Thursday, July 31, 2008

Question from Leilani - Fertility issues for the Tudors

My question is why in the Tudor Period was producing children so difficult. Is it because of the intermarrying that went on amongst the royals. Their environments were seemingly easier then the peasants. I hope this does not seem stupid this is my first question and it is something that i have been wondering for awhile.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Question from Kat - Henry VIII's body and others after death

I just read about Henry VIII's body sitting in state long enough to have some kind of explosion of pus and flesh. That is so disgusting, I can't imagine the poor fools that had to clean up that mess and then contain his body before interrment. Have there been other incidents of this kind of neglect regarding the state of the body? I thought they embalmed bodies even during his time. It seems that with monarch, even dead ones - there would have been more respect. Thanks.

Question from Mike - Anne Boleyn and Henry Percy

I am fairly new to the subject matter and have been doing a lot of reading about the "Tudor Dynasty" and about the middle ages on the whole. However, the other night a got a chance to watch the movie and maybe I should have read the book first "The other Bolyen Girl". In the movie it depicts Anne and Henry Percy actually marrying, when all that I have read thus far is that they were betrothed to each other but, because of Henry VIII interference the marriage never took place. Now I know that the movie industry takes certain liberties so....

My question is this. Did this marriage actually take place and would'nt that have altered Henry's plans a bit considering the fact that from a religious persective the country was practising catholicism?



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Question from Sarah - Duties of court positions

I have a few questions... has anyone ever come across a list or some kind of explanation about some of the titles during tutor times?

Such as...
Master Of the Horse, Master Of Court Requests and other things like that. I have a vague idea of what many of these mean however would like to get a full understanding of their duties.

My other question I would like to find out more information about the dress of Tutor times, I know fashions were constantly changing but it something that has never made sense to me exactly what a proper Lord/Lady's attire looks like.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

[Ed note - yeah, I know, I'm already breaking my rules about splitting multiple questions into multiple posts, but I figured the reply for the second part will mostly be links and book recommendations and references back to other posts on the topic]

Monday, July 28, 2008

Question from Leanne - Scaddan mistress of Henry VIII

I've heard recently that one of my ancestors was one of Henry VIII's mistresses. Her last name was Scaddan but I don't know her first name (it was a long time ago!). Apparently this has been recorded somwhere but how can I find this out?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Just a reminder

Since a comment just came through where someone said they didn't know how to submit questions, I thought I'd post a reminder about it. The instructions are linked in the left-hand column, under the Tudor rose. There is a link there that takes you to the submission form.

Also, now that we have well over 400 questions (most with replies), you might want to search around to see if there is already a post relevant to your question.


Question from Elizabeth M. - Heads sewn back on after executions

This is a morbid question, I know. Why were the heads of some beheaded traitors sewn back on their bodies after death? I am reading Alison Weir's biography of Queen Isabella, and it mentions that after King Edward's favorite, Piers Gaveston, was beheaded, his head was crudely sewn back on. I have read the same thing was done with the head of King Charles I. Was this a standard practice? I know it was not done with Anne Boleyn, because she was buried in an old elm arrow chest and her head was tucked in beside her. But was it done with anybody else. I have never read it was done with the likes of Catherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey, or Mary Queen of Scots. Or is it something that was done with only some males?

Question from Elizabeth - Queens' apartments and daily routines

Does anyone have any info. on the apartments of the Queen's of Henry VIII? Are there any contemporary descriptions of what they looked like? Did all his Queens use the same apartments as their predecessor's or build new ones? Thanks!

Also, does anyone have any information on the daily routine in the Queen's apartments?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Question from Ashley - Mourning and funerary customs

Does anyone know of any books on Tudor funerary/mourning customs, or even just Early Modern customs? In particular, I've come across conflicting views on the color yellow. I've read that it was the color of mourning for Spaniards, but the English took it to mean joy and happiness (I'm refering to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn wearing yellow after Katherine of Aragon's death). Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks in advance!

Question from Liz - Calvinist doctrine on illegitimate children

When answering a question about Edward's religion and why he excluded his sisters from the throne one person wrote: "What if he also embraced the Calvinist doctrine of predestination to the extent that he genuinely believed that both Mary and Elizabeth were already damned, and hence unfit to rule over the elect?"

This statement made me curious, did Calvinist believe that illegimate children were damned?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Question from Kelly - Cause of death for Mary "Rose" and Robert Dudley

How did Mary Tudor Duchess of Suffolk and Robin Dudley die?

Question from Elizabeth M - Full-length portrait of Anne Boleyn

There is a passage in Eric Ives' biography of Anne Boleyn that a certain Lord Lumley owned a full length portrait of Anne Boleyn in the 1590s and that it still existed as late as 1773. Are there any descriptions of what this portrait may have looked like? Are there any descendants of Lord Lumley who could shed light on the mystery of this "lost" portrait?

Question from Cally - The Sisters Who Would Be Queen

Hello all, has anyone read the new book on Lady Jane Grey and her 2 sisters? It`s called:

The Sisters Who Would Be Queen.

Would love to know if it is well written, historically accurate, and so forth.


Added search box

I've been frustrated with the poor performance of the search bar up at the top of the blog, so I removed it and added a Google custom search on the left side of the blog. The field searches the whole site, not just this blog, since there might be some helpful information on other parts of the site that will show up on the results page. I hope this helps!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Question from Ashley - English versions of foreign primary sources

Does anyone know of any collected books of primary sources (or even websites)? I know that there are some for Henry VIII and Elizabeth I's state papers and letters and that the Lisle Letters were published. Are there any English versions for the various ambassadors (Spanish, Venetian, French etc)? I'm currently stuck in the U.S., but would still like to view primary sources. Any suggestions are always appreciated. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Question from Kelly - Kathryn Howard's sexual activity before her marriage

It is a fact that Catherine Howard had had intercourse before and after her marriage. Why did she have intercourse after her marriage? Was it for pleasure and enjoyment?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Question from Kelly - Religion of Henry VIII and family

If Henry VIII was a Catholic even though he had seperated from Rome, how did 2 of his 3 children, Elizabeth and Edward, become Protestants? I also read that Anne Boleyn was a Catholic.

Question from Joy - Sources for info on Mary Boleyn

I would like to know more about Mary Boleyn, can you let me know where I can access any information, I am only new to this but I saw The Other Boleyn Girl and I am intrigued. Many thanks

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Question from Kelly - Henry lying about Anne

In The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir it said that when Henry first saw Anne Boleyn he devised a plan to seduce her, but when he didn't want her he said she seduced HIM. Why did he say untruthful things?

Question from Ana - Portrait of Anne Boleyn

i'm having trouble with a portrait of Anne Boleyn. This ( ) to be exact.
I've heard some people say that it's not Anne but Frances Walsingham (daugher of Francis Walsingham).
I can find any good anwsers, so can any one help me?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Question from Jill - Martha Tyrwhitt

During my research I found a Martha Tyrwhitt daughter of William married to Edmond Colles of Leigh, Worcestershire, I think Edmond would have been born about 1580/90 so which William is Martha's father?

Question from ? - Queen regnant before Mary I

Was Mary the first Queen Regnant? Seems like there was one way before her that nobody talks about?

Question from Missy - Did Mary I have bisexual tendencies?

I read some where that when the Duchess of Alba was presented to Queen "Bloody" Mary, Mary shocked everyone giving the duchess a french kiss. I know that Mary was deeply in infatuated with her husband Phillip, but is it possible that she was harboring some bi-sexual tendenices? After all, she wasnt married until her late thirties and she had very close relationships with her ladies in waiting. Assuming she was a person with a normal sex drive, is it possible that she may have had some late night fun with her ladies?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Question from Michelle - Elizabeth receiving jewelry, etc. of her mothers

Are there portraits of Elizabeth wearing jewelry that belonged to Anne Boleyn? I read somewhere on this site that she's wearing the A necklace in the Whitehall portrait but I looked and Elizabeth isn't even in that one. It's Henry VII, his parents, and Jane Seymour. In the portrait of Henry VIII's family, Elizabeth appears like she could be wearing a necklace similar to one of Anne's but I can't find a version of it that I can enlarge on my computer and see. Did Elizabeth receive anything that belonged to her mother?

Question from Liz - Elizabeth I's religion

What exactly was Elizabeth I's religion? I know that she was part of the new faith and did not adhere to Catholic traditions, but what exactly did she believe? Was it like the evangelical church now, I know that that church developed from Henry VIII's spilt with Rome.

I was always under the impression that Elizabeth I did not believe what Luther and other reformists taught, but what did she believe?

Thanks all!

Question from ? - More books and places to visit recommendations

This board answers some great questions! I am fascinated with The Tudor Dynasty and I LOVE Showtime's The Tudors!! I am very aware that it is not totally accurate, but it brings the characters to life for me. In reading books about The Tudors, I am able to put a face with the name. (Well, most of the time...Showtime likes to switch characters on us!) I just like the entertainment. I am always looking for new websites with royal info, past and present.

My question is this...what are some other websites or books that would give me more info about the Tudor Monarchs? I have read a couple books by Allison Weir.

Are there any specific sites in London that I could visit? I am lucky enough to get the opportunity to go each year and I want to take full advantage! I've already done Westminster Abbey (by far my favorite place in the world!) and The Tower twice. I got to visit Hampton Court last year and I want to go back!

[Ed. note - yeah, this is kind of a repeat of some other questions, but the person didn't put an email address on the form so I couldn't write him/her back directly]

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Question from Jacqui - Images of Anne Boleyn or Elizabeth riding side saddle


I am looking for a portrait of Anne Boleyn and/or Elizabeth 1st riding side saddle.

The portrait needs to show sufficient detail for me to copy the riding habit to make into a costume I can wear for competing side saddle in.

I hope someone out there can help me!

Kind regards


400th post!

I thought I would take the occasion of this blog's 400th post to say a big THANK YOU!! to the people who have helped to make it successful. The regular commenters are a very important part of this blog and I'd be lost without you since there is no way I would have been able to personally answer all of the questions that have come in. And thanks to the folks who have submitted some really interesting and though-provoking questions!

I didn't think we'd get to 400 posts in less than three years, so it will be interesting to see how quickly we get to 500. :)

Question from Michelle - More on Elizabeth and her mother

Is there anything known about what Elizabeth said about her mother or her feelings about her? I know she acknoweledged her publicly and had the ring with both of their portraits in it. I'm aware that Anne was executed while Elizabeth was very young and that she lived away from her mother, but I would imagine that she might feel some sort of resentment over not knowing her mother. Did Elizabeth believe her mother was guilty? I'm sure there's not much information on this, but I don't even know where to begin to look.

[note from Lara - this topic has already been talked about a little in the threads below, but I was also curious about the question of whether there is any clue about what Elizabeth might have thought about her mother's guilt or innocence]

Other threads on this topic:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Question from Kelly - Was Catherine Howard pregnant at her execution?

In The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir, it said that after Jane Seymour, none of Henry's wives were pregnant, expect for Catherine Howard. Was she pregnant when she was executed?

Question from Elizabeth M - Ring-wearing customs

I have a question about rings in Tudor times. I have noticed in many portraits, the sitters wear rings on their pinkies, the third finger of their hands, and the index finger, and even on their thumbs. But quite often, there is no ring on the middle finger. Was there a reason for this? Also, which hand, left or right, was the customary one for wedding rings in Tudor times?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Question from Linda - Small prints of portraits

I have just discovered your site, and I'm thrilled! I've been reading everything I can find about the Tudors since I was a teenager, and can never get enough. Now that I'm nearing age 50, I've been branching out -- I've started to read more about the Wars of the Roses! My friends don't understand . . .

Anyway, I recently moved to a larger place, and now I have some wall space to fill. I have always dreamed of having a Tudor wall -- small reproductions of portraits of the fascinating people I've been reading about for all this time. But I have been unable to locate a source where I could buy small colour reproductions. I've looked at the UK National Gallery site, but the smallest size they reproductions they offer are too large for what I envisage. I'm thinking more along the lines of postcard-sized portraits.

Does anybody know where I could find a source for these?

Thanks in advance for all suggestions.

in Ottawa, Ontario

Question from Bernice - Tudor and Elizabethan interiors

I am interested in Tudor interiors especially Elizabethan. What colors did they like etc. Are there any examples surviving?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Question from Elizabeth M - Anne B. pregnant at the time of her execution?

My question is does anyone know if it is true that Anne Boleyn may have been pregnant at the time of her execution? I have practically every modern biography of her written, and I have never run across that before. But in her book, Henry VIII, The King and His Court, Alison Weir mentions this as a real possibility. She is a respected historian and writer, so I can't believe she would commit something to print that cannot be backed up. If there is a source that mentions this supposed pregnancy, why have not other historians picked up on it. Is it a new source? Or is this a hypothesis on Weir's part?

Question from Kat - Castles, houses, excavations, etc.

What if any of the castles or estates from King Henry or Queen Elizabeth's time still exist? If so, what kind of condition are these historical sites in and are they still used for residence or kept in museum condition for people to visit? Also, have there ever been any excavations that have produced valuable and historical items of these eras? Thanks!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Question from Liz - Farthingales and riding clothes

I was wondering about the farthingales that women wore back then. Would they always were them under their skirts (except during travel of course), or were they for special occasions only?

And what would they were for travel? I've seen references to riding clothes, but what exactly are they?

Thanks to all!

Question from Joyce - Elizabeth and her mother's grave

Did Elizabeth the 1st ever visit her mothers grave in the tower or ask about it?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Question from Faith - Elizabeth's tomb

Thanks so much for the responses to my question about Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare. I was reading through the Q&A about the burial site of Elizabeth and Mary in Westminster Abbey -- I also visited there and have always been puzzled that Elizabeth's grave is not more prominent. Has her grave always been there? Was it moved at any point? Thank you

Question from Emily - Books on Mary "Rose" Tudor

Hello, can anyone recommend a good biography of Henry VIII's sister, Mary Tudor?

Or at least a book that deals with her more extensively than most books on the Tudor family?

Question from Nicole - Book of Hours

What exactly is a Book of Hours? Lots of books make references to them, but I can't ever remember reading what they were exactly. Are they like today's Christian Devotional books? Thanks for any answers!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Question from Kelly - Anne of Cleves

Was Anne of Cleves a virgin when she died?

Question from Elizabeth Robinson - Anne Boleyn's ladies

Who was in attendance to Anne Boleyn during her short reign? Was there a woman named (Isabelle) Cheney? Cheyney? Thank you.

Question from Leigh - Anne Boleyn's sixth finger

Hi, I know this has been discussed before so I apologise, but I'm still confused. I always believed the rumour regarding Anne Boleyn's sixth finger to be fiction or at least part of a smear campaign against her, and I know that previous answers on here suggest that it wasn't true; however, I was surprised to find that Eric Ives believes there is some truth to it. His book quotes passages from Nicholas Sander and George Wyatt, which imply there was indeed a 'sixth finger' or a malformation, along with a mole or 'wen' on her neck. As Ives is considered to be an expert on Anne, are we to conclude that this is true?

Thanks in advance!

Question from Valerie - Biblical passages related to "The Divorce"

I was watching this documentary about Henry VIII trying to annul the marriage to Katherine of Aragon and I was wondering if anyone knew what the exact quote from the Bible where Henry VIII was talking about where it says that he cannot marry his brother's widow. Also, I was wondering if anyone knew the quote that Katherine of Aragon said that told her to marry Henry VIII or something like that. Also, if anyone knows where I can find these in the Bible, that would be good. Thanks!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Question from KB - Origin of the Anne and Elizabeth portrait ring

I know this has been discussed before but ...

Does anyone know if Elizabeth's famous ring with the portrait of her mother inside was originally a Boleyn ring? Or a royal Tudor ring? Any jewelry sources for the origin of this particular trinket would be most useful.

Again apologies for bringing up the subject yet again.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Question from Kat - Looking for book recommendations

Thanks to all who left a comment to my questions of the Tudor's burial sites! I have read David Starkey's book on the "Six Wives of Henry" and Allison Weir's book on "Elizabeth" and find them facinating. I have even found a book on Catherin of Aragon's parents with a little of her earlier history (before Henry VIII)that was very facinating. However, I find it hard to find other good books on any of the other Tudor wives, siblings, etc. Can anyone give me the name of excellent books that cover other family members. I would really appreciate the help!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Question from Ella - Dictionary of useful Tudor words

Is there a dictionary of useful Tudor England words? Or a way I can find out about the kind of language they spoke?

Thank you


Question from Kat - Anne Boleyn's burial

I saw an image of Ann Boleyn's grave, has she always been interred at that site or was she moved for any reason? Is it a proven fact that she was interred there and also, were any of the tombs, grave sites of the Tudor's seriously damaged during WWII? Thanks!

Question from Diane - Stillborn children of Henry VIII

Does anyone know where the stillborn children of Henry VIII were buried?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Question from Faith - Elizabeth I and Shakespeare

I am delighted to have discovered this site! I have been a devoted but amateur student of the Tudors for many years.

My question is: Is there any evidence that Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare ever met? Did Elizabeth ever voice an opinion of Shakespeare or his works?

Thanks very much.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Question from Kristen S. - Casting of Catherine of Aragon in various movies

My question relates to the casting choices made by directors when casting the role of Catherine of Aragon. From the film "Anne of the Thousand Days" to the series "The Tudors," and even in "The Other Boleyn Girl" Catherine is portrayed by dark-haired actresses. (Think Irene Pappas, Ana Torrent, Maria Doyle Kennedy). The historical Catherine was fair-skinned with red hair! It seems a bit superficial and disingenuous on the parts of casting directors that they choose to depict Catherine as a stereotypical Spaniard. I was just interested on other bloggers' thoughts on this. Thanks!