Thursday, February 11, 2016

Question from Cameren - English power in Europe during the Tudor period

I'm writing an essay on the Tudor dynasty and need to know how England asserted itself as the dominant power in Europe during the Tudor dynasty. All answers welcome(especially correct one).

[I discourage people just giving answers to homework questions like this, but I thought the general question was interesting and could prompt an informative discussion, especially since I don't think that England generally really is considered a dominant power in that period. - Lara]

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Question from Den - Story of Elizabeth unchaperoned at a party

Where did the story that Kat Ashley allowed Elizabeth unaccompanied go to a party on the Thames?thanks for any answers.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Question from Candace - Importance of virginity before marriage for noblewomen

How important was virginity before marriage for noblewomen? If a nobleman discovered on his wedding night that his wife was not a virgin, how would he react? Would he try to seek an annulment, or if he could not get one, view her as unchaste and of 'loose' morals?

What happened to women who were raped before marriage? Would they still be able to make a good marriage? Would being sent to a convent or a nunnery be a mercy or a sign of disgrace? Were there any possibilities that a woman would be raped but not blamed for 'enticing' the man?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Question from Candace - Form of address for royal governesses

In several Tudor historical fiction books I have read, I have seen the governesses of Henry VIII's children, Margaret Bryan and Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, addressed as simply 'Bryan' and 'Salisbury', rather than with 'Lady' affixed to the front, which strikes me as rude. I know that historical fiction is a poor source for actual facts, but that I have seen it in several stories leads me to wonder if it was an accepted custom, or simply an invention on the parts of the authors that was replicated from story to story.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Question from KG - Burning for heresy in Henry VIII's reign

Were people being burned for heresy in the first half of Henry VIII's reign (until 1527/8)? If so, what heresies were they being executed for?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Question from Peter - Training as lawyer or vicar

In the 1400s at what age would someone begin training to become a Lawyer at Lincoln's Inn and how long would the training take.

Likewise for someone joining the church as a Vicar?

Would you have to attend Oxford or Cambridge first?

Many thanks


Question from Den - Seymour's claim of being bewitched by Elizabeth

Is it true that when Catherine Parr caught her husband embracing Elizabeth, he said that she had bewitched him and that Elizabeth is the same as her mother Anne Boleyn? Thanks for any answer.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Question from KG - "Assertion septem sacramentorum" translator

I am studying Henry VIII's book, "Assertion septem sacramentorum". It was translated by an American named Rev. Louis ODonovan. Does anyone know if he is considered a non-biased translator? I'm guessing from his title (Rev.) that he is Protestant?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Question from KG - Henry VIII's "Litterarum quibus respondit ad quondam epistolam"

Does anyone know anything about a book Henry VIII is said to have written, "Litterarum quibus respondit ad quondam epistolam"? Has it been translated?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Question from James - Another Elizabeth Tilney

I'm looking for information on the apparent Elizabeth Tilney that was in the tower of London with Jane and apparently a niece of Agnes Howard, nee Tilney, Duchess of Norfolk.

I cannot find any evidence, at all, of her existence. None. Nadda. Zilch.

All I can find is that Agnes Howard (nee Tilney), Duchess of Norfolk's brother, Philip Tilney (b. 1463 - d. 1534) married Margaret Brewse (b.? - d.?) and they had two sons: Thomas (b. approx. 1501?) and Philip (b. 1503).

Thomas married Malena (surname unknown) and they had a son, Edmund (b. approx. 1530). Philip married Margaret Barrett and they had a son, Emery (b. approx. 1530)

This is all I can find for Agnes's brother's descendants. According to someone on this site, there is a Brandon Relative - a granddaughter of Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk's aunt, Eleanor - called Elizabeth Jeffrey. This physically cannot be true as none of William Brandon's sisters have Jeffrey descendants.

William Brandon's sisters are thus, with marriages included - issue, included too from my own research:
*Mary Brandon, who married John Redying (or Reading): NO ISSUE.

*Anne Brandon, who married Nicholas Sydney, Esq: William Sidney (husband of Anne Packenham), father of Henry Sidney, grandfather of Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester.

*Elizabeth Brandon, who married firstly Augustine Caundishe (or Candishe, Cavendish), and secondly John Leventhorpe: ISSUE FROM CAVENDISH ARE: Richard, Elizabeth, Edward, Anne, Catherine - Richard has 3 daughters who marry into the Sands, Thorne and Goulde families but have no issue.
ISSUE FROM LEVENTHORPE: Margaret and Catherine who married Richard Brograve.

*Margaret Brandon "The Elder", who married Gregory Lovell, Knt: ISSUE: Thomas, Margaret, Francis and Catherine

*Margaret Brandon "The Younger" who Married Hugo / Hugh Manning de Cary: ISSUE: John, Robert, Richard

*Katherine Brandon, who married John Gurney: ISSUE: Christian (marries James Darnell) and Elizabeth (marries Walter Ayscough)

*Eleanor Brandon (c.1462 30 June 1480), who married, after 5 March 1466, as his second wife, John Glemham[8][26] (c.14601499): ISSUE: Anne, who marries Henry Pagrave.

So, you see, there's no actual "Jeffrey" relative related to Brandon... so is Elizabeth Tilney made up as well as Philip Tilney's (apparent) second and third wives?

The only other Elizabeth Tilney I can find is a daughter of Hugh Tilney and a half-sister of Philip and Agnes who died in 1497.
And, of course, Agnes's cousin, Elizabeth, Countess of Surrey.

I've seen about a book by de Lisle... but she doesn't give any evidence as to WHERE she got the information from, so apart from the name there, I've got nothing.

So, I'd like some help in filling it in.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Question from KG - Knowledge and views of the Eastern Orthodox Church

Did people in Henry VIII's reign know about the Eastern Orthodox Church? Did any of them write about it, were they considered heretics?

Question from Andrew - Ideas for dissertation on everyday life in the reign of Henry VIII

Hi guys,

I am currently a second year university student who is trying to narrow down their dissertation topic. I want to focus my dissertation on everyday life in during the reign of Henry VIII. Any ideas on how I could narrow this down? Also any books that relate to this specific topic?

Many thanks.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Question from KG - Oaths it the 16th century

How significant was an oath in the sixteenth century?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Question from KG - Henry VIII's early religious beliefs

I am studying Henry VIII's early religious beliefs at university. I was wondering if anyone could advise me for where to look for information on religious building projects, his preferred saints etc, up to about 1525. I appreciate any help that is offered.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Question from Candace - Anne Boleyn's actual power and responsibility in decisions

How responsible was Anne Boleyn for the break-up of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon's marriage and her subsequent mistreatment and that of Mary Tudor as well? Obviously, there has been a lot said and written on the subject, but I would like to hear a professional historian's perspective on the matter. In particular, what role did she play in the decision to separate Katherine and Mary, and to order Mary to wait on Elizabeth? Was there anything she could have done differently, or did she lack the power to do so?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Question from Michael - Descendants of Matthew Parker

Your website is full of rich information and has already helped me with my research, but I wonder if you can help me a little more

I'm tracing my family tree and have managed to reach back to the early 18th century. My uncle also traced the tree around 20 years ago, thanks to multiple changes of computer, he's lost all the information.

He does however remember that we're direct descendants of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury.

I've mapped out his family tree using resources available online, mostly Life and Acts of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury by John Strype, but noticed that only 2 generations later only 1 potential male heir remained, Richard Parker (b. 20/05/1577)

Richard was the youngest son of Sir John Parker (1548-1617) and Matthew's grandson. I know he received a BA from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1597 and an MA in 1600. I don't know if he ever married or had children.

The only other option is Joseph Parker, who is listed as Matthew's son here (, but doesn't appear in other records.

I wonder if you have any information about Matthew's descendants that could point me in the right direction? I'd be very grateful for any assistance you can give.

Thank you very much,
Michael Parker

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Submission form temporarily down

My webhost changed ownership last week and in turn it broke a few things on the site including the submission form for the Q&A blog. I've had to fix it before so I think I know what to do and therefore I should have it back up sometime today. I'll update this post when it is fixed.

Update: The form should be working now

Monday, November 09, 2015

10 years of Q&A

Perhaps I'm overly attached to noting anniversaries, but hopefully I can be forgiven for this one since it involves a zero. Yes, today is the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Q&A blog! I know I say it a fair amount (but probably never enough), but a huge thank you to all the wonderful people who help answer questions here since I don't have the knowledge, experience, or time to address all of them with the thoroughness I'd like to. And, of course, thanks to the people who have submitted some really interesting questions over the years.

Here's to many years more!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Question from Candace - Religions of the powerful families at Henry VIII's court

So I have seen various portrayals of these three families and their religions, in both fiction and nonfiction accounts. The Howards were Catholic, but apparently supported Anne Boleyn while she was in the ascendancy. Were their differing faiths part of the reason that her uncle Norfolk turned on her at the end? Also, were Thomas Boleyn and his family active reformers or did they simply subscribe to the new religion because it was advantageous to do so politically?

In addition, the Seymours were reputed to be Catholics and secret supporters of Katherine and Mary, which was part of the reason they toppled Anne Boleyn, but Jane's brothers Edward and Thomas were zealous reformers in raising their nephew. Did they convert at some point, or were they reformers who simply sympathized with Katherine and Mary?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Question from Candace - Wives cooperations with annulments

For an annulment to be finalized, at least according to Henry VIII's logic, did the woman simply have to be notified of it, or did she have to agree to it as well? I am asking because of the theory that Anne Boleyn was granted a cleaner, more merciful end at the hands of a French executioner in exchange for her cooperation in annulling the marriage two days before her execution. This suggests that she had the power to veto it and that, even as a condemned prisoner, would have been able to refuse to agree to it and leave the marriage valid and Elizabeth legitimate in the eyes of God. But Henry was able to declare his marriage to Katherine of Aragon invalid even though she refused to accept the annulment for the rest of her life, so why would he need Anne to agree to it? Of course, this is all based on an unconfirmed theory, so I could be speculating needlessly, but I would like to hear anyone else's thoughts on the matter.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Question from Candace - Chapuy on Anne Boleyn's miscarriage

I was reading some of Eustace Chapuys's correspondence and came across this sentence in his report of Anne Boleyn's miscarriage in January 1536, the one that would have been her saviour: "The Princesss gouvernante, her daughters, and a niece, have been in great sorrow for the said [miscarriage], and have been continually questioning a lady who is very intimate with the Princess whether the said Princess did not know the said news of the [miscarriage], and that she might know that, but they would not for the world that she knew the rest, meaning that there was some fear the King might take another wife." Is Chapuys referring to Lady Salisbury, Mary's old governess? Does this mean that they viewed Anne's downfall with trepidation, since they feared that Henry might take another wife who would be similarly ill-disposed to Mary? Or did they simply not want to get Mary's hopes up that they might be rid of Anne for once and for all? I can't seem to find anything else on this sentence, and I was wondering if anyone here might have some additional insight to offer. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Question from Adriane - George Medley, half brother of Henry Grey

I would like to know what happened to George Medley. Lady Jane Grey's father had a half brother named George Medley. I have looked at the family tree and I see no half brothers to her father. Exactly who is George's mother and father? He tried to help Lady Jane Grey before she was murdered and could not succeed. Where did he go after this? I can trace my family tree to John Medley back to the 1500s early settlement of Virginia. I live in the USA and have a long lineage of Catholics and they have traced our roots here. I would love to know about George. There may be a possibility that he is related to John.
Can anyone let me know where to look for George's family tree after Lady Jane Grey?
I am a junior at the University of North Texas and 50 years old.
Thanks Adriane Medley Thames

Monday, October 19, 2015

Question from Harietta - Succession if Henry VIII had a younger brother who lived to adulthood

If Henry VIII had had a younger brother who survived (such as Edmund, Duke of Somerset, who died at 15 months in 1500), would that have lessened the pressure on him to produce a male heir somewhat, since he could rely on a niece or nephew, or would only a son of his own body have provided the security that the Tudor line needed? If he had died without leaving any male heir behind, who would have become Queen (or King)? Mary, Elizabeth, Jane, or another niece or nephew?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Question from Harietta - Mary and Elizabeth's restoration to the succession

Was the restoration of Mary and Elizabeth meant to be a "back-up" measure, since Henry VIII had no other possible successors after Edward, other than nephews and nieces? If he had had legitimate daughters after Edward's birth, would they have been before their half-sisters of unclear legitimacy? Would Mary and Elizabeth not have been restored to the succession? If Edward had had a sister he viewed as legitimate and who would have been raised Protestant, how might this have affected the succession after his death? Would there have been no Nine Days Queen?

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Question from Jeff - Non-fiction book recommendations on King Henry

Which book would be the very best to read to learn all the facts about King Henry, I'm looking for the real facts not fiction.
I've sent to much time reading the wrong book.