The Tudor Society
  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 18 December – How to dye your hair red Tudor style

    OK, so this recipe is definitely NOT to be tried at home, but Teasel and Claire just wanted to share with you how Elizabethan courtiers paid tribute to their queen, Elizabeth I, Gloriana, by dyeing their hair and beards red. It may well have made them bald though!

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  • 18 December – Heretic John Philpott’s sad end

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th December 1555, John Philpott, former Archdeacon of Winchester, was burned at the stake for heresy at Smithfield.

    Philpott had done a lot in his 40 years, including studying in Italy, upsetting Bishop Gardiner, and supporting fellow Protestants from his prison cell, and he died a courageous death at Smithfield in the reign of Queen Mary I. Find out more about him in today’s talk from Claire Ridgway, founder of the Tudor Society.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 17 December – Geese are fish!

    In today’s edition of Teasel’s Tudor Trivia, Claire and Teasel the dog talk about how medieval and Tudor people cheated on fasting days.

    Obviously, times like Advent were fasting periods, but there’s only so much salted fish a person can take, so the Tudors got creative. Find out more about those cheating Tudors in today’s talk.

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  • 17 December – Henry VIII is excommunicated

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th December 1538, Pope Paul III announced the excommunication of King Henry VIII.

    Henry VIII had been threatened with excommunication several times, but his desecration of one of the holiest shrines in Europe was the final straw for the pope.

    Find out how Henry VIII, who had once been “Defender of the Faith”, had upset the Pope and what had been the final straw for the papacy in today’s talk.

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  • New – Christmas in Tudor Times e-book available

    We’ve just put the latest book in our exclusive members-only ebook series online, “Christmas in Tudor Times” which is available now. This book focuses on the festive period and the medieval and Tudor traditions associated with it. Perhaps you can incorporate some of them into your own celebrations.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 16 December – The Mary Rose’s dog

    Teasel made sure that the topic turned back to dogs today!

    In today’s edition of Teasel’s Tudor Trivia, Teasel and I introduce Hatch, the Mary Rose’s dog, and explain what is known about him and what he was doing on board Henry VIII’s favourite flagship.

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  • 16 December – The birth of Catherine of Aragon

    Happy birthday to Catherine of Aragon! Yes, this first wife of King Henry VIII and Spanish princess was born on this day in Tudor history, 16th December 1485.

    In today’s talk, I explain Catherine of Aragon’s background, give some insights into her early life, and talk about how she ended up leaving her homeland of Spain and eventually becoming queen consort to Henry VIII.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 15 December – Tudor Haircare

    Teasel is keeping her black and tan fur lovely and glossy and it made her wonder how Tudor people cared for their hair.

    Did the Tudors wash their hair? Did the Tudors use shampoo?

    Teasel and I explain what we know about Tudor haircare and how the Tudors kept their hair clean in today’s “Teasel’s Tudor Trivia”.

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  • 15 December – Cardinal Pole is laid to rest

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th December 1558, Cardinal Reginald Pole, Mary I’s Archbishop of Canterbury and her chief advisor, was buried at Canterbury Cathedral. Coincidentally, Cardinal Pole had died the same day as his queen, on 17th November 1558.

    Find out a bit more about Cardinal Pole, his background, death and burial, in today’s talk.

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  • Hever: A Castle and its People – EXCLUSIVE book announcement

    I am so very excited about this special announcement! Hever Castle, home of the Boleyn family, is one of my happy places, so writing a book about it with one of my very best friends is a dream come true!

    In May 2018, castle supervisor Owen Emmerson and I shook hands on a book idea, a social history of Hever Castle. We have been friends for quite a few years now, drawn together over our shared love for all things Anne Boleyn, and we both feel strongly about Hever Castle. Owen is lucky enough to work there and I’m blessed to be able to visit it several times a year. It is an amazing place with an incredibly rich history. It has been home to so many prominent families and there are also many myths and inaccuracies regarding its history, ownership and its development through the ages. Owen and I want to tell Hever Castle’s story through the people that owned it, from its beginnings as a medieval manor, through its time as a castle that was owned by kings and queens, all the way to the present day. We hope to bring this beautiful castle, and the families connected to it, to life.

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  • Christmas Traditions throughout History True or False Quiz

    Christmas will soon be here, so we’re continuing the Christmas theme with a general Christmas quiz, considering Christmas through the ages and the traditions associated with it.

    I do hope you enjoy this fun quiz!

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 14 December – Going to the bathroom Tudor style

    “How did Tudor people go to the bathroom?” is the question Teasel and I are answering in today’s edition of Teasel’s Tudor Trivia. Fair warning – don’t eat while you listen to this talk, it might just put you off your food!

    Find out all about Tudor toilets in today’s talk.

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  • 14 December – Mary I is buried

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th December 1558, Queen Mary I was buried at Westminster Abbey.

    Mary had died on 17th November 1558 and had left instructions for Catherine of Aragon’s remains to be moved from Peterborough and for them to be reinterred with Mary’s remains so that mother and daughter could be together.

    Did this happen?

    Find out all about Mary I’s burial, and who did join her in death, in today’s talk.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 13 December – Tudor silly deaths

    Teasel has just been introduced to Horrible Histories’ “stupid deaths” sketches and she just loves them. Like her owner, she has a bit of a dark sense of humour! Anyway, Teasel and I thought it would be interesting to share with you a few silly accidental deaths from the Tudor period. Some of them make you cringe and others make you do a face palm!

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  • 13 December – Sir Francis Drake sets off

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th December 1577, pirate, sea captain, and explorer Sir Francis Drake finally left the port of Plymouth on his circumnavigation of the Globe.

    I have spoken about this voyage and Drake's life and career in previous talks (see below), so today I share a letter written by Drake to Sir Francis Walsingham. He really did have a wonderful way with words.

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1558 – Death of William Clyffe, civil lawyer and one of the authors of the 1537 “Bishops' Book” or “The Godly and Pious Institution of a Christian Man”. Clyffe's expertise on marriage and divorce law led to convocation seeking his advice regarding Henry VIII's Great Matter.
    • 1561 – Death of Lawrence Dalton, Richmond Herald, Rouge Croix Pursuivant and Norroy King of Arms. He was buried at St Dunstan-in-the-West, London.


    On this day in Tudor history, 13th December 1577, pirate, sea captain, and explorer Sir Francis Drake finally left the port of Plymouth, on the south Devon coast, with his fleet of five ships. This voyage would be a historic one and would see him circumnavigating the Globe. He was not the first man to do this, but Drake was the first Englishman to do it.

    I give a rundown of this voyage in my talk from 26th September, the anniversary of Drake’s return in 1580, so I’ll give you a link to that, and also my talk on Drake’s life. But today I thought I’d honour this interesting Tudor chap by sharing a letter that Drake wrote to Sir Francis Walsingham, Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth I, in May 1587, following his singeing of the king of Spain’s beard, i.e. his attack on the Spanish fleet in the harbour of Cadiz which meant that Spain had to postpone their planned attack on England. Drake wrote:

    “There must be a beginning of any great matter, but the continuing unto the end until it be thoroughly finished yields the true glory. If Hannibal had followed his victories, it is thought of many he had never been take by Scipio.
    God make us all thankful again and again that we have, although it be little, made a beginning upon the coast of Spain. If we can thoroughly believe that this which we do is in the defence of our religion and country, no doubt but out merciful God for his Christ, our Saviour’s sake, is able, and will give us victory, although our sins be reed. God give us grace that we may fear him, and daily to call upon him, so shall neither Satan, nor his ministers prevail against us; although God permit you to be touched in body, yet the Lord will hold his mind pure.”

    He had a real way with words, don’t you think?

    Here are two more videos on Drake:

  • Christmas time at Hever Castle

    Hever Castle is illuminated at Christmas

    It’s been a crazy crazy week! Tim and I flew to the UK on Wednesday to do some special filming at Hever Castle for an announcement that I will be sharing with you soon, and we flew back early Thursday. Talking about a flying visit!

    Hever Castle is always stunning, but I’ve never seen it at Christmas, and this Christmas they’ve gone all out with Christmas decorations and lights. It’s so very pretty. So, for this week’s video, I thought I’d share with you the beauty of Hever Castle at Christmas. And, yes, that is me talking to you in the dark. I didn’t want to take away from the Christmas lights by having any lighting on me!

    Find out more about Hever Castle Christmas events and opening times at

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 12 December – Tudor teeth cleaning

    Without modern toothpaste, floss, electric toothbrushes, mouthwash etc. just how did Tudor people clean their teeth?

    In today’s Teasel’s Tudor Trivia talk, Claire and Teasel the rescue dog share what they’ve found out about Tudor teeth cleaning. Don’t worry, it doesn’t include mice brains like the teething remedy from the other day!

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  • 12 December – London sympathises with the Earl of Surrey

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th December 1546, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, son of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, was led through the streets of London from Ely Place, where he had been held since his arrest on 2nd December, to the Tower of London.

    It was meant to be a humiliating walk for the earl, but it seems that the citizens of London were actually sympathetic to his plight, and didn’t boo him.

    Find out what happened on this day, and also what happened to his father, who had also been arrested, in today’s talk.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 11 December – A child bride for a Prince in the Tower

    OK, so this trivia is not exactly “Tudor” as it concerns Anne Mowbray, bride of Richard, Duke of York, the younger of the Princes in the Tower, but Teasel found Anne’s story fascinating and so wanted to share.

    It’s a timely talk as today is the anniversary of the discovery of Anne Mowbray’s remains in 1964 and yesterday was the anniversary of her birth. We do hope you find our little talk on this young duchess and princess interesting.

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  • 11 December – Robert Dudley’s lover and mother of his son

    On this day in history, 11th December 1608, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s former ladies and a lover of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was buried at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster. Her name was Douglas Sheffield (née Howard), Lady Sheffield, and she was the mother of Leicester’s illegitimate son, Sir Robert Dudley.

    Find out more about Douglas Sheffield, who claimed to be Leicester’s legal wife, in today’s talk.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 10 December – Tudor people weren’t so smelly!

    In today’s edition of Teasel’s Tudor Trivia, Teasel and I debunk the myth that Tudor people were dirty and smelly, and that they did not care about hygiene. It’s simply not true.

    We share some sources for how Tudor people cared for their bodies and kept clean, and we’d highly recommend Ruth Goodman’s work – Tudor Monastery Farm series and “How to be a Tudor” book.

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  • 10 December – The ends of Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th December 1541, Thomas Culpeper, a gentleman of the privy chamber, and Francis Dereham, a member of the queen’s household, were executed at Tyburn.

    They had been found guilty of high treason for intending to do ill with Queen Catherine Howard, i..e intending to commit adultery with her, and had been sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Dereham suffered the full traitors’ death, while Culpeper was beheaded.

    Find out more about what happened from a primary source account in today’s talk.

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  • Christmas in Tudor Times book

    We’re in the process of laying out the latest in our Tudor Society series of e-books, a book on the Christmas traditions of medieval and Tudor people. We didn’t want you to have to wait until it’s completely laid out, so we’re releasing this PDF version of the content now for you. It brings together information shared in articles and talks, and we hope you will find it interesting and useful.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 9 December – Tudor underwear

    Teasel has been getting used to wearing nappies (diapers) and so has become rather interested in underwear, particularly the weird bits and bobs that humans wear. So, she thought she’d look into what her second favourite people (her first favourites are obviously the Ridgway family), the Tudors, wore as underwear.

    What was Tudor underwear? Find out from Teasel!

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  • 9 December -The King is a beast and worse than a beast!

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th December 1538, Sir Edward Neville, courtier, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and son of George Neville, 2nd Baron Bergavenny, was beheaded on Tower Hill.

    He had been condemned to death for treason, accused of conspiring against the king in the Exeter Conspiracy of 1538, along with members of the Pole family. He was also accused of saying “The King is a beast and worse than a beast”, which is not a wise thing to be overheard saying in Tudor England.

    Find out more about Neville’s life and downfall in today’s talk.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 8 December – Ivan the Terrible annoys Elizabeth I

    Teasel is putting in so much work researching Tudor history. She really is a Tudor history buff now. Amazing for a former street dog!

    Teasel came across some information regarding relations between Russia and England in the reign of Elizabeth I, and some correspondence between Elizabeth and Ivan IV, or Ivan the Terrible. She just had to share some of it with you today.

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  • 8 December – The birth of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th December 1542, Mary Stuart (Stewart), or Mary, Queen of Scots, was born at Linlithgow Palace in Scotland.

    Mary was the daughter of King James V of Scotland and his second wife, Marie de Guise, and she became Queen of Scotland when she was just six days old.

    Find out about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, including her three marriages and abdication, her imprisonment and downfall in today’s talk.

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  • Tudor Christmas Wordsearch

    The festive season is upon us, although we’ve yet to put up our Christmas tree, so we’re celebrating this fact with a Christmassy wordsearch today.

    Beware, the words can go in any direction!

    Have fun!

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 7 December – Cats

    In today’s Teasel’s Tudor Trivia, Teasel the rescue dog talks about a tradition today that goes back to Cardinal Wolsey’s time, in the reign of King Henry VIII, and which concerns cats.

    Hopefully, this video will please Maj the cat!

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  • 7 December – Lord Darnley, husband of Mary, Queen of Scots

    Today, 7th December, is the traditional date given for the birth of Henry Stuart (Stewart), Duke of Albany and Lord Darnley, in 1545.

    Lord Darnley was the son of Margaret Douglas and grandson of Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland, and her second husband, Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, but he is more known as the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

    Find out about Lord Darnley’s rather colourful life, his unhappy marriage, his role in a murder, AND his own sticky end, in today’s talk.

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