The Tudor Society

Researching Tudor History

In this week's Claire Chats I talk about how to go about researching Tudor history. I'm sharing a slideshow and talk I did back in 2013 and I do hope it's useful to those of you who are new to researching history.

By the way, when I talk about primary sources I'm talking about contemporary sources, i.e. accounts, letters of documents that were written at that time. Here are some useful links for you:

  • Primary Sources section - If you go to, you will find links to primary sources on the Tudor monarchs, Wars of the Roses and various events.
  • British History Online – Its collection includes Letters and Papers, Calendar of State Papers: Spain, Journal of the House of Lords, Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice etc. and many other documents from different periods of British History. The majority are free to search and read.
  • Memso from Tanner Ritchie Publishing – This site was recommended to me by historian John Guy. The records on Memso are not abridged like some of those on British History, but you do have to pay a subscription to join and download documents as ebooks. They have an extensive manuscript collection though and it's worth joining for a short amount of time and downloading as much as you can -
  • – This is a wonderful website for old documents and books. It has all of the Tudor chronicles on it and many other out of copyright books, such as John Foxe's Book of Martyrs, The Love Letters of Henry VIII, Agnes Strickland's Queen of England, Cavendish's "The Life of Cardinal Wolsey" etc. You can read books online or you can download them as ebooks or PDFs.
  • Google Books – Another great place for older books or for seeing limited sections of newer books. I downloaded George Cavendish's two volume of The Life of Cardinal Wolsey from
  • Project Gutenberg - Another great place to read out of copyright books.

As well as using primary sources and recent books and biographies, you could also look for dissertations/theses written on your topic. There are various sites which allow you to search for theses:

If you're a university student then you can also search for dissertations through your university library.

Journal articles can also be very useful. I use historical journal sites like , and the English Historical Review - to search for journal articles.

Here is the transcript of my talk:


Leave a Reply

Researching Tudor History