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The Tudor Society
  • August 16 – Sir Christopher More

    A silhouette of a man's side profile

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th August 1549, in the reign of King Edward VI, landowner and administrator Sir Christopher More died. He was buried in St Nicholas’s Church, Guildford, in the Loseley Chapel.

    More was a Justice of the Peace and sheriff during the reign of Henry VIII and was appointed to the guard of honour prepared for Anne of Cleves in late 1539.

    Here are some facts about Sir Christopher More:

    Sir Christopher More was born in around 1483 and was the son of fishmonger John More and his wife, Elizabeth.
    By 1504, More was married to Margaret Mugge, who came from Guildford, and the couple had 12 children together. By 1535, Margaret had died and More had married Constance Sackville, widow of William Heneage.
    In 1505, in the reign of King Henry VII, More was made a clerk of the exchequer, and More also purchased the office of alnager, i.e. an inspector of the quality and measurement of woollen cloth, in Surrey and Sussex.

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  • August 15 – Playwright Thomas Kyd

    Title page of Thomas Kyd's "The Spanish Tragedy"

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th August 1594, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, playwright Thomas Kyd was buried at St Mary Colechurch in London.

    Kyd is known for his play “The Spanish Tragedy” (c1537), which was performed twenty-nine times between 1592 and 1597, and some scholars believe that he wrote a “Hamlet” play before that of William Shakespeare.

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  • Monday Martyr – Agnes Prest

    This week’s #MondayMartyr is Protestant Agnes Prest, who was burnt at the stake at Southernhay, just outside of Exeter’s city walls on 15th August 1557, in the reign of Queen Mary I. Agnes was outspoken in her views of the Catholic Church, viewing the Eucharist as “that foul idol” and the Church as the “Whore of Babylon”.

    [Read More...]
  • August 14 – Katherine of York, Countess of Devon

    The daughter of King Edward IV, Stained glass window of the northwest transept of Canterbury Cathedral,

    14th August 1479 is the traditional birthdate of Katherine of York, Countess of Devon.

    Katherine was the second youngest daughter of King Edward IV and his wife, Elizabeth Woodville, and so was the sister of the Princes in the Tower and Elizabeth of York, wife of King Henry VII. Katherine was also the wife of Sir William Courtenay, Earl of Devon.

    Here are some facts about Katherine of York…

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  • August 13 – Sir Humphrey Radcliffe

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th August 1566, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Humphrey Radcliffe died at his manor of Elstow. He was buried at Elstow Abbey.

    Radcliffe served as a Member of Parliament during the reigns of Mary I and Elizabeth I, and then as a Justice of the Peace and Sheriff in Elizabeth I’s reign.

    Here are some more facts about Sir Humphrey Radcliffe…

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  • August 12 – Sir Thomas Smith

    The title page of the 1609 edition of The Commonwealth of England by Sir Thomas Smith with a 19th century engraving of Smith

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th August 1577, humanist scholar and diplomat Sir Thomas Smith died at Hill Hall in Essex. He was buried in St Michael’s Church, Theydon Mount.

    Smith served Elizabeth I as Chancellor of the Order of the Garter and as Secretary of State, but is known for his political books “The Discourse of the Commonweal” and “De Republica Anglorum; the Manner of Government or Policie of the Realme of England”.

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  • August 11 – Sir John Kingsmill

    Kingsmill shield. Argent crusilly fitchy sable a cheveron ermine between three mill-rinds sable and a chief ermine.

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th August 1556, politician Sir John Kingsmill, a man who had been close to Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Wriothesley, died.

    He served as a sheriff in the reign of Henry VIII and as a commissioner for the dissolution of chantries in 1548 to Edward VI.

    Here are some more facts about Sir John Kingsmill:

    [Read More...]
  • August 10 – Sir Robert Sheffield

    Arms of Sir Robert Sheffield by Robin S Taylor

    Arms of Sir Robert Sheffield by Robin S TaylorOn this day in Tudor history, 10th August 1518, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Sir Robert Sheffield, lawyer and Speaker of the House of Commons, died.

    Sheffield had been imprisoned in the Tower of London after making an enemy of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, being accused of negligence as a Justice of the Peace and of harbouring a killer. It is not clear whether he was still in the Tower at his death, but he was buried in the nearby church of the Austin friars.

    Here are some facts about Sir Robert Sheffield:

    • Sheffield's birthdate is unknown but he was the son of lawyer and administrator Robert Sheffield of South Cave, Yorkshire, and his wife, Jane Lounde, of Lincolnshire.
    • Sheffield was educated at the Inner Temple, of which he became governor in 1511, and was Recorder of London from 1495 to 1508.

    [Read More...]

  • August 9 – Composer Nicholas Ludford

    A photo of St Margaret's, Westminster, by Reinhold Möller.

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th August 1557, composer Nicholas Ludford was buried in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster, in a vault with his first wife, Anne..

    Ludford is known for his festal masses, which can be found in the Caius and Lambeth choirbooks (1521-27) and the Peterhouse partbooks (1539-40).

    His biographer David Skinner described Ludford as “one of the last unsung geniuses of Tudor polyphony”.

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  • August 8 – The marriage of Margaret Tudor and King James IV of Scotland

    Portrait of Margaret Tudor by Daniel Mytens with a portrait of James IV also by Daniel Mytens

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th August 1503, King Henry VII’s eldest daughter, Princess Margaret Tudor, married King James IV of Scotland at Holyrood Abbey.

    Margaret was just thirteen years old and James was thirty, and their marriage had been arranged by the 1502 Treaty of Perpetual Peace between England and Scotland.

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  • Monday Martyr – Protestant John Denley

    Woodcut of the martyrdom of Master John Denley

    This week’s #MondayMartyr is John Denley, who was burnt at the stake in Uxbridge for his Protestant faith on 8th August 1555, in the reign of Queen Mary I.

    Protestant poet Thomas Brice recorded Denley’s execution in his 1559 work “A Compendious Regester”*, writing:

    “When Denly died at Uxbridge towne,
    With constant care to Christe’s cause;”

    Martyrologist John Foxe states that Denley was from Maidstone in Kent and that when he was travelling in Essex with his friend, John Newman, in June 1555 to visit “their godly friends” in the county, both men were apprehended by Edmund Tyrrel, a justice of the peace, who searched them and found “the confessions of their faith in writing about them”.

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  • August 7 – Sir Robert Dudley, son of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and Lady Douglas Sheffield

    Sir Robert Dudley (1574–1649), English explorer and cartographer 1590s; engraving after a portrait by Nicholas Hilliard.

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th August 1574, mariner, cartographer and landowner, Sir Robert Dudley, was born at Sheen House, Richmond.

    Dudley was the illegitimate son of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, by his lover Lady Douglas Sheffield, daughter of William Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Effingham, and widow of John Sheffield, 2nd Baron Sheffield.

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  • August 6 – Anne Hathaway, wife of William Shakespeare

    On this day in history, 6th August 1623, Anne Hathaway, wife of William Shakespeare, died.

    Anne married Shakespeare in 1582 when she was pregnant with their first child. They had three children, Susanna, and twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet died young.

    Anne was buried next to Shakespeare at Holy Trinity Church.

    [Read More...]
  • August 5 – Sir Reynold (Reginald) Bray, Lady Margaret Beaufort’s receiver-general

    Coat of arms of Sir Reginald Bray, KG. Arms of Bray: Argent, a chevron between three eagle's legs erased sable

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th August 1503, in the reign of King Henry VII, administrator Sir Reynold or Reginald Bray died. He was about sixty-three years of age.

    Bray started his career in the household of Lady Margaret Beaufort, when she was married to Sir Henry Stafford, and was still serving her 20 years later when her son became king.

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  • August 4 – William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th August 1598, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, died in London aged seventy-six. He had been Elizabeth I’s chief advisor.

    Here are a few facts about Burghley:

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  • August 3 – Lord Russell prepares to fight the rebels of the Prayer Book Rebellion

    Drawing of John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, by Hans Holbein the Younger

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd August 1549, in the reign of King Edward VI, Lord Russell marched his 1000 men from Honiton to Woodbury and set up camp for the night.

    Russell was heading towards Clyst St Mary and the rebels of the Prayer Book Rebellion.

    In 1549, the Book of Common Prayer was introduced. It was in English and it replaced the Catholic Mass. This change wasn’t embraced by all and there was trouble in Devon and Cornwall. The rebels called for the rebuilding of abbeys, the restoration of the Six Articles, the restoration of prayers for souls in purgatory, the policy of only the bread being given to the laity, and the use of Latin for the mass.
    The rebels were defeated by the crown in a series of battles.

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  • August 2 – Thornbury Castle

    A photo of Thornbury Castle and a portrait of its owner and builder, Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd August 1514, Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, was granted a licence to found a college at Thornbury in Gloucestershire.

    There had been a manor there since the 10th century, but it was Buckingham who built Thornbury Castle. He obtained a licence to crenelate his manor in 1510 and building work began in 1511. Thornbury was built to the medieval quadrangular layout, with a large outer courtyard. The entrance front with its central gatehouse and octagonal corner towers is still standing, as are two of the side ranges. The surrounding curtain wall is intact on three sides.

    Buckingham never saw it completed. He was executed in 1521. The manor was seized by Henry VIII, who stayed there with Anne Boleyn in 1535.

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  • August 1 – John Ashley (Astley)

    Photo of the portrait of John Ashley, NPG

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st August 1596, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, courtier John Ashley (Astley) died, probably at Maidstone in Kent. He was buried there at All Saints’ Church.

    Here are some facts about Ashley

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  • Monday Martyr – Thomas Abell (Abel)

    A carving of a bell with the letter A at the Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London, by Thomas Abell

    As yesterday was the anniversary of the martyrdom of Catholic Thomas Abell, on 30th July 1540, I thought he could be this week’s #MondayMartyr.

    Here are some facts about this Henrician martyr:

    – Thomas Abell’s birthdate is unknown but he’d been ordained as a Catholic priest by 1513.
    – He studied at the University of Oxford, attaining a BA in 1514 and an MA in 1518.
    – In 1522, Abell became rector at Great Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire…

    [Read More...]
  • July 31 – The brutal death of Edmund Sheffield, 1st Baron Sheffield

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st July 1549, in the reign of King Edward VI, Edmund Sheffield, 1st Baron Sheffield, was killed in Norwich.

    Twenty-eight-year-old was serving in the royal force led by William Par, Marquess of Northampton, during Kett’s Rebellion in East Anglia.

    They were trying to take Norwich back from the rebels, but suffered a brutal attack in the streets for the city. Apparently, Sheffield stumbled into a ditch and then was killed by a blow from a butcher named Fulke.

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  • July 30 – Writer and diarist Robert Parry

    A silhouette of a man's side profile

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th July 1563, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, writer and diarist Robert Parry was born at Tywysog in Denbighshire, North Wales.

    Parry’s diary is a wonderful source for national events, as well as local events and family information. It is leather-bound and is decorated with gold letters R and P with a lion rampant. It opens with an entry about Parry’s birth and finishes in 1612.

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  • July 29 – Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby and husband of Lady Margaret Beaufort

    Coat of Arms of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th July 1504, in the reign of his stepson King Henry VII, Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, died at his manor of Lathom in Lancashire.

    Here are a few facts about Stanley…

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  • July 28 – The execution of Walter Hungerford, Baron Hungerford of Heytesbury

    A silhouette of a man's side profile

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th July 1540, after the execution of Thomas Cromwell, Walter Hungerford, Baron Hungerford of Heytesbury and a client of Cromwell, was beheaded on Tower Hill.

    He was the only man in the Tudor period to be executed for “treason of buggery”.

    [Read More...]
  • July 27 – A royal tutor and secretary of state is sent to the Tower

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th (or 28th) July 1553, King Edward VI’s former tutor and principal secretary, thirty-nine-year-old Sir John Cheke, was sent to the Tower of London.

    Edward VI had died on 6th July 1553 and his council followed his wishes, proclaiming Lady Jane Grey as Queen Jane…

    [Read More...]
  • July 26 – George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury

    Effigy of George Talbot on the Talbot monument in the Shrewsbury Chapel, Sheffield Cathedral. His first wife Anne is on his right side and his second, Elizabeth, on his left.

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th July 1538, in the reign of King Henry VIII, George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury and 4th Earl of Waterford, died at South Wingfield Manor, Derbyshire. He was buried at St Peter’s Church, Sheffield.

    Here are a few facts about him…

    [Read More...]
  • ADVANCE NOTICE: Wolf Hall Tudor Weekend Conference to celebrate Hilary Mantel’s Trilogy

    The Wolf Hall Weekend

    Fans of all things Tudor will be thrilled to know that a weekend conference dedicated to the late Dame Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall Trilogy will be held next summer

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  • July 25 – Child actor Salomon Pavy

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th July 1602, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, thirteen-year-old actor Salomon Pavy was buried at the Church of St Mary Somerset, near Blackfriars Theatre.

    It is thought that Salomon was abducted to serve as an actor in the Children of Paul’s, for in 1601 when four men were accused of abducting another boy to serve as an actor, the name “Salmon Pavey, apprentice” was mentioned as a past abductee.

    Salomon later joined the Children of the Queen’s Revels at the Blackfriars Theatre and had parts in plays by Ben Jonson.

    [Read More...]
  • Monday Martyr – Durham martyr John Boste

    An illustration of John Boste from "The Life and Times of Saint John Boste: Catholic Martyr of Durham 1544 - 1594" by Simon Webb

    Today is the anniversary of the execution of Durham martyr John Boste in 1594, so I thought I’d share more details on Boste’s life and how he came to be martyred in Elizabeth I’s reign.

    [Read More...]
  • July 24 – Catholic martyr John Boste

    Durham Cathedral with an illustration of John Boste from "The Life and Times of Saint John Boste: Catholic Martyr of Durham 1544 - 1594" by Simon Webb

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th July 1594, in the reign of Elizabeth I, Roman Catholic priest John Boste was hanged, drawn and quartered in Durham.

    Boste had originally taken Church of England orders, but was converted to Catholicism in 1576. He travelled to the Low Countries in 1580 and travelled on to the English College at Rheims. He was ordained in March 1581

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  • July 23 – Protestant printer John Day

    A woodcut of John Day (dated 1562) included in the 1563 and subsequent editions of Actes and Monuments

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd July 1584, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Protestant printer, bookseller and publisher John Day died at Walden in Essex.

    Suffolk-born Day was in London by 1540 working for printer and physician Thomas Raynalde. In 1546, he was awarded the freedom of the city of London and began printing in partnership with William Seres.

    [Read More...]