The Tudor Society
  • September 17 – Heinrich Bullinger

    A portrait of Heinrich Bullinger by Hans Asper

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th September 1575, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Swiss reformer and theologian Heinrich (Henry) Bullinger died in Zurich.

    Bullinger succeeded Huldrych Zwingli as pastor at Grossmünster and head of the church in Zurich. His main work was “The Decades”, a theological work, but his sermons were also translated and published, and he wrote historical works.

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  • September 12 – Marten Micron (Martin Micronius)

    The title page of Marten Micron's De kleyne cathechismus oft kinderleere

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th September 1559, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Marten Micron (Martin Micronius), Dutch theologian and Protestant minister in the London stranger, died from the plague at Norden in Lower Saxony, Germany.

    Here are some facts about Marten Micron:

    Micron was born in Ghent in 1523.
    It is thought that he converted from Catholicism to Protestantism before he left his homeland in 1546.

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  • February 28 – The death of theologian and Protestant reformer Martin Bucer

    During the night of 28th February/1st March 1551, theologian and Protestant reformer Martin Bucer died in Cambridge. He was fifty-nine years old.

    Let me tell tell you a bit more about this reformer, who ended up being posthumously burned as a heretic in Mary I’s reign!

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  • February 16 – Philip Melancthon, the German humanist, reformer and scholar

    On 16th February 1497, German humanist, reformer and scholar, Philipp Melancthon, was born at Bretten in Germany.

    Elizabeth I was said to have memorised his 1521 work “Loci Communes”.

    Here are a few facts about this famous reformer

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  • October 31 – Martin Luther’s 95 Theses

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st October 1517, Martin Luther is said to have posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, although all we know for definite is that the Reformer, priest and professor of theology posted them to Bishop of Brandenburg and the Archbishop of Mainz.

    The full title of Luther’s work is the “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences”, and in it, Luther was protesting against the sale of indulgences by the papacy, as well as other points.

    Luther’s actions on 31st October 1517 had far-reaching consequences and were the catalyst of the European Reformation.

    Find out more about Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and what happened next…

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  • July 14 – A poisoned cardinal, and a Bible translator

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th July 1514, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Cardinal Christopher Bainbridge died in Rome.

    Who was this cardinal?

    And who claimed to have poisoned him and why?

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  • June 9 – William Courtenay, William Paget, and the 1549 Book of Common Prayer

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th June 1511, in the reign of King Henry VIII, William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, died.

    Who was Courtenay and how did he go from being in favour to being a traitor and then back to being in favour?

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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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  • The Reformation and Reformers Crossword Puzzle

    The Reformation in 16th century Europe brought huge changes to countries and the lives of their people, but how much do you know about the European Reformation and Reformers?

    Test your knowledge of the Reformation with this fun crossword puzzle.

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  • 6 September – Martin Luther writes to the Pope

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th September 1520, the famous reformer Martin Luther sent his pamphlet “On the Freedom of a Christian” (also known as “A Treatise on Christian Liberty”) to Pope Leo X. In the pamphlet, he emphasised the “two-fold nature” of Christians as saints and sinners, flesh and spirit.

    Luther is, of course, seen as the catalyst of the European Reformation, and in today’s talk, I explain why, what he believed, how he ended up being excommunicated and made an outlaw, and what happened to him.

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  • 8 April – The Second Martin

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th April 1586, leading Lutheran theologian Martin Chemnitz died in Braunschweig in Germany. He was aged 66.

    Martin Chemnitz is known as the Second Martin, with the more famous reformer and theologian Martin Luther being the first, but what did Chemnitz actually do? What was his role in the Reformation?

    Find out about the Second Martin in today’s talk.

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  • Reformation 500 – The 500th anniversary of the Reformation

    Today, 31st October 2017, is the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. German Reformer Philipp Melancthon recorded that “Luther, burning with passion and just devoutness, posted the Ninety-Five Theses at the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany at All Saints Eve, October 31”, and Luther sent a copy of The Ninety-Five Theses (proper title: Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences) to Albert, Archbishop of Mainz, and the Bishop of Brandenburg along with a letter protesting against the sale of indulgences.

    Martin Luther’s 95 Theses had a major impact. The resulting controversy over Luther’s letter and his Theses is seen as the beginning of the Reformation, the schism from the Catholic Church and the start of Protestantism.

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  • Unfinished Business: The Reformation

    Thank you to Teri Fitzgerald for sharing this forthcoming radio programme with me:

    “Unfinished Business
    Book of the Week, The Reformation Episode 1 of 5

    500 years after the Reformation, Diarmaid MacCulloch examines how the announcement of a university seminar in Germany led to the division of Europe

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  • The Sack of Rome by Heather R. Darsie

    6 May 1527. Pope Clement VII had been sitting on St. Peter’s Chair since 19 November 1523. An illegitimate member of the Medici clan, he was raised by his uncle Lorenzo de’ Medici, known as Lorenzo the Magnificent. His cousin was Pope Leo X, second son of Lorenzo the Magnificent and another Medici. Clement VII was originally trained for military service but showed a great interest in serving the clergy. Though it was traditional for illegitimate sons to be blocked from holding a bishopric, Clement VII’s cousin Leo X elevated him anyway, setting the stage for Clement VII to eventually become pope. Unfortunately, Clement VII proved to be an ineffective statesman and was caught between the powerful leaders of France, the Holy Roman Empire, and England: Francis I, Charles V and Henry VIII, respectively. This being caught between a rock and a hard place would set the stage for Rome to be overrun and defiled.

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  • Alexander Ales (Alesius)

    On 17th March 1565, Alexander Ales (also known as Alesius and Aless), theologian and reformer, died in Edinburgh, Scotland.*

    Alexander Ales was born Alexander Allane or Alan at Edinburgh on 23 April 1500. From the age of twelve he was educated at the University of St Andrews, at St Leonard’s College, graduating BA after three years there. Ales became friends with theologian Philip Melancthon in 1532 when Ales began studying at Wittenberg University, and he began to be concerned with making the Bible available in the vernacular. He published an open letter to James V of Scotland in 1533, Alexandri Alesii epistola contra decretum quoddam episcoporum in Scotia, appealing for him to annul recent legislation making it illegal to own or distribute the New Testament in the vernacular. When the Catholic Johannes Cochlaeus, countered this with a letter to James accusing Ales of translating the New testament and sending it to Scotland, and claiming that it would cause unrest, Ales answered with Alexandri Alesii Scotti responsio ad Cochlei calumnias. In this letter, Ales emphasised how Continental reformers were simply trying to lead people back to the Bible and the teaching of the Early Church.

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  • Martin Luther by Sarah Bryson

    On 3rd January 1521, Pope Leo X issued the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem which excommunicated Martin Luther from the Catholic Church. Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and most famously a reformer. His life and his beliefs changed the face of religion throughout Europe and saw many people break with the Catholic Church in the 16th century.

    Martin Luther was born on 10th November 1483 in Eisleben, Saxony (part of the Holy Roman Empire at the time), to Hans and Margarethe Luther. The following year Hans moved his family to Mansfeld where he owned a series of mines and smelters. At the age of seven, Luther started at Mansfeld School. At the age of fourteen, Luther went to Magdeburg before returning to Eisleben to complete his studies in grammar, rhetoric and logic. It is reported that Luther hated his time studying at Eisleben. At the age of nineteen Luther attended the University of Erfurt where he received his master’s degree in 1505.

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  • Martin Luther’s Influence on the German Language by Heather R. Darsie

    Today is the anniversary of Martin Luther’s birth in 1483, so regular contributor Heather R. Darsie joins us today with an article on this fascinating man and his influence on the German language.

    “When you go to bed in the evening, take something from the Holy Scripture with you to bed, in order to consider it in your heart and – the same as an animal – ruminate over it and gently fall asleep. It should not be much, but rather a little, but a good thing to go through and understand. And when you get up in the morning, you will find your profits from the previous day.”

    These were Luther’s feelings about the meaning of the Bible, and perhaps also a glimpse into his feelings about a person’s relationship with God.

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  • Bibles and Bible Translators Quiz

    How much do you know about the Bible translators and Bibles of the Tudor period? Test your knowledge with this fun quiz.

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  • William Tyndale

    As today is the anniversary of the execution of reformer, scholar and Bible translator, William Tyndale, Sarah Bryson has written an article on this fascinating man.

    William Tyndale was born in Gloucestershire in 1494 to parents who worked in the cloth trade. Tyndale was born into a Catholic dominated England under the rule of Henry VII. He was brought up a strict and devout Catholic being taught the importance of mass and good works which would help him gain access to heaven. He would have participated in regular confession and penance and his daily life would have been dominated by Saints’ days and following the Catholic faith. The Bible that Tyndale would have known growing up would have been written in Latin, the holy language. Meanwhile the common people would have spoken English, a rough language which was not considered suitable for the holiness of the Church.

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  • October 2015 Tudor Life Magazine

    This October we have asked a wide range of Tudor historians to focus on what happened during the reformation. It was a time of great upheaval in our great history and as you’ll discover, the effects of the reformation are still being felt today in many areas.

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  • John Knox: A Faithful Admonition to the Professors of God’s Truth in England

    On 20th July 1554, John Knox, theologian and a leader of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, published his pamphlet A Faithful Admonition to the Professors of God’s Truth in England.

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  • Reformation Books

    As requested by those who joined Gareth Russell’s live chat last month, here is a list of recommended reading on the Reformation.

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  • Thomas Cranmer’s Everlasting Gift: The Book of Common Prayer

    Thank you to Beth von Staats for joining us here on the Tudor Society today as part of her book tour for Thomas Cranmer: In a Nutshell. She is here to share an excellent article on Thomas Cranmer and the Book of Common Prayer – thanks Beth!

    MadeGlobal Publishing is offering one copy of the paperback version of Thomas Cranmer: In a Nutshell as a prize for one lucky commenter. All you have to do to enter the giveaway is to comment below saying what you find so fascinating about Thomas Cranmer. You need to leave your comment by midnight (UK time) on Wednesday 15th July. The winner will be picked at random and contacted for his/her postal address. The giveaway is open internationally.

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