On this day in Tudor history, 1st June 1593, the inquest into the death of playwright, poet and translator Christopher Marlowe took place.
Twenty-nine-year-old Marlowe, writer of such famous works as “Tamburlaine”, “Dr Faustus” and “The Jew of Malta”, had been fatally stabbed at a house in Deptford Strand, London, by a man named Ingram Frizer on 30th May 1593, but what happened?
In today’s “on this day” talk, I share William Danby’s coroner’s report on what happened that fateful day.
On this day in Tudor history, 23rd May 1554, Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, arrived at the Palace of Woodstock in Oxfordshire, where she was placed under house arrest.
Elizabeth remained under house arrest there for just under a year, and she didn’t make it easy for her gaoler, Sir Henry Bedingfield, and neither did her servants.
Find out why Elizabeth was under house arrest and what happened in today’s talk.
In this week’s Claire Chats video, I talk about Tudor letters and share two of Elizabeth I’s letters, one from her youth and another from the last weeks of her life. Below my talk, you can find links to books of letters and archives where you can read Tudor letters. Enjoy!
On this day in Tudor history, 11th April 1533, Good Friday, King Henry VIII informed his council that Anne Boleyn, the woman he’d married in January 1533, was his rightful wife and queen, and should be accorded royal honours.
Finally, things were going right for the couple, who had been waiting for this moment since 1527.
Find out more about what had led Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn to this point, and why they thought that the Great Matter would be sorted out much quicker, in today’s talk.
On this day in Tudor history, 21st March 1603, a dying Queen Elizabeth I finally took to her bed.
Elizabeth I had been queen since November 1558, but now she was dying. She had deep-rooted melancholy, couldn’t sleep and was refusing to eat. She spent her days lying on cushions in her withdrawing chamber. But on 21st March, she was finally persuaded to go to bed.
On this day in Tudor history, 15th March 1532, King Henry VIII used what was described as “foul language” to William Warham, Archbishop of Canterburyt. Henry VIII also threatened the poor man, and it is amazing that Warham kept his head as the king was furious.
What happened? Find out what Warham did to upset the king in today’s talk.
This day in Tudor history, 7th March 1556, was one of the days on which the Great Comet, or the Comet of Charles V, was seen and recorded by Paul Fabricius, mathematician and physician at the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.
Find out all about the Great Comet of 1556, what it looked like and how Emperor Charles V saw it as an ominous portent in today’s talk.
On this day in Tudor history, 14th February 1539, Sir Nicholas Carew, a royal favourite for over 20 years, was tried for treason after being implicated in the Exeter Conspiracy. Spoilers – his trial didn’t go well.
But how did a man who’d been in royal favour for so long come to such a sticky end? Find out in today’s talk.
On this day in Tudor history, 15th November 1532, a rather cross Pope Clement VII threatened King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn with excommunication.
Why? Well, because Henry VIII had defied the pope’s instructions and previous threats, and gone his own way, setting aside Catherine of Aragon and living with Anne Boleyn. The pope was not impressed with this disobedient king.
In today’s talk,I share excerpts of the pope’s letter, along with an explanation of the context and what happened next.
On this day in Tudor history, Sunday 21st September 1578, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, married Lettice Dereveux (née Knollys) in a secret marriage at his house. So secret was it that he only told his chaplain and his friends the day before.
Leicester was marrying the woman Elizabeth I had dubbed “the she-wolf”, so he knew that his queen would not be happy.
In today’s talk, I give details of this secret wedding along with some facts about the bride, Lettice Knollys.
On this day in Tudor history, 8th August 1588, Queen Elizabeth I decided to accept Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester’s invitation to visit the troops he had gathered near Tilbury Fort to guard the eastern approach to London from the expected invasion by the Spanish Armada.
In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” talk, I explain why Leicester invited his queen to visit the troops – there was more to it than just boosting morale.
On this day in Tudor history, 16th July 1546, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Protestant martyrs Anne Askew, John Lascelles, John Adams and Nicholas Belenian were burned at the stake at Smithfield in London for heresy.
Poor Anne had been illegally racked, so special provision had to be made for her execution.
In today’s talk, I share an account of the ends of these courageous people, along with some trivia about one of them.
Things seemed all peachy as King Henry VIII and his fifth wife, Queen Catherine Howard, set off on their progress to the north of England on this day in Tudor history, 30th June 1541. Little did the king know that he’d be stood up by his nephew and that his world would come crashing down on him on his return.
In today’s video, I explain the motives behind this huge undertaking, what happened on the progress, and why Henry’s life changed so dramatically when he got back.
This day in Tudor history, 9th June 1549, was a big day for the English Reformation. It was on this day, at Whitsun services all around England, that Archbishop Thomas Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer was used for the very first time. A service in English!
In today's video, I explain a bit more about this book and why this day was so important.
1511 – Death of William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, at Greenwich. He died of pleurisy and was buried at Blackfriars, London, with the honours due an earl, even though he hadn't been officially invested yet. Courtenay was Henry VIII's uncle, having married Katherine, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.
1563 – (or 10th June) Death of William Paget, 1st Baron Paget, diplomat and administrator, probably at his estate of West Drayton in Middlesex. Paget's career included serving as an ambassador to the French court, being a member of Henry VIII's Privy Council, sitting on the commission which tried the Earl of Surrey and serving on Mary I's Privy Council.
1573 – Death of William Maitland of Lethington, Scottish courtier, politician, reformer and diplomat. He died in prison in Leith, in suspicious circumstances, though it was said to be suicide. Maitland supported the restoration of Mary, Queen of Scots, and was imprisoned as a result.
1583 – Death of Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and President of the Council of the North, at Bermondsey. His body was buried at Boreham in Essex, but his innards were buried at the church in Bermondsey.
On this day in Tudor history, 7th March 1530, Pope Clement VII threatened King Henry VIII with excommunication if he married again. Henry, of course, wanted to set aside his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and marry his sweetheart, Anne Boleyn.
In today’s video, I explain the background of this threat and what happened next.
In today’s “on this day in Tudor history”, I take you back to 1547 and a rather horrible event that was seen as the fulfilment of a prophecy. Friar William Peto had warned King Henry VIII that if he carried on with his behaviour then he would end up like King Ahab. Strong words!
I then move on to a happier topic, Valentine’s Day in the Tudor period. Did the Tudors celebrate Valentine’s Day and what did they do to mark the occasion?
On this day in Tudor history, 9th February 1542, Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, was rowed to the Tower of London in preparation for her forthcoming execution. In today’s video, I explain why she wasn’t already at the Tower and where she’d been between her arrest in November 1541 and this day in 1542.