Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Thanks to everyone for a great year at the Tudor Q&A blog! I had a lot of ups and downs in 2008, so I'm ready to put it behind me and tackle 2009. Several big anniversaries are coming up that touch various parts of my life. The 500th anniversary of Henry VII's death and Henry VIII's accession to the throne (and Margaret Beaufort's death, and H8 and CofA's wedding and coronation.... You get the idea.) It's also the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first use of a telescope for astronomy, so I'll be helping out with various International Year of Astronomy events.

Here's looking forward to a great 2009!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Question from Kathy - Recording of time in Tudor England and Oking

During the Middle Ages, the time of day seems to have been generally referred to in terms of liturgical hours (matins, laud, etc.) But I've never seen that used in Tudor times.

A summary of a council meeting on August 23, 1545, contains the phrase " pray with them for my lord of Suffolk who died yesternight at 4 o'clock." S.J. Gunn says Suffolk died at 4 pm on the afternoon of August 22. But I'm curious as to why 4 pm is considered to be yesternight (italics mine). Did night start at noon and day at midnight? What conventions replaced liturgical hours?

And, if I can sneak in a quick, semi-related question, the council meeting in question was held at Oking where the king (who was on a progress) had moved on August 21 from Guildford. Where or what is Oking? I can't find any mention of it elsewhere.

Question from Marilyn R - Alison Weir lectures and Gainsborough Old Hall

I live a few miles from Gainsborough Old Hall, Lincolnshire, a beautiful late medieval building that played host to Richard III and Henry VIII, amongst others, and which will be hosting a number of Henry VIII events this coming year, including Alison Weir on the subject of 'The Wives of Henry VIII'. I was planning to be away for a few days about that time but was wondering whether anyone has heard Ms. Weir speak, and if so, is it an event not to be missed?

For any likely visitors to this part of the world in the next few months, the events at The Old Hall are as follows:

13th January 'When Henry VIII Visited Gainsborough' by Paul Howitt-Cowan. (Henry stayed here with Kathryn Howard, who, to her cost, was rather too friendly with Culpeper during the stay.)

May 23rd 'The Wives of Henry VIII' by Alison Weir

July 10th 'Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk', by Dr. Steven Gunn of Merton College, Oxford

Date to be announced - 'The Lost Palaces of Henry VIII' Dr. Jonathan Foyle. - visitors are always made very welcome.

[Ed note - thanks for the info Marilyn, I'll add it to my list of 500th anniversary events!]

Question from Nikki - Tudor Rose print for framing

Does anyone know where I can get a nice print or picture of a Tudor Rose? I would like to frame a picture or print and put it on the blank wall in my bedroom. Thanks!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Question from Nancy - Surviving items of Elizabeth I

I wonder if anyone knows what is left -- if anything -- of Elizabeth I's personal possessions. The jewels I know are long gone. She is supposed to have owned something like 2000 dresses when she died. Did they all end up being filched away to bedeck humbler and humbler classes of women, until they became rags and disappeared? What about things like plate, books, musical instruments, or saddles?

[Ed. note - some of this has been touched on in the threads below]

Question from Elizabeth - Illegitimate children of noblemen

If a noble man had an illegitimate child, where would that child live, with the mother or the father? Would that child get some sort of title?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Question from Nikki - Disestablishment of the Church

This issue dates back to Henry VIII and I wondered what your thoughts were on the subject. I think it's ironic that this is coming up at the same time as his 500th anniversary of his accession.

What do you think about the Labour party trying to oust the monarch as head of the Church of England, and disestablishing the church in general? Will it happen?

On top of that, what would Henry think??!!

[Ed. note - I generally try to stay away from potentially politically-charged questions, but this one really does have a tie to Tudor history, so it is worth discussing.]

Question from Michelle - Verification of Portraits of Anne Boleyn

Have any of the portraits of Anne Boleyn been fully verified as a true likeness?
All portraits seem to be post her death or by an unknown Artist, which would make it unlikely that they were painted with Anne Boleyn herself as a live sitter. In addition - given the circumstances of her death, you would imagine Henry would have had any portraits destroyed.

Edited to add some related threads:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Question from Elizabeth - Nobles at court and income sources

I was wondering, if you were part of the nobility class (like a duke or an earl) did you have to go to court? Or could you shun politics and just hang out out your estate? As a noble, what would your "job" be anyways? How would you make money? Lol, I guess that these are alot of questions, but I'm curious and I can't seem to find an answer anywhere!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Open thread - The Sisters Who Would Be Queen

I know I haven't posted anything since the request for suggestions on further book discussions, but I have been collecting the responses and we'll get to some of the others in the future. Both PhD Historian and I have received our advance copies of Leanda de Lisle's The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey and he is ready to tackle it (I'm already reading two books now so I think I'll be waiting to start this one). Chime in with any comments or questions!

Our previous open thread book read was Foose "live blogging" her read of Starkey's new book on Henry VIII.

[edited to correct a typo and post the info below... I shouldn't try to post with a sinus headache]

Previous discussion on this book is here:

And I'll post an announcement for this thread and Amazon links on the news blog in a moment...

Question from Nikki - Henry VIII events in October

other than the british library exhibition shown on the blog page, does anyone know of any other exhibits that will be celebrating henry's 500th? i'm sure there's going to be a bunch.

i'm just going to miss the british library exhibit, i get to go over in october. i am NOT happy about that! haha hopefully i can find something else to see in october.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Question from Tracey - John Guy's book on Elizabeth I

"The Reign of Elizabeth I" by John Guy... him of Margaret More Roper and Mary, Queen of Scots fame.
Just saw this book advertised on Amazon for $110!! Is it worth it for me to cut-out the peanut butter and just eat jelly??

Question from Nikki - Spellings of names

Why are the names of Anne and Katherine spelled differently now? I've seen Anne's name spelled Boleyn and Bullen. Katherine's name is spelled with a C and sometimes a K. Katharine is over her tomb, but that was put up around 300 years after her death.

[Ed note - This has partially been addressed in the thread below]

Question from Shane - Infidelities and Henry VIII as a womanizer

Hey. I was wondering which men where unloyal to their wives? And which women were unfaithful. Also it says that Henry VIII was a womanizer in some books and says it was down to ill-luck that he had six wives, which version is true?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Question from Chloe - Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII's coronation

Here I have some questions about the coronation of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII, that I have been wondering about as COA is my fave Queen. Any information would be very welcome!

1. Was there a coronation book for Catherine of Aragon. I have seen one for Ann Bullen, but cannot find any information about one for Catherine.

2. What crown was Catherine wearing/crowned with, again I can find this info. about Ann Bullen but not for Catherine!

3. Did Catherine have an orb or septre, I think it's probably unlikely but I would like a definate answer please.

4. Were there any pagents/processions along the way to tminster Abbey? If so does anyone know what they were about/looked like?

If you have any good information about the coronation that I didn't ask about that would still be most welcome, and I would be so thankful! :)

Question from Elizabeth M - Birthing methods

How did women in Tudor England give birth? I have heard of a "groaning chair" with an open bottom for the afterbirth. Was this a primitive version of our modern exam table that can be adjusted and has the stirrups? Or did they give birth in bed? I have also seen reference to a wooden device with handles for the birthing mother to hold onto?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Question from Miranda - Contemporary belief of Anne's guilt or innocence

Nowadays people don't buy that Anne Boleyn commited adultery and incest with all those men. In hindsight we can see that she was really executed for political reasons. Did the general public believe it to be true at the time?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Question from Bailey - Maundy Thursday services

I know that Mary I and Elizbeth I performed Maundy services - where on Easter Thursday they would humbly wash the feet of the poor and give them alms. According to Anne Boleyn's chaplain William Latymer, Anne did likewise, so we can assume that her mother-in-law Elizabeth of York, and Henry VIII's other wives did as well.

But I'm curious whether this was a ritual normally performed by queens in Tudor (or even earlier medieval times), or did kings (like Henry VII and Henry VIII) presumedly take part too? And would Edward VI being the strict Protestant that he was?

Henry VIII, being a devout Catholic, was known to have at least 'crept to the cross' on Good Friday. Perhaps he did washing too, but maybe it was just never commented upon at the time.

Thoughts anyone?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Question from Liz - Christmas customs, etc.

I was wondering what were some Tudor/Elizabethan customs for Christmas? How did they decorate. etc?

Thanks and happy holidays to all!

[Ed. note - I'm going to post the other Christmas related threads we've had before, and of course any additional comments are welcome, since I expect we'll get a lot of people stopping by and looking for Tudor and Elizabethan Christmas info!]

Question from Julian - More information on Matthew Baker

Henry Tudor's Men - Matthew Baker, [whom the Bretons named Matthieu Besquer]Liegeman and Squire of the Body, "faithful unto death"?

Matthew Baker was a member of Henry's bodyguard during the Breton & French Period of Exile [ his name appears several times in quotes from Breton reports of the period]
In 1486 he was appointed joint Governor of Jersey & Guernsey with Davy Phillip, [another "Squire of the Body, who was Knighted in 1504]
Baker served the-now King Henry VII in Jersey until 1494, when he seems to have been recalled to London. Thereafter he is said to have been thrice appointed to head three Embassies [which ones and when?]; and is said to have finished his Royal Service in charge of the Palace of Westminster, or "Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell" as it was nicknamed, [the central Offices of Henry VII's government]
This week, quite by chance, I have seen a reproduction of Brit Library Additional MS 45131, fol.54 - showing Henry VII's "deathbed scene". And I quote - "The chief Officers and other nobles are identified by their heraldic shields"! The Arms of Matthew Baker are shown by a figure at the foot of the bed.
So Baker served the young Henry in Brittany, at the Castle of Susciniou, - and was still high in his Service in 1509, when his Liege Lord died..
A lifetime of faithful Service?
Where might I find out more about the jobs Baker did for King Henry VII AFTER he was recalled from Jersey 1494/5? Who is the leading Scholar of Henry VII's Court and Courtiers, who might be able to either inform me - or direct me to relevant contemporary sources, or modern transcriptions thereof?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Question from Miranda - Jane Rochford's testimony against her husband

I am curious about everyone's opinions on why Jane Rochford would have testified such horrible things against her husband, which hardly could have been true. She had to have known it would result in his death. Was she bullied into it, or intimidated? Did she fear for her own neck? Did she hate her husband? And if so, why might she hate him?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Question from Lovey - Francis I's remarks on Anne Boleyn

King Henry VIII and King Francis 1 remained friends throughout most of his reign . I read that Francis 1 wrote to King Henry VIII after the execution of his 5 wife Katherine Howard, and commiserating over Katherine's "lewd and naughty demeanor", and reminding him that "the lightness of women cannot bind the honor of men". Does anyone know what Francis 1 said upon hearing about Anne Boleyn Arrest?,( I knew Henry VIII had broken off his relationship with the french, but Anne had tried to contact Francis 1 prior to her arrest.) Does any one know if Francis one made any comment in regards to Anne beheading? What about Charles V?, did he make any comments about king Henry VIII having her beheaded?

Question from Carlyn - Emblem books

I have a question in regards to emblem books. Did these books ever contain the emblems of kings and queens or were they more like clip art with morality lessons for the general public?

I think part of the problem is that I am not sure that I completely understand the difference between a king or queen’s royal badge and an emblem. Can you use the word interchangeably?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Question from Colleen - Grounds for annulment

I'm back...thanks for the answers on Mary I's death. My question now regards marriage - particularly, basis for annullments. This may sound farfetched (although you'll have to excuse me, as it happens in the book I'm writing) but say a commoner was raised to believe he was nobility. He marries an earl's daughter, the union is consummated, and then he discovers that he's really the child of some household servants, not nobility after all. Could there be grounds for an annullment? Keep in mind this character isn't very important politically and would therefore have no pull with Rome. This might seem silly but it's a very important plot point for me and I want to make sure I get it right before wasting my time writing thousands of words that might have to be trashed. Thanks!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Question from Sam (aka Merlin) - Jane Seymour's brother Henry

Does anyone know anything about Jane Seymour's brother, Henry? I've always been interested in him because he seems to have shunned court life and the opportunities arising from Jane's marriage and the relationship with the future Edward VI- very much in contrast with his brothers (Edward and Thomas). I just wonder whether there was a reason for it- some sort of disability or health problem perhaps?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Question from Trezza - "Madness" of Henry VIII

I have heard reference to the "madness" of Henry VIII. Is there any evidence that he was "mad", or was his behavior acceptable for a monarch at the time?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Question from Lara - Mary "Rose" Tudor's death and her daughter Frances

Yes, this one is from me! Kathy teased us on the general blog with some information on the death of Henry VIII's sister Mary and the possible effects on her children. We also started to discuss Frances' personality and usual portrayal. So, I'm moving the thread over here to give Kathy a place to post any information she'd like to share and to give folks somewhere to continue the discussion on Frances.

Here's a link to the thread where this discussion started:

Question from Melisondre - Catherine of Aragon's virginity

I've been having a debate with myself about Catherine of Aragon's virginity when she married Henry VIII. She was married to Arthur first, but not for very long. Also, as we all know, she denied having sex with him until the end of her life. However she could have been denying it to keep her marriage and position in tact. So, my question is was Catherine of Aragon a virgin when she married Henry VIII or did she sleep with Arthur first?

[Ed note - I was really surprised that this question hasn't shown up here yet, especially since it has been discussed quite a bit on my email list! It was touched on in the thread below, but not really discussed in full.]

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Question from Sam - Tudor military

How far would you agree that there was a Tudor military revolution? Was it an evolution or a revolution?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Question from Colleen - Mary I's death details

I apologize if this question has already been asked, but I was wondering if anyone had any information on the death of Mary I. Not what she died of, but her actual death and what happened afterward. I know she died on November 17 of 1558, but when? Early morning, etc.? Who was sent to Hatfield to notify Elizabeth of her sister's death? Was anyone of importance in the room when Mary died? And she died at St. James Palace, right? Thanks for any and all information!

Question from Angus - Henry VIII's friends early in his reign

When he was a young man (18-26) did Henry have many friends close to him in age?

If so who were they?