With my FB group – All Things Tudor – approaching 24,000 members & my podcast of the same name taking off at lightning speed, I have more news.
To paraphrase writer Terence Hawkins, founding director of the Yale Writers’ Conference: I’m honored to say that the peerless Deb Hunter has asked me to serve as editor of the All Things Tudor quarterly journal, set to launch in March! Our inaugural issue will feature an advance excerpt from Renaissance man John Crowley’s forthcoming novel as well as the erudite Dr Norman Jones’ timely account of the Elizabethan response to the plague.
Welcome to our first Tasty Tudor Tuesday on All Things Tudor!
Katelin wanted to start off with something fun and simple. These are her instructions:
Apple Mousse from 𝑨 𝑷𝒓𝒐𝒑𝒆𝒓 𝑵𝒆𝒘𝒆 𝑩𝒐𝒐𝒌 𝒐𝒇 𝑪𝒐𝒌𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒆 published in 1575 by William How
“Take a dozen apples and ether rooste or boyle them and drawe them thorowe a streyner, and the yolkes of three or foure egges withal, and, as ye strayne them, temper them wyth three of foure sponefull of damaske water yf ye wyll, than take an season it wyth suger and halfe a dysche of swete butter, and boyle them upon a chaffyndgdyshe in a platter, and caste byskettes or synamon and gynger upon them and so serve them forth.”
Can you read that? If not, we have a modern recipe from Peter Brears in 𝑻𝒖𝒅𝒐𝒓 𝑪𝒐𝒐𝒌𝒆𝒓𝒚 – 𝑹𝒆𝒄𝒊𝒑𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑯𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒚
1 1/2 pounds or five medium-sized apples, cored, peeled and cut into chunks
3 tablespoons water
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons brandy or rum flavoring
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon butterGround ginger and cinnamon to finish
Place chunked apples in a saucepan and add just enough water to cover them. Bring them to a boil, then simmer on medium-high heat until they are mushy, about 30-40 minutes depending on the variety. Drain off the water and run the apples through a blender or food processor to puree.Return the puree to a saucepan off heat, and beat in the egg yolks, brandy or rum flavoring, sugar, and butter.Return the saucepan to the stove and slowly bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it’s bubbling, take it off the heat again and pour it into a dish. Allow this to cool completely before serving. Sprinkle with ginger and cinnamon to finish and serve
Episode 3 – In this very special edition of All Things Tudor, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb joins Deb to discuss the importance of January in the lives of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, as well as its milestone dates in the Tudor dynasty.
Historian, USA Today bestseller and Pulitzer nominated author Deb Hunter presents All Things Tudor, the podcast that blows the dust off the history books and brings the world of the Tudors roaring back to life! The power. The sex. The scandals. The romance, and the ruthlessness. Join Deb and her amazing guests as they pull back the curtain and reveal the real lives of the Tudors.
What people are saying…
The All Things Tudor podcast with Deb Hunter is irreverent and fun, informed and approachable with an emphasis on entertainment. Deb is a highly qualified historian but also a bit rock n roll, and her outsider status gives a perfect opportunity to embrace the topic and give it a fresh and exciting take. The predominantly US/UK cultural dynamic adds a creative perspective to the show.
Tudor Attire and Jewellery for the couple for the afternoon.
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Full afternoon cream tea
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During the years of Anne Boleyn’s rise to power, Gertrude and her husband remained loyal to Queen Katharine of Aragon. In 1527, Henry VIII decided that, at forty-two, Queen Katharine was too old to bear children, and so he sought an annulment. What he initially believed would take about a year to accomplish actually took six long years. During this time, Katharine’s popularity grew while Anne became a figure of scandal.
Perceived as a home-wrecker, especially by women, Anne was often accused of seducing the King. Chronicler Edward Hall wrote that the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting and other household servants spoke unfavourably about Anne “and said that she so enticed the King, and brought him in such amours, that only for her sake and occasion he would be divorced from his Queen”.
Gertrude and her husband, together with their close friends the Pole family (that included Margaret, Countess of Salisbury) privately sneered at Anne Boleyn’s rapid elevation. They believed the King had decided to divorce their “good Queen Katharine” because he was was “[ca]tched yn the snare off unlawfull love with the lady Ane”, implying that Anne used love magic. The comment about “unlawful love” carried witchcraft connotations. Provoking someone to “unlawful love” was among the tricks imputed to women using witchcraft to “snare” their lovers and fell under the category of love magic. It was not punishable during Anne’s lifetime, but it would become a felony under the 1542 Witchcraft Act.
Although Anne was never charged with witchcraft, an air of scandal surrounded her relationship with the King, and some commentators suggested that Henry VIII was “charmed by potions or otherwise”, so Gertrude and her faction were not alone in spreading gossip linking Anne with witchcraft.
Apart from insinuating that she used witchcraft, in their view Anne was also “a harlot and a heretic”, and her eventual marriage to the King was “unlawful”. Anne was disparaged as a “harlot” because she was romantically involved with a married man and a “heretic” because her religious views were leaning towards the newly developing evangelical movement.
“Seduced by sortileges and charms”
In 1536, shortly after Anne Boleyn miscarried a son, Gertrude informed the Imperial ambassador Eustace Chapuys that she and her husband:
“[…] had heard from the lips of one of the principal courtiers that this King had said to one of them in great secrecy, and as if in confession, that he had been seduced and forced into this second marriage by means of sortileges and charms, and that, owing to that, he held it as null. God (he said) had well shown his displeasure at it by denying him male children. He, therefore, considered that he could take a third wife, which he said he wished much to do.”
There are two versions of Chapuys’s despatch, one in the Letters and Papers and another one in the Spanish Calendar of State Papers. The version in the Calendar of State Papers is the one cited above, whereas the Letters and Papers translation uses the word “witchcraft” instead of “sortileges and charms”.
If proven, allegations of witchcraft could result in the dissolution of a marriage. The most recent example in living memory was the accusation of witchcraft with special emphasis on love magic levelled against Henry VIII’s grandmother Elizabeth Grey, née Woodville. The clandestine nature of Edward IV’s marriage led Richard III’s Parliament to claim in 1483 that the wedding had been procured “by sorcery and witchcraft, committed by the said Elizabeth and her mother, Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford”. According to the act, witchcraft committed by Elizabeth and Jacquetta was “the common opinion of the people and the public voice, and the fame is through all this land”. In the end, it was not witchcraft that invalidated Elizabeth Woodville’s marriage to Edward IV: it was the King’s alleged pre-contract with another woman. Henry VIII had clearly looked into what legal basis had been used in 1483 to annul Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville; his comment about being seduced with witchcraft clearly implies so, as well as the fact that he tried to use Anne’s earlier pre-contract with Henry Percy.
Whether Henry VIII truly said that he believed Anne Boleyn seduced him by witchcraft is impossible to prove. It is likely that Gertrude spread the rumour to tarnish Anne’s reputation. In any case, even if Henry VIII wanted to accuse Anne of witchcraft, it was not an offence punishable by death until 1542, when a statute was passed making it a felony “to practise, or cause to be practised, conjuration, witchcraft, enchantment or sorcery […] to provoke any person to unlawful love”. The King would come up with something much more malicious to get rid of his wife.
Sylvia Barbara Soberton is a writer and researcher specializing in the history of the Tudors. She debuted in 2015 with her bestselling book “The Forgotten Tudor Women: Mary Howard, Mary Shelton & Margaret Douglas”. Sylvia’s other best-sellers include “Golden Age Ladies: Women Who Shaped the courts of Henry VIII and Francis I”, “Great Ladies: The Forgotten Witnesses to the Lives of Tudor Queens”, “The Forgotten Tudor Women: Anne Seymour, Jane Dudley & Elisabeth Parr”, “Medical Downfall of the Tudors: Sex, Reproduction & Succession” and others. You can find Sylvia on Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter @SylviaBSo
The Forgotten Tudor Women: Gertrude Courtenay: Wife and Mother of the last Plantagenets
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