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The Tudor Society
  • 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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  • Bonfire Night Recipes

    For those of you who can’t celebrate Bonfire Night, either because you’re in lockdown or your country doesn’t celebrate it, here are some recipes to try out. They’re all lovely and warming.

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  • 5 November – Remember, Remember the 5th of November

    Today is the anniversary of the discovery of Gunpowder Plot conspirator, Guy Fawkes, and 36 barrels of gunpowder in a cellar beneath the Palace of Westminster on the night of 4th/5th November 1605. The plotters were planning to blow up the Houses of Parliament on the opening of Parliament and assassinate the king, his government and leading bishops and nobles.

    But why and what has this event in James I’s reign got to do with Tudor history?

    Well, a lot, because the Gunpowder Plot had its roots in Elizabeth I’s reign.

    Find out more about the Gunpowder Plot, and those involved, in today’s talk.

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  • 4 November – A cardinal’s actions lead to his family’s undoing

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th November 1538, Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu, his brother-in-law, Sir Edward Neville; Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter; Courtenay’s wife, Gertrude Blount, and the couple’s son, Edward Courtenay, were all arrested for treason and imprisoned in the Tower of London.

    Montagu, Neville and Exeter, along with Montagu’s brother, Geoffrey Pole, were accused of plotting with Cardinal Reginald Pole against the king. Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, was also arrested, accused of the same.

    But how had it come to this, when Henry VIII had sought Cardinal Pole’s opinion on his marriage and the papacy?

    Find out what Cardinal Pole had done to upset the king, and what happened to his family and friends as a result, in today’s talk.

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  • 3 November – King Henry VIII is Supreme Head of the Church

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd November 1534, Parliament passed the First Act of Supremacy, establishing King Henry VIII’s supremacy of the English church and rejecting the authority of the pope.

    In today’s talk, I share what the act said and explains that it didn’t actually make him head of the church, just confirmed the fact, and go on to share the oath that people had to take and what it meant if they refused.

    It was an important act in the break with Rome and the English Reformation.

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  • 2 November – Edward V, one of the Princes in the Tower

    On this day in history, 2nd November 1470, the feast of All Souls, King Edward V was born at Westminster Abbey, London. Young Edward was King of England for just 2 months in 1483 before he disappeared.

    The events of his short life, his short reign and how it ended, are linked to the Tudors because Henry Tudor returned from exile to challenge King Richard III, who had, of course, taken the throne from Edward V.

    Find out about Edward V’s life and how he came to be one of the famous Princes in the Tower, in today’s talk. I even share who I think was responsible for the deaths of the Princes in the Tower.

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  • 1 November – A baron with useful friends

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st November 1527, the feast of All Saints, William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham, courtier and diplomat, was born.

    Cobham was a close friend of William Cecil, Baron Burghley and Elizabeth’s I’s chief advisor, so Cobham became powerful in Elizabeth’s reign, serving her in a number of important offices. And, this baron was able to escape charges of treason twice thanks to the influence of his friends and patrons.

    Find out more about Cobham’s life, career, and brushes with trouble, which included links with Wyatt’s Rebellion and the Ridolfi Plot, in today’s talk.

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  • October Events Quiz

    As October ended yesterday, I thought I’d check your memory and your knowledge of Tudor history events that took place in the month of October.

    Good luck!

    And don’t forget, you can find all the answers on the Tudor Society website!

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  • Medieval Tournaments – Dr Emma Levitt – Expert Talk

    Dr Emma Levitt shows us some amazing primary sources to unravel the spectacle of the tournament that Henry VIII would have enjoyed.

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  • 31 October – Falling in love with the wrong woman was a dangerous thing!

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st October 1537, Lord Thomas Howard, second son of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, died while imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was about twenty-five years of age at his death.

    How did this son of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk and brother of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk end up dying in the Tower?

    Well, he fell in love with the wrong woman? He had become secretly betrothed to King Henry VIII’s niece, Lady Margaret Douglas.

    Find out more about Lord Thomas Howard, his relationship with Lady Margaret Douglas, and what happened to them both, in today’s talk. Oh, and Margaret really didn’t learn her lesson!

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  • 30 October – Elizabeth I’s favourite is driven to desperation

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th October 1600, Queen Elizabeth I refused to renew Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex’s monopoly on sweet wines, saying that “an unruly horse must be abated of his provender, that he may be the easier and better managed.”

    It may not sound like a major event, but it was for Essex and it drove him to desperation and, ultimately, to the scaffold.

    Why? What was going on? How could the queen’s refusal to renew this monopoly lead to Essex’s undoing?

    Find out what was happened in 1600 and what happened next with the queen and her favourite, in today’s talk.

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  • Did medieval and Tudor people believe in ghosts?

    As this weekend is Hallowtide, I thought I’d explore the topic of ghosts and look at what medieval and Tudor people thought about them.

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  • 29 October – Henry VIII bids farewell to his “loving brother”

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th October 1532, King Henry VIII bid farewell to his “loving brother”, his French counterpart, King Francis I.

    The two kings had enjoyed each other’s company at Calais and Boulogne, and Henry VIII was pleased with their meetings. In fact, things had gone so well that Henry VIII decided to marry Anne Boleyn!

    Find out more about their farewell, and what had happened during the trip, in today’s talk.

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  • November 2020 – Tudor Life – The Beauforts

    In this month’s magazine, we look at the Beauforts and their influence and lasting effect on our favourite era

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  • Tudor Life November 2020 Taster

    Here’s a taster of the full 88-page magazine all about the House of Beaufort. The full magazine is OUT NOW for members.

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  • Transcript – Live Chat with Caroline Angus on Thomas Cromwell

    We had a wonderful live chat with author Caroline Angus at the weekend. The subject was Thomas Cromwell, a man who really divides opinion. Here’s a transcript of the chat, which included some excellent questions and answers, for those of you who missed it.

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  • 28 October – Ivan the Terrible writes a rude letter to Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th October 1570, Ivan IV of Russia, known commonly as Ivan the Terrible, wrote a rather rude letter to Queen Elizabeth I.

    Ivan was upset with Elizabeth’s reaction to his idea of a political alliance, an agreement to help each other if their lives were in danger, and wrote the letter while he was still angry. They were words that must have made Elizabeth see red for a while, but she managed to write a calm reply to him.

    Find out exactly what Ivan the Terrible and Elizabeth I wrote to each other, and how they came to be corresponding in the first place, in today’s talk.

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  • 27 October – She shot pistols, flirted and took tobacco!

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th October 1561, Mary Herbert (née Sidney), Countess of Pembroke, writer and literary patron, was born at Tickenhall, near Bewdley in Worcestershire. She was the sister of the poets Sir Philip Sidney and Robert Sidney, Earl of Leicester, was a writer herself and an extremely talented lady, and she also lived life to the full.

    After her husband died, she had fun shooting pistols, flirting, taking tobacco and dancing. A fun lady!

    Find out more about this gifted Tudor woman, who was as beautiful as she was talented, and whose work was praised, and used, by men such as Shakespeare.

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  • 26 October – Rain stops rebels going to battle

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th October 1536, the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace halted at Scawsby Leys near Doncaster, where they met crown troops. The rebels were said to number around 30,000 and the crown’s army was only a fifth of the size, but the rebel leader, lawyer Robert Aske, chose to negotiate rather than fight.

    Why, when they could well have won?

    Well one Tudor chronicler puts it down to rain. You can find out more about this meeting, how rain put a stop to the rebels’ plans, and what happened next between the Pilgrimage of Grace rebels and Henry VIII, in today’s talk.

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  • 25 October – Twin saints and a local legend

    Today, 25th October, is a feast day which was celebrated in medieval and Tudor times – the feast of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, martyrs of the Early Church and the patron saints of cobblers.

    Find out more about these saints, how their feast day became linked to an important English victory over the French, how it was marked, and why these saints are linked to Faversham in Kent, in today’s talk.

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  • Tudor Ships Wordsearch

    How much do you know about the ships used in Tudor naval battles and by Tudor navigators and explorers?

    Test your knowledge with this fun wordsearch and remember, the words can go in any direction. Simply click on the link or image below to open and print out.

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  • 24 October – Roanoke, the lost colony

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th October 1590, John White, the governor of the Roanoke Colony, returned to England after failing to find the lost colonists, which included his daughter, Ellinor (Elenora), his son-in-law, Ananias Dare, and his granddaughter, Virginia Dare.

    But what happened to these colonists and what did the word CROATOAN carved onto a post mean?

    Find out all about the Roanoke Colony and the theories regarding the disappearance of all 115 people, including the very latest research, in today’s talk.

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  • Celebrating Margaret Beaufort

    I find Lady Margaret Beaufort fascinating and it’s so frustrating and annoying for me to see her being badly maligned on social media the way she is. Let’s celebrate the real Lady Margaret Beaufort with some resources on her.

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  • 23 October – The Dissolution of the Monasteries and its sad impact

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd October 1538, Thomas Goldwell, Prior of Christchurch, Canterbury, wrote to Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief advisor, regarding the forthcoming dissolution of his monastery and its fate.

    It’s quite a sad, grovelling letter, and even more sad when you know the full impact of Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, which was devastating for his country.

    Find out more about Goldwell’s priory and what happened to it, as well as what the dissolution entailed, in today’s talk.

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  • 22 October – Treason or a malicious woman making things up?

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd October 1537, an examination, or rather interrogation, was carried out regarding an accusation of treasonous words spoken against King Henry VIII.

    Further investigations into the matter found that there was no evidence that these words were spoken, and that someone was trying to get another person into trouble.

    What was going on? In a time when the punishment for high treason was death, this was very serious.

    Find out more about what happened in this talk

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  • 21 October – A herald, armed peasants and a rebel leader

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st October 1536, during the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion, Lancaster Herald had an encounter with armed peasants on his way to Pontefract Castle and then met with rebel leader, Robert Aske, at the castle. The meeting didn’t go well, with Aske putting his foot down and not allowing the herald to complete his mission.

    What was going on? Who was Lancaster Herald? What was his mission?

    Find out more about the situation at Pontefract in today’s talk.

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  • 20 October – A countess twice over

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th October 1557, or possibly 21st, courtier Mary Arundell died at Bath Place in London.

    Mary is an interesting Tudor lady. Not only did she serve at least two of Henry VIII’s wives, but she was a countess twice over, having been married to both the Earls of Sussex and Arundel. She has also been confused with two other Tudor ladies, and we don’t know whether the portrait you see in the thumbnail is really her.

    Find out more about Mary Arundell’s life, court career and those of her husbands, in today’s talk.

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  • 19 October – An important European marriage

    On this day in history, 19th October 1469, an event took place in Spain that was not only important in Spanish history, but which had an impact on Europe and which has links with the Tudors.

    The event was the marriage of an eighteen-year-old woman called Isabella and a seventeen-year-old man called Ferdinand. They’d become the famous Reyes Catolicos, the Catholic monarchs, Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, and would bring together two powerful kingdoms, which comprised most of what is modern-day Spain.

    In today’s talk, I tell you more about this powerful couple, their reigns and their legacy.

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  • 18 October – Freedom for Elizabeth at last!

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th October 1555, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, finally received permission from her half-sister, Queen Mary I, to leave court and travel to her own estate at Hatfield, rather than return to house arrest in Woodstock.

    Poor Elizabeth had spent the last 18 months being watched or imprisoned, so this must have been a huge relief.

    But why had Elizabeth been watched and confined? What had she gone through and why?

    Find out more about this awful part of Elizabeth I’s life in today’s talk.

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  • Authors and Historians Crossword Puzzle

    We are so very blessed here at the Tudor Society to have so many wonderful experts contributing articles to Tudor Life magazine and speaking to us on a range of Tudor topics and people, as well has allowing us to grill them in live chat sessions.

    We’re celebrating their input today with this fun crossword puzzle. Apologies to those not mentioned!

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

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