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The English Armada:
The Tudor Naval
Disaster that you’ve never heard of
By Oliver Toms
he story of the Spanish armada is one etched into the national memory. Taught in classrooms up and down the country for decades, everyone has a basic level of familiarity with how the plucky English underdogs bested the huge Spanish Armada in 1588. The disastrous English Armada, the counterattack in 1589 which utterly failed, is a comparatively unknown tale. The English Armada was first ordered in the immediate wake of the Spanish Armada. The majority of the 35 ships that the Spanish had lost in the year before were the smaller armed merchantmen. The galleons, the large modern battleship of the time, had returned to Spain requiring urgent repairs before they could be put out at sea again. Due to the size of the Spanish Armada the galleons that had survived had been split across various ports on the North of Spain,
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with most of the galleons in the port of Santander for repairs. The counterattack had two further objectives. The second was to land in Portugal and begin a rebellion. Portugal had been a long standing ally of England, but after the death of Henry I of Portugal in 1580 Phillip II of Spain took the Portuguese throne. Henry I was a Cardinal, so had not sired any children. The only possible heir, Antonio, was only distantly related to Henry and was noted to be uncharismatic so was not accepted as king by the Portuguese clergy or nobility. Queen Elizabeth supported Antonio’s claim to the throne as a means of preserving the alliance with Portugal and preventing England’s enemy, Phillip II of Spain, from controlling the Portuguese empire. The English Armada was tasked with seizing Lisbon, which was hoped would encourage nobles loyal to Antonio to rise up in revolt. The final objective was to seize the Azores, where Antonio, the English friendly claimant to the throne was currently running his government in exile. Furthermore it was hoped that the Azores could serve as an English naval base to attack Spanish treasure fleets returning from the Americas. The combined English and Dutch fleet that set sail in 1589 was 126 ships strong, including 6 royal galleons. In addition to the sailors manning the ships there were over 18,000 soldiers to execute the sieges of Corunna and Lisbon. Right from the beginning the Armada suffered setbacks. They decided not to attack Santander, choosing instead Corunna where there was only one Spanish galleon under repair. Corunna itself was fortified with 13th century walls and housed 1,500 veteran Spanish troops. After 14 days the English had only managed to seize part of Corunna, and fled when the wind changed direction and news of an incoming Spanish relief force arrived. The Armada lost 3 large ships and 1,500 men in the fighting, with a further 3,000 soldiers and 24 boats leaving the Armada.
The situation degraded even further when the Armada reached Lisbon. The Portuguese refused to revolt in favour of Antonio, and Lisbon was defended by 7,000 Spanish and Portuguese troops. With no siege artillery there was no hope for the city to be seized. One of the English commanders, the Earl Of Essex, still attempted a siege. As supplies dwindled, soldiers succumbed to disease and ships were picked off by Spanish galleys, the Armada fled back to England. Over the course of the Armada 40 English ships had been destroyed or captured, and around 13,000 English soldiers had died. None of the objectives were achieved and Spanish naval supremacy resumed the following year. For many the defeat of the Spanish Armada was the beginning of English, later British, naval supremacy up until the 20th Century. The defeat of the English armada proves this wrong, but also shows how much development was needed before a force resembling the Royal Navy would be created. The English Armada was in fact declared a joint stock company, and severely lacked a united or clear command structure. From Francis Drake’s decision to not attack Santander to the Dutch leaving the Armada after Corunna, a lack of proper leadership left the Armada split once it reached Spain. Additionally the objectives of the Armada were too numerous and too hopeful. The English did not have enough troops or siege guns to take Corunna, and the thousands of Portuguese soldiers that were expected to rise up in revolt did not show any signs of discontent. The English Armada only succeeded in undoing the gains made the year before. It would be another 50 years before English Naval power could challenge the Spanish.
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The Sword and the Axe: The Deaths of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard By Arianna Kiriakos
here are few royal marriages discussed more than those of Henry VIII. Both his executed queens, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, were accused of adultery. They were beheaded, but Anne received a more merciful death by the sword while Catherine was subjected to the cruder axe. This gives insight into how Henry and history perceived them. Anne’s rapid downfall added to her allure. Many historians lay its orchestration at the feet of Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s chief minister. Cromwell’s investigation led Anne from imprisonment to death in seventeen days—a rushed job by any standards. Evidence was so skeptical that even Anne’s enemies did not believe it all. As head of state and Cromwell’s benefactor, only Henry could have slowed the process. Henry chose not to for both political and personal reasons. Catholic Europe hated Anne for her role in Henry’s break with Rome: her death made her a useful scapegoat. Furthermore, their marriage was failing; Anne had
miscarried more children than she had borne, while Henry’s mistress Jane Seymour waited in the wings, possibly pregnant already. (Some sources report a miscarriage shortly after Anne died.) Anne’s death was convenient for Henry; so, he modified her execution instead of stopping it. Beheading was the usual genteel punishment for Tudor England. Even pre-guillotine beheadings were more humane than other methods when done properly. Death occurred quickly and with little pain, especially compared to a commoner’s brutal sentence of hanging, drawing, and quartering. However, the choice between sword and axe was the same as using a pocket knife versus a steak knife at dinner. Unlike swords, which produced more accurate blows, axes were harder to control. Mistakes frequently occurred. Several victims took three or more blows to die. Catherine, imprisoned, even heartbreakingly asked to practice laying her head on the executioner’s block before her death after seeing so many botched executions in her short lifetime. For Anne, however, Henry selected a skilled swordsman— bringing him specially from France. Henry thus demonstrated a measure of mercy towards Anne. Henry was more active in Catherine’s ordeal to give it a layer of respectability, using Parliament to enforce the idea that killing his queens was not a habit. Henry had even more power to decide Catherine’s fate after she forwent a trial, since this meant that Catherine was to be judged solely by the king instead of having the verdict of the peers of the realm that oversaw Anne’s trial. Catherine faced stronger evidence when charged with adultery. When she confessed instead of denying the charges like Anne did, Catherine’s contemporaries believed her sentence could be commuted. But, while Henry merely imprisoned her relatives indicted on similar charges, he did not spare Catherine. Her young age and palpable fear did not move him. Henry was older now—ill and in pain. He believed he had
found love again and was humiliated with another wife cheating on him—including with his own servant. So, Catherine was beheaded by axe. That Henry did not change the weapon illustrated a hardened, less merciful king, which also affected Catherine’s legacy in relation to Anne. Through death Anne became an icon. She died with dignity befitting a queen: the use of sword confirmed her as retaining some semblance of Henry’s respect and former affection. Catherine did not garner half that attention. Only one eyewitness account of Catherine’s execution is trusted compared to the litany of witnesses at Anne’s, leading to misattributed details such as her endlessly quoted last words proclaiming her love of Thomas Culpepper. While the account mentions she too was poised in death, Catherine’s fate is swept into the frenzied tempo of Henry’s last years. When not overshadowed, she has been reduced to the sum of her sexual encounters with men who either groomed her or used her as a vessel for their own desires. As historian Gareth Russell points out, where Anne ‘tangibly and deliberately mattered, Catherine has been depicted as an irrelevance, the author of a shallow yet profane queenship.’ In scholarship and popular culture alike, Catherine usually falls by the wayside. In conclusion, the manners of execution for Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard reflect Henry’s escalating reaction to being betrayed, as clemency gave way to bitterness. Anne’s death, through Henry’s efforts to procure a skilled swordsman to spare her unnecessary pain, helped fuel her legacy of melodrama: a tragic love story undone by power struggle and politics, of Cromwell, Henry, and Anne herself. Catherine, younger and politically naïve, condemned to a dull axe by a resentful man, subsequently faced the second injustice of an underdeveloped legacy, fueled by Henry’s disregard for her suffering and memory. THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE
Henry VII- the world’s worst father inlaw? By Lyndsey Jones
t is no secret to Tudor enthusiasts that the nature of the relationship between Katherine of Aragon and her father-in-law, Henry VII was one of turbulence and oppression. The untimely death of Arthur, whom Katherine loved dearly for a short period put pain to her lifelong happiness and further removed her from her royal Spanish roots, this led her betrothal to Henry VII’s younger son, Henry, the future King Henry VIII, which resulted in further tumult for the senior Spanish Princess. Katherine was the daughter of a powerful Spanish couple; Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon, whose own marriage had united the once divided Spain. With Ferdinand as an ally against the French this proved to be extremely useful for England. After some negotiation over the hefty dowry, Katherine travelled to England in 1501 as part of an agreement with Ferdinand of Spain; she would marry the heir to the English crown to weaken the threat of the French, whom neither Henry VII or King Ferdinand trusted.
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Upon meeting Arthur, Katherine was smitten, but this drew short when her husband- to- be and future King died of a sweating sickness in 1502 after only living together for a matter of months, leaving Katherine a widow after just six months, and deeply grieving. As a result, the dowry promised to Henry VII by Katherines father was never granted and Henry took away the privileges the princess Katherine had once enjoyed one by one. Every aspect of her life in England was affected; her clothes were torn and became shabby, she had worn her Spanish dresses out and could not afford to replace them. She did not have access to the divine foods she once had and her ladies in waiting were becoming impatient at their lack of provisions and pay, this paired with the Kings cool attitude towards her made Katherine feel uneasy and unwelcome.
to become accustomed to English food and the English climate. The illness was gastric, and the Princess could eat very little. Her complexion became worryingly pale, and she lay ill in Greenwich for months, until she could be moved to Fulham Palace. Although Henry did write to her parents to inform them of her illness, he did little to enable her to feel much comfort while in a ‘foreign’ land and Katherine became heavily depressed. To add to her sadness, in December 1504 news reached England that Katherines mother, Isabella, had died and Henry saw this as a complete devaluation of any marriage alliance that had now been proposed to his younger son, Prince Henry. Katherine did not at first realise how her mothers death had devalued her on the marriage market and she could not understand why the prince she was due to wed was ignoring her at court, but one things was certainly clear, Henry VII cared very little for Katherine and the eventual union between the Spanish princess and his own son was selfishly devised for greed, leaving Katherine in a very compromising position in over the next few and final decades of her life. See more @ttheunlikelyhistorian
Katherine had begged her father to send the dowry so her life could improve, but with no alliance now to be made, he refused. Consequently, Katherine became unwell in the mind and was sick for over a year. One of her physicians claimed she had at one stage been near to death. In 1504 she was hit by a mysterious sickness that hindered her ability
His Thoughts for the
Succession By Kate Brookes
eferred to as the ‘forgotten’ or ‘lost’ Tudor king, Edward VI is regularly overshadowed by the reputation of his father and siblings. While his brief reign featured a strict approach to Protestant reform and power-struggles within his regency council, his wishes for the succession ultimately caused a series of dramatic events to play out after his death. In 1553 Edward chose to exclude the heir apparent - his Catholic half-sister Mary Tudor - in favour of his Protestant cousin Lady Jane Grey, resulting in Jane being deposed just nine days after her coronation, and Mary ruling for the next five years. Was Edward’s dramatic decision solely a matter of religion? Like so many succession cases throughout history, 1553 may not be so simple. Jane Grey was the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister, making her Edward’s first cousin once removed. Excluding their gender, she and Edward shared many characteristics. She was less than a year older than Edward and had been raised as a dedicated Protestant. She had two sisters and no children, but her marriage in May 1553 gave the potential for future sons. In comparison, Mary Tudor was 37 years old, still unmarried, and a strict Catholic. In Edward’s eyes, Jane was better suited to continue his legacy. Unfortunately, several legal documents created by Edward’s
father stood in the way – Henry VIII’s will and Third Succession Act of 1553/4 had officially reinstated the claims of Edward’s half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. Edward and his most influential councillor, the Duke of Northumberland, created several arguments to overcome this, and Edward had finished drafting his ‘Devise for the Succession’ by June 1553. The religious element in Edward’s choice raises the question – why didn’t Edward nominate Elizabeth, his half-sister, who was the closest Protestant to the throne in blood? Or Jane’s mother, Frances Grey, who was Edward’s first cousin? Despite their religious differences, it is likely that Mary and Elizabeth had to be treated as one and the same on illegitimacy grounds. Henry VIII’s Third Succession Act had restored the sisters to the crown but had not repealed their illegitimate status. Due to the similarity of their cases, Edward could not name one legitimate without also accepting the other, so had to abandon Elizabeth as an option for Protestant successor. Henry had equally excluded Frances from his succession wishes, so Edward may have overlooked her for similar reasons. Since male blood relations were scarce for Edward, hope was pinned on younger relatives to create them in the next generation. Jane’s age made her more likely to produce children than Mary. In the initial draft of his Devise, Edward left the crown to ‘L Jane’s heires masles’ (‘Lady Jane’s male heirs’), but later made an edit to read ‘L Jane and her heires masles’ (‘L Jane and her male heirs’). Edward preferably wished for the crown to pass directly to a male, even a baby. When it became clear that Edward would die before any male heirs were born, he included Jane herself in the succession. Jane was the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister, but what of Henry’s older sister Margaret? She had married into the Scottish royal family in 1503 and had numerous children and grandchildren, many of whom were male. Edward had once
again followed his father’s initiative and left this entire line of the family out of the succession. Margaret’s line were strong Catholics and integrated into the Scottish royal family. They were a threat to both the Protestant faith and the staunch views of the English nobility who did not want foreign influences holding power at home. This included the authority of Rome, should a Catholic take power and bring unwanted Popery. It was also a fear that Mary and Elizabeth may find foreign husbands who would attempt to overrule their regnant powers. Although Edward had Scottish male relatives through Margaret, his decision of Jane shows a higher concern for the faith and nationality of his successor rather than their gender. From Edward’s perspective, his father had revised his own succession plans numerous times in law, so he also carried that right. Whether legitimately or not, Edward’s actions highlighted his belief in his right to choose whomever he wished to succeed him. His decision of Jane had a complexity of reasons far beyond his disapproval of Mary, and upon his death on 6th July 1553, he was never to know it’s consequences. Although the plot is often credited to the Duke of Northumberland.
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Rose and The White: The
Story Behind The Tudor Rose
By Carol Ann Lloyd
t’s one of the most recognizable symbols in the history of the English and British monarchy. In fact, it has become the emblem of England in royal items such as the coronation robe, alongside the shamrock for Ireland and the thistle for Scotland. You’ll find it everywhere from historic buildings to neighborhood pubs, public plazas and coins of the realm. The Tudor Rose is one of the most famous symbols in history. It represents not just the ever popular and larger than life Tudor dynasty, it has come to represent England itself. But how did the Tudor rose come into being? Here’s the story Shakespeare tells us in Henry VI part 1, when the tension between Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset and Richard Plantagenet erupts in the Temple Garden. Plantagenet, standing by a rose bush, challenges all who believe him to ‘From off this brier pluck a white rose with me.’ Somerset immediately rises to the challenge, encouraging his supporters to ‘Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me.’ The rest of the men take sides by picking roses. Warwick supports Plantagenet, ‘I pluck this white rose with Plantagenet.’ Suffolk supports Somerset, ‘I pluck this red rose with
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young Somerset.’ And on it goes leading to the inevitable conclusion: the Wars of the Roses. Warwick lays out what will happen: And here I prophesy: this brawl today, Grown to this faction in the Templegarden, Shall send between the red rose and the white A thousand souls to death and deadly night. The play was first performed during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and it demonstrates the extent to which the symbol and story had taken hold on the English consciousness. The image of red and white roses, which ultimately became joined into one Tudor rose, had been part of the royal message for years. Henry VII’s narrative had taken hold, the story of a war between the red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York, which had ended when the Tudor dynasty established peace at the Battle of Bosworth. But the history behind the Tudor reign and the Tudor rose reveals that there’s a great deal more to the story. The first Tudor king, Henry VII, created the image and the story of the Tudor rose as a means of survival. After years of civil wars and battles for the crown rocked England through the second half of the 15th century, Henry Tudor was the least likely man to be crowned King in Westminster Abbey. He had spent the previous 14 years in exile in France and Brittany. His claim to the throne was questioned because he descended through the Beaufort branch of John of Gaunt’s family rather than the Lancastrian branch. He was an unknown who appeared in August 1485 with an army of French mercenaries and discontented Englishmen who somehow managed to defeat the royal army under the leadership of warrior King Richard III. After his victory, Henry Tudor had to maintain his hold on the crown. He had no power base among the nobility. He had no powerful foreign backing. He was vulnerable to other distant descendants of Edward
III who could make a claim to the throne. Henry Tudor had to come up with a plan to establish himself as the rightful King and discourage others from raising an army against him. He did this with a symbol and narrative that would change the monarchy, change the nation, and change history. Henry Tudor was crowned King Henry VII in Westminster Abbey on 30 October 1485, and then he married Elizabeth of York, the eldest daughter of Edward IV. Their marriage was presented as the union of former enemies and the end of the civil war. At least that was the story Henry told. To reinforce it, Henry VII created the Tudor rose: a physical manifestation of the union of red/Lancaster and white/York. Two families become one; two roses become one. Simple, elegant, and memorable. But not exactly accurate. The white rose was, indeed, associated with Edward IV. It’s found on the King’s manuscripts, and it features prominently in Edward’s genealogical roll, which was probably created to celebrate his coronation as King of England. The roll was designed to justify Edward’s claim to the throne, and the white rose emblem features prominently throughout. That part of Henry VII’s narrative works, as Elizabeth of York was Edward’s eldest daughter. The problem comes with Henry’s use of the red rose as the Lancastrian emblem. A few previous Lancastrians had used a gold rose, but not consistently. Henry Tudor’s Lancastrian predecessor, Henry VI, had used the antelope. Henry Tudor himself had initially used the symbol of the red dragon of Wales, associating himself with the mythical British King Cadwalladr. We don’t see any evidence of Henry using the red rose before Bosworth. But once he was King, he realized the power of symbolism and settled upon something that would allow him to put his stamp on the country forever. It was a masterstroke. The combination of the red and white rose was powerful in its simplicity
and effective in its message. The King then went about carving that rose into buildings, emblazoning it on royal documents, and including it in portraits. When Prince Arthur was born a year later, his birth was celebrated with this poem by Thomas Phelypps: I love the rose both red and white. Is that your pure perfect appetite? To hear talk of them is my delight. Joyed may we be Our prince to see And roses three. That moment was the triumphant outcome of the union between York and Lancaster, an important highlight of the new Tudor dynasty, and the physical embodiment of the King’s narrative: a peaceful future. This did not persuade everyone that Henry Tudor should remain on the throne. Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel were both able to muster considerable support in their efforts to displace the Tudor King and end the dynasty before it really began. But despite the challenges, Henry VII held on to the throne and the Tudor dynasty lasted into the 17th century. The Tudor rose represented the very heart of the Tudor dynasty and it became a way of looking forward to future generations and a peaceful kingdom. Henry VII also used Tudor roses, along with the Beaufort portcullis, to decorate the new chapel he commissioned at Westminster Abbey. This again reinforced his claim to the throne, aligning his reign with God’s glory. Ultimately, the chapel was the final resting place of Tudor monarchs including Henry VII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. Only Henry VIII was buried elsewhere. Even after the death of Prince Arthur, the original embodiment of the union of York and Lancaster, the Tudor dynasty and its symbol continued. Henry VIII was celebrated at his coronation in 1509 with Thomas More’s ‘Poems on the coronation of King Henry VIII and Queen Katherine of Aragon,’ which is decorated with several images of the Tudor rose representing Henry and the pomegranate representing Katherine.
Stephen Hawes created ‘A Joyful Meditation to All England’ described the royal couple this way: Two titles in one thou didst well unify When the red rose took the white in marriage Reigning together right high and noble From whose united titles and worth language Descended is by right excellent courage King Henry VIII for to reign doubtless. During his reign, Henry VIII had the large round table at Winchester, which was believed to be the actual round table of King Arthur, repainted, with the King’s new design including a large Tudor rose at the center. Despite Henry VIII’s efforts to keep his daughters off the throne, Elizabeth became Queen and made significant use of the Tudor rose. One of her coronation pageants, entitled ‘the uniting of the two houses of Lancaster and York,’ featured Henry VII with a red rose, Elizabeth of York with a white rose, Henry VIII as the Tudor rose alongside Anne Boleyn, and finally Elizabeth as the Tudor rose. Elizabeth used the Tudor rose throughout her reign. A crowned Tudor rose features prominently in the so-called ‘Pelican Portrait’ of Elizabeth by Nicholas Hilliard, which was painted around 1574. In this case, the rose is ‘slipped and crowned,’ meaning it’s shown as a cutting with leaves and a stem and topped with a crown. When it appears with just a crown (not the stem), it’s considered ‘royally crowned.’ The Tudor rose is also on a medalet commemorating the ‘Hampshire,’ which is held at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. It’s found on Elizabethan coins, and it is visible on Elizabeth’s Great Seal, which is held at the National Archives at Kew. And then, in 1592, the image of the Tudor rose was in the mind of Shakespeare’s audience as they watch the tensions rise and the war that had become associated with red and white roses being acted out on the stage. Use of the Tudor rose didn’t end
with the Tudors. It had come to represent England. You’ll find it on canons cast in the 17th and 18th centuries and beyond. The Tudor rose is on buildings, ceilings, and public squares across the country. It’s on the 20-pence coins minted between 1982 and 2008. You’ll find Tudor rose Christmas ornaments, greeting cards, and wallpaper. It’s all over the coronation regalia that is still in use today, from the robe to the armillas to the spurs. The Tudor rose is not an accurate representation of the ‘Wars of the Roses’—a title that wasn’t used until 1829 in a novel by Sir Walter Scott. Instead, it’s an example of the extraordinary success the Tudors achieved in creating an image of themselves and their reign that literally stamped itself all over our collective consciousness. The ‘rose both red and white’ has turned out to be one of the most successful logos of all time—all thanks to the first Tudor King. See more; @shakeuphistory
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with Rome and the
Reformation By Rebecca Wilson
e all think we know the story…the King, the mistress, the divorce, and the obsession for a male heir. It is a little bit more complicated than that though. Henry VIII had been married to Catherine of Aragon for twenty-four years and although she had had several pregnancies, only one had resulted in a healthy child to survive passed infancy. This child however was a girl, Mary, who, although she would rule one day, was not the boy Henry longed for. Henry wished for a male child, a boy to carry on the Tudor line. Henry’s father, Henry VII had won the Crown, through the violence of battle, and killed the King (Richard III) to do so. Perhaps Henry VIII worried about his succession, even with a daughter to be Queen after him. Having a son, in his mind, would prevent the instability and civil war that had plagued the century before. The King started to believe that his marriage to Catherine of Aragon was doomed. She was after all, the widow of his dead brother, Arthur, who had passed away at the age of fifteen in 1502. To Henry, it seemed as if God was punishing him to be without sons. According to the
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Bible, Leviticus 20:12 states “If a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing…they shall be childless” Henry began to use this as leverage to support his claim. It could be that Henry VIII was concerned about leaving England a female ruler. The nearest England had come to having a queen was with the Lady Matilda in the 12th Century. Henry I had died naming Matilda as his heir but she would never rule as it led to the time of the “Anarchy” with her cousin, Stephen claiming the throne leading to civil war. Henry VIII would perhaps not have wanted to test female rule, given that the “Wars of the Roses” was still within living memory. He would need a new wife and to do this, he needed to be rid of Catherine. Neither the Pope nor the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, Catherine of Aragon’s nephew, were going to help Henry get the divorce he wanted. Henry petitioned Pope Clement VII in 1528, asking for his marriage to Catherine to be annulled. He was against the annulment, not only because, Catherine was from an influential and strong Catholic family in Spain (her parents being the formidable Ferdinand and Isabella), but also, by signing the document meant that the previous Pope had made a mistake. The couple were given special dispensation to marry in 1509 by Julius II. This special dispensation was needed to circumvent the issue of Henry marrying his dead brother’s widow. If Pope Clement were to annul their marriage, it would suggest that Julius II had been wrong and God had indeed been angered by their union. Pope Clement simply could not allow the annulment to happen. Thomas Cromwell, however, was keen to help, and Henry had already set his sights on a striking Lady-in Waiting, Anne Boleyn. His obsession with her and his fixation with having a son would lead Henry to be excommunicated and announce himself as Head of the Church of England. In Anne Boleyn, he saw a young wife who could provide him with his much-desired
son. His chance of redemption, his chance to marry someone who God would approve of, and reward him with a son. In 1533 they married in secret, after Henry had had his first marriage annulled himself. Anne soon gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, soon after. Despite the Break with Rome, Henry was still Catholic. It would not be until Edward’s reign that major religious changes really started to be felt in everyday church services. It was true that the Dissolution of the Monasteries had led to a shift in land ownership and moneys that would have been sent to Rome, came to Henry’s coffers instead. However, most ordinary people would not have noticed a great change at all until after Henry’s death in 1547. The eucharist, the vestments, the Latin, and religious statues would have stayed very much the same. The Break with Rome would however lead to real divide in England in the remaining Tudor dynasty. Edward would bring about changes to what is a more recognisably Protestant; his half-sister, Mary would return the country to Catholicism, whereas Elizabeth, although she is seen as more tolerant, would also have to deal with this religious split throughout her reign. We still see signs of the Break today; from the scars and ruins of the once magnificent religious houses, the differences in the church Service/ Mass and how the Queen of England is still the Head of the Church of England to this day. That one action in 1533 has altered the very landscape of our lives. See more; @tudorghostmammy
The Life of Katherine Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk By Sophie Wallace
eptember 7th 1533. While King Henry grapples with the news that Queen Anne Boleyn has given birth to a girl, his oldest friend Charles Brandon marries for the fourth time. His bride was Katherine Willoughby and the scandal wrote itself: Katherine was 14 years old to Brandon’s 49; she was meant to be marrying Brandon’s son; and as his ward, she had been raised for the past five years by his recently deceased wife. However, despite all these factors, it appears that Katherine and Charles Brandon had a happy and successful marriage. Katherine, as the Duchess of Suffolk, was one of the highest ranking women at the Tudor court. She was present at many royal events; as the second mourner at Catherine of Aragon’s funeral; greeting Anna of Cleves on her arrival in England; hosting King Henry and Catherine Howard on their Royal Progress up to York. But it was during Henry’s marriage to Catherine Parr that Katherine really came to the foreground. Katherine’s mother, Maria de Salinas, was one of Catherine of Aragon’s most loyal ladies, remaining devoted to her royal
mistress and the Catholic religion. However Katherine did not hold the same beliefs as her mother. She was passionate about the reformed religion, and used her influence to progress the cause. She was close to Queen Catherine Parr and a key figure amongst advocates for religious reform during the 1540s. Conservatives at court viewed her as a danger, and unsuccessfully attempted to neutralise her by implicating her in the trial of Anne Askew in 1546. The death of Charles Brandon in 1545 could have left Katherine in a precarious position, but the wealth he left her, along with her intelligence, fiery temper and powerful friends made her a force to be reckoned with. Just two years after Charles’ death, Katherine was said to rule Lincolnshire, where the majority of the Brandon estates were. Following Charles’ death, there were rumours that Henry was eyeing Katherine up as his seventh wife, but although they were given currency at the time (worrying the conservative faction at court and angering Catherine Parr) there is no evidence that this was ever a real option. Her friendship with Catherine remained strong: she was one of the first people to know when the Dowager Queen secretly married Thomas Seymour, even jokingly naming her new stallion and mare “Seymour” and “Parr” after the couple. Following Catherine’s death and Thomas’ execution, their daughter Mary was placed under Katherine’s care. However Katherine found the financial burden of supporting this young girl arduous, writing to William Cecil that if she did not receive a pension soon, she would not be able to support Mary any further. Her own sons with Charles Brandon died in 1551: both victims of the sweating sickness and dying within an hour of each other. Katherine was devastated but in the coming years found happiness again with her second husband. It was a love match; her husband, Richard Bertie,
had served for several years as her Master of Horse. Together they faced a hard few years when Mary I came to the throne. Rather than conform to the return to the Catholic church, Katherine left for Europe as a religious exile, ignoring commands to return to England until Elizabeth I was crowned and she felt it was safe to do so. The remainder of Katherine’s life saw her happy, with a growing family, but the perils of the Tudor court were never far away. In 1567, her stepgranddaughter, Lady Mary Grey, was sent to live with her in disgrace, following her secret marriage to a man far beneath her in her station – a reminder of how precarious the choice to marry for love could be in the 16th century. 47 years after her first scandalous marriage, in September 1580, Katherine Brandon died aged 61. She had lived a long and full life, in touching distance of some of the greatest scandals and changes within the Tudor court, but managed to survive them all and come out on top as a rich, safe woman, with a family and loving husband – no mean feat for a 16th century woman. See more from Sophie; @ historychatter
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Court Palace: 500 years of history By Erin Fetterly
hen approaching Hampton Court Palace, one cannot help but be in awe at the sight of the Great Gatehouse that faces you and the palace that stretches beyond. With its deep orange and almost mahogany coloured bricks, it oozes with Tudor architecture and instantly transports you back to the 16th century. This magnificent palace on the bank of the Thames entered Tudor history when Cardinal Thomas Wolsey bought Hampton Manor around 1514 from the Knights Hospitallers, a military order that dates back to the Crusades. Before the order owned it, it belonged to a man named Walter de St Valéry, whose family retained it until the Knights bought it in 1218. Wolsey soon began work to build himself an incredible palace that would be grand enough to entertain the king as well as dignitaries from around Europe. He succeeded and the palace soon caught the attention of King Henry VIII. When Wolsey fell from favour in 1529 he relinquished Hampton Court to Henry with the hope of gaining back some of his influence. This gesture did not work out for Wolsey, but Henry gained a beautiful palace that he soon set out to expand. He enlarged the kitchen which became the largest kitchen in England and could serve up to 1600 meals a day. He had
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numerous apartments built, constructed the Great Hall between 1532 and 1535 and had Wolsey’s Chapel Royal redecorated between 1535 and 1536. It was a breathtaking and glorious palace used to show off Henry’s wealth and power. Henry had built a grand pleasure palace equipped with beautiful gardens, a tennis court built in 1529, a theatre, and beer that was brewed on the premises. The palace held vast collections of art and tapestries and hosted plays, pageants and banquets throughout the Tudor period. The king also had a wine cellar with wines imported from all over Europe, which you can still take a walk around today. Gardens were, and are still a very important part of the palace, many of which were created or updated during Henry’s reign. Both the Privy and the Pond Gardens to the south had specific uses for Henry and his court. The Privy Garden for private strolls and relaxation and the Pond Gardens for keeping freshwater fish to feed everyone. The Home Park to the far east was used by Henry VIII for hunting and today is used to host the Hampton Court Flower Show. In the Tiltyard to the northwest, the king and his court would watch jousting matches from the 5 towers that stood there; one of them remains today and has been transformed into a café. Henry brought each of his six wives to the palace, and all except for Katherine of Aragon had their honeymoon there, illustrating how favoured this palace was to Henry. Anne Boleyn’s apartments were constructed over what is now called Anne Boleyn’s Gateway and if you look closely you can still see a tile on the roof with an intertwined H&A that fortunately survived Henry’s purge of Anne-related designs after her downfall in 1536. Henry VIII’s son Edward was also born at the palace in 1537. Unfortunately, the palace was also the scene of some traumatic events during Henry’s reign including the death of Jane Seymour, his third wife and the arrest of Catherine Howard, his fifth wife before she was taken to the Tower of London. It is rumoured that Hampton Court may also be home to Catherine Howard’s ghost along with some others that have
been mysteriously witnessed over the years. Catherine Howard’s ghost has often been seen in the most haunted part of the palace, The Haunted Gallery. Palace residents, cleaners and visitors have all witnessed who they believe is Catherine in a white dress with long hair. Catherine supposedly ran down this hallway to try and convince Henry not to have her arrested, but she was stopped by guards and brought to the Tower. Other sightings of ghosts throughout the palace include Jane Seymour near the Silver Stick Staircase, a phantom dog on the King’s Staircase, a man in red at the Great Gatehouse in Base Court, The Lady in Grey who may be Mrs Sybil Penn, young Edward VI’s nurse in the southwest corner of Base Court and many others. Inside the Great Gatehouse is the Base Court surrounded by dozens of lavish apartments that Wolsey set aside for his most important guests. At the other side of Base Court is Anne Boleyn’s Gateway which then leads into Clock Court. Clock Court is so named because of the beautiful astronomical clock sitting over the inside, west entrance, which was crafted by French horologist Nicholas Oursian in 1540. As Henry’s children grew up, they used Hampton Court as well. Mary I had her honeymoon with Philip II of Spain there and it was one of Elizabeth I’s favourite palaces. She loved to rest there, and is said to have been relaxing in the gardens when she received word of the defeat of the Spanish Armada. She enjoyed the entertainments of the palace as well, supposedly watching Shakespeare and his company perform the drama of the fall of Wolsey in the grand Great Hall. After Elizabeth I’s death, the throne, alongside Hampton Court, passed to King James I and VI and the Stuart dynasty. James enjoyed leisure time leisure time at the palace just as his predecessors did. In one instance he watched the first performances of Hamlet and Macbeth by Shakespeare and his ‘King’s Men’ in the Great Hall in 1603. He also organised the 1604 Hampton Court Conference which resulted in the publication of the King James Bible in 1611. After James I, his son Charles I used
Hampton Court as a place to hold and display his vast art collection and used the palace’s Privy Garden to evade Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians when he was held prisoner there in 1647. Once Cromwell defeated Charles I and the Commonwealth began, Cromwell saved Hampton Court from damage by deciding to live in it, as he greatly enjoyed the art and tapestries. When the Stuarts reclaimed the throne, Charles II used Hampton Court for his honeymoon and later as a place for his mistress and their children to live. Some of the biggest changes to Hampton Court took place when William III and Mary II came to the throne in 1689. They commissioned Sir Christopher Wren, the architect responsible for St. Paul’s Cathedral, to add a new section onto the Tudor palace. He designed a stunning Baroque addition on the east side of the palace which included dozens of new apartments and the beautiful Fountain Court. One of the most fascinating pieces of 17th century history at the palace is William III’s close stool, which is another name for his toilet. It is a bright red box with an open lid. At the top is the seat which is covered in crimson velvet, no doubt fit for the king. The toilet is still on display today in William’s State Apartments. Under William and Mary, many of the beautiful gardens we see today were designed and produced. Two of these were the Great Fountain Garden to the east which originally held 13 fountains, and the New Privy Garden to the south, which was a remodelled version of the Privy Garden designed for Henry VIII. Queen Anne had the ornate yew trees that decorate the Great Fountain Garden planted during her reign. William also decided that the Tiltyard was better suited to gardens and built the grandest kitchen gardens in Europe which produced all the fruits and vegetables for the palace for 150 years. Mary II had a passion for plants as well and collected exotic specimens from around the world, building the Orangery to display them. The unique maze at the north of the palace grounds was also supposedly planted
during the late 17th century using hornbeam; today the 6 foot tall maze is made up of mostly yew and privet. The Great Vine that you can find on the southwest side of the palace was planted later in 1768 and still produces grapes you can purchase. When George I became king, he built dozens of new, striking apartments for his son, the eventual George II and his wife Princess Caroline near William III’s apartments. He also decided to spruce the palace up to compete with George and Caroline’s extravagant parties, and renovated the Tudor tennis court as a grand assembly room in 1718, as well as converted the Great Hall into a theatre; both of which have since returned to their original purposes. The last monarch to call Hampton Court home was George II. George and Caroline finished the work on their apartments and began new additions for the younger members of the royal family. Caroline also hired the famous Georgian architect and designer William Kent to decorate the Queen’s stairs.
After Queen Caroline’s unfortunate death in 1737, the palace ceased to be used as a royal residence and instead became home to ‘grace and favour’ residents, many of whom were aristocratic widows provided with a place to live in recognition of their husband’s service. Hampton Court housed these residents until the 1960s when the custom ended, but even so, there are still a few elderly residents that live at the palace today! In 1838 Queen Victoria decided to open up Hampton Court to the public, starting the modern practice, and in 1851 she officially gave the palace to the British government. It was listed as a Grade 1 royal palace in 1952. Today the magical half Tudor, half Baroque palace is visited by millions of awestruck visitors each year, eager to explore the over 500 years of history of Henry VIII’s magnificent palace. See more from Erin; @ thecanadianlondoner
Image 1: Adobe Stock Image 2: Erin’s own
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Lady Jane and her
Known as the Nine Day Queen of England, Lady Jane Grey is rarely ig swift nature of events which occurred over thi
King Edward VI died on 6th July 1553 after experiencing ill health for issued, stating in no uncertain terms that his cousin Lady Jane Grey w of the 10th July begi
Day One - 11th July On her first day as Queen of England Lady Jane Grey had her position endorsed following the Councils publicly affirmation of Marys illegitimate status and therefore preventing Mary from making a legitimate claim to the throne. It was also on this day that confusingly both Mary and Jane were proclaimed as Queen in Norwich by separate religious houses.
Day Two - 12th July Following her brother’s death Mary had begun travelling towards London and on this day arrived at Framlingham Castle with approximately 15,000 men within her retinue. Framlingham was a true stronghold of East Anglia and became Mary’s main base over the next week.
Day Five - 1
Prior to her relocation to Framling most of her adult life within East A a level of popularity in this reg underestimated. This popularity was originally dispatched from London i Marys progression into the low cou allegiance during the journey. The and ships themselves were redirec Coast near to Framlingham and w Marys growing forc
Day Four -
Much like Mary, as the travelled across the co force grew as suppo the approaching con Northumberland had lef tow, but it is estimated th over 3,000 over the
Day Nine Day Three - 13th July Three days into her reign, Jane ordered the raising of troops in preparation against Mary and her ever increasing force. Jane also made a request for John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland, to raise a separate group tasked with the capturing Mary.
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On her last day of Queen Jane w influence and support from the C accession to the throne. Eventua Suffolk and Janes father, to notify J Perhaps one of the main misconc on the 10th day after her succe kept at the Tower of London for se much of a threat she posed. Desp writing a letter to Mary to deny he participation in protestant prote much of a risk to Mary I. Jane, alo on 12th February 1554. Oxford ma Q
her nine day reign
ly ignored when studying the Tudor period. Nevertheless, understanding the r this nine day period is not as commonly discussed.
for several months. It was during his illness that Edward had letters patent ey was his sole heir. Jane was proclaimed Queen of England in the evening beginning her 9 day reign.
- 15th July
mlingham, Mary spent st Anglia and retained region which was was proven when ships don intended to prevent countries, altered their The artillery, man force directed to the Suffolk nd were absorbed into forces.
r - 14th July
the Duke of Northumberland he country the numbers in his pporters became aware of conflict that was to occur. d left London with 600 man in ed that this number grew to well r the following few days.
Day Six - 16th July Six days into Janes reign one of the main Bishops of London, Nicholas Ridley, held a church service and during which he declared that both Mary and Elizabeth were both illegitimate in the line of succession.
Day Seven - 17th July The first week of Janes reign developed as was expected by the Council and Jane herself. Mary’s denial of her illegitimacy was not surprising following her public protests since her demotion of rank following Elizabeth’s birth. It was also likely however that Jane and her closest supporters remained within a bubble of sorts, and continued to underestimate the popularity of the Catholic princess outside of London.
e - 19th July
ne would have slowly gained awareness of her lack of the Council – the same Council which pushed for her ntually it became the task of Henry Grey, the Duke of tify Jane that she was no longer the Queen of England. conceptions of Lady Jane Greys reign is that she died uccessful removal from the throne. In fact, Jane was or several months whilst the new queen assessed how Despite being tried for high treason in November 1553, y her desire to be Queen of England, and denying any rotests across the country, Jane was still deemed too , alongside her husband Lord Guilford, were executed d made a public declaration of his support for Mary as Queen of England.
Day Eight - 18th July On the 8th day, the true threat of Mary was recognised, and the following 48 hours saw a swift withdrawal of support for Jane. The first act of abandonment occurred when the Duke of Northumberland failed to follow orders to advance on Bury St. Edmunds. Later the same day the Earl of Oxford made a public declaration of his support for Mary as Queen of England.
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Food is Power By Alice Coleman
uring the Tudor period, the food a person ate was in direct correlation with their wealth and social status. Much like how designer clothes and expensive cars are today, food was a status symbol, and with feasting being a favourite Tudor pastime, hosting dinner parties was the ultimate way to impress. However, not all Tudors had the luxury of attending extravagant banquets and consuming decadent feasts. The Tudors were focused on social hierarchy, to the point where laws were introduced to separate the rich from the poor, and the food which was affordable to both classes was directly impacted as a result. Social status was arguably the most important part of how Tudors interacted with one another and how society was organised. This article explores the types of food and drink which would have been consumed in this period and how accessible it was for the different social classes to consume. The first thing to consider is the availability of fresh local foods. In the sixteenth century, imported foods we are used to seeing today were very expensive, meaning a lot of food was grown locally and was subject to bad weather and poor harvests as a result. Seasonality was also a big factor in deciding what would have been eaten or presented on the dinner table, as the food people ate depended on what was in season and could be grown locally. The easiest way to think of it is that all Tudors, regardless of social status, ate similar foods, but it was the
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quality of food and what they added to them that was a distinguishing factor in how rich or poor a person or family was. For example, fresh food was very difficult to store due to lack of fridge-freezers and ice rooms, so preserving foods was common practice. Pickling or salting foods was a sure way to make them last longer, but one thing the poor lacked that the wealthier families didn’t was access to seasonings and spices. These could easily hide the taste of lower quality foods, and as spice was an exotic and expensive addition to a Tudor food store, it was easy to recognise the wealth of a family based on the spices they used, or didn’t. Meat was an important part of the Tudor diet, irrespective of social status, and the Tudors ate much more meat than we do today. About 80% of the wealthiest Tudors’ diets was made up of protein and the variety of meats consumed was again linked to how rich you were. The wealthiest Tudors ate meats such as calves, pigs, badger, ox, as well as more expensive meats - swan, peacock and wild boar. Venison was held in high regard as it would have been hunted in deer parks owned by Kings and nobles and presented at impressive banquets. If meat was not eaten fresh, it was preserved either by smoking, salting or drying to improve flavour. Peasants also ate meat, but this would have usually been animals they raised on their small plots of land that they could eat straight away to ensure freshness. The common animals you could expect to see a poorer Tudor eat would likely have been pigs and chickens, as well as any rabbits they caught themselves or beef they bought from local markets. Not as exquisite as the swan and peacock richer Tudors were used to, however by the reign of Henry VIII, the price of meat had become low enough for poorer families to afford preserved meats. What would a royal banquet be without the addition of fruit and vegetables? In actual fact, during the Tudor period, vegetables were regarded as a poor person’s food
and were therefore not seen in high regard by the nobles. Banquets were a symbol of wealth and having vegetables on the table would not have gone down particularly well. Fruit and vegetables were seasonal food, so things like parsnips, carrots and cabbage were common and eaten very quickly after being picked so they remained as fresh as possible. Fruits like pears, plums and cherries may be what you associate with typical Tudor cuisine and were eaten fresh or preserved in syrups. Wealthy households also would have grown herb gardens in order to add flavour - and therefore status - to a meal. Later on in the Tudor period, more exotic fruits and vegetables were beginning to arrive on royal banquet tables to affirm their status. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and peppers became popular amongst the richer classes and gave a wider variety of choice on feast days. One particular foodstuff which was a common staple amongst the poor was known as Pottage. This was essentially food cooked in a pot that was cheap and hearty, often containing cabbage, grains and leftover vegetables. Pottage was very much regarded as a poor person’s food, however the rich also consumed pottage but it would have contained added extras like almonds, saffron and ginger in order to once again create a clear division between the social. Bread was also a staple in the Tudor diet, but even this simple food was subjected to hierarchy. The bread differed in quality depended on how high up the social ladder you were. The highest quality white bread at the time, known as manchet, took longer to make and was regarded as the bread only nobles had access to. Lower quality bread, known as ‘Carter’s bread’ was made from maslin, a mixture of grains like rye and wheat. The poorest quality bread, known as ‘horse-corn’ or ‘horse-bread ‘, was made from ground-up beans and oats was usually fed to the horses, but the poorest people would also
eat this bread, particularly if their wheat harvests failed. Although trade and industry were doing well in the sixteenth century and improving the standard of living for the upper and middle classes, the poor were affected by rising costs and not being able to access the foodstuffs which were becoming more common. If harvests failed, this had a disastrous effect on prices of bread and affordability of food for the poor. Moving onto what I would regard as the best part of a meal – dessert! During the earlier part of the Tudor period, sugar was extremely rare and expensive, so honey was used more commonly as a sweetener. Desserts such as gingerbread and preserved fruits were therefore more widely seen. Due to the expense and rarity of sugar, luxurious sweet treats such as marzipan centrepieces were a more frequent sight at rich banquets as opposed to poor tables. Often, impressive sugared centrepieces would be shaped into structures like castles or hunting scenes, showcasing the wealth of a banquet’s host. You may have been told in history lessons about how the Tudors drank alcoholic beverages regardless of what time of day it was, but there is a reason for that.
Put simply, water was not fit for consumption. It was dirty, contaminated, and with no available filtration systems in place, it was undrinkable - unless you didn’t mind the risk of getting seriously ill or even dying. Therefore, everyone usually drank ale or mead, and the rich also consumed wine which was sometimes served warm and spiced to add extra indulgence. The ale was consumed by men, women and children as it was usually made without hops so therefore wasn’t particularly alcoholic. It’s clear to see from the depictions and differences in the food that was consumed by the rich and the poor that there was a very obvious distinction between the classes during the Tudor period, and that food was an important part of how this division was laid out. The available foods, amounts served during a meal, and how they were presented were all controlled in what were called Sumptuary Laws. These laws regulated what people were allowed to eat based on their position in the social structure. Tudor feasts were common in upper class social circles, but even these were subject to social hierarchy. Feasts were a way for the nobility to display how wealthy they were and the
influences they had. Therefore, aspects such as silverware, seating arrangements and even the number of dishes served to an individual factored into the hierarchy. For example, cardinals could be served 9 dishes where a Duke or Bishop could be served 7 dishes. There was an understanding that not just food, but the quantity of food you were given was linked directly to your rank in the social constructs of Tudor society. It was also considered rude to finish everything at the table, as the ‘deserving poor’ depended on the leftovers that would be handed out after the banquet had ended. It is clear from exploring the food and drink that was available to consume in the Tudor period that a hierarchy existed throughout all channels of society. This divide between the rich and the poor was evident not just in the clothes they wore, the places they lived or the work they did, but also in the food they ate. In the Tudor period, the food you consumed carried with it a symbol of power, and this was used as a way to determine your place in the social hierarchy. See more from Alice: @alicehistorian
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Henry VIII’s Scottish
Aggression: The Rough Wooing
By Siobhan Ralfe
enry VIII has his place in history as a tyrant, dangerous and unpredictable, and hellbent on consolidating Tudor power. The Anglo-Scottish relationship had always been a fragile one and positive actions could be quickly undone. His own sister, Margaret Tudor, had been married off to James IV of Scotland as part of the Treaty of Perpetual Peace (1502) with Henry VII. This peace was short-lived however. In 1513, James declared war on England, now in the hands of Henry VIII and at war with France, due to the FrancoScottish Auld Alliance. James was subsequently killed at the Battle of Flodden in the same year and the peace by this point was well and truly shattered. Thirty years later, Henry was still battling with Scotland, in the hopes to bring it under his control within one bloodline. When James V was killed at the Battle of Solway Moss in 1542, he left behind his 9-day old daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots and Henry saw this as his perfect opportunity. The Treaty of Greenwich was therefore created and signed by James Hamilton, Earl of Arran and now Regent of Scotland. Arran himself was power-hungry and he flitted between England and France continuously during his regency. In exchange for marrying the infant queen to Henry’s son, the future
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Edward VI, and peace between the two nations, Greenwich promised the marriage of Arran’s son to Henry’s daughter Elizabeth. However, the Treaty of Greenwich was rejected, both by the Scottish lords and Arran himself turning to France. It was the failure of this treaty that led to the Rough Wooing, a series of invasions and attacks led by Henry VIII and Edward Seymour. Such violence lasted nine years and continued until French intervention removed Mary, and therefore Scotland, from the scene of appropriation. Despite Henry’s death in 1547, the Rough Wooing continued through Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, in the name of England’s new King, Edward VI. Under Seymour’s leadership, the English continued their destruction and occupation of much of southern Scotland, particularly after the Battle of Pinkie (1547), which saw the capture and deaths of around 8,000 Scots, compared to only a few hundred English men. By this point, Scotland were in desperate need of help and so turned back to their old allies, France, and renewed the Auld Alliance with the Treaty of Haddington. By January 1548, the Treaty of Haddington was signed; Mary would be removed to France, raised there, with the intention to marry the Dauphin and Scotland would receive French support. This treaty was very agreeable in comparison to Greenwich and the ensuing violence. Unlike Henry and Somerset, Henri II made no violent encroachment on Scottish land and there was no threat of the kidnap of a monarch. Instead, France offered to defend Scotland in exchange for the young Queen, who herself would be protected. This had been a major concern during the Rough Wooing, clear from the fact that Mary was constantly moved around to avoid English invasion, to Dunkeld in 1544 and then to Inchmahome in September. Upon being removed to France in July 1548, the Scottish had achieved two things for their monarch. The first, her safety, thus
securing their own, and secondly a dynastic marriage, with agreeable terms which could secure the Stewart line. The Rough Wooing continued until 1551, but with little use. Mary, the ultimate way to gain the Scottish crown, had been far removed from reach and instead England was now battling Scotland and France with no clear desired outcome. The Treaty of Norham was signed in 1551, calling for peace, returning of hostages and any lands returned to the pre-war owners. For Scotland and France, the outcome was a success – Mary was safe and secured, Scotland was no longer at war, and France had just gained a good footing into Scottish power. This intervention of France would be much disputed later on and was a source of irritation for many later in Mary’s reign, with the sentiment being that France had just a little too much influence over the crown. For England, very little if anything had been gained from this period. It was just one of many Anglo-Scottish disputes, although it would be the last major conflict before James VI united the two nations in 1603. See more @historywithsiobhan
Mary I: The Mother of England By Peter Stiffell
hen we think of England’s first crowned queen regnant we usually focus on Mary I’s religious policies. However, it must be remembered that Mary I (r.1553-58) was the first woman in English history to become what John White would latter call ‘a Queen, and by the same title a King also’. Mary I needed an influx of imagery to promote not only her legitimacy, but her worth as England’s first female ruler. Yet it was not only in portraiture that Mary used her image to portray a godly, motherly ruler. Coins allowed the queen to reach all portions of society and allowed the mother of England to enter into the homes of her English subjects. A portrait by the Netherlandish artist Hans Eworth (c. 1520–1574) depicted one of the first images of Mary as queen in 1554. Mary stands in a regal position; her golden gown fills the room against a red cloth of estate and there is a pillar which symbolises her strength and stability as a ruler. This portrait is Eworth’s equivalence to Hans Holbein’s famous Whitehall Mural which depicted Mary’s father Henry VIII. Whereas Henry stands with his hands on his hips, his codpiece showing his fertility and his wide stance dominating the room, Mary’s gown parts at her waist creating a triangular shape while her top half also shows this triangular notion while her hands are placed by her
womb which symbolised her fertility and her motherhood; she was mother to her people. This sense of motherhood was crucial for Mary. Not only was she to become the mother of England, but she had to project herself as a fertile queen to ensure a Catholic succession. This motherly Mary arrives in the same year Mary crushed the rebellion led by Thomas Wyatt in the Winter of 1554. The rebellion was raised in protest over Mary’s decision to marry Philip II of Spain. In a crucial move the queen arrived at London’s Guildhall and gave the speech of her life.
a cross. On the reverse is her motto Veritas Temporis Filia ‘Truth is the Daughter of Time’ and the English coat of arms. These two depictions of Mary I show a queen who was not only a queen, but a mother to her people. Portraits such as Eworth’s were available to the aristocracy while coinage was available to everyone. The depictions discussed show Mary as a motherly queen with as much power as a king. The iconography of Mary I is not one of nostalgia, but of a woman who despite the challenges became England’s first queen.
‘…if a Prince and governor maye as naturally and as earnestly love subjects as the mother doth the childe, then assure your selves, that I being your sovereigne Lady and Quene do as earnestly and as tenderly love and favour you…’
This emphasis on motherhood makes Mary the first queen regnant to mould herself as England’s mother. The portrait of Eworth continued this theme by signifying Mary’s fertility via the hand placement and the gown position. If we examine the jewellery Mary wears, she does not wear her wedding ring which proves that the portrait was commissioned before the marriage in July, but her spousal ring given to her at her coronation is depicted. The cross the queen wears once belonged to her mother Catherine of Aragon which not only represents Mary’s legitimacy, but also her Catholicism and her Spanish heritage. The most common image of Mary I was in her coinage. This is where Mary could show her queenship to the majority of the populace. A silver groat minted in the first year of the reign depicts Mary wearing a closed Imperial crown signifying her independent and autocratic power while her loose hair symbolises her virginity. She wears a plain French gown with a necklace of pearls with what looks to be a pendant with four pearls attached in the form of THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE
Life, Love and the
Mysterious Death of
Lady Amy Dudley
By Ellie Webster
ver the course of the Tudor period, there were multiple scandals that rocked society, however none quite shook the Tudor court like the death of Amy Dudley in the latter period of 1560. Due to apprehensive circumstances of her death, she would be remembered for centuries for her suspicious and tragic demise. In the beginning, the relationship between Amy Robsart and Robert Dudley was harmonious. The two married in 1550, and it was even suggested that the marriage was a love match, or as William Cecil described it, a ‘carnal marriage.’ However, their time together was soon cut short after the Jane Grey scandal that Robert’s family was directly involved in. Their marriage was overlooked by royal duties as well as spells of imprisonment, but Robert soon bounced back into favor upon the accession of Elizabeth I. However, his wife did not join him at the new court. It may be because of a preference of the countryside, or financial difficulties - but it may also be due to the increasing favor her husband enjoyed from the Queen. This growing affection did not come without gossip - that Amy had been left behind in the countryside, with
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Elizabeth’s chief advisor William Cecil telling the Spanish ambassador that ‘Robert and Elizabeth planned doing away with her so they could marry.’ Even though, until this point, the rumors of the Queen and Robert were mere gossip, that was soon to change. On the 8th September, Lady Dudley sent all her servants away from her residence at Cumnor Place to a carnival. Little did the servants know, it would be the last time they saw their mistress. Lady Dudley was soon found at the bottom of a flight of stairs, leading from her room, with a broken neck. One of her servants traveled immediately to inform Robert of his wife’s death. Robert, in response, immediately sent a messenger to arrange a thorough investigation, writing: ‘As I have ever loved you, do not dissemble with me, send me your conceit and your opinion of the matter, whether it happened by evil chance or villainy.’ The death deeply distressed Elizabeth. She soon sent Robert away until a verdict was given to avoid anymore scandal around him. It was said that she was ‘pale, listless and irritable’ and felt ‘undeniable guilt.’ Due to the structure of the stairs, it was concluded that she had fallen from only two steps, which seemed suspicious itself. Not only this, it was also questionable that Amy’s headdress had remained entirely intact upon the fall, even after the fall caused her neck to break. However, rumors of Robert and Elizabeth were not the only ones that concerned Amy. There were rumors of breast cancer as a reason for not attending court, and if this was true it may explain her fall. In 1956, Dr. Ian Aird put forward the idea that breast cancer makes bones extremely brittle and strains walking, which may suggest that there was no foul play in Amy’s sudden demise. Upon interrogation, one of Amy’s maids, Pinto, confessed that they had ‘heard Amy on occasion praying to be delivered from her desperation.’ This may be interpreted in a
multitude of ways - either as Amy’s heartbreak for Robert or from her possible breast cancer. Although, it is unlikely that the fall was due to suicide. Amy was a devout Christian, and suicide would go against the faith she was dedicated to. Robert strove to make sure that his name became as clear as possible. He was told on the 14th September that there was no hint of foul play, much to Elizabeth’s relief. Amy was buried at St Mary’s Church in Oxford not long after her death. Rumours of her death surrounded Robert for the rest of his life. William Cecil always insinuated that Robert was involved, but he would not be the only one who believed this. Mary, Queen of Scots at one point listened o the scandal with ‘grest enthusiasm’ and exclaimed: ‘the Queen of England is going to marry the Master of her Horses, who killed his wife to make room for her.’ Amy’s death left a permanent mark on Robert and Elizabeth - the two never married. After the scandal came to pass, Jones concluded that ‘the matter of my Lord Robert doth greatly perplex her and [the marriage] is never likely to take place]. It can be indefinitely argued that the main reason the marriage never took place was due to the tragic and suspicious death of Lady Dudley, a case that has never ceased to confuse and bewilder.
The Queen of Green: Dressing
Jane Grey for the
Crown By Rosie Harte
n the 16th century sartorial politics was operating at its finest. The idea that an individual could enforce their power through the clothes they wore dominated the approach to royal fashion in the Tudor period. Henry VIII, the best dressed monarch of his time, and Elizabeth I, immortalised in our minds wearing dramatic ruffs and ropes of pearls, subscribed avidly to this theory, and consequently have shaped our understanding of the Tudor ‘look’. However, if we instead take a moment to look at some of the quieter figures in the dynasty, it quickly becomes apparent that not everyone was convinced by the power of fashion. Lady Jane Grey, the unsuspecting teenager who had the English crown dropped into her lap on 6 July 1533, could not have been further from the contemporary ideals of regal splendour. She had been raised devoutly protestant and spent much of her time with her nose in a book, rejecting lavish displays of wealth and vanity. She had even been rejected as a potential royal bride for Edward VI on account of her plain appearance. When Jane’s position had been manipulated to line her up for the throne, it seems
that the young Queen was made to undergo a royal transformation. It was time for her to play by the rules. Jane’s first public appearance as Queen took place on 8 July, the day of her procession to the Tower of London, where she was to stay in the lead up to her coronation. Jane’s preference for fashionable sobriety would not have been acceptable for such an occasion, and the ensemble that was chosen for her sent a clear message on how those around her wished for the new Queen to be viewed. A green dress, brocaded all over with brilliant gold and fashionable wide sleeves, the train of which was carried by her mother, the Duchess of Suffolk. On her head she wore a white coif laden with precious gems, glistening with each shaky step she took. Hidden beneath her skirts were a pair of Venetian Chopines, highheeled platform shoes intended to make her seem taller and more powerful than she really was. Jane may have shared the fiery colouring of her Tudor relatives, but she did not share their height. Emphasising (or in this case fabricating) physical similarities between the new Queen and her predecessors was of paramount importance to those in charge of her wardrobe – they needed to prove that Jane’s royal inheritance was a rightful one. Beside her, Jane was accompanied by her husband, who dressed in a shimmering white doublet trimmed with gold. Side by side the young royal couple had been arranged to represent the Tudor house colours of green and white. The message was clear – Jane was as much of a Tudor as any of her rivals for the throne, and therefore the crown belonged to her. Despite these efforts the public were not convinced, choosing instead to rally behind Mary Tudor, assisting in Jane’s deposition just 9 days later. It’s unfortunate, but one of the best descriptions of Jane and the clothing she may actually have preferred comes from her ensuing trial in November that year – a black gown turned down and paired with
a matching French hood. A simple girdle hung from her waist, from which a small velvet prayer-book was suspended, and a similar book was clasped in her hands. The outcome of the trial was a death sentence for Jane, and on the 12 of February 1554, she was seen by the public one last time. She seemed to be wearing the same dress that she had worn for her trial, sober and black, comfortable and unqueenly. Distinctly and uniquely, Jane. See more; @theroyalwardrobe
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of the King’s Favourite
By Edward Edge
n July 19th 1545, King Henry VIII watched in horror from Southsea Castle as his favourite flagship, a carrack-type warship called The Mary Rose, heeled to starboard and began to fill with water from her open gunports. Within a matter of minutes, the Mary Rose, the English Navy’s pride and joy had sunk below the waves, taking almost all of her 500-man crew with her. To add insult to injury, this accident (if it can be considered an accident) practically took place on English soil, with the ship going down in the Solent Straights – the stretch of water north of the Isle of Wight and south of Portsmouth, less than five miles from where the beloved vessel was constructed. It was here that the Mary Rose waited in the water and sand for almost 500 years, guarding its contents like a time capsule, harbouring countless archaeological treasures of incalculable value to science and history. This was until 1971, when the ship was rediscovered, and then later in 1982, when the ship was raised and brought home to Portsmouth, where the wreck remains on display to this day. Since its discovery, this tragic sarcophagus to almost 500 lost souls has helped historians and archaeologists to better understand life on board a Tudor ship, and has provided an interesting mystery for scholars and the public at large to unravel – why exactly did the Mary Rose sink? While this is certainly an interesting dilemma to uncover, and
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one that scientists are still trying to figure out today, all the twists and turns that people have taken to link up all the evidence are far too numerous to explore in this article. Instead, I want to take a look at a potentially simpler, but deeper question; Why was the Mary Rose so important, and why was her sinking so devastating to England? The Mary Rose wasn’t just a ship, she was one of the world’s first built-forpurpose, sail-rigged warships. She was built with combat and cannon fire in mind, and over thirty-four years she dominated the seas in Henry VIII’s name. She was outfitted with heavy, state-of-the-art cannons, made and engineered with the latest and most powerful technologies available at the time. At some point in the 1530s, Henry, spurred by mounting tensions owing to his split from the Catholic Church, prepared for war by preemptively refitting his warships. The Mary Rose was no exception, having extra gunports added to accommodate extra guns, as well as reinforcing her hull to account for the extra weight. She fought three successful campaigns against the French, and achieved great renown, overcame many perilous obstacles, and overall began to represent England under King Henry VIII as a whole. So, it must have come as a great shock and somewhat of an embarrassment when such a proud, strong, regal warship ended up sinking in 12 metres of water less than 2 miles from where it had been launched.
The tragedy of such a prideful symbol of English superiority sinking may have been made even worse by the fact that almost all hands aboard were lost, thanks in part to the antiboarding net cast over the ship, made from rope coated with tar and sand to make it harder for enemy soldiers to jump onto the ship during a battle (shows how much the English didn’t want their precious ship to fall under enemy control). Unfortunately, this device designed to protect the ship and its occupants may have sealed their fate, as its design made it just as hard for anyone to escape. The final moments of the crew must have been unbearable. Almost as soon as the Mary Rose hit the seabed and began burying itself in the soft clay where it would eventually come to rest for nearly half a century, efforts were made to raise the ship. One idea had been for divers to swim down and loop ropes around the masts, then have two ships sail away from each other to pull the line taut, dragging the ship up with it. Unfortunately for Tudor England, but possibly very fortunately for modern historical study, the ship was never raised, and Henry VIII never again got to see his country’s flag fly from the mast of his favourite ship as she protected the coasts of England. See more @history_for_writers Image ©Johnny Black Thank you to The Mary Rose Trust for providing the image.
and her New Year’s Gift
Translations By Valerie Schutte
ew Year’s was an important occasion to both give and receive gifts at the Tudor court, as there was an established protocol of giftgiving that required reciprocity and recognition. Gifts were used to create and enhance bonds between the monarch and their people. Prior to her accession, Princess Elizabeth Tudor gave at least four manuscript translations of religious texts that she handwrote and dedicated to various family members as New Year’s gifts. Importantly, she began giving translated manuscripts as gifts after she was reinstated into the crown succession in 1544. In these dedications, Elizabeth showed allegiance to her relatives, as her own position, demoted princess, was not always secure. At eleven years old, for New Year’s 1545, Elizabeth translated from French into English Marguerite of Navarre’s The Glass of the Sinful Soul and dedicated it to her stepmother, Katherine Parr. Elizabeth meant for this text to be special and private to Katherine so that she would find favor with it and treat Elizabeth well, especially if Katherine and Henry were to have any children of their own. However, three
years later, John Bale corrected her translation, added Scriptural citations, and printed the book as A Godly Medytacyon of the christen sowle. It went on to be published four more times by the end of the sixteenth century. The next year, New Year’s 1546, at twelve years old, Elizabeth gave two translated manuscripts as gifts; one she gave to her father, and the other she gave to Katherine Parr. Elizabeth’s second extant gift manuscript to Katherine is an English translation of John Calvin’s Institution of the Christian Religion. Elizabeth gave her father a trilingual translation of Katherine Parr’s own Prayers or Meditations. The books were given as a pair and have matching embroidery on their covers, with the cover of the book given to Henry being red with blue and silver monogram and that given to Katherine having a blue cover with red and silver monogram. Gifts to the king were traditionally displayed on buffet tables, so Elizabeth’s matching manuscripts were both demonstrative of her skill with languages and performative of her place within the royal family. Elizabeth’s fourth extant manuscript translation that she completed as a princess is a Latin translation of Bernardino Ochino’s sermon “What is Christ and Why He Came into the World.” She gave this particular manuscript to her brother Edward, sometime when he was king, as the Latin dedication is dated 30 December but does not give a year. Most likely, Elizabeth gave it to him in 1548, for his first New Year’s as king. The book contains no embroidered cover, and the dedication to Edward is by far the shortest dedication that Elizabeth added to translations. However, Elizabeth offered Edward this gift for the same reasons that she gave translations to Henry and Katherine Parr: she used her translation gifts as offerings of deference and obedience so that she could stay in the monarch’s good favor. She could have given
an impersonal gift of clothing or gold, but she spent time reading, writing, and translations so that each dedicatee knew she was devoted to earning and keeping their good will. Elizabeth’s translations show her incredible ability as an eleven, twelve, and fourteen-year-old girl, the influence of Katherine Parr over Elizabeth’s religion and learning, and the blossoming of writing and translations activities that Elizabeth continued to undertake for the rest of her life. Importantly, Elizabeth’s gifts also connected her to the literary activities of females in her family, such as her mother and Lady Margaret Beaufort. Elizabeth’s strategy of gift-giving – offering elaborate, hand crafted, acceptable feminine translations – demonstrated her knowledge of what would capture attention, yet were capable of interacting with religious discourse and decision making. See more; @TudorQueenship
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Shakespeare and the
Tudors By Rhys Paul
ridging the Tudor and Stuart periods, William Shakespeare would come to embody the renaissance of art and drama in Elizabethan England and, in doing so, he would immortalise himself. Born in Stratford-uponAvon in 1564, the opening act of Shakespeare’s life featured relatively modest beginnings and an education that lasted for several years until he was fifteen. His marriage to Anne Hathaway in 1582 as an eighteen-year-old is well known, but outside of the births of their three children, very little is actually known about their relationship. Indeed, after the birth of Judith and Hamnet in 1585, there is a whole period in Shakespeare’s life that we know nothing about. These have become known as the ‘lost years’ and the mystery has created much speculation among scholars. One of the most common (and romanticised) explanations for Shakespeare’s absence from the records between 1585 and 1592 is that he joined a company of actors as they travelled through Stratfordupon-Avon; thus beginning the trajectory of the Shakespeare we are most familiar. This would also go some way in explaining his rise to prominence in London as a poet and playwright by 1592. It is here where we can once again pick up the paper trail in the form of Shakespeare’s printed works and plays. Although subject to debate, The Taming of the Shrew is regarded as one of his earliest
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plays and likely created at some point before performances began in 1592. By 1594, Shakespeare cofounded the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later the King’s Men) and soon after the company’s popularity excelled. Whereas Stratford bookended Shakespeare’s life, it was London where his reputation was born. Spending the best part of four decades in the city, Shakespeare’s time in London coincided with a period of sustained demographic and cultural growth for the city. It was also defined by periods of plague outbreaks that thrived on London’s unsanitary conditions and concentrated population. These outbreaks often led to the temporary closure of the many playhouses that had been constructed towards the end of the sixteenth century. The most famous of which was undoubtedly the Globe: an openair playhouse that was both partly owned by Shakespeare and the site of some of his greatest work between 1599 and 1613. Of the twenty-nine plays written for the Globe, sixteen were produced by Shakespeare himself. It was quintessentially Shakespeare, yet its destruction by fire in 1613 was a tragedy that not even Shakespeare could have predicted. Despite being rebuilt, the destruction of the original Globe symbolised both the end of Shakespeare’s time in London and as a writer. A return to Stratford as a celebrity followed and it was here where he would ultimately spend the final years of his life. What stands Shakespeare apart from many of his contemporaries is the remarkable preservation of his works. It is believed that only 230 plays survive from the period. Of this number, sixteen per cent of the work can be attributed to Shakespeare. For that credit is owed to the First Folio – a collection of his plays compiled by John Heminges and Henry Condell and published in 1623. As two original members of the Chamberlain’s Men, Heminges and Condell had worked closely with Shakespeare and seem to have taken a personal investment in the
project following the playwright’s death in 1616. Its content included thirty-six plays and included the maiden print of classics such as Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew and The Tempest. Yet, the publication of a folio of plays was unusual, time-consuming and expensive. It is a testament, therefore, to Shakespeare’s reputation and the work of Heminges and Condell that the decision was a resounding success with three further editions following. Without their efforts, William Shakespeare could well have been lost to history. Fortunately, Shakespeare’s shadow looms as large today as it ever did. His output of work was prolific and, owing much to the folio produced by Heminges and Condell, we are left with thirty-eight known plays, 154 sonnets and numerous poems that are widely accessible. These numbers merely touch the surface, however, and the impact of Shakespeare’s legacy extends to everything from our language to the popular culture he continues to influence. His work is regularly incorporated into the education syllabus as well as being constantly reworked for twentyfirst century audiences to reflect contemporary issues and values. It is unlikely that Shakespeare would have envisaged himself as the cultural phenomenon he continues to be four centuries after his death, especially if Ophelia’s line - ‘we know what we are but know not what we may be’ (Hamlet Act IV, Scene V) – provides any indication.
Coronation Chart of
Elizabeth I By Sasha Marks
hen Elizabeth Tudor ascended to the throne on November 17th, 1558, she asked her friend and counselor, Dr John Dee, to elect the moment for her coronation. A teacher, astronomer, astrologer, mathematician, alchemist, scientist and magician, Dee was as much of a controversial figure in his own day as he is today. Because of the diversity of his interests, many of his contemporaries could not decide if he was a genius or a crank. Historians are still up in the air today. Elizabeth herself shared many of his interests. And so Dee was honoured with this task. Astrology is about beginnings. The themes inherent at the start of an event will carry through its lifespan. Choosing a moment in time to begin an event is therefore a form of magic, a manipulation of the energies in order to guarantee certain outcomes. What would be the “themes” of Elizabeth’s reign? Classical astrology consisted of seven planets: The sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. They have different energies consistent with their mythological nomenclature. For example, Mercury, the Roman name for Hermes, is about language, as Hermes was the messenger to the gods. Jupiter is Roman for Zeus and is about expansion and fortune. The 12 signs of the Zodiac, beginning
with Aries and culminating with Pisces, are the motivations that the planets move through, picking up differing expressions or flavors. We all know our sun sign. What this means is that the sun, (a planet in astrology) was in a particular sign at our birth, and so part of us is now “flavored” with that set of values or motivations. The coronations for the Tudor monarchs usually took place within a few months of their ascension. (They ranged between 22 days for Edward VI to 75 days for Mary I). Given that time was needed to make ready, the two options for the sun’s position (the Queen herself) were Capricorn (Julian calendar December 13 to January 10) and Aquarius (Julian calendar January 11 to February 9th). The two energies could not be more different. The Capricorn energy will inspire traditional values, honor the existing structures and hold a reverence for the past. Aquarius, on the other hand, is future oriented. The symbol of Aquarius is of a youth pouring water out of an urn. It is an Air sign, which privileges the mind, It is the energy of new ideas, and ingenious ways of looking at the world. John Dee, with his quirky notions, his interests in expanding knowledge and in forging new intellectual and literal territory, was more of an Aquarian type. In fact, in his own natal chart, his natal moon is in the sign of Aquarius. The choice was obvious. Dee was not going to set the new queen up with a look to the past, Aquarius it would be. And Dee was lucky. Jupiter and Mercury were already in Aquarius at that moment. With this Aquarian energy already on the table, by adding the glorious sun to the mix Dee had a powerful “stellium,” three or more planets in a sign. The date he chose was January 15th 1559. Why that date? Because of the moon. The moon is the “planet” closest to the earth. It is the fastest moving entity and in astrology is given all kinds of power. Its
relationship to the sun and to the rest of the chart would be a crucial determining factor of the success of the event. We can picture Dee looking through an “ephemeris,” a ledger of the positions of all the planets. On January 15, the moon happened to be in Aries, God’s teeth! There we have it!! This no shrinking violet of a moon! And this energy is harmonious with the Aquarius planets, Jupiter and Mercury and the Sun. Aries is a sign in the element of Fire, which complements airy Aquarius. As the first sign of the zodiac, it is the symbol of new life after a hard cold winter. New life igniting new ideas. At 12 noon that day, the moon was at 19 degrees Aries, exactly coordinating with Jupiter at 19 degrees Aquarius. Gemini was rising on the eastern horizon, making Mercury, the Ruler of the Chart. And Mercury, remember, was also in Aquarius. John Dee had found his moment. History calls the reign of Elizabeth a Golden Age, with its voyages of discovery and the expansion of the English language through Shakespeare and Marlowe. Is it possible that astrology set the stage? See more; @Tudor.Astrology.
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An Interview with Tom O’Leary Tom O’Leary is the Director of Public Engagement at Historic Royal Palaces. Can you tell us about yourself and your current role?
Well, I started with a history degree before doing a PGCE and qualifying as a history teacher. I taught for three and a half years but wanted to try something else. A job then came up in the National Archives, which used my skills as a teacher and consisted of providing resources to schools and teachers. I then worked my way up to Head of Education and Online, which included creating online resources for schools using archive material. Documents inevitably translate very well online, so this became a real growth area for us. I worked at the National Archives for ten years and at the outset I had expected to go back to teaching but ended up carving out a career in cultural heritage. A job then came up in Parliament and I worked as Head of Public Engagement and Learning for seven years, working on a range of projects to improve public understanding of Parliament before moving onto the Science Museum Group as Director of Learning. I led science engagement work across the five national museums of SMG, and I was there for just under three years. The perfect job then came up as Director of Public Engagement here at Historic Royal Palaces and I’ve been here now for four and half years! My first love was history so it is my calling, but I’ve also loved science and politics! Amazing! Well, you’ve touched upon my next question then which was has this always been a field 26
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you wanted to go into?
In reality I didn’t have a clue that these types of jobs existed, or what public engagement was, when I first started out. But I enjoyed communicating with the public ( students), which of course you do in teaching – albeit a captive public! The sector has evolved, and I’ve been involved with lots of different roles over the last 28 years. For me the consistent strand has been working in institutions and making them accessible to as wide a public as possible. You’ve had quite a few different roles then! Can you narrow down any favourite experiences or exciting opportunities for you?
Well, it’ll be hard to narrow it down to just the one! Currently at Hampton Court, my office is in the front of the Palace overlooking the West Front which is surreal! I am also able to kayak to work, using the Thames to travel how the Tudors would have done, though definitely in less splendour. Oh, wow that is quite an experience! Definitely not something everyone can say! I’ve really been fortunate enough to be involved in many different things. At the National Archives, I oversaw one of the last reunions of First World War veterans, including Harry Patch, which was an incredible experience. Prince Charles came in to meet them and they also worked with school children including using video conferencing. It was incredible to comprehend they had been born at the end of the 19th century. When I worked in Parliament, I created the TEDxHousesofParliament events. This was a whole new area - of event production,, but gave me the opportunity to curate events, meet and work with incredible speakers. I also set up Parliament Week, a national awareness week, which included filming BBC Question Time in Westminster Hall for the first time! Then with the Science Museum I ran TEDxLondon, where I got to
every day like Stephenson’s Rocket. Now with Historic Royal Palaces, I continue to get to do some great things, In 2018 I led the follow up to the Poppies project. We lit 10,000 flames in the moat for 7 nights to mark the centenary of the end of WW1. Over 350,000 visitors came to see the display which was quite full on! Now we’re working on Superbloom which is a spectacular flower display in the Moat to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee which opens in June. We’ve transformed the Moat landscape and next week we are sowing 20 millions seeds. This has been a labour of love for the past three years, and a project we hung onto during the dark days of the pandemic which hit HRP very hard. We are an independently funded charity reliant on visitor income and we lost around £100m and it will take us many years to recover. What skills and experiences would you be looking for from those wanting to work in public engagement within the heritage sector? For those looking to change direction into heritage and public engagement, how can they stand out from the crowd?
Public engagement is a very broad area and involves a wide range of skills. Working in schools, the media or events for example, the skills and experiences will be really different. It is crucial to understand what your skills are and how you can apply these to the role you’re interest in, regardless of the sector you’ve been in. For example, digital or media and PR work is very transferable and good employers will value that you’ve worked in different types of organisations and environments, Jobs like curatorial roles are focused on researching and communicating history and are more akin to being a historian – your readers may be familiar with Lucy Worsley and Tracy Borman who are our joint chief curators. However, in my senior team, I have people with backgrounds in trading, fashion, press and costumed
interpretation. At the end of the day we need people who have all sorts of skills, to help run a modern heritage organisation.
What is your favourite period of history and why?
I’d say I’m a bit of a history magpie. I can disappear into different parts of history, but it does need to be told well in order for me to enjoy it! I really love the BBC History Extra podcast as there is always something different and you can pick up new bits of history and then go down a rabbit hole! When I was studying my degree, my favourite would have been the Tudors and particularly the counter-reformation period. But like a lot of history enthusiasts, I do enjoy all different areas now.
And finally, have you ever met Katherine Howard’s ghost at Hampton Court?!
Ha, well no, there haven’t been any ghostly encounters for me, but it can certainly feel spooky at times! Especially when I’ve been the last one working and I go to leave and find all the lights have been turned off. During Halloween at Hampton Court, we have ghost tours that go through the Haunted Gallery in the pitch dark and that does feel quite chilling. But no, no ghosts exactly!
“ It is crucial to understand what your skills are and how you can apply these to the role you’re interest in, regardless of the sector you’ve been in. “
And your favourite heritage site?
Well, it would have to be Hampton Court really! There is something about the architecture which is incredibly special. When William III and Mary II took the throne in 1689 they asked Christopher Wren to design a new baroque palace for them. Wren scrapped his original plan to demolish the whole palace and instead created the spectacular Fountain Court, leaving much of the Tudor palace intact So there there is an incredible clash of styles, Baroque and Tudor, which really gives it a relentless charm and beauty. I would also recommend your readers having a look into our upcoming events, particularly the Jubilee Joust during the summer. The five-day joust will happen at Hampton Court and will be an excellent experience! A second choice would definitely be Westminster Hall. It is just an incredible place to spend time in and to imagine all the events that have occurred within its walls. .
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Bloody Mary: A Study in the Queen’s Gynaecological Tradgedy
By RoseMary Gray
hile Henry VIII spent his life obsessed with producing a male heir, it was in fact his two daughters that had the remarkable reigns that succeeded him. However, his older daughter, Mary, continued his trend of having an inability to produce a male heir. Mary I was nicknamed “Bloody Mary” as a result of her fervent persecution of Protestants in an attempt to undo her father’s reformation of the Church of England, and bring the country back under Catholic Rule. Interestingly enough, this epithet may have been more apt than anyone ever realized. It is very likely that Mary’s troubles were all linked to a pre-existing gynecological condition. From the time of her youth it is very well documented that Mary suffered from what they referred to at the time as “The Mother.” This was essentially an umbrella term for all gynecological diseases. She suffered from drastically irregular and painful periods. Now, without modern diagnostic measures, it is impossible to nail down exactly what her problem was - as it is still not even a perfect science today. The possibilities include endometriosis,
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premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), or even polycystic ovary disease (PCOS). The symptoms of endometriosis are frankly endless, the most prominent being irregular and painful periods. The other main symptom of which Mary possibly suffered were fertility issues. A more likely cause would actually be PMDD. She also exhibited extreme bouts of depression and irritability which can be linked to PMDD, along with the issues with her cycle. This can be linked to the fact that she had a significant family history of mental illness. When you consider that the contemporary descriptions of her ailments were a “suffocation of the matrix” and “hysteria,” PMDD seems the likely candidate when even they noticed the ink with the mental and physical symptoms. The only indication that would have PCOS in the running for the possible cause is that she was often referenced with having a “voice like a man,” however, other outward indicators are being overweight and having excessive hair growth - of which there are little to no references of her having. Once she was married, all attention went away from her periods except for the goal of making them cease through pregnancy. In 1554, Mary married her cousin Philip of Spain she was 37 at the time. This means that were she to get pregnant, she would have what medicine refers to today as a “geriatric pregnancy.” A pregnancy at that advanced of an age, especially with the state of medicine what it was during her lifetime, would have led to serious complications including dying during childbirth. By the autumn of 1554, Mary believed that she was already pregnant. She wrote to her cousin in December that she could in fact feel the baby moving inside of her. In April, she “took to her chamber,” a period a month prior to the expected delivery where the woman would stay in her rooms in preparation of the baby. However, summer came and went with no signs of a baby to be born.
Mary and physicians all wrote it off as a miscalculation of the timing due to her history of erratic cycles. By August 1555, everyone including Mary had to come to accept that she had never been pregnant. Again in 1557, she believed herself to be with child. She kept it to herself until December, when she thought that she was seven months along in an attempt to avoid what happened the last time she thought she was pregnant. Unfortunately, there was still no child by April 1558. The popular opinion is that both of these occurrences were phantom pregnancies. Due to her extreme pressure, both personally and on behalf of the country, to produce an heir, this is not an unlikely diagnosis. Her history with mental illness could also contribute to the possibility of the phantom pregnancy. It’s not even a far stretch if you use the terminology of the time. Another name for this phenomenon is “hysterical pregnancy”; remember the Queen already suffered from “hysteria.” Unfortunately for Mary, the depression that this second false pregnancy caused was the beginning of the end for her. Queen Mary was dead within the year of realizing that she was still barren. Yet, another tragedy in the Tudor’s attempt to create a lasting dynasty - and losing the battle of attempting to prevent her sister Elizabeth from becoming the next queen of England. See more; @posey51
Elizabethan England behind the Dazzling Ottoman Veil By Mahak Nuwal
f you were to go back in time and visit one of Elizabethan England’s great houses, the first thing you would probably notice would be its vast displays of Turkish carpets of silk, Anatolian rugs containing Arabic script and Iznik pottery from Bursa. If you were to look closely then you might also spot some tapestries depicting the Ottoman capital Constantinople and even a portrait of the Ottoman Sultan Murad III. Trust that you are not alone in thinking if this really is an Elizabethan house or have you mistakenly landed into the house of a traitor. Hold on because there is a good chance that this could actually be the house of Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth I’s firm favourite. The description of the house’s interior, I agree, does sound rather surprising, nevertheless this was the reality for most Elizabethan houses. They were the living proof of England’s unexpected yet uncommonly successful alliance with the mighty Ottoman empire. Confused? Let’s start from the beginning… In February 1570, England was left in a very precarious position after Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I from the Catholic Church. Once excommunicated, England was cornered by Europe’s Catholic powers who would only give the English merchants limited
commercial access to their ports and cities. Eventually, the English trade flunked and the economic crises ensued. It became obvious to Elizabeth and her councillors that they would have to look elsewhere if they wished to revive the English trade. It was Sir Francis Walsingham who first saw the potential benefits of an alliance with the Ottomans. In 1578, he sent England’s first official merchant-cum ambassador, William Harborne, to Constantinople (Istanbul). Harborne’s goal was to first establish a trading presence and later strategically develop that into a political alliance with the empire of Sultan Murad III but it wasn’t easy. Why would a global power like the Ottomans form an alliance with a rather small and isolated England? And let’s not forget religion, it was a touchy subject; Ottomans followed Islam while the English were Christians. Would their alliance be religiously acceptable? Fortunately, there were two vital factors that firmly bound the two nations together – commerce and enemies. English merchants could supply great quantities of tin and lead which the Ottomans required for casting of guns and weapons; Ottomans, in return, could provide them with a steady supply of textiles, silk, spices and jewels. Moreover, England and the Ottomans shared the same enemies – Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. Catholic nations viewed Ottomans as infidels and a threat to Christianity, they were each other’s sworn enemies. Elizabeth cleverly exploited this situation to England’s advantage – she claimed in a letter to Murad that she, like him, disapproved of Catholic ‘idolatry’ and those ‘falsely’ professing Christ. Thus, presenting England as his ally and settling the religious debate. By May 1580, Harborne, with his hard work and determination, had obtained for England a charter of privileges that granted the English full commercial rights in Ottoman dominions. He would remain in Constantinople for another eight
years and would later be succeeded by Edward Barton. One major yet lesser talked about aspect of this alliance was the relationship between Elizabeth I and Safiye Sultan, chief consort of Murad III. Safiye, one of Ottoman history’s most enigmatic figures, held unprecedented political power and exercised considerable influence over Imperial policy. It was Barton who first realised that cultivating a friendship with Safiye could help him strengthen the alliance in England’s favour. He knew that England had an edge here because of its female monarch, which meant that Elizabeth, as a woman, could write directly to Safiye and could be more open and friendly in her letters. The two women often wrote to each other and would, over a period of time, engage in a reciprocal exchange of gifts with Elizabeth famously sending Safiye ‘a clockwork musical organ’ and a golden coach. Safiye would continue to favour the English trade until her With Harborne and Barton’s successful embassy, England worked its way through a very unlikely alliance. Unknown to these men, the Anglo-Ottoman Capitulations would last for the next 343 years and would only be dissolved upon the fall of the Ottoman empire in 1923. See more; @tudorhistoryxo
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Football, Chess and Maw: The Games of Mary Queen of Scots By Cassidy Cash
ary Stuart became Queen of Scotland when she was just a baby, after her father died when she was just 6 days old. As an adult, she married her cousin, Lord Darnley, and had their only son, James. While she is perhaps most remembered for being half-sister to Elizabeth I, rival to the English throne, and a 19 year prisoner in England, the personal life of Mary Queen of Scots included time for leisure and fun. Most notably, she liked to play football, cards, and chess. The Guiness book of world records states that a leather ball found behind oak panelling at Stirling Castle, in a bedroom used by Mary Queen of Scots, is the world’s oldest football. Featuring designs that can be dated to the 1540s, the ball was placed in the panelling in the mid-16th century. Mary Queen of Scots was at Stirling Castle during this timeframe, making it plausible to think the football belonged to her. Of course, placing her at the castle is not conclusive evidence of ownership of this football, nor does the date and proximity explain why the football was hidden behind the oak panelling. However, we do know that Mary liked the game of football based on records of her stay at another castle, Carlisle Castle, in England. While in England as a prisoner under Elizabeth I, Mary was regularly moved to various locations in an effort to thwart any potential challenge to Elizabeth’s throne. The hope was that if Mary was too exhausted from the
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constant upheaval, she would not have time to plot against the Queen. She was essentially under house arrest at each of these locations but far from being the type of prison conditions you might expect at the Tower of London, for example, the Queen of Scots enjoyed considerable entertainment during her confinement, including a game of football. Recorded by Sir Francis Knollys, who was charged with keeping Mary under surveillance at the time, details a game played for Mary which included using a small ball and everyone using their feet. In addition to football, we know Mary Queen of Scots played both cards and chess. Her love of cards can reasonably be said to have passed down to her son, James, as he also played cards prolifically at court. Their favourite game was the game of Maw. The card game of Maw was a popular game in Scotland and though James is credited with proliferating the game in England’s royal court, it is his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, who is responsible for introducing the game to England in the first place. Maw is a famous Scottish card game. In fact,, the 9 of diamonds is anecdotally called the Curse of Scotland as a result of a thief, George Campbell, who tried to steal the Scottish crown jewels and made away with 9 diamonds. One primary document from the period suggests that James I postponed a tria
of Sir Thomas Monson over Maw. The pamphlet, Tom Tell-Truth, insults James using the language of Maw: ‘...They say you have lost the fairest game at Maw that ever king had, for want of making the best advantage of five-finger, and playing the other helps in time. That your own card-holders play booty, and give the sign out of your own hand.’ (Source) These 16th century records of games and card playing help us understand the humanity of Mary Queen of Scots. She may have been a tense rival to Elizabeth I, the mother of James I, and wrapped up in scandal, but she was also a person who enjoyed the diversion of a good game as much as anyone. See more; @thatshakespeare
The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I By Amy Deherrera
here were many portraits painted of Queen Elizabeth I during her lifetime; each picture was done to be a constant reminder of what sort of Queen Elizabeth I intended to be. Elizabeth spent her reign carefully crafting a specific image to display to her people that they would know she was a pure virginal queen, something akin to a second Virgin Mary. Being a bit of a religious anomaly herself, she made sure to appease Protestants and Catholics alike to maintain good favor with her people. It was in her dress, jewelry, makeup, and ultimately the portraits that would help her succeed in this endeavor. The various portraits painted of Elizabeth I were wrought with symbolism; many of these were carefully chosen to be similar to those chosen to represent the Virgin Mary, which further solidified Elizabeth I as the Virgin Queen. Symbols such as the rose, star, moon, phoenix, ermine, and pearl were used throughout her portraits. Elizabeth Also saw herself called to the throne by God, and even though he had made her female, she didn’t see that as a hindrance; she saw this as a challenge. The symbolism of virginity was found in the clothing and jewelry she wore, which was then depicted in her portraits. Elizabeth simply stating she was a virgin was not enough; everyone in her court had to be on the same page. These motifs and symbols were a constant reminder of the image the Queen wanted to convey. Along with painting her face white to suggest purity, She also curated a wardrobe with
specific colors to continue to send a message; white representing virginity and black consistency. The image of Elizabeth in these paintings was so essential to convey the correct and consistent message that Sir Walter Raliegh recorded how Elizabeth had all portraits of her that she disapproved of destroyed. Nevertheless, her images effectively immortalized her, creating a public memory of a figure of fantastic proportions. In Elizabeth’s lifetime, she would go from being depicted as an eligible maiden to a second Virgin Mary, to finally a virginal goddess. Even when her coronation portrait was painted, she was strategic in all things. Although this portrait depicts the Queen in her youth with flowing hair, another symbol of virginity, this portrait was painted close to her death. The timing of this painting shows another example of how much control the Queen had over her image and pinpoints exactly what message she wanted to send and how she wished to be remembered. The Armada portrait painted after the defeat of the Spanish Armada is where Elizabeth goes from Virginal Maiden to Virginal goddess; no longer is Elizabeth being shown as merely a weak and feeble maid, but instead a strong and powerful Queen. This portrait presents the first time we see her image not solely focused on virginity but power as well. Similarly, the way Edmund Spencer writes in The Faerie Queen, he is not using imagery one would use to describe a feeble maid but instead evokes the image of a powerful ruler. The names of famous characters in literature became synonymous with Queen Elizabeth I, Gloriana, Belpheobe, Pandora, Astrea, Diana, Virgo, and many others to describe the Queen and promote her strength, wisdom, and capability as a ruler. Queen Elizabeth I’s reign was full of intrigue and importance. The image she created for herself of a virgin when she decided not to marry held so much weight throughout her life that it is still represented in
everything left behind. Her clothing, makeup, and jewelry were all symbols reflected not only during her time but preserved in our historical memory of her. Elizabeth’s legacy is alive and well, living in our legend and our fantasies, and has become something of an icon herself. It is no wonder that Elizabeth is still widely studied some 500 years later.
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Social Consequences of the 1549 Prayerbook Rebellion under Edward VI By Jennifer Williams
he ‘Prayerbook Rebellion’ or ‘Western Rising’ of 1549 became an indirect flashpoint in the decline of regional dialects across Southwest England. It led to the dissemination of English as the primary language in Devon and Cornwall. Edward VI, or rather his Lord Protector, Edward Seymour’s determination for a more stable, united country and a move away from England’s weak social and economic condition at the end of King Henry VIII’s reign. His ambition for a nation united by religion led him to reform The Book of Common Prayer, translating it from Latin into English to make it more accessible to England’s poorly educated masses. What seemed like innovation for social and linguistic unity had unforeseen consequences for regional dialects, concentrated in Southwest England. What began as resistance to King Edward VI’s establishment of The Act of Uniformity and his reform of the Book of Common Prayer developed into politically motivated social unrest and ultimately fullscale rebellion by the summer of
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1549. The translation made the Bible more accessible to those who were illiterate and needed to have it recited to them by a priest. It was an accompanying law that required all priests to conduct church services in English, which negatively affected minority languages. ‘Kernewek’ was the native first language of the Cornish people in the 16th Century. However, as religion was at the heart of life in the Early Modern period, the English language imposed on them by the king meant that Kernewek began to decline as a language. It was declared extinct by the 18th Century when the last fluent native speaker, Dolly Pentreath, died in 1777. By 1548 Edward had outlawed the celebration of religious festivals and Popish paraphernalia during church services. The act of Holy communion was also made illegal, and Parliament ordered the removal of religious images. An incident of rebellion occurred in the same year when the crown tasked William Body with removing imagery from a church in the village of Helston, in Cornwall. As a result, upwards of three thousand men assembled with people from the neighbouring village of St Keverne and sought Body out. The mob forced him out of his home and stabbed him to death in the street. With tension mounting, the Cornish army began a rebellion as they marched on London, having elected Humphrey Arundell as their leader, who wrote to Parliament against the religious reform. On July the 24th, Parliament replied to Arundell’s letter but refused any compromise. In June 1549, three thousand Cornish men marched on Exeter, in addition to the Devon army. Approximately 5000 men died during the altercation that lasted five weeks before Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, ended it. War began in the two months that followed, with battles in Fenny Bridge, near Honiton in Devon and Woodbury Common, near Exeter. Devon and Cornish armies fought parliamentary forces and were defeated, incurring huge
losses. Then, on August the 5th, 1549, government soldiers torched buildings in the village of Clyst St Mary, forcing armies out. Many soldiers were killed, and government forces took a vast number of prisoners, so many in fact that Parliament ordered their mass execution due to their concern that they would be unable to control them. Just three days later, on August the 6th, Devon and Cornish forces rose up in response to the massacre. A battle then ensued on Clyst Heath, where parliamentary forces again defeated them. Finally, on August the 17th, 1549, they fought one last battle at Sampford Courtenay in Devon. Approximately 1,400 Devon and Cornish soldiers died; more casualties were captured. The English government declared victory and marked a definitive end to the rebellion. The Prayer Book Rebellion was a brilliant show of Vigilant determination on the part of the Devon and Cornish People. Their defeat resulted in the implementation of The Book of Common Prayer, the outlawing of Saint’s days, and the disappearance of Kernewek. However, the revival of the Cornish language continues in the 21st Century, growing in numbers. See more; @jennylucie_w
The Tudor’s Personal Branding - Heraldry, Emblems and Logos By Georgina Dorothy
uring an era of pomp and ceremony, calling an end to the Wars of the Roses there is little to question why Henry Tudor, his son Henry VIII and future heirs sought to prove their lineage to the throne of England and Wales. This was a time of visual symbolism, much like branding today, however few people could read or write. Images of animals, plant-life, shapes and a variety of colours formulated coats of arms for wealthy and noble families to adorn their armour, shields, helmets, crests, and supporters and statues throughout their homes – the Tudor family were no different. Mythical creatures and animals have adorned the Royal family’s palaces since medieval times, to show the family descent and lineage, as well as to mark their personal property. The Tudor era was the peak of this form of architectural decoration, even throughout Europe into the 16th century. The infamous Tudor Rose is probably one of the most enduring logos of all time, still widely recognisable as the symbol of bringing together the House of
Lancaster (red rose) and House of York (White Rose). This stamp of approval legitimised the Tudor claim, showing their shared connections with the previous generations. (Thurley, 1993, p.102) At many of Tudor homes and palaces, including Whitehall and Hampton Court Palace, Henry VIII followed suit with his father’s strive to show his right to rule. Visual, stone and wooden carved sculptures were placed for all to see, and this is seen on the moat bridge leading to Hampton Court. The Tudor’s took these symbols incredibly seriously. Interpreting heraldry was a skill many people understood at the time, ‘Escutcheon’ was the name for the central element of a coat of arms, or shield – the main part is the ‘field’ and if these are divided horizontally, these sections are ‘tinctures’. Lion’s meant undying courage and a valiant warrior, yet boars also showed courage of a fierce fighter. Stags symbolised peace and harmony. Purity and virtue were represented by a chained unicorn.
Sometimes heraldry depicted inanimate objects – a key showed knowledge and guardianship; and portcullises were a royal symbol, which is now the emblem of the Houses of parliament. Henry VII and VIII used the Golden Lion of England for their heraldry, at the dexter (viewer’s left hand side) and on the sinister (right had side) was the Red Dragon of Wales. Henry VIII included the White Hart of York (a nod to his mother’s family), the Falcon of the Plantagenets, the Silver Yale of Beaufort, the Bull of Clarence and the White Greyhound of Richmond. It is also known he displayed the Seymour Panther, after the loss of his third wife Jane Seymour during the birth of his beloved son, the future Edward VI. Perhaps this was his symbol to show a legitimacy of yet another line of royalty – a boy born during his third, but not final, marriage… Georgina is a historian and Heritage Product Development Executive. @georgina_dorothy_
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Queen Elizabeth I By Wendy J Dunn
remember reading many years ago about how Elizabeth the First didn’t like women. She had no time for women. She only enjoyed the company of men. It is true Elizabeth relished interacting with men, flirting with handsome men, bossing them—and proving she was far more intelligent than them. She was a woman well able to navigate and dominate her world — a world designed by men for them to dominate. She surmounted her world so well legends started: Elizabeth was not a woman at all. That the real Elizabeth had died young, and her fearful household had swapped the dead girl with a lookalike male youth. My first forays into Tudor research soon brought home to me the importance of Elizabeth Tudor’s relationships with so many women in her life. Anne Boleyn may have died before Elizabeth was three, but she left the raising and shaping of her young daughter in strong and nurturing hands. Most of these strong hands belonged to women. Many of the women who formed a protective knot around Elizabeth after her mother’s death also knew Anne Boleyn. Some of them were her kin. They knew the injustice of her death, and what had been important to her. That she would want her daughter educated well and prepared for her ‘royal’ future. Another queen also deserves thanks for Elizabeth’s education—another queen who desired to have her daughter educated well and prepared to rule too. By the time Anne Boleyn became queen, Katherine of Aragon’s efforts to improve the educational
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opportunities for women for the sake of Mary, her daughter, had borne fruit. The next generations of the Tudors shone with women writers, translators, and book lovers. A lover of learning from her earliest years, Anne Boleyn benefited from Katherine of Aragon’s female leadership too. Anne also encouraged her women to read and think. The women who cared for the infant Elizabeth ensured she knew this too. Elizabeth never acted ashamed of who her mother was. Mary Tudor was seventeen when Henry VIII erased her legitimate birth and sent her to live in the household of her infant sister Elizabeth, then his only daughter acknowledged as a princess. Intelligent, Mary spoke Latin, French and Spanish fluently. She—also like her younger sister — loved to dance and inherited her father’s musical gifts. She likely did not burden Elizabeth with the shame of her mother’s death in these early years. Fond of children, desiring marriage and motherhood, Mary may have been one of Elizabeth’s earliest teachers. In 1536, Mary wrote to her father, ‘My sister Elizabeth is well, and such a child toward, as I doubt not your Highness shall have cause to rejoice of in time coming’ (Borman 2010, p. 49). Blanche Parry was another woman part of Elizabeth’s early life—claiming she had rocked Elizabeth’s cradle. A woman proud of her Welsh blood, Parry never married, but served Elizabeth from infancy to long into her reign. Close to the queen and one of the four women who served Elizabeth in the royal bedchamber, Blanche may have been the reason Elizabeth gave permission to translate the Bible into Welsh in 1588 (Richardson 2007). Catherine Champernowne, better known as Kat Ashley, was another of these women who were with Elizabeth from her childhood. Kat, as Elizabeth called her, was Elizabeth’s governess and first teacher. Thomas Seymour‘s grooming of her teenage charge and his subsequent execution led to Kat’s imprisonment in the Tower for a time, but she was still the woman closest to being Elizabeth’s mother figure.
The next closest was Catherine Parr, her father’s last wife, and the woman Elizabeth did call mother. Catherine embodied the result of Katherine of Aragon’s efforts to improve education for women. Catherine Parr was the first English queen who also was a published author. She ensured Elizabeth had the best educators possible. They not only encouraged Elizabeth’s natural love of learning in her formative years but prepared the ground for Elizabeth to revel in learning for the rest of her days. There is one last woman I believe also vital to Elizabeth’s shaping, her cousin, Catherine Knollys nee Carey. History keeps Catherine’s time with Elizabeth hidden in its shadows whilst leaving hints that Catherine, who was around ten years older than her cousin, was part of Elizabeth’s childhood. She was an important part of Elizabeth’s life from the day Elizabeth became queen. Like all the women mentioned in this article, her death left Elizabeth heartbroken. Elizabeth’s women mattered to her. They were necessary to her. We have them to thank for the queen who ruled England for over forty years. See more; @wendyjdunn
The Tudor’s Honor Lisle: An Extraordinary Woman By Steph Saunders
ady Honor Grenville (b.1493) was the obscure widow of Sir John Bassett and gentlewoman living in Hampshire with her eight children. In 1529, Honor married Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, the illegitimate (but recognized) son of Edward IV and half uncle to Henry VIII, and almost 25 years her senior. The famous Lisle Letters published by Muriel St Clare Byrne, detail the period between 1533 and 1540 in which the Lisle family navigated the difficult terrain of the Tudor Court from their seat in Calais, during the time of the Reformation and the fall of Anne Boleyn to name a few. The letters detail the everyday concerns of a titled, noble Tudor family from the pets they kept, the sports they indulged in, to what they wore. The dominant voice in the letters is Lady Lisle, who has been described as ‘a neat, compact, and dignified little person, cleverer than Lisle and a born manager’. She was an energetic, capable, and intelligent woman. It was now part of her role to secure her family’s interests and promote her children into positions at court. Lady Lisle was a prolific letter writer and giver of gifts. Women at the time used gift giving to create a system of obligation with influential members of the court. In 1532, Lady Lisle was one of the six ladies chosen to accompany Anne Boleyn to Calais for the interview
between Henry and Francis I. The ladies are reported to have danced with the French King. `In the dancing the King of England took away the ladies’ visors so that there the ladies’ beauty was shewed.’ In 1534, Lady Lisle sent a gift of a small dog to Sir Francis Bryan, the cousin of Anne Boleyn. It is reported that Anne fell in love with the little dog, which she named ‘Purquoy’. Sir Francis writes to Lord Lisle, ‘that it may please your lordship to give her hearty thanks on my behalf for her little dog, which was so proper and so well liked by the Queen that it remained not above a hour in my hands but that her Grace took it from me…her ladyship…shall be assured of such pleasure as in me at any time shall be’. Lady Lisle not only had secured the friendship of the Queen’s cousin, but had also, once again caught the attention of the Queen. Places within the Queen’s household were hugely coveted and competition from other noble families intense. In 1537, upon hearing Jane Seymour was pregnant with the much-anticipated Tudor heir, had a craving for quails, Lady Lisle seized the opportunity to send the expectant queen quails. The ploy worked when on the 17th of July, Lady Lisle received an invite to send her daughters to court for the chance to become part of the Queen’s household. Consequently, her daughter Anne Bassett was chosen to join the royal household, and her other daughter Katherine was appointed to the household of Lady Sussex. Lady Lisle had successfully placed her daughter’s in influential positions at court by masterfully spotting an opportunity and acting on it quickly to secure her familial interests. A notable event in the political career of Lady Lisle was during the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536. Spotting an opportunity to obtain lucrative monastic lands, the Lisle’s petitioned to leave Calais and visit court to petition the King. As Lord Lisle could not leave Calais without approval, a letter was sent to Lady Lisle, petitioning her to come to court
herself to speak on behalf of her husband as ‘a noble woman may do more than twenty fearful solicitors’. Following Lady Lisle’s visit and audience with Henry, the Lisle’s were awarded Frithelstock Abbey along with its revenues. Lady Lisle’s political capital had no doubt increased, she had independently of her husband, petitioned the Crown for a share of the spoils of the dissolution of the monasteries and subsequently won. In 1540, Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, Lord Deputy of Calais was arrested on charges of Treason and sent to the Tower. After spending almost two years in prison, the evermercurial Henry decided to free his Uncle. Unfortunately, his excitement at receiving his pardon proved too much for Lord Lisle given his advancing age, and it is thought he suffered a heart attack and died in the Tower the same night. Unfortunately, little is known of Lady Lisle’s life following her husband’s death. However, this extraordinary woman remains the best example of the significance of female networks in the complex social relationships of the Tudor court. Lady Lisle died in 1566 and is buried at Illogan Church. See more; @historical_momma
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How to be a Catholic in Elizabeth’s England By Ellie Monks
he Break from Rome in 1533 was definitely a…moment in history. Whilst Henry VIII’s choice to remove England from the Catholic church was not motivated by any type of religious thought, it had a lasting impact on English society in more ways than just the obvious. Henry himself was not so concerned about truly changing how the Church of England worked and until his death considered himself to still be an orthodox Catholic. During the reigns of his children, however, the religion of England changed from Protestant to Catholic and back again. Edward VI’s reign included the destruction of chancery chapels, and it has been stated that had he not died so young he would have overseen the slaughter of a greater number of Catholics than his oldest half-sister Mary did Protestants. The stunted reigns of Edward and Mary did not give anyone in England a firm sense of security in their religion, but during Elizabeth I’s reign there was finally a stable, firmly Protestant England which we still know today. However, not everyone wanted to be Protestant. It’s easy to understand why people would not want to convert to this new type of Christianity. The health of the soul was more important than the health of the body in this time, and the risk of your soul not being able to go to heaven was not to be taken lightly. But on top of
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that, personal belief is a powerful motivator and a good enough reason by itself to not convert. But idea of respecting personal choice didn’t seem to occur to Elizabeth though, and she was determined to stamp out any signs of Catholicism. The Mass was banned and any priest who had not been ordained in England – such as the Jesuits – were automatically considered a traitor and would lose their life. Even rosary beads were considered suspicious by 1571 (only thirteen years into Elizabeth’s reign) and to be seen owning one would lose you your lands and goods. If you missed church, as many Elizabethan Catholics (known as recusants) did, you had to pay a fine of twenty pounds which was a crippling amount in the sixteenth century. But that was not enough for Elizabeth, she employed spies to ensure that everyone was complying to the new world order. The leader of this spy network was Walsingham, and he hired many. Even the playwright Kit Marlowe was rumoured to be a member of the network. Walsingham’s spies were responsible for going across the country and investigating those who were suspected of harbouring Jesuit priests or conducting secret Masses in their homes. Walsingham was ruthless in his actions towards Elizabethan Catholics, searching homes for incriminating evidence
like portable altars. He even had a map which detailed all of the homes of known recusants, and those who harboured Jesuits. One of those houses was Speke Hall in Lancashire (now in Merseyside). Lancashire was considered a hotbed of Catholic activity and after the Gunpowder Plot the entire county was viewed with suspicion. And the owners of Speke Hall at that time – the Norris family – knew that Walsingham knew that they were hiding priests. Speke is now owned by the National Trust, so you can go look around and see all the additions that the family built into to their home to keep themselves safe. From the eavesdrop over the front door to the entrance of a priest hole hidden next to a fireplace, the Norris family were prepared for all possibilities. The fact that people were forced to hide their religion is a terrible shame. The true impact can never really be known due to the fact that we don’t really know the exact number of Catholics from this time. The wellknown English Catholics are the ones who responded with violence, but that doesn’t mean that this persecuted minority were all like that and it is important to look beyond the obvious to discover the reality. Image: Speke Hall (c) National Trust Arnhel de Serra Thank you to Speke Hall for providing this image.
Edward VI and his Playfellows By Megan McManus
hile much emphasis has been placed upon the events of the reign of Edward VI in terms of religious reform, court politics and the regency council, the question of the humanity and reality of the boy-king as an individual is all too often overlooked. Traditional views of Edward’s personality point to him as being a rather cold, aloof child, with an innate reserve and superiority. Whilst he may have possessed these characteristics in some ways, Edward is arguably a far more complex and substantial character than has been previously made out. As the saying goes: ‘if you know his friends you know the man’, and it is in examining Edward’s relationships with his youthful companions or ‘playfellows’ that much of his authentic character is revealed. Perhaps Edward’s closest ‘friend’ in his early childhood was his sister, Elizabeth. In his letters to her, Edward frequently referred to Elizabeth as his ‘Sweet Sister Temperance’ and in one particular letter in return she signed herself off as ‘I, who from your tender infancy have ever been your fondest sister’. Edward wrote to request his sister’s portrait in late 1549 and Elizabeth journeyed to meet Edward the following March. Although their public relationship necessarily became more formal upon Edward’s accession, the two had forged a strong bond in childhood. Perhaps most significantly, it was Elizabeth who Edward wept with upon being told of the death of their father.
Another playfellow of Edward’s was Jane Dormer, who would later be a lady-in-waiting for his sister Mary. Edward was just 3 months older than Jane, and the pair apparently got on well. In her memoirs, Jane wrote of playing cards with Edward, after beating her, he reportedly told her: ‘Now your king is gone Jane, I shall be good enough for you.’ Not only does this instance demonstrate a rather sweet exchange between children, it also shows an element of humour coupled with Edward’s much commented on intelligence and sharpness of wit. It also counters the traditional view of Edward as a lonely child, isolating himself with his books; here we see him as a playful and sociable boy, enjoying the company of children his own age. This is further supported in a diary entry by Edward in April 1550, in which he recorded his recreation time: ‘lost the challenge of shooting at rounds, and won at rovers’. Barnaby Fitzpatrick was another close childhood friend of Edward’s. Whilst a letter from Edward to Barnaby, in which he stridently exhorted his friend to behave with circumspection when abroad, has traditionally been viewed as evidence for the young King’s priggishness, the well-intentioned care and concern it belies is often overlooked. The presence of Barnaby throughout Edward’s life also speaks to his ability to make and maintain close friendships and relationships, despite what some historians have suggested. Edward’s close friendship with Henry Sidney, who was with him during his final illness, and who tenderly took his friend the king into his arms before he died, also attests to this. Rather than having the exclusively severe, aloof personality that history has often ascribed to him, Edward VI was in fact a far more rich, complicated character. He was a human being under immense pressure from the day of his birth, his conception even. In his short life, he was bereft of a mother, orphaned at the age of 9, and crowned king at
the same time. He lived through the execution of his uncle the Admiral and later his uncle Somerset, and arguably abduction attempts by both, at different times, as well as Ket’s Rebellion. Any one of these factors could more than account for a level of behavioural distancing, or withdrawal into oneself. Contrary to being an unfeeling, harsh person, the evidence points towards Edward as quite the opposite: a human being, with the capacity to feel greatly, forced to withdraw to some extent in order to cope with the catastrophic events of his young life. Instead of labelling Edward as a strange, cold character, we should perhaps extend some sympathy in our judgement of someone who showed great capacity for feeling and was under extreme stress for much of his short life. See more; @historywithmegs
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The Long Game: The Tudors, The Scots and The Stuart Takeover By James Ryan
o say the relationship between Scotland and England has been precarious is an understatement. Multiple wars between the two neighbouring countries has led to a rivalry as old as time immemorial. And yet, in 1603 King James VI of Scotland was crowned king of England; unifying the crowns and bringing over 600 years of feuding to an apparent end. How on Earth did we get here? The answer lies with the Tudors; Margaret Tudor, to be exact. Scotland had supported the Tudor’s Lancastrian cousins during the War of the Roses, and with Margaret’s father King Henry VII victorious, he sought peaceful relations with his northern neighbours. In 1502, England signed a Treaty of Perpetual Peace with Scotland, then under the rule of the Stewart king, James IV. To solidify this peace, James married Henry VII’s daughter Margaret the following year. The peace that followed was certainly perpetual; it lasted a whole ten years. The catalyst for this breakdown was Margaret’s brother, King Henry VIII. In 1513, Henry declared war on England’s other big rival, France, leading his armies across the English Channel in an invasion. With her ally under attack, Scotland was duty bound to uphold the “Auld Alliance” she made with France in 1295. With Henry away in Europe, his Brother-inlaw James mustered a huge Scottish army and marched across the border
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into England. Crossing the river Tweed near Coldstream, where Edward I had crossed whilst invading Scotland centuries before, James’s army numbered over 40,000. This was the largest Scottish army ever to invade England. The Scots managed to capture several castle strongholds along the border, before hearing of a smaller English army commanded by the Earl of Surrey. Eager to do battle, James led his army to meet them at Branxton Hill, not far from a village called Flodden. On the 9th September 1513 James and Surrey met each other across a large stretch of hilly, boggy pasture. James had the larger army and more powerful artillery, but his guns took longer to reload and fire, whilst the English artillery were more accurate and effective. Though the Scots were able to rout the first English advances, they soon found themselves trapped in thick boggy ground. Eventually more and more Scots piled in, including King James himself, who were effortlessly picked off and wiped out by the English soldiers. Flodden was the bloodiest day in Scotland’s history: over 14,000 Scots were killed compared to just 1,500 of the 26,000 English. The most devastating loss for Scotland however was James IV – he was among those dead at Flodden; the last British monarch killed in battle. With her husband dead, Margaret Tudor became regent of Scotland whilst her son James was young. When he was crowned James V, he too would face trouble from his Tudor relations: after James refused to break from the Catholic Church, uncle Henry VIII declared war on Scotland. The Scots were humiliatingly defeated at the Battle of Solway Moss in 1542. James V, devastated at this defeat, died later that year, leaving behind his six-day old daughter Mary (better known as the future Mary Queen of Scots). Mary too would not be able to catch a break – Henry VIII invaded Scotland again as part of the “Rough Wooing”. This was Henry’s retaliation after Scotland refused to offer Mary’s
hand in marriage to Henry’s son, Prince Edward. Queen Mary would face her end at the executioner’s axe in 1587 after her cousin and Prince Edward’s sister, Queen Elizabeth I, sentenced her to death for treason. But inevitably, it was the Scottish monarchs who won out after unintentionally playing the long game. In 1566, Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to a son called James. He was crowned James VI the following year after his mother was forced to abdicate. Years later, when Queen Elizabeth died childless, the English had no choice but to offer the crown of England to the closest blood link. That blood link led to James VI; son of Elizabeth’s cousin. The Scottish monarchs had won; they were now the rulers of their sworn enemy, and it was all thanks to Margaret Tudor. This connection allowed the House of Stuart to follow the Tudors. And when the crown of Britain transferred from the House of Stuart to the House of Hanover in 1714 it was thanks to family connections with James, and his ancestry with the Stuarts and the Tudors. See more; @that_tall_jacobite.
Mary Tudor’s Counterreformation By Francesca Longdon
ary Tudor, first regnant Queen of England, is infamous for her burning of Protestant heretics and for loss of Calais. The accession of Elizabeth I after her death led to decades of ant-Catholic sentiment, which made it seem like her goal for a counterreformation was unsuccessful. However, re-examination of her rule points more to a short-term success but a long-term failure. The first part of Mary’s religious policy, and the most important, was the return to Catholicism as the official state religion. Bills passed in 1553 suggest that the country was ready to convert back to Catholicism. The ‘divers acts touching divine service and the marriage of priests’ was a very significant bill as it brought back the sacraments, imagery, and holy days repealing the acts of Edward VI. This act passed with little opposition with only eighty out 350 opposing, suggesting that it was widely supported and therefore a successful start to her policy. The initial bills that were not enforced or earned opposition looked like opposition to religious policy, but it was a secular reason for opposition as it meant giving back lands given during the dissolution of monasteries, two of the opposers; Clement Throckmorton and Thomas Holcroft, both received lands during the dissolution of church land during Henry VIII’s reign, highlighting their reasons for opposition. The
parliament of 1554 advanced the restoration of Catholicism with the formal renunciation of the title Supreme Head of the Church of England, which put England under the control of the pope again. Renard wrote that both the French and other heretics were disappointed that there was no violent dissent, suggesting that the people were happy to resort back to pre-reformation Catholic England. The initial stages of Mary’s counterreformation were a success . The second part of Mary’s policy was reunification with the pope, this is also generally considered successful. In December 1554 the ‘great bill to reunite England with Rome’ formalised the re-unification with Rome. In November the lords passed a bill which successfully brought back Catholic representatives and communication from Rome. When looking at this parliament it looks like Mary’s policy was unsuccessful as there were lots of opposition to restoration of lands, two bills were passed that seemed to be against reconciliation with the Pope. The first of which was passed in 1554 prevented the Bishop of Rome from recovering abbey lands; this was passed to protect positions of the lords that gained titles and lands from the dissolution, rather than outward opposition to Mary’s policy. Despite the few challenging bills and delays, Mary still managed to put England back under Rome’s jurisdiction. Historians agree that Mary’s policy of reunification was a success, Anna Whitelock clearly states that Mary ‘achieved her will to return to Rome’s’ jurisdiction’. The third part of Mary’s religious policy was the burnings passed by the ‘revive touching heresies and Lollardies’ bill April 1554. This was an unsuccessful policy stated by both Loads and Pettegree that burning dissidents didn’t work, not that they were unpopular and set to fail. The burnings could only happen with the support of lay magistrates and lay jurors, if they didn’t like the policy or support it, then the burnings wouldn’t have been used as frequently. It
also doesn’t account for the fact that opposition was isolated, there was no major opposition to the policy. Canterbury, which faced the most burnings saw no sign of any popular unease or opposition, neither in Colchester where there was bitterness but no riots or serious disorder, suggesting that the policy wasn’t as hated as we are led to believe. Despite it being popular it was a major long-term failure as John Foxe ‘Acts and Monuments’ publicised the graphic details of the burnings to people who may not have experienced the burnings and created anti-Catholic bigotry throughout Europe and for years to come. As Mary was preceded by a Protestant queen, the policy was viewed as a failure and that’s what stuck. Overall, Mary’s religious policy was an overall success with some areas being more successful than others. Her policies had been underestimated by historians, but new thinking has changed the balance to believing her policies were successful. It is now a consensus that if she survived longer than Catholicism would have remained dominate as William Wizeman writes ‘had she lived longer than the catholic church would have maintained its majority status as most of the nation had conformed and embraced Catholicism, so much so it took Elizabeth decades to get rid of Catholicism’.
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Lady Jane Grey: Forget what you know! By Lee Porritt and Tamise Hills
limbing the steps, Jane made a speech, and took her last look at the world before laying her head on the
block. Almost from the moment the axe fell, Lady Jane Dudley was overshadowed by the story of Lady Jane Grey. When it comes to the life of Lady Jane Dudley, little contemporary documentation and no authenticated portraits survive. This has allowed others to invent stories to fill the gaps in our knowledge and unfortunately some of these inventions have persisted. Modern historians such as Eric Ives, Leanda De Leslie, Nicola Tallis and Stephan Edwards have recently published biographies on the life and times of Lady Jane Grey. All take a fresh look at her life and the contemporary evidence known to exist. It is these biographies that have started to challenge some of the many myths about Jane and for the first time we are starting to get a better understanding as to what this remarkable character was truly like. Part of the myth of ‘Jane Grey’ is why Jane is commonly known today by her maiden name? At the time of her death, she had been married to Lord Guildford Dudley for eight months, and signed her name ‘Jane Dudley’ in two of the messages in the prayer
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book she carried to her execution. There does appear to have been a conscious effort to try and separate Jane from the Dudley family after the events of 1553, especially within the Grey family circle. All blame for placing Jane on the throne was directed to John Dudley. Jane herself, is often referred to as ‘Jane of Suffolk, the Lady Jane or the usurper’ within contemporary descriptions of the events surrounding her reign, imprisonment, and execution. By the end of the sixteenth century, Jane’s married name is almost completely obliterated from modern text, and although many ballads and plays were written during the seventeenth and eighteenth century portraying the couple as separated lovers, Jane would continually be referred to by her maiden name. Jane is also often referred to as the ‘nine days Queen’, again however this is a common misconception, created during the Victorian period to portray her reign as a ‘nine days wonder’. Like with all monarchs, Jane’s reign officially started at the death of her predecessor. From Edward VI’s death on 6th July, the Privy Council were working to secure the succession and the new Queen may have been given time to come to terms with the shock of her new elevated position. Accounts differ as to when the new Queen was actually told. Jane’s short reign has been counted from when she was publicly proclaimed on the 10th July and not from the official date of the 6th, thus making her the thirteen days queen instead of nine. Jane’s appearance is another myth to be recently challenged. For many years a detailed account of Jane’s arrival at the Tower of London as Queen on 10th July written by the merchant ‘Sir Baptist Spinola’ has been extensively reproduced within art, biographies and any discussions concerning the portraiture
of Jane. The account, which describes the young Queen as ‘small and thin with freckles’ appeared in the 1909 biography ‘The Nine Days Queen, Lady Jane Grey & Her Times’ by Richard Davey. During research for ‘The Sisters Who Would Be Queen’, Leanda de Lisle discovered that Davey’s book was the sole source for Spinola’s account and that no other mention of this description of Jane could be located before 1909. De Lisle also noted that Davey had probably made the description up using some contemporary descriptions of the event, a description of Queen Mary I and a Victorian costume illustration depicting Jane in royal robes. In recent years, possible new portraits, a re-discovered letter, and the re-evaluation of sources have allowed Jane Dudley to start to emerge from the shadow of ‘Jane Grey.’ See more; @janegreyinfo
Love or Treachery? The Secret marriage of Katherine Grey and Edward Seymour By Janet Wertman M
ove matches during the Tudor era were uncommon: most people chose spouses for dynastic reasons. Of course, exceptions prove the rule so let’s examine the marriage in 1560 of Katherine Grey and Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford. You decide whether it was a love match or not. Katherine was the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s sister Mary, confirmed by Parliament as the successor to the English throne after Elizabeth, who had become queen in 1558. Katherine was also one of Elizabeth’s ladies, along with Hertford’s sister – which is how Katherine and Hertford became better acquainted…and decided to marry. Now, it was treason to ‘meddle with’ anyone of royal blood without the monarch’s permission. Unfortunately, the still-unmarried Elizabeth was unlikely to consent since the new couple would provide a stunning alternative to her rule. Therefore, the couple decided neither to seek Elizabeth’s permission nor to publish the banns required by the Book of Common Prayer. Instead, they followed a beefed-up version of the old Common Law rules, where all you needed was an intent to marry followed by consummation.
Thus, one November day, Katherine snuck off to Hertford’s home on Cannon Row. Hertford found a random priest to pronounce the service with his sister as a witness, and the newlyweds consummated the marriage before returning to court. There, they snuck around enough that the rumor mill suspected something, and Elizabeth decided to remove temptation by sending Hertford abroad, ‘for the improvement of his education’. After Hertford left, Katherine soon realized she was pregnant…but by that point she could not prove she was actually married: she could not find the priest and her witness had died. An enraged Elizabeth sent Katherine straight to the Tower and recalled Hertford from France to send him there too. The storm might have passed if the child had been a girl – but instead Katherine bore a son, fulfilling Elizabeth’s nightmare of a popular couple with a healthy male heir. The easy solution: invalidate the marriage and bastardize the child. After all, Katherine and Hertford hadn’t published banns, they had neither priest nor witness, and neither could even remember the exact date of the marriage. For good measure, Hertford was fined £15,000 (about $9.8 million today) for seducing a virgin of the royal blood. The couple were left in the Tower, where compassionate guards secretly allowed them at least one conjugal visit…which led to a second son being born in captivity. Life was tougher after the guards learned their lesson – until an outbreak of the plague in 1563 got them released to house arrest, though still separated: Katherine and their younger son were placed with a succession of trusted lords, while Hertford and their firstborn were confined at his mom’s. After 4-5 years of unanswered pleas of mercy, Katherine fell into a major depression and wasted away, dying in 1568. With the benefit of hindsight, it
was a love match that had gone sadly wrong, not a bid for power. But Elizabeth would have seen it differently. She would have seen in Hertford the nephew of the woman who had supplanted Anne Boleyn as Henry VIII’s wife – and the son of the executed Duke of Somerset, the former Lord Protector who was beloved for his anti-enclosure stance. She would have looked to her own youth, when every rebel’s plan included the intention to marry her because of the expectation that only men should be rulers. She would have been spooked by the timing of the marriage, made while the country was reeling over Amy Robsart’s ‘accidental’ death and fearing that Elizabeth would marry Robert Dudley (whom they hated). Perhaps Elizabeth also knew that Katherine had always deeply resented Elizabeth’s refusal to recognize her as heir to the throne – and had even discussed potential foreign matches with the Spanish Ambassador. And Elizabeth likely would have felt vindicated (though furious) that Hertford, allowed to reappear at court once Katherine had died, went on to make a second clandestine marriage – and then a third…In all, who are we to judge? See more; @janetwertman
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Kelci’s Corner: How to be a Tudor The Tudor period was between 14851603. But how did they live? I am going to explore fashion, food and behaviour.
Fashion Tudor fashion was unquestionably a massive part of Tudor society but the clothes they wore depended on their class. I am going to discuss noble Tudors.
Women Regardless of their status, all women would’ve worn a linen shift which would be washed and changed daily. Wealthy women would’ve worn a silhouette which was highly embedded to show off their status, they would also wear outer layers and a headdress.
Food and Drinks Similar to how the Tudors dressed, it varied on their classes on what they would’ve eaten or drank. For example, for the King his meals were a lot bigger than the typical Tudor citizen, his diet would consist of venison, game pie, pheasant, swan, heron, eel, lamprey, jellies, creams, and tarts. There was not one vegetable in site during the kings’ feasts as he considered that vegetables were for peasants.
these manners are quite like what we have now like not talking with your mouth full and using your napkin but there are also some that lowered expectation like rinsing your mouth before every meal and standing with your arms crossed. Could you have been a Tudor?
Another example of status is what the courtiers would’ve eaten, these people would’ve had at least two meals aday one at 10am and one more at 4pm, they wouldn’t have eaten as superior to the king but they would get their regular rations of bread, beer, and wine but it also depended on the rank of the courtiers as some of them would’ve acquired better meals than others.
Men Rich men would’ve worn white silk shirts which was frilled at the neck. Over the shirt, these men would wear a doublet which was like a tight fitted jacket, and they would wear fitted trousers which was also known as a hose. Ruffs were also very trendy during this period; you would’ve seen William Shakespeare and Sir Walter Raleigh wear one of these.
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Manner and Etiquette Tudor behaviours and etiquettes vary in different categories such as personal hygiene which contained rinsing your hands & face before each meal, rinsing your mouth with clean water to cover up their unpleasant breath, they would also follow polite behaviour and this included not talking with your mouth full, not having your elbows/arms on the table and standing with your arms crossed was thought to be foolish and they would also have to follow eating manners which would be everyone bringing their own knives and spoons, keeping your mouth and spoon clean as possible, using your napkin to wipe your face and draping your napkin. Some of
Article written by Kelci Woolley
Was Henry VII a Tyrant? By Jackson Van Uden
enry VIII was the second Tudor King of England, and he ruled for nearly 38 years, and is probably more famed for his 6 wives than many of his actions whilst in power. Henry’s reputation as a tyrant originates from his reputation as a King who loved to have people executed, having had two of his wives executed; Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, having two of his lead advisors, Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell executed and many other, so called dissidents. The Oxford Dictionary defines a tyrant as a cruel, and oppressive ruler, who exercises their power in a cruel, unreasonable, way above the rule of law. We can see that Henry acted a tyrant, and it was very clear through his action, that whilst he was a renaissance prince, he did act in an arbitrary way and was indeed a tyrant. Henry VIII acted as a tyrant for the majority of his reign. Whilst there are claims that Henry’s personality changed considerably after the events of 1536, this is only a theory due to a spike in irrational actions from 1536. Lipscomb reputes this theory claiming that there was evidence of tyranny in the 1830s, and it increased in pace up to 1536, and maintained its pace afterwards. Examples of this tyranny can be seen in the 1531 Beggars Act, that humiliated Beggars, having them striped, paraded and then placed in the stocks for 3 days; this piece of legislation was tyrannical as it victimised some of the most vulnerable people in society in a cruel and unreasonable way, especially in a time when living on the streets condemned people to a poor, dangerous life. Henry also introduced The Buggery Act of1533 with the resulting punishment being
death by hanging, Henry later used the Act to persecute Monks, and Priests in order to loosen the grip on society that the Church held, by exposing its public face as morally corrupt. Furthermore, this was one of the few offences Henry was able to execute members of the clergy for, as he was unable to execute them for murder, having to instead refer them to Church courts instead. Even after 1536 Henry and his government was still passing legislation that oppressed and inflicting cruel punishments upon his subjects for small offences; the Witchcraft Law of 1542, made it illegal to practice magic supports this. The act declared that “It shall be Felony to practice or cause to be practiced Conjuration, Enchantment, Witchcraft or Sorcery, to get money or to consume any person in his body, members or goods, or to provoke any person to unlawful love…” only if the accused was able to quote scripture then they would be free from the punishment of death. This piece of legislation is particularly tyrannical as it condemned a generation of older single women to death and led to the emergence of witchhunts in the Stuart era. Henry’s treatment of his wives, Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Catherine Howard in particular shows his tyrannical nature. Whilst Henry left Katherine of Aragon her possessions, a reasonable income after their divorce, and a comfortable level of living at Kimbolton Castle, that is where his pleasant treatment of Katherine ends. Henry’s treatment towards Katherine became tyrannical, and overbearing when Katherine refused to acknowledge that Anne was the true Queen, and refused to stop using the title of Queen. Henry refused to let Katherine and their daughter, Mary, meet until both of them acknowledged Anne as the true Queen, and due to both of their refusal to do so, they never saw each other again after Katherine and Henry’s separation, as Katherine died in 1536. The cruel nature of a tyrant can also be seen after Katherine’s death, as both Henry and Anne Boleyn both wore Yellow during the period of mourning; Anne Boleyn’s decision to wear yellow is now thought
to be a calculated insult to Katherine, however, the reason for why Henry wore yellow is still unknown. Whilst Henry might have been deeply in love with Anne Boleyn and orchestrated the break from Rome so that he may be free to marry her, it still did not stop him from executing her for high treason. Anne Boleyn, was executed alongside Lord Rochford, and Henry Norris for high treason. They were accused of attempting to procure the death of the King, Rochford and Norris were also charged with the crime of having treasonably violated the Queen, and they were all found guilty in a show trial, which Henry also used to end his marriage to Anne. Thomas and Cromwell and the Earl of Norfolk used their list of informants to compile a list of charges so that the execution of Anne could be justified. Furthermore, the execution of Anne Boleyn, Rochford and Norris is also incredibly cruel, and an example of Henry exercising his power in a cruel and unreasonable way. Firstly, the charges levied against Rochford and Norris of ‘treasonably violating’ the Queen was not illegal, or treason. This shows Henry to be acting above the law, and using his power in an unreasonable to remove opposition; and secondly, Anne Boleyn was pregnant at the time of her execution. Henry didn’t want to risk Anne’s child not being his, it was still unprecedented that Henry had executed a pregnant woman, especially a pregnant woman who could have been carrying his heir. However, it can be argued that Cromwell, instead of Henry, plotted Anne’s downfall as her family were growing too powerful at court, and he drew up the list of charges against Anne to justify the decision to Henry. Whilst Anne Boleyn, Rochford, and Norris might have been executed after a trial, regardless of the fact that it was a show trail, 68 people during Henry’s reign were condemned without a trail, and 34 of them were executed, this only supports the theory that Henry was tyrannical, and acted above the law. See more; @historywithjackson
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