taken prisoner by the French and being forced into service on the galleys of their fleet at one point.

    Find out more about John Knox’s life and career in today’s talk.

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  • 23 November – A plot to poison Elizabeth I’s saddle and Essex’s chair

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd November 1598, scrivener and sailor Edward Squire was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn for treason after being accused of plotting with Jesuits in Seville to poison Elizabeth I’s saddle and the Earl of Essex’s chair.

    Squire, who ended up in Seville after being captured by Spaniards while on a voyage with Sir Francis Drake, confessed under torture, but claimed his innocence at his trial and execution.

    But what exactly happened, and how and why did a Protestant scrivener and sailor end up accused of treason?

    Find out all about Edward Squire and the alleged plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I and her favourite, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, in today’s talk.

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  • 22 November – Explorer Sir Martin Frobisher dies of gangrene

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd November 1594, naval commander, privateer and explorer, Sir Martin Frobisher, died at Plymouth. He died of gangrene after having been shot in the thigh during hand-to-hand combat during a siege.

    Frobisher is best known for his three voyages in search of the Northwest Passage and his naval service during the 1588 Spanish Armada, for which he was knighted.

    Find out all about the life and career of this Tudor explorer in today’s talk.

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  • Quiz – Elizabeth I in movies and on TV

    As it was the anniversary of Elizabeth I’s accession this week, I thought we’d celebrate her reign once more with an Elizabeth I-themed quiz. This time, about portrayals of the queen in movies and on TV.

    Good luck!

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  • November 21 – John Bale, a churchman and playwright who courted controversy

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st November 1495, churchman, Protestant playwright, historian and Bishop of Ossory, John Bale was born in Suffolk.

    Bale wrote twenty-four plays, and a book on famous British writers, which is his most well-known work. His work on Protestant martyrs was also used by the famous martyrologist John Foxe.

    John Bale also courted controversy with his attacks on Catholics, and he spent a fair amount of time in exile.

    Find out all about this accomplished Tudor man in today’s talk.

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  • 20 November – Elizabeth I’s godson and his flush toilet

    On this day in history, 20th November 1612, in the reign of King James I, courtier and author Sir John Harington died.

    Why am I talking about a man who died in the Stuart period?

    Well, because he was Queen Elizabeth I’s godson and because during her reign he invented the Ajax, or “jakes”, England’s first flush toilet.

    Find out more about Sir John Harington and his flush toilet invention in today’s talk.

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  • Hever Castle – Roving Reporter

    In an exclusive visit, our roving reporter, Philippa Brewell, was able to go and film in Hever Castle, Kent.

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  • 19 November – Lord John Grey and how he escaped the axeman

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th November 1564, Lord John Grey, youngest son of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, died.

    He’s not the Lord John Grey of the wonderful Outlander series, but he is just as interesting.

    In Mary I’s reign, he was involved in a rebellion with his brothers, Lord Thomas Grey and Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, but unlike them was not executed.

    How did Lord John Grey escape execution? And why did he get into trouble again in Elizabeth I’s reign.

    Find out all about this Tudor lord in today’s talk.

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  • The Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society Tudor Calendar 2021

    Better late than never!

    Due to Covid restrictions, we’ve been unable to print our own calendars this year as we can’t get to our local printer or the post office at the moment, so we had to have a rethink. We’ve used Lulu.com’s print-on-demand service in the past, and were very happy with it, so we’ve gone back to that this year.

    So, here are the details of our 2021 Tudor Calendar…

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  • 18 November – A bishop ends his days in confinement

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th November 1559, Ralph Baynes (Baines), Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, died.

    Baynes had been actively involved in the persecutions of Protestants in Mary I’s reign, examining many well-known martyrs and featuring in John Foxe’s “Book of Martyrs”, but ended his days imprisoned in the home of Edmund Grindal, Bishop of London – why?

    Find out more about Ralph Baynes, his life and career, and how he came to be deprived of his bishopric and die the way he did, in today’s talk.

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  • Happy Accession Day! Enjoy some Elizabeth I resources

    As today is the anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, on 17th November 1558, I thought I’d share with you some links to Elizabeth I resources here on the Tudor Society website.

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  • 17 November – Elizabeth I’s accession

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th November 1558, twenty-five-year-old Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, became Queen Elizabeth I following the death of her half-sister, Queen Mary I.

    In today’s talk, I look at an alternative account of Elizabeth I’s words on her accession, one recorded by her godson, Sir John Harington. Hear Elizabeth I’s wonderful speech, which she used to motivate her supporters and to reassure those who’d served Mary I.

    I also look at Elizabeth’s words “This is the Lord’s doing…”, and note the importance of the previous line in the Psalm.

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  • 16 November – An Elizabethan earl and rebel who never learnt his lesson

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th November 1601, nobleman and rebel Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland, died while in exile at Nieuwpoort in Flanders.

    Westmorland had fled into exile following the failure of the Northern Rebellion, a plot to release Mary, Queen of Scots, from prison and to overthrow Elizabeth I. He didn’t learn his lesson, being involved in a further plot.

    The earl died a sad end in debt and separated from his wife and daughters, but it was his own fault.

    Find out more about the rebel northern earl in today’s talk.

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  • 15 November – A Princess of York

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th November 1527, a woman who called herself ““the excellent Princess Katherine, Countess of Devon, daughter, sister and aunt of kings”, died at Tiverton Castle in Devon.

    Katherine of York, Countess of Devon, daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, was just forty-nine when she died and had taken a vow of chastity after her husband’s death.

    In today’s talk, I give an overview of Henry VIII’s aunt’s life and explain why she took her vow of chastity. Find out all about her.

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  • Young Elizabeth I Wordsearch

    As this Tuesday, 17th November, is the anniversary of the accession of Elizabeth I, Gloriana and the Virgin Queen, I thought we’d celebrating by testing your knowledge of Elizabeth’s early life, her pre-accession days.

    Find the answers to the questions in this wordsearch and be warned: the words can go in any direction!

    Good luck!

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

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  • 14 November – Bad Signs for Culpeper and Lady Rochford

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th November 1541, an inventory was taken of “the goods and chattels, lands and fees of” Thomas Culpeper, a groom of King Henry VIII’s privy chamber and a man who had been having secret meetings with Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife.

    An inventory had also been taken of the possessions of Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, wife of the late George Boleyn, a woman who had allegedly helped the queen meet with Culpeper.

    But what was going on in November 1541 and what was listed in these inventories?

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  • 13 November – Murder by handgun in London

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th November 1536, mercer and member of Parliament Robert Packington (Pakington, Pakyngton) was shot to death by an unknown assailant while he was on his way to mass at St Thomas of Acre Chapel. He was shot with a wheellock pistol.

    Robert Packington has gone down in history as the first person in England to be killed by a handgun, but who killed him and why?

    Find out about Packington, his murder, and the theories regarding who ordered his murder, in today’s talk.

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  • Henry Machyn, the man and his diary

    One of my very favourite Tudor primary sources is the diary or chronicle of merchant-tailor Henry Machyn, who recorded events between 1550 and 1563.

    In this week’s Friday video, let me introduce you to Machyn and give you a bit of trivia about him, and explain how his diary started and how historians use it today.

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  • 12 November – Wily Winchester

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th November 1555, Mary I’s Lord Chancellor, Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, died. He was laid to rest at Winchester Cathedral in what is now known as the Bishop Gardiner Chantry Chapel.

    In today’s talk, I tell you about the life and career of “Wily Winchester”, a man who went from being a valued advisor to being imprisoned, and then got back into favour, crowned a queen and became Lord Chancellor! He led quite a life!

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  • The Feast of Martinmas

    Today is Martinmas, a feast day marked in medieval and Tudor times. Here is an extract from our November Feast Days page and our Tudor Feast Days ebook.

    11th November was the Feast of St Martin of Tours, a 4th century Hungarian born man who grew up in Pavia, Italy, and who knocked on the door of his local Christian church at the age of 10, begging to be made a catechumen, i.e. one who is receiving training in doctrine and discipline before baptism. Martin followed his father into the Roman army at the age of 15 and a story tells of how, when he was about eighteen years of age, he cut his woollen cloak in half with his sword and gave half to a beggar to keep him warm.

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  • Limited offer … Members Only!

    Hi Tudor Society Members!

    We've been in deep discussions with True Royal TV, who have loads of programmes of interest to Tudor history fans such as yourself. They've agreed to let the first 50 Tudor Society members who want it to have a FREE three months on their TV platform.

    To redeem this offer, members will need to go to the URL: https://trueroyalty.tv/the-tudor-society/ and enter the coupon code THETUDORSOCIETY at the checkout to redeem your 3 free month subscription. The offer is redeemable on a first come first serve basis and will be capped at 50 giveaways, and is only valid until 26 November 2020!

    So - if you're interested in the Royal family then this is the offer for you...

    Go to https://trueroyalty.tv/the-tudor-society/ now to make sure you're one of the first 50 people!

  • 11 November – A stressed George Boleyn, Lord Rochford

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th November 1534, Philippe de Chabot, Seigneur De Brion and Admiral of France, landed on English soil. The purpose of the diplomatic mission he was leading was to renew Anglo-French relations.

    George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, brother of Queen Anne Boleyn, had been put in charge of meeting the admiral and escorting him on his journey from the south coast to London, but it was no easy task. The admiral did not make things easy at all, and George was rather stressed about the situation.

    Find out what happened, and how and why the ambassador’s visit was bad news all round for the Boleyns, in today’s talk.

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  • 10 November – Explorer drowns saving ambassador

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th November 1556, English explorer and navigator, Richard Chancellor, was killed. Chancellor is known as being the first foreigner to enter the White Sea and to establish relations with Russia and Tsar Ivan IV, or Ivan the Terrible.

    Chancellor was sadly drowned after saving the Russian ambassador, Osip Napeya, when their ship, The Edward Bonaventure, was wrecked just off the Aberdeenshire coast of Scotland.

    Find out about Richard Chancellor’s life, career and sad end in today’s talk.

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  • 9 November – The Northern Rebellion against Elizabeth I

    This day in Tudor history, 9th November 1569, is the traditional date given for the start of the only major armed rebellion of Elizabeth I’s reign. It’s known as The Northern Rebellion or Rising of the North or Revolt of the Northern Earls.

    Northern earls Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland and Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland, led this uprising against Elizabeth I, seeking to depose her, replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots, and restore Catholicism.

    But what happened?

    Find out about the 1569 Northern Rebellion and the fate of the Northern Earls in today’s talk.

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  • 8 November – A true friend of scholars who had to give Catherine of Aragon bad news

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th November 1534, courtier, scholar and literary patron, William Blount, 4th Baron Mountjoy, died at Sutton on the Hill in Derbyshire.

    He’d had a wonderful court career, helping organise the young Henry VIII’s education, serving as Master of the Mint and chamberlain to Queen Catherine of Aragon, and he’d been close friends with the renowned humanist scholar, Erasmus. He’d wanted to be relieved of his position as chamberlain to the queen, though, after she’d been put aside and he’d had to break bad news to her.

    Find out all about Lord Mountjoy, his career and life, in today’s talk.

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  • Gunpowder Plot and Bonfire Night Puzzle

    The 5th November was the anniversary of the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot so I thought it would be fun to test your knowledge of the plot and also the traditions associated with Bonfire Night. Enjoy this fun crossword puzzle!

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

    [Read More...]
  • 7 November – Richard III and his supporters are attainted

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th November 1485, Henry VII’s first parliament attainted King Richard III and his supporters.

    As well as Richard, who was referred to as Richard, late Duke of Gloucester, and a usurper, the list of those attainted for their treason in fighting against the king at Bosworth included the late John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk, and his son, the Earl of Surrey.

    Find out who else was included and whether Parliament’s actions were unusual, in today’s talk.

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  • 6 November – Catherine of Aragon meets Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th November 1501, Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, met her betrothed, Arthur, Prince of Wales, eldest son of King Henry VII, at Dogmersfield in Hampshire.

    The couple were actually already married by proxy, but had never met, and Catherine had only just arrived in England.

    Find out more about the lead-up to Catherine of Aragon and Arthur Tudor’s meeting on 6th November 1501, including Catherine’s journey from Spain to England, how their meeting went and what happened next, in today’s talk.

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  • Who’s your favourite Anne Boleyn actress?

    There have been some wonderful portrayals of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, but which one is your favourite?

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