The Tudor Society

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  • 13 May – A battle between Mary, Queen of Scots, and her half-brother

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th May 1568, the forces of Mary, Queen of Scots, met those of her brother, the Regent Moray, at the Battle of Langside in Scotland.

    Mary, Queen of Scots was defeated soundly, but what happened and why was she fighting against the regent acting on behalf of her son, King James VI? What had led to this moment.

    I explain all in today’s talk.

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  • 7 May – The wife Bothwell divorced to marry Mary, Queen of Scots

    On 7th May 1567, eight days before James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, married Mary, Queen of Scots, the Catholic court granted him a divorce from his wife, Lady Jean Gordon.

    Who was Jean Gordon? Why did Bothwell divorce her? And what happened to Jean afterwards?

    Find out more about Bothwell and Jean’s marriage, and about Jean’s life, in today’s talk.

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  • 29 April – Bothwell prepares to marry Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th April 1567 (some sources suggest 26th), James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who had recently abducted and allegedly “ravished” Mary, Queen of Scots, had a suit of divorce made against him by his wife, Lady Jean Gordon.

    Lady Gordon was persuaded by Bothwell to make this divorce suit as he was planning to marry Mary, Queen of Scots, which he did on 15th May 1567.

    In this talk, I explain what led up to this day, what happened next, and also what a truly horrible man Bothwell was.

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  • 19 April – Mary, Queen of Scots gets betrothed

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th April 1558, fifteen-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots and fourteen-year-old Francis, the Dauphin, son of King Henry II of France, were formally betrothed at the Louvre Palace in Paris.

    This betrothal was just five days before their wedding and was a lavish affair, celebrated with a ball.

    Find out more about the betrothal, the bride and groom, and arrangements for their marriage, in today’s talk.

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  • 17 February – Love at first sight for Mary, Queen of Scots?

    Well, ok, perhaps love at second or third sight!

    On this day in Tudor history, Saturday 17th February 1565, Mary, Queen of Scots, met and fell in love with Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, at Wemyss Castle in Scotland. Just over 7 months later, the couple got married.

    Find out more about the background of this meeting between Mary, Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley, Mary’s thoughts on Darnley, and what happened next, in today’s talk.

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  • 1 February – Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots’ death warrant

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st February 1587, Queen Elizabeth I called her secretary, William Davison, to her and asked him to bring her the death warrant of Mary, Queen of Scots. She then signed it. However, she didn’t want it to be sent to Fotheringhay, where Mary was held, until she said so. But it was sent.

    Elizabeth wanted someone else to take responsibility for Mary’s death, she even wanted her gaoler to assassinate her!

    Find out all about this, and how Mary DID end up being executed in February 1587, in today’s talk.

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  • 16 January – Thomas Howard breaks his promise about Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th January 1572, Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, eldest son of the late Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was tried and found guilty of treason at Westminster Hall.

    Norfolk had promised Queen Elizabeth I that he would not get involved with Mary, Queen of Scots, ever again, but it was a promise that he just couldn’t keep. Once again, he had become involved in a plot against Elizabeth I and in support of Mary, Queen of Scots. He wouldn’t escape punishment this time.

    Find out exactly what happened in today’s talk.

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  • Trailer – The Places of Mary, Queen of Scots – Gayle Hulme

  • 8 December – The birth of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th December 1542, Mary Stuart (Stewart), or Mary, Queen of Scots, was born at Linlithgow Palace in Scotland.

    Mary was the daughter of King James V of Scotland and his second wife, Marie de Guise, and she became Queen of Scotland when she was just six days old.

    Find out about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, including her three marriages and abdication, her imprisonment and downfall in today’s talk.

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  • 7 December – Lord Darnley, husband of Mary, Queen of Scots

    Today, 7th December, is the traditional date given for the birth of Henry Stuart (Stewart), Duke of Albany and Lord Darnley, in 1545.

    Lord Darnley was the son of Margaret Douglas and grandson of Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland, and her second husband, Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, but he is more known as the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

    Find out about Lord Darnley’s rather colourful life, his unhappy marriage, his role in a murder, AND his own sticky end, in today’s talk.

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  • Live Transcript – Gayle Hulme – Mary, Queen of Scots

    Here’s the transcript of the lively livechat that we had with Gayle Hulme over the weekend. All full members are welcome to join us at these events and you can either just watch or join in as you wish.

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  • The Places of Mary, Queen of Scots – Gayle Hulme – Expert Talk

    This month’s expert talk is by Gayle Hulme, taking us to some of the important places in the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. Gayle has travelled the length of the UK to give us this informative talk, including:
    Linlithgow Palace, Stirling Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh Castle, Kirk o’field, and even Westminster Abbey.

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  • 14 October – The trial of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th October 1586, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots, began at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire.

    Although Mary did not recognise the authority of the commission and had threatened not to attend, she had been informed that the trial would go ahead with or without her and so attended.

    Find out all about Mary’s trial, what she was charged with and the evidence that Sir Francis Walsingham had gathered in today’s talk.

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  • 11 September – Mary, Queen of Scots’ Eventful Progress

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th September 1561, eighteen-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, began her first royal progress in Scotland. Mary had been in Scotland for less than a month, having returned from France, and so wanted to see her homeland and her people, as well as showing her people their queen.

    But this royal progress was to be an eventful one for Mary, Queen of Scots – a brush with death and a violent altercation were included! I tell all in today’s talk.

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  • 19 August – Mary, Queen of Scots returns to Scotland

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th August 1561, Mary, Queen of Scots returned to her homeland, Scotland, from France following the death of her first husband, King Francis II of France.

    In today's talk, I explain the context of her return to Scotland, which would, of course, be the start of her troubles.

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1531 – Burning of Thomas Bilney, Protestant martyr, at Lollard's Pit, just outside Bishopsgate. Although he was burned as a heretic, he actually denied his reformist views and affirmed his Catholic faith at his execution.
    • 1551 – Princess Mary, the future Mary I, wrote to her brother Edward VI regarding the instructions the officers of her household were given about forbidding her chaplains to say Mass and any of her household to hear Mass.
    • 1578 – Death of John Harpsfield, humanist, scholar and Roman Catholic priest, in London. He was buried in St Sepulchre Church, London. Harpsfield is known for his leading role in the Marian persecutions of Protestants and his nine sermons, which appear in Edmund Bonner's 1555 “Homilies”.
    • 1591 – Death of Welsh clergyman and Bible translator Thomas Huet at Tŷ Mawr, Llysdinam, Brecknockshire. He was buried in the chancel of Llanafan Fawr church. Huet helped Richard Davies and William Salesbury translate the “New Testament” into Welsh in 1567.
    • 1601 – Death of William Lambarde, writer, antiquary and lawyer, at Westcombe in East Greenwich. He was buried in St Alphege Church, East Greenwich, but in 1710 his monument was moved to the Lambarde chapel in St Nicholas's Church, Sevenoaks. Lambarde's works included his 1570 “Perambulation of Kent”, the 1581 “Eirenarcha: or of the Office of the Justices of Peace” and the 1591 “Archeion, or, A Discourse Upon the High Courts of Justice in England”.
  • 29 July – Mary, Queen of Scots gets married

    On this day in Tudor history, Sunday 29th July 1565, twenty-three-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, queen regnant of Scotland, married her second husband, nineteen-year-old Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, at Holyrood Palace.

    In today’s video, I give details of the wedding and how the marriage turned out. It wasn’t happy for long!

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  • 24 July – Mary, Queen of Scots abdicates

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th July 1567, twenty-four-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned at Lochleven Castle, and who was recovering after miscarrying twins, was threatened with violence and forced to abdicate. Her young son, James, became King James VI of Scotland in her place.

    I share a contemporary account from Mary’s private secretary regarding what happened that day and how Mary was forced to abdicate.

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  • 20 June – The Casket Letters and Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th June 1567, a silver casket of eight letters, which have become known as the Casket Letters, were allegedly found in the possession of James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, the third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

    These letters were instrumental in bringing down Mary, Queen of Scots, so in today’s video, I tell you a bit more about these letters and why they were “dynamite” for Elizabeth I’s advisors.

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  • 16 May – Mary, Queen of Scots, from one prison to another

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th May 1568, following her escape from prison in Scotland, Mary landed on English soil and was taken prisoner once more, but this time by England.

    Why was Mary taken prisoner? What happened?

    I explain all in today's video.

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1511 – Burial of Walter Fitzsimons, Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Deputy of Ireland, in the nave of St Patrick's Cathedral.
    • 1532 – Resignation of Sir Thomas More as Chancellor.1536 – Archbishop Cranmer visited Queen Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London. It is thought that his visit's purpose was to get Anne to confess to an impediment to her marriage and to consent to him dissolving her marriage to Henry VIII. This would disinherit and bastardise her daughter Elizabeth.
    • 1544 – Death of John Skewys, lawyer and chronicler.1566 – Death of Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven, a man who was involved in the murder of David Riccio, Mary, Queen of Scots's private secretary.
    • 1567 – Death of Sir Anthony Browne, judge, at his home Weald Hall, South Weald, Essex. He had served Mary I as Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, but was removed from this office by Elizabeth I and made a Puisne Justice of the same court.
    • 1568 – Mary, Queen of Scots landed at Workington after losing at the Battle of Langside.
    • 1576 – Burial of Nicholas Bullingham, Bishop of Lincoln and Worcester. His burial was originally registered at Hartlebury (he died at Hartlebury Castle), but his tomb can now be found in the north aisle of Worcester Cathedral.
    • 1579 – Death of George Freville, judge and 2nd Baron of the Exchequer.
    • 1618 – Death of Dorothy Wadham (née Petre), founder of Wadham College, Oxford. She is buried in St Mary's Church, Ilminster.
    • 1620 – Death of William Adams, navigator, in Hirado, Japan. He is thought to be the first Englishman to have reached Japan (arriving there in 1600) and was the inspiration for the character of John Blackthorne in the famous novel Shōgun.
  • 15 May – Mary, Queen of Scots, marries for the third time

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th May 1567, the recently widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, married for the third time, taking James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell and Duke of Orkney, as her husband.

    You can find out more about Bothwell in Claire's video from April 14 - https://youtu.be/XRU_nEsUxFw - and in today's video, I tell you all about the bride, Mary, Queen of Scots.

    Also on this day in history:

    • 1464 – Execution of Henry Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, immediately after the Battle of Hexham. He was buried in Hexham Abbey.
    • 1536 - Trials of Anne Boleyn and George Boleyn in the King's Hall at the Tower of London. They were both found guilty and sentenced to death. Click here to read about Anne's trial and here to read about George's.
    • 1537 – Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy de Darcy, and his cousin, John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford, were tried for treason at Westminster after being implicated in the Pilgrimage of Grace. “Letters and Papers” recorded the verdict as guilty and the sentence was “Judgment as usual in cases of high treason. Execution to be at Tyburn.” They were actually beheaded.
    • 1555 – Death of Sir Thomas Bromley, judge. Mary I made him her first Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench, but was unhappy when Nicholas Throckmorton was acquitted in 1554.
    • 1556 – John Knox appeared in Edinburgh to face heresy charges.
  • 2 May – Mary, Queen of Scots escapes!

    On this day in Tudor history, 2 May 1568, Mary, Queen of Scots, who had recently been forced to abdicate in favour of her son, King James VI, successfully escaped from Lochleven Castle.

    How did she end up a prisoner at Lochleven? How did she escape? And what happened next?

    Let me explain…

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  • 24 April – Mary, Queen of Scots gets married

    On this day in Tudor history, 24th April 1558, fifteen-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, got married for the first time. The groom was fourteen-year-old Francis, the Dauphin of France.

    Find out more about the bride and groom, their wedding and what happened to them in today’s video.

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  • 14 April – The death of the insane Earl of Bothwell, husband of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th April 1578, Mary, Queen of Scots’ third husband, James Hepburn, Duke of Orkney and 4th Earl of Bothwell, died at Dragsholm Castle in Denmark. He’d been held at the castle in appalling conditions and it was said that he’d gone insane.

    Find out more about the life of this earl who’d risen to be the husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, but who’d died in prison, far away from home, in today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video.

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  • 9 March – Mary, Queen of Scots’ secretary is murdered

    On this day in history, 9th March 1566, a pregnant Mary, Queen of Scots witnessed the murder of her private secretary, David Rizzio. He was stabbed fifty-six times and one of the gang responsible was her own husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.

    What happened? Why was Rizzio murdered? How was Darnley involved? What happened next? All of these questions are answered in today’s video.

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  • 8 February – The execution of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1587

    In today’s “On this Day in Tudor History”, I give the background to Mary, Queen of Scots’ execution on this day in 1587 and also share part of an eye-witness account.

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  • Happy birthday Mary, Queen of Scots!

    Today is the anniversary of the birth of Mary, Queen of Scots, on 8th December 1542. She was the daughter of James V of Scotland and his second wife, Marie de Guise, and the granddaughter of Margaret Tudor (Henry VIII’s sister) and James IV of Scotland.

    One of the mottos associated with Mary, Queen of Scots, is “En ma Fin gît mon Commencement” , or “In my End is my Beginning”, and she is more famous for her brutal end at the hands of the axeman on 8th February 1587.

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  • Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots – True or False quiz

    Happy Sunday! The trailer for the new Mary, Queen of Scots movie has caused lots of controversy amongst history lovers so I was inspired to make this Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I quiz. So, grab your favourite beverage and snack, make yourself comfortable and let’s get those little grey cells working!

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  • 24 April 1558 – The marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Dauphin of France

    On this day in history, 24th April 1558, Mary, Queen of Scots, married Francis, the Dauphin of France, at Notre Dame in Paris. Mary was fifteen, and Francis was fourteen.

    In his book The Book of the Ladies (Illustrious Dames), Pierre de Bourdeille, seigneur de Brantôme, wrote of their marriage:

    “This lady and princess pleased France so much that King Henri was urged to give her in alliance to the dauphin, his beloved son, who, for his part, was madly in love with her. The marriage was therefore solemnly celebrated in the great church and the palace of Paris; where we saw this queen appear more beauteous than a goddess from the skies, whether in the morning, going to her espousals in noble majesty, or leading, after dinner, at the ball, or advancing in the evening with modest steps to offer and perform her vows to Hymen; so that the voice of all as one man resounded and proclaimed throughout the Court and the great city that happy a hundredfold was he, the prince, thus joined to such a princess; and even if Scotland were a thing of price its queen out-valued it; for had she neither crown nor sceptre, her person and her glorious beauty were worth a kingdom; therefore, being a queen, she brought to France and to her husband a double fortune.

    This was what the world went saying of her; and for this reason she was called queen-dauphine and her husband the king-dauphin, they living together in great love and pleasant concord.”

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  • Mary, Queen of Scots – In my end is my beginning

    On this day in history, 8th February 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, daughter of James V, King of Scotland, and Marie de Guise, was executed in the great hall of Fotheringhay Castle after having been found guilty of treason.

    We have lots of resources (talks, articles etc.) here on the Tudor Society website on Mary, Queen of Scots, and here are links to them:

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  • 11 September 1561 – Mary, Queen of Scots, sets off on progress

    On this day in history, 11th September 1561, eighteen-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, began her first royal progress. It was to last until 29th September and was the first of nine royal progresses that Mary undertook before she fled to England in 1568.

    On this progress, Mary visited Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh Castle, Linlithgow Palace, Stirling Castle, Kincardine Castle, Leslie Castle, Perth, Dundee, St Andrews, Cupar and Falkland Palace.

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