The Tudor Society
  • 15 September – Elizabeth I saves the day and a Tudor taxman

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th September 1589, the Battle of Arques began.

    This battle was part of the final war of the French Wars of Religion, a series of conflicts in France from 1562-1598 between Catholics and Huguenots. It was fought between the new French king, Henry IV, and the Catholic League led by Charles of Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne, and looked bad for Henry until troops sent by Elizabeth I arrived – phew!

    You can find out more about what led to this battle, what happened at the battle, and what happened next, in this video…

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  • Elizabeth I Places Crossword Puzzle

    This week has been the anniversary of the birth of Queen Elizabeth I on 7th September 1533, so I thought we’d mark the occasion by testing your knowledge of places linked to Elizabeth I.

    Test your knowledge of Elizabeth I places with this fun crossword puzzle.

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  • 7 September – Charles Brandon marries his young ward, and Elizabeth I is born

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th September 1533, just over two months after the death of his previous wife, Mary Tudor. Queen of France, forty-nine-year-old Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, married his ward, fourteen-year-old Catherine Willoughby.

    Find out more about this Tudor couple, how they came to be married, what their marriage was like, and what happened to them…

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  • 15 August – The Oaten Hill Martyrs and a lady-in-waiting who was attacked by Elizabeth I

    On his day in Tudor history, 15th August 1588, Catholics Robert Wilcox, Edward Campion, Christopher Buxton and Robert Widmerpool were examined while imprisoned in the Marshalsea prison in Southwark, London.

    These men ended up being executed, three of them for being Catholic priests and one for giving aid to priests. All four died with courage and in 1929 were beatified.

    Find out more about these men and how they came to be executed in this video…

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  • 9 July – Elizabeth I visits Robert Dudley’s castle

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th July 1575, Queen Elizabeth I visited Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, home of her favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Her stay would be a long one, 19 days!

    Find out a bit more about her stay at Kenilworth Castle in this edition of #TudorHistoryShorts…

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  • Celebrate Summer with Mary and Elizabeth

    Today is the first day of Summer! For the occasion we chose two special events that took place in the Summer in the Tudor era. 

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  • Information Circulation and Queen Elizabeth I – a documentary

    As you probably know, Emma and Merel have been working at the Tudor Society over the past four months as interns as part of their degree, but what you won't know is that as part of their final year studies, they had to produce a documentary. We're so pleased that it's Tudor history themed! Congratulations to them both on such a wonderful production.

    Here it is...

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  • 7 June – The execution of Elizabeth I’s physician

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th June 1594, Elizabeth I’s physician, Roderigo Lopez, was hanged, drawn and quartered after being accused of plotting to poison the queen.

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  • Elizabeth’s Mysterious Black Pearls

    In the Ermine Portrait, Elizabeth I is seen wearing a black pearl necklace. But how did this jewel from the Italian Medici family end up in the hands of the British Royal family? 

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  • 15 April – Blows and evil words from Elizabeth I

    On this day in Tudor history, courtier Sir John Scudamore was laid to rest. His wife served Queen Elizabeth I and appears to have suffered in doing so.

    Find out what happened to Mary Scudamore in this #TudorHistoryShorts video:

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  • A Tudor Funeral

    Sadly, Prince Philip passed away on the 9th of April 2021 at the age of 99. On Saturday the 17th of April the funeral will be held at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Nowadays, a royal funeral is no longer for the family alone, all the world can watch it online. This was very different for the Tudors. What were their funeral traditions?

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  • These Tudors Are Your Favourites

    A couple of weeks ago we asked our Instagram followers to vote on their favourite Tudor Monarch and wife of Henry VIII. We combined the votes with the most searched questions on Google and the country in which they are most popular. Here are the results!

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  • 23 December – Elizabeth I moves to a property her mother knew well

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd December 1558, just over a month after her accession, England’s new queen, Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, moved from Somerset House to Whitehall Palace, which became her principal residence.

    Whitehall, formerly York Place, had once been home to her mother, Anne Boleyn, and had been the setting of Anne’s marriage to Henry VIII. I wonder if Elizabeth felt close to her mother there.

    Find out more about Whitehall Palace, and also Somerset Place, the property Elizabeth left, in today’s talk.

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  • 20 December – Edward Arden, “victim of a grave iniquity” or conspirator?

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th December 1583, the day after his son-in-law, John Somerville, had been found dead in his cell, Warwickshire gentleman Edward Arden was hanged, drawn and quartered at Smithfield.

    Arden, who was related to William Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden, and married to a member of the Throckmorton family, had been found guilty of treason, after being implicated in Somerville’s plot to kill the queen.

    But was Arden actually guilty? Why didn’t others involved end up being executed too?

    Find out more about Edward Arden and what happened in 1583, in today’s talk.

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  • 19 December – A conspirator found dead in his cell

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th December 1583, twenty-three-year-old convicted conspirator, John Somerville, was found dead in his cell at Newgate Prison. His death was said to be suicide, due to his poor mental health, but some Catholics believed that he had been killed.

    Somerville had been found guilty of conspiring to assassinate the queen, but did he really mean to? Was he mentally ill? Was he manipulated by others?

    Find out more about John Somerville in today’s talk.

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  • 17 December – A promise made to Anne Boleyn

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th December 1559, fifty-five-year-old Matthew Parker was consecrated as Queen Elizabeth I’s Archbishop of Canterbury. It was an office which Parker did not want and would not have accepted if “he had not been so much bound to the mother”.

    What did he mean by that?

    Well, when he was Anne Boleyn’s chaplain in 1536, the queen had met with him just six days before her arrest and he made her a promise.

    Find out more about Matthew Parker, his life and that meeting with Anne Boleyn, in today’s talk:

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  • Quiz – Elizabeth I in movies and on TV

    As it was the anniversary of Elizabeth I’s accession this week, I thought we’d celebrate her reign once more with an Elizabeth I-themed quiz. This time, about portrayals of the queen in movies and on TV.

    Good luck!

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  • Happy Accession Day! Enjoy some Elizabeth I resources

    As today is the anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, on 17th November 1558, I thought I’d share with you some links to Elizabeth I resources here on the Tudor Society website.

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  • 18 October – Freedom for Elizabeth at last!

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th October 1555, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, finally received permission from her half-sister, Queen Mary I, to leave court and travel to her own estate at Hatfield, rather than return to house arrest in Woodstock.

    Poor Elizabeth had spent the last 18 months being watched or imprisoned, so this must have been a huge relief.

    But why had Elizabeth been watched and confined? What had she gone through and why?

    Find out more about this awful part of Elizabeth I’s life in today’s talk.

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  • Expert Live Chat – Estelle Paranque – Elizabeth I and the French

    Historian Estelle Paranque is our August expert speaker, talking to us on "Elizabeth I of England Through Valois Eyes: Power, Representation, and Diplomacy in the Reign of the Queen 1558-1588".

    Estelle will be joining us in the Tudor Society chatroom at https://www.tudorsociety.com/chatroom/ for a Q&A session on her talk on Elizabeth I and her research, on 22nd August.

    Here are the times in different time zones. If your time zone isn't listed you can use https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html to convert the London time to your zone.

    • London, UK - Saturday 22 August at 4pm
    • Madrid, Spain - Saturday 22 August at 5pm
    • New York, USA - Saturday 22 August at 11am
    • Los Angeles, USA - Saturday 22 August at 8am
    • Sydney, Australia - Sunday 23 August at 1am
    • Adelaide, Australia - Saturday 22 August at 00.300
  • 9 August – Elizabeth I’s words cause horror among her clergy

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th August 1561, while on a visit to Ipswich, in Suffolk, Queen Elizabeth I issued a royal mandate forbidding women to reside in cathedrals and colleges.

    Although she wasn’t going as far as banning clerical marriage, her mandate caused concern, and even horror, among her clergy, particularly her married Archbishop of Canterbury, who was a huge supporter of clerical marriage.

    Find out more about what Elizabeth I ordered, the reactions of William Cecil, Matthew Parker and Richard Cox, and why the Protestant Elizabeth may have issued this mandate, in today’s talk.

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  • Expert talk – Estelle Paranque – Elizabeth I and the French

    Our August expert speaker is historian Estelle Paranque, historian in Queenship, Royal, and Diplomatic Studies, and author of
    Elizabeth I of England Through Valois Eyes: Power, Representation, and Diplomacy in the Reign of the Queen 1558-1588. Estelle will be talking to us about her favourite historical character, Queen Elizabeth I, and her relationship with France.

  • 30 July – Elizabeth leaves Somerset House to meet Mary

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th July 1553, Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, left her new home, Somerset House, to ride to Wanstead and greet her half-sister, Mary, who’d been officially proclaimed queen on 19th July.

    Somerset House was Elizabeth’s new London residence and you can find out more about how Elizabeth acquired it and who built it originally in today’s talk.

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  • 25 July – A fool gets into big trouble

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th July 1535, the Feast of St James, t, the imperial ambassador wrote about a furious King Henry VIII who’d apparently been nearly driven to commit murder!

    What had angered the king? Well, it involved Henry VIII’s fool and some foolish name-calling. Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 23 May – Elizabeth the prisoner, “Much suspected by me, Nothing proved can be”

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd May 1554, Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, arrived at the Palace of Woodstock in Oxfordshire, where she was placed under house arrest.

    Elizabeth remained under house arrest there for just under a year, and she didn’t make it easy for her gaoler, Sir Henry Bedingfield, and neither did her servants.

    Find out why Elizabeth was under house arrest and what happened in today’s talk.

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  • 3 April – Peace between Elizabeth I, France and the Empire

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd April 1559, the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis was signed between King Henry II of France and King Philip II of Spain. The previous day, 2nd April 1559, it had been signed between Elizabeth I and Henry II.

    The treaty, or rather treaties, brought the Italian Wars to an end. But what were these wars? How was England involved? And what were the terms of the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis? Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 21 March – Elizabeth I takes to her bed

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st March 1603, a dying Queen Elizabeth I finally took to her bed.

    Elizabeth I had been queen since November 1558, but now she was dying. She had deep-rooted melancholy, couldn’t sleep and was refusing to eat. She spent her days lying on cushions in her withdrawing chamber. But on 21st March, she was finally persuaded to go to bed.

    Find out more about these last days in this talk.

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  • 5 February – Elizabeth under investigation

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th February 1549, in the reign of King Edward VI, fifteen-year-old Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth I, was summoned to appear before Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, who was keeping her under house arrest at Hatfield while the Crown investigated Thomas Seymour.

    Edward VI’s privy council were investigating whether Elizabeth was secretly plotting to marry Thomas Seymour, Edward VI’s uncle, helped by her servants, Katherine Ashley and Thomas Parry.

    Parry and Ashley had made confessions, but what had they said? And what would happen to them all?

    Find out in today’s talk.

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  • 28 January – Elizabeth I, friend of the Ottoman Empire

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th January 1598, diplomat Edward Barton died of dysentery on the island of Heybeli Ada, in the Sea of Marmara, off the coast of Istanbul. Barton and his predecessor, William Harborne, had played key roles in Elizabeth I’s alliance with the Ottoman Empire.

    Elizabeth I had a good relationship with the Islamic World and it was something that was very important to her. Find out why Elizabeth reached out to the Ottomans in the 1580s, and just how the relationship worked, in today’s talk.

    Recommended reading: “This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World” – Jerry Brotton

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  • Katherine Ashley (Astley, née Champernowne)

    Katherine or ‘Kat’ Ashley (Astley, née Champernowne) is the purported daughter of Sir Phillip Champernowne, a wealthy landowner in Devon, and his wife, Katherine, daughter of Sir Edmund Carew. Although we do not know much regarding her early years, we do know that Kat received an education unlike that of her contemporary aristocratic women. For aristocratic women, their education centred on what would render them desirable for marriage and as such, learned dancing, sewing, embroidery and music in the place of reading and writing. As such, may aristocratic women were barely literate at all. Kat, however, received an education that was equal to that of a man, learning classical scholarship and developing an interest in humanism, her father being unusually committed to the education of his daughters. Kat’s humanist leanings and interests caught the eye of Thomas Cromwell, who suggested that she be appointed to the household of Princess Elizabeth. It is this appointment which would shape her life, and mark her as a historical figure worthy of note.

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