The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society
  • The Amicable Grant of 1525 by Sarah Bryson

    Thank you to author Sarah Bryson for this article on the Amicable Grant, a tax imposed to fund the war against France in 1525.

    England had previously been at war with France in 1523 and war against the old enemy was once again proposed in early 1525. In February of that year the French troops had suffered a devastating loss against the Imperial troops of Charles V outside of Pravia. To make matters even worse for the French, their King, Francis I, had been captured in the battle and was now a prisoner of Charles V. When the messenger brought the news of Francis I’s capture to Henry VIII the King is reported to have been likened to the Archangel Gabriel, such was his happiness and excitement at hearing the news. Henry VIII, ever the opportunist, saw another chance at military glory and quickly proposed war against France. The English King believed that the idea to go to war had been blessed by God and, unlike two years previously, he had visions of reclaiming the French throne for England.

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  • Was Sir John Perrot Henry VIII’s son?

    In today’s Claire Chats video I start a series on the people who are rumoured to have been illegitimate children of Henry VIII. I’m starting with Sir John Perrot, looking at who he was, where the rumours come from and whether there’s any evidence to back them up.

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  • The King of Carmarthen – Expert Talk from Susan Fern Part TWO

    Susan Fern finishes her two part talk about the life of Rhys ap Thomas, from the Battle of Bosworth through the Field of the Cloth of Gold to his death in Carmarthen. Rhys was a fascinating character who has been largely forgotten yet was key to many of the successes of the Tudors.

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  • The Physical Decline of Henry VIII by Sarah Bryson

    When Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509 he was just shy of his 18th birthday. He was tall, robust, handsome and athletic. Yet when the infamous King died on 28th January 1547 he weighed about 178kg and had a waist measurement of 52 inches and a chest measurement of about 53 inches. So how did this decline in Henry VIII’s physical appearance happen?

    As a young man, Henry VIII was considered to be the most handsome prince in Europe. He was tall, standing at six foot two which was taller than the average man of the time. He was broad of shoulder, with strong muscular arms and legs, and had striking red/gold hair. It is said that rather than looking like his father, he resembled his grandfather the late Edward IV. In the armoury of the Tower of London is a suit of armour that Henry wore in 1514. The king’s measurements show that he had a waist of 35 inches and a chest of 42 inches, confirming that Henry was a well-proportioned, well-built young man.

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  • Henry VIII’s 1541 Royal Progress Video

    In today’s Claire Chats I discuss the royal progress undertaken by King Henry VIII and his fifth wife, Catherine Howard.

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  • Battle of Pinkie Cleugh – 10 September 1547

    The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, also known as the Battle of Pinkie, took place near Musselburgh, in Scotland, on the banks of the River Esk, on 10th September 1547. It was a battle of the “War of the Rough Wooing”, so called because it started when Henry VIII tried to force Scotland to agree to a marriage between his son Edward and the infant Mary, Queen of Scots.

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  • Henry VIII Quiz 2

    A quiz on King Henry VIII.

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  • 23 June 1509 – Coronation procession of King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon

    On Saturday 23rd June, Henry VIII and his wife Catherine of Aragon left the Tower of London and made their way through the streets of London to Westminster on their coronation procession.

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  • Henry VIII and the Carthusian Monks

    Between May 1535 and August 1540 eighteen monks from the Carthusian order were put to death for the same crime, for refusing to accept King Henry VIII as the Supreme Head of the Church.

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  • The Field of Cloth of Gold by Sarah Bryson

    The Field of Cloth of Gold was a spectacular meeting between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France. The meeting lasted from the 7th June to 24th June 1520 and was one of the most impressive, lavish meetings to ever be held between the two Kings. The meeting was held between the English stronghold of Guînes and the French town of Ardres, on a piece of land which was referred to as the Field of Cloth of Gold.

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  • A Tomb fit for a King – Benedetto’s candelabra for Henry VIII

    Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was patron to the Florentine scuptor Benedetto da Rovezzano (1474-1552) and commissioned him to make a lavish Renaissance style tomb for him. The project comprised a beautiful black marble sarcophagus and four bronze angels, each measuring around a metre in height, which are now known as Wolsey’s Angels.

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  • Transcript of Claire Ridgway’s live chat

    Here is the transcript from last night’s live chat in the chatroom with Claire Ridgway. Thanks to all those who attended!

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Anne Boleyn’s Fall Quiz

    How much do you know about Anne Boleyn’s fall in 1536?

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  • Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant videos

    David Starkey’s documentary “Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant”.

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  • Natalie Grueninger Expert Talk – On Tudor Progress

    Our March talk is by Natalie Grueninger, author of “In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn”. Natalie takes us through the reasons why the Tudor court went on progress and gives us many interesting facts and tales about some of the different progresses that Henry VIII went on.

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  • Video – Henry VIII: Tyrant Part 2

    In today’s Claire Chats video I continue my look at Henry VIII the tyrant by considering the different theories regarding his “tyranny”, whether there was a personality change and, if so, why.

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  • The Order of the Bath by Sarah Bryson

    The Most Honourable Order of the Bath was not officially founded as a Chivalry until 1725 by King George I, however its history dates back centuries before this. It is believed that King Henry IV was the original founder of the Order of the Bath, creating several Knights of the Bath upon his coronation. It is believed that the name of the Order came from the fact that the men who were to be newly created Knights had to wash as a part of purification before they were created Knights.

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  • Video – Henry VIII: Tyrant Part 1

    In today’s Claire Chats I look at whether Henry VIII was a tyrant and compare him to Machiavelli’s idea of what a monarch/leader should be.

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  • Video – Henry VIII: Renaissance Prince

    In this week’s Claire chats I talk about Henry’s upbringing, contemporary descriptions of him at his accession, his love of music and how he seemed to be the ideal Renaissance prince and king.

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  • Hampton Court Palace by Sarah Bryson

    Hampton Court has origins far older than Henry VIII. Originally Hampton Court was a settlement belonging to the Saxon period; its original name was ‘Hammton’ meaning ‘a settlement by the river’. In the early 12th century the land was owned by Reginald de St Valery, a crusader in Jerusalem. He allowed the Knights Hospitallers of St John to rent the land. The Knights built the House of Hampton and the land was primarily used to manage the Knights agricultural estates.

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  • Did Chapuys call Henry VIII a tyrant?

    Thanks to a question from Tudor Society member Sharon I have been digging into what Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, said about Henry VIII’s serious jousting accident in January 1536: “[…] Thinks he might ask of fortune for what greater misfortune he is reserved, like the other tyrant who escaped from the fall of the house, in which all the rest were smothered, and soon after died.”

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  • Quiz – Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in Film and on TV

    A quiz about actors and actresses who have played Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn on TV and on the big screen.

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  • Video – The Annulment of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon’s Marriage

    A video on Henry VIII’s Great Matter and Catherine of Aragon’s opposition.

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  • Expert Talk: Sandra Vasoli on the Love Letters of Henry VIII

    The expert speaker for January is Sandi Vasoli, author of “Je Anne Boleyn”. Sandi speaks of her visit to the Vatican Archives to see the original letters which Henry VIII wrote to Anne Boleyn while they were courting.

    This talk goes into her visit, the experience of actually holding the letters, and what she could tell about Henry’s state of mind by the way the letters were written. It’s a fascinating talk!

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  • Henry VIII’s Six Wives Quiz

    Have fun with these 13 questions on Henry VIII’s six queen consorts.

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  • Henry VIII Quiz

    Have fun with this 12 question quiz on Henry VIII.

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