The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • This week in history 11 – 17 January

    On this day in history events for 11 – 17 January.

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  • Plough Monday

    Plough Monday was the first Monday after 6th January and was the day on which things would return to normal after the Twelve Days of Christmas and people would return to work. It was also the first day of the new agricultural year and 16th century poet and farmer Thomas Tusser wrote:

    Plough Monday, next after that Twelfth tide is past
    Bids out with the plough, the worst husband is last.

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  • Tudor art and artists quiz

    How much do you know about the artists and art of the Tudor court? Test your knowledge with this fun quiz.

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  • Anne of Cleves video – Was she ugly?

    In today’s Claire Chats I look at the evidence regarding Henry VIII’s claims that Anne of Cleves was unattractive and the origin of the “Flanders Mare” label.

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  • Happy St Distaff’s Day

    If you’ve read this month’s Tudor Life magazine then you will know that today is St Distaff’s Day. Never heard of it? Well, neither had I until I read Steve Roud’s The English Year, a wonderful book on all the feast days and traditions celebrated throughout the English calendar year.

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  • Katharine of Aragon Festival 2016 – 28-31st January

    Every year, Peterborough Cathedral, the resting place of Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII, put on a programme of events around the anniversary of her burial (29th January) known as the Katharine of Aragon Festival to commemorate her life.

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  • Britain’s Bloody Crown starts on Channel 5 on 7th January

    Just to let you know that a four-part series on the Wars of the Roses starts on the UK’s Channel 5 at 8pm on Thursday 7th January 2015 – Britain’s Bloody Crown.

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  • Twelfth Night and Epiphany

    I’ve noticed lots of comments from people on social media saying how they’ve taken down their Christmas trees and decorations and got back to normal. For many people around the world today, the Christmas period was over with New Year, but Christmas in the Tudor period ran for twelve days, Christmas Day to Epiphany on 6th January, the feast day which was a commemoration and celebration of the visit of the Magi to the Christ child.

    Twelfth Night and Epiphany were marked with feasting and entertainment. But when exactly is “Twelfth Night”? Is it 5th or 6th January? There isn’t really any agreement over this and an article in The Guardian newspaper examined this question:

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  • Expert Talk: Kyra Kramer on Henry VIII’s Health

    This month we are happy to have Kyra Kramer as our expert speaker. In this talk Kyra discusses the various illnesses and maladies which affected Henry VIII during his life.

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  • This week in history 4 – 10 January

    On this day in history events for 4 – 10 January.

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  • Medieval and Tudor Jobs Quiz

    How much do you know about the professions of medieval and Tudor people? Test your knowledge with this fun quiz.

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  • Martin Luther by Sarah Bryson

    On 3rd January 1521, Pope Leo X issued the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem which excommunicated Martin Luther from the Catholic Church. Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and most famously a reformer. His life and his beliefs changed the face of religion throughout Europe and saw many people break with the Catholic Church in the 16th century.

    Martin Luther was born on 10th November 1483 in Eisleben, Saxony (part of the Holy Roman Empire at the time), to Hans and Margarethe Luther. The following year Hans moved his family to Mansfeld where he owned a series of mines and smelters. At the age of seven, Luther started at Mansfeld School. At the age of fourteen, Luther went to Magdeburg before returning to Eisleben to complete his studies in grammar, rhetoric and logic. It is reported that Luther hated his time studying at Eisleben. At the age of nineteen Luther attended the University of Erfurt where he received his master’s degree in 1505.

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  • 2 January 1492 – King Boabdil surrenders Granada to Ferdinand and Isabella

    On 2nd January 1492, King Boabdil (or Abu `Abdallah Muhammad XII), Sultan of Granada, surrendered Granada, Spain, to the forces of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile following months of siege.

    Granada had been the last outpost of Al-Andalus, the parts of the Iberian peninsula governed by the Moors, but now it had been conquered by the Catholic monarchs as the final act of the “Reconquista”, which had been a campaign running since the 1200s to kick the Moors out of Spain.

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  • The ceremony of the New Year’s gifts – video

    In today’s Claire Chats I talk about the origin of the medieval and Tudor custom of New Year gift-giving, the ceremony associated with the monarch receiving gifts and the other traditions associated with New Year – enjoy! Happy New Year and a big thank you for all your support and encouragement in 2015.

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  • The Great History Quiz

    If you didn’t manage to watch the Christmas Eve “Great History Quiz” then here it is from YouTube:

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  • Tudor Life January 2016 Taster – Elizabeth I

    Here’s the sample of our monthly magazine January 2016 edition – a wonderful 80 page Elizabeth I special edition!

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  • January 2016 Tudor Life Magazine

    With a giant 40 page special section, and over 80 pages in total, it’s only when you put together a magazine featuring Elizabeth I that you realize how many portraits of the queen there are, how many different “personalities” she showed, how clever a ruler she was, and how long her reign was

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  • Tudor Fashion by Heather R. Darsie

    Fashion has had innumerable iterations throughout the centuries, with the Renaissance bringing about not just changes in thinking, art and education, but also clothing style. And along with new clothing styles came sumptuary laws, which created strict visual distinctions between the different classes. There were also restrictions on who could wear which fabrics.

    The lower classes wore linen or wool; cotton was not allowed to be imported into England so as to protect the wool trade. The upper classes enjoyed the luxury of silk, brocade, velvet, and satin. Henry VIII passed his first sumptuary laws in 1510, shortly after ascending the throne. Given that clothing was an automatic identifier of who was what class, Henry wished to keep the status quo in place, despite the rising wealth of the merchant class. Mary I continued this trend, as did Elizabeth I. These same sumptuary laws also allowed the Tudor monarchs to collect fines and bestow special status on favorites.

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  • 30 December 1546 – Henry VIII’s Will

    On 30th December 1546, Henry VIII signed his last will and testament, authorising changes he’d instructed William Paget to make on his behalf on 26th December 1546.

    You can find a transcript of Henry VIII’s will from Letters and Papers below, but I’d highly recommend Suzannah Lipscomb’s book The King is Dead as it guides the reader through the last few months of Henry VIII’s death and argues that Henry was in control right to the end and that his will reflected his wishes and not those of the Reformists surrounding him. It is a wonderful read and also contains a transcript of the will.

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  • Royal Birthdays Quiz

    How much can you remember about the births and birthdates of the Tudor monarchs? Test your knowledge with this fun quiz.

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  • Lettice Knollys by Adrienne Dillard

    Author Adrienne Dillard, who has done extensive research on Lettice’s family, the Careys and Knollys, has written this excellent bio of Lettice. Thank you so much to Adrienne.

    Per Francis Knollys’ Latin Dictionary entry,* Lettice Knollys was born in 1543 on the Tuesday present after All Hallows’ Day, or November 8, 1543, most likely at the Knollys’ family home at Rotherfield Greys in Oxfordshire. Lettice’s brilliant red hair and pale complexion may have come from her close connections to the royal family. Her mother, Catherine Carey, was Anne Boleyn’s niece and Elizabeth I’s cousin. Some historians have debated whether Catherine was the product of Mary Boleyn’s affair with King Henry VIII, but it has never been proven and rests only on circumstantial evidence. Lettice was the third child and second daughter born out of a possible sixteen, but more likely fourteen, children born to Catherine and Francis.

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  • A Black Christmas: The Battle of Kinsale by Heather R. Darsie

    Christmas Eve, 1601. The setting: a sleepy, south-eastern port town in Ireland. The Nine Years War of Ireland had been raging since 1594, with the English fighting to have control of Ireland under Elizabeth I of England. The unorganized Irish had won several battles and skirmishes against the English, frequently through the use of ambush. But in 1601, trained Spanish troops arrived, giving great hope to the Irish.

    Ireland was a Catholic country and Catholic Spain had recently suffered the humiliating defeat of their Armada by Elizabeth I in 1588. The Spanish, led by Don Juan del Áquila, arrived at Kinsale in September of 1601, with Kinsale being the poorest choice to undergo a siege, as it was situated in a hollow and did not have strong walls. The Spanish were forced to land at Kinsale due to poor weather. The English experienced some relief when they learned that the Spanish fleet was headed for Ireland and not England.

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  • Happy Christmas!

    A Christmas message from Claire and Tim.

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  • This week in history 21 – 27 December

    On this day in history events for week 21-27 December.

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  • Marguerite of Navarre: Queen of the Renaissance by Heather R. Darsie

    Marguerite de Navarre, also known as Marguerite d’Angoulême, was born on 11 April 1492 and died on 21 December 1549. She was sister to Francis I of France and queen consort of Henri II of Navarre. Most importantly, Marguerite was a brilliant mind and an author.

    Marguerite’s early life was spent in Cognac and Blois, and was joined by her little brother, the future Francis I of France, in 1494. Sadly, Marguerite’s father, Charles d’Angoulême, passed away in 1494. Much the benefit of the precocious Marguerite, her mother was now head of the household and saw to it that her daughter received a proper education. Marguerite enjoyed learning about classical philosophy and also spent time carefully reading the Bible. This early intellectual training prepared Marguerite for deep, concerted critical thinking, which later enabled her in her literary career.

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  • 21 December 1545 – The marriage of William Cecil and Mildred Cooke

    On this day in 1545, William Cecil, the future Baron Burghley, married his second wife, Mildred Cooke (1526-1589), eldest daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, Edward VI’s tutor.

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  • 21 December 1495 – Death of Jasper Tudor

    On 21st December 1495, Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford and 1st Earl of Pembroke, died at his manor at Thornbury at the age of around sixty-four. His entrails were buried at the parish church at Thornbury and the rest of his remains were laid to rest at Keynsham Abbey, according to the instructions he left in his will of 15th December.

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  • Christmas Quiz 2015

    As it’s very nearly Christmas, I thought it would be fun for you to test your knowledge of Tudor Christmas traditions.

    Good luck!

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  • Transcript of Melanie V. Taylor’s Live Chat

    Thank you for all our amazing members who were able to make it online to the live-chat last night with Melanie V. Taylor. We had a lively discussion about all things, including recipes(!) and of course Tudor artwork and artists.

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  • Modern Day British Christmas Traditions

    In this week’s “Claire Chats” video, Claire discusses modern-day British Christmas traditions.

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