Sunday Short Takes

Short round-up this week!

* Priceless Royal coat of arms unearthed in walls of 15th century cottageThe stone Tudor coat of arms may have links to Elizabeth I and Henry VIII but had been used as building material in cottage

* Week of exclusive live programming for burial of King Richard III – Details from Channel 4 on their upcoming coverage of Richard III’s burial in Leicester Cathedral

* Richard III gets a lavish send-off… at last

Sunday Short Takes

Medal of Anne Boleyn, the only known likeness from her lifetime and subject of the biggest Tudor news story of the past few weeks


Yes, finally, I’ve gotten around to doing another news round-up! The last few weeks have been insanely busy and therefore insanely tiring, so some things fell by the wayside (blogging, laundry, etc.) But now I’m getting caught up, so here’s a mega news dump.


The biggest ‘news’ of the past couple of weeks in the Tudor-sphere was the story about facial recognition software that was used on images of Anne Boleyn, which spawned a bunch of articles such as the two below:

* Possible Anne Boleyn portrait found using facial recognition software

* Portraits of Anne Boleyn may not be her, say experts

But it didn’t take long for those knowledgeable in Anne Boleyn’s portraiture to respond with a bit more level-headed analysis than the hyperbolic headlines. A few examples of those below:

* Anne of the Thousand Faces – by Roland Hui on his Tudor Faces blog.

* Anne Boleyn-ollocks – From Bendor Grosvenor on his Art History News blog.

* Update on Nidd Hall Portrait and 1534 Anne Boleyn Medal – From Claire Ridgway at The Anne Boleyn Files, who actually contacted the project coordinator and surprise! – the press got it all wrong.


And here’s a bunch of random, interesting articles that I saved:

* Wolf Hall in The National Archives – Nice compilation of documents from the UK National Archives with examples of real-life documents related to events in episodes of the Wolf Hall series.

* Hampton Court’s lost apartment foundations uncoveredA routine maintenance job at Hampton Court palace has uncovered the lost foundations of the splendid royal apartments of two ill-fated queens, Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour.

* Skirret: the forgotten Tudor vegetableWolf Hall has unearthed Tudor delights, ignored for centuries the sweet root vegetable has returned to Hampton Court

* Storm washes Armada wreckage on to Sligo beach

* Cambridgeshire church plague graffiti reveals ‘heartbreaking’ find“Heartbreaking” graffiti uncovered in a Cambridgeshire church has revealed how three sisters from one family died in a plague outbreak in 1515.

* Henry VIII’s evidence to support break with Rome turns up in Cornish libraryBook of legal and philosophical advice on king’s efforts to have his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled helped change the course of English history

* Mary, Queen of Scots to get first statueHer life was full of murder and intrigue and she is famous across the globe. But there has never been a public statue of Mary, Queen of Scots in the country of her birth.

* Ancient prayer book sheds new light on Richard III

* York announces ceremonies to mark Richard III reburialEvents on 26 March include a civic procession through the city, an address by the Lord Mayor and a special service at York Minster.

And finally: One follow-up to a previous story (see here and here) – New Tower for Westminster Abbey

Upcoming Books and Events for March 2015

I know February is a short month to begin with, but it really seems to have flown by this year!


The one book I missed from last month was Virgin Queen by Catherine Corman:

And now on to the new books!

First up is Elizabeth I and Her Circle by Susan Doran. It’s out in March in the UK and June in the US:

Next is Henry VIII’s Last Love: The Extraordinary Life of Katherine Willoughby, Lady-in-Waiting to the Tudors (US title: Henry VIII’s Last Love: The Life of Katherine Willoughby) by David Baldwin will be released March 15 in the UK and May 19 in the US. (And if you’ll allow me a small editorial comment here: I’m very happy to see a new work on Katherine Willoughby out, a fascinating woman in her own right, so it frustrates me that the book has to market her as “Henry VIII’s Last Love”. I understand that all things Henry VIII are hot and that’s what will attract attention but she had an extraordinary life that extended well beyond the death of Henry VIII, so I’m hoping that gets just as much focus. Okay mini-editorial over. :) )

And Thomas Cromwell will be getting a new biography, entitled The Rise of Thomas Cromwell: Power and Politics in the Reign of Henry VIII, 1485-1534 by Michael Everett at the end of March in the UK and end of April in the US:

And finally – the third installment of Nancy Bilyeau’s Joanna Stafford books, The Tapestry, will be released on March 24 in both the UK and US. Stay tuned for a guest post from Nancy in March in conjunction with the book’s release!


After the successful run of the stage versions of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by the Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK, the productions have moved to Broadway in the US and will open March 20, 2015 and will run through July 5, 2015 (assuming they don’t extend the run – and I wouldn’t be surprised if that did indeed happen). You can learn more about the Broadway run, including ticket information at

Picture of the Week #319

St Etheldreda’s Church, Hatfield. Photo May 2000.

St Etheldreda’s Church is adjacent to the Old Palace of Hatfield and was built when the palace was the residence of the Bishops of Ely. Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury and minister to Elizabeth I and James I, is buried in the church.

Sunday Short Takes

I think this week has a record number of videos!

But first, another in the long string of historical properties I’d love to be able to afford:

This lovely late-16th century home can be yours for just £1,250,000!

A follow-up to a story I wrote about last July:

* V&A to buy Cardinal Wolsey tomb statues

And now on to the videos!

* Preview for US airing of Wolf Hall – It will be on PBS’ Masterpiece starting Sunday April 5.

* An interesting insight into the research behind designing the look of Wolf Hall with Catherine Fletcher, one of the historical advisors to the show:

* A look at Cardinal Wolsey’s Hampton Court by Jonathan Foyle:

* And finally, a talk by Jessie Childs at the Jaipur Literature Festival on her book God’s Traitors: Religious Terrorism in Elizabethan England (The sound is low on this one, so if you turn up the volume to listen to it watch out for other sounds that might come up really loud and startle you like my new mail alert did!)

Picture of the Week #318

Heraldic panel from 1518, Swabia, Germany. The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photo August 2006.

This is one of a pair of panels (the other was posted two weeks ago) celebrating the marriage of Barbara von Zimmern and Wilhelm von Weitingen, representing the union of two well-established families of the area.

Upcoming Books and Continuing Exhibitions for February 2015


I don’t think I missed any books last month, and I don’t have any US releases of previous UK publications, so it’s straight in to the new books this month!

A Queen of a New Invention: Portraits of Lady Jane Grey Dudley. England’s ‘Nine Days Queen’ by J. Stephan Edwards is due out in both the US and UK on February 12, the anniversary of Jane’s execution. Followers of the Q&A Blog might know the author better by the name “PhD Historian”, one of the regular commenters there. I’ve also featured links to the work that he has posted on his website Some Grey Matter over the years, which gives you a good idea of the amount of detailed scholarship that has gone into the book.

The book is available via Amazon (links below), but if you would like a signed copy you can also order one directly from the author.

And the other new book this month is The World of Richard III by Kristie Dean. Any readers here who are also on my TudorTalk YahooGroup might recognize this author’s name too! The book is a travel guide to the places associated with Richard III that you can still visit today and it will be out in mid-February in the UK and in April in the US.

Continuing Exhibitions

* One month left!The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered display at the National Portrait Gallery opened September 12, 2014 and will run through March 1, 2015. I’m so jealous of everyone who has had a chance to see this… I’ll just have to console myself with my copy of the accompanying book.

Sunday Short Takes

It should be no surprise that there was a lot of news last week coinciding with the premiere of “Wolf Hall”! I’ve just a made a few selections from a bunch of articles that came across my path.

* Adapting Wolf Hall for TV: how I played historical guessing game – Catherine Fletcher writes about being a historical advisor on “Wolf Hall”.

* Seductress or Scholar – The Real Anne Boleyn – Leanda De Lisle writes about Henry VIII’s second Queen for Newsweek

* Where to find the best Tudor sights in EnglandAs the dramatisation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall begins its run on BBC Two, historian Suzannah Lipscomb reveals her favourite Tudor homes and palaces around the country

* Tudor timeline: 10 momentous datesIt was one of the most transformative periods in English history, but which dates in the Tudor calendar had the greatest impact? Historian Lauren Mackay maps out the top 10

* Rare Tudor hat finds new home at Hampton Court PalaceHat linked to Henry VIII acquired by charity Historic Royal Palaces in Hampton Court’s 500th anniversary year

And finally…

A fascinating look into the recreation of a Book of Hours for “Wolf Hall” by professional calligrapher Patricia Lovett:

It makes me want to dig out my old calligraphy supplies and start doing it again! (Like I really have time to start doing another hobby, even if it was one I used to do. Sheeesh.)

Happy New Year!

Yeah, I’m a little late getting this posted, but at least it’s still January!

Last year I wrote about the various goals that I had for 2014, both personal and for the site. I did okay on some, terrible on others, but I’m going to set goals for myself again in 2015 and hopefully keep a little better account of them. (You can read more about my personal goals for last year and what I have in store for 2015 over on my personal blog.)

On the Shakespeare Challenge, I only made it through one third of the plays, but I did manage to read all of the sonnets. A little trivia – if you read a sonnet a day starting on January 1 and in a non-leap year, you’ll finish them on June 3. I’m planning to continue this challenge and read another third this year and next, so I’ll have read all by the end of 2016. I originally started the challenge in honor of the Bard’s 450th birthday, but this way I’ll finish them by the 400th anniversary of his death.

On the rest of last year’s goals: I totally failed. I didn’t manage to post one single book review. So, this year I’m going to make another attempt at that. I’m going to aim for six reviews, although they may cover more than one book in each review since I have a few that would work nicely as pairs. I did manage to do a few behind-the-scenes things on my to-do list, but I didn’t get to any of the really big ones I was aiming for. So I’ll keep working on those as well.

One other thing to note for this year – by one way of counting (more on that in a minute) this is the 20th anniversary of this site. The reason I say “by one way of counting” is that the site has gone through several iterations, and this is the 20th anniversary of the first one. I think the first page about my Tudor History interests that I put on my personal website actually dates from late 1994, but I know that it was going strong by mid-1995 since that was when I started thinking about splitting it off into its own thing and when I started my current job full-time (and yes, I’m getting a 20 year plaque for that this year). It didn’t actually end up it’s own site until July 1997 (after the Elizabeth I pages were previously on GeoCities – remember that?? – in 1996, I think). So 2017 would be another 20 years milestone. This year is also the 15th anniversary of the site at domain, which I originally bought on July 9, 2000. I’ll probably do a full post on the history of the site later in the year and bore everyone with more details than anyone could possibly want.

Best wishes for 2015 everyone!

Picture of the Week #316

Heraldic panel from 1518, Swabia, Germany. The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photo August 2006.

This is one of a pair of panels (the other will be posted in a couple of weeks) celebrating the marriage of Barbara von Zimmern and Wilhelm von Weitingen, representing the union of two well-established families of the area.

Sunday Short Takes

Here’s what caught my eye in the past week or so!

* How Thomas Wolsey made Hampton Court fit for a king

* Lucy Worsley: the fuss over Prince George was nothing compared to the uproar over Henry VIII’s son

* The Dublin King with John Ashdown-Hill – Interview with the author at Nerdalicious

* A Collection of Christmas Cokentryce!@TudorCook did a Storify of the three cokentryce cooked up at the Hampton Court Kitchens over the holidays

* Brave New Worlds: The Shakespearean Moons of Uranus – Podcast from the Folger Shakespeare Library (and includes a mention of McDonald Observatory, part of the department where I work!)

Upcoming Books, Events, and Exhibitions for January 2015


As far as I know there was only one book from December that I missed, the paperback release of David Loades’ Catherine Howard: The Adulterous Wife of Henry VIII.

And I only have one new US release – Pirate Nation: Elizabeth I and Her Royal Sea Rovers by David Childs was released last fall in the UK and will be out January 15 in the US.

Now for the new books for January!

First up is Mary McGrigor’s biography of Margaret Douglas – The Other Tudor Princess: Margaret Douglas, Henry VIII’s Niece which will be out January 5 in the UK and will be released in May in the US.

Next is The Dublin King: The True Story of Lambert Simnel and the Princes in the Tower by John Ashdown-Hill, out January 5 in the UK and in May in the US.

And finally, Lady Katherine Knollys: The Unacknowledged Daughter of King Henry VIII by Sarah-Beth Watkins will be released at the end of the month in both the UK and US.


* Dressing Elizabeth: The Phoenix Portrait as Evidence of a Royal Wardrobe – January 29th at 7:00 p.m. at the National Portrait Gallery, Professor Maria Hayward will discuss the wardrobe and jewels of Elizabeth I

Continuing Exhibitions

* Treasures from the Royal Archives opened at Windsor Castle on May 17, 2014 and runs through January 25, 2015 and features some items from the Archives that have never been on display before.

* The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered display at the National Portrait Gallery opened September 12, 2014 and will run through March 1, 2015.


* Wolf Hall, the 6-part drama based on the books of Hilary Mantel’s award-winning books, will premiere in the UK on BBC Two in January and will air in April on PBS in the US. You can learn more about the series at the BBC Media Centre. There will also be several documentaries on BBC Two and BBC Four to accompany the series.

See the first trailer for Wolf Hall, embedded below: