Saturday, December 26, 2015

Question from KG - Oaths it the 16th century

How significant was an oath in the sixteenth century?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Question from KG - Henry VIII's early religious beliefs

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

Sunday, December 13, 2015

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

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Question from Michael - Descendants of Matthew Parker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you very much,
Michael Parker

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Submission form temporarily down

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

Update: The form should be working now

Monday, November 09, 2015

10 years of Q&A

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

Here's to many years more!

Monday, October 26, 2015

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

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

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

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Question from Candace - Wives cooperations with annulments

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

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Question from Candace - Chapuy on Anne Boleyn's miscarriage

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

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

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

Monday, October 19, 2015

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

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

Sunday, October 18, 2015

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

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

Sunday, October 04, 2015

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

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

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Question from Peter - Occupation of a Faber

Dear Friends,

Can anyone tell me what a "Faber" was in 1379. My modern latin dictionary gives "a smith" or "forger" The term is found in the 1379 Poll Tax for West Riding of Yorkshire.

The gentleman concerned, Richard Peck, married an heraldic heiress which seems a little incongruous if he was a smith or forger.

Many thanks


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Question from KG - Political meaning of Henry VIII's poetry

I have been reading the poetry of Henry VIII. I was wondering if any of them are thought to have political meaning? Or if we know which poets he aped? I also wondered if we know when each poem was written (I hope this list is accurate):

It doesn't give any indication of years. I'll be writing an essay for university on this and would appreciate any help anyone can offer.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Question from D.J. - Duties of Chief Mourner

I'm writing a screenplay about Mary I, and have a question about Jane Grey serving as chief mourner for Catherine Parr. What does a chief mourner do exactly? This is the first time we see Jane in the script and I want to make sure I get this right. Thank you.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Question from Dewey - Archbishop of Canterbury v. Westminster

why is the arch duke of canterbury head under the crown instead of the arch duke of westminister?

[Note: I think the submitter meant archbishop as opposed to archduke. - Lara]

Friday, July 31, 2015

Question from Helena - Katherine of Aragon costume

For an upcoming faire I intended to masquerade as a young Katherine of Aragon (with by boyfriend as Henry VIII and a friend as Cardinal Wolsey). As such I was hoping you could help me answer some costuming questions. I have done my own research of course, but it's always nice to get answers from a real-time person, not a long stagnant website.

First, I want to put it out there that I am a college student and do not have the money to spend on a completely accurate costume. As such I am leaning heavily towards a pattern that is relatively simple to sew. As of now I have two, which I have included below. One is based off the famous Princess Elizabeth portrait, while the other is more generic and more Elizabethan. Your input of which to use (or an alternative) would be greatly appreciated.

For colors I was thinking green, it seems fresh and young and fitting of a Queen. Katherine seems to favor red in her portraits, so that is an option, along with blue. Fabric is where I am really stuck though. Because this event is in the summer (late August/early September) I would like it to be as light as possible. I have read everything from wool, to silk, to velvet, and I was really hoping I could have your expert opinion there.

Thank you so very much,

Monday, July 20, 2015

Question from Myreen - Marshall Tunstall

I am seeking information on Marshall Tunstall, a descendant of Edward I, and some archbishops and Nevilles, related to most of the crowns of England and Europe, and direct thru his father from Brian the Shining Knight. He was in Virginia during the 1670s and died in the late 1690s. He intermarried with the Barons of de la Warre, who are direct descendents of Mary Boleyn. Also, seeking information on the Quarles of Virginia.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Traveling for work July 9 through 12

Hello all! It's once again time for me to make the journey west to McDonald Observatory for our summer board meeting, so I'll have limited time to post new questions and approve comments during that time. I'll be back to a regular schedule on Monday July 13.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Question from Nan - Catherine Willoughby and Anne Boleyn


I've been reading about Catherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk. Something I haven't been able to find is any reference to her feelings about Anne Boleyn. I know Willoughby's mother was Maria de Salinas (dear friend of Catherine of Aragon), but that Catherine Willoughby's religious attitudes came to be much closer to those of Anne than the Catholic Catherine of Aragon.

This question was sparked for me by Wendy Dunn's novel The Light in the Labyrinth, which poses Willoughby as one of Anne's supporters. Yet the version of her in The Tudors series is very anti-Anne. While I know that historical facts cannot always be gleaned by fiction, I am wondering if there is any information about Catherine Willoughby's actual feelings regarding Anne Boleyn.

Thank you!

Question from Peter - Record of claims on lands of Thomas de Hasilden

Dear Tudor Q&A the following is a catalogue entry for a 15th/16th Century manuscript.

Can anyone advise on what grounds Roger Banastre et al are likely to have had a claim to the lands and tenements mentioned and/or why the lands should go to them in particular rather than anyone else?

Dean and college of the free chapel of St Stephens Westminster to Roger Banastre Richard Altham, and Robert Broun of Wakefield.

To take seizen of lands and tenements in Wakefield which ought to revert to them on the death of Thomas de Hasilden, the father, by reason of the bastardy of the said Thomas. Which Thomas is dead without legitimate issue.

Many thanks.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Question from Peter - Duties of the position of chapman

At the time of Henry VII what did a "chapman" do?
I have a record of one Richard Pek who was "chapman" and "yeoman" of H. VII who was listed in H.VIII Pardon Rolls.

Many thanks.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Question from Jacky - Mary Tudor Brandon and The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries

Mary Tudor Brandon and tapestries of The Lady and the Unicorn of Museum of Cluny in Paris: Is Mary the Lady with the lion and the unicorn?

[Edited to add: Jacky is looking for feedback on his website with the hypothesis listed above as part of research for a book. You can find the site here: Please note that the website is in English and French.]

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Search box errors

Hello all,

Apologies if you've been getting an error page when trying to use the search box. I'm not sure what's wrong but I'll investigate and fix it as soon as possible.

Update: Well, I've managed to fix the search box on the Q&A blog, but then I realized that I had the search box on a bunch of pages on the rest of the site (the static, non-blog pages) and I'm going to have to update those. It's going to take a while!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Question from Nan - Catherine of Aragon vs. of Castile

This might be an odd question, but why was Catherine of Aragon referred to as being "of Aragon" and not "of Castile"? Castile was the bigger and more powerful nation, and from what I've seen, her sister Juana was known as "Juana of Castile" not "Juana of Aragon." Did Isabel and Ferdinand divide up their children?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Question from Jon - Elizabeth I pet monkey

I want ask did Queen Elizabeth I have a pet monkey?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Question from Tasha - What if Anne Boleyn had had a son

Hi there, such a sucker when it comes to Tudor history. I've always wondered this, if Anne Boleyn gave henry a son would he have stayed with her and not married Jane Seymour? What do you think?

Monday, May 11, 2015

On vacation Tuesday May 12 through Tuesday May 26

Hello all!

I just wanted to post a notice that I'll be on vacation for the above dates and therefore there may be a delay in posting new questions and approving comments. I'll have internet access and a little downtime in the evenings so I'll try to keep up with things then.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Question from Laura M - Biographies of Margaret Beaufort

I am looking for the best biography/history of Margaret Beaufort. I know this has been asked before, but I've searched and can't seem to find it. Anyone know what I'm talking about? Also any more recent additions to history on Margaret Beaufort would be awesome, thanks.

[I also thought there had been a previous question on this, but I couldn't find it either! - Lara]

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Question from Kathy - Superstitions about clothing and jewelry from the dead

With the expense of clothing and jewelry in the Tudor times, I am guessing that many articles of clothing and jewelry were passed on after death. But I also wonder if there were people had superstitions about taking on clothing or jewelry of someone that had passed away. Also, how would (say clothing) have been given out. When Catherine of Aragon, Ann Boleyn, Jane Seymour, etc. died, did their children, their servants, receive their clothing or was it just broken down for the next Queen's clothing? Thank you!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Question from RH - Henry VII and Elizabeth of York's marriage medal

Hi everyone,

I'm doing some research on a medal showing Henry VII and Elizabeth of York:

My question is - does anyone know where (museum, institution, etc.) this medal can be found?


Thursday, April 09, 2015

Question from A.R. - Mary Boleyn's financial situation after William Carey's death

Hello everyone,

I have a question regarding Mary Boleyn. I'm re-reading Alison Weir's biography of Mary, but I can't find the explanation why Mary was so poor after William Carey's death? Carey was an up-and-coming, wealthy courtier and it is hard to understand why his widow was left destitute after his death. Shouldn't she receive some an annual income (I think it's called jointure) as all widows in the Tudor period? Is it because her dowry was not settled? or because her husband died intestate? I don't really understand why a widow of such a wealthy man would have been so poor after his death. Can anyone explain? Than you in advance! :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Question from Theresa - Margaret Beaufort's labor

I am absolutely obsessed with anything Tudor and further back and have set myself to learning as much as possible about this subject. I have read Phillipa Gregory's book "The Red Queen" for the umpteenth time and have been confused each time by something I've read. During Margaret Beaufort's labour with Henry VII, it said that Margaret was "tossed in a blanket" to help labour progress. I understand that some of this book is fiction, but something like that can't just come out of the blue - there must be a grain of truth about this somewhere. As a mum of seven kids, I can't understand for the life of me how that is supposed to help. Can anyone give me some insight on this? Thank you very much!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Question from Kyra - Prince Arthur in Calais in 1498

Did Prince Arthur go to Calais in 1498? I was reading the Spanish state calendar papers and came across a section..

"Henry said that God alone knows how much, and for how long a time, he has desired the marriage of the Princess Katharine with the Prince of Wales. As soon as the Prince of Wales, who is in Calais, arrives, the marriage ceremony will be performed, and all things will change from good to better" was Arthur in Calais in July 1498 or I am misunderstanding the passage?

Monday, March 16, 2015

“A Queen of a New Invention” – Q&A with J. Stephan Edwards

Hello all!

I wanted to post a note over here that there is a post on the News blog with a Q&A that Foose did with PhDHistorian about his new book. I know some people only check this blog so I wanted to make sure everyone saw the post. And if you have any follow-up questions or comments, please leave them on that post (I'll close comments on this post so they all stay together on that one).

Friday, March 13, 2015

Question from Anthony - Need for Monarch and Court in proximity

The large size of the Tudor court, including servants, made food supply a constant problem and required kings to be almost nomadic for parts of their reigns, I think. Why was it then so essential for eg Henry the Eighth to have his court in close physical proximity?

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Question from Roslyn - Descendants of the Poles

My grandmother was born Alice Mary Pole in 1876(?). We were always told we were descendants from the de la Poles! My grandmother was born in Bristol,from a banking family, and one of 9 children. Her father went bust and she came to Southern Africa to nurse, met my grandfather, John James Seton-Rogers, and had 4 children. Any links to either of the Pole families that you have found?
May be too modern! But worth a try- I have spent ages without much luck!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Question from Sarah - Resources on crime in 16th century England and Wales

Can anyone recommend a book on crime in 16th century England and Wales - is there an area which has been well-explored?

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Question from Sarah - Working class 16th century people

Can anyone recommend a good article or book on working class 16th-century English and Welsh people? Has much research been done in this area?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Question from Maria Helena - Common people's opinions of Henry VIII

After reading some books about the tudor times, I came to the obvious conclusion that the overwhelming majority of the english people lived in the fields and far, far away, from the monarchy and its factions. My questions is: did the people really cared about Henry VIII and his six marriages, or about the religion changes? Because I have read that many of them still followed "pagan" rituals and that many of them did not even notice the break with Rome. Is it true?

What do you people think about it?

Monday, February 02, 2015

Question from Lana - Women and hunting

I'm currently in the process of writing a story a fanfiction if you will, what if Prince Arthur lived and the impacts it would create during the Tudor time period.

My question was how did women participate in hunting. I have found many sources stating wealthy women frequently participated in the hunt. I doubt they boar hunted with spears, but what other sort of activities did they participate in? Or were they simply around for the ride/adventure?

Thank you in advance!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Question from CasaNova73099 - Conflict between Wolsey, Norfolk, and Thomas Boleyn

Does anyone know more about the history behind the bad blood between Thomas Wolsey and the (3rd) Duke of Norfolk and Thomas Boleyn? I can understand it as far as everything in relation to their political ambition to make Anne Boleyn the next queen, though I would have also thought that a largely Catholic family would for the most part be in support of a cardinal, so what else caused this?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Question from Sam - Wolsey's desire for the Papacy

I remember reading that Wolsey didn't seriously want to be Pope, that he had it too good in England and was aware that his career would do better in England. This sounds unlike the arrogant and ambitious Wolsey I've read about elsewhere. Do you think there is any truth to this? Thank you for taking the time to look at my question.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Question from Cumbian writer - Familial interment in chest or table tombs

I would like help or information with the nature of familial interment in chest or table tombs, with particular reference to the the Dacre tombs at Lanercost Abbey. I wish to know whether further subsequent burials were carried out, (of unmarried children for exmaple, in the vault beneath tombs of this type, and if so, how the vault beneath (supposing that the coffins were buried beneath and not inside the chest) was accessed.

Question from Annette - Lower gentry and dowries

a question about lower gentry and dowries.

Hi,just a follow up question from the elizabeth seymour and sir anthony Ueghtard question I asked,
what sort of dowry would have been offered? as sir john seymour was lower gentry what could be offered to make their daughter more worth while and what would sir anthony have bought to the table? how long would negotations have gone on for? does anyone know the exact dowry maybe? i have looked but cannot find any sources.this is for a novel as said previously and i would like it to be near historical accuracy as possible.
Thank you

Monday, January 26, 2015

Question from Joyce - Goose fat face cream in Tudor times

I have a new business Iam trying to grow selling goose fat face cream, sounds wierd but it does actually work! Iam looking for info for my website and I know it was used in Tudor times and am looking for where I could get some info.
Im a British ex pat now in CA

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Question from Annette - Marriage of Elizabeth Seymour and Sir Anthony Ughtred

I am doing research for a book,looking at elizabeths marriage to sir anthony and looking at seemed since she was born in 1518 and he in 1478, he would have been around 53 to her being 13? is that correct? would they have been married off so young unless i have the maths wrong,they apparently married in 1530/31 and he died 3 years later,can someone clarify this for me?

thank you

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Question from Orla - Lands and manors of Arthur, Henry, and Henry Fitzroy

Hi; was wondering what lands and manors were held by Arthur and Henry when they were the Princes of Wales? I'm assuming the land grants were the same; that anything Henry held had once been Arthur's. And also what lands Henry FitzRoy held? Is there a particular county or shire where they held sway or were they scattered around the Kingdom? Does anyone know any paper or book regarding property and lands in Tudor times? Thanks

Question from Stacey - Mary Queen of Scots and her son James

Are there any records anywhere that talk about how Mary, Queen of Scots felt about her son James? I've read/seen information that she refused to kiss him because he was Darnley's son. Is this true?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Question from Karla - Rushes on floors

I am reading the book "The six wives of Henry the VIII" by Alison Weir, and in a chapter she mentions that in court there were carpets only in the royal appartments, and else where in court there were rushes, What does she mean by that? English is my second language and I thought rushes were like grass, is it the same??

Friday, January 16, 2015

Question from Heidi - Books of the Tudor court

What sort of books circulated around the Tudor court? What did the likes of Anne Boleyn read for fun?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Question from KB - Biographies of Richard III

This question is slightly out of the preferred date range but . . .

I am giving a lecture on Richard III in a couple months and am having a dickens of a time finding a biography that I like.

If anyone has suggestions, I would be most grateful. So far I have:

Desmond Seward's "Richard III: England's Black Legend" (Richard is evil)

Annette Carson's "Richard III: The Maligned King" (Richard is misunderstood)

Mike Pitts' "Digging for Richard III: The Search for the Lost King" (great read about the dig)

John Ashdown-Hill's "The Last Days of Richard III and the Fate of his DNA" (haven't started this one yet but he's in the Richard is misunderstood camp)

Paul Murray Kendall's "Richard the Third" (Richard is truly misunderstood and a lovely man - really - I promise)

In some ways this is a balanced list but all the books have blatant agendas with quite as much fiction interjected as any Shakespearean play. At the moment, Josephine Tey's "Daughter of Time" seems the most dispassionate despite the fact that it is pure fiction.

I know this is all secondary mass market work but I am without the time or resources for primary research so I'm skating a bit. This weekend, I will hunt for Thomas More's account and perhaps start skimming the Paston Letters if I find a digital version.

All suggestions welcome.

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Question from Julia - Posies during Lent

Posies for medicinal purposes permitted in Lent?

I'm trying to describe a scene in a sickroom in 1545, and had understood that posies and pomanders were commonly held in front of the nose and mouth to keep smells at bay, as they were thought to be a source of infection. I think I read somewhere that a sickroom would have quite a lot of flowers, to try and make it sweet smelling for the same reason.

However, I was wondering whether a household would be permitted to have vases of flowers or posies in a sickroom during Lent. I know that even today churches don't have flowers during Lent, so it seems likely they may have banned all flowers in houses during Lent. If vases of flowers weren't allowed, were posies permitted for medicinal purposes? Or might a visitor to the patient resort to a pomander at this time of year?

Thanks for any pointers!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Question from Rachel - Henry VII's heir before Arthur's birth

Who was the heir of Henry VII the time between the Battle of Bosworth Field and Arthur's birth?