The Tudor Society
  • 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.

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  • Limited offer … Members Only!

    Hi Tudor Society Members!

    We've been in deep discussions with True Royal TV, who have loads of programmes of interest to Tudor history fans such as yourself. They've agreed to let the first 50 Tudor Society members who want it to have a FREE three months on their TV platform.

    To redeem this offer, members will need to go to the URL: https://trueroyalty.tv/the-tudor-society/ and enter the coupon code THETUDORSOCIETY at the checkout to redeem your 3 free month subscription. The offer is redeemable on a first come first serve basis and will be capped at 50 giveaways, and is only valid until 26 November 2020!

    So - if you're interested in the Royal family then this is the offer for you...

    Go to https://trueroyalty.tv/the-tudor-society/ now to make sure you're one of the first 50 people!

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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?

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 2 November – Edward V, one of the Princes in the Tower

    On this day in history, 2nd November 1470, the feast of All Souls, King Edward V was born at Westminster Abbey, London. Young Edward was King of England for just 2 months in 1483 before he disappeared.

    The events of his short life, his short reign and how it ended, are linked to the Tudors because Henry Tudor returned from exile to challenge King Richard III, who had, of course, taken the throne from Edward V.

    Find out about Edward V’s life and how he came to be one of the famous Princes in the Tower, in today’s talk. I even share who I think was responsible for the deaths of the Princes in the Tower.

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  • 1 November – A baron with useful friends

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st November 1527, the feast of All Saints, William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham, courtier and diplomat, was born.

    Cobham was a close friend of William Cecil, Baron Burghley and Elizabeth’s I’s chief advisor, so Cobham became powerful in Elizabeth’s reign, serving her in a number of important offices. And, this baron was able to escape charges of treason twice thanks to the influence of his friends and patrons.

    Find out more about Cobham’s life, career, and brushes with trouble, which included links with Wyatt’s Rebellion and the Ridolfi Plot, in today’s talk.

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  • October Events Quiz

    As October ended yesterday, I thought I’d check your memory and your knowledge of Tudor history events that took place in the month of October.

    Good luck!

    And don’t forget, you can find all the answers on the Tudor Society website!

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  • Medieval Tournaments – Dr Emma Levitt – Expert Talk

    Dr Emma Levitt shows us some amazing primary sources to unravel the spectacle of the tournament that Henry VIII would have enjoyed.

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  • 31 October – Falling in love with the wrong woman was a dangerous thing!

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st October 1537, Lord Thomas Howard, second son of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, died while imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was about twenty-five years of age at his death.

    How did this son of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk and brother of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk end up dying in the Tower?

    Well, he fell in love with the wrong woman? He had become secretly betrothed to King Henry VIII’s niece, Lady Margaret Douglas.

    Find out more about Lord Thomas Howard, his relationship with Lady Margaret Douglas, and what happened to them both, in today’s talk. Oh, and Margaret really didn’t learn her lesson!

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  • 30 October – Elizabeth I’s favourite is driven to desperation

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th October 1600, Queen Elizabeth I refused to renew Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex’s monopoly on sweet wines, saying that “an unruly horse must be abated of his provender, that he may be the easier and better managed.”

    It may not sound like a major event, but it was for Essex and it drove him to desperation and, ultimately, to the scaffold.

    Why? What was going on? How could the queen’s refusal to renew this monopoly lead to Essex’s undoing?

    Find out what was happened in 1600 and what happened next with the queen and her favourite, in today’s talk.

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  • Did medieval and Tudor people believe in ghosts?

    As this weekend is Hallowtide, I thought I’d explore the topic of ghosts and look at what medieval and Tudor people thought about them.

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  • 29 October – Henry VIII bids farewell to his “loving brother”

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th October 1532, King Henry VIII bid farewell to his “loving brother”, his French counterpart, King Francis I.

    The two kings had enjoyed each other’s company at Calais and Boulogne, and Henry VIII was pleased with their meetings. In fact, things had gone so well that Henry VIII decided to marry Anne Boleyn!

    Find out more about their farewell, and what had happened during the trip, in today’s talk.

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  • November 2020 – Tudor Life – The Beauforts

    In this month’s magazine, we look at the Beauforts and their influence and lasting effect on our favourite era

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  • Tudor Life November 2020 Taster

    Here’s a taster of the full 88-page magazine all about the House of Beaufort. The full magazine is OUT NOW for members.

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  • Transcript – Live Chat with Caroline Angus on Thomas Cromwell

    We had a wonderful live chat with author Caroline Angus at the weekend. The subject was Thomas Cromwell, a man who really divides opinion. Here’s a transcript of the chat, which included some excellent questions and answers, for those of you who missed it.

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  • 28 October – Ivan the Terrible writes a rude letter to Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th October 1570, Ivan IV of Russia, known commonly as Ivan the Terrible, wrote a rather rude letter to Queen Elizabeth I.

    Ivan was upset with Elizabeth’s reaction to his idea of a political alliance, an agreement to help each other if their lives were in danger, and wrote the letter while he was still angry. They were words that must have made Elizabeth see red for a while, but she managed to write a calm reply to him.

    Find out exactly what Ivan the Terrible and Elizabeth I wrote to each other, and how they came to be corresponding in the first place, in today’s talk.

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  • 27 October – She shot pistols, flirted and took tobacco!

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th October 1561, Mary Herbert (née Sidney), Countess of Pembroke, writer and literary patron, was born at Tickenhall, near Bewdley in Worcestershire. She was the sister of the poets Sir Philip Sidney and Robert Sidney, Earl of Leicester, was a writer herself and an extremely talented lady, and she also lived life to the full.

    After her husband died, she had fun shooting pistols, flirting, taking tobacco and dancing. A fun lady!

    Find out more about this gifted Tudor woman, who was as beautiful as she was talented, and whose work was praised, and used, by men such as Shakespeare.

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  • 26 October – Rain stops rebels going to battle

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th October 1536, the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace halted at Scawsby Leys near Doncaster, where they met crown troops. The rebels were said to number around 30,000 and the crown’s army was only a fifth of the size, but the rebel leader, lawyer Robert Aske, chose to negotiate rather than fight.

    Why, when they could well have won?

    Well one Tudor chronicler puts it down to rain. You can find out more about this meeting, how rain put a stop to the rebels’ plans, and what happened next between the Pilgrimage of Grace rebels and Henry VIII, in today’s talk.

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  • 25 October – Twin saints and a local legend

    Today, 25th October, is a feast day which was celebrated in medieval and Tudor times – the feast of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, martyrs of the Early Church and the patron saints of cobblers.

    Find out more about these saints, how their feast day became linked to an important English victory over the French, how it was marked, and why these saints are linked to Faversham in Kent, in today’s talk.

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  • Tudor Ships Wordsearch

    How much do you know about the ships used in Tudor naval battles and by Tudor navigators and explorers?

    Test your knowledge with this fun wordsearch and remember, the words can go in any direction. Simply click on the link or image below to open and print out.

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