The Tudor Society

YOUR SEARCH UNCOVERED 787 RESULTS

  • June 22 – The execution of John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester

    A sketch of Bishop John Fisher by Hans Holbein the Younger.

    On 22nd June 1535, John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, was beheaded on Tower Hill.

    Fisher, who had served Henry VIII’s grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was executed for treason for refusing to accept Henry VIII as the supreme head of the church.

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  • June 13 – George Neville, 3rd Baron Bergavenny

    Sketch of George Neville, 3rd Baron Bergavenny, by Hans Holbein the Younger

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th June 1535, or possibly 14th, Tudor courtier and nobleman, George Neville, 3rd Baron Bergavenny, died at his home at Eridge in Sussex.
    He fell from favour after the fall of his father-in-law, the Duke of Buckingham, in 1521, but managed to rise again.

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  • Monday Martyr – Elizabeth Barton, the Holy Maid of Kent

    An engraving of Elizabeth Barton swooning with a vision

    This week’s Monday Martyr is Elizabeth Barton, who was hanged for treason at Tyburn on 20th April 1534, along with Father Edward Bocking (a monk and Barton’s spiritual adviser), Richard Masters (her parish priest), Richard Risby (warden of the Observant Friary at Canterbury) and Hugh Rich (warden of the Observant Friary at Richmond).

    Elizabeth had visions and prophecies, and one particular prophecy got her into trouble with King Henry VIII.

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  • An update on the bench with links to Catherine of Aragon

    Thank you to John Roberts for this update - click here for John's original article.

    Tudor Society followers from four years ago may remember this historic bench and its many references to Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon.

    Many notable historians of ancient furniture, including Jonathan Foyle, have determined that the bench displays woodworked artistry from between the 16th-19th centuries, so the question now remains, why were talented craftsmen adding on to a work of art rather than creating one?

    The penny dropped early one morning this week with the theory that it's not the BENCH that is the main study here but the HEADBOARD!

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  • Hever Castle – still worth a visit? by Tim Ridgway

    Hever Castle

    A few weeks ago, my father and I were able to get away for a morning to visit Hever Castle in Kent. It’s somewhere that you may have been to before, and it’s a castle that is very close to our hearts – we LOVE the way the grounds are kept and how the castle evokes the history of the Boleyn family, the time Anne of Cleves spent there AND, more recently, how the Astor family lived and renovated the whole area.

    For a long time, Hever castle was quite static in its displays – not much changed, which was fine if you’d never visited before, but since we had visited so many times, it was rare to see anything new. That’s no longer the case.

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  • April 6 – Henry Stafford, Earl of Wiltshire

    A silhouette of a man's side profile

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th April 1523, in the reign of King Henry VIII, nobleman and courtier Henry Stafford, Earl of Wiltshire, died at the age of about 44.

    Stafford died without issue so his earldom became extinct until 1529 when Thomas Boleyn, father of Anne Boleyn, was made Earl of Wiltshire.

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  • April 2 – Sir Ambrose Cave

    The coat of arms of the Knights Hospitaller

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd April 1568, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Ambrose Cave, member of Parliament, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Knight of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, died at the Savoy. He was buried at Stanford after a funeral at the Savoy Chapel.

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  • March 31 – Henry VII makes his will

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st March 1509, the dying Henry VII made his last will and testament at Richmond Palace, three weeks before his death.

    The will was based on an earlier draft, with some new provisions added, for example, the addition of Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley to the list of executors.

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  • March 30 – Sir Ralph Sadler

    Portrait of an unknown man some believe to be Ralph Sadler by Hans Holbein the Younger

    A portrait of an unknown man thought to be Sir Ralph Sadler by Hans Holbein the YoungerOn this day in Tudor history, 30th March 1587, in the reign of Elizabeth I, Sir Ralph Sadler died. He was in his 80th year.

    Sadler was a diplomat and administrator who worked as Thomas Cromwell's secretary before being noticed by Henry VIII.

    At his death, he was one of the richest men in England.

    Here are a few more facts about him…

    • Ralph Sadler was born in 1507 and was the eldest son of administrator Henry Sadler of Warwickshire and Hackney. Henry Sadler worked as steward to Sir Edward Belknap until 1521. Belknap was one of Henry VIII’s privy councillors. He then served Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset.
    • By 1521, when he was about 14, Ralph Sadler had entered the service of Thomas Cromwell, who ensured that he was taught Latin, Greek, French and Law.

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  • March 27 – George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury

    On 27th March 1539, George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, was laid to rest in the Shrewsbury Chapel of St Peter’s Church, Sheffield.

    Talbot is known for his loyalty to the king during the Pilgrimage of Grace uprisings, which was seen as crucial to the failure of the rebellion.

    But let me tell you a bit more about this Tudor earl…

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  • March 22 – Edward Seymour is in and Henry Howard is out

    Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, by Hans Holbein the Younger

    On this day in Tudor history, 22nd March 1546, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, landed in Calais to relieve the out of favour Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, in his military duties as lieutenant general there.

    Hertford had been officially appointed the previous day “as the King’s lieutenant in the parts beyond sea, and commander in chief of the army and armada now about to be sent thither; with authority to invade France at discretion, and to order all admirals, vice-admirals and shipmasters there.” The privy council also wrote to Surrey recalling him to England.

    But what had happened? Why was Surrey being replaced with Hertford?

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  • March 17 – William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, Black Will Herbert

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th March 1570, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, soldier, courtier and landowner, died at Hampton Court, aged sixty-three.

    Here are some facts about this Tudor earl, who was known as Black Will Herbert and had a queen as a sister-in-law…

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  • March 16 – John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners

    A portrait of John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners, by an unknown Netherlandish artist

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th March 1533, in the reign of King Henry VIII, soldier, translator and diplomat, John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners, died at Calais, while serving as Deputy of Calais.

    Berners was succeeded as deputy by the king’s uncle, Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle.

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  • March 10 – William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester

    Portrait of William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester, holding the white staff of the office of Lord High Treasurer, NPG.

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th March 1572, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, nobleman and administrator William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester, died at his home Basing House in Hampshire. He was said to be 97 years of age at his death. He was laid to rest in the parish church at Basing on 28th April.

    Paulet’s offices under Henry VIII included Lord Treasurer, Great Master of the Household and Lord Great Chamberlain, and he also served the king’s children, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, in their reigns.

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  • March 6 – Lord Chancellor Thomas Wriothesley is accused of abusing his authority

    Miniature of Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, by Hans Holbein the Younger

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th March 1547, in the reign of King Edward VI, former Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII, Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton, lost the Great Seal of his Lord Chancellorship and was confined to his home at Ely Place for abusing his authority.

    Wriothesley was found guilty of issuing a commission without the knowledge or permission of the other executors of Henry VIII’s will, but it was probably more to do with his opposition to Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, becoming Lord Protector.

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  • An Extract from “Tudor England: A History”

    Lucy Wooding is the Langford fellow and tutor in history at Lincoln College, Oxford. She is an expert on Reformation England and its politics, religion, and culture and the author of Henry VIII. She has asked us to share this section from her book "Tudor England: A History".

    You can get the book at THIS LINK


    As the tensions of the later sixteenth century, both religious and polit­ical, became more acute, Tudor drama itself became more sophisticated, and more heavily freighted with meaning. Elizabethan plays might have a dangerously polemical edge, or a blunt propaganda purpose. Where fifteenth-century plays had often conveyed a religious message, later Tudor drama continued to explore moral dilemmas, albeit with a level of self-conscious wariness that earlier dramas had lacked. Solely religious plays became a thing of the past in the fraught confessional climate of the 1580s and 1590s, but drama became, if anything, more pervasive1. Plays, or ‘playings’, took place at Court, in private households, in the universities and Inns of Court, in taverns and inns, in the market square or through the streets of a city on May Day or to celebrate midsummer. By the end of the sixteenth century, there were also commercial theatrical spaces akin to the modern theatre; the first of these was built by James Burbage in Shoreditch in 1576, and called simply the Theatre2. South of the river, Philip Henslowe built the Rose on Bankside in 1587, and it was joined in 1595 by the Swan and in 1599 by the Globe. Yet even in the age of Shakespeare, theatre still belonged as much in the street or the household as upon a stage.

    Drama was not just a source of entertainment or moral commentary: it was proactive in the shaping of affairs and attitudes. In an age when insti­tutions were still flimsy, and politics were intensely personal, power could be confirmed or qualified through magnificence and display. The common­wealth, or state, was something imagined, but still it elicited an emotional investment given immediacy through symbolism3. Each display of power required a response, and each enactment of authority called for an answer, so drama was also a site for negotiation and the exchange of ideas in this ‘theatre state’4. Royal processions, progresses and tournaments encapsu­lated important transactions between ruler and ruled; in council meetings, parliaments and royal audiences, confrontations were enacted in which policy was shaped by participants on both sides. Deaths on the scaffold required the speeches of those about to die to reinforce codes of honour and obedience, while subtle alterations to the formulaic expressions of penitence and obedience might equally convey protestations of innocence, or even defiance. The drive for religious conformity made martyrs of many whose extraordinary commitment led them willingly to play their parts in a terrible drama of death. In their sufferings could be seen either the moral might of a government staunchly opposing heresy, or conversely, a testi­mony to religious truth serving as a powerful reproach to a persecutory regime; it was for the audience to choose.

    This was an age in which men and women often found it easiest to express their own identity by acting a part. Elizabeth I in her lifetime was cast by both herself and others in roles as various as the Old Testament heroine Deborah or the goddess Diana; as the mythical King Arthur or the historical Emperor Constantine. When she famously remarked to William Lambarde, keeper of the Tower, ‘know ye not I am Richard II?’, she was acknowledging her own questionable reputation as ruler in her twilight years; she was also signalling the broader principle that political meaning could be readily conveyed by mimesis5. Badgered by parliament to execute Mary Queen of Scots, she reminded them of the dangers of public scrutiny: ‘Princes, you know, stand upon stages so that their actions are viewed and beheld of all men; and I am sure my doings will come to the scanning of many fine wits, not only within the realm, but in foreign coun­tries.’6 Henry VII, in just a single royal progress in 1486, had been vari­ously depicted as Solomon, Noah, Jason, Isaac, Jacob, David, Scipio and Arthur – legendary figures, invoked at a time of dangerous political insta­bility, when the sanction of past rulers, generals and prophets was badly needed.7

    References

    1. Thomas Betteridge and Greg Walker, ‘Introduction’, in Thomas Betteridge and Greg Walker (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama (Oxford, 2012), 4–8, 11.
    2. William Ingram, The Business of Playing: The beginnings of the adult professional theater in Elizabethan England (Ithaca, NY, 1992).
    3. Michael Walzer, ‘On the role of symbolism in political thought’, Political Science Quarterly 82 (1987), 194–95.
    4. For the conception of the ‘theatre state’, see Clifford Geertz, Negara: The theatre state in nineteenth-century Bali (Princeton, NJ, 1980), also Clifford Geertz, ‘Centers, kings and charisma: Reflections on the symbolics of power’, in Joseph Ben-David and Terry Nicholas Clark (eds), Culture and Its Creators: Essays in Honor of Edward Shils (Chicago, IL, 1977), and Clifford Geertz, ‘Politics past, politics present’, in Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected essays (second edition, New York, 2000), 327–41.
    5. Stephen Orgel, Spectacular Performances: Essays on theatre, imagery, books and selves in early modern England (Manchester, 2011), 7–35.
    6. Elizabeth I: Collected Works, 189.
    7. David Bevington, Tudor Drama and Politics (Cambridge, MA, 1968), 6; see also John C. Meagher, ‘The first progress of Henry VII’, Renaissance Drama 1 (1968), 45–73.
  • February 7 – Mary, Queen of Scots’ death warrant arrives at Fotheringhay

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th February 1587, the warrant for the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, arrived at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, where Mary was being held.

    Mary had been tried for treason in October 1586 after being implicated in the Babington Plot, a plot to depose Queen Elizabeth I and to replace her with Mary. She had been found guilty and sentenced to death, but Elizabeth would not sign the execution warrant, not wanting the responsibility of killing an anointed queen. However, Mary’s gaoler, Sir Amias Paulet, would not agree to quietly doing away with Mary, and after pressure from her council and petitions from Parliament, Elizabeth finally signed the warrant, although she later said she had asked for it not to be sent to Fotheringhay yet.

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  • January 25 – St Edmund Campion, Catholic Martyr

    Engraving of St Edmund Campion with a knife in his chest

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th January 1540, St Edmund Campion, Jesuit and martyr, was born in London.

    Campion was hanged, drawn and quartered on 1st December 1581 for treasonable conspiracy.  He was beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII and canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

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  • January 13 – Sir Henry Neville

    Engraving of Billingbear House, home of Sir Henry Neville.

    On 13th January 1593, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Henry Neville died. He was buried at Waltham St Lawrence in Berkshire.

    Sir Henry Neville was a groom of Henry VIII’s Privy Chamber and a gentleman of Edward VI’s Privy chamber.

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  • January 11 – Blessed William Carter

    The Tyburn Tree, the gallows at Tyburn

    On 11th January 1584, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Blessed William Carter was executed for treason.

    Printer William Carter, who was about thirty-six years of age at his death, had been found guilty of treason for printing a book which allegedly contained a passage inciting the queen’s assassination. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.

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  • December 16 – George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th (or possibly the 18th) December 1503, George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent, died at Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

    The earl served in Henry VII’s reign as a soldier, a member of the king’s council, the Constable of Northampton Castle, and as a judge at the trial of Edward, Earl of Warwick in 1499.

    His first wife was Anne Woodville, sister of Queen Elizabeth Woodville.

    Grey managed to retain royal favour on Henry VII’s accession even though he’d been rewarded by Richard III.

    Find out more about George Grey…

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  • November 2 – The birth of Edward V, one of the Princes in the Tower

    On this day in history, 2nd November 1470, the Feast of All Souls, King Edward V, son of King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth Woodville, was born at Westminster Abbey, London.

    Edward was King of England for just two months before he disappeared in 1483 with his brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York-

    He may have lived prior to the Tudor period, but the events of Edward V’s short life and reign are linked to the Tudors because Henry Tudor returned from exile to challenge King Richard III, who had, of course, taken the throne from Edward V.

    Find out more about Edward V’s life and how he came to be one of the famous Princes in the Tower…

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  • July 14 – A poisoned cardinal, and a Bible translator

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th July 1514, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Cardinal Christopher Bainbridge died in Rome.

    Who was this cardinal?

    And who claimed to have poisoned him and why?

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  • June 12 – A lawyer and torturer, and Master Secretary Cromwell pleads for mercy

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th June 1567, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, died.

    He wasn’t a particularly nice Tudor chap and was involved in the cases of Sir Thomas More and Anne Askew.

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  • June 8 – Elizabeth Woodville, and an Act of Succession

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th June 1492, in the reign of King Henry VII, the king’s mother-in-law, Elizabeth Woodville, died at Bermondsey Abbey.

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  • May 2022 – Tudor Travel and Summer

    We’ve turned the corner and the warmer weather is now coming in! What did the Tudors do in the summer months, and where did they go? Enjoy this bumper magazine edition.

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  • April 5 – A pope is declared wrong and a cook is boiled to death

    On this day in 1533, Convocation, ruled that the pope was wrong and that Henry VIII was right, i.e. it ruled that the Pope had no power to dispense in the case of a man marrying his brother’s widow, and that it was contrary to God’s law – Catherine of Aragon should not have been able to marry Henry VIII.

    This was just as well seeing as the king had got married to Anne Boleyn and she was pregnant with his child!

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  • 16 December – The death of George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent, and the birth of Catherine of Aragon

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th (or possibly the 18th) December 1503, George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent, died at Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

    Grey served as a soldier under Henry VII, was on the king’s council, and served him as Constable of Northampton Castle and as a judge at the trial of Edward, Earl of Warwick in 1499.
    He was also married to a sister of Elizabeth Woodville.

    Grey also managed to retain royal favour on Henry VII’s accession even though he’d been rewarded by Richard III.

    Find out more about George Grey in this talk…

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  • 28 November -An agent carrying gold for Mary, Queen of Scots drowned and Edward Plantagenet was beheaded

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th November 1565, member of Parliament and political agent Francis Yaxley set sail for Scotland from Antwerp.

    Sadly, Yaxley’s ship was wrecked in a storm and he never reached Scotland, and neither did the gold he was carrying to Mary, Queen of Scots.

    But why was he carrying gold and who was it from? What happened to the gold?

    Find out all about Yaxley, how he came to be traveling from Antwerp to Scotland, and what happened to him and the gold, in this talk…

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  • 2 November – The birth of King Edward V and the beginning of the end for Catherine Howard

    On this day in history, 2nd November 1470, the feast of All Souls, King Edward V was born at Westminster Abbey, London. Young Edward was King of England for just 2 months in 1483 before he disappeared.

    The events of his short life, his short reign and how it ended, are linked to the Tudors because Henry Tudor returned from exile to challenge King Richard III, who had, of course, taken the throne from Edward V.

    Find out about Edward V’s life and how he came to be one of the famous Princes in the Tower, in this talk…

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