Medieval banquet at Pembroke Castle. Photo May 2003.
This festive scene seemed like a good one to ring in 2014 with. Happy New Year everyone!
Medieval banquet at Pembroke Castle. Photo May 2003.
This festive scene seemed like a good one to ring in 2014 with. Happy New Year everyone!
I had a little fun with Photoshop again, this time playing with “A Fete at Bermondsey” by Joris Hoefnagel and some clip art.
I hope everyone has a nice holiday season, no matter what you celebrate this time of year!
Another relatively short round-up this week!
An update on some of the continuing work at the site of Shakespeare’s last house, called New Place, in Stratford-upon-Avon:
* Shakespeare’s last house is ‘found’ by archaeologists – Archaeologists have been working on the site since 2009 and believe they have now identified features including kitchens and a brew house.
I received an email about this event coming up in April, but I thought I would go ahead and post it now in case it sells out:
* Tudor England conference with Dr. David Starkey – The event is on April 27, 2014 in Cambridge.
* A tour of Tudor Christmas Customs at Blakesley Hall -
News seems to be slowing down as we approach the end of the year, so it’s another short round-up this week. Two of the stories are more close to home for me than usual (one is *really* close), but first we start with the news from today:
* Peter O’Toole, Lawrence of Arabia star, dies aged 81 – Fans of “The Tudors” will remember him from season 2 when he played the Pope. Most people associate him with “Lawrence of Arabia” but for me, it’s his two turns as Henry II in “Becket” and “The Lion in Winter”.
The first closer-to-home story:
* What happened to the lost colony of Roanoke Island? Remote sensing unearths clues to 400-year-old American mystery – I’ve been interested in the Lost Colony since I first learned about it in my 8th grade American History class. Mrs. Lively, the teacher of that class, is responsible for more of my historical interests than probably anyone alive! (And yes, for those who have been around here for a long, long time, she’s the teacher who also sparked my interest in the Tudors.) Plus, it’s always fun to be reminded that there is Tudor history here in the States!
And finally, the very close-to-home story:
* Hans Holbein the Elder’s “Portrait of a Woman” and Silverpoint Technique – This is part of an exhibition running at my university’s art gallery. I knew there was at least one Holbein drawing in the exhibit, but what I didn’t realize until I saw this blog post is that it was by Hans Holbein *The Elder*. I’ve seen many paintings and drawings by Holbein The Younger (as I’m sure most Tudor history buffs have) son but I honestly don’t know if I’ve seen a work by the father before. I’m planning to do down and see the exhibit on my lunch hour later this week and of course I’ll be keeping an eye out for this one. The article itself is a fascinating look at the silverpoint technique.
The little survey I put together for the give-away is now closed and I’ll be emailing the two winners chosen through random.org shortly!
Unfortunately I messed something up on the survey and the data on the first question was lost, but the second one worked fine and here are the results:
These came out pretty much as I expected. For what it’s worth, I picked her coronation too.
* More cannon found on Alderney Elizabethan wreck – More news on a find that I’ve been following for a few years now. (Search on “Alderney” in the side bar for previous articles.)
* The December issue of BBC History Magazine is out and features an article by Steven Gunn and Tomasz Gromelski on animal accidents in Tudor England (another interesting product of their research into coroner’s reports).
* Revealed: the tomb of Henry VIII’s forgotten son – Digital reconstructions of the tombs of Henry Fitzroy and Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. (See this previous round-up for 2011 for some more articles related to this project.
* Spotted via the Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide, Dr. Stephan Edwards of Some Grey Matter has found and translated two Italian letters concerning Lady Jane Grey that seem to have been previously overlooked by scholars. Start here for the background on the letters and links to the originals and translations.
* The annual Tanner Ritchie Holiday Sale is on! – A great time to stock up on their Tudor-era primary source texts.
I’m delighted to be hosting Day 5 of the In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn Virtual Book Tour with this guest post from Natalie and Sarah! Amberley Publishing is kindly giving away two copies of the book at each blog on the tour, so I’ve done another survey – a short one this time! – to collect entries for the drawing. Click here to take the survey and leave your email address if you wish to be entered in the drawing. (You can take the survey and just leave the email address field blank if you don’t wish to be entered in the give-away.) You’ll be directed back to the blog once you’ve finished the survey. I’ll close the survey and choose the winners at noon US central time on Friday December 13th.
And now, over to Natalie and Sarah!
In the 21st century, celebrities, politicians and even royalty are more accessible than ever. Not only can you can watch them on television and read about them online and in newspapers and magazines, you can also follow their personal accounts and interact with them on social media sites, including Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook, with many high-profile people also opting to share personal videos and photos with the public via sites such as Instagram, Flickr and YouTube.
Even the British Monarchy use social media as a way of connecting with the public, and sharing Royal news and events — their official Facebook page boasts close to one million ‘likes’, their Twitter page over 600,000 followers and their YouTube Channel has over 124,000 subscribers.
Things were, of course, very different for royalty five hundred years ago… If a Tudor king or queen wanted to show themselves to the people and connect with their subjects throughout the kingdom, they needed to travel, and travel they did, moving regularly, whether for political reasons, to hunt, for pleasure or necessity.
The court moved around as part of the summer progresses, however, they also travelled during the winter months between royal houses in the Thames valley. Today, our focus is on the former during the reign of Henry VIII.
Each year, in around June, the king’s travel itinerary would be published along with the names of those who would be accompanying the king over the summer months or ‘grass season’, which was generally between August and October when the hay was cut and the hunting optimal.
This eagerly-awaited list was called the ‘giest’. It detailed exactly where the king intended to stay and for how long, it also recorded how many miles he would travel between stops. The distance travelled per day varied. During the 1535 summer progress, the court travelled between six and fourteen miles in a day, whereas the average for the 1528 progress was nine miles. The court usually travelled by horse, although, on occasions, they combined this with travel by river.
Despite owning a number of grand houses, the king enjoyed staying with courtiers and noblemen while on progress and, like his father Henry VII, also regularly stayed at monastic houses. In 1510 the court stayed at ten monasteries during the summer, and in July 1535, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed at Reading Abbey, a favourite of the king’s, Abingdon Abbey and Tewkesbury Abbey, while Winchcombe Abbey accommodated the majority of the court while Henry, Anne and their immediate retinue were lodged at nearby Sudeley Castle.
The length of stay depended on many factors, including the size, convenience and splendour of the residence, and its proximity to good hunting ground, and varied in length from a fleeting overnighter to fifteen days. A lack of space meant that Henry usually only stayed for a few days with courtiers and noblemen, reserving the longer visits for the larger ecclesiastical palaces, religious houses or royal properties.
In the 1520s there were only six royal residences that could comfortably accommodate the full court, which numbered, during the wintertime, approximately 1,500 people—these were Woodstock, Palace of Beaulieu, Richmond, Hampton Court (not officially Henry’s until around 1529) and Eltham. The court appears to have halved in size during the summer progresses, numbering around 750, although this varied greatly depending on whether the king’s wife and children, along with their households, accompanied the progress or not.
Hosting the king and his court was a great honour and was certainly a sign of royal favour but it was also a huge expense, as not only did you have to accommodate your own household, but you also had to house and entertain the king and queen and their entourage. Often, large sums were spent preparing for the royal visit, as the royal apartments had to be in good reparation and luxuriously furnished. Nicholas Poyntz went one step further, he didn’t just refurbish pre-existing apartments, he built an entire new wing in anticipation of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s visit in August 1535, he also commissioned sets of Italian and Spanish ceramic plates and fine Venetian glass vessels with which to impress his sovereigns and all for a visit which lasted just two days!
There was also the matter of a grand reception to consider… Regardless of whether the host was an Abbot, nobleman, courtier or city corporation, the king and his royal guests were always received with great pomp and ceremony.
The mayor and other local dignitaries would receive the royal party outside of town, where they would merge and ride in procession to the cathedral or principal church. The reception might also include pageants, although this was usually reserved for entries of particular importance, like when Charles V entered London in 1522. The royal party would then make an offering at the church before being escorted to their accommodation, where gifts were exchanged.
The giests detailed where the king intended on staying during his summer progress, however, there were many factors that could alter the original itinerary, including weather, food shortages and the outbreak of disease. In 1535, Henry and Anne intended on travelling through the West Country to Bristol, before returning to Windsor, however, an outbreak of the plague in the city forced them to abandon their plans. Instead, they remained at Thornbury Castle, where a delegation of townsmen from Bristol came to pay their respects and present them with gifts.
Disease was not the only influence on the court’s itinerary; the king’s will also played a major part. In 1535, the royal couple were so delighted with the hunting and hawking in Hampshire that they delayed their return by almost a month and new giests were prepared.
Moving the court from place to place was a huge undertaking. Royal officers left ahead of the royal entourage and ensured that there was accommodation and provisions for the entire party. The Clerk of the Market rode out before the king ‘to warn the peple to bake, to brewe, and to make redy othyr vytayle and stuff in to theire logginges.’ The royal officers, also pre-arranged accommodation for members of the court at local inns and private houses in the area.
Although many of the larger houses had basic furniture and a skeleton staff, the king and queen’s personal belongings, including plate, bed, tapestries and clothes travelled with them. The officers of the Wardrobe were primarily in charge of packing and of transporting the goods by cart, mule or boat (a process known as ‘removing’) and the Grooms of the Chamber or Privy Chamber were responsible for setting up and furnishing the royal lodgings at each new destination.
However laborious the process of moving the court was, from the beginning of his reign, Henry VIII understood the importance of getting out amongst his people and of allowing his subjects to see him in the flesh.
And what an impressive sight it must have been – the king and queen on horseback, resplendent in their riding clothes, followed by their vast and eye-catching retinue.
What I’d give to catch a glimpse of them now!
About the Authors:
Dr Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger co-authors of In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, published in September 2013. In the Footsteps is a guide book to all the places and artefacts associated with one of England’s most compelling and controversial queens.
Natalie Grueninger is a researcher, writer and educator, living in Australia 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 for the last seven years 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. To find out more about Natalie’s research and writing visit:
Sarah is also the author of Le Temps Viendra: a novel of Anne Boleyn, Volumes I and II. Le Temps Viendra is a fictional biography telling the story of Anne’s innocence through the eyes of a modern day woman, drawn back in time, to find herself in the body of her historical heroine as Anne Boleyn’s dramatic story unfolds from triumph to disaster and its final, heart-wrenching conclusion on the scaffold. Volume I was published in 2012, with Volume II due out before the end of 2013. To find out more about Sarah’s research and writing visit:
You can follow the next post at www.thetudorbookblog.com.
I’m struck by how many books I’ve been posting lately are by people that I know through the Tudor web-o-sphere… maybe that’s a sign I need to get off my duff and get writing.
Barb Alexander of the Tudor Tutor website now has a book out of the same title! I just snagged a copy on Kindle, but these links go to the physical book:
A new novel by Ann Turner entitled Heartsease, set in turbulent times at the court of Henry VIII, is out in both the US and UK as of the first of the month:
And Alison Weir’s newest work on Tudor history, about Elizabeth of York, is now out in the US.
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s plays based on Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies open on December 11th and 19th respectively and will run through March 29, 2014. They are both being staged at the Swan Theatre of the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon. Click the links on each title for information on tickets, rehearsal photos, and more.
* Elizabeth I & Her People opened at the National Portrait Gallery in London on October 10, 2013 and runs through January 5, 2014. Be sure to check out their Events Page for lectures, tours, and other activities associated with the exhibition.
* West Country to World’s End: the South West in the Tudor Age at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Gallery in Exeter opened October 26, 2013 and runs through March 2, 2014.
* The Museum of London has a new exhibition on the Cheapside Hoard, a collection of Elizabethan and Jacobean jewels that were found in a cellar in 1912. The exhibition opened October 11, 2013 and runs through April 27, 2014.
Another short round-up this week!
* Double Take: Versions and Copies of Tudor Portraits – another fascinating post from the NPG “Making Art in Tudor Britain” research program.
* Tudor Medicine and Gingerbread Houses – Kyra Cornelius Kramer writes about how Tudor medicine is related to all the lovely spices we enjoy in our foods and drinks this time of year.
* The Marie Stuart Society (in association with Historic Scotland) has launched an appeal for a statue of Mary Queen of Scots to be erected at her birthplace of Linlithgow Castle. The maquette for the statue design can be seen above.
Stained glass window of St. Margaret of Scotland in her chapel at Edinburgh Castle. Photo May 2000.
Since tomorrow (or possibly Friday, but most of my sources have the 28th) is the anniversary of the birth of Margaret Tudor, I thought this would be a good opportunity to use this photo of a previous Queen Margaret who began life as an English princess and married a King of Scotland.
Just a couple of things this week:
* JFK and a neglected Tudor – Alison Weir discusses Elizabeth of York in the second half of this week’s BBC History Extra podcast
* New inventory of manuscript collection reveals unprecedented level of detail for scholars of British history – From the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin (my university!!). I love that there are letters signed by Elizabeth I just on the other side of campus from my office.
Imposing entrance to Chirk Castle in Wales, part of Robert Dudley’s holdings granted by Elizabeth I. Photo May 2000.
Just a few stories this week -
* Toys and games that killed in Tudor England – More interesting stuff from Steven Gunn and Tomasz Gromelski’s research into coroner’s reports.
* The Lost Palace of Henry The VIII – An interesting look at Otford Palace
Quite a hodge-podge of things today, including three things that you can help out with!
* Foose noted in the comments a couple of weeks ago that actor Nigel Davenport passed away on October 25th. He was Norfolk in the 1966 “A Man for All Seasons” and Bothwell in the 1971 “Mary Queen of Scots”.
And now on to the things you can help with!
* If you’ve ever downloaded documents from Archive.org please consider sending them a small donation after their scanning facility was damaged by fire last week. The archive has scanned many old books with primary sources and are a valuable resource to Tudor history fans and researchers alike.
* The Rediscovering Rycote project that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago is hosting a Wikipedia Editathon on Friday November 15. You don’t need any prior Wikipedia editing experience and you can participate virtually if you aren’t lucky enough to be in Oxford. You can learn more about it here!
Flying buttresses on Westminster Abbey. Photo May 2003.
In honor of the 528th anniversary of the coronation of Henry VII!