The Tudor Society


  • Transcript of Live chat with Nathen Amin on Joan Beaufort

    Thanks, as always, to those who came to the live chat on Friday with Nathen Amin. We had a fast-paced discussion and lots of questions were asked about Joan Beaufort and how she was linked to not only Richard III but also other players in the Wars of the Roses.

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  • 22 August – The Battle of Bosworth Field and the beginning of the Tudor dynasty

    Today is the anniversary of the battle which started the Tudor period: the Battle of Bosworth Field. The Tudor dynasty on the throne of England began on this day, when Henry Tudor’s forces beat those of King Richard III, and Richard was killed.

    In today’s talk, I explain what happened on that day in rural Leicestershire, and how Henry Tudor was victorious even though Richard III came into battle with a huge advantage.

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  • Oxford’s Six Tudor Colleges by John Tepper Marlin

    Thank you to John Tepper Marlin, MA (Oxon.), author of Oxford College Arms for writing this guest post for us.

    Six Oxford colleges were founded under the Tudors. Three under Henry VIII, two under Mary I, and one during the reign of Elizabeth I.
    As members of the Tudor Society will know, the Tudor dynasty started with Henry VII, son of Lancastrian Edmund Tudor and Margaret Beaufort, a descendant of Edward III. Henry VII was brought up in Wales but had exiled himself to France while the Yorkists were in power. After the disappearance of Edward V in 1483, his uncle Yorkist Richard III was crowned and soon made himself unpopular. Henry VII returned to Wales, assembled an army that defeated and killed Richard III at Bosworth Field in 1485, and was crowned king in London. By marrying Elizabeth of York the following year, Henry VII united the Houses of Lancaster and York and created as his badge the “Tudor Rose” – red outside, white inside–that ever since has been used by every British monarch as a symbol of England.

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  • Sir Henry Norris (1490s-1536)

    Sir Henry Norris was born sometime in the late 1490s and was the son of Richard Norris and grandson of Sir William Norris of Yattendon and his wife, Jane de Vere, daughter of John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford. Norris’s family had a long history of serving the monarch – his great-grandfather, Sir John Norris, had been Keeper of the Great Wardrobe to Henry VI and his grandfather, Sir William Norris, had been Knight of the Body to Edward IV. Sir William Norris had been attainted after being involved in the Duke of Buckingham’s rebellion against Richard III and had been forced to flee to Brittany, where he joined the forces of Henry Tudor and may even have fought at the Battle of Bosworth. Sir William had a command in June 1487 at Stoke and went on to become the Lieutenant of Windsor Castle.

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  • Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester (c. 1483/93-1555)

    A portrait of Bishop Stephen Gardiner

    Stephen Gardiner’s date of birth is not known, with some saying 1483 and others saying 1493 or 1497, but he was born in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. His father was William Gardiner (some say John Gardiner), a cloth merchant and a mercenary hired during the War of the Roses. According to Welsh accounts of the 1485 Battle of Bosworth, it was “Wyllyam Gardynyr” who killed King Richard III with a poleaxe. Sir William Gardiner later married Helen Tudor, a woman said to have been the illegitimate daughter of Jasper Tudor, uncle of King Henry VII.

    As a young man, Gardiner met the famous humanist scholar, Desiderius Erasmus, in Paris and he studied at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He received the degree of Doctor of Civil Law in 1520 and of Canon Law in 1521, and went on to work for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey as secretary. He met Henry VIII for the first time in 1525 at The More in Hertfordshire for the signing of the Treaty of the More between the King and Francis I of France. Two years later, in 1527, Gardiner and Sir Thomas More worked as commissioners in arranging, with the French ambassadors, a treaty to obtain support for an army against the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, in Italy.

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  • Bosworth Battlefield in danger – Please act now!

    I was absolutely horrified to read that there are plans to build a driverless car testing track on part of Bosworth Battlefield. According to a report in the Leicester Mercury, “Mira Technology Park wants to build the facility on 83 acres of land next to its existing vehicle testing centre at Higham-on-the-Hill near Hinckley, partially within the registered Bosworth Battlefield site”. Historic England has spoken up, saying that they fear that this could cause harm to the historic battlefield which, as Tudor Society members will know, was where the forces of Henry Tudor and Richard III met on 22nd August 1485 and where Richard III was killed.

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  • 21 April 1509 – The king is dead! Long live the king!

    On this day in history, 21st April 1509, King Henry VIII died at Richmond Palace. He had ruled since defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth on 22nd August 1485 and was aged fifty-two when he died. He was succeeded by his seventeen-year-old only surviving son, Henry, who became King Henry VIII.

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  • Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk (c.1484-1545)

    Charles Brandon was one of King Henry VIII’s most trusted advisors and friends. He married the king’s sister, even when he had been trusted not too, and eventually married a lady thirty-five years younger than him.

    Being someone who was so close to Henry VIII, what was Brandon’s real purpose? What did he achieve in his lifetime? And, how did he rise so high?

    Charles Brandon was born around 1484 and was one of two sons born to Sir William Brandon and Elizabeth Bruyn of South Ockendon. His father was Henry VII’s standard-bearer at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, which is where he is said to have been killed by Richard III himself. King Henry VII saw how loyal William had been to him, so, therefore, chose to repay this debt by having his son, Charles, brought up at his court. Charles was just two years older than Henry VII’s eldest child, Prince Arthur, but when Arthur married the Spanish princess, Catherine of Aragon, in 1502, Charles did not join them at Ludlow Castle. Instead, he stayed in London and got to know Arthur’s younger brother, Henry, Duke of York.

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  • Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham (1478-1521)

    Portrait of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, aged 42

    Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, was one of Henry VII’s and Henry VIII’s main associates in court. He attended the coronation of both kings and played an important part in each of their reigns. But how he ended up in that position of favour is a fascinating story, as is his eventual demise.

    Edward Stafford was born on 3 February 1478 and his parents were Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, and Catherine Woodville. Catherine was the sister of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of King Edward IV. Following his father’s execution in Richard III’s reign, Edward’s mother went on to marry Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford and the uncle of King Henry VII.

    Due to his father’s rebellion against Richard III in 1483, young Edward was hidden and moved around to different properties in and around Hertfordshire to keep him safe and out of harm’s way. His father’s rebellion against the king led to him losing his honours and being executed in November 1483. In 1485, Edward was honoured by the new king, Henry VII, by being made a Knight of the Order of the Bath, and he was made a ward of Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and the king’s mother. Unfortunately, this meant that Margaret was also granted all of his lands.

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  • Lady Katherine Gordon

    Born around 1474, Katherine Gordon was the daughter of George Gordon, second Earl of Huntly, and Elizabeth Hay. Her father acted as Chancellor of Scotland from 1498 to 1501. Little is known of Katherine’s early life, but she was reputed to be beautiful and charming. The future Henry VIII is said to have ‘marveled at her beauty and amiable countenance, and sent her to London to the Queen’. On 13 January 1496, when she was about twenty-one, Katherine married the Yorkist pretender Perkin Warbeck. Her husband had claimed to be Richard, Duke of York, son of Edward IV, since 1491. The prince had been incarcerated in the Tower of London by his uncle Richard III in 1483, and his fate was still unresolved eight years later. In 1495, Perkin arrived at the court of James IV of Scotland, having previously been supported by Charles VIII of France, Emperor Maximilian and Margaret, Dowager Duchess of Burgundy. Shortly after his marriage to Katherine, Perkin was granted Falkland Palace as a base for his adherents and as the headquarters at which his invasion of England was planned. Henry VII of England, in response to Warbeck’s activities, prepared an army with which to invade Scotland.

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  • This week in history 20 – 26 November

    20 November:

    1515 – Birth of Mary of Guise (Marie de Guise), Queen of Scots, consort of James V, regent of Scotland and mother of Mary, Queen of Scots, at the castle of Bar-le-Duc in Lorraine. She was the eldest daughter of Claude of Lorraine, Duke of Guise, and Antoinette de Bourbon, daughter of Francis, Count of Vendome, and Marie de Luxembourg. Mary was Queen Consort of Scotland from 1538-1542, and regent from 1554 until her death in 1560.
    1518 – Death of Sir Marmaduke Constable, soldier and administrator. He served in France with Edward IV and Henry VII, and although he fought on the side of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, he managed to gain Henry’s trust. He commanded the left wing of the forces under Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, at the 1513 Battle of Flodden, and this service led to him receiving a letter of thanks from King Henry VIII.
    1556 – Death of Sir John Godsalve, member of Parliament, landowner and administrator, at Norwich. He was buried in St Stephen’s Church, Norwich, in the Lady Chapel. Godsalve’s offices included Constable of Norwich Castle, Keeper of the Gaol there, commissioner for chantries in Norfolk and Suffolk, Justice of the Peace for Norfolk and Comptroller of the Tower of London Mint.
    1558 – Death of Maurice Griffin, Bishop of Rochester, probably at the Bishop’s Palace in Southwark. He was buried at the church of St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge. Griffin was Welsh and he left provision in his will for the setting up of Friars School in Bangor, with the support of William Glyn, Bishop of Bangor, and Jeffrey Glyn.
    1591 – Sir Christopher Hatton, Elizabeth I’s Lord Chancellor and favourite, died aged fifty-one. He died at Ely Palace in London. He had been ill for some time and Elizabeth I had visited him on the 11th November. He was given a state funeral on 16th December at the old St Paul’s Cathedral, and a monument was erected at the high altar. The old St Paul’s Cathedral was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.
    1600 – Burial of Robert Wilson, actor and playwright, at St Giles Cripplegate in London. Wilson acted in the companies Leicester’s Men and the Queen’s Men, and is known for his plays which include “The Three Ladies of London” (1581), “The Three Lords and Three Ladies of London” (1590), “The Cobbler’s Prophecy” (1594) and “The Pedlar’s Prophecy” (1595). He was also one of Philip Henslowe’s writers, writing plays for the Rose Theatre.
    1612 – Death of Sir John Harington, courtier, author and inventor of the flush toilet. He was buried at the family estate of Kelston, near Bath.

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  • This week in history 30 October – 5 November

    On this day in history…

    30th October:

    1485 – The founder of the Tudor dynasty, Henry Tudor, was crowned King Henry VII at Westminster Abbey. Click here for more.
    The Tudor chronicler, Raphael Holinshed, recorded:
    “…with great pompe he rowed unto Westminster, & there the thirtith daie of October he was with all ceremonies accustomed, anointed, & crowned king, by the whole assent as well of the commons as of the nobilitie, & called Henrie the seaventh of that name…”
    His biographer, Thomas Penn, describes how this was the occasion that Henry was united with his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, whom he’d not seen for fourteen years. Margaret was said to have “wept marvellously”.
    Henry Tudor had claimed the crown of England after defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field on the 22nd August 1485, and had actually been unofficially crowned with Richard’s crown on the battlefield that day.

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  • 22 August 1485 – The Battle of Bosworth

    On this day in history, the 22nd August 1485, in rural Leicestershire near Market Bosworth, the armies of King Richard III and Henry Tudor faced each other in a battle that would see the death of the King and the beginning of a new dynasty: the Tudor dynasty.

    When Henry Tudor challenged the King on that August day, Richard III had been King for just over two years. He had gone from being Lord Protector to the young King Edward V, the twelve-year-old son of Richard’s brother Edward IV, to being King after Edward IV’s sons were declared illegitimate. His challenger, Henry Tudor, was the son of Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, and Lady Margaret Beaufort, a woman descended from John of Gaunt, third son of Edward III. As a Lancastrian, Henry had fled to Brittany in France, after Edward IV successfully regained the throne from Henry VI in 1471. He returned to England after his mother had conspired with Elizabeth Woodville, Edward IV’s widow, to arrange a marriage between Elizabeth’s daughter, Elizabeth of York, and Henry, and to promote Henry as an alternative to Richard III.

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  • John Ashdown-Hill

    The Richard III Society and John Ashdown Hill’s Facebook page have just shared the awful and very sad news that John has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Here is what the Richard III Society shared on their page:

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  • Katherine of Aragon

    Katherine of Aragon was born into the royal Spanish household on 16th December 1485, at the Archbishop’s Palace of Alcalá de Henares. She was the daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and his illustrious wife, Isabella I of Castile. Katherine’s parents were the Catholic powerhouses of Western Europe during the late fifteenth century, therefore during her youth, the young Spanish princess would have envisioned the grand future that awaited her, with an ambitious marriage into an equally powerful European royal household.

    At aged just three, her parents were in negotiations with the English king, Henry VII, for a suitable marriage to his son, Arthur. The Tudors had recently taken the throne after defeating the Yorkist Richard III at Bosworth in 1485, although their Lancastrian claimant to the throne was still vulnerable to usurpation. England required international support to ensure the legitimacy and security of their house. An Anglo-Spanish alliance would be vitally important for the country’s prosperity and position in European politics.

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  • Margaret of York

    Thank you to Heather R. Darsie, our regular contributor, for writing this article on Margaret of York (1446-1503).

    On 3 May 1446, Margaret of York, younger sister of the future Edward IV, was born. The fifth of seven children and the youngest daughter of Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York, and his wife, Cecily Neville, Margaret of York began her life at Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire. Her youngest sibling and the youngest of the seven children, the future Richard III of England, was born at the same castle in 1452. Margaret lived an uneventful life until she was about nineteen years old, when the opportunity to become Duchess of Burgundy presented itself.

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  • This week in history 7-13 November

    On this day in history events for 7th – 13th November:

    7 November:

    1485 – Richard III and his supporters were attainted at Henry VII’s first Parliament. Click here to read more.
    1541 – Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and the Duke of Norfolk went to Hampton Court Palace to interrogate Queen Catherine Howard, and to arrange that she should be confined to her chambers there. Click here to read more.
    1557 – Death of Sir John Arundell of Lanherne. He was buried at St Mawgan Church. Arundell served Henry VIII as Sheriff of Cornwall and Commander of troops against the rebels during the Pilgrimage of Grace. He also served in France in 1544. During Edward VI’s reign, in 1549, he was imprisoned after John, Baron Russell, accused him of refusing to raise troops and of ordering the mass to be performed. He was released in June 1552.
    1565 – Death of Sir Edward Warner, soldier, member of Parliament and Lieutenant of the Tower of London during the reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth I. He was the gaoler of Katherine Seymour (née Grey), Countess of Hertford, who had been imprisoned for secretly marrying Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford. Warner died in Norfolk and was buried at Little Plumstead Church in the county.
    1568 – Baptism of Dunstan Gale, poet and author of “Pyramus and Thisbe”, at St Giles Cripplegate, London.
    1581 – Death of Richard Davies, scholar and Bishop of St David’s, in Abergwili, Carmarthenshire, in the bishop’s palace. He was a friend of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, and undertook translations of parts of the Bible.
    1603 – Burial of Robert Allot, literary compiler, bookseller, poet and editor of the 1599 “Wits Theater” and the 1600 “Englands Parnassus”, at St Ann Blackfriars.

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  • The Tudors’ Journey to Bosworth: Part 7 – The Battle of Bosworth by Tony Riches

    In this series, I have followed the progress of Henry and Jasper Tudor from Pembroke Castle to their long exile in Brittany and their return with an army to Wales. Their long march, covering as much as twenty-six miles a day, ended when they encountered King Richard III’s army camped at Ambion Hill, close to Sutton Cheyney.

    The Battle of Bosworth is poorly documented, with no first-hand accounts surviving. Anything we read about the battle, therefore, has to be looked at closely to see who wrote it and when. One of the best summaries of the often conflicting accounts is Chris Skidmore’s book, Bosworth – The Birth of The Tudors. Even as Chris was writing the book, news emerged of a new location for the battlefield site, and the bones of Richard III were discovered in a car park as he completed the first draft.

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  • The Tudors’ Journey to Bosworth: Part 6 – The Tudors Land at Mill Bay in Pembrokeshire by Tony Riches

    After following the long exile of Jasper and Henry Tudor in Brittany, I have now returned to Pembrokeshire in West Wales. The Tudors had made an unsuccessful attempt to invade England in 1483 but learned from this near disaster. On Monday 1st of August, 1485 they sailed again from the mouth of the Seine with their mercenary army of some four thousand men to challenge King Richard III for the crown.

    It seems the sea voyage led by the Poulian De Dieppe, flagship of their capable captain, Guillaume de Casenove, was uneventful and had the benefit of favourable winds. They made landfall at Mill Bay, a secluded, pebble-strewn beach in the far west of Wales just before sunset on Sunday 7th August. It is reported that, on going ashore, Henry Tudor kissed the ground and recited a Psalm in Latin. Some accounts suggest it was Psalm 23, but the consensus was Psalm 46: ‘Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.’

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  • Derek Wilson in History of Royals magazine

    Regular contributor, Tudor Society member and historian Derek Wilson has just informed me that an article he has written on Richard III is the lead feature article in the very first issue of “History of Royals” magazine which comes out on 14 April.

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  • Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury

    Margaret Pole, or Margaret Plantagenet, was the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence – brother of two Plantagenet kings: Edward IV and Richard III – and his wife Lady Isabella Neville, daughter of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick and a man known as ‘the Kingmaker’. Margaret was born on 14th August 1473 and she married Sir Richard Pole in 1491, having five children before she was widowed in 1505. One of her children was Reginald Pole who became a cardinal and then Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of Mary I.

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  • Sky News

    Tudor Society members – please wish our member Catherine a huge “Good luck” with her interview tomorrow (Friday) with Sky News at Leicester Cathedral. Sky News are building up to the re-interment of Richard III and wanted to interview a member of our society.

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  • March 2015 Tudor Life Magazine

    Enjoy the amazing 92 page Richard III Special Edition magazine from the Tudor Society with a massive 50 page special feature section on King Richard.

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  • Anne Neville’s Final Months by Alex Taylor

    An article on Anne Neville, queen consort of Richard III and daughter of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick and a man known as “the Kingmaker”.

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  • #OTD in Tudor History – 28 January

    Portraits of an older Henry VIII and a younger Henry VII

    On this day in Tudor history, we have the birth of King Henry VII, the death of King Henry VIII, and the death of John Dynham, 1st Baron Dynham, Lord High Treasurer of England and Lord Chancellor of Ireland…

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  • October 10 – Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset and grandfather of Lady Jane Grey

    Coat of arms of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, by Rs-nourse, Wikimedia Commons.

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th October 1530, Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, magnate, soldier and courtier, died. He was buried at Astley Collegiate Church in Warwickshire.

    Grey’s offices included Constable of Warwick Castle and of Kenilworth Castle, and, as a skilled jouster, he also acted as Chief Answerer at the marriage of Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon. Grey was also the grandfather of Lady Jane Grey.

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  • August 14 – Katherine of York, Countess of Devon

    The daughter of King Edward IV, Stained glass window of the northwest transept of Canterbury Cathedral,

    14th August 1479 is the traditional birthdate of Katherine of York, Countess of Devon.

    Katherine was the second youngest daughter of King Edward IV and his wife, Elizabeth Woodville, and so was the sister of the Princes in the Tower and Elizabeth of York, wife of King Henry VII. Katherine was also the wife of Sir William Courtenay, Earl of Devon.

    Here are some facts about Katherine of York…

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  • July 29 – Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby and husband of Lady Margaret Beaufort

    Coat of Arms of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th July 1504, in the reign of his stepson King Henry VII, Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, died at his manor of Lathom in Lancashire.

    Here are a few facts about Stanley…

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  • Monday Martyr – A botched beheading: Margaret Pole’s execution

    This week’s #MondayMartyr is Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, who was beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII as a Catholic martyr.

    She was executed in 1541 in what was a truly awful botched execution, and for a crime she did not commit…

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  • May 3 – Cecily Neville, mother of two kings

    Part of an illustration from the 15th century Neville Book of Hours showing Cecily

    On this day in history, 3rd May 1415, Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, was born on 3rd May 1415 at Raby Castle. Cecily is known as the matriarch of the House of York because her children included King Edward IV and King Richard III.

    Here are some facts about Cecily Neville, also known as the Rose of Raby and Proud Cis.

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