Monday, December 23, 2013

Question from Jeanie - Munnings Family

I am researching the history of the Munnings Family of Nedging, Suffolk. The Manor of Nedging was given to Charles Brandon in 1516 after the death of Margaret de la Pole, widow of Edmund, previous Duke of Suffolk. In a 1615 history of the family, a Henry Munnings who lived in Nedging was said to have been hired by Charles Brandon to be his Superintendent of Music in his chapel. It also says that because Henry Munnings was fluent in the french language he traveled with Charles to France in 1515 when he "fetched home the french queen Mary". My question is does this sound the slightest bit plausible? Is there anyway to find out if it is true? My gut tells me this is a bunch of nonsense, but I need to be able to really disprove it. thank you for any help you can offer.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Question from Ashley - Succession to the throne if Arthur had lived

If Arthur had not died at the age of 15 would he(after henry The 7th had died)have still become king??or is it likely that henry would have dared to seriously challenge his brother arthur's right to the throne even though they were very close to each other despite the fearsome reputation henry later earned during his own time as king??

Question from Ashley - Catherine Parr and charges of heresy

Did Catherine parr ACTUALLY committ Heresy herself??and(is it known)who saw the information on the arrest warrant(after it was accidently dropped)and Quickly told catherine about it??

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Question from Bess - Hoods of Spanish women

What kind of hoods did the Spanish women wear? (around the time Katharine of Aragon came to England)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Question from John - Story of Elizabeth and a man in the garden

Where did the story that Elizabeth hugged man in the garden when she lived with her stepmother Catherine Parr.Thanks for any answers.

[The submitter didn't leave an email address so I can't contact him to clarify, but I believe this is in reference to the incidents between Elizabeth, Thomas Seymour, and Katherine Parr at Chelsea. - Lara]

Friday, December 13, 2013

Question from Sarah - Catherine Parr and Elizabeth Tyrwhit

How was Catherine Parre related to Elizabeth Tyrwhit?

Monday, December 09, 2013

Question from Amanda - Familial connection between Katherine Grey and Katherine Plantagenet

Hello, I've heard of there being a familial connection between Katherine Grey, sister to Jane Grey, and Katherine Plantagenet, illegitimate daughter of Richard III. Is there actually this kind of connection between these families? If so, who are their common ancestors? Any info would be helpful. Thank you in advance.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Question from Alexandria - Red hair and hair dyeing

How common was the hair colour red in Tudor times and was it possible to dye your hair red?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Question from Sasha - Punishment for adultery in 16th century

Was adultery punishable by death in the 16th century, particularly in the time of King Henry VIII? Was it different for men and woman? Specifically, for a queen?

[See previous related threads linked below. - Lara]

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Question from Marilu - Modern use of the Boleyn name

Is the last name Boleyn still in use? On my island Curacao there different people with that last name. Over the years it evolved to Boelyn Bolyn, but they are the same family. Curacao was in the past a British colony. Maybe they are related to Anne Boleyn and her sister.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Question from Bron - Amy Robsart's death and Catherine Grey

Amy Robsart's death and the Catherine Grey Conspiracy: Amy Robsarts death and an Entertainment @ Bisham: Sunday 8 September 1560. Some questions.

Was Amys death in any way connected with the Hobys entertainment at Bisham Sunday 8 September 1560, where a marriage between Lady Catherine Grey and Edward Seymour was arranged that very same day?

The Hobys entertained some rather important guests at Bisham Abbey on 8 September 1560, which was the day after the Queens birthday and also the day Amy Robsart died. The guests included the Lord Marquess of Northampton, the Earls of Arundell and Hertford (Edward Seymour (22 May 1539 1621: the second surviving son of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and Anne Stanhope), the Lord Cobham, the Lord Henry Seimer (Seymour: a younger son of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and Anne Stanhope), Sir Roger North, Lady Katherine Grey (the younger sister of Lady Jane Grey), Lady Jane Seymour (15411561), daughter of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and Anne Stanhope), the Lady Cecil (Mildred Cooke); Mrs Blanche Parry and Mrs Mansfield. A most interesting melange, congregated together the day after Queen Elizabeths birthday, when one would have perhaps expected Blanche Parry to be in attendance at Court.

It is said that, during the entertainment at Bisham in September 1560, Lady Jane negotiated the ill-fated wedding of Katherine Grey to her brother, Henry Seymour, Earl of Hertford.

It is a little difficult to imagine that these negotiations were wholly unknown to those present, including Cecils wife, Mildred, or to Elizabeths long-term companion, Blanche Parry. Both escaped unscathed from the fall-out.

And on the same day, Amy Robsart was found dead @ Cumnor. Her death ensured that Robert Dudley would never become Elizabeths consort.

Question from April - Evidence for Elizabeth's lodging in the Tower as prisoner

I'm trying to find solid, factual evidence to support whether the Princess Elizabeth Tudor was imprisoned in the Bell Tower (either the first or second floor) or in the later demolished Royal Apartments during her incarceration in the Tower of London in 1554. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

(See related previous thread linked below. - Lara)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Question from TudorGirl - Menstruation and maternity clothes

I'm interested in women's health during the Tudor period. I was looking everywhere to find information on menstruation and way of dealing with it. In 'Perkin' Ann Wroe wrote that Henry VII supplied Katherine Gordon (Perkin Warbeck's wife) with "night kerchers for her periods". I can't find more information on menstruation during the Tudor period though. Can anyone help?

I'm also interested in pregnancy. Did Tudor women have maternity clothes prepared for them during pregnancy or did they wear regular garments with some adjustments? I'm very interested.

Thank you in advance.

(See related previous thread linked below. - Lara)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Question from Sasha - Anne Boleyn's room and attendants in the Tower

What was Anne Boleyn's time in the Tower of London like? What did the room look like? (Was there a desk and a bed etc). In specific, was there a window. Who was she with? Were there any attendants waiting in the tower with her and who was she in contact with outside of the tower? (Sending letters).

Any response appreciated.

Question from Sasha - Clothing of Anne Boleyn's attendants at her execution

What did Anne Boleyn's attendants wear (what colours and styles etc) and did they stand with her on the scaffold upon her execution. (I know there were two).

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Question from C. Codner - Source for Henry VIII's divorce request and the original papal bull for marriage

I am studying/ working to be a religious scholar at The New School, and at the moment I am researching for primary sources dealing with sex, marriage, and religion. I am specifically looking for the letter sent by Henry VIII with all the reasons why he should be able to divorce Catherine of Aragon.

Another primary source I am looking for is the papal bull that allowed Henry to marry Catherine in the first place. I have looked through source books, and tried to track down specific documents on the internet/sifted through bibliographies that may piece together the trail to finding these, and similar texts.

If you have a name of a source book, a scholar, or anything, I'd love to hear from you.

Thank you.
C. Codner

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Question from Ben - Origin of Elizabeth's child by Thomas Seymour story

Where did the story that Elizabeth gave birth to a child of Thomas Seymour and that the child was burned in the fireplaice.Thank for you any answers.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Question from Anna - Mary's position in the succession if Katherine had agreed to an annulment

What if Katherine of Aragon had let Henry 8th marry Anne Boleyn- would that have jeopardized Mary's position in the line to the throne and not let her see her mother?

If Katherine had gone in to a nunnery and let him marry Anne,I do believe that Mary would have been able to see her mother and still be in line to the throne after Anne's son.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A couple of recent milestones

Time for one of those occasional markings of arbitrary milestones. :) First off, yesterday was the 8th anniversary of this blog! Hard to believe it's been that long. And, I just happened to notice on the blog stats that sometime in the last month, it reached 1 million page views! And that's just since July 2007 since the stats got reset during one of the blog shuffles. I know I don't say it nearly often enough but THANK YOU to everyone who reads and submits questions to the blog and the *BIGGEST* thank you to the wonderful and knowledgeable commenters who share their time and research here. You guys are what make the blog a success!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Question from Bron - Death of Mary I

I wondered why I never found a reference of any sort to the possibility that Mary Tudor I was poisoned, although her death was extraordinarily convenient for proponents of the reformed religion at the time. It is generally agreed today that she died of stomach cancer/ovarian cysts or uterine cancer, at the age of 41.

Many people are reluctant to speculate on health matters in the dim and distant past. However, I find the topic fascinating. The aspects I find most interesting include motive; ability; technique and results.

Generally, we are led to believe that royalty was very well protected indeed from poisoning. They had food tasters, and were not supposed to accept gifts such as food, fruit, flowers, gloves, clothing, linen, or indeed anything which might contain poison.

The idea of poison which might have been dusted on, or fabrics drenched in it, is impractical: in the first case too many bystanders would be affected and in the second (gloves, for example) the donor (and their associates) could be tracked down.

Now, if you want to poison someone, it is a good idea not to poison yourself in the process. So the poison needs to be containable: it needs to be something that will affect the target rather more than the poisoner. (That means wholesale contamination of tapestries, rugs and bed-linen can be ruled out.) It is also a good idea not to kill your target immediately, because that gives the game away: a subtle long-term process is best. So you need a substance that will not kill you if you are careful when handling it; a substance which is easily available and untraceable and undetectable and is found in every ladys chamber. And a method which no-one would suspect or investigate.

How do you administer such a substance if it cannot be sprinkled around, or given by mouth? This was the question I asked myself when I and the dog went shopping this morning.

And it is obvious. This was a technique which was truly indetectable at the time. The insertion of arsenic in menstrual tampons. Bear with me. Arsenic is a colorless, odorless and tasteless potent poison. It was easily available everywhere in Tudor England. Known as rats-bane, it was also used for makeup, popular with alchemists, and a pea-sized amount of arsenic trioxide was fatal. Usually beggars used it to make large and elaborate wounds on their bodies after scarifying their flesh. I suspect that the insertion of arsenic in the vaginal tract during menstruation, when the tract is more alkaline, would have made it even more effective at that time.

At the moment this is just a theory I have. My husband, of course, has said it is nonsense. And that is exactly what men did, and do. I very much doubt that the royal Councillors would have inspected (or suspected) tampons as an avenue of poison. And used tampons would have naturally been destroyed quickly and privately, for all sorts of reasons.

It would have been quite simple to dowse any tampon-like material with arsenic.

My husband (as the men ruling the Court at that time would have done), has dismissed my idea as nonsense. His immediate reaction was to ask, what proof do I have of any woman being poisoned by arsenic inserted in her vagina? Well, I do have one: the murder of someone called BRIDGET ROBINSON (d. June 12, 1594), whose husband purchased a pennyworth of ratsbane (arsenic) and was told to mix the ratsbane with "glass small beaten and wrapt in the skinne of a shoulder of mutton to the quantity of a haslenut or lesse" and then, when his wife came "to lie with him he should convey it into her privy parts." More details from the pamphlet can be found in Strange Inhuman Deaths by John Bellamy. The actual account from the inquest and indictment are in R. F. Hunnisett, ed., Sussex Coroner' Inquests 1558-1603. See

How much easier to sprinkle or drench menstrual cloths in arsenic?

Monday, November 04, 2013

Question from Bron - 'Godmother at the bishop'

What does 'godmother at the Bishop' mean, please?

'In 1516, Princess Mary was baptised at the Church of the Observant Friars at Greenwich. Cardinal Wolsey was her Godfather, Katherine of Devon and the Duchess of Norfolk were her Godmothers at the font, and the Countess of Salisbury was her Godmother at the bishop'.

Thank you!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Question from kb - The Book of the Royal Household

Hi All,

I was wondering if anyone knew anything about the 'The Royall Book' - the book of court etiquette in place for Henry VII's court and probably written by Margaret Beaufort, his mother. It is also referred to as the 'The Book of the Royal Household'.

Is there a printed edition anywhere?

If not, does anyone know the archive where it, or a copy, might reside?

Thank you

Monday, October 21, 2013

Question from Peter - Polish soldiers in England under Henry VIII

During a recent discussion with a friend, it was suggested that there may be many people living in England who, unbeknownst to them, have Polish ancestry. This assumption is based on the "fact" that Henry VIII summoned a not inconsiderable number of Polish soldiers (mercenaries?)for some purpose to England during his reign and many of them subsequently settled over here. I am unaware of such an event happening, but perhaps someone could either confirm or dispel this theory.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Question from Robert - Layout of Elizabethan courts of law

What was the floor plan of an Elizabethan court of law? Where did the judge sit and where were the accuser and defendant?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Question from Bron - Henry Talbot, stepson of Bess of Hardwick

I can't find out much about this person: I know he was the one who was delegated to ride and tell Elizabeth about Mary's execution.

This is all I have:
Hon. Henry Talbot (1554 - January 20, 1596) was a younger son of George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury and his first wife Gertrude Manners. In 1584, Henry and Edward had just returned from a long tour of France. He married Elizabeth Reyner (c.1556 - 1613), daughter of Sir William Reyner of Overton Longvile, Hunts Knight, and Elizabeth Lynne). They had two daughters, Gertrude (c1588 1649) and Mary (1595 1674/5). Henrys wife had an estate called Orton Longeville situated near Fotheringhay. His wife married secondly Sir Thomas Holcroft.

Any other information out there, please?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Question from George - Toilet facilities for crowds in Tudor times

When large crowds gathered in Tudor times, whether for the theater, parades, church services, or court occasions, what were the toilet facilities? One presumes chamber pots for some occasions, but that's a lot of chamber pots, and they would need to be serviced. For large crowds, what did they use to clean, comparable to today's toilet paper, if anything?

Today when people go to popular public events, men and women queue up for the men's and women's toilets. I work at a historic site, and this question was asked. Thus, the question.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Question from Luciana - Dining practices for upper class homes and children

I would like some help about about supper time for rich people living away from court (This is for the 1510s). Did children eat seperately? If so, where did they eat. What would the dining hall look like? If the father was at court,were the mother and children expected to to follow him or was it ok for them to stay away from court? Were there entertainers? Any other information would be greatly appreciated.This is for a story im writing about Anne Boleyn and her childhood home, Hever castle.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Question from Becca - Factual basis for fictional portrayals of Henry VIII and his wives

Hi, I'm a third year university student (UK) and I am just starting to collect some info for my dissertation. I do not have a solid question as of yet, however, I would like to do something along the lines of 'how far do fictional works on the life of Henry VIII & his relationship with his wives have basis in fact?' I have chosen this because I do have a good back ground knowledge of the Tudors and I'm very passionate for subject, especially the personal life of Henry. I also find the modern representations of Henry (in film and tv series) fascinating, in particular how key historical facts are often left out and are replaced by stereotypes for entertainment value. The Tudors seem to be a fashionable topic in film and media at the moment, I'm keen to find out why and (in relation to my dissertation) if they do have basis in fact? However, I'm starting to worry slightly that maybe there won't be enough information/sources for a 12,000 word project. Has anyone written a similar essay or studied this topic? Know any good books to recommend? I want to get started as soon as but my tutor will only see me once every two weeks! Any help would be greatly received. Thank you.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Question from Michelle - Anne Boleyn's surviving letters

How many letters that Anne Boleyn wrote have survived? I know there is the letter that a very young Anne wrote to her father, 2-3 she wrote to Cardinal Wolsey and a short one to Thomas Crowmell. Are there any more? Thanks!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Question from Norman - Tudor parts of Hampton Court Palace

My understanding of the Hampton Court Palace Cumberland Suite is that it is the remains of Henry VIIIs private suite of rooms. On my last visit a guide showed me a very small and very old door and that would have connected his inner most rooms to the Bayne Tower. I am not very tall and I would have had to stoop to use this door. I cant imagine the very tall Henry using it, but there it is. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Regarding the Queens apartments immediately above the suite: does anyone know what state it is in and whether it contains Tudor elements?

Also, so the brick columns now on the face of the suite cover Wolseys glass bay windows?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Question from Bron - Anne Boleyn accusing Charles Brandon of Incest

Did Anne Boleyn accuse Charles Brandon of incest with one of his daughters?

In 1531, the Imperial ambassador reported that Anne Boleyn wants to revenge herself on the duke of Suffolk, for having once brought a charge against her honour, (and has) accused him of criminal intercourse with his own daughter. No one knows yet what will come out of all this. [5] La dite dame aussi pour le mesme respect, et pour se venger de ce que le due de sufforcq lauoit autres fois voulu charger de son honneur, luy a fait mectre sus quil se mesloit et copuloit avec sa propre fille (Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 4 Part 1, note 302.)


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Question from Ray - Nobility at Elizabeth's court c. 1574

Looking for a concise list of ALL Nobility who were at Queen Elizabeth's Court at around 1574. Any ideas on where I can get this list or anyone who has a comprehensive list, I would love a copy of it. This applies to Male AND female Courtiers. HELP!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Question from Peter - Family Alliances

I have come across a number of references where it is stated that certain families had 'alliances'.

It is seldom made clear what the nature of such 'alliances' is.

Does anyone have a view about what the term 'alliance' does and does not imply?

Thank you.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Question from Bron - Christmas court of 1543

I am trying to find out about the Royal Christmas at the end of 1543. Some sources state that Henry and Parr brought all three children together at Havering, but I can't seem to find any documentation. I would appreciate it if you have any information, please.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Question from Frances - Henry VIII and horse sizes

Is it true that Henry VIII banned all horses under a certain size (maybe 14 hands?) so that only bigger horses would be bred in England?
If so, that would eliminate most Arabian horses.

Question from Mary Ann - Possible 8th child of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York

This is a question that I have had for many years that I have not been able to clear up. It all started when I read the Agnes Strickland Lives of the Queens of England volume series through an interlibrary loan.

I seem to remember Ms. Strickland mentioning that Elizabeth of York and King Henry VII had another child that died at birth or soon after and that child's name was George, making a total of eight children between Henry VII and Elizabeth. However, I cannot find any other sources to confirm this. I had simply given up ever finding any other sources to confirm this or refute it so I had kind of forgotten about it.

Recently, this all came back to me as I was reading the Plantagenet Somerset Fry book Lives of the Kings and Queens of England and Scotland and I seem to remember it mentioned that some sources state that Henry VII and Elizabeth of York had a son named Edward that appears in some of the correspondence of the period, but the author was not sure if this was another son, or a variant of the name Edmund, the boy that died at about 18 months old.

Any information that anyone has to confirm or refute this would be greatly appreciated. I would also like to know the sources you have that can verify it as well.


Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Question from Lisa - Christopher Hatton's illegitimate daughter Elizabeth

Many sources say that Christopher Hatton had an illegitimate daughter, named Elizabeth, who then had an illegitimate child with John Perrot. I have been trying to find more information about Elizabeth. When was she born? Who was her mother? Any information will be appreciated.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Question from Mer - Wolsey's death and burial

I just read an interesting photo essay on Leicester Abbey that raises speculation over Wolsey taking his own life (I believe this was also the way The Tudors staged it). Is there convincing proof of suicide, or is this merely a dramatic invention? Also, any news on whether or not they're going to attempt to find Wolsey, given the success with uncovering Richard III?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Questions from Jules - Court 'season' and Charles Brandon's estates c. 1516


I'm a published author and am doing research for a novel which will heavily feature Charles Brandon. I specifically need help with two things:
1) the months Henry's court was active - did they have a 'season' - and where everyone resided at that time (i.e the castle name). If you have any links to floor plans and further research, that would be awesome.

2) Brandon's estates/holdings after the time of his marriage to Princess Mary (circa 1516). What did he hold when he married Mary? Any house/castle he lived in/visited frequently? Or was he mainly at court with Henry? Are any of his estates still in existence now?

Many thanks!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Question from Sarah - Lodging for courtiers and spouses

Did married courtiers sleep separately from their spouses whilst at court? If so, when did they ever have carnal knowledge of each other?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Question from Dan - Slaves in Henry VIII's England

Did Henry VIII, or any of his courtiers, have slaves?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Delays in postings and comment approval

I've had a death in my family and so I won't be able to get to postings and comments right away for the next few days. I just wanted to let everyone know.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Question from Tim - Catherine Middleton possible descent from Edward IV

I read that Kate Middleton may have been descended from an aunt of Henry VIII - an illegitimate daughter of Edward IV. Do you think this is true?

[Here's a previous thread on Catherine Middleton's ancestry, although I didn't see any information on this particular relation. - Lara]

Friday, August 09, 2013

Question from Orla - Sir William Stanley and the Earldom of Chester

Hello, I was wondering if anyone had more information about Sir William Stanley and his unsuccessful bid to become Earl of Chester. I've recently read War of the Roses by Trevor Royle and he fleetingly mentions Stanley dissatisfaction with Henry VII. The earldom of Chester though was a title used for an heir apparent, and was used for Prince Arthur in 1489, so how long was Stanley petitioning for it? And was he trying to receive another title when Arthur received Chester?

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Question from Steve - Thomas Shales, butler to Catherine Howard

I have come into posession of what is described in an attached letter as a portion of a silk dress which belonged to Catherine Howard which was brought from the tower by her butler Thomas Shales. My understanding is that when she was held in Syon Abbey Catherine only had 6 dresses. I have two questions. Was Thomas Shales a royal butler for the queen? Are there any descriptions of those 6 dresses? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Question from Stacey - Henry VII and Perkin Warbeck

I just finished Philippa Gregory's "The White Princess". Part of the book is about the time that Perkin Warbeck spent at the court of Henry VII & that he was given an allowance, treated well & was basically free to come & go. Is this correct? Henry had believed that Warbeck was a huge threat, so why would he allow him at court? Was Henry VII really in love with Warbeck's wife? If so, why didn't he marry her? (sorry for so many questions)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Question from Poppy - Foxe's treatment of reigns of Henry VIII and Mary I

For my dissertation in my third year at University i'm focusing on John Foxe and his book of martyrs. My question is 'Propaganda or reality in John Foxe?'
I am assessing the differences between the reigns of Henry VIII and Mary Tudor in his book to work out if he was bias towards a certain monarch etc.

So far i've found out that, as a Protestant, Foxe obviously documented Mary's reign in a negative light. However, what I cannot seem to find out is why Henry felt the need to deal with heretics when his take on religion seems to be iffy, almost as if he wants to keep both sides happy.

Any help would be great!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Question from Margaret - Anne Boleyn's favorite ladies in waiting

Does anyone know who Queen Ann Boleyn's chief Ladies in Waiting were....and who among them were her favorites?

(See this previous thread for some of the names of the ladies: - Lara)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Question from Mairead - Use of wet nurses by the middle classes


Would middle class Tudor women have employed wet nurses to breastfeed their children (wives of gentlemen farmers/businessmen etc). I saw a thread about wet nurse use amongst upperclass women, but wondered how widespread the practice was amongst more ordinary folk. Reason I'm asking is because I'm writing a novel set in the period - in general, if an up and coming member of society could afford a wet-nurse, would he employ one?

Many thanks

Monday, July 22, 2013

Question from Kay - Yuletide festivities at Whitehall

Hi, I'm working on a novel based on the life of Lady Mary Wroth, the niece of Sir Philip Sidney. I'm setting a few scenes in Whitehall, which has been a struggle since there are so many competing accounts of how it was laid out and which rooms were used for what. So far, my best resource, I think, has been Simon Thurley's 'Whitehall Palace' and I'm relying most heavily on that.

But here's my question. I'm dramatizing a moment that is mentioned in one of the letters of the time saying that my main character danced before Queen Elizabeth on St. Stephen's Day in 1602 in the afternoon. I'm trying to determine/decide how such a presentation would have fit into the festivities of the yuletide and where such a presentation would take place. Would it be after the noon meal in the Great Hall? In the Presence Chamber? In the Banqueting Hall?

If anyone has any insights into what the daily rhythm would be like during the yuletide and where these types of events would occur, I'd be very grateful for any help!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Question from Mary R - Charges against Thomas Cromwell

Thomas Cromwell was executed for heresy among other things. What exactly did he say or do merit this in the king's eyes (besides marry Henry off to an ugly woman)?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Question from Isabel - Why did Henry VIII struggle to produce an heir

I am 17 and doing my EPQ on Henry VIII and my title is "Why did Henry VIII struggle to produce an heir?"
I would appreciate your opinion on why he seemed to, or whether he did, have problems producing a male heir. I would like to use it, along with other historian's opinions, and my own research to help me reach a conclusion.
Thank you very much for your time,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Question from Marilyn R - Remains of those burned at the stake

Today, 16th July, in 1546 Anne Askew, John Lascelles, John Adams and Nicholas Belenian were burned at the stake at Smithfield for heresy.

What happened to what few remains there would be after execution by burning? Would there be any sort of burial? Would the flames have been intense enough to destroy bone and teeth?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Question from Conor - Henry Manox and Kathryn Howard's downfall


I am aware that in May 2011 a question was asked about Henry Manox, but unfortunately the answers did not aid my research.

I have been researching in detail Katherine Howard's downfall, particularly the role of her so-called accomplices aka Jane Rochford, Joan Bulmer, Katherine Tylney etc. All of these women, and other Howard relatives, were charged - in Jane's case, of course, her charge of treason led to her death.

Why was Henry Manox never charged with anything? He had first initiated Katherine into the sexual world while a pre-pubescent girl, and I frankly find it bizarre that he was never punished. It seems he was interrogated in November 1541, alongside Dereham, but then his name never comes up again.

I have been trying to track down written documents which can help, but has anyone got ANY idea of Manox's eventual fate? Why was he never punished?

For all we know, maybe he was murdered or something at the time. Or he could have been married and the interrogators felt it was not worth pursuing, in contrast with Dereham.

It is a mystery.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Question from Julian - Henry VII's military training

I am a serious amatuer Historian and Living History enthusiast of the English late-15th century; and I have been researching the 13 yr. Exile of Henry Earl of Richmond. And after 5 years steady part-time work on this project, I have exhausted all the mentions in English sources. One side-thread I am just starting to consider, - not having thought of it previously - is how much military training Jasper Tudor would have insisted the young Henry undertake. Do you know if any reputable military Historian has published anything on Henry VII as a soldier and military commander. If you do, references would be gratefully received. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Question from Nigel - More and the burial of the Princes in the Tower

This is a question about how Thomas More was able to say where the two bodies of the Princess in the Tower were located. It is a question out of curiousity as I have been watching "The White Queen" and have since been reading up on the history behind that period.

In his history of King Richard III, Thomas More said that the princes were smothered to death in their beds by two agents of James Tyrell — Miles Forrest and John Dighton — and were then buried "at the stayre foote, metely depe in the grounde vnder a great heape of stones". He then went on to say that they were later disinterred and buried in a secret place.

In 1674, some workmen remodelling the Tower of London dug up a wooden box containing two small human skeletons. The bones were found in the ground close to the White Tower, consistent with More's description of the original burial place of the princes (under the tower stairs), but not consistent with More's later claim that the bodies had been subsequently removed and buried elsewhere.

(The two paragraphs above have been compiled from information I have found from searching on Google and Wikipedia.)

I am a little confused as to where Thomas More got his information from as to the exact (and originally correct) location of the bodies as according to him he wrote that James Tyrell confessed to the murders and implicated the other two but that James Tyrell was unable to say where the where the bodies were.

Does this mean Thomas More had another source of information as to where the bodies were buried?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Question from Peter - Elizabethan wardship

Dear Friends,

Re Wardship

The following is from the Calendar of Elizabeth I Patent Rolls:

"16th May 1587 Grant to Anne Copleys and Robert Bradforde of the wardship and marriage of Jasper Pecke son and heir of Nicholas Pecke with an annuity of £3 from 16 July 26 Eliz. (1584)"

I believe both Jasper's parents were alive in May 1587.Nicholas Pecke died circa 1590. Jasper was born circa 1568.

Q.1 Is it possible one or both of Jasper's parents were living at the time of this wardship in 1587? I know the law on wardship changed over time.

Q.2 What is the likely relationship between Anne Copleys and Robert Bradforde? Would they have been in the same household?

Q.3 What is the annuity of £3 all about? Was this a large sum?

Q.4 What is the significance of the two dates 16th May 1587 and 16 July (1584)

Thank you so much Peter

Question from Tim - De La Warre house in London

The family of Thomas West, Baron De La Warre, of Wherwell, England, lived in London for part of the year.

Where in London did the De La Warres have a house?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Question from Sora - Anne Boleyn story and toast

I read today that Alexandre Dumas père wrote a cookbook dictionary, & that he included this story about Anne Boleyn in his cookbook:

"One day Anne Boleyn, then the most beautiful woman in England, was taking her bath, surrounded by the lords of her suite. These gentlemen, courting her favour, each took a glass, dipped it in the tub, and drank her health. All but one, who was asked why he did not follow their example. 'I am waiting for the toast,' he said. Which was not bad for an Englishman."

Is this true? I never read about Anne taking bath surrounded by men.

I also read that the english namead a toast of 'Anne Boleyn'. It is made os black bread with butter, herring and cinnamon. They eat it with tea, as a snack or as a simple meal. I also never head about this toast, and found nothing on the internet about it...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Question from Michael - Edward IV's children

I am currently watching the television production of the "White Queen", could you please tell me in what order Edward IV's children were born and which ones survived?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Question from Denise - Marriage of Anne Knollys and Thomas Temple

Thomas Temple son of Sir William Temple provost Trinity College married Anne Knollys daughter of Sir Francis Knollys the younger. I cannot find their marriage or birth of any children ESP their daughters Laetitia and Francis. He was a Minister in Ireland then Battersea London. Can any one help?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Question from Trish - Robert Brandon (d. 1591)

Hi I am hoping you can tell me if my Robert Brandon died 30th May 1591 English goldsmith and jeweller to Queen Elizabeth 1 of England married to Katherine Barber and father to Alice Brandon whose husband was Nicholas Hilliard (he was Roberts apprentice of seven years in the 1560s)

Is connected to any of the William Brandons mentioned on your site, as I have failed to find parents for him.

Thank you in anticipation
Kind Regards Trish

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Question from Bronwen - Attachment of jewels to clothes

I have read and researched Tudor history for many years now. I cannot find an answer for the following:
How did court dressmakers and tailors attach jewels to clothes, I have read they were sewn on - but how ? surely some would have come adrift and conveniently ended up in someone's pocket.Is it possible they used a form of paste.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Question from Steve - Tudor roofing

Thanks for this opportunity.

I am trying to create a truly realistic Tudor house.
I have researched all I can, but there is one thing I cant find.

On Tudor house roof design, did they use 'V' shaped ridge tiles, or strips of lead ???

Thatched roofing is no issue, as the material did the task, but roofs made from slate or stone ???
Also, if the house was grand enough, and they used tiles, were they shaped, or simply rectangular ??

Any help would be greatly appreciated,
Steve (Sorry, too old to be a student.....)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Question from Mary - Clarification of two pieces of information on Edward VI

I am working on a personal project and need two minor pieces of information on Edward VI. I know this information is found in "The Last Tudor King" by H.W. Chapman, but right now personal access to the book is not an option for me. Also, I was hoping someone may have more detail than is mentioned in Chapman's book.

1) What are the details of Edward getting lost while riding in Wiltshire c. 1553? He came across a child named Dew, from Bower Chalk. This child lived well into the 17th century and told people the story of meeting the king. What are the details of that story (or that story within a story-- who was "Dew")?

2) Years after Edward VI died, one of his desks was opened. What was found inside? I remember something about dog collars-- what else was in the desk? And how many collars? Who opened the desk when the discovery was made, when was this discovery made, and where?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


Question from Conor - Katherine Howard's resting place

Hi - I am researching and writing a biography of Queen Katherine Howard and I have just finished reading Elisabeth Wheeler's study of her. Not only does Wheeler suggest that the execution was carried out secretly at night-time, but she argues that Katherine was never buried in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, near Anne Boleyn - as her body was never found in the Victorian period. She suggests Katherine may have been buried elsewhere.

I have also read Weir's "Lady in the Tower" and she suggests that the body identified as Anne Boleyn may actually be Katherine, which I disagree with.

I personally believe that Katherine WAS buried in this chapel, and like Lady Jane Grey, her bones were never discovered as they had dissolved due to her age (both were teenagers).

Can anyone provide me with further info / their own ideas? Thanks.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Question from Courtney - Gates of London

I was wondering if anyone could tell me which gate a group of travelers from Worcestershire would use to enter the city of London in 1558. I've been leaning toward Aldersgate, but it's so difficult to find a legible map of 16th century London (let alone one that illustrates where all of the gates were actually located) that I'm not sure I'm correct. Any ideas? Thanks!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Question from William - Shakespeare's role in Tudor times

Hi, I was wondering about William Shakespeare's role in the Tudor times. Did he really do anything?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Question from Alison - Quote at arrest of Earl of Essex

When the Earl of Essex is arrested by Queen Elizabeth I - the mob cry "Saw, Saw, Saw. Tray" What does this mean.

It also appears in the Benjamin Britten opera.

Question from Roger - Tudor word "Yonker"

I am researching some tudor era words associated with the crew of the Mary Rose warship and found one "Yonker" which I think may refer to a boy sailor who has a specific job e.g. a Gromet who is a boy tasked with turning the ships time keeping sand glass. Is there a definition of what a Yonker is? Many Thanks

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Site slow or completely down for some viewers

Again, I'm thankful that I keep this blog on a separate service, since I know it's one of the most popular parts of my site! So my webhost is having issues - again - and the rest of my site (which I was planning to do some work on today!) is down. I've been pretty loyal to my webhost for several years now but I'm starting to think about shopping around for a new one. Moving sites is a huge pain but I might have to seriously consider it if this continues. *sigh*

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Question from Shahzeb - How the Tudors influence us today

I was wondering if you could help me with an assignment. I want to present The Tudors in a less traditional way. So I'm looking for some information about The Tudors, today. What have they done in the past that's had an effect on us today? From litterature to technology.

I'm looking forward to your reply :-)

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Question from Katie - Sources for research on Tudor women

Hi, I'm doing a dissertation on Tudor Women - could anyone recommend any useful archives, or general places/books/etc. for primary sources they've found useufl?

Site slowness issues...

... and this is why I keep this blog on a separate service from the news blog and website! My webhost is having issues so a lot of sites, including mine, are slow or are having their connections dropped. If you try to go to pages on the rest of the site (i.e. other than pages) they may be slow, not appear correctly, or won't even come up at all. I know they are working on it so hopefully everything will be back to normal soon.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Question from Dale Rice - Prince Henry William Tudor

We are awaiting the DNA confirmation that our Father is descended from one John Rice 1624...Who is believed to be the son of Perrott ap Rice son of John Rice II and Katherine Perrott. John Rice II is the son of William ap Rice 1521 and Elizabeth Lattimer. William ap Rice aka known as Henry of Newton is according to my father who was 94 at his passing the Son of Beatrice Tudor Gardiner, Rice and Henry VIII. She was the laundress of Field of Cloth of Gold fame and was herself the grandaughter of Jasper Tudor making she and Henry VIII 2nd cousins. Her husband was Groom Daffid ap Rice of Carew fame and both were assigned to the household of Princess Mary Tudor 1519 until her death 1558. While Queen, Mary Granted little Henry William 1521/22 a coat of Arms with the Pommegranite upon the standard acknowledging his birth by her FATHER Henry. The Pomegranite with a cut revealing multiple seeds being the symbole of Katrin of Castile.

All that to say, is it possible that Henry VIII was kept in the dark of Prince Henry William Tudor as punnishment from both Katherine Queen and Mary's Dynastic plans? The DNA we have in hand is quite clearly a TUDOR match for John Rice 1625, and should have my brother's DNA for comparrison by mid June at the latest. Thankyou. 14 GGrandson of Henry William ap Rice son of Beatrice and Henry Tudor King.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Question from Mary Kate - Character of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York

I keep hearing conflicting reports regarding the marriage of Elizabeth of York and Henry Tudor and also regarding their characters. I am very confused. Things really do not add up. I am sorry if this is long, but bear in mind I am very, very mixed up.

One source I have read, Bacon, says he was not "uxorious" towards his wife (uxor in Latin I know means wife, but I do not know if the source means he was not particularly deferential toward her and rightfully asserted his authority over her as husband, or if he genuinely just didn't give a damn what she thought, or if he just wishes to infer Henry was Mama Margaret Beaufort's boy and hers alone.)

Another source I have read states that Henry was just a mean, miserly, and nasty personality who spent the remainder of his life post-1485 killing off members of the House of York, and his meanness extended to his wife, using her as a baby factory while he and Mama Beaufort ruled England. And still other historians, some just after mentioning the above, emphasize them clinging to each other when Arthur died. I have even read one account where Henry VII is alleged to have had very low near asexual desire, something about low testosterone or some psychiatric disorder....and the man somehow managed to father many children (how did any historian come to this conclusion?!)

So, what gives?!! Was Henry Tudor really so vicious of an SOB that nobody liked him while he was alive, not a single friend; was he basically so foul that even his pet monkey had to be kept on a chain to keep from running away from him if afforded the opportunity?! ( I ask this in part because the curious thing is that pet monkeys require a lot of attention and fail to thrive without affection, yet no historian looks to this as potential evidence that there might be more to the popular image of Henry as a latter day Ebenezer Scrooge.) Did Henry have any redeeming qualities? ( I keep hearing lots of reports of there being much music at his court and we know his son and both daughters had some skill in this area. No report of Elizabeth of York ever playing a note-did they inherit the gift from dear old Dad's side of the family?) It is true he would have had a very busy schedule-did he ever get time away long enough to be with the rest of his family?

It is clear that Elizabeth and he were married for dynastic reasons, but even the wikipedia article says it is presumed that she had a happy marriage with Henry. She is also said to have had a sweet temperament. Question-how does a sweet tempered lady like that manage to have a good relationship with a sour ill tempered old goat and why is it that historians presume such an outcome is feasible?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Question from Ryan - Prince Arthur and archery

I've read online (on google books) that Prince Arthur was an expert at archery, that whenever he was in London he would join the archers on Mile End and practice with them. He came to be so good, that whenever there was a great archer he was nicknamed "Prince Arthur" the book I read was over a hundred and fifty years old, and I've never come across this in any modern biography, I was just wondering if anyone had come across this and if it was true? Or it was mistake from the Victorian age? I was under the impression Arthur was no athletic and that he was weak

Monday, April 08, 2013

Question from GregP - Greenwich Palace waterfront

I am a lover of late medieval and Tudor architecture, though by no means any kind of expert.

For years I had thought that the odd appendage jutting out from the Thameside facade of Greenwich, was some sort of watergate, as was used at Westminster, Whitehall, Hampton Court, and others.

Now as I have been looking closer at numerous prints, it definitely seems to have been more of a porte-cochère.

From what I have been able to determine, it sat right in front of the Sovereign's bedchamber and privy chamber on the second floor. On the ground floor there seems to have been a small doorway into a wardrobe (guardroom?) Then adjacent to that on the NW tower of the Donjon was spiral to second floor privy chambers.

Then supposedly on the second floor above the porte-cochere, was our royale privye closet. Apparently Henry wanted his best view of the Thames to be the view from the "throne"

Interesting thing is that the porte-cochere is offset from the Donjon. It half overlaps the privy chamber and half the privy bedroom.

Does anyone know if there is history of the Donjon predating the rest of the architecture?

Thurley says that H7 left nothing of Gloucester's Bella Courte when he rebuilt Greenwich in 1501. But the central Donjon seems to be significantly medieval, with towers, turrets and crenelation. The "towers" of the rest of the facade are faux fascia, bay windows on the interior, as had been becoming common. The York's had done the same at Nottingham lower ward.

Also, if everything was rebuilt in 1501, the odd angularity of the different ranges seems odd to me. Richmond was extremely rectilinear. With the Burgundian sensibilities taking such currency, it seems odd for 1501 to have such angularity, if it was built from ground up.

Rambling.... babbling...... Comment as you will.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Question from Madison - Henry VIII's spare time activities

Hello. I'm Maddie, a year 8/ 13 year old student at Guernsey Grammar School. Recently, in history, we were set the task of writing an essay on How the Royal Job Description changed between the 1500s and the 1800s. We were told that we had to compare a monarchs reign, so I chose three different monarchs. The monarch from the Tudor period that I chose was Henry VIII, as I thought that there would be a lot to find out about him. I was wondering if you could give me any pointers as to what he did in his spare time or possible links to good websites for information? Thanks.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Question from Laura - Impact of Katherine Parr on Henrician court

I'm a second year history student at University and I am starting to think about my third year dissertation. My question for my dissertation is "What impact did Katherine Parr have on religion and politics in the Henrican court?" But I seem to have hit a stumbling block.

The sources about Katherine Parr seem limited compared to the other tudor Queens and I was wondering if someone could suggest good books, articles, primary sources I could use.

I thought the Act of Six Articles was useful to look at but my tutor said it wasn't.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Question from J - English in the Tudor era

I've always been interested - how exactly did language work in the Tudor era? I know a few - "prithee" meant "pray thee", people used thou, spelled "queen" as "quene" and "king" as "kyng", but I don't know much more than that. Thanks for any help on old( English spellings!

I'd like to use this information for a story I'm writing, to have the language somewhat accurate as the characters speak.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Question from Marilyn R - 1509 portrait of Henry VIII

I am fascinated by the painting in the collection of the Denver Museum said to be of Henry VIII at the time of his coronation in 1509. Can this long-faced, slim and dark-haired youth really be Henry at 18? I seem to remember that David Starkey says it is, but I have always thought the ‘1509’ portrait was probably of Henry VII as a young man.

Compare the painting at with the NPG portrait (on this site) of Henry VIII from about 1520 painted by an unknown artist.

They can’t both be of Henry VIII – can they?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Question from Anne - Evidence of Shelton mistress of Henry VIII

Can anyone help answer this question:

"King's mistress: evidence please" section.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Question from Katie - Dissertation ideas

Hi, I've recently had to decide in a dissertation topic for my third year at university. I've come up with two final ideas.

The first is important aristocratic women, how important were they, did they have any influence in politics etc? But I need to find someone to focus on, someone who isn't too generic or obvious. Any ideas?

My other idea is looking at Elizabeth I being the Virgin queen, why didn't she take a husband, when was the term "Virgin Queen" coined, was it a good choice to not choose a husband etc.

Which idea do you think would be more interesting or easier to do in terms of primary sources?

Katie :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Question from Mark - Thomas Cromwell's remains


Looking for the history on the remains of Lord Thomas Cromwell, (post London Bridge). Was he returned to Launde Abbey? A relation in an Upton family was buried in the Chapel there.



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Question from Kay - 16th century travel times in England

I'm interested in figuring out how long it would travel various distances within England during the late 16th-century. Are there any good sources for this?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Question from DC - Asians in London in 1509

Did people of East Indian, South East Asian or Oriental descent exist in London at the time of the death of Henry VII in 1509?

Just some background to this question. I am no historian or student. I am an Australian male of Asian descent and my partner is English. I am attending a renaissance festival and was hoping to have a believable character. You may now see where my question arises from!

I know by 1506, the Portuguese 7th Armada had returned from South East Asia with the news that Francisco de Alameida was the new made Viceroy of the Indies as well as transporting a baby elephant. Knowing that England and Portugal had an ongoing treaty of cooperation, would it be conceivable that someone of Asian background could have found himself on English soil by 1509? Transporting a person must surely be easier than a baby elephant!

I hope that this question, somewhere out of left field, piques someone who has the resources to answer and stimulates further discussion.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Question from Aoife - Signature of an heir apparent

Hello, how would an heir apparent sign his signature in a letter, like for Henry VIII, his signature would have been "Henry R", and for his son Henry FitzRoy as the duke of Richmond, he wrote his signature as "H Richmond". Would Arthur have written his signature as "A Wales" or would it have been "Arthur W" or would he and Edward VI have written their signatures another way as their father's heir apparents?

Question from GregP - Guests at St Thomas' Day banquet

Been puzzling over the guests at the St Thomas’ Day banquet for the Emperor’s Ambassadors at Greenwich.

To the King’s left, between M. Daucye and the Knt of Toyson, is a “Lady Eliz Stafford”. Obviously a lady of note, to be seated so close, and between 2 of the guests of honour.

The Countess of Surrey is seated opposite, and would not have been called Lady Stafford. The Countess’ aunt was already Lady FitzWalter by then (not yet Countess of Sussex), but that Elizabeth Stafford, I think, was in disgrace from the court at that time.

Am guessing by how she is notated that she is either in the Queen’s or the Duchess of Suffolk’s household.

Pardons if this is a question that has been addressed.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Question from D.J. Loftis - Cranmer's recantation and execution

I'm writing a screenplay about Mary I, and in my research there is something I haven't been able to figure out.

When Thomas Cranmer recanted his Protestantism, under Papal Law, Mary was supposed to spare him, but didn't.

Had Cranmer not taken it back, what would the papal repercussions for this have been for Mary? Would she have been risking excommunication?

Question from Kay - Penshurst Place parks hunting lodge

Do you know how likely it would be that Penshurst Place would have a hunting lodge or some other kind of summer house in its parks around 1600? I've been looking into it, but so far I haven't found a lot about what was in the parks surrounding the estate itself during that time (as opposed to what's in the estate now), or what such buildngs would look like. Thanks for any help you can give me!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Question from Jemma - Promiscuous women and crime in London

Hi there,

I am a second year history student at Canterbury Christ Church Uni in the UK and am planning my dissertation on the study of promiscuous women and their relation to crime in Early Modern London (1450-1750.

I need some suggestions for primary and secondary sources, I have found a few in the National Archives at Kew - court records and defamation cases etc. Does anyone have any ideas please? I'd be very grateful :)



Monday, February 18, 2013

Question from Danielle - Tudor and Early Stuart Imagery

Hi there.

I am going to be doing a project about Tudor and Stuart Royal imagery and wondered if anyone had any suggestions for resources. I have been to London and visited some museums but I cannot afford to keep going to and from Canterbury to London so I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for books/online resources.

I am hoping to look at how each monarch, up until Charles I, used image to publicly display themselves. I'm hoping to use resources such as; paintings, medals, great seals, coins and anything else (suggestions most welcome)

I know that in the later monarchs, they were shown upon horseback, which I know represented them as a "warrior" and others were shown upon the throne, some times with the scepter and orb, which obviously showed them as divine and upholding the law etc.

This is for my 3rd year history dissertation, I am in the UK, and I thank you for any help that you can give. I don't want people to answer my dissertation for me (as I have had people being rather rude to me over them thinking that) I was just hoping for some resource help :)

Thanks for your time.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Question from Rike - Details of Jane Grey's reign

My interest as a writer is to come a bit closer to quotidian details of Queen Jane's life in the Tower. As far as I've learned, at her accession she went in by the Byward Tower. Did Jane Grey reside in Queen’s House during her reign? How many private rooms where at her own disposal? Whom was Queen Jane accompanied by most time of the day? Who had permission to visit Queen Jane in her private rooms and where did she commonly use to welcome official visits? Where was Guildford residing? Where did Jane and Guildford dine? Or did Queen Jane at times dine on her own, perhaps in the morning? What is the name of the chapel where Queen Jane’s liturgies took place? Did she like to take a walk outside (probably on her own, if possible) in the grounds of the Tower, and if so, where might have been that? On what official or private occasions might Queen Jane, resp. Lady Jane have left the Tower, and which route might she normally haven taken to leave? Where were wardens, resp. guards, resp. watchmen positioned, and how were they termed?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Question from Michelle - Views of Katherine of Aragon in Elizabeth I's reign

Just curious... how did people during Elizabeth I's reign view Katherine of Aragon and her marriage to Henry VIII? Obviously there would be major reasons to view the marriage as invalid (to ensure the legitimacy of Anne's marriage and Elizabeth's birthright), but I'd love to know how people saw or portrayed KoA herself: a wounded party, too proud/stubborn/Spanish/Catholic for her own good, or somewhere inbetween?

The only text I know of offhand that deals with KoA around that time is Shakespeare's play of Henry VIII; I haven't read it myself, but I gather Katherine is portrayed extremely sympathetically and that the whole divorce thing comes over as a wicked plot of Wolsey's or something. Of course, that's but one source, and it's generally held to be a Stuart rather than Elizabethan play, so that may also color her portrayal. Any other thoughts or sources on how Katherine was seen by Elizabeth's courtiers and subjects (or Elizabeth herself)?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Question from Tracey - Smith and Ives Boleyn biographies

Smith vs Ives...

Lacey Baldwin Smith's bio of Anne Boleyn is being re-issued. I'd be interested in knowing the differences between his work and the excellent offering by Eric Ives. If a person only had time to read one....which should it be?

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Question from Don - Carey descendants

I live in the America's, and easily traced my linage with genetic SNP's to a Carey that mysteriously appeared in Virginia around 1575 (plus or minus 10 years). That is, this line of Carey's is genetically VERY separate from other Carey's (Cary) that arrived on this side of the pond 1500 to 1800.
If I can so easily determine MY tree to a mysterious Carey, that crossed the pond, why can't the activities of Mary Boleyn be similarly sorted out?
Also, what happened to - Henry Carey and Ann Morgan's son: William Carey (one of 16 children)?
My SNP's may help there.
For the doubter's of genetic efficacy, see:

Friday, February 01, 2013

Question from Jay - Tudor apocalyptic thinking

Were there any times during the Tudor period where people thought the apocalypse was coming?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Question from Danielle - Social impact of layouts of castle and palaces

I've just had a lecture on the interiors and layouts of 15th-17th century houses and it got me thinking about Castles and Manor Houses. Does anything one think that the interior layouts of Henry VIII's Castles/Palaces had any cause and affect on his relationships/marriages. For instance, if there was no secret passageway to his chambers, would he have stayed with Catherine etc or would he have just met the others in his chambers and let them walk through publicly to get there?

Any other interesting thoughts about the role of the palaces/castles in Tudor England? Thanks :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Question from Michelle - Refusing Henry VIII's advances

What - if any - were the likely consequences if a woman (particularly an unmarried lady in waiting) refused sexual or romantic advances from King Henry VIII? He certainly seemed to be a man who had trouble accepting "no"! Obviously Anne Boleyn refused him pre-divorce, but on the other hand, she did not outright reject the king but rather implied that her only resistance was due to her reputation and that she would happily romp around with him if he married her. In her case, the refusals seemed to only intensify his pursuit rather than leading to definitive rejection. I'm interested in learning more about what would happen if someone said a firm and obvious NO.

What were the sexual politics and expectations of a noblewoman propositioned by the king? Was she "allowed" to refuse (i.e. without intimidation or consequences), or did she have to "lie back and think of England" for fear of angering or offending Henry? If she could refuse him completely, under what grounds? I imagine refusing based on chastity, reputation or loyalty to the queen might bruise the royal ego less than, "I'm just not that into you, sire." ;-) If there were problems with refusing him, what kind might they be? Exile from court? Family members being refused promotions? Being married off to some guy with a giant wart on his nose? Or just a subtle but menacing undertone of the king's displeasure?

I'll be very interested to hear what people think about this, particularly about the apparent tension between the importance of female chastity vs. the relative lack of power women had next to the king or male nobles. (I'd also love to hear how the same dynamic played out between the unmarried ladies and the various nobles of court, eg Charles Brandon). Is there any truth to the stereotype of an overly powerful king using his power to basically blackmail or force women into bed with him ("I'm king, do as I say") or could women politely tell him to knock it off, they weren't interested?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Question from Danielle - Dissertation ideas on Catherine of Aragon and/or Anne Boleyn

Hi there.

Firstly I'd like to thank you to the many who have posted before me, I have found all this info so helpful!!

My questions is; I am currently in my second year of university and am hopefully planning to do my dissertation in my history subject. I need to come up with my proposal soon.

I'd really love to do something about Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn or both etc. However I really would like to stay away (if I can) from the obvious choice of "reformation" I know a few people who are doing this and I would love to make something different, and more personal.

Please could anyone help with suggestions on what I could do. These two are my favorite women and I would be in my element if I could write about them.

I am currently studying about Women, Power and Patronage and the works/letters/diary's of women etc so I know how and where to research for any future topics.

Any help would be most appreciated.

Thanks :)

Question from Harry - Child of Thomas Howard and Margaret Douglas

Lord Thomas Howard (1511-1537), son of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk Thomas Howard by Agnes Tilney, apparently by some sources had an affair with Margaret Douglas, niece of Henry VIII and daughter of his sister Margaret.

Due to this they were both sent to the Tower and Thomas died there. However, Margeret was released to Scion House in London. Was she pregnet with Thomas's child (Robert) as supposedly there was a Robert Howard born at the Scion house in 1537?

I cannot find any substantial historic reference to this. Various on-line trees have it but their source seems to be other people's trees.

The archives of the Dukes of Norfolk in England would not confirm it so I don't know the original source of this birth (myth?).

There was a succesion problem which caused their imprisonment as Henry had just bastardized his 2 daughters after his marriage to Jane.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Question from Courtney - Mary planning a marriage for Elizabeth

I have a question that I hope hasn't been answered already - I did do a casual search, but got so many hits for "Elizabeth" I don't think I could have gotten through them all! Anyway, my question is this - during Mary's reign, why was Elizabeth not "forced" to marry someone of Mary and/or Philip's choosing? As the only heir, surely Mary would have had the right to match her sister with a man she considered appropriate. Why let Elizabeth have her way and remain unmarried? I'm aware that Mary wasn't anxious to see Elizabeth married for fear that it would build support for Elizabeth, but why not marry her to a Catholic? Especially if Elizabeth was pretending to convert to Catholicism, as I've read was the case? Thanks for any info!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Question from Laura - Political machinations of Court

Greetings, I just found this blog the other day and I have been having a wonderful time reading through the old entries! It seems like this might be the place to ask for help with something I've been looking for.

I'd like to read more about the political machinations/intrigue of the court. That is to say, how the struggle for lands, offices, titles, royal favor, etc., played out. Most of what I have read thus far confines itself to a bare statement about powershifts and a laundry list of awards given -- e.g. "Then the Seymours rose to power and Edward Seymour was appointed..." But what I am interested in is more process than result: how they went about engineering their rise and their rivals' falls.

I'd be particularly interested in cases that don't revolve around putting potential queens in HVIII's bed. Something during the other Tudor reigns, or in the early days when CoA was still secure, perhaps?

I have been trying to get my hands on a copy of Ives' "Faction In Tudor England" which sounds promising for what I'm interested in, but have not run across much else in that direction. Does anyone here have recommendations?

Many thanks!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Question from Barbara - Knowledge of the date and year

Can you tell me how aware uneducated people in late Tudor times would have been about what date/year it was? Is this something they would have known or would they have been largely ignorant (apart, I assume, from church feast days)?
Thanks for any help you can give me!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Reminder about commenting

Since I've had a few comments end up in the wrong post lately, I thought I would take the opportunity to remind everyone to please double-check that they are on the right question before submitting an answer. The easiest way is to click on the question title and it should take you to a page with just that question, so you'll know you're in the right place if you wish to leave a comment.


Saturday, January 05, 2013

Question from Karen - Elizabeth I's cause of death

Do we know what, exactly, Queen Elizabeth I died of?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Question from Howard - William Howard

Hello. I am hoping someone may be able to shed some light on something for me.
I have been able to trace my family history back to Thomas Howard (1690-1753). However, every piece of research done by other people that I come across shows he is supposedly descended from Alexander Howard and Lydia Dubery. Alexander in turn is allegedly the son of William Howard Viscount of Escrick (1633-1694)

In all my extensive research into the Howard family I have never come across an Alexander. Does anybody have any information on this as to whether William Howard was married more than once or indeed had an illegitimate son not mentioned elsewhere.


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Question from Celine - Thomas More's death sentence in "A Man For All Season"

In the play "A Man For All Seasons" by Robelt Bolt, should Thomas More have been sentenced to death? From any characters point, what evidences will you use to defend/prosecute him?

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!

Best wishes for 2013! I hope it is a good year for everyone. Thanks, as always, to everyone who has dropped by and read a post, submitted a questions, and/or commented here over the past seven years!