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TudorCast #16
September 2007


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

Hello, and welcome to Tudor Cast for September 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 is the sad news of the passing of Alison Plowden on August 17th at the age of 75. I’m sure some of you, if not most, are familiar with Ms. Plowden through her books on Elizabeth I, although I think the first book of hers that I bought was her general work “House of Tudor”, which I remember being a pretty good overview of the period, although I’ll admit that I read it over 15 years ago and much earlier in my Tudor studies.

In happier news, in a follow-up to a story from earlier this year, Moira Cameron has taken up her post as the first female beefeater at the Tower of London. I linked to a couple of articles, one with some great pictures, in the news blog.

The Society of Antiquaries in London is celebrating their 300th anniversary with a special exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, which includes some wonderful historical items from all periods of British history. The exhibition runs through December. You can find out more at their website at www.sal.org.uk

In entertainment news, Showtime’s “The Tudors” television series ended up winning two of the four Emmy awards that it was nominated for. They picked up “Best Costumes for a Series” and the one I was hoping for “Original Main Title Theme Music”. Congrats! By the way, the release date for the Season One DVDs is December in the UK and January in the US. I’ve got Amazon pre-order links on the news log if you’re interested.

And in more entertainment news, a new two-pack of DVDs of older Tudor movies came out in the US in September. For $15, you can now own “Anne of the Thousand Days” and “Mary Queen of Scots” with Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth I and Vanessa Redgrave as Mary Stuart. I haven’t seen this DVD set out in the UK yet, but if I come across it, I’ll link to it on the blog.

And a few new books will be coming out in the next few months that might be of interest. One is on Blanche Parry, lady to Elizabeth I, another is on Jane Rochford, wife of George Boleyn, and the final one is Alison Weir’s new book on Katherine Swynford, mother of the Beaufort line from which the Tudor line descends.

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.

This month’s event is one most of you know well. On the 7th of September 1533, Anne Boleyn gave birth to Princess Elizabeth. Since I’m sure the majority of you know the story of Henry VIII’s quest for a son and how he broke with the Church to annul his marriage with Catherine of Aragon and the subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn I won’t be going over that part this month. Maybe sometime in a future podcast we’ll discuss some of the details of Henry’s separation from Catherine and the Break with Rome. Of course, it was a cruel blow to Henry that the first child of this second marriage was not the highly anticipated son. Anne herself seems to have been convinced that she was carrying a boy and drew up the announcement of the birth with the word “prince”. We’ll talk more about that letter in the primary source texts section. Of course, the true irony of the situation was that Elizabeth would grow up to become such a great Queen.

The following is an excerpt from Hall’s Chronicle, reprinted in “The Chronicles of the Tudor Kings” edited by David Loades, which I’ve used in the past. It starts with Elizabeth’s birth and continues to her christening.

The Marchioness of Exeter mentioned as godmother was Gertrude Blount, a relative of Elizabeth Blount, mother of Henry VIII’s bastard son Henry Fitzroy. She was married to Henry Courtenay, the Marquess of Exeter and Gertrude had been close friends with Catherine of Aragon and Princess Mary, so she was an interesting choice to be godmother to the child of Anne Boleyn.

On Sunday 7 September between three and four o’clock the queen delivered a fair lady and the duke of Norfolk came home to the christening. For the queen’s good deliverance a Te Deum was sung and great preparation was made for the ceremony. The mayor and his brethren and eleven of the chief citizens were commanded to be at the christening the following Wednesday.

On this day the mayor, Stephen Peacock, wearing a gown of crimson velvet, and all his aldermen in scarlet, and the city council all took the barge to Greenwich. There were there many lords, knights and gentlemen assembled.

All the walls of the church were hanged with cloth from Arras and the font was made of silver and stood in the middle of the church, three steps high, and was covered in fine cloth and various gentlemen in gowns and with towels around their necks were attending to it, making sure that no filth should enter it. Over it hung a square canopy fringed with gold, and around it a rail covered with red satin. Between the choir and the body of the church was a closed area with a pan over fire, to make the child ready.

When all these things were in place the child was brought to the hall and each man came forward. First ordinary citizens two by two, then gentlemen, esquires and chaplains, then the aldermen and then the mayor alone. Next, in groups, came barons, bishops, earls, and the earl of Essex.

Soon, trumpets blew and the child was brought to the altar, and the gospel was said. After this the archbishop of Canterbury immediately confirmed the child, the marchioness of Exeter being the godmother.

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And now for a page from the Tudor History glossary. This month we’re up to “I” for the Inns of Court.

The four Inns of Court have their origins in the 14th century as places for students to live and study Common Law in London. The four active Inns, which still exist today, are Gray’s Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple. By the Tudor period the Inns grew into societies for legal instruction but also became a place for education of the sons of the nobility and gentry who weren’t necessarily planning on going into the legal profession. Many famous names from Tudor History attended one of the Inns, and here is just a sampling:

From Grays: William Cecil, Sir Francis Walsingham, Sir Nicholas Bacon, Thomas Cromwell, and Sir Philip Sidney. Elizabeth I was also the Patron Lady of this Inn.

From Lincoln’s: Sir Thomas More and the poet John Donne

From Inner Temple: a little earlier than our period, but Geoffrey Chaucer was a member, and from Tudor times: Robert Dudley (Earl of Leicester), Robert Devereux (Earl of Essex), and Sir Christopher Hatton

From Middle Temple: Sir Francis Drake wasn’t technically a member but apparently spent a lot of time there. Members include Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Martin Frobisher. Middle Temple was also the place where Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” had its debut in 1602.

In the process of researching this, I came across a little poem about the four Inns. I saw several versions of it, and the one I’m quoting here, I think is from Howell’s English Proverbs of 1659.

Gray's Inn for walks,
Lincoln's Inn for a wall;
The Inner-Temple for a garden,
And the Middle for a hall. 

This refers to some archtectural elements of each of the Inns. I’m going to add links to the homepages of each of the Inns in the show notes for further reading if anyone is interested.

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

I think this month we’re going to do a hodge-podge of materials. First up is the announcement of the birth of Princess Elizabeth to go with the “This Month in Tudor History” entry. This is the letter that was first drawn up with “prince” and the extra letter “s”es has to be added quickly at the last minute. I actually had a chance to see an original of this document at the big Elizabeth exhibition in Greenwich in 2003. And sure enough, you can see the extra letters squeezed in there. The transcription that I’m using is from the booklet that they gave us at the exhibit to accompany the letters and other documents. I’m going to find a picture of the document to link to in the show notes so you can see it for yourself.

By the Queen

Right trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well. And whereas it hath pleased the goodness of Almighty God of His infinite mercy and grace to send unto us at this time good speed in the deliverance and bringing forth of a princess to the great joy and inward comfort of my Lord, us, and of all his good and loving subjects of this his realm, for which inestimable benevolence so shown unto us we have no little cause to give high thanks, laud and praise unto our said Maker, like as we do most lowly, humbly, and with all the inward desire of our heart. And inasmuch as we undoubtedly trust that this our good speed is to your great pleasure, comfort and consolation, we therefore by this our letters advertise you thereof, desiring and heartily praying you to give with us unto Almighty God high thanks, glory, laud and praise, and to pray for the good health, prosperity, and continual preservation of the said Princess accordingly. Given under our signet at my lords' Manor of Greenwich. The 7th day of September, in the 25th year of my said lord's Reign.

The other text this month is a recipe. I have actually be meaning to put some of these in on occasion and have just now gotten around to doing it. Some of these old recipes almost read like food poetry. This particular one is for marchpane, which is usually called marzipan today, and how to guild it with gold leaf. It comes from “The Treasurie of Commodious Conceits and Hidden Secrets” from 1584, reprinted in the Tudor Kitchens Cookery Book that I bought at Hampton Court Palace several years ago. In Tudor times marchpane was often formed into elaborate designs. I’ve bought it around the Christmas time in stores in various fruit and animal shapes. Some of them are almost too cute to eat! (almost…) I’ve never tried to make it myself, so I don’t have any specific modern versions to recommend, but if you search around you’ll find a lot of recipes online. And if you decide to try it take a picture and send me a link and I’ll post it on the news blog.

To Make Marchpane and To Gild Marchpane or any other kind of Tarte

Take half a pounde of blanched Almondes, and of white suger a quarter of a pound, of Rosewater halfe an ounce, and of Damask water as much: beate the Almondes with a little of the same water, and grind them till they be small: set them on a fewe coales of fyre, till they ware thicke, then beate them againe with the suger, fine: then mixe the sweete waters and them together and so gather them and fashion your Marchpane: then take wafer cakes of the broadest making, cut them square, paste them together with a little liquor, and when ye have made them as broad as will serve your purpose have ready made a hoope of green hazell wand, of the thicknesse of halfe an ynche… lay this hoope upon your wafer cakes … and cut away all the partes of the Cakes… with a sharpe knife… then having white paper underneath it, set it upon a warme hearth, or upon an instrument or yron or brasse, made for the same purpose… and ye may while it is moyste sticke it full of Comfets of sundrie colours, in a comely order, ye must moist it over with Rose water and suger together… The greatest secret that is in the making of this cleare, is with a little fine flower of Rice, rosewater and Suger beaten together and layde thin over the Marchpane ere it goe to drying. This will make it Shine like Ice as Ladies report.

Take and cut your leafe of golde, as it lieth upon the booke, into square peeces like Dice and with a Conies tailes end moysted a little, take the golde up by the one corner, lay it on the place beeing first made moyste, and with another tayle of a Conie drie presse the golde downe close. And if ye will have the forme of an Harte, or the name of Iesus, or any other thing whatsoever: cut the same through a peece of paper and lay the paper upon your Marchpane or Tart; then make the voide place of the Paper (through which he Marchpane appeareth) moyst with Rose Water, laye on your golde, presse it down, take off your Paper and there remaineth behinde in golde the print cut in the saide paper.

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And now for some closing comments…

This month’s featured website is one that I have been saving for Elizabeth’s birthday month… Elizabethi.org by my friend Heather Thomas. Heather started it site in 1998 and it has grown and expanded ever since. You can find sections on all the eras of Elizabeth’s life and more about the times she lived in. There is a good Frequently Asked Questions list, lists of movies, novels and biographies featuring Elizabeth I and much more. If you want to learn about Elizabeth and her times, be sure to check out Elizabethi.org (that’s Elizabeth and the letter “I” dot org.

Just a reminder about the current give away “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.

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!