The Tudor Society
  • 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 https://www.hevercastle.co.uk/whats-on/hever-castle-christmas/

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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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  • Tudor History Challenge 6

    Tim here and I’ve taken over this challenge to ask Claire some Tudor history questions for a change. The questions were provided by the following historians: Sarah-Beth Watkins, Rioghnach O’Geraghty, Toni Mount & Catherine Brooks. Claire did well – but how well will you do???

    Note that the answers are below the questions, so no cheating! Let us know how you do in the comments below. Good luck!

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 6 December – Elizabeth I and the Bisley Boy Legend

    Teasel the dog’s second favourite Tudor is Queen Elizabeth I. Teasel, who is a real trend-setter, appreciates Gloriana’s sense of style. She won’t have a bad thing said about her and so when she heard the Bisley Boy legend, she pronounced it complete poppycock, at least that’s what I think she meant.

    The Bisley Boy legend often does the rounds on social media, and has been addressed in documentaries too. It makes out that Elizabeth I was, in fact, a man. It is complete rubbish.

    In today’s Teasel’s Tudor Trivia, Teasel the rescue dog gets Claire to explain what the legend is about and then gets her to debunk it thoroughly.

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  • 6 December – The Feast of St Nicholas and the Boy Bishop

    Today, 6th December is the Feast of St Nicholas, or St Nicholas of Myra, the 4th century Bishop of Myra. In medieval and Tudor times, it was the traditional day for the election of a boy bishop would undertake all of the duties of a bishop from the 6th December until 28th December, Childermas (Holy Innocents’ Day).

    You can find out about the tradition of Boy Bishop, and how and why Henry VIII put an end to it, and how it’s been revived today, in today’s talk from Claire Ridgway, founder of the Tudor Society.

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  • Worcester Cathedral – Roving Reporter

    This month our Roving Reporter visited the stunning Worcester Cathedral. This cathedral is very interesting to Tudor Society members as it contains the ornate tomb of Arthur, Prince of Wales.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 5 December – Henry VIII nearly drowns!

    Teasel’s very favourite Tudor is King Henry VIII – only because he was a dog lover and she doesn’t know the bad stuff about him – and in today’s edition of Teasel’s Tudor Trivia, Teasel shares an account from 1525 of an accident that Henry VIII suffered.

    This accident wasn’t a jousting accident, it happened while Henry VIII was out hawking, and he nearly drowned! You might remember it from Showtime’s “The Tudors” series. Anyway, Teasel tells us all about it.

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  • 5 December – Anne Cecil and her unhappy marriage

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th December 1556, Anne de Vere (née Cecil) was born, She was the daughter of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, ahd his second wife, Mildred Cooke.

    Anne only lived until she was 31 years old, but in her short life she managed to impress scholard, have five children, and have a rather eventful and unhappy marriage with Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who didn’t treat her at all well and even refused to recognise their first daughter as his own, at one point. If only she had married Philip Sidney instead!

    Find out more about the life of William Cecil’s daughter, Anne de Vere, Countess of Oxford, in today’s talk.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 4 December – Henry VIII’s dogs

    Did you know that Henry VIII was a dog-lover? Yes, he wasn’t all bad!

    In today’s Teasel’s Tudor Trivia, Teasel the ex-street-dog shares some information on two of Henry VIII’s very favourite dogs, Cut and Ball.

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  • 4 December – The beginning of the end for Thomas Cranmer

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th December 1555, in Rome, papal sentence was passed on Thomas Cranmer, resulting in Cranmer being deprived of his archbishopric. Permission was also granted for his fate to be decided by the secular authorities.

    In today’s “on this day in history”, I explain what led Cranmer to this day and also what happened next. Thomas Cranmer went on to recant his Protestant faith on several occasions, but was still executed by being burned at the stake. Why?

    Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • Teasel’s Tudor Trivia – 3 December

    In today’s Teasel’s Tudor Trivia, Dr Teasel, as she’s now taken to referring to herself, shares some of her very favourite Tudor remedies for common ailments. These are all remedies taken from works of the Tudor period, but Dr Teasel is a bit of a charlatan really (shhhh! Don’t tell her I said that!) as she hasn’t actually tried them for herself.

    Please don’t try any of these at home!

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  • 3 December – Henry VIII pardons rebels

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd December 1536, a proclamation was made to the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace offering them a pardon.

    Yes, Henry VIII was offering the rebels “free pardons” for their rebellion against him, his advisors and his religious measures.

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history”, I give a reminder of what the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion was about and how, even though a free pardon was offered, prominent rebels ended up being executed.

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