The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • Catherine of Aragon’s Pregnancies Part 1: 1509 – 1511

    As this week was the anniversary of Queen Catherine of Aragon giving birth to a still-born daughter in 1510, I thought I’d look at the primary source accounts we have of Catherine’s pregnancies.

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  • Henry VIII: a tyrant? Live chat transcript

    Thank you to all those who came to the informal live chat on Henry VIII the Tyrant. We all had a wonderful time and this was an incredibly lively chat.

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  • Anne of Cleves Part 1 – September 1539 to 6 January 1540.

    As tomorrow is the anniversary of Henry VIII’s fourth marriage, his marriage to Anne of Cleves, I thought I’d start a series of Claire Chats video talks on the marriage.

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  • Informal live chat: Henry VIII, tyrant? – 13 January 2018

    This month’s informal live chat is on Saturday 13th January and the topic is Henry VIII – tyrant? Yes, we’re discussing that iconic monarch and whether or not the label “tyrant” can be used to describe him. It should be a very interesting debate and I’m looking forward to it.

    With our informal chats, we don’t have an expert to ‘grill’, we just all bundle into the chatroom and have fun debating the topic for an hour. The moderator is just there to check that it runs smoothly, and to join the debate too. Feel free to share book recommendations, to pose questions, to share your views…

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  • January 2018 – Tudor Life – Henry VIII

    Here is the full version of our 86-page January edition of Tudor Life Magazine. This month we have many articles about this fascinating king – all the way through to his final days.

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  • Happy Birthday Henry VIII!

    To celebrate the anniversary of Henry VIII’s birth on this day in history, 28th June 1491, I thought I’d give you some links to some talks, articles and resources on this iconic king. Happy 526th birthday to King Henry VIII.

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  • Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon Crossword

    As yesterday was the anniversary of the coronation of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon in 1509, we’re going to have some fun and exercise our brains with a Henry and Catherine-themed crossword – enjoy!

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  • Why did Henry VIII get so fat?

    Thank you to Ana for asking “Why did Henry VIII get so fat? Was he really obese because he ate too much? Or because he was ill?”. Here is Kyra Kramer’s answer:

    Henry was a man of large appetites, in so many ways. Until he was in his late 30s, he was an Adonis and Olympic-level athlete, and he ate to match the calorific needs of his muscular, 6’2″ body. Like many athletes, he continued to eat this way even when middle age slowed down his metabolism, meaning that while he still rode and jousted as much as ever, he was getting a bit thick in the middle. We’ve all, I believe, seen this happen to formerly strapping men. They call it the “dad jeans” phase in America; when men start wearing jeans a little bigger, a little looser, and with a little more room in the backside. They are by no means obese, but they are no longer the ab-showing gods of their youth.

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  • Did Henry VIII ever intend that Mary should be queen?

    Thank you to Lisa for asking this question. Here is an answer from Conor Byrne…

    I think until 1527 Henry VIII may have tentatively regarded his daughter Mary as his heir. Obviously, it’s impossible for us to say, but he did appoint her with a council in Wales and she had the same authority and rights that the Prince of Wales traditionally enjoyed, although she was never formally appointed Princess of Wales.

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  • 7 June 1520 – The Field of Cloth of Gold meeting begins

    On this day in history, 7th June 1520, the famous Field of Cloth of Gold meeting began.

    The meeting was between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France and its aim was to solidify the Treaty of London. It took place between the English stronghold of Guînes and the French town of Ardres, on a piece of land referred to as the Field of Cloth of Gold, and ran from 7th June 1520 until 24th June 1520

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  • 26 May 1520 – Henry VIII and Charles V meet at Dover Castle

    On 26th May 1520, King Henry VIII met with Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, at Dover Castle on the south coast of England.

    Here is an account of this event from chronicler Edward Hall:

    “The king intending and perseveryng in purpose to mete with Frances the Frenche kyng, greate and riche provisions were made, wherfore the noble Kyng and the Quene with all the noble courte removed the twentie and one daie of May beyng on Mundaie, from their maner of Grenewyche towardes the Sea side, and so on the Fridaie beeyng the twentie and five daie of May, arrived at the citee of Canterbury, intendyng there to kepe his Pentecoste.

    Sone after whiche commyng to Cantorbury, tidynges wer brought that Charles Emperor electe, was on the sea, in sight of the coast of England, wherfore officers of the kyng were sent with great diligence to the Castle and toune of Dover to be there in a redines against the arrival of the Emperor.

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  • 11 May 1532 – Henry VIII attacks the clergy

    On this day in history, 11th May 1532, King Henry VIII sent for the Speaker and a delegation from the Commons and accused the clergy of being “scarce our subjects”, attacking their oath to the Pope.

    Here is chronicler Edward Hall’s account of this:

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  • 21 April 1509 – The accession of Henry VIII

    On the 21st April 1509, following the death of his father, Henry VII, seventeen-year-old Henry VIII became king. His accession was greeted with joy. The Spanish envoy Gutierre Gómez de Fuensalida wrote that “The people are very happy and few tears are being shed for Henry VII. Instead, people are as joyful as if they had been released from prison” and William, Lord Mountjoy, wrote to Desiderius Erasmus, the renowned humanist and scholar, saying:

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  • Bessie Blount and Henry Fitzroy

    In this week’s video, author Sarah Bryson talks about Henry VIII’s mistress, Elizabeth (Bessie) Blount and the son she had by the king, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset.

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  • William Carey

    In this month’s look at the men of Henry VIII’s court, I want to explore the life of William Carey, courtier, a member of the king’s privy chamber, and an esquire of the body. William Carey is most famously known for being the husband of Mary Boleyn, older sister of Anne Boleyn. However, he was more than just a husband; he was a man on the rise and distant cousin to the King.

    There is little known about William Carey’s early life. He appears to be the second son of Thomas Carey from Chilton Foliat, Wiltshire, and his wife Margaret, daughter of Sir Robert Spencer of Ashbury, Devon. The family had strong Lancastrian ties as William’s grandfather, Sir William Carey of Cockington, Devon, on his father’s side, was a Lancastrian supporter and soldier who was beheaded at Tewkesbury in 1471. William’s grandmother on his mother’s side was Eleanor Beaufort, daughter and coheir of Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset. The Duke of Somerset was a staunch Lancastrian supporter and right-hand man of King Henry VI. It was rumoured that Somerset even had an affair with the King’s mother, Catherine Valois, who was also the grandmother of King Henry VII! Through his mother’s side, William Carey was a distant cousin of King Henry VIII.

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  • 28 January – Henry VII, Henry VIII and Edward VI

    This day in history involves Henry VII, Henry VIII and Edward VI; grandfather, father and son. For it was on this day in 1457 that Henry VII was born, this day in 1547 that Henry VIII died, and this day in 1547 that Edward VI became king. What a day in history.

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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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  • Ten of the Best Henry VIII Locations to Visit with Children in 2017 and a Book Giveaway!

    A big welcome to historian Amy Licence who is joining us today to kick off her book tour for her children’s book All About Henry VIII. It’s a wonderful book, as are the others in the series, and you can enter the giveaway to win a copy of this book by leaving a comment before midnight on 27th January 2017. Simply comment below this post saying which historical place linked to Henry VIII you’d like to visit and why. One comment will be picked at random and the winner contacted.

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  • 1510 – Henry VIII’s first joust as king

    On 12th January 1510, eighteen-year-old Henry VIII jousted for the first time as king at a private joust at Richmond Park. He’d become king following the death of his father, Henry VII, on 21st April 1509.

    Henry and his good friend William Compton attended the joust on 12th January in disguise, but this led to panic when one of the disguised knights was seriously injured in the joust and a man who knew that the king was taking part cried out “God save the king!”

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  • Reminder – Live Chat on 6 January

    Just a quick reminder that historian Gareth Russell will be joining us in the chatroom tomorrow to discuss Henry VIII as a military leader. This follows on from the chat we had last month when Gareth was experiencing technical problems.

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  • Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who’s the Most Renaissance of Them All? Part III: Henry VIII of England

    This is Part III of a four-part series, which seeks to look at what were considered the attributes of a Renaissance prince, and who of our four princes embodied the ideals of the Renaissance best. What were some of those themes? The idea of a Renaissance man stood for a person who strove to embrace knowledge and develop himself. This included concepts such as the arts, knowledge, physical achievements, and social ideals. More plainly and for a prince, this could include cultivating a court known for patronising artists, musicians, and the like; establishing educational institutions, a good degree of physical fortitude, and things such as chivalric love or engaging in acts of charity.

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  • 30 December 1546 – Henry VIII signs his will

    On 30th December 1546, Henry VIII signed his last will and testament, authorising changes he’d instructed William Paget to make on his behalf on 26th December 1546.

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  • 6 January 2017 – Live chat with Gareth Russell

    If you joined December’s live chat on Henry VIII as a military leader with Gareth Russell then you’ll know that Gareth’s wifi kept dropping out. Gareth has very kindly offered to do another live chat on 6th January at 11pm UK time – hurrah!

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  • Transcript of Gareth Russell Live Chat

    Even though Gareth was battling wifi issue, we still managed to have an enlightening chat about Henry VIII as a military leader. Thank you so much to everyone who attended.

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  • Live Chat with Gareth Russell – 16 December

    Historian and Tudor Life Magazine editor Gareth Russell will be joining us in the chatroom for a live chat at 11pm UK time on Friday 16th December.

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  • 3 December 1536 – A king’s pardon for the Pilgrimage of Grace rebels

    henry-viii-and-pilgrimageOn this day in history, 3rd December 1536, a proclamation was made to the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace offering them a pardon. It read:

    "Proclamation of the King's pardon to the rebels of the different districts, viz. : That those of Yorkshire, with the city of York, Kingston upon Hull, Marshland, Holdenshire, Hexham, Beverley, Holderness, &c., on their submission to Charles duke of Suffolk, president of the council and lieutenant general in Lincolnshire, at Lincoln or elsewhere that he may appoint, shall have free pardons granted to them under the Great Seal without further bill or warrant or paying anything for the Great Seal. Richmond, 3 Dec., 28 Henry VIII."

    The same proclamation was also made in "Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, York, city of York, bishopric of Durham, &c., and in the parts north of Lancaster, on their submission to Henry earl of Cumberland".

    Henry VIII had also consented to the rebels' demand for a free Parliament to be held at York. The rebellion dispersed, but a further rebellion led by Sir Francis Bigod broke out in Yorkshire. Robert Aske tried to prevent it but Bigod went ahead. Bigod’s Rebellion failed and Bigod was arrested. Robert Aske and other men involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion – such as Lord Darcy, Thomas Percy and Robert Constable – were arrested, convicted of treason and executed.

    You can read more about the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion in the following articles:

    Notes and Sources

    • Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, xi. 1235.
  • December Expert – Gareth Russell – Henry VIII as a military leader

    Gareth Russell discusses the successes and failures of Henry VIII as a military leader, leading to some interesting and damning conclusions.

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  • 24 November 1542 – the Battle of Solway Moss

    Thank you to Heather R. Darsie, our regular Tudor Society contributor, for today’s article. Over to Heather…

    Happy Thanksgiving to our American members! Today also marks the 474th anniversary of the Battle of Solway Moss, a border skirmish that took place on the English side of the border with Scotland on 24th November 1542. This was the last of a series of such battles that arose from a falling-out between Henry VIII of England and his nephew, James V of Scotland.

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  • Windsor Castle and St George’s Chapel

    Sarah Bryson talks about some of the history of Windsor Castle, and shares what it was like to see Charles Brandon’s Garter Place in St Georges Chapel.

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  • Henry VIII – Defender of the Faith

    On 11th October 1521, Pope Leo X conferred upon King Henry VIII the title of Fidei Defensor, “Defender of the Faith”.

    Letters and Papers contains a record of “Wolsey’s speech on presenting the bull for the title of Defender of the Faith”:

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