The Tudor Society
  • 8 July – Thomas Boleyn’s important duty

    On this day in Tudor history, on 8th July 1503, during the reign of King Henry VII, Thomas Boleyn, father of Anne Boleyn, left Collyweston in Northamptonshire to undertake an important job for the king.

    He was to be part of a retinue escorting King Henry VII’s eldest daughter, Margaret Tudor, to Scotland, for her marriage to King James IV.

    Find out more about the retinue and journey in today’s talk.

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  • 7 July – William Turner, Father of English botany

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th July 1568, naturalist, herbalist, ornithologist, reformer and physician, William Turner, died. Turner is known as “the father of English botany and of ornithology”, but why and who exactly was he?

    In today’s talk, I give an overview of Turner’s life and career, including his attacks on Bishop Gardiner and his time in exile, plus a bit of trivia about the training of his little dog.

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  • 6 July – The execution of Sir Thomas More

    On this day in Tudor history, Tuesday 6th July 1535, Henry VIII’s former friend and Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas More, was beheaded on Tower Hill as a traitor.

    In today’s talk, I share accounts of his execution, including one that gives real insight into More’s personality, with his black humour on the scaffold.

    I also give details on the fate of Sir Thomas More’s head and what his daughter, Margaret Roper, did with it.

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  • 5 July – Sir Thomas More’s last letter

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th July 1535, Henry VIII’s former Lord Chancellor and good friend, Sir Thomas More, wrote his final letter.

    More’s last letter was addressed to his beloved daughter Margaret (Meg) Roper and it was written in coal. It is a touching letter and includes instructions and messages for other members of the family.

    In today’s talk, I share Sir Thomas More’s letter and give details on the people mentioned, along with explaining the meaning of the algorism stone.

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  • July martyrs, saints and feast days crossword puzzle

    July is a busy month for Tudor feast days and martyrdoms, but how much can you remember about them?

    Test yourself with this fun crossword puzzle. Simply click on the link or image below to open and print out…

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  • 4 July – Gregory Cromwell – who was he?

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th July 1551, Gregory Cromwell, 1st Baron Cromwell, died of sweating sickness at Launde Abbey in Leicestershire. He was laid to rest at the abbey’s chapel on 7th July.

    Gregory Cromwell was the son of the more famous Thomas Cromwell, but what do we know about him and what happened to him after his father’s fall in 1540?

    Find out about the life and career of Gregory Cromwell in today’s talk.

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  • 3 July – Pretender Perkin Warbeck lands

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd July 1495, the pretender Perkin Warbeck landed at Deal in Kent with men and ships. In the ensuing battle, the Battle of Deal, with Kentish men who supported King Henry VII, around 150 of Warbeck’s men were killed and over 160 captured. Warbeck managed to escape, fleeing to Ireland.

    Who was Warbeck claiming to be? Whose support did her have? And what happened next?

    Find out more about claimant Perkin Warbeck in today’s talk.

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  • Medieval and Tudor Pest Control

    I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but I’m being harassed by various pests (not Tim, I should add!) at the moment. Just last weekend, I was bitten by some very pesky critters, and it inspired me to research medieval and Tudor pest control.

    In this week’s Claire Chats talk, I delve into how medieval and Tudor people dealt with fleas, flies, mosquitoes, moths, rats, mice and more…

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  • 2 July – Thomas Boleyn’s loss is Thomas Cromwell’s gain

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd July 1536, Thomas Cromwell, the king’s right-hand man, was formally appointed Lord Privy Seal. The previous holder of the office had been Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, who’d been stripped of the office following the falls of his children, Queen Anne Boleyn and George Boleyn, Lord Rochford.

    But what is a privy seal and what does the Lord of the Privy Seal do?

    Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • Live Chat transcript – Sarah-Beth Watkins on Sir Francis Bryan

    Thank you to all those who joined in with last week’s expert Q&A session with Sarah-Beth Watkins on Sir Francis Bryan, who has gone down in history as the Vicar of Hell and a rather colourful character.

    If you missed it, you can catch up with it with this transcript:

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  • 1 July – Sir Thomas More is found guilty

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st July 1535, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII’s former Lord Chancellor, was tried for high treason by a special commission of oyer and terminer. The commission found him guilty and he was executed on 6th July 1535.

    But how did More, a faithful and loyal servant of the king, end up in this mess? Who was on the commission and what exactly happened?

    Find out all about the fall of Sir Thomas More in today’s talk.

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  • Arbella Stuart – Gayle Hulme – Expert Talk

    This month we have Gayle Huylme taking us through the life of Arbella Stuart, from childhood to her very sad death in the Tower of London. You’ll really enjoy this detailed talk…

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  • July 2020 – Tudor Life – The Cromwells

    We have a real treat for you this month – an issue dedicated to the Cromwells! And it’s a great one with 82 pages packed full of Tudor goodness.

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  • Tudor Life July 2020 Taster

    Here’s your July taster of our magazine! We have a real treat for you this month – an issue dedicated to the Cromwells! And it’s a great one as the full members’ edition has 82 pages packed full of Tudor goodness.

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  • 30 June – A mortal head wound for a jousting King of France

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th June 1559, keen sportsman, King Henry II of France, suffered a mortal head wound while jousting. He died on 10th July and was succeeded by his son, Francis II.

    Jousting was a dangerous sport and Henry was fatally injured when splinters from his opponent’s lance entered his right eye. Awful!

    Find out more about Henry II’s accident and death, and also his reign, in today’s talk.

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  • 29 June – Henry Percy, sweetheart of Anne Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th June 1537, just over a year after the execution of his former sweetheart, Anne Boleyn, Henry Algernon Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland, died at around the age of thirty-five.

    He’d been ill for some time and had actually collapsed after he sat in judgement on Anne Boleyn and her brother, George, in May 1536. But who was Henry Percy and what happened between him and Anne?

    Find out more about him in today’s talk.

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  • 28 June – A Catholic earl and poisoned roasted teal

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th June 1557, Philip Howard, 13th Earl of Arundel, was born at Arundel House, the Strand, London.

    Philip ended up being condemned to death for treason and dying of alleged poisoning in 1589, when he was just 32, so let me tell you a bit more about him and what led him to that very sticky end.

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  • Tudor nicknames wordsearch

    The Tudors were just as keen on giving people nicknames as we are today, particularly Elizabeth I, but how much do you know about the nicknames of prominent Tudors?

    Test your knowledge with this fun little wordsearch. Be warned: the words can go in any direction!

    Good luck!

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  • 27 June – Two Cornishmen gain fame permanent and immortal

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th June 1497, in the reign of King Henry VII, lawyer and member of Parliament Thomas Flamank and blacksmith Michael Joseph (known as Michael an Gof), two of the chief commanders of the Cornish rebels, were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in London.

    What had led them to this awful end? What was the Cornish Rebellion about and why do they have “fame permanent and immortal”? Find out more about them and their ends in today’s talk.

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  • 26 June – Farther than Wingfield, no man dares to go

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th June 1596, soldier Sir John Wingfield was buried in the cathedral at Cadiz in southern Spain. Wingfield had been shot in the head in the attack on Cadiz on 21st June.

    John Stow recorded that at his funeral “the generalls threw their handkerchiefs wet from their eyes into the grave” and poet John Donne wrote “Farther than Wingfield, no man dares to go”, but who was this courageous soldier?

    Find out more about him and how he died in today’s talk.

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  • Medieval and Tudor Fires

    A recent forest fire here in Spain got me thinking about fires in medieval and Tudor times – how essential fires were, how they were lit, how they were controlled and prevented from getting out of hand, and what happened when homes and buildings did catch fire. We’ve all heard about the Great Fire of London in 1666, but what about the 1212 Great Fire or the 1583 Great Fire of Nantwich?

    Find out all about medieval and Tudor fires in this week’s Claire Chats talk:

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  • 25 June – Prince Henry (Henry VIII) gets betrothed

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th June 1503, the nearly twelve-year-old Henry, Prince of Wales, eldest surviving son of King Henry VII, got betrothed to seventeen-year-old Catherine of Aragon at the Bishop of Salisbury’s palace in Fleet Street, London.

    But why did it take them until 1509 to get married? What happened?

    Find out about their betrothal and their subsequent break-up in today’s talk.

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  • John Blanke

    John Blanke was a royal trumpeter and was employed as a musician at the court of Henry VII and Henry VIII, his first appearance at court being recorded in 1507. It is believed that John Blanke was of African descent; however, sadly, his age, date of birth, parentage, and place of birth all remain unknown to us.

    It appears that John Blanke was part of a larger trend in Europe at the time in which rulers tended to employ African musicians. It is believed that this happened from as early as 1194 when it is documented that turbaned black trumpeters were involved in the procession of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, into Palermo in Sicily. Scholars have suggested that Blanke arrived in England alongside Katherine of Aragon as part of her retinue when she came to marry Prince Arthur in 1501. Although we have evidence for an African presence in her retinue, there is no record of John Blanke being a member, so this is speculative. Also, given the fact that the Tudor court employed musicians from all over Europe, Blanke could have come from Spain, Portugal, or Italy, as these countries had an increasingly large African population.

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  • 24 June – Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Elizabeth I’s favourite

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th June 1532, the feast of St John the Baptist, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and favourite of Elizabeth I, was born.

    Elizabeth I called Leicester her “eyes” and “sweet Robin” and there was gossip over their relationship, but there was far more to Robert Dudley than his closeness to the queen. Find out all about his life and career in today’s talk:

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  • 23 June – Levina Teerlinc and her miniatures

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd June 1576, painter and miniaturist, Levina Teerlinc, died at Stepney in London.

    Teerlinc was court painter to Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, and was a prolific artist. Find out more about Levina Teerlinc and her work in today’s talk.

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  • 22 June – Thomas Boleyn becomes a Knight of the Bath

    On this day in Tudor history, the night of 22nd June 1509, King Henry VIII rewarded twenty-six men for their loyal service to the crown by making them Knights of the Bath as part of the celebrations for his coronation.

    One of the men honoured for his service to the crown was Thomas Boleyn, father of the future queen, Anne Boleyn. But what had he done to deserve this honour? Find out more about Thomas Boleyn’s rise at the court of Henry VII, and how he was a royal favourite long before his daughters became involved with the king, in today’s talk.

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  • 21 June – Lady Jane Grey is Edward’s heir

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st June 1553, letters patent were issued stating that the dying King Edward VI’s heir was Lady Jane Grey, eldest daughter of the king’s cousin, Frances Grey (née Brandon), Duchess of Suffolk.

    Why was Lady Jane Grey his heir when Edward had two half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, and who else was listed in his “devise for the succession”. Find out more about Edward VI’s plan for the succession in today’s talk

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  • Tudor Fathers True or False Quiz

    Today is Father’s Day in several countries so I thought I’d made Tudor fathers the theme of our Sunday quiz this week.

    It’s a true or false quiz, so at least you have a 50% chance of getting each question right! Good luck!

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  • 20 June – Anne of Cleves is cross about Catherine Howard

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th June 1540, Henry VIII’s fourth wife, Queen Anne of Cleves, complained to her advisor about her husband’s interest in one of her maids of honour, a certain Catherine Howard. What was going on and what happened next?

    Find out more about the final weeks of Henry VIII’s and Anne of Cleves’ marriage in today’s talk.

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  • 19 June – A bad end for a priest threatening William Cecil with hell

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th June 1573, Jesuit priest and former rector of a Lincolnshire parish, Thomas Woodhouse, was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.

    Blessed Thomas Woodhouse was the first priest to be executed in Elizabeth I’s reign, and he was beatified in December 1886 by Pope Leo XIII.

    When you hear what he said to William Cecil, Lord Burghley, you can understand just why he was seen as a traitor by Burghley and Elizabeth I’s government. Not wise words in those times, but he stuck to his faith and principles.

    Find out more in today’s video.

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