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Archive for the ‘Tudor Period’ Category

SeymourThis Week’s Question:

Jane Seymour, who married Henry VIII on 30 May 1536, was descended from what other English king?

Previous Question:

What’s unusual about one of the ghosts said to haunt Athelhampton House in Dorchester?

Answer:  It’s not human. In fact, it’s not even an animal native to the UK: one of the ghosts is said to be an ape. Sadly, I have no idea what the story is behind that. The other two ghosts are said to be a cooper and the grey lady, who I guess is on extended holiday from Hogwarts.

 

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220px-Hans_Holbein,_the_Younger_-_Sir_Thomas_More_-_Google_Art_ProjectThis Week’s Question:

Sir Thomas More is credited with coining what idealistic word?

Previous Question:

What was the name of the man who printed and published the first authorised edition of the King James Bible on 2 May 1611?

Answer:  Robert Barker, printer to James I, printed the first authorised King James Bible in 1611. 20 years later, he published the infamous ‘wicked bible’, which accidentally omitted the word ‘not’ in the sentence ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’ For this misprint, he was fined £300 (more than £30,000 today) and deprived of his printers’ license. Most copies of the bible were recalled and burned; it’s estimated only 11 survive today.

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On May 13, 1515, Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor, Queen of France, were officially married at Greenwich Palace, more than two months after marrying in secret in France following the death of Mary’s first husband, the French King Louis XII.

Mary, who was extremely close to her elder brother, Henry VIII, was reputed to be one of the most beautiful princesses in Europe. Her marriage to 52-year-old Louis was brokered by Cardinal Wolsey, Henry’s right-hand man, and she was not happy about it at all. Nonetheless, she married the king in October 1514, when she was 18 years old. One of her maids of honor was Anne Boleyn, her future sister-in-law. The marriage lasted all of three months; Louis died on January 1, 1515, allegedly worn out from his exertions in the bedchamber.

Mary had been in love with Charles Brandon, the first Duke of Suffolk, since before her marriage to Louis took place. Henry allegedly knew of her true feelings but wanted her marriage to be politically advantageous to her. He nevertheless sent Brandon to France to fetch Mary home in late January 1515, making the duke promise not to propose to her. Charles ignored his promise and married Mary on March 3, technically committing treason by marrying a royal princess without the king’s consent. Henry was outraged when he received the news, and only Wolsey’s interference saved Brandon’s head. Instead of being arrested or executed, Brandon was made to pay a hefty fine.

The Brandons had four children, and she spent most of her time in the country, especially after she and Henry fell out in the 1520s over his decision to annul his marriage to Katherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. She died in 1533 at the age of 37, and her husband went on to marry 14-year-old Catherine Willoughby. Her two sons died young as well, but one of her daughters, Frances, married Henry Grey, 3rd Marquess of Dorset, and was mother to the unfortunate Lady Jane Grey.

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In exactly one week, at 11 a.m. 30 November, The Reading Hour will begin. Part of Book Week Scotland, it’s a single hour in which everyone is encouraged to drop what they’re doing, pick up a book, and read. Just an hour out of your day, no big deal, right? But the question is, what will you read? Well, if you’re a fan of the shows on this blog, here are a few recommendations:

Downton Abbey

Fiction: The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin. Life as Cora would have known it—a young American woman marrying into the English aristocracy. Hell, the main character’s name in the book is even Cora; it’s like it was meant to be.

Non-Fiction: I wrote a whole blog about Downton-related reading, but my personal pick would have to be The Perfect Summer by Juliet Nicholson. This incredibly addictive read covers the whole span of society, from aristocrats to servants and everyone in-between and follows their scandals, heartbreak, hopes, and dreams during one lovely pre-war summer.

The Tudors

Fiction: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This is my pick for The Reading Hour. The way Mantel uses words astonishes me (it’s no wonder she won the Booker for both this and its sequel, Bringing Up the Bodies) and it’s nice to see Thomas Cromwell, an oft-maligned historical figure, treated so sympathetically.

Non-Fiction: The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir is one of my all-time favourite non-fiction titles. Weir (a much better historian than fiction writer, just so you know) delves deeply into the lives of the women who defined Henry’s reign.

Hunderby

Fiction: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. The sex may not be there, but the black humour sure is. These books are seriously dark and incredibly hilarious. Plus, they’re quick reads, perfect for an hour-long break. If you want dark humour with sex, I’d recommend Candide by Voltaire.

The Paradise

Fiction: This one’s already based on a book—The Ladies’ Paradise by Émile Zola, which is now more widely available thanks to the series.

Non-Fiction: Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead tells the story of Moray’s real-life counterpart, Harry Selfridge, who founded his eponymous luxury store in London before spectacularly crashing and burning. For those who want to get more into the nitty gritty of early department store commerce, Selfridge wrote a book himself called The Romance of Commerce. Sexy!

Game of Thrones

Fiction: This one’s based on a book as well (actually, a series, as I’m sure you know). If you’re not currently enmeshed in it, I hear The Wheel Of Time series is excellent. And, for those who don’t mind trading dragons for giant worms, there’s Frank Herbert’s Dune series.

Non-Fiction: You want interfamilial love, enemies around every corner, paranoia, backstabbing, and gore? Pick up pretty much any book about ancient Rome and its rulers.

Boardwalk Empire

Fiction: For a less harrowing glimpse of the era, try Carry on, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Non-Fiction: Also based on a book (makes it easy, doesn’t it?). There are a slew of Prohibition-era reads to go along with it, including Last Call by Daniel Okrent, and, for those Chalky White fans out there, The Northside: African Americans and the Creation of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson

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This Week’s Question:

The first complete English-language Bible was printed on this day in 1535. What was it called?

Last Week’s Question:

Arbella Stuart, who was once considered a successor to Queen Elizabeth I, was buried in the vault of what other famous queen?

Answer: Arbella (or Arabella) Stuart was buried in the same vault as her cousin-probably-a-few-times-removed, Mary, Queen of Scots.

Arbella was the great-granddaughter of Margaret Tudor, the daughter of Henry VII. Through her first marriage to the King of Scotland, Margaret became mother to James V (future father of Mary). Her second marriage to Archibald Douglas produced a daughter, Margaret, who, in her turn, produced two sons: Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley (ill-fated husband of Mary of Scotland) and Charles. Arbella was Charles’s daughter.

As a descendent of Henry VII, Arbella had a place in the succession to the English throne though the influential Cecil family worked to steer the succession in the direction of James VI of Scotland instead. James eventually succeeded the throne as James I of England.

In 1610, Arbella secretly married William Seymour, a descendent of Mary Tudor, yet another daughter of Henry VII. King James threw the couple in prison for daring to marry without his permission (though Arbella’s ‘prison’ was the home of a nobleman). The two conspired to escape, but Arbella was recaptured and once again imprisoned, this time in the Tower of London. She refused to eat and later died in September 1615 without ever having seen her husband again.

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This Week’s Question:

Arbella Stuart, who was once considered a successor to Queen Elizabeth I, was buried in the vault of what other famous queen?

Last Week’s Question:

Who was the first heir to the British throne to tour North America?

Answer: Edward, Prince of Wales, later Edward VII. The charismatic eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert set off for a tour of Canada and the United States in summer 1860, when he was 18 years old. His mother was almost violently opposed—especially to the idea of him visiting the States, but her advisors and Prince Albert wore her down and convinced her it would be great PR. Edward set out on 10 July, toured Canada, and crossed into the United States on 20 September.

Edward was a runaway success. 50,000 people cheered him through the streets of Chicago, and he was feted at the White House and treated to a 6,000-man parade of firefighters in New York City. While in New York, the prince attended a ball with some 3,000 invited guests. Another 2,000 people somehow managed to gatecrash and collapsed the dance floor. Luckily, nobody was hurt.

Southern politicians trying to bolster the case for slavery tried to get him to tour some model plantations, but he refused, instead confining his time in the south to a church service and tour in Richmond, Virginia.

Edward hopped up the Atlantic seaboard, meeting Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Henry Wordsworth Longfellow before boarding a ship in Portland, Maine for the trip home. He celebrated his 19th birthday on the return journey and reached England just a few days later, on 15th November. And even his mother had to agree that he’d managed to do something right this time.

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This Week’s Question:

Who was the first heir to the British throne to tour North America?

Last Week’s Question:

In 1541, a young nobleman named Lord Dacres was executed by Henry VIII. What was his crime?

Answer: Lord Dacres (or Dacre, depending on who you ask) was executed for murder. Apparently, he and some of his yahoo friends (undoubtedly after a night of drinking) decided to go out and steal some deer from the park of a neighbour they didn’t care for. How they planned to steal a deer is a mystery—maybe they were just going to poach. At any rate, they were spotted and confronted by one of the neighbour’s foresters, John Busbrig, and in the melee, the man was killed. Dacres and his friends were put on trial and found guilty of murder.

Despite the pleas of Dacres’s friends, Henry VIII refused to let him off the hook, as he was determined to mete out equal justice to all ranks. Not only was Dacres executed, he was executed as a common criminal and hanged at Tyburn, instead of receiving the (theoretically) more dignified death by beheading. His family was also stripped of their lands and titles, though these were later restored to his sons. Three of the cronies were executed as well, hopefully serving as a warning to leave the neighbours’ deer alone.

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On 21 July 1545, the French landed for the last time on the Isle of Wight during the Italian Wars (makes sense, right?) and were firmly repulsed by the outnumbered English.

This was not the first time the French tried to take the island, but it was the last. The French Invasion of the Isle of Wight was part of a string of battles that took place throughout July in the English Channel, including the Battles of the Solent (during with the Mary Rose was sunk) and Bonchurch. Thought details are hazy, some accounts say the French got their asses handed to them pretty easily.

The French planned to land at Whitecliff Bay and attack Sandown, but they were attacked and eventually pushed back, probably by soldiers sent from the mainland (local inhabitants were few at the time). The soldiers were ready for the French when they arrived, so French forces were unable to take the high grounds they needed to effect a victory. The French moved on to Seaford on 25 July, but there too they were pushed back, and the French fleet returned to Boulogne, which they were blockading.

Just under a year later, worn out and nearly penniless, the French and English agreed to the Treaty of Ardres, which ended hostilities between France and England. For the time being, at least.

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This Week’s Question:

Aside from palace and prison, what other roles has the Tower of London played?

Last Week’s Question:

Katherine Parr, who married Henry VIII on this day in 1543, enjoys a certain distinction amongst English queens. What is it?

Answer: As several readers noted, Katherine Parr was the wife who outlived Henry, but she wasn’t the only one of Henry’s six wives to do so—Anne of Cleves, whose marriage was quickly annulled, was also alive at the time of the king’s death. What sets Katherine apart not only from the other wives but also from other English queens is that she was the most-married queen in English history, having had four husbands in her lifetime. Fairly impressive, considering she only lived to be about 36 years old.

Her first husband is thought to be Sir Edward Borough, whom she married in 1529 when she was about 17 years old. After his death in 1533, she married John Neville, 3rd Baron Latymer (or Latimer), who, at 40, was twice her age. The match made Katherine one of only two women in her family to marry into the peerage. She was a good wife and stepmother to Latymer’s children, and she was genuinely fond of her family. Their marriage lasted until her husband’s death in 1543.

As a widow, Katherine joined the household of The Lady Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon. It was here she caught the king’s eye, though Katherine was more interested in the dashing Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane and uncle to the future Edward VI. Seymour was sent abroad and Henry and Katherine were married on 12 July 1543 at Hampton Court Palace. As she had with Latimer, Katherine set out to care for her ailing husband and nurture her stepchildren, creating, for many of them, a true family for the first time. She was a highly respected queen, and despite one major incident she managed to get herself out of, Henry loved her and showed his appreciation by declaring she should be accorded the dignity of a Queen of England after his death.

As a widow once more, Katherine largely retired from court and took up her relationship with Thomas Seymour again. The two scandalously married without the regency council’s permission only a few months after Henry’s death. She became pregnant for the first time a year later and gave birth to a daughter, Mary, on 30 August 1548. Sadly, like Queen Jane before her, Katherine died just a few days later of puerperal fever. Her husband, who appears to have had none of his wife’s control or sense, was executed for treason after attempting to kidnap the king a year later. It’s unknown what happened to Katherine and Thomas’s daughter, but it’s likely she died at a young age, probably around 1550.

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This Week’s Question:

Katherine Parr, who married Henry VIII on this day in 1543, enjoys a certain distinction amongst English queens. What is it?

Last Week’s Question:

What well-known charity organization was founded in London’s East End on this day in 1865?

Answer: Well done, J.G. Burdette—the Salvation Army is the correct answer. Founded by William Booth and his wife Catherine as the North London Christian Mission, it was modeled after the military and had its own flag, hymns, and uniform. Unusually, the Christian Mission gave women the same rights to preach as men, and Catherine Booth would often go out and preach to wealthy patrons.

The Salvation Army branched out to Australia, Ireland, and the United States in 1880 and grew rapidly from there, drawing a fair bit of ire as its influence increased. Opponents known as the Skeleton Army would disrupt Salvation Army meetings, attacking attendees with stones, rats, and tar. Still, the army persevered, gaining a reputation for relief work after the Galveston Hurricane in 1900 and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Today, it operates in 124 countries around the world and is still headquartered in London.

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