Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Question from Holly - What if Katherine of Aragon had not died before Anne's execution

I'm wondering about some opinions. What do you think would have happened if Katherine had not died before Anne was executed? I wonder because I remember reading somewhere that because Katherine was already dead, there could be no arguement that Jane was queen and Edward the legitimate heir. Do you think that Henry would have gone back? Doesn't seem likely to me but I wonder how this would have all "gone down" (so to speak!)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Question from Caroline - Teerlinc minature of Jane Grey and sketch of her mother

Does anyone else detect a family resemblance between the Teerlinc miniature of Lady Jane Grey (as per D Starkey attribution) and the Holbein drawing of her mother Frances Brandon as Marchioness of Dorset?

Question from Morgan - Information on portrait of Elizabeth I

I was wondering if anyone had any information on this portrait, apparently identified as Elizabeth I:

This is where I originally found it:

It doesn't give much information, and I've never seen it before, although it does remind me strongly of this portrait:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Question from Ian - Henry VIII's grave

Why is there no memorial except a slab on the floor at St Georges Chapel, Windsor for Henry V111.? It seems odd that Henry V11, Elizabeth 1st and even Mary Queen of Scots had grand effigy's. Even his grandfather Edward 1V had a great memorial. A slab on the floor seems odd considering for someone who had such a prolific profile and rule.?

Question from Roland - Anne Boleyn's headgear in Hever and Hoskin portraits

Has anyone lese noticed this? In the Hever Castle and John Hoskin versions of portraits of Anne Boleyn (see 'Anne Boleyn Gallery' in this website), there is a gold band or an edge of stiffened gauze above her hairline. Anyone know what it is precisely?

Is it a gold 'headband' worn underneath her rounded French hood, or is it part of a 'bon-grace' (a stiffened guaze, something like Anne of Cleves wore under her hood)?

[Ed. note - direct links to the images below]

Question from jankapac - English in Tudor times

for my bachelor theses I´ve got to write about use of english language in Tudor times.HOw it was at schools, in the offices,.. and also how did the language change since then. I come from slovakia and here I can´t find any books at all. Could you recomend me some literature please which I could order from abroad,please. thanks

[Ed. note - This came as a comment to another post, but it really should be its own separate thread]

Friday, March 27, 2009

Question from Kathy - Description of Mary Tudor Brandon's exhumation

Question for PhD Historian:

First of all (if Lara will induge me) I would like to tell you how much in awe I am of your knowledge of Tudor England, and how much I appreciate your willingness to answer questions here -- even lame-brained ones as mine certainly are. Thank you!

There have been quite a flurry of questions and answers here in the past few days, so I wondered if you saw my last post on the thread about Henry Brandon, the one about the descriptions of the exhumation of Mary Tudor Brandon's corpse and, especially what her height was? Do you (or anybody) have any idea where I could find these descriptions?

Question from Gervase - Websites with photos of surviving jewels

I was wondering if anyone in the group knows of a website where they show jewels left from Henry VIII,ElizabethI, Anne Boelyn? I am so interested in these pieces. Hope someone can help me. Thank you friends. GERVASE

Question from Jenna - Royal Jewels

Is any of the Royal Jewelry ever kept or are they always remade into other pieces of jewelry reusing only the stones? Such as are all the crowns, bracelets, necklaces, pins and rings kept but rejeweled or are new pieces made to suit the new Queens or Kings? And another question..... what articles of jewelry are worn by Kings today other than crowns?

Question from Caroline - Adrian Stokes' Master of the Horse position

Can anyone help with WHOSE Master of Horse Adrian Stokes, second husband of Frances Brandon, was? The position is variously described in secondary sources as Frances' own, or 'at the English Court' - which makes a difference in the light of Elizabeth I's tetchy comment about him as a 'common groom.' Yet he later manages to marry Anne Throckmorton (thereby becoming stepfather not just to the Grey sisters but also bess Throckmorton) and to carve out a position of influence within Leicestershire - which implies if not certain initail status of his own at least a degree of personal charm!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Permanent links for posts

I put this in a comment to another thread, but I thought I would also put it in a post to make sure people saw it. If you are interested in following one thread in particular, such as the live blog of the new Henry VIII book, you might want bookmark that individual post so you can easily come back to it. To get to the post's permanent link, click on the time below the post title. That should take you to the page for just that post, which you can then bookmark. This is helpful for something like the book thread that you might want to check back on frequently.

Here's the direct link to that thread, BTW:

You can also subscribe to the comments feed (if you are familiar with using RSS) but you will get all of the comments, not just the ones to an individual post. (When I get a chance, I'll look in to altering the settings to see if I can give you all some more options.)

Also, I apologize for the onslaught of posts yesterday and today, but we've just had lots of questions coming in all of a sudden!

Question from Orange Blossom - Queen's Lodgings in the Tower

I am doing some hobby research on the Queen's Lodgings during Anne Boleyn's coronation (now domolished). I have searched this blog which has been very helpful!

Some questions I haven't been able to answer are listed below and any help or references would be very much appreciated.

1. The Queen's Lodgings ran the length from the Wardrobe Tower (next to the White Tower) to Lanthorn tower. Would there be access from the White Tower into the Queen's Lodgings (e.g., were the buildings all connected)? Could people walk through?

2. Does anyone know what would have been standard practice for nobility entering the Queen's Lodgings when the royals were in residence (e.g., during Anne's coronation)? Could they enter Coldharbour gate and walk freely to their destination?

I know these are quite specific questions, but any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Question from Elizabeth M - Hever Castle portrait of Mary Boleyn

This question is along a similar vein to Nasim's question about the Hever portrait of Anne Boleyn. I read that the Hever portrait by Holbein, supposedly of Mary Boleyn, was until the 17th century labeled as Anne, and then changed to Mary. Does anyone know the history of this. It has always seemed a bit odd to me that Mary Boleyn would have been painted by Holbein. He first came to England in 1526, I believe, when Henry's affair with Mary Boleyn was cooled and he was starting his hot pursuit of her sister Anne. Mary was in disgrace with her family by the end of 1534, when she married in secret William Stafford. He was in England from 1526-1528, and then went to Basel, and did not come back to England until 1532. The timeframe seems tight. From 1526-1528, Mary Boleyn was the former mistress of the King, from 1532 to the early part of 1533, the sister of the King's current mistress, soon to be wife. The only really logical time for her to be painted was from the spring of 1533 to the autumn of 1534, when she fell into disfavor. Annd did at times seemingly wear the gable hood pictures--at least one account of her execution states she was wearing a gable hood to the scaffold. So could this portrait be of Anne and have been relabeled?

Question from Tudorrose - Whiteness of hands and faces

Hands whiter than the face!?
Have you noticed in some of the portraits that the hands tend to be whiter than their faces or their body tends to be whiter.
A portrait of Elizabeth clarifies this.
I know it was fashionable and consindered to be beauty the whiter the skin.

Question from Mary Ann - Henry VII mistresses or marriage after Elizabeth of York's death

After his wife's death did Henry VII have any mistresses? Did he ever think about re-marrying so that Henry would not be the only male heir?

Question from Stephanie - Gifts exchanged between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

Is there any list of gifts or items that Henry and Anne gave to each other during their relationship? I know about the clock, but I am curious to know if anything (or any record) still exists? Thanks in advance!!!

Question from Nasim - Hever Castle portrait of Anne Boleyn

In my reading so far on Anne Boleyn, the Hever Castle portrait of her (where she is holding a rose) is regarding as posthumous. In a recent book by Susan Doran (“The Tudor Chronicles: 1485-1603”), the painting is labelled as an ‘English portrait from 1534’. This may be a general mistake or indeed be the historian’s perception, but I was wondering whether there were other historians advancing the claim that this portrait dates to Anne’s time as queen?

Question from Nasim - Calais, John Dudley and Jane Grey

In regards to Calais – I was recently reading Judith M. Richards's work on Mary Tudor and came across the claim that in 1553 John Dudley, duke of Northumberland offered the French the return of Calais if they supported Jane Grey as queen. I was wondering whether anyone had more information regarding this. Richards does note that there is just a ‘suggestion’ that this occurred but she also claims that ‘there are circumstantial grounds for suspecting Northumberland did so’ (p.204). She cites Harbison’s “Rival Ambassadors at the Court of Queen Mary”, pp. 50-53, however I am unable to access the book to read about the matter further. Did Northumberland definitely do this or is the answer more complex?

Question from Tudorrose - White band on shoulder of dresses

I have noticed in a portrait of Catherine of aragon and a portrait of Jane seymour while she was maid of honour to Anne boleyn have white pieces of material around their shoulder.
does anybody know what this could be?

I assume it was a napkin because people of the tudor period when sat down to eat they wore napkins around their shoulder.

Question from Joan - Anne Boleyn and polydactyly

Having pondered the Rh factor question, I felt an urge to flip through my university genetics text. I found some information that relates to Anne Boleyn.

The book briefly discusses polydactyly (having more than the usual number of digits i.e. fingers and toes). The usual number in this anomaly being six on each hand and foot. It says that the most common occurrence in this condition is to have both the hands and feet affected. Less commonly it is confined to just the hands or just the feet. Was the rumor about Anne always just about one finger on one hand? If so,that sounds like it would be exceedingly rare. Were her feet ever mentioned?

It also states that polydactyly is a dominant trait. This means that Anne's mother or father would have shown this trait in some form. Was anything ever mentioned about her parents?

My previous opinion on the finger question is that is was a false rumor concocted by Anne's enemies. I think that this bit of scientific info reinforces the rumor as untrue. Any thoughts?

[Ed. note - related threads on the "sixth finger" are posted below]

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Open Thread - Wilson's "A Brief History of Henry VIII"

And off we go! Here's the initial entry from PhD Historian, but the rest will be in the comments. Anyone else who is reading along, feel free to add your thoughts as well!
[Update March 24 - changed date to move thread back up for a while]

From PhD Historian:
Derek Wilson, A Brief History of Henry VIII (London and Philadelphia, PA: Running Press, 2009). 386 pages, 14 B&W illustrations.

Derek Wilson is, in my opinion, one of the few historians writing today who is able to write with credibility what might be termed “psycho-biographical history,” or history that examines the individual “movers and shakers” of events, their personalities and characters, and seeks to determine why they did what they did. Psycho-history was popular in the 1960s and 1970s but has since faded from favor, especially among “hardcore” academics. And not without reason, for it sometimes bordered on the absurd in the lengths to which some writers would go to create a psycho-profile from little or no evidence. But I have read many of Wilson’s books, and I respect his work immensely, in spite of the prevailing attitude that discounts his methodology.

Wilson is a prolific writer, having produced more than fifty books over the past forty or so years. He is one of only a handful who write both fiction and non-fiction and who still have my full respect when he lays claim to being a “historian.” His non-fiction works have focused heavily on a variety of figures from the Tudor period of English history, and his titles include:

Sweet Robin: Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (1981);

In the Lion’s Court: Power, Ambition and Sudden Death in the Reign of Henry VIII (2002);

Uncrowned Kings: The Black Legend of the Dudleys (2005);

Sir Francis Walsingham: A Courtier in an Age of Terror (2007).

He also wrote a marvelous comparative biography of Charles I and Oliver Cromwell, The King and the Gentleman (1999), that shed an entirely new light on the British Civil Wars of the 1630s and 1640s.

A Brief History of Henry VIII is Wilson’s latest foray into the area of psycho-history. It is perhaps a dangerous expedition, considering the massive amounts of material already written on England’s best-known monarch. Wilson is tackling a legendary figure and the iconography and mythology that has developed around him over the centuries. The scope of the endeavour would no doubt frighten any less-experienced or less-confident writer. But Wilson dives into the study fearlessly.

The back cover of the paperback volume begins with a question in bold-faced type: “Was England’s most famous king ‘A fool, a liar, and a damnable rotten worm’?” The accusation is quoted from Martin Luther, whose religious views Henry had famously challenged in 1521 with his own Assertio Septem Sacramentorum (Defence of the Seven Sacraments,) ... though almost certainly with the help of “ghost writers.” I suspect we are getting a taste here of what is to come ... Henry Tudor propped up and made larger than life through the efforts of those around him, and not himself actually as formidable as the man in the carefully crafted image.

The back cover observes that “in the portraits of Holbein, Henry Tudor stands proud as one of the most powerful figures in renaissance Europe.” But it then asks teasingly, “But is the noble stance a bluff? ... Wilson explores the reality behind the image of the Tudor Lion.”

And the cover is a detail of that same Holbein masterpiece in which Henry is shown standing tall and solid, fists on hips, feet spread wide, with a stern facial expression suggesting supreme self-confidence and more than a hint of bravado. The image, both in terms of the painting and the characterization, are so inextricably linked to “Great Harry” that it will be a true challenge for Wilson to dismantle it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Question from Elizabeth M - Anne Boleyn's supposed burial at Salle Church

There is a story that Anne Boleyn's body might have been spirited (no pun intended) out of the Tower of London grounds by supporters after her execution and secretly buried under the pavement of the Salle Church. I have Norah Loft's book on Anne, and she mentions she once asked for her book if there had ever been a plan to lift the plain marble slab under which Anne is reputed to lie, and was told that the warden of the church did not wish to do so. This book is over 30 years old. Admittedly, Lofts's biography is not in the same calibre as Ives's comprehensive study of Anne's life, but it has a place in my collection of books on Anne. Since Lofts's book was published,I was wondering if anybody else has ever tried to have the slab lifted since then?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Question from Nikki - Mary's decision to let Elizabeth succeed her

Forgive me for not knowing this, but why did Mary decide to let Elizabeth succeed her? Wouldn't she have been too worried about her religious beliefs? Seems like Mary would've worked too hard to restore Catholicism to just let it die out again. Did Mary go back to Henry's will and the 3rd Succession Act?

(I take my Tudor's one step at a time. I'm still on Henry's wives...then I can move on to Edward, Mary and Elizabeth!)

Question from Elizabeth M - Inheritability of Rh negative factor

Alison Weir mentions a theory in her book THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII, that one of the reasons Anne Boleyn had miscarriages after the healthy birth of Elizabeth might have been because Anne suffered a blood condition that made her Rhesus negative. A woman would have a healthy first child, but then not be able to have healthy births afterwards. My question is, would a Rhesus negative condition be an inherited ailment? Looking at the childbearing records of Anne's close female relatives, I wonder. Her mother, Elizabeth Howard Boleyn, gave birth to at least five children; her grandmother, Elizabeth Tilney Howard, gave birth to twelve by her two husbands. Her paternal grandmother, Margaret Butler Boleyn, had ten children. Her sister Mary Boleyn had two healthy children, and Mary Boleyn's daughter, Catherine Carey Knollys, had no less than fifteen children. And Margaret Wentworth Seymour, the first cousin of Elizabeth Howard Boleyn, gave birth to ten children, including Jane Seymour.

Question from Tracey - John Guy's books on Thomas More

While searching for John Guy's new biography "A Daughter's Love" which looks on Sir Thomas More and his daughter, Margaret, it was found that Mr Guy wrote a full bio of More a few years ago.

My this latest work just a re-write, of sorts, with the focus now shifted towards the direction of Meg Roper?

In other words...should the earlier biography be purchased instead of his newest look at Sir Thomas?

Thanks! Tracey

Friday, March 20, 2009

Question from Kathy - Burial place of Henry Brandon (d. 1534)

Does anybody happen to know where Henry Brandon, 1st Earl of Lincoln, is buried. He was the son of Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor (Henry VIII's sister) and died, apparently at Suffolk Place in Southwark in March, 1534.

My guess would be that he might have been buried either at Westminster Abbey (he was Henry VIII's nephew and a possible heir to the throne) or at the Abbey at Bury St. Edmunds with his mother who died only about 9 months before he did.

In any case, I'm going to England in June and would love to find his grave if it is possible.

Open Discussion - Fact vs. Fiction

Since Mindy submitted this as more of a commentary than a question, I thought it would be an interesting point for further discussion. We've had a bunch of threads covering questions that arise from people reading or seeing fiction, but a more general discussion might be fun.

Mindy's comment:
This more of a comment than a question.

The "Tudors" is a made for tv for show. It does not accurately portray history. While it is good that it is getting more people interested in history, and the time frame of the real Tudors, that is about it, it has no true historical value.

The same with fiction books. While they are interesting, alot of them bend the facts around to suit the plot they have in mind.

The REAL Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Anne, Jane Seymore, etc, were much more interesting than tv could ever make them. The events they were caught up in and lived were much more exciting than anything tv could make up.

Please read some well researched, well written historical biographies. Phd, Lara, and others have written out some nice lists of good books to read that will tell the true story. And they are more interesting than any tv show or fiction book any day of the week.

I started out seeing a live play, then I read fiction, and I am a little ashamed now of how many false ideas I had of these facinating people because of the fiction. I learn more everyday, and this website is terrific for getting honest information from.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Question from Marie - Jane Boleyn protesting against Anne

I've read varying accounts on an incident where Jane Boleyn was caught protesting against her sister-in-law, Queen Anne.

This seems highly illogical to me if you take into account it was while Anne was still alive and therefore still Queen. I was wondering if this information has been taken as true by historians...or if it's regarded as false. Also, I would love any more information about the event itself, if it is true, as most books seem to offer only a sentence on the matter and then flutter on to something else.

Question from Elizabeth M - Violins at the Tudor court

In the series The Tudors, the musician Marc Smeaton is always shown playing the violin. Was the violin played at the Tudor court?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Question from Nassa - Why didn't Henry VIII give Anne B. another chance


I would like to find out, maybe this has already been addressed, but I have failed to find a similar question here, why didn't Henry VIII give Anne Boleyn another chance to get pregnant and eventually deliver a son? Why wasn't he willing to try further?

Many thanks for the answer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Question from Stephanie - Anne's reaction to Henry and Jane

I don't think I've seen this covered, but I thought of this question and I can't stop wondering: After Anne Boleyn caught Jane Seymour in Henry's lap, what did she say to her? Are there any records of conversations or interactions? I have never heard any opinions of Jane by Anne throughout all my extensive research. I'm also curious to know why Anne didn't just get rid of Jane... (I know it wouldn't be that simple but certainly she had her own political alliances) ... It seems someone as strong willed as Anne would have at the very least issued a warning to Jane. Any thoughts? Thanks to everyone in advance!!!

Question from Haley - Rituals for promising or swearing

Just wondering if anyone knows of any physical rituals for promising/swearing practiced back during the times of Henry VIII? Equivalent to todays practices of pinky-swearing/crossing ones heart?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Question from Michelle - More on "The Great Matter"

I have a few questions about The Great Matter. I've read a bit about it, but I've never really been able to find what I consider to be satisfying answers to my questions (if they even exist).

I'll start by saying that I do believe that Henry began to seek the annulment from Catherine because he truly believed their marriage was invalid based on the Leviticus passage and evidenced to him by the lack of living sons by her. I don't believe Anne would have risen as she did had Catherine and Henry had 3 robust sons romping around the palace! What it turned into is a different thing, but initially, I do think he really believed that. All that said, my first question is why, after Henry realized that the annulment was not going to be "easy", did he not start going down the "treason" road with Catherine to get rid of her more quickly? To me, this shows too that he really believed he was correct about the invalidity. But more practically, was it possibly because Catherine was so beloved? Or that her royal ties were so great throughout Europe? I ask too because, from what I've read, Catherine did actually send (or try to send) letters to her nephew Emperor Charles on the matter of the divorce, essentially stating she was right and the King wrong - couldn't that be actual treason? In other words, Henry seems to have even had a case for treason - without having to trump something up. So why not go that route?

My second question is impossible to know for certain, but I'd love to know your thoughts. What do you think about Catherine and Arthur? Did they consummate their marriage? I know that it was sometimes common to keep younger couples apart in that sense for a while, but that seems unlikely to me since Catherine was 16ish and Arthur 14 or 15. And with Margaret Beaufort giving birth at 13, it seems that in royal families, producing heirs was more important than waiting until a more suitable age for consummation. Plus they were living together in Ludlow castle. Also, I know that Arthur was sick, but was he really that sick consistently for 5-6 months? I also read that he was reported to say something to the effect of 'marriage being tiring work'. Or was that simple boasting? On the other hand, would Catherine, being as devoutly pious as she was, lie about such a thing? It does not seem that she would, however, could she have been worried because she knew she lied initially? Or that she knew she would certainly be ruined (and more importantly, Mary would be illegitimate for certain) if she admitted it? (I think she continued to believe until she died that she would eventually be restored as queen).
I'd appreciate your thoughts and any good reading sources! Thanks!

[Ed. note - the second part of this post what covered in the thread below, but additional comments are always welcome!]

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Question from Kate - Lady Guildford

hi i have just read a book on mary queen of france and i wanted to know some more information about Lady Guildford

kind regars kate

[Editor's note - fixed typo I had in the title]

Question from The Rose Crowned - What Henry VIII was attracted to in women

What do you think King Henry went for in a woman?
Do you think he was a philanderer who couldn't help himself.Or just someone wanting love an attention.? david starkey mentions that he thinks henry was just looking for happiness but I think that it is more than that.What does thee all think who gais entry to this board?lords ladies?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Question from Kayleigh - Early traumas in Henry VIII's life

I asked a question a few weeks ago about doing a psychobiography on Henry VIII. Today, i got the go ahead. Basically i need to write about any traumatic early life experiences he may have had, back this up with psychological theory and then round it up with why this COULD have causes him to be narcissistic. So basically.. i need help finding these early life traumatic experiences (if there any!) or books that would have information on this?

Thanks in advance for any help.

[Update - here's the link to the thread on Derek Wilson's Brief History of Henry VIII mentioned in the comments]

And here's a link to a post I did about the book itself on the News blog:

Question from Sam - Anne Boleyn's second pregnancy

Sorry in advance if this has been touched upon before... I'd be interested to know what you think about Anne Boleyn's rather mysterious second pregnancy. From what I understand, she conceived within months of Elizabeth's birth and the baby was due the following summer. She was showing a 'goodly belly' in June but after that, all goes quiet until Chapuys reports, in the September, that 'The Lady is no longer to have a child' (or words to that effect). Antonia Fraser's take on it (in '6 Wives') is that royal miscarriages/stillbirths didn't tend to be public news (she uses the end of Katherine of Aragon's first pregnancy as an example- reported only in a private letter to her father some months later) but it doesn't quite hold water for me in Anne Boleyn's case. After all, the eyes of the world were upon her (many of them hostile) almost exclusively in relation to her fertility (or otherwise) especially following the birth of a daughter instead of the long-expected son. So what's the explanation? Was she pregnant or was it wishful thinking? If she did have a late miscarriage/stillbirth why didn't the sex of the child leak out, especially as it did (the boy 'born before term') when she miscarried following Katherine's funeral?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Question from Mimi - Katherine of Aragon's final years

I would like some information about how Katherine of Aragon spent her final years after her divorce from Henry VIII.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Question from djd - Heads of executed females

I hope my question does not seem silly, but here goes. I have always thought that Anne Boleyn was buried with her head in the chapel of St. Peters A.V. after her execution. The other day, I was checking out the State papers online, and I read a letter from someone describing her execution in which it was said that her head was placed on the bridge - along with other traitors. Is this true? How about the other women like Katherine H. and Jane G.? Thanks very much.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Question from Olivia - People with disabilities in Tudor times

How were people with disabilities viewed and treated in the Tudor period? Specifically, are there any records of disabled people among the nobility and at court?

Question from Caitlin - Resources for Tudor medicine

Hi, I'm a senior at High school (17) and am working on a History research project based on Tudor Stuart times. I have chosen to focus on medicine. Part of the assignment is to form our own comprehensive questions and I have come up with these:

1. To what extent did doctors affect the lives of people of different classes during Tudor Stuart times?
2. What was the significance of the role of doctors and medicine in society during Tudor Stuart times?
3. To what extent did one's health affect their daily lives?

These haven't been approved by my teacher yet (q. 3 isn't very good) But I was wondering if they are (more or less) comprehensive enough?
-Where I can find resources specifically focusing on medicine in Tudor times? I have already read one short history of Medicine, about the four humors.
-Where could I find sources on diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, and the role of doctors?

Thanks for any help!

Question from Amy - Essential reading recommendations

I have been interested in Tudor history for many years and have been building a collection of both nonfiction and historical fiction books related to this time. I am wondering if there are any particular books, particularly nonfiction, that you would consider essential reading.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Question from salmonpuff - Henry VIII mistress during Seymour marriage

Hi everyone
Just a quick question from me, mainly as I've been reading a lot on the new series of the tudors coming up. The latest photographs show an unknown woman who is said to be a mistress named 'Ursula' at the time he was married to Jane Seymour. The cynic in me knows that this probably isn't the case,but I was just wondering if anyone knew if Henry had any mistresses when he was married to Jane?

Thanks all!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Question from Mindy - Bathing frequency and cleaning clothes

The strange questions that come to my mind ealy in the morning!

Elizabeth has a reputation of bathing quite frequently. Frequently compared to other people of the times at any rate. From what I understand, most people were not fastidious in keeping themselves clean.

So my question is, does anyone have a rough estimation of, from reading the letters and official papers, where everything Elizabeth did was noted, actually what WAS frequent for bathing? Once a day, once a week, or more to what I am thinking once a month or so?

And how did they clean their clothing? I know washerwomen were kept, but some materials were impossible to be washed in tradional boiling and scrubbing.

We romantasize the Tudor's but really it must have been extremely oderous, with the lack of knowledge of sanitation and cleanliness!!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Question from Elizabeth M - Henry VIII expressing regret for Anne's execution

I read somewhere a long time ago that Henry VIII, before his death, expressed regret at having Anne Boleyn executed and admitted her innocence. Is this true or just a fanciful tale? I wish I could remember where I saw it--it is not in any of the books I have, so I don't remember if it was an old magazine article or something I read on the internet.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Double comments

I just wanted to alert everyone to a weird little technical glitch I'm seeing with some comments coming through double. I'm trying to make sure I post one and "reject" the other, but if a comment accidentally shows up twice you'll know I goofed. :)

Question from Joan - More on historical research

I will call this questions on historical research part B.

Would a good historical researcher of the Tudor era use primary sources plus works of previous historians? For instance, if someone was a respected authority would you go ahead and use some of their material? (no use in reinventing the wheel type of thing) or- would you feel you must verify what they have written? Is there a general consensus on who is a "respected authority"?

How likely do you think it is for new (new to us that is) Tudor related documents to be discovered? I'm imagining a written documents version of the Cheapside Hoard. Also, are there known materials in existence that researchers are not allowed to access?

Sorry for going on about this topic. There seems to be such a fascination and much debate about what did and did not really happen during the Tudor time period. I know there are good and bad resources out there and I'm trying to understand the process that leads to the reliable resources.

[ed note - accidentally cut off the end of Joan's question... fixed now!]

Question from Ciara - Bookbinding, illumination and bibliophiles

Hi all,

I have a question regarding bookbinding and illumination. Do any of you know if there is anywhere that people still produce books by hand?
Or anywhere that does illumination for books, broadsheets, etc.?

Is there a place where you can learn this trade?

And were any of the Tudors great bibliophiles?

Thanks so much!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Next live blog/read-along book!

Going on the past successes of the Henry: Virtuous Prince and The Sisters Who Would Be Queen threads, here's the next one!

When I posted on the main blog about Derek Wilson's new book A Brief History of Henry VIII, PhD Historian generously offered to do a "blog as you read" for this one. Since this book is inexpensive, this would be a good one to also do as a read-along for anyone who is interested. It is currently listed as "dispatched in 1 to 3 weeks" by Amazon UK and is "In Stock" at Amazon US (although the release date is technically March 9). And full disclosure, if you order through the links on the post above, it goes to my affiliate store and I get a small portion of the sale, which goes towards paying for web hosting and research books.

Question from Mindy - Troubadors in Tudor times

I do not know as much about the common man in Tudor time as I would like, (maybe none of us do).
Troubador's were a very popular form of entertainment, and story telling in earlier reigns, but in the Tudor reigns I have not seen "troubador" mentioned in any context as being a current form of entertainment for royalty. Obviously troubadors fell out of fashion, but those of you who study the common people, might know if troubadors went to the marketfairs, individual homes, etc.