The Tudor Society
  • 20 August – Elizabeth I gives thanks for the Protestant Wind!

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th August 1588, there was a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s to thank God for his divine intervention when England defeated the Spanish Armada. It was thought that God had sent his Protestant Wind to save England from Catholic Spain.

    Find out more about this in today’s talk.

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  • 19 August – Mary, Queen of Scots returns to Scotland

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th August 1561, Mary, Queen of Scots returned to her homeland, Scotland, from France following the death of her first husband, King Francis II of France.

    In today's talk, I explain the context of her return to Scotland, which would, of course, be the start of her troubles.

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1531 – Burning of Thomas Bilney, Protestant martyr, at Lollard's Pit, just outside Bishopsgate. Although he was burned as a heretic, he actually denied his reformist views and affirmed his Catholic faith at his execution.
    • 1551 – Princess Mary, the future Mary I, wrote to her brother Edward VI regarding the instructions the officers of her household were given about forbidding her chaplains to say Mass and any of her household to hear Mass.
    • 1578 – Death of John Harpsfield, humanist, scholar and Roman Catholic priest, in London. He was buried in St Sepulchre Church, London. Harpsfield is known for his leading role in the Marian persecutions of Protestants and his nine sermons, which appear in Edmund Bonner's 1555 “Homilies”.
    • 1591 – Death of Welsh clergyman and Bible translator Thomas Huet at Tŷ Mawr, Llysdinam, Brecknockshire. He was buried in the chancel of Llanafan Fawr church. Huet helped Richard Davies and William Salesbury translate the “New Testament” into Welsh in 1567.
    • 1601 – Death of William Lambarde, writer, antiquary and lawyer, at Westcombe in East Greenwich. He was buried in St Alphege Church, East Greenwich, but in 1710 his monument was moved to the Lambarde chapel in St Nicholas's Church, Sevenoaks. Lambarde's works included his 1570 “Perambulation of Kent”, the 1581 “Eirenarcha: or of the Office of the Justices of Peace” and the 1591 “Archeion, or, A Discourse Upon the High Courts of Justice in England”.
  • 18 August – Virginia Dare and the lost colony

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th August 1587, the first child born to English settlers in the New World was born in the Roanoke Colony. Her name was Virginia Dare.

    This colony has become known as the lost colony because all 115 colonists disappeared.

    I explain what happened in today’s talk.

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  • August Birthdays Crossword Puzzle

    This week’s Sunday puzzle is a crossword puzzle testing your knowledge of August Tudor birthdays.

    How much do you know about Tudor people born in August, or those born in August who came to prominence in the Tudor period?

    Why not test yourself with this fun crossword puzzle? Good luck!

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  • 17 August – The end of Empson and Dudley

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th August 1510, King Henry VII’s former chief administrators, Sir Edmund Dudley and Sir Richard Empson, were beheaded on Tower Hill as traitors even though they had served the former king loyally.

    What happened? Why were these two advisors executed by their former master’s son?

    I explain what led to Empson and Dudley’s executions.

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  • 16 August – Henry VIII claims victory for a non-battle

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th August 1513, the Battle of Spurs took place at Guinegate, or Enguinegatte, in France.

    It actually wasn’t a pitched battle at all, as the French knights fled the scene, but that didn’t stop Henry VIII claiming victory and doing a bit of exaggerating.

    I explain what exactly happened on this day in 1513 in today’s talk.

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  • Proxy Weddings – Claire Chats video

    This week’s Claire Chats video talk has been inspired by an “on this day in Tudor history” event from this week and some comments and questions I received about it – the proxy wedding of Princess Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII, and King Louis XII. I thought I’d explain what proxy weddings were/are, why they were needed, and share some examples of historical proxy weddings.

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  • 15 August – Mary Scudamore and the hot-tempered Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th August 1603, Lady Mary Scudamore (née Shelton), a member of Elizabeth I’s Privy Chamber and one of her favourite sleeping companions, was buried at Holme Lacy in Herefordshire.

    Mary was very close to the queen but suffered the queen’s wrath at one point. I explain all in today’s “on this day” talk.

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  • 14 August – Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th August 1473, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, was born.

    Margaret Pole is an interesting lady – the niece of Edward IV, Countess of Salisbury in her own right, governess to Mary I… and she came to a rather awful and sticky end.

    Let me tell you a bit more about this fascinating Tudor lady and what happened to her.

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  • 13 August – A proxy wedding for Princess Mary Tudor

    On this day in history, 13th August 1514, Princess Mary Tudor, youngest surviving daughter of the late King Henry VII and sister of King Henry VIII, married King Louis XII of France by proxy.

    In today’s talk, I share details of the ceremony, and what everyone was wearing, and explais the symbolic consummation.

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  • 12 August – Thomas Phaer and some interesting Tudor remedies!

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th August 1560, Thomas Phaer (Fair), translator, lawyer, physician and paediatrician, made his will after suffering an accident.

    Phaer has become known as the “Father of English Paediatrics” for his works, which include “The Book of Children”. In today’s talk, Claire Ridgway, author of “On This Day in Tudor History”, gives a few more details about this man and shares some of his rather interesting remedies for caring for children.

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  • 11 August – Henry VIII treats friars abominably

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th August 1534, or shortly before, the friars observant were expelled from their religious houses due to their support of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife, and their refusal to accept the king as supreme head of the Church in England.

    These men were treated abominably by Henry VIII and his government and you can find out about their treatment and their fates in today’s talk from Claire Ridgway, author of “On This Day in Tudor History”.

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  • Quiz – Who said it?

    “Who said it?” is the theme of this week’s Sunday quiz! Can you match the quotation with the person, or the person they’re talking about? I’m sure you can!

    So, grab yourself a snack and your favourite beverage, make yourself comfortable, and let’s get those little grey cells working. Good luck!

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  • 10 August – The Mary Rose’s first battle

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th August 1512, the English fleet’s flagship, the Mary Rose, saw battle for the first time in the Battle of Saint-Mathieu, a naval battle in the War of the League of Cambrai.

    The battle was fought between the English fleet and the Franco-Breton fleet just off the coast of Brest.

    1,500 to 1,600 men were lost that day, but how? What happened? And who was victorious?

    I explain all in today’s talk.

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  • 9 August – Elizabeth I’s Tilbury Speech

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th August 1588, Queen Elizabeth I gave her famous Tilbury Speech to the forces gathered at Tilbury Fort.

    It is a speech that has been immortalised on screen by the likes of Glenda Jackson and Cate Blanchett, and is famous for the line “I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too”, but what words did Elizabeth really speak that day?

    In today’s talk,I share three versions of Elizabeth I’s Tilbury Speech.

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  • Elizabeth I, clerical marriage and religion

    On 9th August 1561, while on a visit to Ipswich in Suffolk, Queen Elizabeth I issued injunctions forbidding women to reside in cathedrals and colleges. It was this “on this day” event that made me dig deeper into her injunctions, the reaction to them, and also her religious settlement and “middle way”.

    I hope you enjoy my Claire Chats video talk on this topic.

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  • 8 August – Elizabeth I accepts Robert Dudley’s invitation

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th August 1588, Queen Elizabeth I decided to accept Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester’s invitation to visit the troops he had gathered near Tilbury Fort to guard the eastern approach to London from the expected invasion by the Spanish Armada.

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” talk, I explain why Leicester invited his queen to visit the troops – there was more to it than just boosting morale.

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  • 7 August – Henry Tudor lands at Mill Bay

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th August 1485, Henry Tudor, the soon-to-be King Henry VII, returned from exile, landing at Mill Bay in Wales. His intention was, of course, to claim the throne of England and to depose King Richard III.

    I share two accounts of his landing and explains what Henry did next.

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  • The Anne Boleyn Experience 2020

    As you probably know by now, I like nothing better than talking Tudor so being the resident historian and co-leader of Tudor history tours is just up my street – talking Tudor from dawn to dusk, well, actually well into the early hours!

    In this video, I invite you to join me and Philippa at Hever Castle, the family home of the Boleyn family, on the Anne Boleyn Experience 2020. Yes, we actually stay at Hever – bliss! Philippa and I have so much in store for you, so let me tell you all about it. I’m quite literally counting the days (and probably the hours too)!

    I forgot to say that there isn’t going to be an Anne Boleyn Experience in 2021, so if you definitely want to do it then please consider 2020. Find out more about the tours and sign up on the mailing list at

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  • 6 August – Cruel was the fight

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th August 1549, the Crown’s forces met the rebels of the Prayer Book Rebellion in another battle, the Battle of Clyst Heath.

    I share an account of the battle of which Lord Grey said “he never, in all the wars that he had been, knew the like”. I also explain what happened next in the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549.

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  • 5 August – Rebels defeated near Exeter

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th August 1549, during the reign of King Edward VI, son of King Henry VIII, the Battle of Clyst St Mary took place near Exeter, in Devon. It was part of the Prayer Book Rebellion, a rebellion against the religious measures of King Edward’s government.

    I explain what provoked this rebellion and what happened when the Crown’s forces got to Clyst St Mary on this day in 1549.

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  • August’s Live Chats – 24 and 30 August – The Stewarts and William Shakespeare

    As always, we have two live chats this month, an informal one and an expert Q&A session.

    Both chats last an hour and are open to all full members. They take place in the Tudor Society chatroom, and this months they’re on the Stewarts (Stuarts) and William Shakespeare (with expert Cassidy Cash).

    They’re always fun and educational, so please do join in.

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  • The Life of Shakespeare – Cassidy Cash – Expert Talk

    A big Tudor Society welcome to Cassidy Cash of “That Shakespeare Girl” blog and “That Shakespeare Life” podcasts. Cassidy is sharing her knowledge of the Bard, William Shakespeare, with us in her talk “The Life of Shakespeare”.

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  • 4 August – 13 Executions!

    Yes, you read that correctly! On this day in Tudor history, 4th August 1540, thirteen men were executed in London – 12 by being hanged, drawn and quartered, and one by being hanged. Awful!

    In today’s talk, I explain who these 13 men were and why they were attainted by Parliament and executed.

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  • Mary I or Elizabeth I Quiz

    Queens Mary I and Elizabeth I were half-sisters, sharing a father: King Henry VIII, but how much do you know about these Tudor queens regnant?

    Test yourself with this week’s fun quiz. Good luck!

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  • Tony Riches’ Charles Brandon live chat transcript

    We had a wonderful live chat in the Tudor Society chatroom last weekend with author Tony Riches. The topic was that famous Tudor man, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, one of the few people to be close to the king and keep his head.

    Here is the chat transcript for those who couldn’t make it live. Our next live chats are on 24th August (informal on the Stewarts/Stuarts) and 30th August (Expert live chat with Cassify Cash on Shakespeare).

    Simply click on the link below to open and read:

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  • 3 August – Mary I and Elizabeth process through London

    On this day in Tudor history, 3 August 1553, the newly proclaimed queen, Queen Mary I, processed through the streets of London with her half-sister, the future Elizabeth I, after having been greeted as queen.

    It must have been a sight to see as the citizen of London celebrated the accession of Mary I, after the rather short reign of Queen Jane.

    I share a contemporary account of the procession and celebrations.

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  • 2 August – A Protestant burned in Rome

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd August 1581, an English Protestant named Richard Atkins was burned for heresy in Rome.

    What had led this Englishman to his end in Rome? What had he done? And why was he tortured on his way to his execution?

    I explain all in today’s talk, sharing an account of his actions and his courageous end.

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  • Kenilworth Castle – Roving Reporter

    This month, Philippa Brewell, our roving reporter, visits the wonderful ruins of Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire. She shares the history of the castle, including showing us where two portcullises are, and we also get to see Elizabeth I’s bedroom. Simply a stunning report for all full members to enjoy.

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  • 1 August – Sir Edward Kelley, angels, alchemy and the Philosopher’s Stone

    On this day in history, 1st August 1555, Sir Edward Kelley, apothecary, alchemist and medium, was born in Worcester.

    Kelley was a fascinating man. He worked with Dr John Dee and the men believed that they communicated with angels. Kelley also claimed that he was an alchemist and he wrote a treatise on the Philosopher’s Stone.

    Find out more about Kelley and his work in today’s talk.

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