The Tudor Society
  • Anne Boleyn and the gable hood

    In this week’s Claire chats video, I answer Tudor Society member Laurie’s question: “why did Anne wear a gable hood to her execution, when she traditionally only wore French hoods? Was it possibly related to showing increased piety, etc.?”

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  • Elizabeth Somerset, Countess of Worcester, one of Anne Boleyn’s ladies

    Born around 1502 in Bechworth, Surrey, Elizabeth was the daughter of Lucy Neville and Sir Anthony Browne; with the latter serving as standard-bearer to Henry VII and occupying the post of Lieutenant of Calais.

    Little is known of Elizabeth’s early life, however, her family did have connections to the royal court. Her father was a trusted courtier, and in 1508 her sister Anne married Sir Charles Brandon, one of the future King Henry VIII’s closest friends.

    During the 1520s Elizabeth was of marriageable age, and in around 1526 she was matched with Henry Somerset, the second Earl of Worcester. This was an elevated match as her father was neither royal nor noble, however, his descendants were members of parliament. Somerset’s first wife, Lady Margaret Courtney, granddaughter of Yorkist queen Elizabeth Woodville, had died without issue. Elizabeth and Henry married before 1527 and would go on to produce nine children, with many living into adulthood.

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  • 10 minute Tudors with Leanda de Lisle

    Historian Leanda de Lisle has just sent me a link to a podcast she’s just published, the first in a new series on the Tudors and Stuarts. This one is called “Anne Boleyn: The Last Mystery”.

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  • Anne Boleyn Experience Tour 2018

    British History Tours will soon be publicising its 2018 “Anne Boleyn Experience” tour which will run from 16-20 May 2018.

    The tour will be led by Philippa Lacey Brewell of British History Tours and Claire Ridgway (me!) and will be based at Hever Castle, childhood home of Queen Anne Boleyn. Participants will stay in a luxury private wing at Hever Castle and there will be tours of the castle, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. We’ll actually be visiting the Tower of London on 19th May, the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution.

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  • Where is Anne Boleyn buried?

    Thank you to Sandra for asking this question. In her email, Sandra said:

    “Where is Anne Boleyn buried? I had always believed that after the late 1870 restoration of the skeletons found in the Chapel of St. Peter Ad Vincula that Anne as with others, George Boleyn, Jane Rochford, John Dudley, etc. were re-buried in their individual caskets under the memorial tiles in the Chapel. Although I do appreciate that the individuals may not be buried under their named tile. However, I have read recently a couple of articles which claim that the caskets are buried in the crypt of the Chapel.

    Now, this may be one and the same e.g. underneath the memorial tiles this may lead to the crypt underneath.”

    I (Claire) can answer this as it’s something I’ve researched and I also have all of the minutes from the meetings of the Victorian restoration team who worked on the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula in 1876 and 1877.

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  • Anne Boleyn’s Music Book – Talk, 24 September, Royal College of Music

    Thank you to Jane Moulder, our Tudor Society music expert, for sharing this news…

    Anne Boleyn’s Music Book
    2:00pm, 24 September 2017, at the Britten Theatre, the Royal College of Music, London.

    Professor Ian Fenlon University of Cambridge
    Dr David Skinner University of Cambridge
    Professor Thomas Schmidt University of Manchester
    Alamire

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  • Could Anne Boleyn have gone to Margaret of Austria’s court at the age of 6?

    Thank you to Laurie for asking this Anne Boleyn question. Laurie’s full question was: “Regarding the birthdate of Anne, if it is 1507, as opposed to 1501, as many historians actually believe, this would make her only 6 years old when she is sent to the court of Margaret of Austria in 1513! As this is quite a bit younger than the average age when girls were sent to foreign courts, how is this explained?”

    As I (Claire Ridgway) have been researching Anne’s life now for eight years, I figured that I could answer this one. However, I go with a 1501 birthdate for Anne Boleyn so, in the interests of being fair, I am also providing a link to an article written by Gareth Russell, who believes that Anne was born in 1507. Gareth and I agree on most things but we agree to disagree on that!

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  • Anne Boleyn Day live chats

    I’m not sure how many of you managed to join in with Anne Boleyn Day 2017 on the Anne Boleyn Files website and Facebook page, but I thought I’d share with you these videos of the Facebook live chats I did. You can see the other videos from the day on the Anne Boleyn Day 2017 playlist on YouTube.

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  • The Sphere of Light: The Anne Boleyn saga as never told before – 1 July 2017, Cambridge, UK

    Ann Henning Jocelyn, writer and director of “The Sphere of Light: The Anne Boleyn saga as never told before” has asked me to share this information about the play. If you can get to Cambridge in the UK then do go and see it and then let us know what it was like.

    Here are the details:

    To be presented as a rehearsed reading at the Howard Theatre, Downing College, Cambridge, on July 1st, 2017, at 4 PM and 8 PM.
    Tickets at £12/10 from www.adcticketing.com Tel: 01223 300 085.

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  • Anne Boleyn

    Anne Boleyn was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, later Earl of Wiltshire, and Elizabeth Howard. She was the granddaughter of Thomas Howard, second Duke of Norfolk, and like all of Henry VIII’s wives, was descended from Edward I. Where Anne was born remains uncertain; traditionally Blickling Hall and Hever Castle, both of which were Boleyn properties, have been suggested, but a family tradition claimed that she was born in London, perhaps at Norfolk House, one of the seats of her mother’s family. Modern historians have usually assigned 1501 as the year of Anne’s birth, but two seventeenth-century texts nominated 1507. William Camden, the Elizabethan historian and herald, researched and wrote a life of Anne’s daughter, Elizabeth, in which, as Wyatt H. Herendeen notes, his ‘interpenetrating personal and professional lives were ‘authored’ by Elizabeth, while Burghley was his symbolic father.’ Entreating Camden to commence the project in the late 1590s, Burghley provided the historian with private papers as well as documents from the queen’s archives. This access, which included documents in Cotton’s library, ensured that Camden enjoyed ‘a privileged perspective’ on Elizabeth’s reign, as Herendeen contends. With the impressive resources available to him, it is questionable whether Elizabeth’s biographer would have erred in documenting her mother’s year of birth. Moreover, according to the memoirs of Jane Dormer, a favourite attendant of Mary I, Anne had not yet reached her twenty-ninth birthday when she was beheaded in 1536: an admission that supports a birth date of 1507.

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  • Primary sources for Anne Boleyn’s Fall 1536

    In today’s Claire Chats video, Claire talks about how you can access primary sources on Anne Boleyn’s fall in 1536 wherever you are in the world.

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  • A contemporary image of Anne Boleyn

    This week’s Claire Chats video has been inspired by a debate that’s been happening online over an image from The Black Book of the Garter which Roland Hui believes to be of Anne Boleyn.

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  • Anne Boleyn and the Famine of 1527

    hank you to regular contributor Heather R. Darsie for this article on the famine of 1527 and how the common people may have seen it.

    In the Tudor period, life was very much governed by the church, and people in England generally, at least outwardly, were religious and God-fearing. Witchcraft was thought to exist, and God could express his pleasure or displeasure, or otherwise send signs through any number of mediums. Did God try to warn Henry VIII, or even Anne Boleyn, that their courtship was ultimately doomed? By 1527, it was no secret that Henry VIII harboured an affection for Anne Boleyn. In May of that year, Henry was explaining to Cardinal Wolsey why he felt he was living in sin by having married his deceased brother’s wife. Cardinal Wolsey had been made legatus a legere, putting him in the position of the most powerful religious figure in England. Henry relied on a passage from the Christian bible, namely Leviticus 20:21, which states, “And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.” Henry, of course, had his daughter Mary with Catherine, but no male heir and several stillbirths or infants who only lived for a few weeks. But this was not enough to ensure the Tudor dynasty.

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  • Six Wives with Lucy Worsley Episode 2

    Episode 2 of “Six Wives with Lucy Worsley” focused on Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour, although Jane didn’t get much attention, and took us from Anne’s rise through to Jane’s death. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

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  • Hever Castle with Sarah Bryson

    Today in our regular Friday video spot, Sarah Bryson, author of Mary Boleyn in a Nutshell and Charles Brandon: The King’s Man, tells us about Hever Castle, the family home of the Boleyns, and shares her experience of visiting it recently. Thank you Sarah!

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  • Building work at Greenwich Palace 1532-1533

    In today’s Claire Chats video I share with you my latest book buy – a transcript of building work that was carried out at Greenwich Palace between September 1532, after Anne Boleyn had become Marquis of Pembroke, and September 1533, after she’d become queen and given birth to her daughter, Elizabeth I, at the palace.

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  • Slut Shaming – Expert talk by Kyra Kramer

    This month’s expert is Kyra Kramer, talking about Anne Boleyn and comparing her to Jezabel… take it away Kyra!

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  • Henry VIII’s six wives are as popular as ever – Conor Byrne

    Henry VIII’s six wives are as popular as ever. In the 2016 History Hot 100 recently compiled by BBC History Magazine, no less than four of the notorious Tudor king’s consorts featured. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, wife number two Anne Boleyn finished highest, at number 4. Katherine Parr came in at number 31, Katherine of Aragon at 36, and Anne of Cleves at 38.

    Tudormania, as coined by a Guardian article, is pervasive. The general public and historians alike cannot get enough of the Tudors. But our obsession with this colourful dynasty, by and large, centres on a handful of characters that dominate films, novels and articles. This confinement of our focus is starkly revealed in the Hot 100: the top Tudor figures are, unsurprisingly, Elizabeth I, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell.

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  • 1 June 1533 – Queen Anne Boleyn’s coronation

    Today is the 483rd anniversary of the coronation of Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII. What was interesting about her coronation is that she was crowned with the crown of St Edward, a crown usually reserved for crowning the reigning monarch, so her coronation was quite a statement. Whether the use of the crown was to do with Anne’s status or to do with her unborn child, who was, of course, expected to be a prince, it is still an interesting fact.

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  • Anne Boleyn Quiz 2

    As this week has been the 480th anniversary of the execution of Queen Anen Boleyn on 19th May 1536, I thought I’d test you with this Anne Boleyn quiz – good luck!

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  • Sir William Kingston and the Arrest of Anne Boleyn by Sarah Bryson

    On 2 May 1536, Anne Boleyn was ordered to present herself to the Privy Council. Standing before the Duke of Norfolk, Sir William Fitzwilliam and Sir William Paulet, Anne Boleyn was arrested for committing adultery with three men: Mark Smeaton, Henry Norris and an unnamed man.

    After lunch, Anne was escorted from Greenwich to the Tower of London. Popular myth tells of how Anne entered the Tower of London from the Thames through ‘Traitors Gate’. However, researchers and historians suggest that she would have arrived through the Court Gate near the Byward Tower – which was the common entrance for people of nobility and royalty. Here she was met by Sir Edmund Walsingham, the Lieutenant of the Tower, and escorted inside.

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  • April 2016 Tudor Life Magazine

    Packed with a wide range of articles about Tudor personalities like the Dudleys, Elizabeth of York, Mary I, Isabella of Spain and Henry Howard. There is part one of an insider’s guide to the Tower of London, a detailed article about Greenwich Palace and Wroxhall Abbey, an article about some bizarre Tudor foods and lots more! It’s our best magazine yet!

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  • February 2016 Tudor Life Magazine

    It’s our sex edition … and there are lots of things to discover within February’s Tudor Life magazine. Dare you read on? (Actually you won’t be shocked, but you will learn a lot!)

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  • The Château du Clos Lucé

    The Château du Clos Lucé is situated just 400m from the Château d’Amboise. It was built on Gallo-Roman remains in 1471 after the land was given as the Manoir du Cloux by King Louis XI to Etienne le Loup, a former kitchen boy who had become a favourite of the king.

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  • 11 June – Anne Boleyn Talk on London Eye

    One of the curators behind 32 Londoners of the London Eye has contacted to let me know that Anne Boleyn has been chosen as one of their iconic 32 Londoners in 2015. Historian Tracy Borman, who is also Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, will be talking about Anne Boleyn on 11th June and pointing out London landmarks associated with Anne.

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  • Primary sources for Anne Boleyn’s coronation – 1 June 1533

    Here are some links for primary source accounts of Anne Boleyn’s coronation, and the pageants and processions that went with it, on 1st June 1533:

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  • June 2015 Tudor Life Magazine

    Here’s the latest magazine with all our regular items and contributors plus lots of fascinating articles about people and places from the Tudor period.

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  • Expert Talk – Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and the Fall of Anne Boleyn

    In this month’s second expert talk, Claire Ridgway looks at the fall of Anne Boleyn in 1536 and examines the roles of Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII in those bloody events. Did Thomas Cromwell plot all by himself or was he simply his master’s servant? Was Henry VIII ultimately responsible? Why did Anne Boleyn have to die?

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  • Anne Boleyn’s Miscarriage of 1536 by Sarah Bryson

    On 29th January 1536, the same day that Katherine of Aragon was laid to rest at Peterborough Abbey (nowadays known as Peterborough Cathedral), Anne Boleyn tragically miscarried. There has been a great deal of speculation surrounding Anne’s final pregnancy and miscarriage. Some have suggested that the foetus was disfigured and malformed while others do not give any hint at anything wrong with the baby. Here is what Eustace Chapuys, ambassador to Charles V at the English Court, had to say about Anne’s miscarriage:

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  • Sir Henry Norris and the Fall of Anne Boleyn by Kyra Kramer

    Thank you to Tudor Life magazine contributor Kyra Kramer for this excellent article on Sir Henry Norris, Henry VIII’s Groom of the Stool, and the fall of Anne Boleyn. Over to Kyra…

    Of all the men who were falsely accused of being Anne Boleyn’s companions in adultery, to point a finger at Henry Norris makes the most sense in terms of proximity and politics but the least sense in terms of his close relationship with Henry VIII.

    If historian Greg Walker is correct in his 2002 proposal that Anne’s downfall was not due to her miscarriage of a male foetus in January of 1536 but instead to some hasty words she said in spring, then Norris was a ready-made target. One day in late April, the queen asked Henry Norris, who was the king’s groom of the stool and engaged to her cousin Madge Shelton, when he planned to wed. Norris hedged that he would wait just a bit longer, which vexed Anne. In her anger she told him he was looking for “dead men’s shoes, for if ought came to the king but good, you would look to have me”. This was a major blunder. It was treason to even think about the death of the king, let alone to talk about whom his queen might marry after his demise. Norris was appalled and Anne knew almost immediately that she had said something dangerous. She sent Norris to her chaplain, John Skyp, to swear that she was a good woman and faithful to the king.

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