The Tudor Society
  • 28 March – Anne Boleyn’s chaplain and almoner John Skip

    Today is the anniversary of the death of John Skip, Bishop of Hereford, on 28th March 1552.

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I talk about Skip’s time serving Queen Anne Boleyn as chaplain and almoner, and a controversial sermon he preached just a month before Anne’s fall.

    [Read More...]
  • 23 March – Who’s queen: Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn?

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd March 1534, the Pope issued a bull proclaiming Catherine of Aragon to be England’s true queen and Mary the heir to the throne, while the English Parliament declared Anne Boleyn to be England’s rightful queen and her daughter, Elizabeth, the heir. Weird!

    In today’s video, I explain what was going on and what the 1534 Act of Succession stated.

    [Read More...]
  • 7 February – A joust, unrequited love and a nasty accident

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th February 1526, Henry VIII took part in the traditional Shrovetide joust at Greenwich. In this video, I give details of this joust, its theme and a nasty accident that affected one courtier that day.

    [Read More...]
  • 25 January

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th January 1533, King Henry VIII married his second wife, Anne Boleyn, at Whitehall Palace. In this video, I share an excerpt from my book, On This day in History, to tell you more about this event.

    [Read More...]
  • Claire Chats – The men of May 1536

    As you know, I’ve just been leading the Anne Boleyn Experience Tour with Philippa Brewell of British History Tours and as well as being the resident historian on the tour, answering questions on Anne Boleyn and Tudor history, I also did a talk on the other victims of May 1536, i.e. the five men who were executed, the two men who were imprisoned and released, and the families left behind.

    [Read More...]
  • Anne Boleyn Myths – Part 2

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, I look at a few more myths that surround Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, and challenge them. Please do share your thoughts and any other myths that you have come across.

    [Read More...]
  • Anne Boleyn Experience Day 2 – The magic of Hever Castle

    After a night of not much sleep at all – I was too excited to sleep! – we enjoyed a lovely breakfast in the Astor Wing of Hever Castle before having free time to enjoy the gardens and castle. I love walking through the gardens before the public arrives because I can pretend that I am the lady of the manor.

    The gardens just cannot be described in words. I cannot do them justice. They are breathtakingly beautiful. I did a couple of Facebook Live videos from the gardens and I hope my excitement and pure joy shone through, I was very excited. Then, I got even more excited because I visited the Hever Castle gift shop to find a display of my books. The staff were kind enough to allow me to take lots of selfies with my books. I also signed the copies they had so that they could sell them as signed copies. Seeing my books on sale in the shop of the Boleyn family home was truly a dream come true, one of those “pinch me” moments.

    [Read More...]
  • Anne Boleyn True or False Quiz

    As we’re nearing the anniversary of the execution of Queen Anne Boleyn, I thought I’d choose her as the topic of this week’s quiz. Grab your favourite beverage and snack, get that thinking cap on and let’s test your knowledge of this famous Tudor queen!

    [Read More...]
  • Anne Boleyn Myths – Part 1

    As it is nearing the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution, our informal live chat is on Anne Boleyn this month AND I’m getting ready to go on the Anne Boleyn Experience Tour, I thought I’d talk about some of the most prevailing myths that surround the second wife of Henry VIII. These are the myths that I am challenging and correcting on a regular basis.

    Here is Part 1 and I will be looking at a few more next week.

    [Read More...]
  • Was Anne Boleyn a mistress of Francis I?

    Thank you to Tudor Society member Lynne for asking this question: “When Anne Boleyn was a teenager in the court of Francis I, did she have a bit of a romance going on with the king?”

    I (Claire Ridgway) will answer this one as I have done in-depth research into Anne Boleyn’s life, including her time in France.

    Anne Boleyn left England in the spring or summer of 1512 to serve at the court of Margaret of Austria in Mechelen. In August 1514, Anne’s father, Thomas Boleyn, wrote to Margaret to inform her that Anne had been appointed to serve Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII. Mary was travelling to France to marry King Louis XII of France and Anne had been chosen as one of her maids of honour. It is not known when Anne arrived in France, whether it was in time for Mary’s marriage on 9th October or whether it wasn’t until her coronation in the November, but Anne served Mary from that time until Mary returned to England in the spring of 1515. Anne was retained by the new queen consort of France, Queen Claude, wife of Francis I, and served her until late 1521 when Anne was recalled to England in late 1521.

    So, Anne spent seven years in France, serving at the royal court, but was she linked to Francis I romantically during that time?

    [Read More...]
  • Live chat transcript – Natalie Grueninger – The early life of Anne Boleyn

    Thanks to all who came to our live chat with Natalie Grueninger over the weekend. We had a great time discussing the early life of Anne Boleyn including things like her birth date.

    [Read More...]
  • Expert Talk – Natalie Grueninger – The Early Life of Anne Boleyn

    This month’s expert speaker is Natalie Grueninger, author of “Discovering Tudor London” and “In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII”. This talk is all about Anne Boleyn, her lineage, and the ever-fascinating question of when Anne was actually born.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.?”

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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”.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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

    [Read More...]
  • 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!

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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!

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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!

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]