The Tudor Society
  • Henry Howard loses favour, purple fever takes an ambassador, and a Tudor judge and law reporter

    In this first part of This Week in Tudor History, I talk about Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey’s loss of royal favour after the English defeat in France, but his children’s joy at the news of him returning home; ambassador Sir Henry Unton (or Umpton) who was killed in France by the “purple fever”, and Sir James Dyer, a Chief Justice who has gone down in history as the first law reporter.

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  • An interview with Seb Foxley

    A big thank you to historian and historical novelist Toni Mount for joining us here on the Tudor Society today on her blog/book tour for her latest novel, The Colour of Evil.

    An interview with Seb Foxley, artist, scrivener and amateur sleuth of Paternoster Row in the City of London; hero of The Colour of … series of medieval murder mysteries.

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  • Fish for Lent Word Search

    During Lent, the time leading up to Easter, animal products such as meat, eggs, butter and cheese, were forbidden, so more fish was eaten, just as it was eaten on Fridays and other religious days.

    But what kinds of fish were enjoyed in medieval and Tudor times, and how did those clever Tudors get round some of the rules and enjoy some meat?

    Here’s a word search puzzle to test your knowledge of medieval and Tudor “fish”.

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  • Celebrate spring with the two Catherine’s

    Today is the first day of Spring! As a celebration of this joyous occasion, we chose two spring looking portraits and moments from two of Henry VIII’s wives to talk about. 

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  • Food in Lent

    Enjoy this week’s Friday video hosted by Brigitte Webster which is all about Tudor food during the period of Lent.

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  • A secret agent and rebel, Henry VIII’s barber, More’s granddaughter, and a Puritan soldier

    In this second part of This Week in Tudor History, historian Claire Ridgway introduces Sir Christopher Blount, a secret agent and rebel who married his master’s widow and whose stepson, the Earl of Essex was his undoing; Edmund Harman, the man who trimmed and washed King Henry VIII’s hair and beard, and who was rewarded for it; Mary Bassett, Sir Thomas More’s granddaughter, who was a highly educated Tudor woman and gifted translator; and Sir John Leveson (pronounced Looson), a Puritan and soldier whose later life was marred by a falling out over money.

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  • Artists in the spotlight – Siouxsie

    This artists in the spotlight, we are highlighting Siouxsie from England. She is 30 years old and makes beautiful intricate paintings. Recently she finished her first Tudor painting of Anne Boleyn. We asked her about this piece of art and her interest in and family connection to the Tudors.

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  • Thomas Cromwell, Cardinal Wolsey and Wolf Hall

    Thank you to Emilie and Nathaniel the dog for asking these excellent questions on Wolf Hall, and the relationship of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and his servant, Thomas Cromwell.

    Were the two men as close as they were shown in Wolf Hall?

    How did Cromwell feel about Wolsey’s fall?

    I answer these questions and also explain the history behind a scene in Hilary Mantel’s second novel in the series, Bring Up the Bodies, in which Cromwell vows revenge on those involved in Wolsey’s fall and in mocking him.

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  • Edward Barlow or Ambrose Barlow (1585-1641)

    Benedictine monk Edward (religious name: Ambrose) Barlow was born at Barlow Hall in Manchester in 1585, the fourth son of Sir Alexander Barlow and his wife, Mary.

    The Barlow family had converted to Protestantism, but this conversion had been somewhat reluctant. Ambrose’s grandfather had died in 1584 while imprisoned for his Catholic leanings, and his father had a large portion of his estate confiscated as a result of his initial refusal to conform to the new religion. On 30th November 1585, Ambrose was baptised, and following this, he adhered to the Anglican faith until 1607, after which he converted to Roman Catholicism.

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  • An interview with Claire Ridgway

    In this interview journalism students, Merel and Emma, ask historian Claire Ridgway about the Tudor Society, including questions such as: “why did you (Claire) start the Tudor Society?”, “Do you (Claire) have any dreams for the Tudor Society?” and a quickfire round in which you can find out who Claire’s favourite Tudor Monarch is and with which Tudor she would have a cup of tea!

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  • The Boleyns of Hever Castle – A talk by Dr Owen Emmerson and Claire

    Those of you who are in the UK or planning on visiting the UK this summer (fingers crossed!) many be interested in knowing that I will be speaking with my dear friend, Hever Castle Supervisor Dr Owen Emmerson, at Hever Castle on Sunday 1st August 2021.

    The talk is on our very favourite subject, the Boleyns, and it will take place at the Two Sisters Theatre in the grounds of Hever Castle at 8pm.

    Anne Boleyn’s parents weren’t the only Boleyns linked to the castle, it was connected to the Boleyn family for 77 years before it was taken by the Crown, and we’ll tell you all about its Boleyn owners.

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  • A monk who embraced reform, a translator and soldier, and Black Will Herbert

    In this first part of This Week in Tudor History for the week beginning 15th March, I look at the life and career of a bishop who started out as a monk but whose conversion to the reformed faith saw him dying an awful death in the reign of Queen Mary I, before moving on to the death of a soldier, translator and diplomat in Henry VIII’s reign, and the death of a Tudor earl and brother-in-law of a queen who was once known as Black Will Herbert.

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  • Thomas Boleyn Quiz

    As Friday was the anniversary of the death of Thomas Boleyn, father of Anne Boleyn and grandfather of Elizabeth I, on 12th March 1539, I thought we’d test your knowledge on him.

    How much do you know about this gifted diplomat and royal servant?

    Find out in this fun quiz.

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  • The School of Night or School of Atheism

    Recently, on YouTube, I answered Tudor Society member Real Tudor Lady’s question on the books and TV series, A Discovery of Witches, examining whether the School of Night (School of Atheists) really existed. I thought I’d go into it in a bit more detail for Tudor Society members, and also share some further reading resources.

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  • A pope kind to Jews, a Catholic martyr, an Elizabethan actor and a bishop supporting the Welsh

    In the second part of This week in Tudor history, I talk about Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici, who became Pope Leo X in 1513 and who was known as a patron of the Arts and his generosity to Jews, Christopher Bales, a Catholic priest and martyr from Elizabeth I’s reign; Richard Burbage, an Elizabethan actor who was friends with William Shakespeare, and Arthur Bulkeley, a Tudor bishop who supported reform and the use of the Welsh language in sermons.

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  • Artists in the Spotlight – Erica

    In today's artists in the spotlight we would like to share Erica's wonderfully detailed clay figures. She is 15 years old and is from England. Because of the talent she has, we asked her about her passion and the process of making art.

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  • International Women’s Day – unknown Tudor women

    Today it's not only International Women's Day, a day where we acknowledge the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but the whole of March we celebrate Women's History Month! A month in which we commemorate the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

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  • An outspoken reformer, Lady Margaret Douglas dies, and a man of “plyable” willow

    In the first part of this week in Tudor history, I introduce an outspoken reformer whose works were burnt, I talk about the death of Henry VIII’s niece, Lady Margaret Douglas, and how it was surrounded by rumour, and I give an overview of the life and career of a Tudor administrator who claimed he survived in politics in such turbulent times because he “was made of the plyable willow, not of the stubborn oak”

    8th March 1569 – Death of evangelical reformer and Member of Parliament Richard Tracy at Stanway in Gloucestershire. Henry VIII and his council ordered the burning of his works in 1546….

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  • Tudor Women Writers and Poets Crossword Puzzle

    As it’s Women’s History Month this month in some countries, I thought we’d mark it by testing your knowledge of female poets, writers and translators from the 16th century.

    How much do you know about them?

    Test yourself with this crossword.

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

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  • A mathematician, Call Me Risley, and a scapegoat

    In this second part of This week in Tudor history, historian Claire Ridgway introduces mathematician and inventor William Oughtred, tells you about the life of Thomas Wriothesley, the man known as “Call me Risley” in Hilary Mantel’s novels, and shares about Germaine Gardiner, a bishop’s nephew who was executed as a scapegoat.

    5th March 1575 – Baptism of mathematician William Oughtred at Eton College. Oughtred is responsible for developing a straight slide-rule, a gauging rod and various sundials. He also introduced the “×” symbol for multiplication and the abbreviations “sin” and “cos” for the sine and cosine functions…

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  • Tudor Shere – Julian Humphrys

    In this week’s Friday video, historian Julian Humphrys tells us all about historic Shere, in Surrey, and the people who owned the manor.

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  • Tudor Fabrics

    In this edition of Teasel's Tudor trivia, Teasel and Claire talk about the different fabrics that were used to make clothes during the medieval and Tudor period - linen, wool, lawn, buckram, silk, velvet, taffeta, satin, sarsenet (sarcenet), damask, cloth of gold, cloth of silver, cloth of tissue and caffa, as well as the furs, ermine and miniver.

    You can find out more about Tudor costume in Claire's detailed talks on the subject:

    Videos mentioned:

    Further reading:

  • Margaret Clitherow (c.1552-1586)

    Margaret Clitherow was born in around 1552 in York and was the daughter of Jane Middleton and Thomas Middleton, a wax chandler and freeman of York. It is believed that she would have been baptised at the Church of St Martin, where her father served as a churchwarden between 1555 and 1558. At around the age of 18, Margaret married John Clitherow in July 1571. John Clitherow was a widower with two sons and a wealthy butcher who became a freeman in 1560 and elected a chamberlain in 1574.

    Following her marriage to John, Margaret moved to the Shambles in York, where she helped her husband with his business. Although we know that Margaret had numerous children, we do not know the exact number, but we know that in addition to her stepsons, she had a son Henry and a daughter named Anne. In 1576, she was pregnant and again in 1581. She was released from prison to give birth, but we don’t know whether these children survived.

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  • Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! Happy St David’s Day!

    Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! Happy St David’s Day!

    Yes, 1st March is St David’s Day, the feast of the patron saint of Wales. Thanks to a friend who’s planted daffodil bulbs on his land, I have daffodils in a vase this year and I’m enjoying leek soup – yum!

    The Tudors, of course, had strong links to Wales, with Henry VII’s grandfather being Welshman Owen Tudor, but did the Tudor court mark the day in any way?

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  • A Grand Prior, Anne of Denmark, Margaret Tudor’s third marriage and Mary Boleyn’s son

    In the first part of her “This week in Tudor history” for week beginning 1st March, I introduce you to Thomas Tresham, grand prior of the Order of St John of Jersualem, and Anne of Denmark, James I’s queen consort, as well as talking about another unhappy marriage for Margaret Tudor, and the birth of Mary Boleyn’s son.

    1st March 1559 – Death of Thomas Tresham, landowner, Catholic politician and Grand Prior of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in England.

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  • Phil Downing – Priest Holes – Expert Talk

    This month we have the wonderful Phil Downing talking about priest holes. He works at Harvington Hall and in this videos he speaks about the “Terrifying lives of Priests and their Priest Holes: the darker side of the Elizabethan period”.

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  • March 2021 on the Tudor Society Website

  • Rare Disease Day

    Today is Rare Disease Day. On this day awareness is raised about rare diseases and the impact they have on patients' lives. It takes place on the last day of February. This is because the first edition was celebrated on the 29th of February, a 'rare' date that happens only once every four years. Ever since then, Rare Disease Day has taken place on the last day of February, a month known for having a ‘rare’ number of days. On the website of Rare Disease Day you can find more information. 

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  • Tudor Diseases Quiz

    As it’s Rare Diseases Day today, I thought it was only right to test your knowledge of diseases which affected people in the Tudor period, although they weren’t rare!

    I hope you enjoy this quiz!

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  • Tudor Meals: Shrewsbury Biscuits

    In this new series called Tudor Meals, we will be making and taste testing Tudor recipes for you. This month we baked Shrewsbury biscuits! This treat was enjoyed in Tudor times by wealthy people, because it includes ingredients such as cinnamon and sugar.

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