The Tudor Society


  • Katharine of Aragon’s Spain by Heather R. Darsie

    The AlhambraThank you to Heather for sharing with us this article on "Katharine of Aragon's Spain: the Moorish Influence of Convivencia on the Newly-Modern Kingdom".

    Prior to Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, the Catholic Monarchs, finally removing the last Islamic presence from the Kingdom of Granada, there was a considerable Islamic and Jewish presence that lasted over 700 hundred years.

    The Muslims first came to Spain during the Umayyad conquest of Hispania around the year 711, when they invaded from North Africa. At the time, the Iberian Peninsula was a Visigoth kingdom. The area of the Iberian Peninsula controlled by the Muslims was called Al-Andalus. After the invasion, conversion from Christianity to Islam was advantageous. There was relative peace in Muslim-controlled Spain for about three hundred years. The main cities of Al-Andalus were Granada, Toledo and Cordoba.
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  • Sorrow in the City: Reactions to the End of an Age by Heather R. Darsie

    “It is not my desire to live or to reign longer than my life and my reign shall be for your good,” said Elizabeth to her parliament in 1601. Upon one of the many times parliament questioned Elizabeth about her plan of succession, she stated, “I know I am but mortal and so therewhilst prepare myself for death, whensoever it shall please God to send it.” And send it, God eventually did.

    24 March, 1603. Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, England’s Gloriana and daughter of the great Henry VIII by the ill-fated Anne Boleyn, passed away peacefully in her sleep at Richmond Palace. She was 69 years old and had reigned for almost 45 years.

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  • This week in history 21 – 27 March

    On this day in history events for week 21-27 March.

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  • An Italian Tudor at the Doge’s Court by Heather R. Darsie

    In an unassuming hallway leading visitors to the Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy, from the Staircase of Giants and out through the Porta della Carta, there is an extraordinary feature adorning the ceiling not once, but twice: a Tudor rose.

    Daniele Barbaro was a Venetian cardinal, born in 1514 and dying in 1570. During his lifetime, Barbaro translated the works of Vetruvius, a Roman architect, and was known to be a patron of architects. Particularly, he patronized the Venetian architect known as Andrea Palladio. Barbaro, a bit of a linguist, also served as ambassador to the court of Elizabeth I of England. He may also have served as ambassador to Edward VI. Pleased with his service, Elizabeth allowed Barbaro in 1560 to quarter his personal arms with Tudor roses.

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  • Pope Paul III: Renaissance Prince by Heather R. Darsie

    Alessandro Farnese was born on 29 February 1468 at Canino, Latium, which was in the Papal States. Educated at the University of Pisa and Lorenzo de Medici’s court, he was prepared to take on the career of apostolic notary. Changing course, Alessandro joined the Roma Curia in 1491 at the age of approximately 23 and was quickly promoted by the new pope Alexander VI to a cardinal-deacon position at Santi Cosma e Damiano two years later. Alessandro had the early makings of a fine career with the church. His family already boasted of Pope Boniface VIII.

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  • A Brief Overview of Jousting and Armour by Heather R. Darsie

    Jousting, much like rugby or American football, was a full-contact, dangerous sport. Severe injuries and even death were quite common. Henry II of France died in 1559 when a lance’s splinter breached Henry’s helmet and entered his brain by way of the eye. More like American football and less like rugby, individuals participating in the joust wore protection.

    Most armour was made by smiths in either Germany or Italy, though those smiths would travel to workshops all over the continent and England. One workshop in England boasted of smiths from Flanders, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. The city of Milan was most famous for its skilled armour smiths, though German armourers under the Holy Roman Empire outfitted the likes of Maximilian I and Charles V. Henry VIII established royal workshops at Greenwich, with previous workshops having been located in London. Some French workshops recruited Italians for their workshops in Lyon and Tours. There is not much information about armour workshops in either Spain or the Netherlands, but most of the large Belgian cities had active armourer’s guilds during the Renaissance period.

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  • This week in history 15 – 21 February

    15 February

    Galileo Galilei

    Galileo Galilei

    1499 – Death of James Goldwell, Bishop of Norwich, at the bishop's palace in Hoxne, Suffolk. He was buried in Norwich Cathedral, in the chantry chapel.
    1503 – Death of Henry Deane, administrator and Archbishop of Canterbury. As well as serving Henry VII as Archbishop, Deane also served as Chancellor of Ireland, Deputy Governor for Prince Henry and Keeper of the Great Seal. He died at Lambeth Palace and was buried at Canterbury Cathedral at a lavish funeral.
    1536 – Death of Richard Rawlins, Bishop of St David's and former warden of Merton College.
    1551 - Thomas Arden, businessman and inspiration for the 1592 Elizabethan play, “The Tragedie of Arden of Feversham and Blackwill”, was murdered by his wife, Alice, and her lover, Thomas Morsby, and conspirators.
    1564 – Birth of Galileo Galilei, the Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher, in Pisa, Italy. He was one of the central figures of the Scientific Revolution and supported Copernicanism (the heliocentric model). He has been referred to as “the Father of Modern Science”, “the Father of Modern Physics” and “the father of modern observational astronomy”. He is also known for his discovery of the Galilean Moons (Jupiter's satellites), his improved military compass and his work on the telescope.
    1571 – Death of Sir Adrian Poynings, soldier. He served as a soldier in Boulogne from 1546 to 1550, when he was made Lieutenant of Calais Castle, then in the St Quentin campaign of 1557 and in Le Havre in 1562.
    1598 – Death of John May, Bishop of Carlisle, at Rose Castle, his episcopal residence. He was buried in Carlisle Cathedral.
    1616 – Death of Sir George Carey, Lord Deputy of Ireland. He was buried at Cockington, Devon.
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  • Thomas Tallis, Tudor composer, by Heather R. Darsie

    It is thought that Thomas Tallis, alternatively spelled “Tallys,” could have been born on 30 January 1505, though it is not known for certain. What is known is that Tallis did not die until 1585, and that he contributed greatly to the development and composition of English choral music. Not much is known about Tallis’s early life. There are no records of his education or really of his whereabouts until Tallis is well into his 20s. There is also no contemporary portrait of him, with the only existing portrait having been executed sometime after his death.

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  • This week in history 25 – 31 January

    On this day in history events for 25-31 January.

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  • 18 January 1510 – Henry VIII dresses up

    On 18th January 1510, Henry VIII and twelve of his men disguised themselves as outlaws, or Robin Hood and his merry men, and surprised Queen Catherine and her ladies. Chronicler Edward Hall records this event:

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  • This week in history 18 – 24 January

    On this day in history events for 18 – 24 January.

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  • This week in history 4 – 10 January

    On this day in history events for 4 – 10 January.

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  • Tudor Fashion by Heather R. Darsie

    Fashion has had innumerable iterations throughout the centuries, with the Renaissance bringing about not just changes in thinking, art and education, but also clothing style. And along with new clothing styles came sumptuary laws, which created strict visual distinctions between the different classes. There were also restrictions on who could wear which fabrics.

    The lower classes wore linen or wool; cotton was not allowed to be imported into England so as to protect the wool trade. The upper classes enjoyed the luxury of silk, brocade, velvet, and satin. Henry VIII passed his first sumptuary laws in 1510, shortly after ascending the throne. Given that clothing was an automatic identifier of who was what class, Henry wished to keep the status quo in place, despite the rising wealth of the merchant class. Mary I continued this trend, as did Elizabeth I. These same sumptuary laws also allowed the Tudor monarchs to collect fines and bestow special status on favorites.

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  • A Black Christmas: The Battle of Kinsale by Heather R. Darsie

    Christmas Eve, 1601. The setting: a sleepy, south-eastern port town in Ireland. The Nine Years War of Ireland had been raging since 1594, with the English fighting to have control of Ireland under Elizabeth I of England. The unorganized Irish had won several battles and skirmishes against the English, frequently through the use of ambush. But in 1601, trained Spanish troops arrived, giving great hope to the Irish.

    Ireland was a Catholic country and Catholic Spain had recently suffered the humiliating defeat of their Armada by Elizabeth I in 1588. The Spanish, led by Don Juan del Áquila, arrived at Kinsale in September of 1601, with Kinsale being the poorest choice to undergo a siege, as it was situated in a hollow and did not have strong walls. The Spanish were forced to land at Kinsale due to poor weather. The English experienced some relief when they learned that the Spanish fleet was headed for Ireland and not England.

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  • This week in history 21 – 27 December

    On this day in history events for week 21-27 December.

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  • Phoenix Birth: A Look at Jane Seymour and the Importance of Death and Birth in Tudor England by Heather R. Darsie

    Jane Seymour’s phoenix badge[/caption]Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII and mother of Edward VI, died days after giving birth. An inscription above her grave read:

    Here lieth a Phoenix, by whose death
    Another Phoenix life gave breath:
    It is to be lamented much
    The world at once ne’er knew two such.

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  • December 2015 Tudor Life Magazine

    Happy Christmas Tudor Society Members!

    Unless you’re one of our many Australian or South American members, December can be a very cold month indeed. What better way to keep out the damp and the wind than snuggling up with our December Tudor Life Magazine. It’s full of Christmas and festive themed articles, and this month we also have some food related sections too … all to help you survive the weather, where’er you are.

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  • Martin Luther’s Influence on the German Language by Heather R. Darsie

    Today is the anniversary of Martin Luther’s birth in 1483, so regular contributor Heather R. Darsie joins us today with an article on this fascinating man and his influence on the German language.

    “When you go to bed in the evening, take something from the Holy Scripture with you to bed, in order to consider it in your heart and – the same as an animal – ruminate over it and gently fall asleep. It should not be much, but rather a little, but a good thing to go through and understand. And when you get up in the morning, you will find your profits from the previous day.”

    These were Luther’s feelings about the meaning of the Bible, and perhaps also a glimpse into his feelings about a person’s relationship with God.

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  • Oh, for Fawkes’ Sake! by Heather R. Darsie

    The Protestant King James I of England had recently taken the throne in March 1603 after the death of Elizabeth I. There was hope that anti-Catholic laws would become less severe, but as of 5 November 1605, that had yet to happen.

    Guy Fawkes was recruited in May 1604 by Thomas Wintour, cousin of Robert Catesby, to assist with the diabolical plot of blowing up the King, the Prince of Wales, and others at the next Opening of Parliament. The conspirators would then kidnap Prince Charles and Princess Elizabeth and return the country to the catholic fold.

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  • The Battle of Agincourt by Heather Darsie

    As you may have read in this month’s Tudor Life magazine, 25th October marked the feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, and following the victory of England over France on 25 October 1415 at the Battle of Agincourt, the day became a celebration of that event too. Celebrations included bonfires, revelry and the crowning of a King Crispin.

    Today, Heather Darsie shares an article with us on the Battle of Agincourt back in 1415.

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  • Holbein at the Tudor Court Radio Programme

    Thank you to our resident art expert Melanie Taylor for letting me know about this radio programme which aired today on the BBC Radio 4 programme “In our Time”.

    Blurb: Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and work of Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) during his two extended stays in England, when he worked at the Tudor Court and became the King’s painter.

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  • Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox

    Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, was born on 8th October 1515. Margaret was the daughter of Margaret Tudor, Queen Dowager of Scotland and sister of Henry VIII, and Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. She was born at Harbottle Castle in Northumberland, home of Thomas, 2nd Lord Dacre, because her mother went into labour as she fled Scotland to go to Henry VIII’s court in London. Margaret was baptised on 9th October, but her mother was ill after the birth and wasn’t well enough to travel onward to London until spring 1516. Mother and baby stayed in England until June 1517, when Henry VIII sent his sister and niece back to Scotland.

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  • This week in history 28 September – 4 October

    28 September

    Robert Devereux

    Robert Devereux

    1502 – Death of Robert Willoughby, 1st Baron Willoughby de Broke, at Callington, Cornwall. He was buried at Callington Church. Willoughby had been in exile in Brittany with Henry Tudor and fought with him at the Battle of Bosworth. He served Henry VII as Lord Steward and was made a Knight of the Garter in 1489.
    1553 - Mary I travelled in a decorated barge to the Tower of London to prepare for her coronation. She was accompanied by her half-sister, Elizabeth.
    1558 (28th or 29th) – Death of Sir Robert Acton, Royal Saddler and member of Parliament. He was buried in Elmley Lovett church. Acton also served as a Justice of the Peace and Sheriff during Henry VIII's reign, as well as being on the council in the marches of Wales. As Royal Saddler, he went with the King to Boulogne in 1544.
    1560 – Death of Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury, at Sheffield. He was buried at St Peter's Church, Sheffield, which is now the cathedral.
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  • This week in history 21 – 27 September

    A miniature of Edward Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp, as a child with his mother Lady Katherine Grey

    On this day in history events for week 21-27 September.

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  • This week in history 14 – 20 September

    A portrait of Heinrich Bullinger by Hans Asper

    On this day in history events for week 14-20 September.

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  • Gloriana and the Green Ruby by Heather R. Darsie

    Gloriana, Elizabeth I, is the famous Virgin Queen of England. She never took a husband. Much speculation has swirled around Elizabeth’s decision to remain single. Several tragic, if not traumatic, events are cited as reasons why Elizabeth chose not to marry.

    Elizabeth was born on 7 September 1533. On 19 May 1536, when Elizabeth was not quite three years of age, her mother, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded by order of her father. Elizabeth, a precocious child, asked following the fall of her mother, “how haps it governor, yesterday my Lady Princess, today but my Lady Elizabeth?”. Elizabeth’s first step-mother, Jane Seymour, died of puerperal fever in 1537 only days after giving birth to Elizabeth’s little half-brother. Elizabeth was four years old. Katherine Howard, a cousin of Elizabeth’s on her mother’s side and Elizabeth’s third step-mother, was beheaded for high treason for her “dissolute life previous to her marriage” in February 1542. Elizabeth was eight years old.

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  • This week in history 31 August – 6 September

    On this day in history events for 31st August to 6th September.

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  • This week in history 24 – 30 August

    On this day in history events for 24-30 August.

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  • This week in history 10 – 16 August

    On this day in history events for 10-16th August.

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  • This week in history 3 – 9 August

    Sir Robert Dudley (1574–1649), English explorer and cartographer 1590s; engraving after a portrait by Nicholas Hilliard.

    On this day in history events for 3-9 August.

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