The Tudor Society
  • Tudor Margarets Quiz

    This week’s Sunday fun is a quiz testing your knowledge of some Tudor Margarets.

    Good luck!

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  • October 9 – Miguel de Cervates, author of Don Quixote

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th October 1547, Miguel de Cervantes was baptised in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. His actual birthdate is unknown.

    Cervantes is, of course, the author of the famous classic “Don Quixote”, a book known as “the first modern novel”.

    Obviously, this event didn’t happen in Tudor England, but it did happen in the Tudor period, and Cervantes is known the world over.

    Let me share with you some Cervantes facts, which include him being held to ransom by pirates!

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  • October 8 – The birth of Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of Margaret Tudor

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th October 1515, Margaret Tudor, Queen Dowager of Scotland and sister of King Henry VIII, gave birth at Harbottle Castle in Northumberland.

    The baby was a little girl, Margaret, and her father was Margaret Tudor’s second husband, Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. Little Margaret was born while her mother was travelling to Henry VIII’s court in London after fleeing Scotland.

    Lady Margaret Douglas is a fascinating Tudor lady…

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  • October 7 – George Gascoigne, a man who helped Robert Dudley with a marriage proposal

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th October 1577, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, George Gascoigne died in Stamford, Lincolnshire.

    As well as being an author and soldier, Gascoigne was a gifted poet. He was hired by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in 1575 to provide entertainment for the queen’s visit to Leicester’s home, Kenilworth Castle. Leicester was going to make one final attempt to persuade the queen to marry him, and he hoped Gascoigne could help him.

    Find out all about Gascoigne’s masque, Zabeta, and what happened at Kenilworth…

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  • October 6 – Reformer and Bible translator William Tyndale is executed

    This day in Tudor history, 6th October 1536, is the traditional date given for the execution of reformer, scholar and Bible translator William Tyndale.

    One of Tyndale’s works had helped King Henry VIII while another incurred the king’s wrath and led to Tyndale’s execution.

    Why? What happened?

    Let me tell you…

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  • October 5 – Edward Seymour’s actions lead to his undoing

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th October 1549, in the reign of King Edward VI, Lord Protector Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, ordered a gathering of men at Hampton Court Palace.

    Somerset was lodged at the palace with the young King Edward VI due to tensions mounting between the Lord Protector and John Dudley, Earl of Warwick.

    But what was going on and what happened when 4,000 peasants turned up?

    How did the Earl of Warwick react and what did the king have to say about it all?

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  • October 4 – Sir Francis Bigod, a Tudor rebel

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th October 1507, Tudor rebel Sir Francis Bigod, was born at Seaton, in Hinderwell, Yorkshire.

    Bigod is known for an uprising he led in Yorkshire in January 1537 after the Pilgrimage of Grace Rebellion had been brought to an end.

    Bigod was an evangelical reformer rather than a Catholic, so why would he be involved with the Pilgrimage of Grace? Why did he rebel and what happened to him…

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  • October 3 – Cardinal Wolsey celebrates a treaty

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd October 1518, King Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, sang a mass to the king and the French ambassadors at St Paul’s Cathedral.

    Wolsey was celebrating a treaty that had been made between England and France.

    The celebrations also included a banquet and a lavish masque of lords and ladies dressed beautifully and disguised with masking hoods. Among those disguised were some well-known courtiers, people like Sir Francis Bryan and Bessie Blount, Henry VIII’s mistress.

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  • October 2 – Henry VIII’s sister, Mary Tudor, sets sail for France

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd October 1514, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Princess Mary Tudor set sail for France.

    The eighteen-year-old sister of Henry VIII was saining from Dover to France in order to marry fifty-two-year-old King Louis XII of France.

    Find out about the arrangements for the journey, who was at Dover, how the bad weather affected Mary’s crossing to Boulogne, and what happened next…

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  • October 1 – A bishop and royal tutor

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st October 1500, in the reign of King Henry VII, John Alcock, Bishop of Ely, died at Wisbech Castle.

    As well as being a clergyman, John Alcock had been a scholar and he’d served as a royal tutor and administrator.

    Alcock had been a tutor to Prince Edward, the son of King Edward IV and the future King Edward V, who, of course, has gone down in history as one of the Princes in the Tower. Alcock also christened another prince.

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  • Henry VIII as a military leader: Myth, reality and legacy by Gareth Russell

    As today is the anniversary of Henry VIII’s return from France on 30th September 1544 after the English victory at the Siege of Boulogne, I thought I’d share this expert talk from our archives.

    Historian and author Gareth Russell discusses the successes and failures of Henry VIII as a military leader…

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  • September 30 – A triumphant Henry VIII returns to England from France

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th September 1544, fifty-three-year-old King Henry VIII returned to England from France.

    The king was returning in victory following the French surrender of Boulogne to him and his troops.

    Hear a contemporary account of what happened during the siege of Boulogne and how and why the French surrendered to Henry VIII…

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  • September 29 – An intimate moment between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th September 1564, Michaelmas, Queen Elizabeth I’s favourite, Robert Dudley, was made Earl of Leicester and Baron Denbigh.

    Dudley was made earl in a ceremony in front of the Scottish ambassador, Sir James Melville, as the queen was granting him the earldom to make him a suitable potential bridegroom for Mary, Queen of Scots.

    There was a moment of intimacy during the proceedings – Elizabeth I tickled Robert Dudley’s neck!

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  • September 28 – Elizabeth I’s favourite sees the queen without her mask of youth

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th September 1599, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, Elizabeth I’s favourite, strode into the queen’s bedchamber unannounced. Elizabeth wasn’t ready to see people. She wasn’t made up and she wasn’t wearing her wig. She must have been furious with Essex.

    Why would Essex do such a thing?

    Find out why Robert Devereux needed to see his queen so urgently and how Elizabeth I reacted to his visit…

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  • September 27 – John de la Pole, first husband of Lady Margaret Beaufort

    On this day in history, 27th September 1442, in the reign of King Henry VI, John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk, was born.

    Why am I talking about a duke born in the Plantagenet period?

    Well, because he was the first husband of the Tudor matriarch, Lady Margaret Beaufort, and his son was involved in a rebellion against King Henry VII.

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  • September 26 – Sir Francis Drake returns with treasure and spices

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th September 1580, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, explorer Sir Francis Drake landed at the port of Plymouth.

    He was returning from his 3-year circumnavigation of the Globe and his ship, The Golden Hind, was laden with treasure and spices.

    Let me tell you about his circumnavigation of the Globe, what he brought back, and how the queen rewarded him for his efforts…

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  • Tudor Poisonings Crossword Puzzle

    As today is the anniversary of the death of Pope Clement VII in 1534, a death said by some to have been caused by poisoning, I thought I’d test your knowledge of Tudor poisonings with a fun crossword puzzle.

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  • September 25 – Stephen Borough, Tudor explorer

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th September 1525, in the reign of King Henry VIII, explorer, navigator and naval administrator Stephen Borough (Burrough) was born at Borough House, Northam Burrows, Northam, in Devon.

    Borough was an Arctic explorer who learnt his navigational skills from first his uncle and then Spanish pilots in Seville.

    Borough discovered Novaya Zemlya and the Viagatz Strait (Kara Strait), which was named the Burrough Strait until the late 1800s.

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  • September 24 – The executions of priest William Spenser and the man who harboured him

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th September 1589, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Roman Catholic priest, William Spenser, and layman Robert Hardesty were executed at York. Spenser was executed for being a priest, and Hardesty for sheltering him.

    In 1987, the two men were beatified as two of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England and Wales.

    Find out more about William Spenser and Robert Hardesty, and how they came to their awful ends…

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  • Heart burial in Tudor times

    I’ve received quite a few questions recently regarding the practice of heart burial in Tudor times, so I thought I’d share these talks on heart burial, and burial in general, from our archives…

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  • September 23 – Bishop John Jewel dies

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd September 1571, John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, died at Monkton Farleigh Manor. He was laid to rest in Salisbury Cathedral.

    Forty-nine-year-old Jewel had been taken ill while preaching a sermon in Lacock, Wiltshire.

    Jewel’s life and career spanned the reigns of King Henry VIII, Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I and Elizabeth I – a time of huge religious change. He was a clergyman, a Protestant exile, a theologian and bishop, and someone who spoke up for what he believed.

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  • September 22 – Amy Robsart, wife of Robert Dudley, is buried

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd September 1560, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Amy Dudley (née Robsart) was buried in the chancel of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford.

    Amy, who was married to Elizabeth I’s favourite, Robert Dudley, had been found dead at the foot of the stairs of the house she was renting. The coroner ruled her death as caused by “misfortune”.

    Amy was buried in a lavish ceremony at St Mary’s, a funeral which cost Robert Dudley over £2,000.

    Find out more about her burial, and who attended…

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  • September 21 – Henry Pendleton, a strong preacher but fickle man

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st September 1557, in the reign of Queen Mary I, theologian and chaplain Henry Pendleton was buried at St Stephen’s, Walbrook, London.

    Pendleton, who was a friend of Bishop Bonner, is known not only for his strong preaching, which led to him being shot at once, but also for his changing religious faith. Pendleton went from staunch Catholic to zealous Protestant back to staunch Catholic. He even took part in disputations with his former friends and saw them imprisoned and burnt.

    Find out more about Henry Pendleton, his life, career and changing religious beliefs…

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  • September 20 – The end of conspirator Anthony Babington

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th September 1586, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, conspirators Anthony Babington, John Ballard, John Savage, Chidiock Tichborne, and three others, were executed near St Giles-in-the-Fields in London.

    They were hanged, drawn and quartered after being found guilty of treason for the Babington Plot, which sought to assassinate Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots.

    Find out more about Anthony Babington, the Babington Plot, the men involved, how it was discovered, and how it led to Mary, Queen of Scots’ execution…

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  • Tudor royal funerals

    People all over the world have tuned in to watch the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II today, a queen who reigned for over 70 years and who was descended from Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland, and, therefore, King Henry VII, as well as having Boleyn blood.

    The funeral procession and ceremony were full of tradition and ritual, and our Tudor ancestors would recognise much of it, so I thought I’d share with you some information on Tudor royal funerals.

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  • September 19 – Thomas Cavendish, a Tudor explorer

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th September 1560, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Thomas Cavendish was baptised at St Martin’s Church, Trimley St Martin in Suffolk.

    Explorer, navigator and privateer Thomas Cavendish is known for his imitation of Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the globe, which he undertook in 1586. He is also known for being the first Englishman to explore the island of St Helena, in the mid-Atlantic. Unfortunately, Cavendish also had a reputation as a spendthrift, and his final voyage was a failure.

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  • September 18 – The would-be king consort Edward Courtenay

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th September 1556, in the reign of Queen Mary I, Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, died at Padua in Italy.

    Courtenay, who died from a fever, had been sent to the Continent after being implicated in Wyatt’s Rebellion. The 1554 rebellion sought to replace Queen Mary I with her half-sister, Elizabeth, who would marry Courtenay.

    Let me tell you more about Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, and how he was a prospective bridegroom for both of Henry VIII’s daughters…

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  • Royal Burials Quiz

    As it’s the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday 19th September, I thought that I’d test you on the burials of Tudor royals.

    Let’s get those little grey cells working!

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  • September 17 – The Earl of Rutland dies of plague

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th September 1563, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Manners, 2nd Earl of Rutland, died.

    The courtier and soldier died during an outbreak of the plague, which was rife in London that year and killed about 24% of London’s citizens.

    Manners had served King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I, so had a long and interesting career, which also saw him imprisoned at one point.

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  • September 16 – A third dose of sweating sickness kills John Colet

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th September 1519, in the reign of King Henry VIII, scholar, humanist, theologian, Dean of St Paul’s and founder of St Paul’s School John Colet died.

    Colet had suffered three attacks of sweating sickness between 1517 and 1519, and it was the third one that killed him.

    Humanists such as Erasmus were influenced by Colet’s work.

    Let me give you an overview of the life of John Colet…

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