The Ravenmaster

UK Cover

‘Packed with insight and anecdote, his story brings the Tower ravens to vivid life, each bird with a personality of its own. I’ve been fortunate enough to tour the Tower and meet the ravens a few times in years past; after reading this book, I cannot wait to go back’ George R. R. Martin

The first behind-the-scenes account of life with the legendary ravens at the world’s eeriest monument

The ravens at the Tower of London are of mighty importance: rumor has it that if a raven from the Tower should ever leave, the city will fall.

The title of Ravenmaster, therefore, is a serious title indeed, and after decades of serving the Queen, Yeoman Warder Christopher Skaife took on the added responsibility of caring for the infamous ravens. In The Ravenmaster, he lets us in on his life as he feeds his birds raw meat and biscuits soaked in blood, buys their food at Smithfield Market, and ensures that these unusual, misunderstood, and utterly brilliant corvids are healthy, happy, and ready to captivate the four million tourists who flock to the Tower every year.

US Cover

A rewarding, intimate, and inspiring partnership has developed between the ravens and their charismatic and charming human, the Ravenmaster, who shares the folklore, history, and superstitions surrounding the ravens and the Tower. Shining a light on the behavior of the birds, their pecking order and social structure, and the tricks they play on us, Skaife shows who the Tower’s true guardians really are―and the result is a compelling and irreverent narrative that will surprise and enchant.

Get this book at these sites!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

With very special thanks to Peter Jones & The Ravenmaster, Christopher Skaife, for surprising me with a signed copy of this fantastic book during my recent visit to London. How great is that? It’s the best gift ever!

Queen Jane Seymour and St George’s Chapel

On October 12, 1537, King Henry VIII’s wife Jane Seymour gave birth at Hampton Court Palace to his only surviving legitimate son, the future King Edward VI. The labor had been exhausting, but Jane appeared to recover and wrote a letter to Thomas Cromwell announcing the birth of Henry’s heir. After a few day it was apparent that Jane was seriously ill. There are theories on the exact cause of her death but what we do know is that she died on October 24.

This week in 1537 saw the burial of the beloved third wife of Henry VIII.

After the beheading of Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII and Jane were married quickly. The wedding ceremony took place only eleven days after the execution, with Jane being fitted for her wedding dress as Anne was beheaded.

Yet, as brief as her reign and marriage was, Jane Seymour did something that none of Henry’s previous wives had been unable to do-she gave him the long awaited legitimate male heir he wanted.

Magical Windsor Castle

Henry was devastated by her death and withdrew to Windsor. By November 1, Henry decided Jane would be buried there, in St. George’s Chapel. The court was ordered into mourning with appropriate clothes issued from the Great Wardrobe.

After choosing the date and place of the burial, Henry delegated the plans for the funeral to the Duke of Norfolk and Sir William Paulet.

Jane was the first Queen of England to die in good estate since King Henry’s mother Elizabeth of York in 1503. Norfolk and Paulet followed the protocol set forth in her funeral. As per custom, the King did not attend the funeral.

The ceremony at St. George’s Chapel saw the Queen laid to rest with full honors beneath the Quire of the Garter Chapel.

After the coffin was lowered, the Queen’s officers broke their staves over the grave, symbolizing the end of their service to her. All the while the bells of London tolled for six hours.

Even today, on the roof of the chapel, sitting as quiet sentinels are heraldic statues known as the Queen’s Beasts. Among them are the lion of England, the red dragon of Wales, the falcon of York, and the panther of Jane Seymour.


British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk
Henry VIII: The King and His Court,  Alison Weir   
Jane Seymour: Henry VIII’s True Love, Elizabeth Norton
The Six Wives of Henry VIII,  Antonia Fraser 
The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Alison Weir  

Windsor Castle, Royal Collection Trust https://www.rct.uk/visit/windsor-castle

Photos by the author from an October 2019 visit and shared by written permission of the Chapter Office, St. George’s Chapel.

About Me

New updates & more coming soon!

All Things Tudor

Thank you for dropping by All Things Tudor today. I’m author and historian Deb Hunter and I write as Hunter S. Jones.

I’m also a historian for Past Preservers Casting. When not writing, talking or tweeting about kings, queens and rock stars, I live in Midtown Atlanta with my Scottish born husband.

I’ve been involved in academic projects at Harvard University, The University of Texas, UCLA, Vanderbilt University, University of The South, University of Notre Dame, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. I’ve been associated with the prestigious Society of Authors founded by Lord Tennyson, Royal Historical Society, Society for U.S. Intellectual History, Atlanta Historical Society, American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Society of Civil War Historians (US), Dangerous Women Project, Romance Writers of America (PAN member), and Historical Writers Association.

Currently I’m a Stage IV cancer warrior and can’t be very physically active, so…

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Ciphers, Secrets, and Spies in the Elizabethan Age

English history comes to Atlanta!

Join the Royal Oak Foundation as we explore the dark corners of Elizabethan history with Carol Ann Lloyd, who will reveal the spy network tasked with keeping Queen Elizabeth I safe.

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley,
after Marcus Geeraerts, the younger.
©National Trust Images

The Elizabethan era (1558-1603) is often depicted as the “Golden Age” in England’s history—an era of great exploration and military victories in which Queen Elizabeth I is represented in sumptuous clothing and jewels. But the reality, which included religious conflicts that tore families apart; political challenges to Elizabeth’s authority; high levels of poverty and crime; and vulnerability to foreign invasion, was far grimmer.

Numerous plots were hatched to dethrone Elizabeth I and replace her with the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots. William Cecil (later Lord Burghley) was the first to oversee the gathering of intelligence and was aided by Francis Walsingham, another of Elizabeth’s most loyal ministers known as the Spymaster. Walsingham’s network of clandestine agents moved throughout England and Europe using their contacts and skills in navigating court politics to safeguard their Queen.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and Mary, Queen of Scots by British National Trust Images

National Trust houses that were involved in this period of intrigue Baddesley Clinton and Coughton Court in Warwickshire, Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk, and Scotney Castle in Kent. Carol Ann will describe this tumultuous time with its secret plots, intercepted and decoded messages, and assassination attempts and reveal how the ability to control information became the most potent tool of the realm.

Queen Elizabeth I, by English School. ©National Trust Images

Event is Monday, November 25

6:30 p.m. lecture followed by a reception

Tickets:

$35 members & co-sponsors; $45 non-members

Location: Atlanta Decorative Arts Center,

351 Peachtree Hills Avenue, NE

To Register: www.royal-oak.org/events or call Kayla Smith at 212-480-2889, ext. 201. Use code TUDOR 19 to receive a discounted price.

Carol Ann Lloyd

Carol Ann Lloyd is a popular speaker who shares the stories of Shakespeare and English history. She is the former Manager of Visitor Education at Folger Shakespeare Library, where she gave workshops and tours about Shakespeare and Early Modern England. Carol Ann has presented programs at the Smithsonian, Folger Shakespeare Library, Agecroft Hall, and TEDx, among other venues. Ms. Lloyd is a member of the National Speakers Association.

Thank you to our co-sponsors: ADAC; Spalding Nix Fine Arts; Culture Club; Holland MacRae; The English-Speaking Union, Atlanta Branch; Oxford University Society of Atlanta

Thank you to co-sponsors: ADAC; Spalding Nix Fine Arts; Culture Club; Holland MacRae; The English-Speaking Union, Atlanta Branch; Oxford University Society of Atlanta Additional support for Atlanta lectures is generously provided by Ms. Lynne R. Pickens

Celebration of Life

One year ago today.

My husband’s voice on the phone to Emory Hospital’s ER, “Come & get my wife, she’s dying.”

They responded within minutes and had me somewhat stable within hours. Meanwhile, we were told that the illness that had been misdiagnosed for most of 2018 was stage IV colon cancer that had metastasized to my liver.

While most would see this as a death sentence, the physicians, surgeons and staff at Emory’s Winship Cancer Center viewed it as a challenge. So did my husband and I.

He remained at my side over the next few weeks, only leaving to eat or go to work. I went through various surgeries and procedures. A plan of treatment was set in place. Finally, in November, I was stable enough to go home.

Three months of chemo was followed by a grueling twelve hour surgery involving three medical teams. After spending most of March in the hospital, again with my husband there daily, I was free again by April.

The history nerd

August 2019 was the latest in the surgical saga. Luckily, I’ve progressed VERY well. In fact, we just returned from the trip of my dreams – a vacation to London to see family, friends and tour Tudor historical sites.

Instagram moment?

During this ordeal, reading and writing short stories has been my happy place. That’s why this blog was started – to share my love of All Things Tudor with others who have the same passion and quest for more knowledge about the era.

So when you see pics of our trip to Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London at night, and Windsor Castle, please know that we aren’t showing off. It’s our Celebration of Life. The trip of a lifetime and a dream come true. We are sharing with you what can happen when the human spirit is surrounded by capable healers, positivity and support from around the world.

Paul & Deb at the White Tower the evening of October 19, 2019

Thank you all very much for that.

Believe, always.

xoxo

Deb

The Most Happy

Synopsis: 

A wonderful window into the mind of the iconic Anne Boleyn. Step into her world as she retells her story. We know what history has told us. But we are yet to know the woman behind the legend. Take a peek inside and see what she has to say about her life and legacy. “Many have tried to tell my story … but none have told the truth. I will have my say.” The book is written from a first person perspective and is a fresh look at the well known story of Anne Boleyn. Find out the truth about her love for Henry Tudor and the truth about how the tragedies in her world affected her.

About the author:

Holly-Eloise Walters is an author from Bristol, England. She debuted with her first book, The Most Happy on the 4th October 2019. She has always enjoyed writing and intends to continue her work within the historical fiction genre.  Holly is 26 years old and has lived in Bristol her whole life. Her first book, The Most Happy is a historical fiction based upon the life of Anne Boleyn.

Holly wishes to breathe new life into historical figures and has quoted that her goal for The Most Happy was to “Give Anne back her voice.”  She goes on to say.

“I have always disliked how some of our history is seen as nothing more than a name in a book. We forget that Anne, like many others was a real person with real thoughts and feelings.”

Holly-Eloise Walters

The Most happy is now available to purchase at these sites:

Get this book!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Follow Holly-Eloise here:

Facebook

Katheryn Howard, The Play

Katheryn Howard

★★★★ “Seen through fresh eyes, and particularly from a 21st century perspective, (Katheryn’s) story is not just tragic but horrifying…A strong debut production… historically interesting and emotionally impactful” -The Blog of Theatre Things

Producer: Goosebite Theatre

Playwright: Catherine Hiscock

Director: Alex Pearson 

Chorus Director: Emmanuela Lia

Casting Director: Natalie Harper 

★★★★ “Contemporary and heartbreaking….Catherine Hiscock gives an outstanding performance as Katheryn-London Pub Theatres 

An all-female cast retells the story of seventeen year old Katheryn Howard, fifth wife of King Henry VIII, in this poignant examination of power, truth and blame 

A young woman on trial 

Locked within her rooms, whilst men investigate their conduct, the young queen and her ladies await the interrogations they know will come. 

Set against the shallow and oppressive world of the Tudor court and influenced by classical Greek drama, Katheryn Howard is a new play that is both contemporary and hauntingly relevant. 

There are men talking about me now 

Talking about you but mainly about me 

Written by Catherine Hiscock, Katheryn Howard was expanded from a short monologue that first appeared at Glass Splinters-a writing night at The Pleasance Theatre, dedicated to ‘untold stories’ of women from history. Developed into a full length production, the play enjoyed sell out shows at The Brockley Jack Theatre. The show is under the direction of Alex Pearson with movement direction by Emmanuela Lia. 

Cast:

Catherine Hiscock ~ Katheryn Howard, Natalie Harper ~ Jane Boleyn, Emmanuela Lia ~ Kit Tilney, Francesca Anderson ~ Joan Bulmer, Srabani Sen ~ Isabelle Baynton 

Catherine Hisbock as Katheryn Howard

“★★★★ “An intriguing assertion of Howard’s version of events -London Theatre1

Wednesday, November 6th will be the anniversary of the day King’s men burst into Katheryn’s rooms at and informed her and her ladies that they were under house arrest. On this night the theatre will be holding an informal social. This will include a free drink from the bar and a chance to meet the cast and creatives with any questions. They will be raising money for the charity Tender that works with young people using drama and arts to end sexual abuse and domestic violence.

The all-female cast of Katheryn Howard

Theatre info here:

The Hope Theatre
207 Upper Street
London N1 1RL
29 October – 16 November
Tuesday – Saturday at 7.45pm
Tickets £15 & £12

www.thehopetheatre.com 

Follow on Social Media at these sites: 

The Hope Theatre

Twitter

Facebook

Goosebite Theatre

Twitter

Facebook

For more information, interviews and press bookings please contact:

Goosebite Theatre Company

Telephone: 07592459403

Email: goosebitetc@gmail.com

PRESS NIGHT:

7.45pm Friday 1st November


The House of Grey

The Grey family was one of medieval England’s most important dynasties, serving the kings of England as sheriffs, barons and military leaders. Like many families, they were split by the Wars of the Roses, one man betraying Henry VI at the Battle of Northampton, whilst his cousin, Sir John Grey, died for Lancaster at the second battle of St Albans, leaving a widow, Elizabeth née Woodville, and two young sons, Thomas and Richard. Astonishingly, the widowed Elizabeth caught the eye of Edward IV and was catapulted to the throne as his wife. This gave her sons an important role after Edward s death. The Greys were considered rapacious, even by the standards of the time and the competing power grabs of the Greys with Richard, Duke of Gloucester led to Richard Greys summary execution when Gloucester became king. His brother, Thomas, vowed revenge and joined Henry Tudor in exile.

When Thomas Grey’s niece, Elizabeth of York, became queen, the family returned to court.  Thomas married the greatest heiress in England, Cecily Bonville, their numerous children gained positions in the court of their cousin, Henry VIII, and his children Mary, and the Duke of Richmond. Mary. The 2nd Marquis was probably taught by Cardinal Wolsey but was a vigorous supporter of Henry VIII’s divorce from Katharine of Aragon.  his son’s reckless involvement in Wyatt s rebellion ended in his own execution and that of his daughter, Lady Jane Grey, the ‘Nine Days Queen’. Weaving the lives of these men and women from a single family, often different allegiances, into a single narrative, provides a vivid picture of the English mediaeval and Tudor court, reflecting how the personal was always political, as individual relationships and rivalries for land, power and money drove national events.

Author Bio

Melita Thomas is the co-founder and editor of Tudor Times, a repository of information about Tudors and Stewarts in the period 1485-1625 

www.tudortimes.co.uk

Melita has loved history since being mesmerised by the BBC productions of ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ and ‘Elizabeth R’, when she was a little girl. After that, she read everything she could get her hands on about this most fascinating of dynasties. Captivated by the story of the Lady Mary galloping to Framingham to set up her standard and fight for her rights, Melita began her first book about the queen when she was 9. The manuscript is probably still in the attic!

Whilst still pursuing a career in business, Melita took a course on writing biography, which led her and her business partner to the idea for Tudor Times, and gave her the inspiration for writing ‘The King’s Pearl: Henry VIII and his daughter Mary’.  The research for this book led her to want to know more about the Tudors’ cousins, the Greys, who were prominent members of the court. The result was the House of Grey.

Currently, Melita is studying for a Master’s in Historical Research at the University of London, and beginning research for her third book.  

In her spare time, Melita enjoys long distance walking. She is attempting to walk around the whole coast of Britain, and you can follow her progress here: https://mgctblog.com/

Melita Thomas

Buy the book here:

https://amzn.to/2JM4WI8

A Day at Hampton Court Palace

Today we had the honor of taking a private tour of Hampton Court Palace. My husband & I have been before but this was our first trip together. It’s been a magical day. Here are a few highlights.

Entry to the Tudor kitchens via the Grace & Favour apartments
Anne Boleyn’s Gateway, Tudor brickwork & ceiling
I’m so in love with this clock! ❤️
The color, symbolism & pageantry of Henry VIII
Ceiling medallions of the Tudor Rose & Royal insignias from the Henrican Court
Jane Seymour’s Phoenix Rising crest
Victorian reproductions of Tudor stained glass
The Tudor’s Great Hall & tapestries
Henry & Anne inscription
Commerative memorial to Anne Boleyn outside the Queen’s Quarters
The turret room in the Anne Boleyn quarters where she prayed for days knowing that Henry had grown tired of her.
Jane Seymour gave birth to Edward VI in the rooms on the top floor.
Selfie in the William & Mary wing of the palace.
The immortal Rainbow Portrait of Elizabeth I
Close-up of the Bacton Altar Cloth. The fabric appears to be similar, possibly the same, as the bodice of the dress worn in the Rainbow Portrait.
Henry VIII’s apartments

What a dream come true!