The Tudor Society
  • A 2021 Tudor Year Overview

    As it is the end of 2021, we will look back at all the months and highlight the most exciting event, release, article or video. But we will also look forward to next year and update you on all the new things coming. 

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  • 27 December – The death of Katherine Killigrew and Anne of Cleves arrives in England

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th December 1583, scholar and Puritan Katherine Killigrew died after giving birth to a stillborn child.

    Katherine was the daughter of renowned humanist and scholar, Sir Anthony Cooke, and was known for her ability at writing poetry and her knowledge of languages, including Hebrew, Latin and Greek. She was a very accomplished Tudor lady.

    Find out more about Katherine, and hear the epitaphs that were written in her honour, in this talk...

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  • 26 December – The interesting life of Rose Lok and Henry VIII made some changes to his will

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th December 1526, Protestant Rose Lok was born.

    Rose lived well into her 80s and had an interesting life, being a Protestant exile, a businesswoman, and being the daughter of a man who supplied Anne Boleyn with religious books. She also had a ship named after her!

    Find out all about Rose Lok in this talk…

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  • Christmas Crossword Puzzle 2021

    I hope you are enjoying a wonderful festive season!

    In honour of the season, I bring you this gift – a Christmas Crossword Puzzle to test your knowledge of Christmas in Tudor times.

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  • January 2022 – Catholicism in the Tudor Age

    The Tudor period saw great upheaval in religious beliefs throughout England. At the start of the period, the country was very much Catholic, but things changed and changed again as different monarchs took control and the country moved towards Protestantism. This month’s magazine focuses on Catholicism.

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  • 25 December – Witch-hunter Brian Darcy, Christmas Day and Lettice Knollys

    Happy Christmas!

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th December 1587, Brian Darcy, magistrate, Sheriff of Essex, witch-hunter and contributor to the 1582 “A true and just recorde of the information, examination and confession of all the witches, taken at S Oses [St Osyth]”, died.

    “A True and Just Recorde” argued for harsher punishments for those found guilty of witchcraft, and Darcy was personally responsible for a number of deaths of people accused of witchcraft.

    Find out more about this zealous witch-hunter in this talk…

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  • Day 24 of the Tudor Society Advent Calendar

    Today’s final Advent Calendar treat from our archives is from our Tudor Society e-book series and is on “Christmas in Tudor Times”.


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  • 24 December – The death of Sir Thomas Cornwallis and King Henry VIII made his final speech to Parliament

    On this day in history, 24th December 1604, Christmas Eve, Sir Thomas Cornwallis, Comptroller of the household of Mary I and member of Parliament, died at about the age of eighty-six.

    Cornwallis had been active putting down rebellion in 1549 and during the succession crisis of July 1553 swapped sides at just the right time, recanting his proclamation for Jane as queen and proclaiming for Mary instead, He was rewarded for this when Mary came to the throne.

    Of course, he wasn’t so much a favourite in the reign of Elizabeth I, but a friendship with a man close to Elizabeth may have helped him escape trouble.

    Find out more about Sir Thomas Cornwallis in this talk…

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  • Happy Christmas Message 2021

    Here’s our Christmas message to you and THANK YOU to all the members who support the vital work of the Tudor Society.

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  • 23 December – Elizabeth I moves to a property her mother knew well and the burial of Nicholas Udall

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd December 1558, just over a month after her accession, England’s new queen, Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, moved from Somerset House to Whitehall Palace, which became her principal residence.

    Whitehall, formerly York Place, had once been home to her mother, Anne Boleyn, and had been the setting of Anne’s marriage to Henry VIII. I wonder if Elizabeth felt close to her mother there.

    Find out more about Whitehall Palace, and also Somerset Place, the property Elizabeth left, in this talk…

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  • Day 23 of the Tudor Society Advent Calendar

    Today’s Tudor treat is very Christmassy, it’s our Christmas edition of Tudor Life Magazine from 2020.

    There’s lots in it to keep you occupied today if you’re already organised for the next few days.

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  • Day 22 of the Tudor Society Advent Calendar

    Today’s Tudor treat is from our Tudor Society archives of expert talks.

    In this talk, Phil Downing, manager of Harvington Hall talks about “Terrifying lives of Priests and their Priest Holes: the darker side of the Elizabethan period”. It’s a fantastic talk, one of my all time favourites.

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  • 22 December – Two Protestants betrayed by a spy and Bishop Fisher begs for a shirt

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd December 1557, Protestant martyrs John Rough and Margaret Mearing, were burnt at Smithfield for heresy.

    John Rough was a Scot who’d encouraged John Knox to be a pastor, but ended in days in England. Interestingly, the woman he died with was a woman he’d excommunicated from his congregation, believing her to be a spy. Although she’d been angry with her treatment, she was not the spy who betrayed him, she visited Rough in prison and was arrested after she tried to confront the real spy.

    Find out about John Rough’s life and what brought him to England, how he’d come to be arrested, and what happened with Margaret Mearing, in this talk…

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  • Day 21 of the Tudor Society Advent Calendar

    Today’s Tudor treat from the Tudor Society archives is an expert answer to one of our member’s questions.

    Tudor Society member Angela asked the question “Should Ferdinand of Aragon have insisted on Katherine’s return when Prince Arthur died?”. Historian Amy Licence, who is the author of Catherine of Aragon: An Intimate Life of Henry VIII’s True Wife has answered Angela’s question…

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  • 21 December – St Thomas, pies, charity and India, and the death of Jasper Tudor

    21st December in Tudor times was the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle, or Didymus or Doubting Thomas. The apostle who wouldn’t believe Christ had been resurrected until Christ appeared in front of him and he’d felt the nail wounds and the wound in his side.

    Thomas was known for his generosity, and in Tudor times, those in need would go “a-Thomasing”, collecting alms. But there are also other traditions associated with the feast day, such as pie-making. And did you know that Thomas also has links to India?

    Find out more about St Thomas, his story, his feast day and the traditions associated with him, in this talk…

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  • 20 December – Edward Arden was hanged and Agnes Tilney begged King Henry VIII for forgiveness

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th December 1583, the day after his son-in-law, John Somerville, had been found dead in his cell, Warwickshire gentleman Edward Arden was hanged, drawn and quartered at Smithfield.

    Arden, who was related to William Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden, and married to a member of the Throckmorton family, had been found guilty of treason, after being implicated in Somerville’s plot to kill the queen.

    But was Arden actually guilty? Why didn’t others involved end up being executed too?

    Find out more about Edward Arden and what happened in 1583, in this talk…

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  • 19 December – A conspirator found dead in his cell and a clash with a mob causes the death of an abbess

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th December 1583, twenty-three-year-old convicted conspirator, John Somerville, was found dead in his cell at Newgate Prison. His death was said to be suicide, due to his poor mental health, but some Catholics believed that he had been killed.

    Somerville had been found guilty of conspiring to assassinate the queen, but did he really mean to? Was he mentally ill? Was he manipulated by others?

    Find out more about John Somerville in this talk…

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  • Anne Boleyn Myths Crossword Puzzle

    As I’ve just finished running my “Anne Boleyn, the Woman behind the Myths” online event, I’ve been inspired to test your knowledge of some of the myths that surround her.

    How much do you know about Anne Boleyn myths?

    Test your knowledge with this fun crossword puzzle, or watch the videos below for help first!

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  • 18 December – The death of Nicholas Harpsfield, former Archdeacon of Canterbury, and Heretic John Philpott’s sad end

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th December 1575, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, fifty-six-year-old historian, Catholic apologist, priest and former Archdeacon of Canterbury, Nicholas Harpsfield, died in London.

    Harpsfield and his brother, John, had been imprisoned since the early 1560s for refusing to swear the Oath of Supremacy, but had been released in 1574 on the grounds of ill-health.

    In Mary I’s reign, he had been involved in the persecutions of Protestants, and martyrologist John Foxe described him as “the sorest and of leaste compassion” of all the archdeacons involved.

    Find out more about his life, career and rise, his works, and his end, in this talk…

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  • Remembering Richard Whiting – Glastonbury Abbey

    glastonbury abbey

    Glastonbury Abbey in Tudor times was a majestic powerhouse of monastic prayer. Learn all about Abbot Richard Whiting

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  • 17 December – A promise made to Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII’s excommunication

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th December 1559, fifty-five-year-old Matthew Parker was consecrated as Queen Elizabeth I’s Archbishop of Canterbury. It was an office which Parker did not want and would not have accepted if “he had not been so much bound to the mother”.

    What did he mean by that?

    Well, when he was Anne Boleyn’s chaplain in 1536, the queen had met with him just six days before her arrest and he made her a promise.

    Find out more about Matthew Parker, his life and that meeting with Anne Boleyn, in this talk…

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  • Apples in Tudor Times

    I’m sure you have never really thought about the origins of the humble apple, but it turns out that it’s fascinating and deeply entrenched in Tudor history

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  • Tudor Society Christmas Party 17 December

    Just a reminder that our annual Tudor Society virtual Christmas party/social will take place in the chatroom tomorrow, 17th December.

    Wear your Christmas jumper, bring your favourite tipple and snack, and enjoy an hour of chatting with other Tudor Society members. It’ll be a lovely hour, they always are.

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  • Day 16 of the Tudor Society Advent Calendar

    Today’s Tudor treat from our archives is our December 2018 edition of Tudor Life Magazine, which took the famous Cecil family as its focus. Of course, no December magazine would be any good without a Christmas section packed with Tudor fun, games and even recipes. It’s a fun one, so do enjoy!

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  • 16 December – The death of George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent, and the birth of Catherine of Aragon

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th (or possibly the 18th) December 1503, George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent, died at Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

    Grey served as a soldier under Henry VII, was on the king’s council, and served him as Constable of Northampton Castle and as a judge at the trial of Edward, Earl of Warwick in 1499.
    He was also married to a sister of Elizabeth Woodville.

    Grey also managed to retain royal favour on Henry VII’s accession even though he’d been rewarded by Richard III.

    Find out more about George Grey in this talk…

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  • 15 December – The death of Thomas Parry and the burial of Cardinal Reginald Pole

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th December, 1560, Comptroller of the Household to Elizabeth I and Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, Thomas Parry died. The Spanish ambassador claimed that Parry had died of “sheer grief”. He was buried at Westminster Abbey.

    Parry had served Elizabeth since 1547 and was a loyal servant and friend. So why did he die of grief?

    Find out more about Thomas Parry, his background, life, and why he was upset in 1560, in this talk…

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  • 14 December – Mary became Queen of Scotland – Mary, Queen of Scots, and Queen Mary I was buried

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th December 1542, six-day-old Mary, daughter of King James V and his second wife, Marie de Guise, became Queen of Scotland – Mary, Queen of Scots.

    King James V, who had ruled since 1513, was just 30 at his death.

    Find out what happened to James V, and how Mary became queen at such a young age, in this talk…

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  • 13 December – A lawyer thrown into prison for refusing to do a favour and Sir Francis Drake sets off on his circumnavigation of the Globe

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th December 1558, civil lawyer and dean of Chester William Clyffe died.

    Clyffe was one of the authors of the 1537 “Bishops’ Book”, and he was consulted by convocation during Henry VIII’s Great Matter. He was thrown into prison for a time for refusing to do a favour for one of the king’s servants – oh dear!

    Find out more about William Clyffe’s life and career in this talk…

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  • Discussing Tudor History with Claire Ridgway – Facebook Live

    Claire was live answering members’ questions last night on our private Facebook group.

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  • 12 December – A soldier who had to hide from Elizabeth I and London sympathises with the Earl of Surrey

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th December 1595, Protestant Welsh soldier and author, Sir Roger Williams, died from a fever with his patron, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, at his side. He was buried at St Paul’s Cathedral.

    Williams served as a soldier in the Low Countries and France and was second in command of the cavalry under Essex at Tilbury Fort in 1588. He also wrote the 1590 “A Briefe Discourse of Warre”.
    At one point he incurred Queen Elizabeth I’s wrath and had to go into hiding for a time.

    Find out all about Sir Roger Williams’ life, career and works in this talk…

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