The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • Mary Tudor, Queen of France Quiz

    Test your knowledge on Mary Tudor, Queen of France and sister of King Henry VIII in this fun quiz.

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  • Giles Fletcher the Elder

    In today’s Claire Chats I talk about the life, career and legacy of Giles Fletcher the Elder, poet, diplomat and Member of Parliament.

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  • Henry VIII’s 1524 Jousting Accident by Sarah Bryson

    King Henry VIII held a great love of jousting. As a young teenager Henry had been denied the ability to joust in competitions as he was the sole heir to the throne. His father, Henry VII, feared his son may be injured or even worse killed. Yet when Henry came to the throne in 1509 he was extremely athletic and quickly took to the excitement and chivalry of the joust.

    Throughout the early years of his reign Henry VIII participated in many fabulous jousting events, one of those being on 10th March 1524. However, the joust this day would not go as planned for the King and he faced a near disaster, one which could have ended his life.

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  • An Italian Tudor at the Doge’s Court by Heather R. Darsie

    In an unassuming hallway leading visitors to the Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy, from the Staircase of Giants and out through the Porta della Carta, there is an extraordinary feature adorning the ceiling not once, but twice: a Tudor rose.

    Daniele Barbaro was a Venetian cardinal, born in 1514 and dying in 1570. During his lifetime, Barbaro translated the works of Vetruvius, a Roman architect, and was known to be a patron of architects. Particularly, he patronized the Venetian architect known as Andrea Palladio. Barbaro, a bit of a linguist, also served as ambassador to the court of Elizabeth I of England. He may also have served as ambassador to Edward VI. Pleased with his service, Elizabeth allowed Barbaro in 1560 to quarter his personal arms with Tudor roses.

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  • 9 March 1566 – Murder of David Rizzio

    On this day in history, 9th March 1566, David Rizzio (Riccio), the private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots, was stabbed to death in front of a heavily pregnant Queen Mary.

    But who was David Rizzio and what led to his murder?

    John Guy, historian and author of the excellent “My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots”, describes David Rizzio as a “young Piedmontese valet and musician, who had arrived in the suite of the ambassador of the Duke of Savoy and stayed on as a bass in Mary’s choir”. Mary obviously took a liking to Rizzio because in late 1564 she chose him to replace her confidential secretary and decipherer, Augustine Raulet, who was a Guise retainer and the only person who Mary had trusted with a key to the box containing her personal papers. Raulet, for some reason, had lost her trust.

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  • Pembroke’s Henry VII Statue Fundraising Appeal

    It seems strange that Pembroke, birthplace of Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty, does not have a statue of the king, doesn’t it? However, hopefully this will soon be rectified.

    In January of this year, a maquette of a proposed bronze statue was unveiled at a fundraising events organised by Pembroke & Monkton Local History Society in Pembroke Town Hall. The statue will cost around £40,000 and Pembroke Town Council have allocated £20,000 of that as part of their Town Centre Support programme. The remaining £20,000 has to be raised.

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  • The Great Comet of 1556

    7th March 1556 was one of the days on which the Great Comet, or the Comet of Charles V, was seen and recorded by Paul Fabricius, mathematician and physician at Emperor Charles V’s court.

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  • Composer and musician John Wilbye

    On this day in history, 7th March 1574, John Wilbye, composer and musician, was baptised at Diss in Norfolk. Wilbye composed and published two sets of madrigals, and also contributed “The Lady Oriana” to a collection in praise of Elizabeth I in 1601, and two madrigals to William Leighton’s 1614 collection.

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  • This week in history 7 – 13 March

    On this day in history events for week 7-13 March.

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  • Whose mother?

    As today is Mothering Sunday in some countries I thought it was appropriate to have a “whose mother” quiz. I hope you enjoy it!

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  • 5 March 1496 – Henry VII issues letters patent to explorer John Cabot

    On this day in history, King Henry VII issued letters patent to navigator and explorer Giovanni Caboto, better known as John Cabot, and his three sons, giving them his royal authority for a voyage of exploration:

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  • The Marriage of Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

    In today’s Claire Chats I talk about the secret marriage of Mary Tudor, dowager Queen of France, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, in 1515.

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  • Henry Carey by Sarah Bryson

    On 4th March 1526, Mary Boleyn gave birth to a son she named Henry Carey. Mary Boleyn was a member of Henry VIII’s court, was married to courtier William Carey and was also the older sister of Anne Boleyn, who would become Queen of England. I believe that Mary Boleyn was also the mistress of Henry VIII from around 1522 – 1525.

    Over the centuries, there has always been a great deal of debate as to who Henry Carey’s father was. Henry Carey was conceived during 1525, the year, I believe, that Mary’s relationship with Henry VIII was coming to an end. It may be possible that during the last few times the King slept with Mary she conceived. It has also been suggested that Henry would not have wished to share Mary with her husband, keeping her to himself during the entire period of their relationship.

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  • Expert Talk – Robin Maxwell and Christopher Gortner on Elizabeth and Dudley

    This month’s expert speakers (two!) are Robin Maxwell and Christopher Gortner, who I interviewed about relationship between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley. These two amazing historians and authors have quite different views about this fascinating relationship, and their knowledge is really worth sharing.

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  • This week in history 29 February – 6 March

    On this day in history events for 29th February to 6th March.

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  • Pope Paul III: Renaissance Prince by Heather R. Darsie

    Alessandro Farnese was born on 29 February 1468 at Canino, Latium, which was in the Papal States. Educated at the University of Pisa and Lorenzo de Medici’s court, he was prepared to take on the career of apostolic notary. Changing course, Alessandro joined the Roma Curia in 1491 at the age of approximately 23 and was quickly promoted by the new pope Alexander VI to a cardinal-deacon position at Santi Cosma e Damiano two years later. Alessandro had the early makings of a fine career with the church. His family already boasted of Pope Boniface VIII.

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  • Tudor Life March 2016 Taster – our best magazine yet!

    Packed with a wide range of articles about Tudor personalities like the Dudleys, Elizabeth of York, Mary I, Isabella of Spain and Henry Howard. There is part one of an insider’s guide to the Tower of London, a detailed article about Greenwich Palace and Wroxhall Abbey, an article about some bizarre Tudor foods and lots more! It’s our best magazine yet!

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  • March 2016 Tudor Life Magazine

    Packed with a wide range of articles about Tudor personalities like the Dudleys, Elizabeth of York, Mary I, Isabella of Spain and Henry Howard. There is part one of an insider’s guide to the Tower of London, a detailed article about Greenwich Palace and Wroxhall Abbey, an article about some bizarre Tudor foods and lots more! It’s our best magazine yet!

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  • Whose reign?

    In whose reign did these historic events take place? Test your knowledge of Plantagenet and Tudor history with this fun quiz.

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  • Battle of Ancrum Moor

    On 27th February 1545, the English forces were defeated by the Scots at the Battle of Ancrum Moor, near Jedburgh in Scotland.

    The battle was part of the 1543-1550 War of the Rough Wooing, a war attempting to put pressure on the Scots to agree to a marriage match between the infant Mary, Queen of Scots and Henry VIII’s son, Edward (the future Edward VI).

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  • Christopher Marlowe video

    In today’s Claire Chats I talk about Christopher Marlowe, the Elizabethan poet and playwright, his life and the controversies surrounding him.

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  • A Brief Overview of Jousting and Armour by Heather R. Darsie

    Jousting, much like rugby or American football, was a full-contact, dangerous sport. Severe injuries and even death were quite common. Henry II of France died in 1559 when a lance’s splinter breached Henry’s helmet and entered his brain by way of the eye. More like American football and less like rugby, individuals participating in the joust wore protection.

    Most armour was made by smiths in either Germany or Italy, though those smiths would travel to workshops all over the continent and England. One workshop in England boasted of smiths from Flanders, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. The city of Milan was most famous for its skilled armour smiths, though German armourers under the Holy Roman Empire outfitted the likes of Maximilian I and Charles V. Henry VIII established royal workshops at Greenwich, with previous workshops having been located in London. Some French workshops recruited Italians for their workshops in Lyon and Tours. There is not much information about armour workshops in either Spain or the Netherlands, but most of the large Belgian cities had active armourer’s guilds during the Renaissance period.

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  • 25 February 1601 – The Execution of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex

    At just before 8am on the 25th February 1601, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex was brought out of the Tower of London and walked to the scaffold. He was wearing a black velvet gown, black satin doublet and breeches and a black hat, which he took off as he climbed up onto the scaffold so that he could bow to the people gathered. He then made a speech acknowledging “with thankfulness to God, that he was justly spewed out of the realm”, and said:

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  • 24 February – The Feast of St Matthias the Apostle

    In the medieval and Tudor era the feast of St Matthias the Apostle was celebrated on 24th February, whereas today it is celebrated on 14th May. I have read also that the feast was celebrated on 25th February in Leap Years so perhaps I ought to be actually posting this tomorrow!

    Matthias was not one of the original twelve apostles, he was chosen after the Ascension of Jesus by the remaining eleven apostles to replace Judas Iscariot. Why was it important to replace Judas? The Catholic Online website explains: “Twelve was a very important number to the Chosen People: twelve was the number of the twelve tribes of Israel. If the new Israel was to come from the disciples of Jesus, a twelfth apostle was needed.” The Book of Acts explains what happened:

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  • This week in history 22 – 28 February

    On this day in history events for 22 – 28 February.

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  • The Three Great Officers of Henry VIII’s Court by Sarah Bryson

    William Paulet, Lord Chamberlain and Lord Steward

    William Paulet, Lord Chamberlain and Lord Steward

    During the reign of Henry VIII, the Royal Household was divided into three departments. These departments were the household above stairs, otherwise known as the "Chamber" or domus magnificentiae; the household below stairs, or domus providentiae, which included the kitchens and domestic responsibilities; and that which was located outside of the household such as the stables. The men responsible for these three departments were the Lord Chamberlain, the Lord Steward and the Master of the Horse. These three men were considered to be the ‘Great Officers’ of the King's court.
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  • Burials and Resting Places Quiz

    Who’s buried where? How much do you know about the resting places of the Tudors? Test your knowledge with this fun quiz.

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  • 20 February 1547 – The coronation of King Edward VI

    On 20th February 1547, Shrove Sunday, King Edward VI was crowned king at Westminster Abbey.

    Chronicler Charles Wriothesley recorded:

    “The twentith daie of Februarie, being the Soundaie Quinquagesima, the Kinges Majestie Edward the Sixth, of the age of nyne yeares and three monthes, was crowned King of this realme of Englande, France, and Irelande, within the church of Westminster, with great honor and solemnitie, and a great feast keept that daie in Westminster Hall…..”

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  • Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford

    In today’s Claire Chats video I talk about Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, her life, her downfall and why Henry VIII had to change the law to execute her.

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  • 19 February 1547 – King Edward VI’s coronation procession

    On Saturday 19th February 1547, King Edward VI rode from the Tower of London to Westminter in preparation for his coronation the next day. Chronicler and Windsor Herald Charles Wriothesley recorded:

    “The nynetenth daie of Februarie the Kinges Majestie rode from the Towre to Westminster through the cittie of London, which was rychly hanged with riche cloathes and divers pageantes, the conduites running wyne, the craftes standing in their raills, and the aldermen, the lord major riding in a crymosin velvett gowne with a rych collar of goulde, with a mase in his hand, afore the King; and, when his Majestie came where the aldermen stode, the Recorder made a proposition to his Majestie, and after the Chamberlaine gave his Majestie a purse of cloath of gould for a present from the cittie, which he thanckfullie tooke.”

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