The Tudor Society
  • 8 January – Mary Shelton, Anne Boleyn’s cousin and lady, and Henry VIII celebrates news of Catherine of Aragon’s death

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th January 1571, Mary Shelton (married names: Heveningham and Appleyard) was buried at Heveningham Church, Suffolk.

    Mary Shelton was Queen Anne Boleyn’s cousin and lady-in-waiting, and may also have been King Henry VIII’s mistress. She also contributed to the Devonshire Manuscript with the likes of Mary Howard, Lady Margaret Douglas and Lord Thomas Howard.

    Find out more about Mary Shelton in this talk…

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  • 7 January – “You shall find Calais lying in my heart” and the death of Catherine of Aragon

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th January 1558, in the reign of Queen Mary I, England lost Calais to the French.

    It was a devastating blow as Calais had been held by England for over 200 years and was an important port for English wool exports. Mary I was said to have exclaimed ““When I am dead and opened, you shall find ‘Philip’ and ‘Calais’ lying in my heart”.

    Find out exactly what happened in this talk…

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  • 6 January – Epiphany fun and feasting, and The marriage of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves

    Happy Epiphany! Happy Kings’ Day! Yes, today is the Feast of the Epiphany, the day that commemorated the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child.

    I share some examples of how Epiphany was celebrated at the royal court.

    Find out what those Tudor people got up to on Twelfth Night in this talk…

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  • Apologies

    Tim and I are both in bed with COVID at the moment so apologies for things not being added to the site when they should be this week. We should be back to normal next week.

  • 5 January – Richard Willes – A quirky Tudor man, and Pope Clement VII and Henry VIII

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th January 1546, in the reign of King Henry VIII, geographer and poet, Richard Willes, was born in Pulham, Dorset.

    Richard Willes has been described as “One of the quirkier figures in the literary history not only of the college but of the Elizabethan period as a whole”, and he certainly was an interesting Tudor man. Find out about his literary accomplishments, and what exactly made him so “quirky”, in this talk…

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  • 4 January – A rebel keeps his head and William Roper

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th January 1575, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, courtier, diplomat and former rebel, Sir William Pickering, died at his home, Pickering House, in London.

    He died a wealthy man and died a natural death, a miraculous feat seeing as he was a friend of the Earl of Surrey and the Duke or Northumberland, both of whom ended up on the scaffold, AND he was one of the men involved in planning Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554. Wyatt lost his head, but Pickering kept his.

    How? What happened? Find out more about Sir William Pickering in this talk…

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  • January 3 – Martin Luther is excommunicated and Anne of Cleves’ very different days

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd January 1521, Pope Leo X excommunicated Reformer, German priest and professor of theology Martin Luther from the Catholic Church.

    In this talk, I explain what led to Luther’s excommunication, what happened when Luther was called to the Diet of Worms, and what happened next to this famous Reformer.

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  • 2 January – A visit for the dying Queen Catherine, and Granada surrenders

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd January 1536, imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, visited his good friend, Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII and a woman who was now officially called the Dowager Princess of Wales.

    Catherine was seriously ill, in fact, she was dying, and this would be the last time that Chapuys saw her.

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  • 1 January – Catherine of Aragon has a son, and Henry VIII meets Anne of Cleves

    On 1st January 1540, Henry VIII met Anne of Cleves for the very first time.

    This meeting between King Henry VIII and the woman who would soon become his fourth wife, was a bit of a disaster, but exactly how much of a disaster was it? The accounts differ and Claire shares with you two slightly different contemporary accounts, one given in a chronicle and one shared in the annulment proceedings a few months later in 1540.

    What happened on New Year’s Day 1540 at Rochester?

    Find out all about Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves’ first meeting in this talk…

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  • New Year in Tudor Times

    Find out how New Year was celebrated in Tudor times in this talk…

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  • Re-Identification of a Royal Tudor Portrait – Expert Talk

    Laura Loney and Ashley Risk have done extensive research to determine who might be the sitter in the famous oval portrait once thought to be Katherine Howard.

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  • New Year in Tudor Times

    As today is New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d share with you some resources for learning more about how the New Year was marked in Tudor times…

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  • 31 December – The Gunner and a bishop who angered a queen

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st December 1535, in the reign of Henry VIII, Sir William Skeffington, Lord Deputy of Ireland, died at Kilmainham in Dublin.

    Skeffington had become known as “the Gunner” following his use of heavy artillery while taking Maynooth Castle in County Kildare, where he killed, or had executed, the whole garrison.

    Find out more about the life and career of Sir William Skeffington in this talk…

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  • 30 December – An outlaw scholar from Spain who died of the plague and Roger Ascham, Elizabeth I’s tutor

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th December 1552, in the reign of King Edward VI, Spanish humanist scholar, translator, author and Protestant apologist, Francisco de Enzinas died at Strasbourg from the plague. He was buried there the next day. Humanist Francisco had changed his name to Francis Dryander after leaving Spain to study at Louvain.

    Dryander fit a lot into his thirty-four years of life. He escaped from prison and was an outlaw, he translated the Bible, he taught Greek in England, he was supported by Archbishop Cranmer and the Duchess of Suffolk, and published several works.

    Find out more about the accomplished Francis Dryander in this talk…

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  • 29 December -Elizabeth I’s rogue and champion and Japanese Pirates

    On this day in history, 29th December 1605, in the reign of King James I, forty-seven-year-old Tudor nobleman George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland was buried at Holy Trinity Church, Skipton, Yorkshire.

    Clifford was a courtier, naval commander, privateer, Elizabeth I’s champion and a man she called her “rogue”.

    Find out all about this Earl of Cumberland, his unhappy marriage, his voyages and what it meant to be the queen’s champion, in this talk…

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  • Anne Boleyn videos

    Recently, as part of the launch for my “Anne Boleyn, the Woman who changed England” online event (28th February to 6 March 2022), I did three livestreams about Anne Boleyn.

    If you didn’t manage to catch them live, here they are, plus the extra I did about my January masterclass, which is a bonus if you buy your tickets before 31st December.

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  • 28 December – A Lord Keeper of the Great Seal who supported learning and Childermas or Holy Innocents’ Day

    On this day in Tudor history, the feast of Childermas, 28th December 1510, lawyer, administrator and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, Sir Nicholas Bacon, was born. Bacon was the father of the famous philosopher, statesman, scientist and author, Sir Francis Bacon.

    Bacon wasn’t just a lawyer and statesman, he was also very concerned with the education of the young, and did much to support it.

    Find out all about Sir Nicholas Bacon, his life and career, and how he was banished from court at one point, in this talk…

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  • A 2021 Tudor Year Overview

    As it is the end of 2021, we will look back at all the months and highlight the most exciting event, release, article or video. But we will also look forward to next year and update you on all the new things coming. 

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  • 27 December – The death of Katherine Killigrew and Anne of Cleves arrives in England

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th December 1583, scholar and Puritan Katherine Killigrew died after giving birth to a stillborn child.

    Katherine was the daughter of renowned humanist and scholar, Sir Anthony Cooke, and was known for her ability at writing poetry and her knowledge of languages, including Hebrew, Latin and Greek. She was a very accomplished Tudor lady.

    Find out more about Katherine, and hear the epitaphs that were written in her honour, in this talk...

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  • 26 December – The interesting life of Rose Lok and Henry VIII made some changes to his will

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th December 1526, Protestant Rose Lok was born.

    Rose lived well into her 80s and had an interesting life, being a Protestant exile, a businesswoman, and being the daughter of a man who supplied Anne Boleyn with religious books. She also had a ship named after her!

    Find out all about Rose Lok in this talk…

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  • Christmas Crossword Puzzle 2021

    I hope you are enjoying a wonderful festive season!

    In honour of the season, I bring you this gift – a Christmas Crossword Puzzle to test your knowledge of Christmas in Tudor times.

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  • January 2022 – Catholicism in the Tudor Age

    The Tudor period saw great upheaval in religious beliefs throughout England. At the start of the period, the country was very much Catholic, but things changed and changed again as different monarchs took control and the country moved towards Protestantism. This month’s magazine focuses on Catholicism.

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  • 25 December – The death of ,witch-hunter, Brian Darcy, and Christmas Day and Lettice Knollys

    Happy Christmas!

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th December 1587, Brian Darcy, magistrate, Sheriff of Essex, witch-hunter and contributor to the 1582 “A true and just recorde of the information, examination and confession of all the witches, taken at S Oses [St Osyth]”, died.

    “A True and Just Recorde” argued for harsher punishments for those found guilty of witchcraft, and Darcy was personally responsible for a number of deaths of people accused of witchcraft.

    Find out more about this zealous witch-hunter in this talk…

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  • Day 24 of the Tudor Society Advent Calendar

    Today’s final Advent Calendar treat from our archives is from our Tudor Society e-book series and is on “Christmas in Tudor Times”.


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  • 24 December – The death of Sir Thomas Cornwallis and King Henry VIII made his final speech to Parliament

    On this day in history, 24th December 1604, Christmas Eve, Sir Thomas Cornwallis, Comptroller of the household of Mary I and member of Parliament, died at about the age of eighty-six.

    Cornwallis had been active putting down rebellion in 1549 and during the succession crisis of July 1553 swapped sides at just the right time, recanting his proclamation for Jane as queen and proclaiming for Mary instead, He was rewarded for this when Mary came to the throne.

    Of course, he wasn’t so much a favourite in the reign of Elizabeth I, but a friendship with a man close to Elizabeth may have helped him escape trouble.

    Find out more about Sir Thomas Cornwallis in this talk…

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  • Happy Christmas Message 2021

    Here’s our Christmas message to you and THANK YOU to all the members who support the vital work of the Tudor Society.

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  • 23 December – Elizabeth I moves to a property her mother knew well and the burial of Nicholas Undall

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd December 1558, just over a month after her accession, England’s new queen, Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, moved from Somerset House to Whitehall Palace, which became her principal residence.

    Whitehall, formerly York Place, had once been home to her mother, Anne Boleyn, and had been the setting of Anne’s marriage to Henry VIII. I wonder if Elizabeth felt close to her mother there.

    Find out more about Whitehall Palace, and also Somerset Place, the property Elizabeth left, in this talk…

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  • Day 23 of the Tudor Society Advent Calendar

    Today’s Tudor treat is very Christmassy, it’s our Christmas edition of Tudor Life Magazine from 2020.

    There’s lots in it to keep you occupied today if you’re already organised for the next few days.

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  • Day 22 of the Tudor Society Advent Calendar

    Today’s Tudor treat is from our Tudor Society archives of expert talks.

    In this talk, Phil Downing, manager of Harvington Hall talks about “Terrifying lives of Priests and their Priest Holes: the darker side of the Elizabethan period”. It’s a fantastic talk, one of my all time favourites.

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  • 22 December – Two Protestants betrayed by a spy and Bishop Fisher begs for a shirt

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd December 1557, Protestant martyrs John Rough and Margaret Mearing, were burnt at Smithfield for heresy.

    John Rough was a Scot who’d encouraged John Knox to be a pastor, but ended in days in England. Interestingly, the woman he died with was a woman he’d excommunicated from his congregation, believing her to be a spy. Although she’d been angry with her treatment, she was not the spy who betrayed him, she visited Rough in prison and was arrested after she tried to confront the real spy.

    Find out about John Rough’s life and what brought him to England, how he’d come to be arrested, and what happened with Margaret Mearing, in this talk…

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