The Tudor Society
  • 25 May – A triple Tudor wedding

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th May 1553, Lady Jane Grey got married to Lord Guildford Dudley, son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland.

    They weren’t the only couple to get married in the ceremony at Durham House, Jane’s sister, Katherine, and Guildford’s sister, Catherine, also got married.

    In today’s video, I give more details and consider who was behind this triple Tudor wedding.

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  • 24 May – A monstrous birth

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th May 1562, according to contemporary sources, a “monstrous” child was born in Chichester, Sussex.

    This deformed baby was not the only “monstrous” birth that year and these events were seen as signs from God.

    Find out more about this birth and the others of 1562 in today’s video.

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  • Monsters

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, I consider reports of monstrous births in the Tudor period and how these events were viewed and reported.

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  • 23 May – Henry VIII’s first marriage is annulled

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd May 1533, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, declared the sentence of the special court that had met at Dunstable Priory in Bedfordshire.

    The Dunstable Priory court had convened to hear the case for the annulment of King Henry VIII’s marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Predictably, the court declared the marriage to be contrary to God’s laws and the archbishop was able to inform the king of the sentence of “divorce”.

    Find out more in today’s video.

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  • 22 May – Blessed John Forest and a prophecy fulfilled

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd May 1538, Franciscan friar John Forest met his end at Smithfield in London for his allegiance to the Church of Rome.

    His death, along with the burning of a religious statue from Wales, was said to be the fulfilment of a prophecy made about the statue.

    Find out more about Blessed John Forest and the prophecy in today’s video.

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  • 21 May – William Tyndale’s Arrest

    Today is the anniversary of reformer and Bible translator William Tyndale’s arrest in Antwerp on 21st May 1535, after he was betrayed.

    Why was Tyndale arrested and why didn’t King Henry VIII help him when he had the chance?

    In today’s video, I explain what happened to Tyndale on this day, why the king refused to help him, and what happened next.

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  • 20 May – Matthew Hamont, the Arian or Deist heretic

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  • Anne Boleyn’s Book of Hours at Hever Castle with Claire Ridgway

    Claire holds Anne Boleyn's books of hours

    Claire Ridgway from the Tudor Society was given the amazing honour by Hever Castle to hold Anne Boleyn’s books of hours. WOW!

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  • May birthdays wordsearch

    Lots of important Tudor people were born in the month of May, so today we have a wordsearch testing you on them. Feel free to search the Tudor Society or “google” if you get stuck!

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  • 19 May – Elizabeth I’s release from the Tower

    On 19th May 1554, the future Queen Elizabeth I was released from the Tower of London after two months of imprisonment. It was the anniversary of her mother Queen Anne Boleyn's execution.

    Elizabeth wasn't free, though, she was released into house arrest. Why? Why had she been imprisoned in the Tower and what happened next?

    Claire Ridgway, author of "On This Day in Tudor History", tells the story of this period in Elizabeth I's life in today's video.

    You can find out more about Elizabeth's arrest and her Tide Letter in Claire's video from 17th March -

    On this day in history:

    • 1527 – Death of Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland, at Wressle. He was buried in Beverley Minster
    • 1536 – Archbishop Thomas Cranmer issued a dispensation for Henry VIII to marry Jane Seymour, because they were fifth cousins
    • 1536 - Execution of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, at the Tower of London. Click here to read more about her execution
    • 1597 – Death of Richard Rogers, Bishop-Suffragan of Dover.
  • 18 May – Catherine Woodville

    Today is the anniversary of the death of Catherine Woodville, Duchess of Buckingham and Bedford, in 1497.

    Who was this noblewoman and how was she linked to the famous Woodvilles that rose in the reign of King Edward IV? Find out in today’s video.

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  • Best Historical Fiction for Summer Reading – I need you!

    I need you! That’s right, I need your recommendations so that I can fill my kindle with lots of fantastic historical novels.

    Please watch the video to see exactly what I’m looking for, and then leave your recommendations (author and title, and a bit of blurb if you like about why you recommend it) as comments below. Thank you!

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  • 17 May – The Duke of Buckingham and his Plantagenet blood

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th May 1521, Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, was executed for treason on Tower Hill.

    He’d served King Henry VII and King Henry VIII loyally for many years, so what led to this nobleman being condemned for high treason?

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  • 16 May – Mary, Queen of Scots, from one prison to another

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th May 1568, following her escape from prison in Scotland, Mary landed on English soil and was taken prisoner once more, but this time by England.

    Why was Mary taken prisoner? What happened?

    I explain all in today's video.

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1511 – Burial of Walter Fitzsimons, Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Deputy of Ireland, in the nave of St Patrick's Cathedral.
    • 1532 – Resignation of Sir Thomas More as Chancellor.1536 – Archbishop Cranmer visited Queen Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London. It is thought that his visit's purpose was to get Anne to confess to an impediment to her marriage and to consent to him dissolving her marriage to Henry VIII. This would disinherit and bastardise her daughter Elizabeth.
    • 1544 – Death of John Skewys, lawyer and chronicler.1566 – Death of Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven, a man who was involved in the murder of David Riccio, Mary, Queen of Scots's private secretary.
    • 1567 – Death of Sir Anthony Browne, judge, at his home Weald Hall, South Weald, Essex. He had served Mary I as Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, but was removed from this office by Elizabeth I and made a Puisne Justice of the same court.
    • 1568 – Mary, Queen of Scots landed at Workington after losing at the Battle of Langside.
    • 1576 – Burial of Nicholas Bullingham, Bishop of Lincoln and Worcester. His burial was originally registered at Hartlebury (he died at Hartlebury Castle), but his tomb can now be found in the north aisle of Worcester Cathedral.
    • 1579 – Death of George Freville, judge and 2nd Baron of the Exchequer.
    • 1618 – Death of Dorothy Wadham (née Petre), founder of Wadham College, Oxford. She is buried in St Mary's Church, Ilminster.
    • 1620 – Death of William Adams, navigator, in Hirado, Japan. He is thought to be the first Englishman to have reached Japan (arriving there in 1600) and was the inspiration for the character of John Blackthorne in the famous novel Shōgun.
  • Anne Boleyn Experience 2019 – Day 4

    Today was our final full day on the Anne Boleyn Experience tour 201 – sob!

    After a delicious breakfast (Full Hever Breakfast plus a naughty Danish pastry!), it was time to hit the road. Our luxury coach, driven by the very friendly Alan, took us from Hever, which is nestled in the Kent coutryside, up to London and the incredible building that is Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London.

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  • 15 May – Mary, Queen of Scots, marries for the third time

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th May 1567, the recently widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, married for the third time, taking James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell and Duke of Orkney, as her husband.

    You can find out more about Bothwell in Claire's video from April 14 - - and in today's video, I tell you all about the bride, Mary, Queen of Scots.

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1464 – Execution of Henry Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, immediately after the Battle of Hexham. He was buried in Hexham Abbey.
    • 1536 - Trials of Anne Boleyn and George Boleyn in the King's Hall at the Tower of London. They were both found guilty and sentenced to death. Click here to read about Anne's trial and here to read about George's.
    • 1537 – Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy de Darcy, and his cousin, John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford, were tried for treason at Westminster after being implicated in the Pilgrimage of Grace. “Letters and Papers” recorded the verdict as guilty and the sentence was “Judgment as usual in cases of high treason. Execution to be at Tyburn.” They were actually beheaded.
    • 1555 – Death of Sir Thomas Bromley, judge. Mary I made him her first Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench, but was unhappy when Nicholas Throckmorton was acquitted in 1554.
    • 1556 – John Knox appeared in Edinburgh to face heresy charges.
  • Anne Boleyn Experience 2019 – Day 3

    I started Day 3 of the Anne Boleyn Experience 2019 off well with a Full Hever Breakfast – yum! And then it was time to head off to nearby Penshurst Place, home of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, before it was seized by the crown after his execution and its keepership granted to Thomas Boleyn. In Edward VI’s reign, it was granted to the Sidney family and has been in that family ever since.

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  • 14 May – Lady Helena Gorges

    On this day in history, 14th May 1635, Helena Gorges (née Snakenborg), Lady Gorges, was buried in Salisbury Cathedral.

    But who was this lady and how did a Swedish royal maid-of-honour end up being buried in England?

    In today’s video, I share some facts about this fascinating woman.

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  • Anne Boleyn Experience 2019 – Day 2

    We couldn’t have picked better weather for our full day at Hever Castle! Blue skies and sunshine were perfect for appreciating the beauty of the castles and its stunning gardens.

    We started our day with a lovely breakfast in the private Astor Wing before heading over to St Peter’s Church, just outside the castle grounds, to see the tomb and brass memorial of Thomas Boleyn and the little brass cross of Henry Boleyn. Then it was time to enjoy everything the castle has to offer – the castle interior with its large portrait collection, exhibition celebrating Hever Castle’s use in films and on TV (including two beautiful dresses worn by Genevieve Bujold in “Anne of the Thousand Days”), the gardens the gift shop and Hever ducks and swans.

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  • 13 May – Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon get married again

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th May 1515, Henry VIII's beloved sister, Mary Tudor, former Queen of France, married his best friend, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, at Greenwich Palace.

    Hear all about the couple's marriage in today's video from Claire Ridgway, author and founder of the Tudor Society.

    As Claire mentions, the couple had got married secretly in France and you can find out more about that in Claire's video at

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1536 – Queen Anne Boleyn’s royal household at Greenwich was broken up, even though she hadn't been tried yet. Click here to read more.
    • 1568 – Mary, Queen of Scots's forces were defeated at the Battle of Langside.
    • 1619 – Funeral of Anne (Anne of Denmark), consort of James VI and I. She was buried in Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey.
  • Anne Boleyn Experience 2019 – Day 1

    As promised, I’m sharing with you a day-by-day account of the Anne Boleyn Experience 2019 tour that I am co-leading with Philippa of British History Tours,

    After flying in to the UK yesterday and staying with my father-in-law in Sussex overnight, I caught the train up to London Victoria this morning. After brunch with Philippa, we set off to meet this year’s tour participants at Victoria. It was wonderful to meet some Tudor Society members and to finally put faces to names – such lovely people.

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  • May Tudor Events Quiz

    How much do you know about May’s “on this day in Tudor history” events?

    Test yourself with this fun Sunday quiz!

    Grab your favourite snack and beverage, make yourself comfortable, and let’s begin.

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  • 12 May – Martin Luther’s books are burned in London

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th May 1521, reformer Martin Luther was proclaimed a heretic by Bishop John Fisher and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey at St Paul’s in London, and his works were burned.

    Hear a contemporary account of what happened on this day in 1521 in today’s video:

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  • 11 May – Two Carthusian Monks

    On this day in Tudor history, Blessed John Rochester and Blessed James Walworth, two Carthusian monks from the London Charterhouse, met their ends in York after being condemned for treason.

    In a five-year period, eighteen Carthusian monks were executed, but why? What had King Henry VIII got against these men of God? What happened?

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  • Join me and Philippa on the Anne Boleyn Experience 2020

    Only two more sleeps until the Anne Boleyn Experience 2019 tour! Yes, it starts on Sunday! Yay!

    I leave tomorrow and I’m so very excited. Hever Castle is my very favourite historical place and although I’ve stayed there many times now, it always works its magic on me and has a huge impact. I can’t wait to share that magical experience with tour participants, and see my dear friend, Tudor Society roving reporter, Philippa Lacey Brewell!

    As the tour is in association with the Tudor Society, I will be sharing diary-type blog posts and photos with you, so I hope you enjoy that.

    But why not join me at Hever Castle next year?

    Philippa has just opened up bookings for the Anne Boleyn Experience Tour 2020!

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  • 10 May – John Clerk, a girdle and the Tower of London

    On this day in Tudor history, author John Clerk, who had served Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, as his secretary, avoided public shame with a very final act in the Tower of London.

    What led Clerk to this end? How had he ended up in the Tower of London?

    Find out more in today’s video.

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  • Immigrants in Medieval and Tudor England

    Today’s Claire Chats was inspired by the recent video I did about the Evil May Day Riot which took place on 1st May 1517, in London, in the reign of King Henry VIII. The riot was an attack on the property of foreign traders in London by a mob of young apprentices and labourers, and it made me want to dig deeper into the topic of immigration during this period.

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  • 9 May – Henry VII’s remains are taken to St Paul’s

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th May 1509, the remains of King Henry VII were taken to St Paul’s to prepare for his burial at Westminster Abbey.

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history”, I share an account of the journey to St Paul’s.

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  • 8 May – Elizabeth I, her Act of Uniformity and her middle road

    On this day in Tudor history, Queen Elizabeth I gave her approval to the Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy. The Act of Uniformity was incredibly important and it reflected the queen’s wish to follow a middle road where religion was concerned.

    But what was this act? What did it establish? What did Elizabeth want for England and what happened?

    I explain all in today’s video.

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  • 7 May – John Fisher is tricked

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th May 1535, after a year of imprisonment in awful conditions at the Tower of London, John Fisher, former Bishop of Rochester, was visited at the Tower of London and tricked into saying something that would lead to his brutal end.

    I explain what led to Fisher’s imprisonment, what happened on this day in 1535 and what happened next.

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