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The Tudor Society

YOUR SEARCH UNCOVERED 149 RESULTS

  • 11 April 1554 – The Execution of Thomas Wyatt the Younger

    On the 11th April 1554, Sir Thomas Wyatt the younger was beheaded and then his body quartered for treason, for leading Wyatt’s Rebellion against Queen Mary I.

    Wyatt had already shown his opposition to Mary when he supported Lady Jane Grey’s claim to the throne after the death of Edward VI – he escaped punishment that time – but he felt compelled to act when he found out about Mary I’s plans to marry King Philip II of Spain.
    The plan was to have a series of uprisings in the South, Southwest, Welsh Marches and Midlands, and then a march on London to overthrow the government, block the Spanish marriage, dethrone Mary and replace her with her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth, who would marry Edward Courtenay. Unfortunately for Wyatt, other rebel leaders like the Duke of Suffolk (Lady Jane Grey’s father) and the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey (who had nothing to do with the revolt), the plan failed.

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  • Palm Sunday 1554 – A bad day for the Lady Elizabeth

    On Palm Sunday 1554 (which was 18 March that year), the twenty year old Elizabeth was taken to the Tower of London, the place where her mother had been imprisoned and where her mother and one of her stepmothers had been executed.

    We can only imagine the sheer terror she felt when Mary I’s council turned up at her doorstep on the 16th March to formally charge her with being involved in Wyatt’s Rebellion, the revolt which had taken place in January and February 1554. Elizabeth was told that Mary wanted her sister taken to the Tower for questioning and that she would be escorted there the next day.

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  • Elizabeth I’s Tide Letter

    On 17th March 1554, two of Mary I’s councillors, Winchester and Sussex, were sent to escort Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, to her prison at the Tower of London by water for her alleged involvement in Wyatt’s Rebellion. This was when Elizabeth wrote what David Starkey calls “the letter of her life”, the famous Tide Letter, so-called because as Elizabeth wrote this letter to her sister the tide turned, making it impossible to take Elizabeth to the Tower that day.

    The letter was written in haste but Elizabeth still managed to write an eloquent and well-argued letter, which unfortunately went ignored by Mary. It did, however, delay her imprisonment by one day.

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  • July 6 – The death of Edward VI and the accession of Queen Jane, Lady Jane Grey

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th July 1553, fifteen-year-old King Edward VI died at Greenwich Palace.

    His “devise for the succession” named his heir as Lady Jane Grey, the daughter of Edward’s cousin, Frances Grey (née Brandon), Duchess of Suffolk.

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  • May 18 – Catherine Woodville, and a rebel comes to a sticky end

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th May 1497, Catherine Woodville, Duchess of Buckingham and Bedford, died.

    Who was Catherine Woodville and how was she linked to the famous Woodvilles who rose in the reign of King Edward IV?

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  • April 11 – The end of a rebel and victory for Anne Boleyn at last

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th April 1554, in the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger, son of poet and diplomat Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, was beheaded on Tower Hill after being found guilty of high treason.

    Wyatt had led a rebellion which sought to depose the queen and to replace her with her half-sister Elizabeth, but he refused to implicate Elizabeth in the plot. He went to his death asserting her innocence.

    Find out more about what happened and hear his final speech…

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  • 26 January – Justice Spelman and Anne Boleyn’s trial, and Mary I writes to Elizabeth

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th January 1546, judge of assize and law reporter, Sir John Spelman, died.

    Now, you may never have heard of Justice John Spelman, but his reports on the legal cases of people like Queen Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey have been very useful to historians – a wonderful resource.

    Find out more about Sir John Spelman and what he had to say about Anne Boleyn’s trial in this video…

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  • 1 November – The birth of William Brooke and the death of Edmund Tudor

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st November 1527, the feast of All Saints, William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham, courtier and diplomat, was born.

    Cobham was a close friend of William Cecil, Baron Burghley and Elizabeth’s I’s chief advisor, so Cobham became powerful in Elizabeth's reign, serving her in a number of important offices. And, this baron was able to escape charges of treason twice thanks to the influence of his friends and patrons.

    Find out more about Cobham's life, career, and brushes with trouble, which included links with Wyatt's Rebellion and the Ridolfi Plot, in this talk...
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  • 18 May – I have a little neck

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th May 1536, Queen Anne Boleyn’s execution was postponed.

    Sir William Kingston, the Constable of the Tower of London, was surprised by the queen’s reaction when he informed her of the delay – why? How did Anne react? What did she say?

    Find out exactly what Anne Boleyn said…

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  • 27 November – Former monk burnt at stake for importing books

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th November 1531, former Benedictine monk and reformist, Richard Bayfield, was burnt at the stake at Smithfield for heresy after Sir Thomas More had caught him importing heretical books into England.

    It wasn’t Bayfield’s first brush with the authorities. He’d been in trouble for heresy previously so was now deemed a “relapsed heretic”. This time, penance wasn’t enough, he was condemned to death.

    Find out more about Richard Bayfield, how he went from being a monk to a reformer, and how he ended up at the stake as a Protestant martyr. I also share John Foxe’s account of Bayfield’s burning.

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  • 16 November – An Elizabethan earl and rebel who never learnt his lesson

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th November 1601, nobleman and rebel Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland, died while in exile at Nieuwpoort in Flanders.

    Westmorland had fled into exile following the failure of the Northern Rebellion, a plot to release Mary, Queen of Scots, from prison and to overthrow Elizabeth I. He didn’t learn his lesson, being involved in a further plot.

    The earl died a sad end in debt and separated from his wife and daughters, but it was his own fault.

    Find out more about the rebel northern earl in today’s talk.

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  • 31 October – Falling in love with the wrong woman was a dangerous thing!

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st October 1537, Lord Thomas Howard, second son of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, died while imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was about twenty-five years of age at his death.

    How did this son of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk and brother of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk end up dying in the Tower?

    Well, he fell in love with the wrong woman? He had become secretly betrothed to King Henry VIII’s niece, Lady Margaret Douglas.

    Find out more about Lord Thomas Howard, his relationship with Lady Margaret Douglas, and what happened to them both, in today’s talk. Oh, and Margaret really didn’t learn her lesson!

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  • 26 October – Rain stops rebels going to battle

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th October 1536, the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace halted at Scawsby Leys near Doncaster, where they met crown troops. The rebels were said to number around 30,000 and the crown’s army was only a fifth of the size, but the rebel leader, lawyer Robert Aske, chose to negotiate rather than fight.

    Why, when they could well have won?

    Well one Tudor chronicler puts it down to rain. You can find out more about this meeting, how rain put a stop to the rebels’ plans, and what happened next between the Pilgrimage of Grace rebels and Henry VIII, in today’s talk.

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  • 29 September – A papal legate arrives for Henry VIII’s annulment case

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th September 1528, the papal legate, Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio, landed at Dover on the Kent coast.

    Campeggio and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who had been appointed the pope’s vice-regent, were given the task of hearing Henry VIII’s case for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

    Find out more about what happened when next, what happened at the special legatine court, and how Henry ended up waiting for his annulment for a few more years, in today’s talk.

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  • 25 September – Explorer Stephen Borough

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th September 1525, explorer, navigator and naval administrator Stephen Borough (Burrough) was born at Borough House, Northam Burrows, Northam, in Devon.

    This Arctic explorer learnt his navigational skills from first his uncle and then Spanish pilots in Seville. He discovered Novaya Zemlya and the Viagatz Strait (Kara Strait), which was named the Burrough Strait until the late 1800s.

    Hear an overview of Stephen Borough’s life and career in today’s talk.

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  • 4 September – A marriage is agreed between Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th September 1539, William, Duke of Cleves, signed the marriage treaty promising his sister, Anne of Cleves, in marriage to King Henry VIII.

    Anne would of course become Henry VIII’s fourth wife.

    Find out all about the marriage agreement and its terms, and what happened next, in today’s talk.

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  • 10 August – Drownings at London Bridge

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th August 1553, the same day that Queen Mary I held requiem mass for the soul of her late half-brother, Edward VI, seven men died at London Bridge. They were drowned.

    Find out more about what happened to these men – one of whom was Thomas Brydges, the son of Sir Thomas Brydges, Deputy Lieutenant of the Tower of London – how the Thames was the preferred way of travelling around London, and how and why it could be dangerous around London Bridge, in today’s talk.

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  • 18 March – Elizabeth I is arrested

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th March 1554, Palm Sunday, the twenty-year-old Lady Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth I) was escorted by barge from her home at Whitehall Palace along the River Thames to the Tower of London, and imprisoned there.

    Elizabeth had been implicated in Wyatt's Rebellion, a rebellion that sought to depose Queen Mary I and put Elizabeth, the queen's half-sister, on the throne in her place.

    Where was Elizabeth imprisoned? What happened to her? Find out more about Elizabeth's arrest and her time in the Tower of London in today's talk.
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  • 17 March – Alexander Alesius and his terrifying vision of Anne Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th March 1565, Scottish theologian and Reformer Alexander Alesius (also known as Ales, Aless), died in either Leipzig or Edinburgh.

    Alesius wrote a huge number of theological works, was friends with reformers Philip Melancthon and Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, but had a row with the Bishop of London at one point.

    Let me tell you a bit more about Alexander Alesius and also a terrifying vision or nightmare he experience in the early hours of 19th May 1536, the day of Queen Anne Boleyn’s execution.

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  • 26 January – Justice Spelman and Anne Boleyn’s trial

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th January 1546, judge of assize and law reporter, Sir John Spelman, died.

    Now, you may never have heard of Justice John Spelman, but his reports on the legal cases of people like Queen Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey have been very useful to historians – a wonderful resource.

    Let me tell you more about Sir John Spelman and what he had to say about Anne Boleyn’s trial.

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  • 25 January – Bonfires, torches, bells ringing…

    25th January is the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, an important day in Tudor times. It celebrated the conversion of Saul, a man known for his persecution of Christians, on the road to Damascus.

    In today’s talk, I explain the background of the feast day and shares a contemporary account of how St Paul’s Day was celebrated in the reign of Queen Mary I.

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  • 17 January – Poet Thomas Wyatt is arrested

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th January 1541, courtier, diplomat and poet, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, was arrested and sent to the Tower of London after being accused of corresponding with Cardinal Reginald Pole, and referring to the prospect of Henry VIII’s death.

    Wyatt was taken to the Tower and it looked like he’d be executed, but he was saved by Queen Catherine Howard, but at a huge cost.

    Find out more about what Wyatt was accused of, how he escaped execution and what he had to agree to, in today’s talk.

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  • 2 January – A visit for the dying Catherine of Aragon

    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.

    Find out from Chapuys’ own account what happened in the four days he spent with Catherine of Aragon.

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  • 27 November – William Shakespeare gets married

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th November 1582, eighteen year-old William Shakespeare, the famous playwright and a man known as the Bard, married twenty-six year-old Anne (also known as Agnes) Hathaway, at Temple Grafton, near Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire.

    Anne Hathaway was pregnant at the time of their marriage and went on to give birth to a daughter, Susannah, the following May. The couple went on to have twins, Hamnet and Judith, in 1585.

    Find out more about William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway, and their marriage, and also what happened to them, in today’s talk:

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  • 19 November – An important member of the Catholic underground dies

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th November 1587, Henry Vaux died of what was probably consumption at Great Ashby, the home of his sister, Eleanor Brooksby.

    Henry Vaux is a fascinating Tudor man. He started out as a precocious child and poet, and grew up to be an important member of the Catholic underground. He was a Catholic recusant and priest harbourer, helping Jesuit priests in the Protestant reign of Queen Elizabeth I, both financially and by giving them a roof over the heads.

    In today’s talk, I introduce Henry Vaux and what happened to him in Queen Elizabeth I’s reign.

    Book Recommendation: One of my very favourite history books is “God’s Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England” by Jessie Childs.

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  • 16 November – A strange Elizabethan Plot

    On this day in history, 16th November 1612, Elizabethan conspirator, William Stafford, died. He’s an interesting Tudor character because he had Plantagenet blood and also because he was allegedly the chief plotter in the Stafford Plot, a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I, but he was only imprisoned for a short time and lived the rest of his life quietly in Norfolk, dying a natural death.

    How and why did William Stafford escape serious punishment for the Stafford Plot and what did Sir Francis Walsingham have to do with it all?

    Find out about William Stafford and the Stafford Plot in today’s talk.

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  • 31 October – Martin Luther and his 95 Theses

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st October 1517, Reformer, priest and professor of theology Martin Luther is said to have posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, although all we know for definite is that he posted them to Bishop of Brandenburg and the Archbishop of Mainz.

    The proper title of his work was the “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences”, and he was protesting against the sale of indulgences by the papacy, as well as other points. His actions on this day had a huge impact on Europe and were the catalyst of the European Reformation.

    Find out more about Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and what happened next in today’s video.

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  • 26 October – Sir Thomas More is sworn in as Lord Chancellor

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th October 1529, Sir Thomas More took his oath as Lord Chancellor, replacing Cardinal Thomas Wolsey who was charged with praemunire.

    It was an important day for Sir Thomas More, who was described as “an upright and learned man”, but, little did he know that his loyal service to the king would lead to his undoing.

    Find out all about this day in 1529 in today’s talk.

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  • Elizabeth I – The good, the bad and the ugly

    In this week's Claire Chats talk, I am continuing my series on the Tudor monarchs, and examining their reigns for "the good, the bad, the ugly", i.e. their achievements and the not-so-good stuff, by looking at the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled from 1558 to 1603.

    Now, I've already handled this topic, in regards to Elizabeth I, back in 2018, so below you will find my previous Claire Chats. But here's a bit about Elizabeth I from my book "Illustrated Kings and Queen of England":

    Elizabeth I was born on 7 September 1533 at Greenwich Palace. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn. Her mother was executed for alleged adultery and treason in May 1536 and within two months of her mother's death Parliament had confirmed that Elizabeth's parents' marriage was invalid and that Elizabeth was illegitimate.

    In 1547, following her father's death, Elizabeth moved in with her stepmother the Dowager Queen Catherine Parr, and her husband Thomas Seymour. There, she became involved in a scandal with Seymour, who would visit Elizabeth's chamber, dressed only in his night-gown, and proceed to tickle and stroke the teenaged girl. Eventually, Catherine arranged for Elizabeth to go and live with her good friends, Sir Anthony Denny and his wife at Cheshunt. Catherine died in September 1548, following the birth of her daughter, and Seymour was executed in March 1549 for allegedly plotting to control his nephew Edward VI and to remove his brother, Edward Seymour, Lord Protector, from power.

    Although Elizabeth supported her half-sister Mary when she claimed the throne in July 1553, she was taken to the Tower of London on 18 March 1554 after being charged with being involved in Wyatt's Rebellion . She was released on 19 May 1554 and placed under house arrest at Woodstock. In April 1555 she was summoned to court to attend Mary I who was, allegedly pregnant. After spending a few months with Mary, she was finally given permission to leave court for Hatfield, her own estate, on the 18th October 1555.

    Elizabeth inherited the throne from her childless half-sister on 17 November 1558. She ruled England for 44 years and made a huge difference to the country. England was in a depressing state when she inherited it from Mary I, yet when Elizabeth died England was a strong and prosperous country, a force to be reckoned with, and that is why her reign is known as “The Golden Age”. Her main achievements include defeating the Spanish Armada, following on from her father's work on the navy and turning England into a strong and dominant naval power, defending England from Scotland and actually turning the Scots into a permanent ally, increasing literacy in England, expanding England overseas by encouraging explorers like Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, and Sir John Hawkins to discover new places and form colonies, founding the Church of England as we know it today, raising the status of England abroad, surviving and defeating plots and uprisings against her, helping the poor by her poor laws, ruling England in her own right as Queen without a consort, and promoting the Arts – her love of arts led to theatres being built and great poets and playwrights like Shakespeare, Spenser and Marlow emerging.

    Elizabeth I died on 24 March 1603 and was buried at Westminster Abbey in the vault of her grandfather Henry VII. She was moved in 1606 to her present resting place, a tomb in the Lady Chapel of Westminster Abbey which she shares with her half-sister Mary I. King James I spent over £11,000 on Elizabeth I's lavish funeral and he also arranged for a white marble monument to be built. The tomb is inscribed with the words “Consorts both in throne and grave, here we rest two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in hope of our resurrection.”

    She is known as the Virgin Queen, Gloriana and Good Queen Bess.

    Here are the other Claire Chats talks in this series:

    Sources and Further Reading

  • 29 September – Elizabeth I tickles Robert Dudley while making him an earl

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th September 1564, Michaelmas, the queen’s favourite, Robert Dudley, was made Earl of Leicester and Baron Denbigh in front of the Scottish ambassador, Sir James Melville.

    Elizabeth I made Dudley an earl so that he’d be suitable as a potential bridegroom for Mary, Queen of Scots, but she couldn’t refrain from a display of affection during the ceremony, tickling him on the neck!

    In today’s talk, I explain why Elizabeth I was prepared to marry her favourite off to Mary, Queen of Scots, what happened on this day in 1564, and what happened next.

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