The Tudor Society
  • Catherine of Aragon’s Pregnancies Part 2: 1513 – 1518

    Today, I am concluding my examination of Catherine of Aragon’s pregnancies and what evidence we have for them from the primary sources.

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  • Mary, Queen of Scots – In my end is my beginning

    On this day in history, 8th February 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, daughter of James V, King of Scotland, and Marie de Guise, was executed in the great hall of Fotheringhay Castle after having been found guilty of treason.

    We have lots of resources (talks, articles etc.) here on the Tudor Society website on Mary, Queen of Scots, and here are links to them:

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  • A bench belonging to Catherine of Aragon? – by John Roberts

    Discovering new artefacts from Henry VIII’s era, and so far away from England, sounds highly unlikely, but I am an ex-Brit living on the west coast of Canada, and I think I may have found the ‘holy grail’ of pre-Elizabethan furniture.

    I am a retiree, and in December 2016 I was looking for historical items for my daughter, Melanie, who had recently purchased a two-piece upright cupboard with 1703 among the carvings.

    My latest find, a highly ornate wood-panelled bench, or settle (we’ll settle on the bench word from now on!), was at a weekly auction in Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. It was described as 19th century, and I was the winning bidder at a hammer price of $725 Canadian (415 GBP).

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  • Secret Lives Exposed: If Walls Could Talk – 1 March 2018, London

    The international water charity Just a Drop emailed me about this event taking place on 1st March 2018 at the Royal Geographical Society in London. It’s called “Secret Lives Exposed: If Walls Could Talk” and it sounds like a wonderful event. If you go then please do let us know what it was like.

    Here are the details…

    “Secret Lives Exposed: If Walls Could Talk”
    with novelist Sarah Dunant and historians Bettany Hughes and Suzannah Lipscomb
    The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR
    1 March 2018, 7:30 – 9:00pm, doors open at 7:00pm
    Price: adults £20, students £15

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  • Sir Thomas More (1477/8 – 1535)

    Sir Thomas More is thought to have been born on 7th February 1477 or 1478 n Milk Street, London, and he was the son of Sir John More, lawyer and judge on the King’s Bench, and Agnes Graunger, daughter of Thomas Graunger, a Merchant of the Staple of Calais and an Alderman of London.

    More joined the household of John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, before studying Latin and logic at the University of Oxford. He then studied law in London. It was while he was a student that he met and became friends with men like William Lilye, John Colet and Erasmus.

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  • Tailboys Dymoke or Thomas Cutwode (1561 – c.1602/3)

    On 6th February 1561, poet Tailboys Dymoke (pseudonym Thomas Cutwode) was baptised at Kyme in Lincolnshire. He was the son of Sir Robert Dymoke, and his wife, Bridget (née Clinton).

    Dymoke is known for his allegorical poem, Caltha poetarum, or, “The Bumble Bee”, which he published in 1599 under the name of Thomas Cutwode, “cut wood” being the English translation of Dymoke’s first name, the French “taille-bois”. The poem comprises 187 seven-line stanzas, so is rather long

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  • February Live Chats – 16th and 24th February

    As usual, we have two live chats this month: an informal chat and an expert live chat. Both will take place in our chatroom at

    Our informal live chat is on Queen Mary I. This type of live chat is an opportunity for our members to share their views on the topic, pose questions, share book recommendations and to get to know each other. I (Claire) act as moderator, just to keep an eye on things. They’re always good fun and everyone, from newbie to historian, is welcome. No question is a stupid one after all!

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  • This week in history 5 – 11 February

    5th February:

    1537 – Birth of diplomat Sir Henry Brooke, son of George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham, and his wife Anne Bray. Anne Bray was a lady in waiting to Anne Boleyn, and there is controversy over whether she was the “Nan Cobham” who was one of the Queen’s accusers in 1536. In Elizabeth I’s reign, Brooke was made a gentleman pensioner and carried out embassies to Spain, the Low Countries and France for her. In October 1579, Elizabeth appointed him as her resident ambassador in France, until he was replaced by Sir Edward Stafford in 1583.
    1556 – Treaty of Vaucelles between Philip II of Spain and Henry II of France. By the terms of this treaty, Henry II had to relinquish Franche-Comté to Philip, but the treaty was quickly broken.
    1557 – Death of Sir William Portman, Judge and Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from 1555. He was buried at St Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleet Street, London.
    1576 – Henry of Navarre, the future Henry IV of France, abjured Catholicism at Tours, rejoining the Protestant forces, following his escape from Paris on 3rd February.
    1605 – Death of Sir Edward Stafford, son of Sir William Stafford (Mary Boleyn’s second husband) and his second wife Dorothy Stafford. Edward was an MP and diplomat, and there is controversy over his “spying” activities during the Armada and exactly how much information he passed to Mendoza. He was buried in St Margaret’s, Westminster.

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  • Tudor February Events Crossword

    February is jam-packed with Tudor “on this day in history” events but how much do you know about the births, deaths, rebellions and other events that took place in this month?

    Grab your favourite beverage while you print out this crossword and let’s get those little grey cells working! Good luck and enjoy!

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  • Catherine of Aragon’s Pregnancies Part 1: 1509 – 1511

    As this week was the anniversary of Queen Catherine of Aragon giving birth to a still-born daughter in 1510, I thought I’d look at the primary source accounts we have of Catherine’s pregnancies.

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  • The White King: Charles I, Traitor, Murderer, Martyr – A review

    I don’t really do book reviews anymore, I leave them to Tudor Society book reviewer Charlie Fenton, but when one of your favourite historians asks you if you’d like a review copy of their next book then you just don’t say no, do you?! Saying no would be rather silly.

    Let me start by saying that I haven’t studied Charles I and the English Civil War since History A’ Level and that’s quite a long time ago now [cough, cough, splutter, splutter]. I hadn’t read a book on his reign since then, so my ideas about Charles I were rather dated, to say the least. I knew that the traditional view of Charles as weak and stupid was probably an unfair one so I was looking forward to reading Leanda de Lisle’s take on this man, particularly as her book on the Grey sisters, “The Sisters Who Would Be Queen”, is one of my all-time favourite history books. If anyone was going to challenge the myths, peel back the layers of propaganda and bad history, and reveal the real man then I was sure it was going to be Leanda.

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  • Discover the Tudors – last few discount tickets available

    If you’ve been thinking about coming on the Discover Tudors Tour, now is the time to book your tickets. The last few discount tickets where you can save £300 per person are only available for a few more days – until 7th February – so BOOK NOW!

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  • Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk (c.1484-1545)

    Charles Brandon was one of King Henry VIII’s most trusted advisors and friends. He married the king’s sister, even when he had been trusted not too, and eventually married a lady thirty-five years younger than him.

    Being someone who was so close to Henry VIII, what was Brandon’s real purpose? What did he achieve in his lifetime? And, how did he rise so high?

    Charles Brandon was born around 1484 and was one of two sons born to Sir William Brandon and Elizabeth Bruyn of South Ockendon. His father was Henry VII’s standard-bearer at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, which is where he is said to have been killed by Richard III himself. King Henry VII saw how loyal William had been to him, so, therefore, chose to repay this debt by having his son, Charles, brought up at his court. Charles was just two years older than Henry VII’s eldest child, Prince Arthur, but when Arthur married the Spanish princess, Catherine of Aragon, in 1502, Charles did not join them at Ludlow Castle. Instead, he stayed in London and got to know Arthur’s younger brother, Henry, Duke of York.

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  • 1 February – A busy day in Tudor history!

    1 February seems to have been a rather busy day in the Tudor period and here are three events, linked to further reading about them…

    1514 – Henry VIII granted the dukedom of Suffolk to Charles Brandon, his future brother-in-law, and also made Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, and Howard’s son, also called Thomas, the Earl of Surrey. Charles Somerset was also made Earl of Worcester.

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  • Expert Talk – Natalie Grueninger – The Early Life of Anne Boleyn

    This month’s expert speaker is Natalie Grueninger, author of “Discovering Tudor London” and “In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII”. This talk is all about Anne Boleyn, her lineage, and the ever-fascinating question of when Anne was actually born.

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  • 31 January 1547 – Henry VIII’s death is announced and Edward VI is proclaimed king

    On this day in history, 31st January 1547, Thomas Wriothesley, Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor and one of the executors of his will, announced the death of Henry VIII to Parliament. The late king’s nine-year-old son was proclaimed king, becoming King Edward VI.

    Chronicler and Windsor Herald Charles Wriothesley recorded:

    “The 31 of Januarie my lord major [mayor] was sent for to the Perliament Chamber at Westminster, before the lordes of the Kinges Majesties Privie Counsell, and their was declared to them by my Lord Chauncelor and other the death of the Kinges Majestic Henrie the Eight, our Soveraigne Lord, which deceased to Almightie God on Fridaie last, being the 28th of Januarie, and straig[ht]ly charging them to keepe the Kinges peace and to loke to the savegarde of the Kinges Majesties Chambre of London, and so they departed.

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  • This week in history 29 January – 4 February

    29th January:

    1536 – Catherine of Aragon was laid to rest in Peterborough Abbey, now Peterborough Cathedral. She had requested that she should be buried in a Chapel of her beloved order, The Observant Friars, but Henry’s dissolution of the monasteries meant that there were none left. She was buried as Dowager Princess of Wales, not queen.
    1536 – Queen Anne Boleyn suffered a miscarriage.
    1547 – Edward Seymour and Anthony Denny informed the young Edward VI that his father, Henry VIII, had died the day before.
    1559 – Death of Sir Thomas Pope, founder of Trinity College, Oxford, member of Parliament and Privy Councillor in Mary I’s reign, at Clerkenwell. He was buried at St Stephen’s Church, Walbrook. In 1556, Pope acted as a guardian for Princess Elizabeth at Hatfield House, and handled the correspondence when Eric of Sweden was interested in marrying Elizabeth.
    1577 – Death of Richard Harpur, Law Reporter and Judge of the Common Pleas. He was buried at Swarkestone Church in Derbyshire.
    1613 – Death of Sir Thomas Bodley, scholar, diplomat and founder of Oxford’s Bodleian Library at his house next to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. He was buried in Merton College chapel on 29th March.

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  • Henry VII and Henry VIII Quiz

    How much do you know about the first two monarchs, father and son Henry VII and Henry VIII? Get your brain working with these ten questions.

    Grab your favourite beverage and snack, make yourself comfortable and test yourself. Good luck!

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  • February 2018 – Tudor Life – Mothers-in-law

    Here is the full version of our 76-page February edition of Tudor Life Magazine. This month we have articles about some of the women behind the crown. This Royal Mothers-in-law edition is packed with information and great articles and some fun quizzes too!

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  • February 2018 Tudor Life Taster

    Enjoy this sample article from our 76-page February edition of Tudor Life Magazine. This month we have articles about some of the women behind the crown. This Royal Mothers-in-law edition is packed with information and great articles and some fun quizzes too!

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  • 27 January 1606 – The trial of the Gunpowder Conspirators

    On 27th January 1606, the eight surviving conspirators of the November 1605 Gunpowder Plot were tried at Westminster for high treason. Those tried were Guy Fawkes, Robert and Thomas Wintour (Winter), John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Robert Keyes, Thomas Bates and Sir Everard Digby. Jesuits Henry Garnet, Oswald Tesmond (Tesimond) and John Gerard were said to have “traitorously move[d] and persuade[d]” the conspirators. The other conspirators had died shortly after the plot had been discovered; John Wright, Christopher Wright, Thomas Percy and Robert Catesby were shot dead at Holbeche House in a siege on 8th November, and Francis Tresham died in the Tower of London on 23rd December 1605.

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  • Live chat transcript – Anne Barnhill – Tudor Costume

    Thank you for those who came to Anne Barnhill’s live chat about Tudor clothing. We had a wonderful discussion about all things cloths related, including a discussion about Anne Boleyn’s necklace.

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  • Anne of Cleves Part 3: 1540 – 1557

    In today’s Claire Chats, I finish our series on Anne of Cleves by looking at her life following the annulment of her marriage to Henry VIII until her death in July 1557.

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  • Margaret Clifford, Countess of Derby

    A recent BBC Four documentary examined the tragic life of England’s Forgotten Queen, Lady Jane Grey, who was proclaimed queen in July 1553 and beheaded seven months later for unlawfully usurping the throne from Mary I. The circumstances in which Jane succeeded her cousin Edward VI derived in part from Henry VIII’s Acts of Succession (1536 and 1544) and his last will and testament, which was finalised a month before his death. After stipulating that his crown should pass to Edward, Henry intended that his daughters Mary and Elizabeth would successively reign in the event of Edward dying childless. Henry also instructed that the descendants of his younger sister Mary should inherit the throne if all three of his children died without heirs: thus Mary’s daughters Frances and Eleanor and their offspring. Lady Jane Grey was, of course, the eldest daughter of Frances. Her two sisters Katherine and Mary would represent a rival succession in Elizabeth I’s reign, and the Tudor queen imprisoned both women on account of what she perceived as their dynastic pretensions. As a result of his Acts and his will, Henry made it possible for the monarch to appoint their successor based on personal preferences. Edward took this one step further in 1553 by disregarding the claims of his half-sisters Mary and Elizabeth, and instead nominating the Grey line.

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  • Live chat transcript with Sandra Vasoli

    Thanks for all who came to our live chat last night with Sandra Vasoli. We had a wonderful time discussing Thornbury Castle and I think we all learned something.

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  • Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham (1478-1521)

    Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, was one of Henry VII’s and Henry VIII’s main associates in court. He attended the coronation of both kings and played an important part in each of their reigns. But how he ended up in that position of favour is a fascinating story, as is his eventual demise.

    Edward Stafford was born on 3 February 1478 and his parents were Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, and Catherine Woodville. Catherine was the sister of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of King Edward IV. Following his father’s execution in Richard III’s reign, Edward’s mother went on to marry Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford and the uncle of King Henry VII.

    Due to his father’s rebellion against Richard III in 1483, young Edward was hidden and moved around to different properties in and around Hertfordshire to keep him safe and out of harm’s way. His father’s rebellion against the king led to him losing his honours and being executed in November 1483. In 1485, Edward was honoured by the new king, Henry VII, by being made a Knight of the Order of the Bath, and he was made a ward of Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and the king’s mother. Unfortunately, this meant that Margaret was also granted all of his lands.

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  • This week in history 22 – 28 January

    22 January:

    1528 – Henry VIII and Francis I declared war on Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.
    1552 – Former Lord Protector of England, Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, was executed by beheading on Tower Hill in London. He was laid to rest in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London, and records show that he was buried next to Anne Boleyn in the chancel area. Click here to read more.
    1554 – Thomas Wyatt the Younger met with fellow conspirators at his home of Allington Castle in Kent to make final plans for their uprising (Wyatt’s Rebellion) against Mary I and her decision to marry Philip of Spain – click here to read more.
    1561 – Birth of Francis Bacon, Viscount St Alban, the Elizabethan Lord Chancellor, politician, philosopher, author and scientist, at York House in the Strand, London. Bacon is known as “the Father of the Scientific method” and developed an investigative method, the Baconian method, which he put forward in his book Novum Organum in 1620. Some people (Baconians) believe that Francis Bacon was the true author of William Shakespeare’s plays.
    1575 – Death of James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran and Duke of Châtelherault, at Kinneil. Arran was appointed Regent for the infant Mary, Queen of Scots after James V’s death in 1542, but surrendered the regency to Mary’s mother, Mary of Guise in 1554.
    1613 – Death of Sir David Williams, Serjeant-at-Law in Elizabeth I’s reign and Puisne Justice of the King’s Bench in James I’s reign, from a fever at Kingston House, Kingston Bagpuize, Berkshire. His body was buried at St John’s Chapel, Brecon, and his entrails were buried at Kingston.

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  • Quiz: The Events of 1540-42 in Tudor England

    The years 1540 to 1542 were rather busy for King Henry VIII, but how much do you know about the events of those years? Test yourself with this fun quiz. Good luck!

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  • Lady Jane Grey Resources

    Lady Jane Grey is a hot topic at the moment with Helen Castor’s programme having recently aired in the UK. I thought it would be useful for members if I created this list of useful resources to find out more about Queen Jane, who was a fascinating Tudor woman.

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  • Anne Boleyn and the gable hood

    In this week’s Claire chats video, I answer Tudor Society member Laurie’s question: “why did Anne wear a gable hood to her execution, when she traditionally only wore French hoods? Was it possibly related to showing increased piety, etc.?”

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