The Tudor Society
  • January 27 – The burning of Bartlet Green and six other Protestants

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th January 1556, in the reign of Queen Mary I, Protestant Bartlet or Bartholomew Green was burnt at the stake at Smithfield, with six other Protestants.

    Green, who martyrologist John Foxe describes as a gentleman and lawyer, “saw the true light of God’s gospel” when listening to lectures given by Peter the Martyr while studying at Oxford. Foxe writes that “Whereof when he had once tasted, it became unto him as the fountain of lively water, that our Saviour Christ spake of to the woman of Samaria, so as he never thirsted any more, but had a well springing unto everlasting life”. Green studied law at the Inner Temple at London.

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  • January 20 – Mary I’s fifth and final Parliament

    Portrait of a seated Mary I by Anthonis Mor

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th January 1558, in the final year of Queen Mary I’s reign, there was the state opening of Mary’s fifth Parliament.

    As Cedric Ward points out in his article “The House of Commons and the Marian Reaction”, by this time, due to Mary’s marriage to Philip of Spain, England was allied with Spain in its war against France so Parliamentary business focused on financial and military items.

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  • December 14 – The burial of Queen Mary I

    Photo of Westminster Abbey and a portrait of Mary I

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th December 1558, in the reign of her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Mary I was buried at Westminster Abbey.

    Mary had died just under a month earlier, on 17th November 1558. She’d left instructions for her burial, requesting that Catherine of Aragon’s remains be exhumed and brought from Peterborough to London so that mother and daughter could rest in peace together.

    Did this happen?

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  • October 13 – Mary I has secret meetings with men in disguise

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th October 1553, Queen Mary I wrote an interesting letter to Simon Renard, imperial ambassador.

    In the letter, the queen asked Renard to meet with her secretly. She’d asked him to do this before, and to come in disguise.

    But why? Why would Mary I want to meet with an imperial ambassador in secret? And why would she be putting more trust in the emperor and his ambassadors than her own council?

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  • August 31 – An Ipswich Martyr

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st August 1555, in the reign of Queen Mary I, the queen who has gone down in history as “Bloody Mary”, Robert Samuel, a former minister, was burnt at the stake in Ipswich, Suffolk.

    Robert Samuel was burnt as a heretic, a Protestant martyr. He had continued to minister privately, after being deprived of his living, and he had refused to leave his wife. He stayed firm to his Protestant faith and became one of the Ipswich Martyrs as a result.

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  • August 26 – Mary I prepares for her husband’s departure

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th August 1555, Mary I and her husband, Philip of Spain, departed from Whitehall to prepare for Philip’s departure. He was returning to the Low Countries.

    Mary had just come out of confinement after months of believing she was pregnant, and now her husband was leaving her, so it must have been difficult for her. Philip would be gone for over 18 months.

    Find out more about Mary’s state of health and mind, the arrangements for Philip’s departure, and Mary’s reaction…

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  • July 30 – Elizabeth rides to Wanstead to meet Mary

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th July 1553, eleven days after her half-sister, Mary, had been proclaimed queen, Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, left her new home, Somerset House, to ride to Wanstead and greet Mary.

    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 this video:

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  • July 25 – Mary I gets married, and a kidnapped child actor

    On this day in Tudor history, 25 July 1554, on the Feast of St James, Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII by Catherine of Aragon, got married at Winchester Cathedral in a ceremony officiated by Lord Chancellor Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester.

    The thirty-eight-year-old Mary married twenty-seven-year-old Philip of Spain, son of her cousin, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

    Let me share a contemporary account of Mary and Philip’s wedding ceremony…

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  • July 20 – Philip of Spain prepares to marry Mary I, and John Knox attacks Mary

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th July 1554, Philip of Spain, son of Mary I’s cousin, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, arrived in England.

    He had come to prepare for his forthcoming marriage to Mary I.

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  • July 19 – The Mary Rose sinks, and Mary I is proclaimed queen

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th July 1545, in the reign of King Henry VIII, the king’s flagship, the Mary Rose, sank right in front of his eyes.

    She sank in the Battle of the Solent between the English and French fleets.

    But why did the Mary Rose sink?

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  • July 18 – Kat Ashley, and Queen Jane is betrayed

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th July 1565, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the queen’s close friend and loyal servant, Kat Ashley, died.

    Find out more about Kat (also known as Katherine Ashley, Katherine Astley and Katherine Champernowne) in this edition of #TudorHistoryShorts…

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  • July 13 – Some of Queen Jane’s councillors begin to feel uneasy

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th July 1553, while the queen’s father-in-law, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, was preparing to leave London to apprehend the late Henry VIII’s daughter, Mary, members of Queen Jane’s royal council were meeting with the imperial ambassadors.

    What was the meeting about?

    What was the news from East Anglia?

    And why were the queen’s councillors beginning to feel uneasy?

    Let me explain…

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  • July 12 – Mary rallies support while Queen Jane makes a mistake that will cost her dearly

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th July 1553, Mary (future Mary I), the half-sister of the late King Edward VI, moved from Kenninghall to Framlingham Castle. There, she set about rallying support for her claim to the throne.

    Lady Jane Grey, Mary’s cousin’s daughter, had been proclaimed queen on 10th July but Mary believed the crown was hers.

    Sir Thomas Cornwallis was able to intercept Mary on her journey to Framlingham and pledge his loyalty to her. He wasn’t the only one flocking to her cause.

    Meanwhile, back in London, the new queen, Queen Jane, made a serious mistake by refusing to send her father to go and apprehend Mary.

    Why was this a mistake?

    Find out what was going on back in 1553 in this video…

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  • July 11 – Men swap sides in the succession crisis of 1553

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th July 1553, Sir Thomas Cornwallis, sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, Lord Thomas Wentworth, and some other prominent Suffolk gentlemen declared for Queen Jane (Lady Jane Grey) in Ipswich, Suffolk. They then publicly proclaimed her the rightful queen.

    However, the following day, Cornwallis recanted and proclaimed Mary as queen.


    What happened to make this sheriff change his mind so soon?

    Find out more about the situation in July 1553 in this video…

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  • July 9 – Mary I wants to avoid bloodshed and vengeance, and Elizabeth I visits Leicester’s home

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th July 1553, Mary (the future Mary I), daughter of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, wrote to her late half-brother’s privy council regarding “some evil” that she had heard.

    This was three days after Edward VI’s death and the day after Mary had proclaimed herself queen at at Kenninghall.

    But what was going on? What had Mary heard and was she going to do about it?

    Find out more about the situation and Mary’s letter…

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  • Remembering Mary I talk

    Our Friday treat from the archives is an expert talk from Johanna Strong on Queen Mary I, who, I believe, is really stealing the show at the moment in the Starz series “Becoming Elizabeth”.

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  • July 8 – A rebellion begins, and Mary declares herself queen

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th July 1549, in the reign of King Edward VI, a rebellion began in East Anglia. It was Kett’s Rebellion.

    Find out more about Kett’s Rebellion, why it began, what happened next and what happened to the rebels leaders, in this short video:

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  • July 1553 – The month of three monarchs

    July 1553 was a month of three Tudor monarchs – Edward VI, Queen Jane and Mary I – but how did this come about?

    In this talk, historian and author Claire Ridgway looks at what led to the events of July 1553 and particularly the actions that Mary took to stage her successful coup d’etat.

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  • Three Tudor Queens: Katherine Parr, Mary I and Mary, Queen of Scots

    Linda Porter is one of my favourite Tudor historians so for our Friday video this week I thought I’d share this talk she did for us back in 2014.

    In “Three Tudor Queens”, Linda explores the lives of Katherine Parr, Mary I and Mary, Queen of Scots.

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  • April 8 – A priest cat and the Second Martin

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th April 1554, in the reign of Queen Mary I, there was an act of rebellion and religious defiance in London.

    Someone who didn’t like Mary’s religious changes hanged a cat on the gallows at Cheapside. The cat was dressed as a Catholic priest and was holding a piece of paper to represent that communion wafer.

    Find out more about what happened, the meaning behind it, and Mary’s reaction to it…

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  • March 30 – Thomas Cranmer and his protestation, and A “pregnant” Mary I makes her will

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th March 1533, at the Passion Sunday service, Thomas Cranmer, Archdeacon of Taunton, was consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury.

    His consecration was not like those of others before him, however, because as well as making the usual oath promising to be faithful to the papacy and to denounce heretics, he also made a protestation to show that his oath would not conflict with his loyalty to King Henry VIII and his commitment to reforming the church. Hmmmm…. complicated.

    Find out more in this talk…

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  • March 15 – Henry VIII uses foul language and The Lady Mary causes a stir in London

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th March 1532, King Henry VIII used what was described as “foul language” to William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury.

    Henry VIII also threatened the poor man, and it is amazing that Warham kept his head as the king was furious.

    What happened? Find out what Warham did to upset the king in this talk…

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  • March 6 – The Dissolution of the Monasteries, and Juan Luis Vives and the young Mary I

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th March 1536, King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries began when the “Act for the Suppression (or Dissolution) of the Lesser Monasteries” was introduced into the Reformation Parliament.

    The Dissolution of the Monasteries had a major impact on England and her people, but was of great benefit to the king, his nobles and the gentry.

    Find out what happened, why and its impact in this talk…

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  • 26 January – Justice Spelman and Anne Boleyn’s trial, and Mary I writes to Elizabeth

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th January 1546, judge of assize and law reporter, Sir John Spelman, died.

    Now, you may never have heard of Justice John Spelman, but his reports on the legal cases of people like Queen Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey have been very useful to historians – a wonderful resource.

    Find out more about Sir John Spelman and what he had to say about Anne Boleyn’s trial in this video…

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  • Johanna Strong – Mary I – Live Chat Transcript

    We had a wonderful time last Friday at the live Q&A session with historian Johanna Strong. Mary I is such a fascinating historical personality, and one that really divides opinions. A big thank you to Johanna for answering all of our questions.

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  • Mary I Places Crossword Puzzle

    As the topic of our expert talk this month is Queen Mary I, I thought I’d test your knowledge of Mary I places with a fun crossword puzzle.

    Good luck!

    Simply click on the link or image below to open and print out.

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  • Remembering Mary I – Johanna Strong – Expert Talk

    This month’s expert is Johanna Strong who is talking about England’s first crowned queen, Mary I.

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  • 13 October – An intriguing letter from Mary I and the fall of Edward Seymour

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th October 1553, Queen Mary I wrote a very interesting letter to the imperial ambassador, Simon Renard. In it, she asked the ambassador to meet with her secretly, and she’d encouraged him previously to come to her secretly and in disguise.

    Why? What was going on? And why did Mary seem to trust the emperor and his ambassadors more than her own council?

    Find out more about the situation…

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  • 8 October – Henry VIII puts pressure on his daughter and the birth of Lady Margaret Douglas

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th October 1536, while the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion was getting underway in Lincolnshire and spreading to Yorkshire, Henry VIII wasn’t only issuing orders regarding the rebels, he was also issuing orders regarding his eldest daughter.

    Henry and Mary had recently reconciled after Mary had finally submitted to him and recognised his supremacy and her illegitimate status. It was something that cost Mary dearly, but it did mend her relationship with her father and allow her back at court.

    But then Henry VIII put more pressure on his daughter by forcing her to write to the pope and to Mary of Hungary, the emperor’s sister.

    What did Mary have to write? What did the king want of his daughter? And why had Mary submitted to her father?

    Find out all about this…

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  • 5 October – Edward Seymour unravels and two-year-old Princess Mary becomes betrothed

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th October 1549, Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector, ordered a gathering of men at Hampton Court Palace, where he was lodged with the young King Edward VI, due to tensions mounting between Somerset and John Dudley, Earl of Warwick.

    What was going on and what happened when 4,000 peasants turned up? How did John Dudley react and what did King Edward VI have to say about it all?

    Find out what happened, and how this led to Somerset’s undoing…

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