The Tudor Society
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 5 April

    A still from The Tudors series of Richard Roose about to be boiled to death

    On this day in Tudor history, Bishop Fisher’s cook was boiled to death as a poisoner; Convocation ruled on the case of Henry VIII’s annulment; and the new King of England left Edinburgh to travel to London, he was now King of England, Ireland and Scotland…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 4th April

    Portraits of Francis Drake and Mildred Cecil

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th April, writer William Strachey, whose account of a shipwreck inspired Shakespeare, was born; Francis Drakes was knighted by Elizabeth I; and noblewoman and scholar Mildred Cecil, Lady Burghley, died…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 3 April

    Miniature of Margaret Douglas by Nicholas Hilliard

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd April, Elizabeth Boleyn, Countess of Wiltshire and Ormond and Anne Boleyn’s mother, died; the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis was signed; and Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox and daughter of Margaret Tudor, was buried…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 2 April

    Portraits of Arthur Tudor and Edward VI

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd April, Henry VII’s eldest son, Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, died at Ludlow Castle; Anne Boleyn’s almoner, John Skip, preached a controversial sermon; and fourteen-year-old Edward VI fell ill with measles and smallpox…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 1 April

    Portrait of Jane Seymour by Holbein

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st April, Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, reported that Henry VIII had sent Jane Seymour a purse of money; physician William Harvey, who discovered the circulation of blood, was born; and author and soldier Thomas Churchyard died…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 31 March

    Portraits of John Donne and Henry VII

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st March, the dying Henry VII made his will; Friar William Peto compared Henry VIII to Ahab and Anne Boleyn to Jezebel; and metaphysical poet and satirist John Donne died…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 30 March

    Portraits of Mary I and Thomas Cranmer

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th March, Thomas Cranmer was consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury; Robert Ferrar, Bishop of St David’s, was burnt to death; Mary I made her will, believing she was pregnant; and administrator Sir Ralph Sadler died…

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  • The Everyday Tudor Woman online event – discounted until 7 April

    Everyday Tudor Woman event logo

    Join me for “The Everyday Tudor Woman” event from April 25th to April 30th! Dive into the fascinating world of Tudor history as we explore the lives of everyday women from the 16th century.

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  • Good Friday in Tudor times

    Today, it’s Good Friday – in the Western Calendar anyway – so I wanted to share with you how this feast day was marked in medieval and Tudor times.

    Here’s a talk I did a few years ago about the medieval and Tudor traditions associated with Good Friday.

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 29 March

    The burning of John Laurence

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th March, Mary Dudley, who would later make a great sacrifice in nursing Elizabeth I through smallpox, married Henry Sidney; Protestant John Laurence was burnt at the stake in Colchester; and playwright and clergyman William Wager was buried…

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  • An Unconventional Elizabethan New Year’s Gift: Mary Radcliffe’s Journey to the Queen’s Favour

    Thumbnail for my video on Mary Radcliffe showing a photo of me

    In 1561, Elizabeth I received a rather unusual New Year’s gift. It wasn’t the normal gilt plate, it wasn’t even jewellery or a piece of clothing, it was a girl…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 28 March

    A self-portrait of Raphael and a photo of a memorial to John Skip in Hereford Cathedral

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th March, the Renaissance artist Raphael was born; Anne Boleyn’s former chaplain and almoner John Skip, Bishop of Hereford, died; and five Protestants were burnt at the stake for heresy…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 27 March

    Portraits of Arthur Tudor and Catherine of Aragon

    On this day in Tudor history, a treaty arranged the marriage of Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, and Catherine of Aragon; a young apprentice was burnt to death for reading the Bible; and George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, was buried…

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  • Lesley Smith portrays Anne Boleyn – 30th May, Leek, UK

    A photo of Lesley Smith as Anne Boleyn

    I’ve been lucky enough to see historian and actress play Mary, Queen of Scots, at Tutbury Castle, where Lesley is custodian, so I’m very disappointed that I can’t make this event. I know she’ll do a terrific job portraying Anne Boleyn in her last 45 minutes on earth.

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 26 March

    A portrait of John Dee

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th March, the Vestments Controversy of Elizabeth I’s reign was started; Sir Robert Carey arrived at Holyrood to inform King James VI of Scotland that he was now King of England; and John Dee, astrologer, mathematician, alchemist, antiquary, spy, philosopher, geographer and adviser to Elizabeth I, died..

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 25 March

    An engraving of St Margaret Clitherow and a painting of the Annunciation

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th March, Lady Day was celebrated and the calendar new year began, and Catholic martyr Margaret Clitherow, the Pearl of York, was pressed to death for harbouring Catholic priests…

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  • Holy Week and Easter

    A Palm Sunday procession

    Yesterday, Palm Sunday, was the start of Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter Sunday, or Resurrection Sunday, which, of course, commemorates the resurrection of Christ.

    It was an important time in Tudor England, as it still is in many countries and communities today. You can find out more about how Easter was celebrated in Tudor times

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 24 March

    A portrait of Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th March, judge and Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir James Dyer, died; Queen Elizabeth I died at Richmond Palace; and Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick, died…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 23 March

    Portraits of Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon and a young Mary I

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd March, while the pope proclaimed Catherine of Aragon to be England’s true queen and Mary the heir to the throne, Parliament declared Anne Boleyn to be the rightful queen and her daughter, Elizabeth, the heir; Waltham Abbey was dissolved; and soldier, MP and diplomat Sir Henry Unton died…

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  • Mary Howard’s Lucky Escape: A Tudor Tale of Fortunate Refusal

    Thumbnail for my video showing a photo of me with portraits of Thomas Seymour and Mary Howard

    Following the death of her husband, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, Mary Howard’s father, Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, put forward the idea that his daughter should marry the up and coming Thomas Seymour, but Mary wasn’t keen. In hindsight she had a rather lucky escape.

    Let me tell you more…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 22 March

    A sketch of Katherine Willoughby by Holbein

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd March, patroness of Reform Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk, was born; Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, replaced the out of favour Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, as lieutenant general in Calais; and gunner and mathematician William Bourne was buried…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 21 March

    An engraving of the burning of Archbishop Cranmer and a portrait of him

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st March, Puritan Sir John Leveson, a man who helped put down Essex’s Rebellion, was born; Archbishop Cranmer was burnt at the stake in Oxford for heresy; and a dying Elizabeth I took to her bed…

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  • Two not-to-be-missed talks in April by J Stephan Edwards in London

    Many followers of the Tudor Society will have read articles by J Stephan Edwards as he regularly contributed to the Tudor Life Magazine. We are happy to announce that Stephan will be talking at two prestigious lectures at the Society of Antiquaries of London on Thursday, 4th April. Both are free and open to the public, but you must register if you want to attend:

    Searching for a Portrait of Jane Grey Dudley, England’s ‘Nine-Days Queen’ of 1553
    Thursday, 4th April
    Society of Antiquaries of London

    This extensively illustrated lecture examines some of the better-known ersatz images and uncovers the likely or actual identity of many of the sitters depicted. Particular attention will be devoted to an image formerly in the collections of the American financier John Pierpont Morgan and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art with identification until the 1950s as a portrait of Jane Grey by François Clouet. That image, known as the Berry Hill Portrait owing to having last been held by Berry Hill Galleries of New York, vanished into an unknown private collection in 1961. But the portrait briefly re-emerged at auction in November 2021 with an initial identification as Mary, Queen of Scots. The evidence is regrettably inconclusive for definitively identifying the sitter, however. The candidates are limited to just two royal women, however. The most likely identification, in my opinion, is Jane’s younger sister Katherine Grey as she appeared circa 1558-1561, during which time she was heir-presumptive to Queen Elizabeth I. But it is also quite possible that the portrait is the first ad vivum portrait of Elizabeth herself following her accession and can be dated very narrowly to late 1558 or very early 1559. In the absence of definitive evidence, I will argue that the portrait should properly be labeled, pending discovery of definitive evidence to resolve the difference, as “Unknown lady circa 1558-1562, likely either Katherine Grey or Elizabeth Tudor.

    Queen Jane’s Proclamation of Accession of 1553 and Gendering of the English Monarchy
    Thursday, 4th April
    Society of Antiquaries of London

    Register Here -
    This lecture will analyze the text of the Proclamation of Accession of Queen Jane (Grey Dudley) through the lens of gender and relative to specific gender role expectations prevalent in England during the Tudor period. The document is effectively unique among English and British proclamations of accession in that it presents an argument for altering the line of succession in contravention of feudal custom related to the royal succession and of the Third Act for the Succession of 1543/4. The lecture will argue that the proclamation is a heavily gendered document that attempts, albeit cryptically, to persuade the populace of a necessity to preserve the English monarchy as gendered exclusively male.

  • #OTD in Tudor history – 20 March

    A portrait of Thomas Seymour

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th March, Catholic priest and martyr Cuthbert Mayne was baptised; Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley and Edward VI’s uncle, was executed for treason; and Mary Bassett, translator and granddaughter of Sir Thomas More, died…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 19 March

    Portrait of a woman thought to be Elizabeth Seymour, Lady Cromwell, by Holbein

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th March, Arthur Brooke, who wrote the first version of the story of Romeo and Juliet in English, died in a shipwreck; Elizabeth Seymour, Lady Cromwell, died; and Henry VIII’s barber, Edmund harman, died…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 18 March

    Portraits of Mary Tudor and a young Elizabeth I, and a photo of the Tower of London

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th March, Mary Tudor, Queen of France, was born; Lady Elizabeth (Elizabeth I) was arrested and taken to the Tower of London; and Sir Christopher Blount was executed for his part in the rebellion of his son-in-law, the Earl of Essex…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 17 March

    A portrait of a young Elizabeth I.

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th March, the Lady Elizabeth (Elizabeth I) delayed her arrest by writing her famous Tide Letter to her half-sister Mary I; theologian Alexander Alesius died in Edinburgh; and soldier and courtier William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, died at Hampton Court Palace…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 16 March

    A portrait of John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th March, soldier, translator and diplomat John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners, died; priests Robert Dalby and John Amias were executed at York as traitors; and actor Richard Burbage was buried…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 15 March

    Portraits of William Warham and Henry VIII

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th March, Archbishop William Warham criticised Henry VIII in Parliament and was rewarded with foul language from the king; the Lady Mary (Mary I) publicly defied her half-brother Edward VI; and the imprisoned John Hooper was deprived of his bishopric…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 14 March

    A preparatory sketch of Sir John Russell by Holbein

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th March, judge Sir John Port, who is known for mumbling in a case, which had serious repercussions, died; Bishop Arthur Bulkeley, former chaplain to Charles Brandon and Thomas Cromwell, died; and Sir John Russell, Lord Privy Seal, died…

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