Upcoming Books and Continuing Exhibitions for June 2016

New Books

The Tudor Brandons: Mary and Charles – Henry VIII’s Nearest & Dearest by Sarah-Beth Watkins is due out June 1 in the UK and June 24 in the US:

And one new release I missed from last month:

Terry Breveton’s Henry VII: The Maligned Tudor King was released May 15 in the UK and will be out at the end of July in the US (possibly with the alternate title Henry VII: Destiny’s King):

And one book that came out in the UK a few months ago and now out in the US – Amy Licence’s Red Roses: Blanche of Gaunt to Margaret Beaufort:

There were a few other books I’ve been tracking that now have confusing (or non-existent) release dates that I decided to just leave off and will post when I get more definitive information.

Continuing Exhibitions

America’s Shakespeare opened on April 7 and will run through July 24 and is the second of three exhibitions they will put on, in addition to other events, during their year-long Wonder of Will celebrations.

The British Library’s Shakespeare in Ten Acts opened April 15 and will run through September 6. The exhibition is a “Journey through 400 years of history – from the first productions of Hamlet and The Tempest – to understand how Shakespeare’s plays have been transformed for new generations of theatre-goers.”

Oxford’s Bodleian Library will run Shakespeare’s Dead from April 22 to September 4. This exhibition will examine the theme of Death in Shakespeare’s works. It “provides a unique take on the subject by exploring how Shakespeare used the anticipation of death, the moment of death and mourning the dead as contexts to bring characters to life. … Shakespeare’s Dead also looks at last words spoken, funerals and mourning as well as life after death, including ghosts and characters who come back to life.”

Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee opened January 18 and will run through July 29, 2016 at the Royal College of Physicians in London.

Windsor Castle will host Shakespeare in the Royal Library from February 13 through January 1, 2017 and includes works of Shakespeare collected by the royal family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle, and art by members of the royal family inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

Shakespeare Documented – Celebrating 400 years of William Shakespeare with an online exhibition documenting Shakespeare in his own time. The partners in this exhibition include The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, The British Library, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and The National Archives. The exhibition will continue to expand throughout the year.

Sunday Short Takes

A number of big stories lit up my news alerts this week so I guess I couldn’t procrastinate my way though another Sunday without doing a wrap-up! And I’m actually healthy again, which helps a lot. 🙂

This was probably the biggest story that came through:

* Altar cloth kept in rural Herefordshire church confirmed as Tudor cloth linked to Queen Elizabeth I

* And a great video from Historic Royal Palaces – The Bacton Altar Cloth:

Followed by this:

* Archaeologists blow the whistle on Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre unearthed at ShoreditchA 450-year-old children’s bird whistle is among artefacts unearthed by archaeologists excavating Shakespeare’s historic Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch.

And another interesting video – Excavating and preserving Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre – The Stage, Shoreditch:

And a few other stories that caught my eye:

* Tapestries back at Oxburgh Hall thanks to digital technology – I visited Oxburgh last year and highly recommend adding it to any Tudor-themed travel itinerary!

* Archaeologists could be close to finding the exact location of Henry VII’s birthplace at Pembroke Castle – Glimpses of what lies beneath the surface of the site were revealed in aerial photographs and are now being investigated

* London Charterhouse set to open to the public for the first timeIn partnership with the Museum of London, the Charterhouse will be creating a new museum within the Tudor mansion, as well as a Learning Centre and an exhibition space which will tell the story of Charterhouse and its role in key moments in English history.

* Tudormania: Why can’t we get over it?Our fixation with the sexy powerplays of the Tudor court shows no signs of fading. What is it about this 16th-century dynasty that still obsesses us?

Picture of the Week #390

The Grave of William Shakespeare, Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon. Photo May 2015.

Next in the Shakespeare-themed months for the Picture of the Week is Holy Trinity Church, where several members of the Shakespeare family are buried as we’ll see over the next few weeks.

Sunday Short Takes

There were a bunch of Shakespeare events last weekend for the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death (and 452nd anniversary of his birth), and here are a few related articles:

* William Shakespeare, Playwright and Poet, Is Dead at 52 – The New York Times obituary for Shakespeare

* Shakespeare’s ‘original classroom’ revealedThe original classroom where William Shakespeare is believed to have studied and seen his first plays opens to the public for the first time this weekend.

* BBC Shakespeare Lives – The main page for all of the Shakespeare celebrations of the BBC. It looks like at least some (maybe all?) of the videos on this site are viewable outside the UK – yay!

And in other news…

* Princely pleasures at Kenilworth: Robert Dudley’s three-week marriage proposal to Elizabeth I
Described as Elizabeth I’s great love, Robert Dudley came closer than any other suitor to making the queen his wife. Here, historian Elizabeth Goldring explores Dudley’s three-week marriage proposal at Kenilworth – his last-ditch attempt, after nearly 15 years of trying, to win the queen’s hand…

* The men who changed Henry VIII’s underpantsAs Dr Edward Dutton reveals, the Tudor path to power wasn’t making speeches in the Commons; it was changing Henry VIII’s underpants and wiping his bottom…

And finally, a video of a year in the life of the Hampton Court Gardens

Upcoming Books and Events for May 2016

I meant to get this post up several days ago but the virus I mentioned a couple of weeks ago has continued to kick my butt so it took a little longer to get around to it than I had anticipated!

Books

The US release of Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger’s In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII will be on May 19, coincidentally the 480th anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution. The book was released in the UK in March.

And in the good timing department – releasing today is Charles Brandon – The King’s Man by Sarah Bryson.

John Guy’s latest Tudor work, Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years, which covers the later years of the Queen’s reign, will be released on May 3 in the US and May 5 in the UK.

The first novel in Alison Weir’s Six Tudor Queens series Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen will be released May 5 in the UK and May 31 in the US.

Kristie Dean’s newest book, On the Trail of Richard III will be out on May 5 in the UK and the US edition will be released later in the summer.

Next up is The Reluctant Ambassador: The Life and Times of Sir Thomas Chaloner, a Tudor Diplomat by Dan O’Sullivan, which is out May 15 in the UK and will be out in July in the US.

And finally for this month – The Private Lives of the Tudors by Tracy Borman is out May 19 in the UK and July 12 in the US.

New Event

Alison Weir will give a talk entitled Richard III: The Man and the Myth in conjunction with the Red Rose Chain’s production of Shakespeare’s Richard III at The Avenue Theatre in Ipswich on Saturday May 7 at 6:00 p.m. Click the link for more details!

Continuing Exhibitions

Ending this month:

Westminster Abbey’s 500 Years of Wonder will celebrate the quincentennial of the completion of Henry VII’s Lady Chapel with some special events between April 21st and May 5 including a concert, services, and lectures.

By me William Shakespeare: A Life in Writing opened at the National Archives on February 3 and will run through May 29 and features Shakespeare’s will as the centerpiece of the exhibition.

The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin launched Shakespeare in Print and Performance on December 21, 2015 and it will run through May 29, 2016. (I finally got a chance to go over and see this on my lunch hour a few weeks ago and I’ll have a write-up sometime soon.)

And things you still have a little more time to catch:

America’s Shakespeare opened on April 7 and will run through July 24 and is the second of three exhibitions they will put on, in addition to other events, during their year-long Wonder of Will celebrations.

The British Library’s Shakespeare in Ten Acts opened April 15 and will run through September 6. The exhibition is a “Journey through 400 years of history – from the first productions of Hamlet and The Tempest – to understand how Shakespeare’s plays have been transformed for new generations of theatre-goers.”

Oxford’s Bodleian Library will run Shakespeare’s Dead from April 22 to September 4. This exhibition will examine the theme of Death in Shakespeare’s works. It “provides a unique take on the subject by exploring how Shakespeare used the anticipation of death, the moment of death and mourning the dead as contexts to bring characters to life. … Shakespeare’s Dead also looks at last words spoken, funerals and mourning as well as life after death, including ghosts and characters who come back to life.”

Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee opened January 18 and will run through July 29, 2016 at the Royal College of Physicians in London.

Windsor Castle will host Shakespeare in the Royal Library from February 13 through January 1, 2017 and includes works of Shakespeare collected by the royal family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle, and art by members of the royal family inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

Shakespeare Documented – Celebrating 400 years of William Shakespeare with an online exhibition documenting Shakespeare in his own time. The partners in this exhibition include The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, The British Library, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and The National Archives. The exhibition will continue to expand throughout the year.

Sunday Short Takes

A terse round-up this week since I think a cold virus has finally managed to catch me… I’m really surprised it took this long given the exhaustion I’ve had over the past 8 months and the fact that I interact with college students, globe-trotting faculty and research scientists, the general public, and school-aged kids on a regular basis! I guess my immune system just didn’t have enough energy left to fight off this one.

* Conservation plan set to preserve Woking Palace’s future

* Shakespeare first folio discovered at stately home on Scottish island

* Shakespeare’s Buildings

* Conserving Shakespeare’s will and Shakespeare’s will: a new interpretation – from the UK National Archives, where the will is on display

* Virtual Historical Festival – Check the Timetable for more information on the authors taking part

* Wythenshawe Hall: Photos reveal damage to fire-hit Tudor mansion – follow-up to a sad story from a few weeks ago

* 360 Tour of the Tower of London with Dan Snow

Picture of the Week #377

Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon. Photo May 2015.

Now that we’re into April it’s time for a new theme for the Picture of the Week! And as you may have guessed, this month will feature Shakespeare’s Birthplace in honor of the Bard’s birthday later this month. (Even though the big anniversary this year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, I don’t have any recent photos of New Place since it was closed when I was there last year for the project to re-display the site.)

Upcoming Books, Exhibitions, and Events for April 2016

Books

One book I missed that came out in late March was Jerry Bortton’s This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World which was released March 24 in the UK and March 22 for an international edition (including the US):

And another was the second of Tony Riches’s Tudor Trilogy of historical fiction novels: Jasper, which was released on March 22 in the UK and US.

Two new books with UK releases this month (and later or unknown-at-this-time US releases):

First up is Insurrection: Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell and the Pilgrimage of Grace by Susan Loughlin, which will be released on April 4 in the UK and in July in the US.

And the second is Katherine Howard: The Tragic Story of Henry VIII’s Fifth Queen by Josephine Wilkinson, which is out April 7 in the UK and on the Kindle in the US, but I don’t have a release date for the hardcover in the US yet.

New Events and Exhibitions

Believe it or not, I have one addition to this round-up that is isn’t Shakespeare related!

Westminster Abbey’s 500 Years of Wonder will celebrate the quincentennial of the completion of Henry VII’s Lady Chapel with some special events between April 21st and May 5 including a concert, services, and lectures.

And now, back to the Shakespeare events. 🙂

America’s Shakespeare will open on April 7 and run through July 24 and is the second of three exhibitions they will put on, in addition to other events, during their year-long Wonder of Will celebrations.

The British Library’s Shakespeare in Ten Acts opens April 15 and will run through September 6. The exhibition is a “Journey through 400 years of history – from the first productions of Hamlet and The Tempest – to understand how Shakespeare’s plays have been transformed for new generations of theatre-goers.”


And finally, Oxford’s Bodleian Library will run Shakespeare’s Dead from April 22 to September 4. This exhibition will examine the theme of Death in Shakespeare’s works. It “provides a unique take on the subject by exploring how Shakespeare used the anticipation of death, the moment of death and mourning the dead as contexts to bring characters to life. … Shakespeare’s Dead also looks at last words spoken, funerals and mourning as well as life after death, including ghosts and characters who come back to life.”

Continuing Exhibitions

I can’t hope to find all of the Shakespeare exhibitions being put on this year, so I’m mainly trying to get the big ones and a few I come across that are outside the UK. If you’re in the UK and want to keep up with special events occurring throughout the year, check out Shakespeare400.

Shakespeare Documented – Celebrating 400 years of William Shakespeare with an online exhibition documenting Shakespeare in his own time. The partners in this exhibition include The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, The British Library, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and The National Archives. The exhibition will continue to expand throughout the year.

By me William Shakespeare: A Life in Writing opened at the National Archives on February 3 and will run through May 29 and features Shakespeare’s will as the centerpiece of the exhibition.

The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin launched Shakespeare in Print and Performance on December 21, 2015 and it will run through May 29, 2016.

Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee opened January 18 and will run through July 29, 2016 at the Royal College of Physicians in London.

Windsor Castle will host Shakespeare in the Royal Library from February 13 through January 1, 2017 and includes works of Shakespeare collected by the royal family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle, and art by members of the royal family inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

Sunday Short Takes

There were a couple of stories that really lit up my alerts this week, so I chose a couple of representative links. And I just realized that both of these graves were places I visited last year, so I’ve added a couple of photos.


Light projection showing the placement of Richard III’s skeleton in the grave.

* Armchair archaeologists can explore Richard III’s grave in online modelAn interactive model of King Richard III’s grave, gives an archaeologist’s-eye view of the skeleton of one of England’s most vilified monarchs

* Visit Richard III’s Gravesite With This Bone Chilling 3D ModelThe ruler’s final resting spot is now publicly available for exploration online


Shakespeare’s grave at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon.

And a little more on the scan of Shakespeare’s grave mentioned in last week’s round-up:

* Shakespeare’s skull ‘probably stolen’ from Stratford graveA hi-tech investigation of William Shakespeare’s grave has concluded his skull was probably stolen. The discovery gives credence to a news report in 1879, later dismissed as fiction, that trophy hunters took the skull from his shallow grave in 1794.

* Shakespeare’s skull may have been removed from grave, documentary findsIn 1879, an unconfirmed report in the press claimed that William Shakespeare’s skull was stolen from his shallow grave by trophy hunters 85 years earlier. Now, a high-tech radar investigation into the Bard’s grave suggests that the story is true.

And one other interesting article that I read last week:

* The first Muslims in EnglandFrom as far away as North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, Muslims from various walks of life found themselves in London in the 16th Century working as diplomats, merchants, translators, musicians, servants and even prostitutes. – There is more about this in the March issue of BBC History Magazine which I recommend if you’re interested. Both articles were written by Jerry Brotton, author of the new book This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World which I’ll add to the next new books round-up!

Picture of the Week #375

The Arden Family Farmhouse in Wilmcote, near Stratford-upon-Avon. Photo May 2015.

When the building that was formerly identified as Mary Arden’s Farm was discovered to actually belong to the Palmer Family, it was fortunate that the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust had also purchased the other Tudor-era building at the site, since THAT was the one that turned out to actually belong to the Arden Family! And it just happened to be the building that I could see out of my window when I stayed at the Mary Arden Inn right across the street. 🙂

In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII Blog Tour – May the Force be with You

I’m happy to be the final stop on the blog tour for Natalie Grueninger and Sarah Morris’ newest book: In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, following their previous fantastic title, In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn. In this post, Sarah will share her top five locations that left an imprint on her. I don’t think that Sarah knew I’m a life-long Star Wars fan but I got a little thrill when I saw the title for her guest article. 🙂

May the Force be with You

By Sarah Morris

Over the last three to four years, I have been privileged to travel to around 130 locations associated with each of Henry VIII’s queen consorts. A little like people one meets through life, some pass you by, leaving no more than pleasant memories to accompany you on your journey, and others leave a much more enduring impression. Like Mary I once famously said of her fated relationship to Calais, they remain ‘engraved’ in your heart. But why?

One of the peculiar and indeed unpredictable things that both Natalie and I have noticed during our travels is how some locations have a ‘vibe’ that draws you in – and this is not always associated with the most complete, or obvious, locations. Certainly on more than one occasion, when Nat and I were visiting ruins or simply just earthworks in a field, we would look at each other with that knowing look – ‘the force’ as we came to know it was palpable, seeping out of the bricks and mortar, even the very earth itself.

On day one of this blog tour, Nat touched on this phenomenon; it seems that for some reason certain locations are able to connect with us at a deeply emotional level. Some would argue that this is a figment of an overactive imagination, but others might say that these places hold the energetic imprint of people and events long after they have passed. Could it be that in some subtle way we are able to tap into that? I’d like to think so.

So in this penultimate entry, I thought I would share with you five, short, thumbnail sketches of less well fêted locations that still hold the power to move me in the way I have described, even though our encounter was often all too fleeting. So, here is the countdown in reverse order:

5. Pontefract Castle, Yorkshire


A Model of Pontefract Castle

In its day, Pontefract Castle was a behemoth, renowned as being a key strategic fortress, and one which was virtually impregnable to boot. Images of the castle, captured before its destruction following England’s Civil War, convey its might and austerity. The castle’s sinister history of royal incarceration and aristocratic execution arguably makes Pontefract second only to the Tower of London in terms of its infamy. Today only ruins remain perched high upon a rocky outcrop of land. Pontefract Castle is way off the usual tourist trail. So when I visited, it was all but deserted, leaving me alone with only ghosts for company. The commanding views once enjoyed by the castle are now obscured by trees surrounding its perimeter, but the imprint of the royal apartments remains outlined in the ground.


Inside the ruined bailey of Pontefract Castle

Pontefract was one of the locations specifically cited for Catherine Howard’s indiscretions with Thomas Culpepper during the summer progress of 1541; the queen sending one of her ladies to watch the back door (probably of the Queen’s Tower), so that Culpepper could gain entrance to the queen’s privy chambers unnoticed. Before my visit, I had read eye witness accounts from the interrogations of the queen’s ladies, and through these it is not hard to see Catherine was tense, snapping at her ladies-in-waiting, threatening them with her displeasure. Clearly the queen sensed she was treading very dangerous ground indeed. And yet, as daylight fades, the rugged brutality of the place is replaced by the passion and warmth of a young woman’s desire for her lover. Bathed in flickering candle light, it was at Pontefract that the lovers entwined, Catherine writing to Thomas whilst at Pontefract that she would be his for ‘as long as life endures’.

4. Schloss Burg an der Wupper, Solingen, Germany


Burg Castle as it appeared in the sixteenth century

Burg Castle was once the childhood home of Anne of Cleves. If you wish to understand the secrets of Anne’s heart, there is no better way than to make the pilgrimage sixty miles or so east of Anne’s birthplace of Dusseldorf, into the wooded valleys of the Rhine. The castle has been recreated to reflect its appearance at the zenith of the renaissance, when it served as one of the principal lodgings for the ducal family. Murals painted following the rebuilding of the castle tell the story of the Dukes of Cleve and the key events of the castle’s history, including the betrothal of Anne’s parents when they were just young children of five and six.


The Knight’s Hall (Rittersaal) of Burg Castle

The grand hall in which great public ceremonies took place (including the feast to celebrate the imminent nuptials of Anne’s elder sister, Sibylle), makes it easy to see through the veil of time and recreate Anne’s past. Yet, it was in one single room, the Kemanate that all my research on Anne’s early years became fused with her presence. I am not sure quite what acted as the catalyst. Perhaps it was the stories told by my American guide about life at the ducal court as we wandered around the castle, or perhaps it was simply standing in the room in which Anne would have spent much of her time during daylight hours. However, there is no doubt that for me, it was there that I finally felt I understood the young woman who I would later follow all the way to her grave.

3. Kimbolton Castle, Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire


The Interior of Kimbolton School and the room in which
Katherine of Aragon reputedly died in January 1536

Katherine of Aragon’s struggle with Henry and the English nation was truly a saga of epic proportions – and it changed a nation’s history. It is utterly impossible not to be deeply moved when one stands in the very room in which she died, as well as in the nearby chapel, where it seems likely that her body lay in state for three weeks before her burial at Peterborough Cathedral. Although now a school, with the interiors having been entirely remodelled in the late eighteenth century, the echoes of Katherine’s defiant last stand remain audible – if you have an ear to hear. Nowhere have I felt closer to Henry’s proud, Spanish wife.

2. Wolf Hall, Wiltshire


Watercolour of the current Wolfhall farmhouse, thought to incorporate
elements of the Seymour’s original mansion (copyright Gillian Bathe)

Standing atop a plateau of land in the heart of rural Wiltshire, surrounded by green fields, cow sheds and a rather run down looking farmhouse, it should be nigh on impossible to tap into any sense that you are amidst the remains of a building that has passed into immortality. Yet strangely quite the opposite was true for me.

Popularised in recent literature, Wolf Hall was once the provincial country home of the Seymour family. Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII stayed as guests of Sir John and Lady Seymour for a week during the summer progress of 1535. Although we are deeply sceptical of the long-term legend that it is here that Henry’s eyes first fell on Jane, the Seymour’s eldest daughter, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that something of significance did indeed transpire here, and that as Anne Boleyn strolled through one of its many gardens, her time as Henry’s ‘most beloved wife’ was fast running out. The place continues to haunt me to this day, some three years after my first visit.

1. Charterhouse Square, London


Charterhouse Yard from the Agas Map of 1560. The Latimers’
residence is circled in the top right hand corner of the square

Some of the most fascinating locations for me are those that take you by surprise – and this was certainly the case with Charterhouse Square. Once laying just outside the ancient city walls of London, it was a desirable spot for the Tudor elite. John Latimer, Katherine’s then husband, explains why in a contemporary letter to Cromwell; the Yard (as it was then known), stood ‘in good air, out of press of the city’. It was the Latimers’ favoured London residence.

Here, I was to track down Katherine Parr at one of the most interesting junctures of her life. Sir John and Lady Latimer lived in Charterhouse Yard during the fall of Catherine Howard; the scandalous break up of Katherine’s brother’s marriage to the adulterous Anne Bourchier, and the death of Lord Latimer himself.


The author outside the site of the Latimers’ London home,
currently occupied by No10. Charterhouse Square.

Today, the imprint of the Square is little changed from its medieval origins; an irregular pentagon with its central green looked onto in the north by the remains of The Charterhouse itself, with imposing buildings lining its remaining edges. Although the medieval / Tudor houses are mostly gone, it retains a sense of being a veritable time capsule, little visited by tourists. And yet, you will not be alone during your visit. For as you stroll past No.10 (the site of the Latimer’s residence), you might find yourself nodding your head in silent greeting to Katherine’s neighbour, the Tudor antiquarian, John Leland, as he sets off on one of his many travels; or maybe you might catch a fleeting glimpse of Katherine’s brother, who also lived on the Square; and if that were not enough remember the 50,000 souls whose bodies are buried beneath the green, as a result of perishing during the outbreak of the Black death in 1349.

As I left, I couldn’t help but think about Katherine’s final departure from Charterhouse Yard; was she leaving there to become Henry’s wife? Did she sense that her life was about to change forever and that she was one small step away from immortality?

Natalie and I hope you have enjoyed our blog tour and we wish you many happy hours retracing the footsteps of these six, unforgettable women.

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Buy In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
(Released on 19 May 2016)
The Book Depository
(Free worldwide shipping)

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About the Authors


Natalie Grueninger is a researcher, writer and educator, who lives in Sydney with her husband and two children.

She graduated from The University of NSW in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts, with majors in English and Spanish and Latin American Studies and received her Bachelor of Teaching from The University of Sydney in 2006.

Natalie has been working in public education since 2006 and is passionate about making learning engaging and accessible for all children.

In 2009 she created On the Tudor Trail, a website dedicated to documenting historic sites and buildings associated with Anne Boleyn and sharing information about the life and times of Henry VIII’s second wife. Natalie is fascinated by all aspects of life in Tudor England and has spent many years researching this period.

Her first non-fiction book, co-authored with Sarah Morris, In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, was published by Amberley Publishing and released in the UK in late 2013. Natalie and Sarah have just finished the second book in the series, In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, due for publication in the UK on 15 March 2016 and on Amazon US on 19 May 2016.

You’ll find Natalie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Dr Sarah A. Morris

Sarah is a creative soul, as well as an eternal optimist who generally prepares for the worst! She is an advocate of following the heart’s deepest desire as a means to finding peace and happiness. To this end, her writing is a creative expression of her joy of both learning and educating.

Drawn by an inexplicable need to write down the story of Anne Boleyn’s innocence, she published the first volume of her debut novel, Le Temps Viendra: a novel of Anne Boleyn in 2012; the second volume followed in 2013. That same year, her first non-fiction book, co-authored with Natalie Grueninger called, In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, was also published. Hopelessly swept away by an enduring passion for Tudor history and its buildings, her latest book, the second of the In the Footsteps series entitled, In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, is due to be published by Amberley Publishing in the UK on 15th March 2016 and in the US on 19th May.

She lives in rural Oxfordshire with her beloved dog and travelling companion, Milly.

You’ll find Sarah at www.letempsviendra.co.uk, or via her blog,: This Sceptred Isle.

Sunday Short Takes

Sunday Short Takes Mega Edition! This is what happens when I actually have time to do things. (I took Spring Break off at work – although the fact that I was able to mostly use comp time accrued in the last month to take the *whole week* off tells you something…)

More interesting Shakespeare news:

* Shakespeare’s grave scanned in 400th anniversaryShakespeare’s grave in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford upon Avon has never been excavated, but a scan has been carried out to search below ground. The findings are expected to be revealed in the next few weeks.

* William Shakespeare’s handwritten plea for refugees to go onlineSir Thomas More script is only surviving copy of a play in the bard’s hand and is one of 300 texts being digitised in run-up to British Library exhibition

* Catholic painting covered over by Shakespeare’s dad discovered at Stratford’s GuidhallSt John the Baptist appeared from under a layer of paint and varnish at the Guildhall in Church Street, Stratford, currently being restored as a visitor attraction.

* Site of Shakespeare’s grand Stratford home to open to the publicIn July a grand bronze-studded oak door will swing open on the main street of Stratford-upon-Avon, inviting visitors into a house that was demolished more than 250 years ago – the mansion which Shakespeare bought in his home town when he had made his fortune on the London stage.

And in other news:

* Fire destroys roof of historic Wythenshawe Hall in ManchesterFire has badly damaged a 16th Century hall in Manchester destroying the roof and causing extensive damage to an upper floor.

* Export bar placed on painting of Henry VIII castleThe earliest depiction of Henry VIII’s “lost” palace in Surrey could leave the UK unless a buyer comes forward.

* Channel 5 To Show Major History Series Examining Henry VIII’s Wives – The series will be hosted by Suzannah Lipscomb and Dan Jones

* Secret Notes Hidden in 500-Year-Old BibleRecent analysis of the Latin Bible, which was published in 1535 by Henry VIII’s printer, has revealed fascinating English annotations made during the 16th-century Reformation.

* Digital history: Archbishops’ Registers go online for first timeUsers will be able to research a vast range of topics, from architecture, almsgiving, sin, buildings and transport, to church furnishings, weapons and war. – The site is available here: https://archbishopsregisters.york.ac.uk/

And finally…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a dream house or two, so here’s a whole list of Grade I-listed properties for sale! There are several there that I liked, but if I *had* to choose, my love of black and white timbers would make me pick this one:

The Old Rectory, Gawsworth, Cheshire.