fbpx
The Tudor Society
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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!

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • Hever Castle – Roving Reporter

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

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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…

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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?

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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!

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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?

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]