Welcome to Tudor Cast, a podcast dedicated to Tudor History.
Hello, and welcome to Tudor Cast for March 2007. I’m your host, Lara Eakins owner of tudorhistory.org and the TudorTalk email list at YahooGroups.
Let’s get started with a recap of some of the Tudor news since the last podcast.
First up was an Elizabethan atlas created by Christopher Saxton that was up for auction and ended up selling for £670,000 (about $1.25 million US). The atlas was the first printed atlas of England and Wales and was completed in 1579, although not printed until 1590.
Next up was news that Dr. David Starkey thinks he may have found a portrait of Lady Jane Grey, this time a miniature probably painted in her lifetime. The miniature was on display as part of an exhibition by Philip Mould in London and is on loan from the Yale Center for British Art. Dr. Starkey noticed the brooch on the sitter’s bodice matched one listed in the inventory of items in Jane’s possession when she went to the Tower of London. There are problems with the identification however, since the miniature has the inscription of “18 years” on it and Jane was thought to be only 16 when she was executed in 1553.
In a related story, Dr. Starkey and researcher Bendor Grosvenor also examined the Holbein drawing of a woman in a nightgown that bears the inscription Anna Bollein Queen. The drawing is part of the Royal Collection and is one of many done by Hobein at Henry VIII’s court. About 30 years ago the identification was questioned but new evidence suggests that Sir John Cheke inscribed the names on many Holbeins and would known many of the sitters by sight from his time in Henry VIII’s court.
In yet more portrait news, a Holbein of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger that was supposed to be auctioned last year and failed to sell under questions of its authenticity has now been re-authenticated. The painting will be up for sale again and the sellers are hoping for £5,000,000, which is just shy of $10,000,000 US.
And finally in this month’s round-up, is the possible DNA testing of a lock of hair that is thought to belong to Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII. The reason behind the testing would be to compare it to DNA that could be extracted from bones in Westminster Abbey that may be those of Edward V and his brother Richard who disappeared while in the Tower of London. Because Mary Tudor’s mother, Elizabeth of York, was the sister of the lost princes, they would have the same mitochondrial DNA. Unfortunately all requests to test the bones in Westminster Abbey have been declined so far.
For links to source articles and other past Tudor news, please see the archives of the news blog at tudorhistory.org/blog
In this segment, I look at websites that explore aspects of Medieval, Tudor, Elizabethan or Renaissance history in depth.
This month we’re looking at the Lady Jane Grey Internet Museum by Sonja Marie at www.bitterwisdom.com/ladyjanegrey/ The site is a collection of almost every image of Lady Jane Grey made over the past 450 years. And I’m only saying ‘almost’ because there are probably still some hiding out there that she hasn’t found, but those are probably few and far between. The images cover the different parts of Jane’s short life, with sections on her life and times, her nine-day reign, her arrest and imprisonment and her execution. She also has a nice collection of miscellaneous images of dolls of Jane. The site has a very extensive list of books on Jane from the 19th century to today, as well as a nice store of books on all the Tudors. If you’re interested in Lady Jane Grey be sure to check out the site which brings together her dramatic life and the many illustrations of it.
And now for This Month in Tudor History, where I feature some well known and maybe not as well known events that took place during this month.
One the 24th of March 1603 Elizabeth I died and the Tudor dynasty came to an end. James VI of Scotland became James I of England and brought the Stuart family to the throne. I hope you will forgive me some possibly confusing genealogy for the next few minutes as we discuss James’ and others’ claims to Elizabeth’s throne.
The issue of who would succeed Elizabeth was a long-running question, although early in her reign it was of course hoped that she would marry and produce an heir of her own body. But as the years wore on it was clear that Elizabeth would not bear a child.
According to Henry VIII’s will, the next heirs after Henry VIII’s own children were those remaining daughters of Frances Brandon, daughter of Henry VIII’s sister Mary Tudor and her husband Charles Brandon. Frances’ first daughter was Jane Grey, who was executed in the reign of Mary I after briefly holding the throne for 9 days after the death of Edward VI. Jane had two sisters, Katherine and Mary Grey and early in Elizabeth’s reign, it appeared that Katherine would be, at least legally, the next in line to the throne. However, Katherine married Edward Seymour in secret without the Queen’s permission and her marriage was declared invalid in 1561, making her children illegitimate. Katherine herself died in 1568, so was not a question in the succession in 1603, but she had two sons: Edward and Thomas, who were still alive at the time.
After the children of Katherine Grey would have been the heirs of Mary Grey, but although she married, she is not known to have produced any heirs and she herself died in 1578, long before Elizabeth I.
After the heirs of Frances Brandon would come the heirs of Frances’ younger sister, Eleanor Brandon. Eleanor married Henry Clifford, the Earl of Cumberland and had a daughter, Margaret. Margaret died a few years before Elizabeth I, but she had a son, William, who was alive and therefore another potential legal heir of Elizabeth I’s throne, and one without the questions of legitimacy that surrounded Katherine Grey’s sons.
The children of Henry VIII's sister Margaret Tudor, wife of James IV of Scotland were not mentioned as part of Henry VIII's succession since they were born in a foreign country. But, since they were the heirs of an older daughter of Henry VII, going by the usual hereditary rules they would have a stronger claim to the English throne than the descendants of Henry VII’s younger daughter Mary. In the first few decades of Elizabeth’s reign, the primary claimant to Elizabeth’s crown through this line was Mary Queen of Scots. Since she was Catholic, she was a rallying point for those who wished to see someone from the old faith on the English throne.
After the death of James IV, Margaret Tudor married Archibald Douglas, and they had a daughter named Margaret, who married Matthew Stuart, the Earl of Lennox. Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox had two sons, Henry Lord Darnley and Charles, who later inherited his father’s title. In 1565, the two lines of descent from Margaret Tudor were united when Mary Queen of Scots was married to Henry Lord Darnley. Two years later Mary bore a son James, the future James VI of Scotland. Margaret Douglas’ second son, Charles married Elizabeth Cavendish and had one child, a daughter, Arabella Stuart.
By the time Elizabeth was in the final days of her life, it seemed a foregone conclusion that the crown would go to James VI of Scotland. Secret behind-the-scenes dealings with members of Elizabeth’s government paved the way for his succession. However, it is still not known for sure whether or not Elizabeth actually named James as her heir on her deathbed. It is possible that Elizabeth never formally named James her heir in writing because she remembered the events surrounding her sister’s death and how the people abandoned Mary in favor of Elizabeth in Mary’s final weeks. It is generally said that when asked who she wanted to succeed her, Elizabeth made a hand sign indicating James, since she was no longer able to speak. Regardless of whether or not she actually indicated James, it was the King of Scotland who succeeded Elizabeth, peacefully, although there were several others with claims to the English throne as we’ve gone through above. In 1603, the kingdoms of Scotland and England were finally united under one crown.
And now for a page from the Tudor History glossary.
This time we’re going to look at one of the many courts of law in Tudor England, the Court of Common Pleas. A short description from John A. Wagner’s “Bosworth Field to Bloody Mary: An Encyclopedia of the Early Tudors” is: “The Court of Common Pleas was the oldest, busiest, and slowest of the Tudor courts of common law.”
The Court of Common Pleas was established under Henry II and was part of the curia regis, or King’s Court. After Magna Carta in 1215, it was based in Westminster Hall and it started keeping its own separate records in 1223. It gained a chief justice in 1272. The court was tasked with hearing the cases of civil disputes between individuals including, but certainly not limited to, matters of property, land, and money. The court could also hear appeals from lower courts. In the Tudor period, the court gained some competition for jurisdiction from other courts such as Chancery and the Star Chamber.
The court was combined into a larger justice system in the United Kingdom in the 19th century, but the term is still used for a few courts of law in some states in the US.
Now it’s time for a segment where I feature a text from the Tudor period.
This month I chose one of my favorite poems by Elizabeth I: On Monsieur’s Departure, which is usually associated with the end of the marriage negotiations with the Duc d’Anjou.
That wraps up this month!
If you want to comment on this podcast, you can do so at tudorhistory.org/podcast or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org A transcript of this and previous podcasts are also available at the website as well as links to mp3s of all the episodes.
Logon to magnatune.com to listen to and purchase music from the artists that you heard featured in this podcast. I’ll have a complete rundown of which albums I used in the podcast notes.
Until next month, fare the well!