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TudorCast #15
August 2007


Hello, and welcome to Tudor Cast for August 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, a couple of stories relating to Henry VIII’s ship the Mary Rose. The first was news of a bacterial acid that is damaging the remains of the wreck. The acid appears to be coming from a combination of bacteria, iron from rusting metal and sulfur. Conservators have worked to neutralize much of the acid and remove the iron particles in efforts to preserve the wreck and prevent further damage. In happier news, the 25th anniversary of the raising of the ship is this October and the Mary Rose Trust announced a program of events that will be taking place that month. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area, be sure to check out their website at maryrose.org for a full listing of events.

In more archaeology news, the remains of a tower at Edinburgh Castle were unearthed in the process of creation of a new visitors’ center. The Constable’s Tower, as it was known, was constructed in the 14th century but was destroyed by Elizabeth I’s army during the “Lang Siege” in the early 1570s. Historians knew of the tower’s existence from old drawings but until this excavation thought that none of it survived. What was found was a three-foot piece of elaborately carved masonry that was probably from a large 15th or 16th century window, which was possibly part of the Constable’s private quarters.

In book news, a new study of the fashion of the court of Henry VIII is due out in September in the UK and October in the US. For those of you who know of the fabulous work “Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d” by Janet Arnold, it was an inspiration for this new work by Maria Hayward. The book is titled “Dress at the Court of Henry VIII”. I have a link to the publisher’s page for the book where you can download the table of contents and the book’s introduction. There is also a link to a radio interview with the author.

And finally, in entertainment news, I’ve posted a link to the second season trailer for Showtime’s “The Tudors” on the blog.

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 the 17th of August, 1510, Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley were executed on charges of treason.

Richard Empson was born around 1450 and was educated at Middle Temple, one of the Inns of Court in London. In 1478 he became attorney-general for the Duchy of Lancaster and held the position until he was removed from office by Richard III. When Henry VII became king in 1485, Empson was restored as attorney general and held that title until becoming chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1505. Empson was also a member of Parliament, representing Northampton from 1489 to 1495 and was Speaker of the Commons from 1491. He was a member of the King’s Council by 1494. He was also a councilor to Henry Duke of York, later Prince of Wales and the future Henry VIII. Empson was made a Knight of the Bath in 1504.

Edmund Dudley was born around 1462 and was educated Oxford and at Gray’s Inn, one of the Inns of Court, in London. He was elected to Parliament, representing Lewes, in 1491 and then represented Sussex as one of their two knights of the shire in 1495. In 1504 he was Speaker of the Commons and at the end of the year became a councilor to the King and by the middle of 1506 he was appointed President of the King’s Council.

The activities that lead to the executions of Empson and Dudley early in the reign of Henry VIII began with their work for the king’s father, Henry VII. Both worked on Henry VII’s behalf to increase crown revenues through various means, such as selling offices, pardons and warships, as well as licenses to marry wealthy widows and debt collection. In some cases, the men simply enforced the king’s rights, but at other times they worked through extortion and other less-than-fair means.

Henry VII died on April 21, 1509 and three days later both Empson and Dudley were arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Both were charged with treason deriving from summons of armed men to London, although they had probably done this for their own protection and not as a move against the dying king. Henry VIII heard many complaints against the two men’s activities and their arrests were a probably move to gain popularity with his new subjects. During their imprisonment, Dudley wrote the allegorical treatise “The Tree of Commonwealth”. He also made an unsuccessful attempt to escape from the Tower. Both men were attainted and executed on Tower Hill on the 17th of August in 1510. Dudley was buried at the London Blackfriars and Empson at the London Whitefriars.

Edmund Dudley was survived by a daughter, named Elizabeth, from his first marriage and by three sons, John, Jerome and Andrew, from by his second wife. Interestingly, after Edmund’s death, his widow married Arthur Plantagenet, the illegitimate son of Edward IV.

 

 Edmund’s son John was to eventually become Duke of Northumberland who reached the height of his power in the reign of Edward VI and sought to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne in place of Princess Mary. John of course had many children of his own, among them Guilford, who was married to the aforementioned Jane Grey and Robert, the favorite of Elizabeth I.

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And now for a page from the Tudor History glossary.

This month we’re up to H for the “Holy Roman Empire”. The dates for the Empire run from the 10th to the 19th century, although some of its origins can be traced back to granting of the title of Emperor to Charlemagne in the year 800, who in turn was seeking to connect with the remains of the western Roman Empire. The geographical boundaries of the empire have changed over the centuries, but it was generally centered around the areas of modern Germany.

I’m going to skip most of the long history of the Holy Roman Empire and mostly just discuss the time that corresponds to the Tudor period. The title of Emperor was considered to be elective, not hereditary, but during the Tudor period it remained in the house of Hapsburg. The pope crowned the Emperors up until  Charles V in 1530. Charles is the Emperor that probably comes up the most in the discussion of Tudor history since he was also the nephew of Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Through the intermarriage of royal and noble families, Charles became heir to the Hapsburg lands, and therefore was a candidate for the title of Emperor, but was also the heir of the Spanish crown. Charles therefore ruled a large part of the European continent as well as considerable territory in the New World. Charles V abdicated his titles in 1556, two years before his death. He passed the Spanish crown and associated territories to his son Philip (who at the time was married to Mary I of England) and the Holy Roman Empire passed to Charles’ brother Ferdinand. Ferdinand was succeeded as Emperor by his son Maximillian II in 1564. Maximillian in turn, was succeeded by his son Rudolf II in 1576. Rudolf reigned until his death in 1612.

The Empire ended in 1806 when the last Emperor, Francis II renounced the title during the Napoleonic Wars. Francis continued to reign as Emperor of Austria and the Hapsburg family (actually Hapsburg-Lorraine) continued to rule the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of World War I in 1918.

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

This month is a letter from Princess Elizabeth to her sister, Queen Mary dated  March 17, 1554. Mary had ordered Elizabeth to the Tower of London after she was implicated in Wyatt’s Rebellion and Elizabeth wrote to the Queen asking for a chance to speak to her in person to protest her innocence. This letter is sometimes referred to as “The Tide Letter” because while Elizabeth was writing it, they missed the tide for the boat ride to the Tower. However, the next day, Palm Sunday, Elizabeth was taken to the infamous building where her mother had met her death.

 One note on the text, when Elizabeth uses the word “desert” it means “a person's worthiness or entitlement to reward or punishment”, which I have to admit that was a meaning I didn’t know for that word!

If any ever did try this old saying – that a king’s word was more than another man’s oath – I most humbly beseech your majesty to verify it in me, and to remember your last promise and my last demand: that I be not condemned without answer and due proof. Which it seems that now I am, for that, without cause proved, I am by your Council from you commanded to go unto the Tower, a place more wonted for a false traitor than a true subject. Which though I know I deserve it not, yet in the face of all this realm appears that it is proved. Which I pray God I may die the shamefullest death that ever any died afore I may mean any such thing. And to this present hour I protest afore God (who shall judge my truth, whatsoever malice shall devise) that I never practiced, counseled, nor consented to anything that might be prejudicial to your person any way or dangerous to the state by any mean. And therefore I humbly beseech your majesty to let me answer afore yourself and not suffer me to trust your councilors – yea, and that afore I go to the Tower (if it be possible); if not, afore I be further condemned.  Howbeit I trust assuredly your highness will give me leave to do it afore I go, for that thus shamefully I may not be cried out on as now I shall be – yea, and without cause. Let conscience move your highness to take some better way with me than to make me be condemned in all men’s sight afore my desert known.

Also I most humbly beseech your highness to pardon this my boldness, which innocently procured me to do, together with hope of your natural kindness, which I trust will not see me cast away without desert. Which what it is, I would desire no more of God but that you truly knew. Which thing I think and believe you shall never by report know unless by yourself you hear. I have heard in my time of many cast away for want to coming to the presence of their prince, and in late days I heard my lord of Somerset say that if his brother had been suffered to speak with him, he had never suffered. But the persuasions were made to him so great that he was brought in belief that he could not live safely if the admiral lived, and that made him give his consent to his death. Though these persons are not to be compared to your majesty, yet I pray God as evil persuasions persuade not one sister against the other, and all for that they have heard false report and not hearken to the truth known. Therefore once again kneeling with humbleness of my heart because I am not suffered to bow the knees of my body, I humbly crave to speak with your highness. Which I would not be so bold as to desire if I knew not myself most clear, as I know myself most true. And as for the traitor Wyatt, he might peradventure write me a letter, but on my faith I never received any from him. And as for the copy of my letter to the French king, I pray God confound me eternally if ever I sent him word, message, token or letter by any means, and to this my truth I will stand in to my death.

I humbly crave but only one word of answer from yourself.

Your highness’ most faithful subject that hath been from the beginning and will be to my end,

Elizabeth

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And now for some closing comments…

This month’s featured website is a longtime favorite of mine, the Official Website of the British Monarchy, or as I used to call it when it first started.. the Queen’s webpage. The main part of the site I go to, especially if I need to look something up quickly, is the history section which starts with the Anglo-Saxon Kings of England and the early Scottish Monarchs and goes all the way to the current House of Windsor. The downloadable PDFs of family trees are very helpful too. In addition to the history there are sections on Art and Residences, the Royal Family and the Monarchy today. There is fascinating information on the ceremonies, rituals, symbols and one of my favorite parts, the Crown Jewels. The site address is www.royal.gov.uk

I finally have put everything together for the give-away of goodies from “The Tudors” television series. I created a short and silly survey, mostly because I wanted to play with the survey software that comes with my webhosting plan, but also to have a more entertaining way for people to enter the contest. So, if you’d like to take the survey and enter the contest, click on over to tudorhistory.org/contest. You can also take the survey but not enter the contest. I’ll close the survey at midnight October 14th US central time and post the results and contact the winners in the week following.

Also, I’ve opened the Café Press store again, which a new version of the Tudor rose graphic (although it’s not substantially different from the old one) and some new products. There is a link to the store on the side bar of the podcast page at tudorhistory.org/podcast, or you can go directly to the store at cafepress.com/tudorhistoryorg (not “dot” org).

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!