The Tudor Society


  • 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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  • This week in history 27 July – 2 August

    On this day in history events for 27 July – 2 August.

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  • Catherine Carey and Henry Carey by Sarah Bryson

    Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, by Steven van Herwijck

    Henry Carey by Steven van Herwijck

    Henry Carey by Steven van Herwijck

    Today is the anniversary of the death of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, Privy Councillor and Lord Chamberlain, in 1596, so it seems appropriate to share this article by Sarah Bryson on Henry and his sister Catherine.

    On 4th February 1520, Mary Boleyn married William Carey, a young, handsome, athletic man who a member of the King Henry VIII's household and also a distant cousin of the King. The match was well made, as Mary Boleyn's father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, was on the rise and was making a name for himself at court. The wedding took place at Greenwich and Henry VIII himself was present, giving the newly married couple a gift of 6s 8d.

    Mary would go on to give her husband two healthy children. Mary's first child, a daughter named Catherine, quite possibly named after Queen Catherine of Aragon, was born in 1524. Catherine would become a constant figure at court until her death on 15 January 1569. At the age of just fourteen, she was appointed as a maid of honour to Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's fourth wife. Then, on 26 April 1540, Catherine married Sir Francis Knollys and she went on to give her husband thirteen children! After the deaths of Henry VIII and his son and heir Edward VI, the Catholic Mary I came to the throne. As Protestants, Catherine and Francis feared for their safety and fled the country with their youngest children. Catherine and her family spent several years travelling the Low Countries, where Catherine was to give birth to one of her children.

    Upon Mary I's death, Elizabeth I came to the throne and in 1559 Catherine was appointed as a lady of the Queen's bedchamber. Returning to England, Catherine took up this highly prized position. Her status meant that she was to tend to the Queen's personal needs, sleep at the foot of her bed when required and help dress the Queen, among other duties. It was a position of intimacy and one which Elizabeth I came to cherish.

    Tragically, Catherine died on 15 January 1569 at Hampton Court. Queen Elizabeth I is reported to have been grief-stricken and she gave her beloved cousin a lavish burial at Westminster Abbey which cost £640 2s. 11d.

    Mary Boleyn's second child, a son named Henry, was born on 4 March 1526. He too would become a prominent and impressive member at court throughout his life. In May 1545 he married Anne Morgan and the pair had twelve children together, nine of them sons. During his early years, he became a diplomat and a member of parliament. When Elizabeth I came to the throne, Henry was knighted and on the 13 January 1559 he was created Baron Hunsdon and granted substantial lands and a yearly pension of £4000. On 31 October 1560 Henry was appointed as Master of the Queen's hawks and then on 18 May 1561 he was created a Knight of the Garter.

    Henry Carey played a prominent role over the years helping to protect the North from England's Scottish neighbours. On 23 October 1571, he was appointed warden of the east marshes, which afforded him even greater responsibilities in protecting the north of England. On the 16 November 1577, Henry was appointed as a member of the Privy Council, allowing him greater access not only to the Queen but to the administration of England's policies.

    During 1583, Elizabeth I re-appointed Henry as captain of the gentlemen pensioners and in July 1585 he was appointed as Lord Chamberlain of the Household, as well as continuing his privy councillor duties. Henry was active in political life until his death on 23 July 1596 at Somerset House. Just like his sister Catherine, Henry Carey was buried at Westminster Abbey, the expenses of this paid by his cousin Elizabeth I. It is rumoured that on his deathbed Elizabeth I offered Henry the earldom of Wiltshire, a title held by his grandfather Thomas Boleyn. However, Henry refused the title stating that if Elizabeth did not think him worthy of the title while he was alive he would not accept it now that he was dying.

    Elizabeth I died childless in 1603 and it was through Catherine and Henry's children that the Boleyn bloodline continued.

    Sarah Bryson is the author of Mary Boleyn: In a Nutshell. She is a researcher, writer and educator who has a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education with Honours and currently works with children with disabilities. Sarah is passionate about Tudor history and has a deep interest in Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn, the reign of Henry VIII and the people of his court. Visiting England in 2009 furthered her passion and when she returned home she started a website,, and Facebook page about Tudor history. Sarah lives in Australia, enjoys reading, writing, Tudor costume enactment and wishes to return to England one day.

    Notes and Sources

    • Jonathan Hughes, ‘Stafford , Mary (c.1499–1543)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2009,, accessed 6 June 2015.
    • Sally Varlow, ‘Knollys , Katherine, Lady Knollys (c.1523–1569)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Oct 2006; online edn, Jan 2009, accessed 6 June 2015.
    • Wallace T. MacCaffrey, ‘Carey, Henry, first Baron Hunsdon (1526–1596)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Sept 2014, [ 6 June 2015.
    • Weir, Alison (2011) Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings, Ballantine Books, New York.
    • Wilkinson, Josephine (2010) Mary Boleyn: The True Story of Henry VIII’s Favourite Mistress, Amberley Publishing, Gloucestershire.
  • Unravelling Mary Boleyn by Sarah Bryson

    A portrait of a woman thought to be Mary Boleyn from the collection at Hever Castle

    Today we have an article by Sarah Bryson, author of Mary Boleyn: In a Nutshell and a regular contributor to the Tudor Society.

    Mary Boleyn is most certainly a woman of mystery. Her younger sister was Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII and Queen consort of England. Mary’s brother was a well-known member of Henry VIII’s court, who was evangelical in his religious beliefs and who, like his sister Anne, ended up on the scaffold. Mary’s father was also an important member of Henry VIII’s court. Thomas Boleyn was a talented man, who was fluent in French and who was sent on many missions as an ambassador for England. He was cunning and smart and used his skills and wits to provide a fantastic education for his children, as well as to further himself and his family at court. And yet when we look at Mary’s life compared to her famous siblings and father so little is known.

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  • This week in history 13 – 19 July

    On this day in history events for week 13-19 July.

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  • This week in history 6 – 12 July

    On this day in history events for 6-12 July.

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  • This week in history 15 – 21 June

    On this day in history events for 15 – 21 June.

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  • News – Archaeologists prepare to reveal the secrets of Bradgate Park

    Archaeologists are starting a five-year project to reveal the secrets of Bradgate Park, the estate which was home to Lady Jane Grey and her family.

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  • Henry VIII

    Henry VIII was born on 28 June 1491 at Greenwich Palace. He was the second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, but became heir to the throne when his brother Arthur died in 1502. He inherited the throne on the death of his father in April 1509, when he was just 17 years old, and he was crowned on 24 June 1509 in a joint coronation with his new bride Catherine of Aragon, the widow of his brother.

    His reign was seen as the start of a new era, after his father’s harsh regime, and Henry was very much a Renaissance prince at the start, with his charm, good looks, intelligence, love of sport and desire to fight bribery and corruption. However, he has gone down in history as a larger than life, hulk of a man who had six wives and who executed two of them, and who, according to one contemporary source, executed 72,000 during his reign. His reign is famous for the break with Rome which happened as a result of Henry VIII’s “Great Matter”, his quest for an annulment of his marriage to his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Catherine had been unable to provide Henry with a living son and Henry had come to view the marriage as contrary to God’s laws, since Catherine was his brother’s widow. He had also fallen in love with Anne Boleyn. The Pope refused to grant Henry an annulment, but Henry took matters into his own hands after reading that kings and princes were only answerable to God. The marriage was annulled in 1533, Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn and the Reformation Parliament of 1529-1536 passed the main pieces of legislation which led to the break with Rome and the English Reformation.

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  • Hever Castle by Sarah Bryson

    Situated in the beautiful countryside of Kent, UK, Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of the most famous women in English history.

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  • This week in history 27 April – 3 May

    On this day in history events for 27 April to 3 May.

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  • This week in history 23 – 29 March

    On this day in history events for 23-29 March.

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  • Hans Holbein the Younger by Sarah Bryson

    Hans Holbein the Younger is one of history’s most famous painters and it is thanks to his great skill and talent that we have so many paintings of the people of Henry VIII’s reign, including the great King himself. But who exactly was Hans Holbein the Younger and how did he come to the English court and catch the eye of Henry VIII?

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  • This week in history 16 – 22 February

    On this day in history events for 16-22 February.

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  • This week in history 26 January – 1st February

    On this day in history events for 26th January to 1st February.

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  • Cor Rotto: A Novel of Catherine Carey Book Tour Day 7 – Life in Exile

    An article by Adrienne Dillard on what life was like for Marian exiles like Catherine Carey and her husband Francis Knollys who fled to the Continent.

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  • This week in history 19 – 25 January

    On this day in history events for 19-25 January.

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  • This week in history 5 – 11 January

    On this day in history events for 5 January to 11 January.

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  • This week in history 29 December – 4 January

    On this day in history events for 29 December to 4 January.

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  • This week in history 22 – 28 December

    On this day in history events for 22-28 December.

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  • Tudor Life December 2014

    This is our BUMPER CHRISTMAS magazine, with an amazing 108 pages packed with facts, stories and fun related to the Tudor period, and of course to Christmas too!

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  • Historical Fiction Reviewers Needed

    We’re looking for reviewers for a novel. Can you help?

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  • This Week in History 29 September – 5 October

    This week in history events for 29th September to 5th October.

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  • This Week in History 22-28 September

    “On this day in history” events for 22-28 September.

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  • September 17 – Heinrich Bullinger

    A portrait of Heinrich Bullinger by Hans Asper

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th September 1575, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Swiss reformer and theologian Heinrich (Henry) Bullinger died in Zurich.

    Bullinger succeeded Huldrych Zwingli as pastor at Grossmünster and head of the church in Zurich. His main work was “The Decades”, a theological work, but his sermons were also translated and published, and he wrote historical works.

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  • Happy New Year and the death of a king

    Happy New Year!

    In this video that I did for the YouTube channel, I talk about King Louis XII of France, first husband of Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, and his death on this day in history, 1st January 1515.

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  • This week in history 8 – 14 October

    The Pilgrimage of Grace banner bearing the Holy Wounds of Jesus Christ

    8th October:

    1515 – Birth of Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox. Margaret was the daughter of Margaret Tudor, Queen Dowager of Scotland and sister of Henry VIII, and Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus.
    1536 – The commons, i.e. the people, approved the petition of grievances drawn up by the rebels of Horncastle, Lincolnshire.
    1549 – Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector, was proclaimed a traitor by the King’s Privy Council.
    1561 – Baptism of Edward Wright, mathematician and cartographer, at Garveston in Norfolk. Wright is known for his treatise “Certaine Errors in Navigation” (1599), his work on Mercator’s map projection and his translation of John Napier’s 1614 Mirifici logarithmorum canonis descriptio into English.
    1594 – Death of Ellis Price (Prys), scholar and administrator. Price served Henry VIII as a Monastic Visitor in Wales 1535, Commissary-General and Chancellor of the diocese of St Asaph, and as an administrator in Wales after the “Acts of Union”. He also later served as Sheriff of Merioneth, Anglesey, Caernarfon, and Denbigh, and a member of the council in the Marches of Wales.

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