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TudorCast #14
July 2007


Welcome to Tudor Cast, a podcast dedicated to Tudor History.

Hello, and welcome to Tudor Cast for July 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.

Unfortunately, the first story is one of senseless destruction and vandalism. Some of you might remember the stained glass window that used to be on the main page of my website. It was a photo I took in the St. Gredifael Church in Penmynydd, the town on Anglesey in North Wales that is part of the Tudor ancestral lands. If you haven’t already seen the posting on the news blog, then I regret to be the one to break the news that the window was smashed, along with at least one other Elizabethan window, back in June. I have been in contact with one of the members of the Church’s preservation group and they are going to have a specialist restorer come in to evaluate the windows. They are also going to set up a preservation fund, which I’ll post about when I get more information.

In better news, the official site for Elizabeth the Golden Age is up, along with a new trailer. The movie will be out on October 12th in the US and November 2nd in the UK. It looks like most places will have it in theaters by the end of the year. You can look up release dates for your country at the page for the movie at the Internet Movie Database at imdb.com.

In other entertainment news, “The Tudors” Showtime series received four Emmy nominations in the US, in the following categories:

Outstanding Art Direction For A Single-Camera Series
Outstanding Casting For A Drama Series
Outstanding Costumes For A Series
Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music

 I have to say that I was particularly pleased to see the last one, for the title theme music, since I found that theme kind of catchy. But in a good way, not like an annoying song that you can’t get out of your head. The Emmy awards will be announced in September and I’ll update with any wins the series gets.

And one last piece of news, I want to offer an apology to anyone who couldn’t get to the website for a day or so in the first half of the month. I thought I had another year on my domain registration, but I apparently didn’t and the registration lapsed. Thankfully I was able to get the renewal in quickly and the site should have only been down for 18-24 hours for most people. I usually have things like this on my calendar, so I’m not really sure what happened. But, I’ve renewed it for another three years, so if this happens again, at least it won’t be until 2010!

For links to source articles and other past Tudor news, please see the archives of the news blog at tudorhistory.org/blog

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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.

On July 12th, 1543, Henry VIII married for the sixth and last time. The bride was  Katherine Parr, who was marrying for the third time herself.

Katherine Parr was the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Parr and his wife Maud Green, both of whom were at the court of Henry VIII in his early reign. Maud was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon and named her daughter, born in 1512, after her. So, Henry VIII’s last wife was named after his first. Thomas Parr died in November 1517, leaving his three children, William, Katherine and Anne in the care of their mother. Maud managed the children’s education and the family estates and must have left an impression on her daughter of the greater role an independent woman could have in society. The education that Maud arranged for the children was similar to that of other noble figures of the time and at least in the case of Katherine, it ignited a life-long passion for learning. She was fluent in French, Latin and Italian and began learning Spanish when she was Queen.

Katherine Parr’s first marriage was to Edward Borough, the son of Thomas, third Baron Borough of Gainsborough in 1529 when she was 17 years old. Edward died only a few years later, probably in early 1533. It was during this marriage that Katherine’s mother Maud died, in December 1531. Katherine’s second marriage was to John Neville, third Baron Latimer of Snape Castle in Yorkshire, whom she married in the summer of 1534 when he was 41 and she was 22. Latimer had two children from his previous marriages so Katherine also became a stepmother for the first time. During the Pilgrimage of Grace a rebel mob forced Latimer to join them and later took Katherine and her stepchildren hostage at the castle. Latimer was able to eventually secure their freedom and managed to escape arrest for his associations with the rebellion after it was finally put down.

Katherine’s ailing husband died in March 1543, leaving her a widow for the second time, now at the age of 31. It was around this time that Katherine was noticed by not only the King, but also Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane Seymour. Katherine expressed her desire to marry Thomas Seymour after Latimer’s death, but the King’s request for her hand was one that Katherine felt it was her duty to accept. Katherine and Henry VIII were married on July 12th in the Queen’s closet at Hampton Court Palace in a small ceremony attended by about 20 people.

Katherine was interested in the reformed faith, making her enemies with the conservatives of Henry’s court. It was Katherine’s influence with the King and the Henry’s failing health that led to a plot against her in 1546 by the conservative faction. Katherine and her ladies were known to have had banned books which was grounds for arrest and execution on charges of heresy. To gain evidence against the Queen, Anne Askew, a well-known and active Protestant, was questioned and tortured, but refused recant her faith or give evidence against Katherine and her ladies. However, there was enough other evidence against the Queen to issue a warrant for her arrest. The warrant was accidentally dropped and someone loyal to the Queen saw it and then quickly told her about it. This is a well-documented incident that has made its way into many historical fiction accounts. Sometimes the history itself is the best drama! After learning of the arrest warrant, Katherine was said to be very ill, either as a ruse to stall or from a genuine panic attack. Henry went to see her and chastised her for her outspokenness about the reformed religion and his feeling that she was forgetting her place by instructing him on such matters. Katherine’s response in her defense was that she was only arguing with him on these issues so she could be instructed by him, and to take his mind off other troubles. Playing to Henry’s ego no doubt helped and Katherine was forgiven.

Katherine was close with all three of her stepchildren as Henry’s wife and was personally involved in the educational program of the younger two, Elizabeth and Edward. She was also a patron of the arts and music. Katherine’s own learning and academic achievements, as alluded to previously, were impressive, and in 1545, her book “Prayers or Meditations” became the first work published by an English Queen under her own name. Another book, “The Lamentation of a Sinner”, was published after Henry VIII’s death.

Henry VIII died in January 1547 and Katherine had probably expected to play some role in the regency for the new nine-year-old king, Edward VI, but this was not to be. Only a few months after Henry’s death, Katherine secretly married Thomas Seymour, but the quickness and secret nature of the union caused a scandal. Katherine was still able to take guardianship of Princess Elizabeth and Seymour purchased the wardship of the king’s cousin, Lady Jane Grey. It was during this time that the rumors of a relationship between Elizabeth and Seymour  arose and Elizabeth was sent to another household in the spring of 1548.

After three previous marriages and at the age of 37, Katherine was pregnant for the first time and in June 1548, she moved to Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire to await the birth of her child. On August 30th she gave birth to a daughter named Mary. Katherine soon fell ill with puerperal fever, which was to claim her life in the morning hours of September 5th. Katherine was buried, with Lady Jane Grey as the chief mourner, in the chapel at Sudeley Castle, where the tomb can still be visited today.

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And now for a page from the Tudor History glossary. This month we’re up to “G” for Gregorian Calendar reform.

The Gregorian Calendar gets its name from Pope Gregory XIII, who in 1582 made changes to the older Julian calendar. The old system’s March 21st had drifted 10 days from the true vernal equinox, which was part of the calculation of Easter, so in February 1582 a papal bull was issued declaring that the 4th of October would be followed by the 15th of October and that there would be new rules for leap days. In the new system, the leap days would be added on February 29th every four years, but century years not evenly divisible by 400, such as 1700, 1800 and 1900 would not be leap years. However, the years 1600 and 2000 would be.

The adoption of the new calendar system is the start of a lot of confusion. Because the Pope issued the bull making the changes, many Protestant countries did not adopt the new calendar system. By the 1750s, Great Britain and its territories (including the colonies that became the future United States) still had not adopted the new calendar. But it was decided that in 1752 the Gregorian calendar would finally be adopted. Because the Julian calendar still had a leap day in 1700, the correction would now have to be 11 days to bring it into line with the Gregorian system. So, September 2nd 1752 was followed by September 14th.

In England, the New Year was celebrated on January 1st, but the actual number for the year didn’t change until March 25th, which is where we get the New Style and Old Style dates from. This is why you will sometimes see events listed with two year dates, such as February 5 1543/4 when you’re looking at Tudor history. This was finally done away with in 1753, when the date of the new year changed on January 1st for England and its territories.

The whole calendar mess is actually only the tip of the iceberg when you look at the long history of calendar making. I recently started reading a book called “Marking Time: The Epic Quest to Invent the Perfect Calendar” by Duncan Steel, which has been entertaining so far. If you’re interested in finding out just how we ended up with the time keeping system we have today, this book should have the answers.

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Now it’s time for a segment where I feature a text from the Tudor period.

This is an extract from letters sent by Alvarez de Quadra the Spanish Ambassador in England to his king, Philip II, which are printed in the Calendar of State Papers, Spanish 1558-1567. The part I’m going to read is from October 25, 1562, and those of you familiar with the early part of Elizabeth’s reign will quickly recognize the incident.

The Queen was at Hampton Court on the 10th instant, and feeling unwell, thought she would take a bath. The illness turned out to be smallpox, and the cold caught by leaving her bath for the air resulted in so violent a fever that on the seventh day she was given up, but during the night the eruption came, and she is now better.

There was great excitement that day in the palace, and if her improvement had not come so soon, some hidden thoughts would have become manifest. The Council discussed the succession twice, and I am told there were three different opinions. Some wished King Henry’s will to be followed and Lady Catherine declared heiress. Others who found flaws in the will were in favour of the Earl of Huntingdon. Lord Robert, the Earl of Bedford, the Earl of Pembroke, and the Duke of Norfolk with others of the lower rank were in favor of this. The most moderate and sensible tried to dissuade the others from being in such a furious hurry, and said that they would divide and ruin the country unless they summoned jurists of the greatest standing in the country to examine the rights of the claimants, and in accordance with this decision the Council should then unanimously take such steps as might be best in the interests of justice and the good of the country. The Marquis Treasurer was of this opinion with others, although only a few, as the rest understood that this was a move in favour of the Catholic religion, nearly all the jurists who would be called upon being of that faith, and this delay would give time for Your Majesty to take steps in the matter, which is the thing these heretics fear most, for upon your Majesty’s absence they found all their hopes.

During this discussion the Queen improved, and on recovering from the crisis which had kept her unconscious and speechless for two hours the first thing she said was to beg her Council to make Lord Robert protector of the kingdom with a title and income of £20,000. Everything she asked for was promised, but will not be fulfilled…

… The Queen protested at that time that although she loved, and always had loved Lord Robert dearly, as God was her witness, nothing improper had ever passed between them.

Just as a note, the “Lady Catherine” mentioned as heiress was Catherine Grey, the younger sister of Lady Jane Grey, and was, as mentioned, according to Henry VIII’s will next in line to the throne. The Earl of Huntingdon mentioned was a descendent from the Duke of Buckingham who was executed in 1521, who in turn was a descendent of Edward III through Thomas of Woodstock, one of Edward’s many sons. However, the Earl seemed to have no interest in ever promoting his claim and was a loyal supporter of Elizabeth. The fear was of course that Philip of Spain, the recipient of the letter I read above, would step in and support the claim of the person who would be next in line following the usual rules of inheritance, Mary Queen of Scots, a Catholic.

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And now for some closing comments…

This month’s featured website is picturesofengland.com which is a fun site to spend time going through if you’re dreaming of a trip to England. The site is organized in many different categories and individual pages are also cross referenced. Besides the many photos, which users can submit themselves, there is travel information, such as near-by attractions and accommodations so the site would also be useful for planning a vacation to England. I was browsing through the English Autumn photo tour last week, which has many gorgeous photos. Also, being a castle junkie, I also had a lot of fun going through some of the many lovely photos of English castles. So, if you want to while away some time daydreaming of England, give picturesofengland.com a look.

A couple of future things to expect… I’m going to do an ‘enhanced feed’ for the podcast, where I can add chapter markers. That way, people who want to skip a section, or the music, or whatever, will be able to if they are using a player that recognizes the format. I’m still working on all the technical details and re-encoding the old episodes, but I should have it up in the next couple of months. I think I’m also going to add pictures to the chapters where applicable, so if you have a video ipod or are using iTunes and have the album art up, you should be able to see the pictures. Like I said, I’m still working on it, so I’ll post all the details on the podcast blog at tudorhistory.org/podcast once I get everything sorted out.

Also, I’m going to attempt to get the next few podcasts out with only about three weeks in between so that by the November podcast, it will actually come out at the beginning of the month instead of the end. That was actually my original intent, but somehow or another they ended up coming at the end instead. So the August podcast should be out either the weekend of the 18th or the 25th, then the September one will be out either the 15th or 22nd, and so on. So, in theory, the November one will be out either the 4th or 5th. One caveat to this is an astronomy symposium being hosted by my department in early October, but I think I will only be working during the meeting itself. So, it shouldn’t impinge on my out-of-work time too much, other than the fantastic dinner we have on one of the nights of the symposium at a local restaurant called Fonda San Miguel. The margaritas aren’t bad either!

And, hopefully in August I’ll have details on a contest to win some give-aways from “The Tudors” series.

If you want to comment on this podcast, you can do so at tudorhistory.org/podcast or send me an email at lara@tudorhistory.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!