The Tudor Society

Tudor Accidental Deaths Video

In this week's Claire Chats video I talk about what historian Steve Gunn unearthed when he investigated coroners' inquest reports from the Tudor period. Some really sad accidental deaths!

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  1. D

    Is that a G&T you’re sipping on there Claire?!! 🙂 and is that your village clock striking in the background, it’s got a lovely tone to it. (nosey aren’t I, lol)
    Great chat as per..will put something on the forum.

    1. C - Post Author

      Unfortunately it was just water 🙁
      Yes, that was our village clock. It strikes every quarter of an hour so makes recording interesting, particularly when I was recording the audio versions of my books. It strikes the hour twice too!

  2. L

    As you know, my poor old brain has been whipped to death with researching Scottish history, and the deeper I go I start to find all sorts of strange a bizarre things, that aren’t mentioned in your usual history books.
    Although this poor guy did die, I thought it would be funny to share this with you.
    John Damian was (probably) an Italian at the court of James IV of Scotland. His attempts at medicine, alchemy, flying, and his advancement by the King encouraged a satirical attack by the poet William Dunbar.

    John’s Italian name appears to have been Giovanni Damiano de Falcucci. In the records of the Scottish exchequer he is called the ‘French Leech’ or ‘Master John the French Leech.’ He first appears in the records in January 1501. He directed the building of alchemical furnaces at Stirling Castle and Holyroodhouse to produce the ‘quinta essentia’, the fifth element. John was then made Abbot of Tongland. Between 1501 and 1508 he received a great deal of money and other items from the king, to make the quintessence. These included aqua vitae (i.e. spirits of wine), quicksilver, sal ammoniac, alum, litharge, orpiment, saltpetre, silver, sugar, sulphur, tin, verdigris, vinegar and white lead. These are all standard alchemical substances of the medieval period.

    John took a hand in court entertainments, organizing the dances in Edinburgh at New Year 1504. In 1507, John tried to fly from the battlements of Stirling Castle. He was unsuccessful luckily he didn’t die but broke only his thigh. The records of Scottish exchequer list sums of money lost by the King playing cards with John and betting at shooting matches. John resigned as Abbot of Tongland in 1509, and James IV wrote to Pope Julius II asking that John’s pension of 200 gold ducats should be paid. John Damian is still recorded at court a few months before the battle of Flodden.
    The only thing I would say that could be viewed as an inconsistance is the word “Ducats” “Ducats” were not currency in Scotland at that time, so if the poor man did get his pension, it would have been paid in Unicorns (Roughly worth 18 shillings) or half Unicorns (9 shillings)

  3. L

    I meant John Damian didn’t die.

  4. L

    I found this little list of unusual deaths, although only one of these strange deaths is in the Tudor era, of the scheme of things, I thought it would be funny to share these little titbits of just how stupid, people can be, in their determination to find a pot of gold…
    (being a Wikipedia page, it may not be an entirely reliable source of fact.)

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Tudor Accidental Deaths Video