The Tudor Society
  • Henry VIII and the Merchants

    Susan Rose is now retired but was a Senior lecturer and later a research fellow at Roehampton. She worked for over 30 years for the Open University in various roles and has written books on both medieval ships and also late medieval and early modern trade. Here, she shares an article about Henry VIII and shares some information about Stephen Vaughan. She has written a book entitled "Henry VIII and the Merchants" which available here.

    Building on my knowledge and understanding of the world of traders and its importance to the rulers of England detailed in my book, The Wealth of England (Oxbow 2018) my research and new book takes the reader from the bustle and brilliance of Antwerp, the hub of European trade and finance in the early sixteenth century to the courts of Henry VIII, the Regent of the Netherlands, and the Emperor Charles V.

    Stephen Vaughan a young London Merchant Adventurer who became an assistant and friend of Thomas Cromwell. Through that connection, he was drawn into the world of the court in London and the service of the King abroad. At first, he combined negotiations over the trading privileges of English merchants in the booming markets of Antwerp with personal commissions for Cromwell, buying books or items like a globe or a chest for private papers.

    As a convinced supporter of the reformed religion, though never a member of any sect, Vaughan also had close contact with William Tyndale the translator of the Bible into English and frequently sent word back to London of plots by those seeking to undermine the King’s policies. More serious diplomatic missions for the Crown involved visits to Lutheran princes and an attempt to convince the Regent of the Netherlands Charles V’s sister that another sister, the Duchess of Milan, would make a fine bride for Henry.

    After Cromwell's fall and execution, he was drawn closer to the King and the Privy Council and was finally charged with raising the emergency financing necessary if Henry was to join Charles in a war against France in 1543-6. This entailed obtaining loans on the Antwerp Bourse, the centre of the money market of the day. No English King had done this previously and royal advisers had no experience at all in this kind of operation. Vaughan had to deal with a complex tangle of differing coinages, exchange rates which changed rapidly in response to the news of the day, and networks of experienced brokers and bankers always out for their own advantage.

    His letters to London bewail those he had to deal with who were, 'foxes and wolves which are shrewd beasts whose natures are well known to your Honors.' The broker he was forced to use, Gaspare Ducci, was an essential contact with the Fuggers and other bankers but was 'so greedily hunting after gain' for himself that it was hard to trust him.

    Vaughan's personal life showed him to be a loving father, especially to his carefully educated daughters. Anne became a convinced Protestant and has become renowned as a poet under her married name, Anne Locke Vaughan. Jane, later Wiseman, took a different path as a heroine of the recusants in Elizabeth’s reign by harbouring the Jesuit, John Gerrard.

    About the book

    Drawing heavily from the State Papers of the King, Henry VIII and the Merchants traces Stephen Vaughan's careers as a servant of Thomas Cromwell and of Henry VIII in the 16th century.

    Stephen Vaughan, a Londoner with an international outlook, was a member of the Company of Merchant Taylors, as well as a Merchant Adventurer in the Low Countries. As a young man Vaughan was drawn into the employ of Thomas Cromwell and worked in his private office. Thus, Vaughan became heavily involved in the world of government and court politics at a time when the style, tempo and effectiveness of official life in London was changing rapidly and the world was quickly opening up as his travels to Europe drew him into the enticing world of business and finance.

    For the first time, this notable study uncovers the secrets of Vaughan's life from his relatively humble beginning to his high-power career as an ambassador, spy, and financial agent of the crown on the Bourse at Antwerp. What is more, on a wider canvas this intimate tale shows how individuals were affected by and reacted to the drastic changes in religion, politics and everyday life under the tumultuous reign of Henry VIII.

  • Henry VIII and His Six Wives Online Event – register now!

    Historian Claire Ridgway’s next online event, Henry VIII and His Six Wives, is open for registration with an early bird discount coupon!

    Register now and join Claire, Dr Tracy Borman, Dr Linda Porter, Gareth Russell, Dr Owen Emmerson and Kate McCaffrey as they delve into the lives of this iconic king and his six queens consort.

    Henry VIII and His Six Wives is a completely online event and its starts properly on 22nd May 2023. However, Claire is hosting zoom video calls twice a month leading up to the event so participants can get to know each other and talk Tudor. The zoom calls start on 12th February and the topic for discussion is Henry VIII in film and on TV.

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  • February 9 – A reprieve for Lady Jane Grey

    This day in Tudor history, 9th February 1554, in the reign of Queen Mary I, was one of the dates set for the execution of Lady Jane Grey, the former Queen Jane, but she was granted a three-day reprieve.

    Why and what had happened between her trial in November 1553, when she had been condemned to death, and this day?

    Let me tell you…

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  • An Extract from “Tudor England: A History”

    Lucy Wooding is the Langford fellow and tutor in history at Lincoln College, Oxford. She is an expert on Reformation England and its politics, religion, and culture and the author of Henry VIII. She has asked us to share this section from her book "Tudor England: A History".

    You can get the book at THIS LINK

    As the tensions of the later sixteenth century, both religious and polit­ical, became more acute, Tudor drama itself became more sophisticated, and more heavily freighted with meaning. Elizabethan plays might have a dangerously polemical edge, or a blunt propaganda purpose. Where fifteenth-century plays had often conveyed a religious message, later Tudor drama continued to explore moral dilemmas, albeit with a level of self-conscious wariness that earlier dramas had lacked. Solely religious plays became a thing of the past in the fraught confessional climate of the 1580s and 1590s, but drama became, if anything, more pervasive1. Plays, or ‘playings’, took place at Court, in private households, in the universities and Inns of Court, in taverns and inns, in the market square or through the streets of a city on May Day or to celebrate midsummer. By the end of the sixteenth century, there were also commercial theatrical spaces akin to the modern theatre; the first of these was built by James Burbage in Shoreditch in 1576, and called simply the Theatre2. South of the river, Philip Henslowe built the Rose on Bankside in 1587, and it was joined in 1595 by the Swan and in 1599 by the Globe. Yet even in the age of Shakespeare, theatre still belonged as much in the street or the household as upon a stage.

    Drama was not just a source of entertainment or moral commentary: it was proactive in the shaping of affairs and attitudes. In an age when insti­tutions were still flimsy, and politics were intensely personal, power could be confirmed or qualified through magnificence and display. The common­wealth, or state, was something imagined, but still it elicited an emotional investment given immediacy through symbolism3. Each display of power required a response, and each enactment of authority called for an answer, so drama was also a site for negotiation and the exchange of ideas in this ‘theatre state’4. Royal processions, progresses and tournaments encapsu­lated important transactions between ruler and ruled; in council meetings, parliaments and royal audiences, confrontations were enacted in which policy was shaped by participants on both sides. Deaths on the scaffold required the speeches of those about to die to reinforce codes of honour and obedience, while subtle alterations to the formulaic expressions of penitence and obedience might equally convey protestations of innocence, or even defiance. The drive for religious conformity made martyrs of many whose extraordinary commitment led them willingly to play their parts in a terrible drama of death. In their sufferings could be seen either the moral might of a government staunchly opposing heresy, or conversely, a testi­mony to religious truth serving as a powerful reproach to a persecutory regime; it was for the audience to choose.

    This was an age in which men and women often found it easiest to express their own identity by acting a part. Elizabeth I in her lifetime was cast by both herself and others in roles as various as the Old Testament heroine Deborah or the goddess Diana; as the mythical King Arthur or the historical Emperor Constantine. When she famously remarked to William Lambarde, keeper of the Tower, ‘know ye not I am Richard II?’, she was acknowledging her own questionable reputation as ruler in her twilight years; she was also signalling the broader principle that political meaning could be readily conveyed by mimesis5. Badgered by parliament to execute Mary Queen of Scots, she reminded them of the dangers of public scrutiny: ‘Princes, you know, stand upon stages so that their actions are viewed and beheld of all men; and I am sure my doings will come to the scanning of many fine wits, not only within the realm, but in foreign coun­tries.’6 Henry VII, in just a single royal progress in 1486, had been vari­ously depicted as Solomon, Noah, Jason, Isaac, Jacob, David, Scipio and Arthur – legendary figures, invoked at a time of dangerous political insta­bility, when the sanction of past rulers, generals and prophets was badly needed.7


    1. Thomas Betteridge and Greg Walker, ‘Introduction’, in Thomas Betteridge and Greg Walker (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama (Oxford, 2012), 4–8, 11.
    2. William Ingram, The Business of Playing: The beginnings of the adult professional theater in Elizabethan England (Ithaca, NY, 1992).
    3. Michael Walzer, ‘On the role of symbolism in political thought’, Political Science Quarterly 82 (1987), 194–95.
    4. For the conception of the ‘theatre state’, see Clifford Geertz, Negara: The theatre state in nineteenth-century Bali (Princeton, NJ, 1980), also Clifford Geertz, ‘Centers, kings and charisma: Reflections on the symbolics of power’, in Joseph Ben-David and Terry Nicholas Clark (eds), Culture and Its Creators: Essays in Honor of Edward Shils (Chicago, IL, 1977), and Clifford Geertz, ‘Politics past, politics present’, in Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected essays (second edition, New York, 2000), 327–41.
    5. Stephen Orgel, Spectacular Performances: Essays on theatre, imagery, books and selves in early modern England (Manchester, 2011), 7–35.
    6. Elizabeth I: Collected Works, 189.
    7. David Bevington, Tudor Drama and Politics (Cambridge, MA, 1968), 6; see also John C. Meagher, ‘The first progress of Henry VII’, Renaissance Drama 1 (1968), 45–73.
  • February 8 – Sir John Arundell of Lanherne

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th February 1545, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Sir John Arundell of Lanherne, died at the home of his nephew, Richard Roscarrock of Roscarrock, in St Endellion, Cornwall.

    Let me give you a few facts about this Tudor man, who was actually the third John Arundell out of 9 prominent John Arundells in the same family…

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  • February 7 – Mary, Queen of Scots’ death warrant arrives at Fotheringhay

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th February 1587, the warrant for the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, arrived at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, where Mary was being held.

    Mary had been tried for treason in October 1586 after being implicated in the Babington Plot, a plot to depose Queen Elizabeth I and to replace her with Mary. She had been found guilty and sentenced to death, but Elizabeth would not sign the execution warrant, not wanting the responsibility of killing an anointed queen. However, Mary’s gaoler, Sir Amias Paulet, would not agree to quietly doing away with Mary, and after pressure from her council and petitions from Parliament, Elizabeth finally signed the warrant, although she later said she had asked for it not to be sent to Fotheringhay yet.

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  • February 6 – Edmund Plowden

    A line engraving of Edmund Plowden by T. Stayner

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th February 1585, lawyer, legal scholar and law reporter, Edmund Plowden, died in London.

    Plowden was laid to rest in the Middle Temple Church.

    Cambridge University’s libraries and the British Library contain manuscripts of his commentaries and opinions, and he is known for his 1571 volume of law reports covering cases during the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.

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  • February 4 – The wedding of Anne of York and Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey (later 3rd Duke of Norfolk)

    Portrait of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, by Hans Holbein the Younger. Norfolk holds the gold baton of Earl Marshal and the white staff of Lord High Treasurer, and wears the Order of the Garter.

    Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of NorfolkOn this day in Tudor history, 4th February 1495, in the reign of King Henry VII, a wedding took place at Westminster Abbey in London. It was the wedding of Anne of York and Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey.

    Let me tell you a bit more about the bridge and groom...
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  • February 3 – Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham

    On 3rd February 1478, in the reign of King Edward IV, Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, was born at Brecon Castle.

    His father, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, was executed as a traitor in Richard III’s reign and Edward came to the same end in 1521, in King Henry VIII’s reign.

    Let me tell you a bit more about this Duke of Buckingham…

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  • February 2 – John Argentine, the last person to see the Princes in the Tower

    King Edward V and the Duke of York (Richard) in the Tower of London by Paul Delaroche.

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd February 1508, in the reign of King Henry VII, physician and Provost of King’s College, Cambridge, John Argentine died at King’s College.

    He was about sixty-five years of age at his death. He was laid to rest in the Chantry Chapel at the college.

    [Read More...]
  • February 1 – Alchemist Roger Cooke

    Image from a 15th century alchemical treatise, Aurora consurgens

    Image from  a 15th century alchemical treatise, Aurora consurgensOn this day in Tudor history, 1st February 1552, in the reign of King Edward VI, alchemist Roger Cooke was born.

    Here are some facts about this Tudor alchemist who started his career in the household of Dr John Dee and also worked for Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland, and Sir Walter Ralegh...

    • Cooke’s beginnings are obscure, but in 1567, when he was fourteen years of age, he joined the household of Dr John Dee and became his assistant.
    • Cooke helped Dee with his experiments in alchemy and may also have practised scrying, that is to say, using a reflective surface or a crystal for divination.
    • In his diary entry for 28th December 1579, Dee recorded “I reveled to Roger Cokeo the gret secret of the elixir of the salt, an alchemical secret”, which is thought to be alchemical projection with salts of metals. Dee obviously trusted Cooke, and they had a good relationship. However, in 1581 the relationship came to an abrupt end. In his diary entry for 5th September, Dee records what happened:
      “Sept. 5th, Roger Cook, who had byn with me from his 14 yeres of age till 28, of a melancholik nature, pycking and devising occasions of just cause to depart on the suddayn, abowt 4 of the clok in the afternone requested of me lycense to depart, wheruppon rose whott words between us; and he, imagining with hisself that he had the 12 of July deserved my great displeasure and finding himself barred from vew of my philosophicall dealing with Mr. Henrik, thowght that he was utterly recest from intended goodnes toward him. Notwithstanding Roger Cook his unseamely dealing, I promised him, yf he used himself toward me now in his absens, one hundred poundst as sone as of my own clene hability I myght spare so much; and moreover, if he used himself well in lif toward God and the world, I promised him some pretty alchimicall experiments, whereuppon he might honestly live.”
      However, two days later, Dee recorded “Sept. 7th, Roger Cook went for alltogether from me”, and on 29th September, Dee replaced him with Robert Gardner, of Shrewsbury”.
    • We don’t know what Cooke did next, but fastforward to 1600, when Cooke was 48, and he is mentioned again in Dee’s diary. Dee records: “Sept. 30th, after the departing of Mr. Francis Nicolls, his dowghter Mistres Mary, his brother Mr. William, Mr. Wortley, at my returne from Deansgate, to the ende whereof I browght them on fote, Mr. Roger Kooke offred and promised his faithfull and diligent care and help, to the best of his skill and powre, in the processes chymicall, and that he will rather do so then to be with any in England; which his promise the Lord blesse and confirm! He told me that Mr. Anthony considered him very liberally and frendely, but he told him that he had promised me. Then he liked in him the fidelity of regarding such his promise.”
      The Mr Anthony that is mentioned must be the physician and alchemist who went on to sell his secret remedy, "Aurum Potabile”, or drinkable gold. I did a video on him so I’ll give you a link to that. It seems that Cooke was going to work for Anthony, or had been working for him, but excused himself as promised to Dee. In a later diary entry, Dee recorded that Cooke began to distill on 1st
    • Just three months later, on 2nd February 1601, Dee recorded that his son, Arthur, had found Cooke going through a box of Arthur’s papers. Suspecting Cooke of plotting against his father, Arthur took Cooke before Dee. Fortunately, Dee was able to record in his diary “All was mistaken, and we reconcyled godly”. Dee goes on to write that the two were reconciled and that he explained all to his wife and sons. There’s an interesting entry in Dee’s diary just over three weeks later, on 25th February, when Dee records “R. Koke pactum sacrum hora octave mane”, meaning sacred pact 8 o’clock in the morning” with no other details and then the next entry is “March 2nd, Mr Roger Coke went toward London”. Perhaps the pact was regarding Cooke leaving Dee’s service, but promising to keep his work secret. We don’t know.
    • Historian Lauren Kassell notes that a Roger Cooke was employed by Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland and Sir Walter Ralegh to build and run a still house at the Tower of London between 1606 and around 1609. Northumberland was known as the Wizard Earl due to his experiments in alchemy and science, and he and Ralegh were prisoners in the Tower at the time. Ralegh was able to persuade the Lieutenant of the Tower to let them convert a hen house into a still house. Charles Webster, author of “Health, Medicine and Mortality in the 16th Century”, writes that Ralegh then studied the chemistry of metals and “prepared his celebrated cordials” and other medicines.
    • Cooke is also linked to Cornelis Drebbel who was working in Prague from 1610 at the invitation of Emperor Rudolf II, who was interested in alchemy. A man named Cooke assisted Drebbel with his experiments before returning to England in 1612. It is not known what happened to Cooke after his return, or when he died. He just disappears from the records.

    An interesting man!

    Image: Image from a 15th century alchemical treatise, Aurora consurgens

  • January 31 – Henry VIII’s death is announced

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st January 1547, Lord Chancellor Thomas Wriothesley announced the death of King Henry VIII to Parliament. The king had died on 28th January.

    Chronicler and Windsor Herald Charles Wriothesley records the late king’s son, nine-year-old Edward, being officially proclaimed king

    [Read More...]
  • January 30 – Sir William More of Loseley

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th January 1520, in the reign of King Henry VIII, member of Parliament, Protestant, landowner and administrator, Sir William More, was born. More’s offices under Elizabeth I included Chamberlain of the Exchequer,

    More was the only surviving son of Sir Christopher More of Loseley, a powerful administrator in Henry VII’s reign, and his wife, Margaret Mudge.

    The Protestant More came to the forefront in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, serving her as Constable of Farnham Castle, Treasurer of the Lottery, Commissioner for Ecclesiastical Causes, Collector of the Loan, Master of Swans and Deputy Custos Rotulorum, as well as Chamberlain of the Exchequer. He was also a commissioner on various commissions of oyer and terminer during her reign.

    [Read More...]
  • January 28 – John Dynham, 1st Baron Dynham

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th January 1501, in the reign of King Henry VII, politician and administrator John Dynham, 1st Baron Dynham, died at his home at Lambeth. He was buried at the London Greyfriars on 30th January.

    Here are a few facts about this Tudor baron…

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  • January 27 – The burning of Bartlet Green and six other Protestants

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th January 1556, in the reign of Queen Mary I, Protestant Bartlet or Bartholomew Green was burnt at the stake at Smithfield, with six other Protestants.

    Green, who martyrologist John Foxe describes as a gentleman and lawyer, “saw the true light of God’s gospel” when listening to lectures given by Peter the Martyr while studying at Oxford. Foxe writes that “Whereof when he had once tasted, it became unto him as the fountain of lively water, that our Saviour Christ spake of to the woman of Samaria, so as he never thirsted any more, but had a well springing unto everlasting life”. Green studied law at the Inner Temple at London.

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  • January 26 – Sir Francis Poyntz

    Poyntz arms - Barry of eight or and gules

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th January 1528, in the reign of King Henry VIII, courtier and diplomat Sir Francis Poyntz died in London. He died of the plague.

    Poyntz, who was about 31 at his death, was the third son of courtier, Sir Robert Poyntz, of Iron Acton in Gloucestershire, and his wife, Margaret, an illegitimate daughter of Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers. Francis was made an Esquire of the Body to Henry VIII in 1516, and then a Carver in 1521.

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  • January 25 – St Edmund Campion, Catholic Martyr

    Engraving of St Edmund Campion with a knife in his chest

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th January 1540, St Edmund Campion, Jesuit and martyr, was born in London.

    Campion was hanged, drawn and quartered on 1st December 1581 for treasonable conspiracy.  He was beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII and canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

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  • January 24 – Henry VII’s Lady Chapel

    Henry VII and the pendant fan-vaulted ceiling of his Lady Chapel

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th January 1503, the foundation stone of King Henry VII’s chapel, a large Lady Chapel, at Westminster Abbey, was laid.

    At the time, Henry VII planned for the chapel to be a shrine to King Henry VI, who was expected to be canonised, but this never happened.

    The chapel was completed in 1516, in the reign of Henry VII’s son, King Henry VIII, and became the burial place of fifteen kings and queens, including Henry VII and his wife, Elizabeth of York, who have beautiful gilt-bronze effigies, and their grandchildren Edward VI, Elizabeth I and Mary I, and great-granddaughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. Others buried there in the Tudor period include, Lady Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII’s mother, and Lady Margaret Douglas, his granddaughter.

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  • January 23 – The assassination of Regent James Stewart, Earl of Moray and half-brother of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd January 1570, James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, illegitimate son of James V, half-brother of Mary, Queen of Scots, and a man who was acting as regent for his half-nephew, King James VI, was assassinated.

    Moray, who was about 38 or 39 years of age at his death, had become regent for his one-year-old half-nephew following the abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary, who was imprisoned at the time, had been forced to abdicate by the confederate lords following her defeat at Carberry Hill.

    [Read More...]
  • January 22 – Francis Bacon, Viscount St Alban

    Francis Bacon by Paul van Somer

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd January 1561, Francis Bacon, Viscount St Alban, was born at York House in the Strand, London.

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  • January 21 – The death of Eustace Chapuys, imperial ambassador

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st January 1556, imperial ambassador Eustace Chapuys died in Louvain, the place he had retired to in 1549. He was laid to rest in the chapel of Louvain College, the college he had founded.

    Chapuys is one of my favourite sources for the reign of Henry VIII because his dispatches to the emperor and his fellow ambassadors are so detailed.

    But who was Eustace Chapuys? Let me tell you a bit more about him…

    [Read More...]
  • January 20 – Mary I’s fifth and final Parliament

    Portrait of a seated Mary I by Anthonis Mor

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th January 1558, in the final year of Queen Mary I’s reign, there was the state opening of Mary’s fifth Parliament.

    As Cedric Ward points out in his article “The House of Commons and the Marian Reaction”, by this time, due to Mary’s marriage to Philip of Spain, England was allied with Spain in its war against France so Parliamentary business focused on financial and military items.

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  • January 19 – Diplomat Sir Edward Carne and Henry VIII’s fourth marriage

    Portraits of Henry VIII, Anne of Cleves, Mary I and Dom Luis of Portugal

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th January 1561, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Edward Carne died in Rome. He was about sixty-five years of age.

    The administrator and diplomat, who came from Glamorgan in Wales originally, carried out diplomatic missions for King Henry VIII, was a royal commissioner during the dissolution of the monasteries, negotiated for a fourth marriage for Henry VIII after the death of Jane Seymour, was Mary I’s English ambassador to Rome, and claimed descent from the Kings of Gwent! An interesting man.

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  • January 18 – Alfonso Ferrabosco, composer, musician and spy

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th January 1543, composer, court musician and perhaps spy Alfonso Ferrabosco was baptised at the Cathedral of San Petronio, in Bologna, Italy.

    Why am I talking about an Italian composer and musician?

    Well, because he worked at Queen Elizabeth I’s court and is said to have been responsible for the growth of the madrigal at the royal court.

    Here are some facts about this Italian composer and musician…

    [Read More...]
  • January 17 – Clockmaker Bartholomew Newsam

    Repeater watch and key ca. 1565 by Bartholomew Newsam, Met Museum

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th January 1587, Bartholomew Newsam (Newsum, Newsham), died. He was buried in the church of St Mary-le-Strand, the parish in which he lived and worked. He was in his fifties at his death.

    Bartholomew Newsam, who is thought to have come from the York area, was a famous clockmaker, sundial maker and scientific instrument maker. He worked for Queen Elizabeth I, repairing clocks and perhaps even making them for her.

    [Read More...]
  • January 16 – Sir Anthony Denny

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th January 1501, in the reign of King Henry VII, Sir Anthony Denny was born at Cheshunt in Hertfordshire. He was the second son of Sir Edmund Denny, Baron of the Exchequer to Henry VIII, and his wife, Mary Troutbeck.

    The courtier and good friend of Henry VIII was educated at St Paul’s School, London, before moving on to St John’s College, Cambridge.

    Following employment in the service of Sir Francis Bryan, a man known as the Vicar of Hell, Denny joined King Henry VIII’s privy chamber in 1533 and was made a yeoman of the wardrobe in 1536.

    [Read More...]
  • January 15 – Jane Dudley, Duchess of Northumberland

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th January 1555, in the reign of Queen Mary I, Jane Dudley, Duchess of Northumberland and wife of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, died in Chelsea, London.

    Forty-six-year-old Jane had outlived her husband, who was executed in 1553 after Mary I had successfully seized the throne from the couple’s daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey.

    Here are some facts about this Duchess of Northumberland…

    [Read More...]
  • January 14 – Charles Brandon is sent to fetch Mary Tudor, Queen of France, home to England

    On 14th January 1515, in King Henry VIII’s reign, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, was sent to France to bring back the king’s sister, Mary Tudor, Queen of France.

    Eighteen-year-old Mary had married fifty-two-year-old King Louis XII on 9th October 1514, but the marriage had been short-lived as Louis died on 1st January 1515.

    Before marrying Louis, Mary had made her brother promise that if the French king died she could marry a man of her choosing. That man ended up being Suffolk, Henry VIII’s best friend, and the very man sent to fetch her.

    [Read More...]
  • January 13 – Sir Henry Neville

    Engraving of Billingbear House, home of Sir Henry Neville.

    On 13th January 1593, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Henry Neville died. He was buried at Waltham St Lawrence in Berkshire.

    Sir Henry Neville was a groom of Henry VIII’s Privy Chamber and a gentleman of Edward VI’s Privy chamber.

    [Read More...]
  • The Life and Death of Cardinal Wolsey

    We’ve been contacted by the lovely John Greenman who has set his life to creating “pro bono” volunteer recordings of public domain works. He let us know that he has recently completed a recording of the book “The Life and Death of Cardinal Wolsey” written by George Cavendish.

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