The Tudor Society
  • 9 August 1588 – Elizabeth I’s Tilbury Speech

    On the 9th August 1588, Elizabeth I appeared before the troops that had gathered at Tilbury Fort in anticipation of a Spanish attack.

    In her article “The Myth of Elizabeth at Tilbury”, Susan Frye, writes that there are no reliable eye-witness accounts regarding Elizabeth I’s appearance on that day, but that tradition places the Queen in armour, giving a rousing speech – an iconic Gloriana.

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  • Queen Consorts Quiz

    How much do you know about the queen consorts of the Plantagent and Tudor kings?

    Test your knowledge with this fun quiz!

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  • The Royal Château of Amboise

    Louis XI chose Amboise as the royal residence of his consort, Charlotte of Savoy, and their son,the dauphin (future Charles VIII), was born at the château in 1470. It soon became a favourite royal residence and was one of the homes of The French court from Louis XI to Francis I.

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  • Battle of Clyst Heath – 6 August 1549

    The Battle of Clyst Heath was another battle fought between the rebels of the Prayer Book Rebellion and Edward VI’s forces.

    Upon hearing of the news of the massacre the previous day, two thousand rebels made their way to Clyst Heath where the Lords Russell and Grey were camped, and opened fire. The battle lasted all day, but the rebels were defeated in the end. The 18th century historian, John Hooker, wrote of the battle:

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  • Battle of Clyst St Mary – 5 August 1549

    The Battle of Clyst St Mary, which was a battle fought during the Prayer Book Rebellion, took place on 5th August 1549 at the village of Clyst St Mary, 3 miles east of Exeter in Devon.

    The Devonian and Cornish rebels were defeated by Lord Russell’s troops, and around 900 prisoners were massacred later that day on Clyst Heath.

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  • William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

    Today is the anniversary of the death of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, at his home in London in 1598. Here is a bio of this extraordinary Tudor man:

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  • Battle of Woodbury Common – 4 August 1549

    The Battle of Woodbury Common, part of the Prayer Book Rebellion, took place on 4th August 1549 on Woodbury Common, near the village of Woodbury in East Devon. The battle took place at 4am and happened when the rebels, who had been defending Clyst St Mary, marched to Woodbury Mill where Lord Russell and his troops had camped for the night. The rebels were defeated.

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  • Livi Michael Expert Chat – Margaret Beaufort and more

    As an extra “Expert Chat” for August, we have a short presentation by author Livi Michael, author of “Succession” who talks about Margaret Beaufort and much more. Livi is very kind to have shared this exclusive presentation with us – thank you Livi!

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  • Menstruation in the Tudor period by Sarah Bryson

    It has been happening to women since the dawn of time and yet during the Tudor age it was rarely spoken about. The monthly curse, flowering, coming of age, a period, a woman’s menstruation goes by many names yet how did women during the Tudor age handle their cycles without the modern day use of sanitary napkins or in some cases pain killers? (And lots of chocolate!)

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  • This week in history 3 – 9 August

    On this day in history events for 3-9 August.

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  • Battle of Cornwall – 2 August 1595

    On 2nd August 1595, as part of the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585-1604, four galleys containing somewhere between 200 and 400 Spanish soldiers landed at Mount’s Bay on the coast of western Cornwall. The fleet was commanded by Captain Carlos de Amésquita and it had left Port Louis, Brittany, France, on 26th July to raid the south-west of England.

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  • Tudor Words Quiz

    Have fun with this quiz on Tudor words and definitions.

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  • Sir Edward Kelley

    Sir Edward Kelley (Kelly), apothecary, alchemist and medium, was born on 1st August 1555 in Worcester. In March 1582, Kelley called on astrologer and mathematician Dr John Dee at his home at Mortlake in Surrey. Kelley impressed Dee with his abilities as a medium, after Dee had been unsuccessful in making contact with angels. He worked closely with Dee for seven years, travelling around Europe and taking part in seances and allegedly communicating with angels in a special angelic language.

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  • The Château du Clos Lucé

    The Château du Clos Lucé is situated just 400m from the Château d’Amboise. It was built on Gallo-Roman remains in 1471 after the land was given as the Manoir du Cloux by King Louis XI to Etienne le Loup, a former kitchen boy who had become a favourite of the king.

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  • 31 July 1548 – Letter from Elizabeth to Catherine Parr

    On 31st July 1548, the fourteen year-old Elizabeth, future Elizabeth I, wrote to her stepmother Catherine Parr, the Dowager Queen. The letter was written just before the pregnant Catherine took to her chamber, and just weeks before Catherine died of puerperal (childbed) fever. Elizabeth wrote:

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  • 30 July 1540 – Executions of Reformers and Catholics

    On this day in history, Catholics Thomas Abell, Edward Powell and Richard Fetherston were hanged, drawn and quartered at Smithfield for refusing to acknowledge the royal supremacy. Also, at Smithfield that day, religious reformers Robert Barnes, William Jerome and Thomas Garrard were burned at the stake for heresy. Reformers and Catholics being executed on the same day – I wonder what the common people made of that!

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  • 29 July 1588 – The Battle of Gravelines

    Defeat of the Spanish Armada at Gravelines, Philipp Jakob Loutherbourg the Younger.

    Defeat of the Spanish Armada at Gravelines, Philipp Jakob Loutherbourg the Younger.

    On 29th July 1588, the day after the English had wrecked the crescent formation of the Spanish Armada at Calais with five hell-burners (fire-ships)and caused havoc, they attacked the Spanish fleet. This battle is known as the Battle of Gravelines because it took place just off the port of Gravelines, a Spanish stronghold in Flanders, part of the Spanish Netherlands, but near the border with France. The Duke of Medina Sedonia had been unable to reform the Spanish fleet at Calais, due to a south-easterly wind, and was forced to regroup at Gravelines.

    The English had learned from previous encounters with the Spanish fleet and so used new and more successful tactics. They had learned from capturing the Rosario in the Channel that the Spaniards could not easily reload their guns, so with their smaller and lighter ships the English were able to provoke the Spaniards into firing, but keep out of range and then close in for the kill.

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  • This week in history 27 July – 2 August

    On this day in history events for 27 July – 2 August.

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  • The Paternity of Catherine and Henry Carey by Sarah Bryson

    In my last article, Unravelling Mary Boleyn, I wrote about Catherine and Henry Carey, the children of Mary Boleyn. There have always been questions surrounding the paternity of Mary Boleyn’s children as around the time that both children were conceived Mary Boleyn was not only a married woman but she was also the mistress of Henry VIII.

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  • Wars of the Roses Personalities Quiz

    Test your knowledge on the people and families of the Wars of the Roses in this fun quiz.

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  • The Wedding of Mary I and Philip of Spain – A Primary Source Account

    On 25th July 1554, the feast day of St James, Mary I married Philip of Spain, son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. The wedding took place at Winchester Cathedral and the ceremony was performed by Stephen Gardener, Bishop of Winchester and Mary’s chancellor.

    In the appendix of The Chronicle of Queen Jane and of Two Years of Queen Mary, and especially of the Rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyatt, written by a Resident in the Tower of London, edited by John Gough Nichols, there is an official account of the preparations for the wedding and the wedding itself by the English Heralds:

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  • Outdoor Tudor Games and Pursuits

    In this week’s Claire Chats I talk about outdoor games and pursuits enjoyed by Tudor people, including stool ball, quoits and Last Couple in Hell.

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  • 24 July 1567 – The Abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On 24th July 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned at Lochleven Castle and who had recently suffered a miscarriage, was forced to abdicate. The Scottish crown was passed on to her one year-old son, James, who became James VI of Scotland, with his uncle, Mary’s illegitimate half brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray, acting as regent.

    Claude Nau de la Boisseliere, Mary’s private secretary, recorded this event in his memoirs, which were translated from French into English as The History of Mary Stewart: From the Murder of Riccio Until Her Flight Into England:

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  • Online Course – Gloriana: the life and times of Elizabeth I, 1533-1603

    I’ve had an email from the Cambridge University Institute of Continuing Education about an online course they’re running in 2016 on Elizabeth I. It looks really good so I just had to share the details.

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  • Taster: August 2015 Magazine

    Here is a taster of the August 2015 Tudor Life magazine. Inside you’ll find 70 pages packed with Tudor facts, features and fun. This month we have a special feature section on coronations, and you’d be amazed what you’ll learn.

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  • August 2015 Tudor Life Magazine

    Here’s the August 2015 magazine with all our regular items and contributors plus lots of fascinating articles. This month we have a “Coronation Special” section with articles from a number of eminent historians….

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  • Catherine Carey and Henry Carey by Sarah Bryson

    Henry Carey by Steven van Herwijck

    Henry Carey by Steven van Herwijck

    Today is the anniversary of the death of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, Privy Councillor and Lord Chamberlain, in 1596, so it seems appropriate to share this article by Sarah Bryson on Henry and his sister Catherine.

    On 4th February 1520, Mary Boleyn married William Carey, a young, handsome, athletic man who a member of the King Henry VIII's household and also a distant cousin of the King. The match was well made, as Mary Boleyn's father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, was on the rise and was making a name for himself at court. The wedding took place at Greenwich and Henry VIII himself was present, giving the newly married couple a gift of 6s 8d.

    Mary would go on to give her husband two healthy children. Mary's first child, a daughter named Catherine, quite possibly named after Queen Catherine of Aragon, was born in 1524. Catherine would become a constant figure at court until her death on 15 January 1569. At the age of just fourteen, she was appointed as a maid of honour to Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's fourth wife. Then, on 26 April 1540, Catherine married Sir Francis Knollys and she went on to give her husband thirteen children! After the deaths of Henry VIII and his son and heir Edward VI, the Catholic Mary I came to the throne. As Protestants, Catherine and Francis feared for their safety and fled the country with their youngest children. Catherine and her family spent several years travelling the Low Countries, where Catherine was to give birth to one of her children.

    Upon Mary I's death, Elizabeth I came to the throne and in 1559 Catherine was appointed as a lady of the Queen's bedchamber. Returning to England, Catherine took up this highly prized position. Her status meant that she was to tend to the Queen's personal needs, sleep at the foot of her bed when required and help dress the Queen, among other duties. It was a position of intimacy and one which Elizabeth I came to cherish.

    Tragically, Catherine died on 15 January 1569 at Hampton Court. Queen Elizabeth I is reported to have been grief-stricken and she gave her beloved cousin a lavish burial at Westminster Abbey which cost £640 2s. 11d.

    Mary Boleyn's second child, a son named Henry, was born on 4 March 1526. He too would become a prominent and impressive member at court throughout his life. In May 1545 he married Anne Morgan and the pair had twelve children together, nine of them sons. During his early years, he became a diplomat and a member of parliament. When Elizabeth I came to the throne, Henry was knighted and on the 13 January 1559 he was created Baron Hunsdon and granted substantial lands and a yearly pension of £4000. On 31 October 1560 Henry was appointed as Master of the Queen's hawks and then on 18 May 1561 he was created a Knight of the Garter.

    Henry Carey played a prominent role over the years helping to protect the North from England's Scottish neighbours. On 23 October 1571, he was appointed warden of the east marshes, which afforded him even greater responsibilities in protecting the north of England. On the 16 November 1577, Henry was appointed as a member of the Privy Council, allowing him greater access not only to the Queen but to the administration of England's policies.

    During 1583, Elizabeth I re-appointed Henry as captain of the gentlemen pensioners and in July 1585 he was appointed as Lord Chamberlain of the Household, as well as continuing his privy councillor duties. Henry was active in political life until his death on 23 July 1596 at Somerset House. Just like his sister Catherine, Henry Carey was buried at Westminster Abbey, the expenses of this paid by his cousin Elizabeth I. It is rumoured that on his deathbed Elizabeth I offered Henry the earldom of Wiltshire, a title held by his grandfather Thomas Boleyn. However, Henry refused the title stating that if Elizabeth did not think him worthy of the title while he was alive he would not accept it now that he was dying.

    Elizabeth I died childless in 1603 and it was through Catherine and Henry's children that the Boleyn bloodline continued.

    Sarah Bryson is the author of Mary Boleyn: In a Nutshell. She is a researcher, writer and educator who has a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education with Honours and currently works with children with disabilities. Sarah is passionate about Tudor history and has a deep interest in Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn, the reign of Henry VIII and the people of his court. Visiting England in 2009 furthered her passion and when she returned home she started a website,, and Facebook page about Tudor history. Sarah lives in Australia, enjoys reading, writing, Tudor costume enactment and wishes to return to England one day.

    Notes and Sources

    • Jonathan Hughes, ‘Stafford , Mary (c.1499–1543)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2009,, accessed 6 June 2015.
    • Sally Varlow, ‘Knollys , Katherine, Lady Knollys (c.1523–1569)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Oct 2006; online edn, Jan 2009, accessed 6 June 2015.
    • Wallace T. MacCaffrey, ‘Carey, Henry, first Baron Hunsdon (1526–1596)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Sept 2014, [ 6 June 2015.
    • Weir, Alison (2011) Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings, Ballantine Books, New York.
    • Wilkinson, Josephine (2010) Mary Boleyn: The True Story of Henry VIII’s Favourite Mistress, Amberley Publishing, Gloucestershire.
  • The Importance of Katherine Parr and Challenging Myths by Alex Taylor

    We tend to think of her as the woman who comes from nowhere, she’s not. In many ways she’s the most interesting, the most exciting, the best educated, and the cleverest of Henry’s wives. -David Starkey

    Katherine Parr has been remembered through history as King Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife. The fortunate wife that survived. She has been labelled as merely Henry’s nurse, tending to the sickly king’s infirmities. Essentially, she is believed to be little more than Henry’s companion in his final years, with no great achievements of her own. She is often viewed as a wife of lesser importance, in contrast to the hugely popular Anne Boleyn whose legacy has been carried through centuries of intrigue and fame. This article intends to demystify the myths associated with Katherine Parr’s turbulent life, thus to reveal a more realistic view of a women who was well read, deeply religious and ultimately important during her time.

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  • What to expect on the Tudor Society website

    Claire in one of her videos.

    Claire in one of her videos.

    We've had lots of new members recently so I just wanted to write this post to let them know, and to remind 'old' members, what to expect from Tudor Society membership on an ongoing basis. It really is important that you log in on at least a weekly basis to get the most of your membership as there is new content being added all the time.


    • This week in history - Every week Claire shares "on this day in history" events for the week ahead. She posts these every Monday.
    • Quiz - A Plantagenet/Tudor quiz is posted every Sunday for you to test your knowledge and have some fun.
    • Claire Chats video - Every Friday a "Claire Chats" video is posted on the site. Claire discusses a variety of Tudor history topics, people and places.
    • Articles - Articles by regular contributors (Sarah, Claire and Alex) are shared every week. Claire also adds bios, primary sources and other resources on an ongoing basis, as well as news on events, book launches etc.


    • Tudor Life - The Tudor Society monthly magazine is published on the site towards the end of each month for you to read online or download.
    • Expert Talks - Each month we host a talk from an author, historian or history expert.
    • Live chats - Later in the month, we host a live chat on the chatroom with that month's expert speaker. This means that you can watch/listen to their talk and then ask the expert your questions.
    • Giveaways - There is a book giveaway at each live chat.

    It really is worth logging-in on a regular basis and why not pop into the forum while you're here? Ask a question, share your opinion, start a discussion, have fun...


    Everything is archived on the site so you can catch up on all the magazines, videos, talks, articles, quizzes etc. that you have missed. Just browse the "categories" in the right-hand side menu.

    We hope you'll enjoy being a member.

  • Livi Michael’s “Rebellion” out 13 August

    Author Livi Michael is one of our August speakers (yes, we’ve got 2!) and I just wanted to let you know that the second of her “Wars of the Roses” novels, Rebellion, is due out in the UK on 13th August as a paperback and kindle. It is also coming out on kindle on that date in the US.

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