Welcome Matt Lewis to All Things Tudor AND let’s find out more about his new podcast.
Matt Lewis is a writer and historian of the high and late medieval periods. His primary focus is the Wars of the Roses, but he has also written on The Anarchy, Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Henry III. Matt has appeared as a guest and a presenter on documentaries and is a contributor to several magazines, as well as recently being appointed Chair of the Richard III Society.
Matt is delighted to share with us that he is co-hosting a new podcast from History Hit devoted to the middle ages: #GoneMedieval. Dr Cat Jarman is covering the early medieval period and he has the high and late periods. They have some amazing guests and episodes coming up.
Subscribe and get an episode from each of them every week to feed your medieval fascination.
The first episode is half of a long chat between Matt and Nathen Amin – Author chatting about Henry Tudor. Matt says he knows the big question is whether or not it ended in a massive fight, but there’s some fascinating discussion about Nathen’s new book, Henry VII and the Tudor Pretenders. Let’s go across the millennium and around the world to explore the middle ages. Look for more topics soon!
#GoneMedieval. Subscribe, listen, and join us! Join for Matt and I on Clubhouse, 2 June at 3pm/20.00 UK time as we debate Plantagenet v Tudors!
One of the first major festivals to run this year!
This year’s Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is like no other. A slightly shortened version due to the pandemic, the organisers have none the less packed it with a more complete and wide-ranging programme than ever before. The full line up is now online and can be found at www.cvhf.org.uk.
The festival promises to offer a full assault on the senses. Those attending will be able to watch our greatest living playwright and learn how to build a Roman road. There will be a former Archbishop of Canterbury and political party leader alongside some of the best-known and loved TV historians. There will be demonstrations from the Tudor kitchen, stone age flint-knapping and a Cold War-era armoured brigade headquarters. It will be possible to learn about the dark art of 19th century body snatching, how to make wattle and daub, and learn how to make a Tudor salve and herbal cure. The head of the UK’s Armed Forces, the best-known shepherd in the land, and the most eminent international human rights lawyer in the UK will all be speaking. There will be Sword School, a vintage fairground, some of the country’s most brilliant, successful and eminent historians but also late-night storytelling around the fire with Dan Snow and Michael Wood, and fast and furious fun with the History Tellers.
And as with any English country festival, there will be food, glorious food – and historical fast food too – as well as drink, camping, glamping and live music every single day of the festival from 1920s flapper music to the ancient ballads of English folk music.
Those coming to the festival will be able to see history, touch history, taste history and smell history too – and all in the stunning ancient downland of the Chalke Valley – a place of immense history in its own right.
Festival Chair, James Holland, says: “I’m really very excited about this year’s festival. Despite the challenges of the last year we’ve been able to produce a really inclusive and very wide-ranging programme that feels fresh, vibrant and fun. It will be midsummer, lockdown will be over, and I can’t wait to unleash this historical pageant.”
The stellar list of historians and speakers at this year’s festival include: Tracy Borman, Sir Vince Cable, General Sir Nick Carter, Diana Cavendish, Niall Ferguson, Anne Glenconner, Sir Max Hastings, Charlie Higson, Tom Holland, Katja Hoyer, Cat Jarman, Hermione Lee, Professor Margaret Macmillan, Rana Mitter, Al Murray,Jim Naughtie, Neil Oliver, James Rebanks, Dominic Sandbrook, Dan Snow, Sir Tom Stoppard, Rowan Williams, Marina Wheeler and Michael Wood.
Due to government guidelines, there may be restrictions on the number of tickets for sale at the festival this year. The festival strongly advises those wishing to attend to book tickets early to avoid disappointment. All of the Outdoor Programme will be available on a single daily ticket (with add-ons for Sword School and fairground rides), and at a price that has been kept deliberately low and which promises astonishing value for money awhile tented events will require an individual ticket, as was the case in the past. Tented ticket prices will, however, also include access to the Outdoor Programme.
This year, there will be no Chalke Valley History Festival for Schools, although the festival is producing a programme of curriculum-based films, ready for the start of the academic year this September, and which will be entirely free for all teachers, pupils and schools. A special and separate online portal will be created for this.
All profits from the festival are ploughed back into the Chalke Valley History Trust, which operates to promote the enjoyment and better understanding of history for all ages but especially to school children.
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday 19th May
Tickets will be released two days earlier (Monday 17th) May to the Friends membership
Talks given by incredible historians, taken from the past ten years of the festival, can now be heard on the Chalke Valley History Festival podcast. Entitled #ChalkeTalk, the podcasts are released three times a week.
For further information, please contact Alex Hippisley-Cox on mobile 07921 127077 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival will take place at Church Bottom, Broad Chalke, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 5DS.
For more details about the Festival, and to see the full programme, please visit www.cvhf.org.uk
Follow all the news on Twitter at @CVHISTORYFEST & on Facebook and Instagram.
Why did Elizabeth I’s courtiers hail her as a goddess come to earth?
Feast your eyes on the cover of The Tudors in Love: The Courtly Code Behind the Last Medieval Dynasty from bestselling historian Sarah Gristwood.
Alison Weir says, “The Tudors in Love is a masterclass in marshalling a vast canon of research into a riveting, pacy page-turner. Sarah takes us on a virtuoso romp through the loves and tropes of medieval and Tudor royalty, seen from the novel angle of courtly love.”
Coming September 2021. Pre-order info available soon!
All Things Tudor is happy to let you know about the latest podcast announcement from History Hit and renowned historian Suzannah Lipscomb….Not Just the Tudors
In the podcast Professor Suzannah Lipscomb talks about everything from the Aztecs to witches, Velázquez to Shakespeare, Mughal India to the Mayflower. Not, in other words, just the Tudors, but most definitely also the Tudors. Each episode Suzannah is joined by historians and experts to reveal incredible stories about one of the most fascinating periods in history.
In Not Just the Tudors, Suzannah Lipscomb talks about everything from the Aztecs to witches, Velázquez to Shakespeare, Mughal India to the Mayflower. Not, in other words, just the Tudors, but most definitely also the Tudors!
In every episode, Suzannah is joined by historians and experts to delve into the incredible stories about one of history’s most fascinating periods.
About Professor Suzannah Lipscomb
Suzannah Lipscomb is an historian, author, broadcaster, and award-winning professor of history at the University of Roehampton.
Subjects she has covered on TV include Elizabeth I, the Great Fire of London and witch hunts. Suzannah is a regular panelist on the BBC quiz show, Insert Name Here with Sue Perkins.
Suzannah presented the award-winning podcast series for Historic England, Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places and the podcast series History’s Lost Speeches for Audible.
She is author of The Voices of Nîmes: Women, Sex, and Marriage in Reformation Languedoc, Witchcraft, The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII, A Visitor’s Companion to Tudor England, and 1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII. She writes a regular column for History Today, and her articles have appeared in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Times, The Daily Mail, BBC History Magazine, and the Times Literary Supplement.
History Hit has been producing high quality podcasts for history fans for more than five years. During that time Dan Snow’s History Hit has become the UK’s most listened to podcast with more than 3.5 million downloads a month. Other shows include The Ancients and Warfare.
The Red Prince: The Life of John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster
A TIMES AND SUNDAY TIMES BEST BOOK OF 2021
‘The Red Prince announces Helen Carr as one of the most exciting new voices in narrative history.’ Dan Jones
Son of Edward III, brother to the Black Prince, father to Henry IV and the sire of all the Tudors. Always close to the English throne, John of Gaunt left a complex legacy. Too rich, too powerful, too haughty… did he have his eye on his nephew’s throne? Why was he such a focus of hate in the Peasants’ Revolt? In examining the life of a pivotal medieval figure, Helen Carr paints a revealing portrait of a man who held the levers of power on the English and European stage, passionately upheld chivalric values, pressed for the Bible to be translated into English, patronised the arts, ran huge risks to pursue the woman he loved… and, according to Shakespeare, gave the most beautiful of all speeches on England.
‘In Shakespeare’s Richard II, John of Gaunt gives the “this scepter’d isle… this England” speech. This vivid history brings to life his princely ambitions and passion.’ — The Times, Best Books of 2021
‘Helen Carr has captured the drama of [John of Gaunt’s] life and the tensions inherent in it in a compelling portrait. In so doing, she reminds us of the contradictions of a period remote from our own, not just in time but in values and beliefs too… Carr has brought to life one of the major figures of medieval England.’ — Linda Porter, Literary Review
‘ The Red Prince is not…just a book of battles and wars. Carr’s John of Gaunt is a man who loved as passionately as he fought… Carr’s sensitive use of contemporary sources paints a poignant deathbed scene… in The Red Prince it is the towering figure of John of Gaunt, a thoroughly European Englishman, who takes centre stage and it’s a stirring and memorable performance.’ — Leanda de Lisle, The Times
‘Helen Carr is a really exciting new talent in the world of history writing, whose work strikes a perfect balance between lucidity and scholarship. Her debut, The Red Prince, is a beautifully nuanced portrait of an oft misunderstood man.’ — Rebecca Rideal, author of 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire
‘Superb, gripping and fascinating, here is John of Gaunt and a cast of kings, killers and queens brought blazingly, sensitively and swashbucklingly to life. An outstanding debut.’ — Simon Sebag Montefiore
‘A long overdue reappraisal of one of medieval England’s greatest but most enigmatic figures. The Red Prince announces Helen Carr as one of the most exciting new voices in narrative history.’ — Dan Jones, author of the Plantagenets and The Hollow Crown
‘Helen Carr is one of the most exciting and talented young historians out there. She has a passion for medieval history which is infectious and is always energetic and engaging, whether on the printed page or the screen.’ — Dan Snow
‘Deploying vivid and compelling prose alongside her considerable scholarship, Helen Carr fully succeeds in restoring John of Gaunt to his rightful place – in the first rank of medieval princes. This is an excellent book, that brings the fourteenth century back to life through a thoughtful parade of intriguing characters – none more fascinating than John of Gaunt himself.’ — Charles Spencer, bestselling author of Blenheim and Killers of the King
‘John of Gaunt is a name to conjure with – an English duke who sought to become a king in Spain, a complicated, controversial man to whom, as ‘time-honour’d Lancaster’, Shakespeare gives one of his greatest speeches. Helen Carr puts him centre stage:The Red Prince is the rattling good story of a life lived on an epic scale, told with care, insight and humanity.’ — Helen Castor, author of She-Wolves and Joan of Arc
‘Helen Carr tells the gripping story of John of Gaunt’s dramatic and controversial career, from the wars he waged across Europe to the political intrigue and rebellion he faced at home, and above all the way in which his life was marked by profound love, and loss. This is an engaging and moving portrait of one of the leading figures of the Hundred Years War.’ — Sophie Thérèse Ambler, author of The Song of Simon de Montfort
About the Author
Helen is a medieval historian, writer and documentary history producer. She has produced history documentaries for leading channels such as the BBC, CNN and Sky, and worked in radio for BBC Radio 4’s weekly programme In Our Time. Helen is a regular features writer for BBC History Magazine and has contributed to the New Statesman and History Extra. She is now studying for a PhD in medieval history and runs her own podcast, Hidden Histories, available on iTunes. Follow her on Twitter @HelenhCarr
‘Packed with absorbing detail and brilliant insights … I was gripped from the first paragraph’ Alison Weir
‘Beautifully written and impeccably researched … Exquisite’ Tracy Borman
‘If you are visiting Tudor England, this book will be a sure guide to what to look at and how to look at it’. Hilary Mantel
This is a book about Tudor art – the stories within and around each artwork – and the story of Henry himself, as we follow his path from handsome prince to crippled tyrant. The works reveal much about both his kingship and his insecurities. King and Collector tells this unique story of art and power, peeling back the layers of propaganda to show the true face of this most notorious of Tudor monarchs.
King & Collector is a sumptuous guide to the art of Henry VIII—with analysis of what his collection of paintings and artworks reveal about the man and his reign
No English king is as well-known to us as Henry VIII: famous for six marriages; for dissolving the monasteries and creating the Church of England; and for the ruthless destruction of those who stood in his way. But Henry was also an ardent patron of the arts whose tapestries and paintings, purchased in pursuit of glory and magnificence, adorned his lavish court and began the Royal Collection. In contrast to later royal collectors, this king was more interested in storytelling than art for its own sake, and all his commissions relate to one central tale: the glorification of Henry and his realm. His life can be seen through his art collection and the works tell us much about both his kingship and his insecurities.
King and Collector by Linda Collins and Siobhan Clarke tells a unique story of art, power, and propaganda in Tudor England.
Linda Collins is an accredited lecturer for the Arts Society and a member of the Association of Art Historians. Siobhan Clarke is a Guide Lecturer at Hampton Court Palace. Both authors worked for Historic Royal Palaces for 20 years and both appeared in PBS Television’s ‘Secrets of Henry VIII’s Palace’. They have also written: The Tudors: The Crown, The Dynasty, The Golden Age.
But one false note could send her back to her old life of poverty.
After her father sells her to Henry VIII, ten-year-old Bess builds a new life as a royal minstrel, and earns the nickname “the king’s songbird.”
She comes of age in the dangerous Tudor court, where the stakes are always high, and where politics, heartbreak, and disease threaten everyone from the king to the lowliest musician.
Her world has only one constant: Tom, her first and dearest friend. But when Bess intrigues with Anne Boleyn and strains against the restrictions of life at court, will she discover that the biggest risk of all is listening to her own stubborn heart?
Karen Heenan was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She fell in love with books and stories before she could read, and has wanted to write for nearly as long. After far too many years in a cubicle, she set herself free to follow her dreams—which include gardening, sewing, traveling and, of course, lots of writing.
She lives in Lansdowne, PA, not far from Philadelphia, with two cats and a very patient husband, and is always hard at work on her next book.
He told me I was now a member of the King’s Music, a group of performers kept for court entertainments. It was a great privilege; the king was very particular about the musicians in his employ.Songbird, chapter 1
While minstrels were considered royal servants, they were a cut above the other servants who made the life comfortable for the inhabitants of the court. A minstrel provided both comfort and beauty, and in Henry’s court, beauty was at least as important as comfort.
Minstrels were provided with food, lodging, and clothing or livery, as were all court servants, but because they were also frequently in the royal presence, their attire was of better quality, and they were often costumed to take part in masques, or evening entertainments for the court.
Henry loved music, and before his brother’s death, he had been permitted only two. When he became Prince of Wales, and then king, he acquired musicians at a speed which would put jokes about his later wife-gathering to shame. The number of musicians in the royal household was generally sixty, but he was always willing to add more.
[Illustration #2] Some minstrels were specialized—playing the lute, harp, or virginals—but there were also general purpose entertainers, acquired each year at the Lenten schools of minstrelsy, who were also acrobats, storytellers, or who worked with animals. I did not cover this in Songbird because each time I tried, the research rabbit hole yawned wider, and I could see the story rapidly losing its shape.
In addition to minstrels, there were other types of musician at court. There were the choristers of the Chapel Royal—men and boys—who sang mass several times each day. There was another, smaller choir, who traveled with the king. There was the Music, the general minstrels, and then there were special musicians, imported (or occasionally lured away) from other countries and courts.
A core group of minstrels always traveled with the king, because he would not want to be caught without music. They went on progress with him, and, in 1520, when the king and most of his courtiers journeyed to France for the Field of Cloth of Gold, it would have been unspeakable to leave them home. Henry took every weapon in his arsenal to impress the French, and the quality of his musicians would have definitely been a point in his favor.
He also took the Chapel Royal choir, because they were made to do musical gymnastics with the French choir—for a final mass, the English choir sang with the French organist, and vice-versa, in one of those “it sounded like a good idea at the time” performances that no doubt had choristers on both sides muttering under their breath.
Songbird came about because I discovered that one of the ways Henry added to the choir and the Music was to buy children. These were most likely poor, musically talented children whose parents were more than happy (or as happy as you can be, surrendering a child, even to a promising future) to trade their child for security for the rest of their family. More than likely the children were boys, and destined for the choir, but in the case of Songbird, I made the child a girl, and Bess Llewelyn was born.
Edward Gresham, practitioner of astrology, medicine and maker of magic was born on this day in 1565. He is known for his treatise Astrostereon and many believed his almanacs and ‘predictions’ foretold the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 – to the point that he was implicated in them. His astrological almanacs were published 1603-1607.
He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge. He was also involved in courtly intrigues, one being the divorce of Robert Devereux, third Earl of Essex, another the poisoning of Sir Thomas Overbury. Gresham was an adherent of the heliocentric theory of the universe. He expressed this belief in his almanacs and writings. The complete account of Gresham’s astronomical beliefs can be found in his manuscript Astrostereon or the Discourse of the Falling of the Planet, 1603.
There are several topics addressed in the Astrostereon. The treatise contains a set of well-articulated arguments in favor of a sun centered cosmos and solar system, which was a new philosophy. Gresham believed that planets are made of the same material as Earth and he was controversial in that his writings stated that his views of the earth and solar system didn’t oppose biblical teaching.
As a scientist, the Astrostereon is a prime example of an Elizabethan mindset in that he attempted to reorganize the fundamentals of astrology to fit into their ‘new’ system of the universe.
Ralph Sadler was born in Hackney, Middlesex, the elder son of Henry Sadler, a minor official. At approximately seven years of age, Sadler was placed in the household of Thomas Cromwell. He was an intelligent and resourceful child who was taught many skills-learning to read and write, becoming fluent in French, Latin and Greek, and given knowledge of the law. He eventually became a courtier and diplomat who served four Tudor monarchs: Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.
Sir Ralph and Mary Queen of Scots
In April 1540, Sadler was made principal secretary to King Henry VIII. In the same year, he was knighted, made a privy councillor, and began more than 30 years of service. Sadler survived Cromwell’s fall from power and execution but during the power struggle following Cromwell’s death he was arrested and sent to the Tower for a time. He was able to clear himself and was released in a few days, returning to the council chamber. He played a leading role in the examination of Catherine Howard and her relatives in November 1541, regained the King’s trust and was knighted for his part in holding matters of state while the court went on a summer progress.
On the accession of Mary I to the throne, after the resolution of the succession crisis, Sadler lost most of his offices, including master of the great wardrobe, he was removed from the commissions of the peace and excluded from the Privy Council. For a short time in 1553 he was under house arrest. For the rest of Mary I’s reign he did not sit in any parliament, remaining in semi-retirement at Standon, Hertfordshire.
During the reign of Elizabeth I he was restored to favor and sent to Scotland in 1559 to arrange an alliance with the Scottish Protestants. He eventually became one of the architects of the Treaty of Edinburgh. In 1568 he was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. When Mary, Queen of Scots, fled to England, Sadler was unwillingly appointed to meet with Scottish commissioners, becoming a reluctant jailer of the Scottish Queen. From summer 1584 to spring 1585, Mary was housed at Wingfield Manor and Tutbury Castle, under Sadler’s charge. During that time, Elizabeth grew increasingly disturbed by the presence of Mary Stuart on English soil and Sadler was instructed to restrict her freedom, being required to post guards around the area where Mary was held. Eventually, Sadler sat on the council that sentenced Mary to death.
Sadler married Ellen Mitchell circa 1534. They had three sons and four daughters, one being Sir Thomas Sadler who was named for Cromwell. Sir Ralph died March 1587 and was rumored to be the wealthiest commoner in England. His aging tomb is in St. Mary’s Church, Standon Hertfordshire.
Sir Ralph Sadleir (1507-87), the great Tudor statesman and long-time resident of Standon, England asked to be buried ‘not with anie pompe after the worldly manner, but in such sorte as shall be seemlie and requisite for a Christian man’. His son, Sir Thomas, decided to ignore his wishes and commissioned elaborate, ornate tombs for his father and himself commissioned from the leading London workshops of the Tudor Era. The magnificent tombs of Sir Ralph Sadleir (1507-1587), his eldest son Thomas and the latter’s wife Gertrude are a part of the rich heritage of the Tudor Era.
Sir Ralph, described on his memorial as ‘’faithful to the state and beloved of his countrie’’, served Tudor monarchs as courtier, soldier and statesman. The passage of over 400 years has left the memorials in need of repair and refurbishment. Sadlier’s part in the acclaimed Wolf Hall trilogy by Hilary Mantel–in which he features prominently–has acted as a catalyst to get the needed repairs made.
Nikolaus Pevsner, the noted twentieth century art historian and author of the Buildings of England series, wrote enthusiastically about the Sadleir tombs in the volume on Hertfordshire.
Patrons of this project include renowned author Hilary Mantel whose works include the acclaimed Wolf Hall trilogy tracing the life of Thomas Cromwell. The first two books, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, both won the Man Booker Prize. The third, The Mirror and the Light, has been described by the Financial Times’ critic as ‘majestic and often breathtakingly poetic’. A major character in all three is Rafe Sadler (Sir Ralph Sadleir) who grew up in Cromwell’s household and served Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth I.
Ms. Mantel writes of him, ‘Ralph Sadleir was a great Tudor survivor whose story should be better known, and I am proud to have been able to play a part in introducing him to the reading public. What I would like to see is a full modern biography, surely overdue – but meanwhile I can think of no better project than to conserve his family monuments’
-DAME HILARY MANTEL, DBE FRSL
Author of the double Booker Prize winning Wolf Hall trilogy
-THE COUNTESS of VERULAM, CVO DL
Artist & former Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire
-THE VISCOUNTESS TRENCHARD
Resides at Standon Lordship & is a former High Sheriff of Hertfordshire
These pictures show examples of the conservation, repair and refurbishment required.