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TudorCast #18
November 2007


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

Hello, and welcome to Tudor Cast for November 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 some archaeological news from the continuing search for the true site of the Battle of Bosworth where Henry Tudor’s army defeated that of Richard III and the Tudor Dynasty began. Soil samples are still being tested, but researchers think that they may have found evidence of the marsh that Henry’s army had to march around to meet Richard. The new evidence suggests that the battle actually took place near Dadlington and not Ambion Hill which had been previously suggested.

Next up is a clever bit of experimental history that I do love so much… A group of gardening enthusiasts and the National Trust in England decided to reproduce an Elizabethan watering device called “The Great Squirt” described in book by Thomas Hill titled “The Gardener’s Labyrinth” which was published in 1577. The final outcome was a device that could hold 455 gallons and shower water to a distance of 15 feet.

Just a few days ago, a portrait of Elizabeth I from early in her reign fetched over 2.5 million pounds (over 5 million dollars US) at a Sotheby’s auction. The painting, by Steven van der Meulen is full-length and life-sized and was probably meant as an “advertisement” for the Queen in the marriage market.

In an update to the story from the summer about the smashed Tudor Rose window in St. Gredifael Church on Tudor ancestral lands on the Isle of Anglesey. A stained glass company was able to restore the window with three fragments from the original, although it unfortunately only makes up a small amount of the new window.

In some entertainment news, the soundtrack for the Tudors television series is due out in December. I have Amazon links on the news blog. And finally, the first trailer for the big-screen version of “The Other Boleyn Girl” was released this month.

For links to source articles for the news recap 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 14th of November 1501 Catherine of Aragon married Arthur, Prince of Wales at St. Paul’s in London, in what was probably one of the high points of Henry VII’s reign. Although Henry has usually been regarded as a penny-pincher, this was one case where he spared no expense, although, granted, the City of London and the nobility helped with the costs. The marriage of the child of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to the heir to the English throne was an important recognition of Henry’s new dynasty and the celebrations of the wedding were an important show of regal magnificence.

The negotiations for the marriage had been going on since 1488, when Arthur was about 18 months old and Catherine of Aragon was not quite three years old. The arrangements were signed by the parties in the Treaty of Medina Del Campo in 1489, although it was not ratified by Henry VII until 1490. A proxy betrothal and two proxy marriages took place before the couple was finally married in person in London.

The Chronicles that I had so often dipped into for this section in the past has some interesting excerpts on the arrangements for Catherine’s transportation to England and on to London and the pageants that greeted her upon her entrance to the capital.

First, here is a small bit from the extensive instructions for Catherine’s arrival in England:

“It is agreed that in the month of August or September next the said Princess Catherine, with her company, shall be transported, God willing, to Southampton Water.

That a presentation should be made at the first receiving of the Princess into the hands of my Lord Steward, Lord Willoughby de Broke, by one who my lord shall move the king to do the act. And since upon the landing of the princess it seems fitting that she and her company should enter into the king’s charge, he should appoint some officers and others of his noble household to provide for her costs.

Certain officers should be assigned to provide for litters, chairs and palfreys for the princess and her ladies.

Boats should be provided to bring the baggage of her and her company from their ships to land, and horses should be obtained for the company to travel by land, and carriages for the baggage.

Two litters should be prepared for the princess herself, one to carry her to Croydon, the other, more richly decorated than the first, for her entry into London.”

Catherine entered into London on November 12th and she was treated to six allegorical pageants at London bridge, Grace Church Street, Cornhill, Soper Land, the Standard in Cheapside and finally at the end of Friday Street.

“This done she went on her way, and when she came a little beyond the Cross in Cheapside, at the end of Friday Street, there the mayor, on horseback accompanied by the recorder, advanced a little towards the princess, and the recorder in the name of the mayor, his brethren and the citizens of London welcomed her grace with appropriate words and greeting; this done the mayor and recorder returned to their places. And she rode on pass all the aldermen who sat in order on horseback along the street from there to the old Exchange, doing her grace due obeisance.”

The wedding itself was celebrated on the 14th of November at St. Paul’s Cathedral with Henry Deane, Archbishop of Canterbury performing the ceremony. Catherine was led up the aisle by her future brother-in-law Henry, Duke of York, aged 10.

That evening, the newly married couple were put to bed in the ceremonial fashion, but after the celebrants left them, no one knows for sure what happened next. Arthur bragged the next morning: ‘I have been this night in the midst of Spain’, but Catherine was to later swear that the marriage had never been consummated.

The banquets, tournaments and other celebrations of the marriage lasted for another week or so. The couple then left for Wales in December to take up residence at Ludlow and begin what they thought at the time would be a long and fruitful marriage. Unfortunately, that was not to be because Arthur died just five months later on April 2, 1502 and Catherine was left a young widow.

The main sources for this month’s entry were Arthur and Catherine’s entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Henry VII by Bryan Bevan and The Chronicles of the Tudor Kings.

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And now for a page from the Tudor History glossary.

This month we’re up to “K” for Knights of the Garter. Yeah, I know, I probably should have done this back in the month for “G” instead, but oh well!

The Order of the Garter was created in the mid-14th century by King Edward III and includes the sovereign, the Prince of Wales and 24 Knights. There are also Supernumerary knights and ladies of members of the royal family and monarchs of foreign countries, but this practice didn’t start until the reign of George III in the 18th century. The patron saint of the order is St. George and services for the Garter are held in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Early on, women were also admitted into the order as Ladies of the Garter, although they were not considered full members as they are today. Henry VII stopped admission of women during his reign. His wife Elizabeth of York, his mother-in-law Elizabeth Woodville and his sister-in-law Cecily of York were all made Ladies of the Garter by King Edward IV. Before discontinuing the practice, Henry VII named his mother Margaret Beaufort as the last Lady of the Garter until Queen Alexandria was named as one in 1901. Of course, the exceptions in that time were women who were sovereigns in their own right and were therefore head of the Order.

A lot of the regalia of the Garter dates from Tudor times or earlier.

Quoting from Royal.gov.uk:

The Regalia of the Order consists of the Garter, the Collar and the Robes. The Garter is blue, embroidered in gold with the motto of the Order. It is worn by men below the left knee, and by ladies, above the left elbow.

The Collar was introduced towards the end of the fifteenth century and consists of twenty six gold knots. It also carries a representation of St. George slaying the dragon, a device known as the Great George. During the reign of Henry VIII, the Knights Companion were required, when not wearing the collar, to wear a small image of St. George, the Lesser George, suspended from a neck ribbon or a golden chain. The last item is the Star, which was introduced by King Charles I. Today the Lesser George, Riband and Star are worn upon all formal occasions when the Collar is not used.

The Robes consist of the Mantle, Hood and Hat. The Mantle is a large cloak of blue velvet lined with white bearing the Garter Badge upon the left shoulder. Essentially the design has remained unchanged since the fourteenth century. The remnants of the hood, red in colour, are today worn over the right shoulder, the liripipe fastened across the chest. The hat worn in modern times, contains heron's and ostrich's feathers.

You will recognize parts of the regalia in the portraits of some of the Tudor appointees to the order of the Garter. Among the Tudor Garter Knights were Charles Brandon, Thomas Howard, Thomas Boleyn, Henry Fitzroy, Francis I of France, James V of Scotland, Edward and Thomas Seymour, John Dudley, Prince Philip of Spain, Robert and Ambrose Dudley, William Cecil,  Robert Devereux and James VI of Scotland (before he was James I of England).

By the way, if you’d like more information on the origins of the Order of the Garter, check out the episode of British History 101 podcast from May.

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

Since it is November, I thought I’d read the proclamation of the succession of Elizabeth I. This was taken from the book “Tudor Royal Proclamations”, published in 1969 volume II.

“Elizabeth by the grace of God Queen of England, France and Ireland, defender of the faith, etc.

Because it hath pleased Almighty God by calling to his mercy out of this mortal life, to our great grief, our dearest sister of noble memory, Mary, late Queen of England, France and Ireland (whose soul God have), to dispose and bestow upon us as the only right heir by blood and lawful succession the crown of the aforesaid kingdoms of England, France and Ireland, with all manner titles and rights thereunto in anywise appertaining.

We do publish and give knowledge by this our proclamation to all manner people being natural subjects of every the said kingdoms, that from the beginning of the 17th day of this month of November, at which time our said dearest sister departed from this mortal life, they be discharged of all bonds and duties of subjection towards our said sister, and be from the same time in nature and law bound only to us as to their only sovereign lady and Queen: wherewith we do by this our proclamation straightly charge and ally them to us, promising on our part no less love and care towards their preservation than hath been in any of our progenitors, and not doubting on their part but they will observe the duty which belongeth to natural, good and true loving subjects.

And further we straightly charge and command all manner our said subjects of every degree, to keep themselves in our peace, and not to attempt upon any pretense the breach, alteration, or change of any order or usage presently established within this our realm; upon pain of our indignation and the perils and punishment which thereto in anywise may belong.”

And another short piece from the same period of time:

Queen Elizabeth’s speech to her secretary and other her lords before her coronation” (November 20 1558 at Hatfield)

Words spoken by her majesty to Mr. Cecil:

“I give you this charge, that you shall be of my Privy Council and content yourself to take pains for me and my realm. This judegement I have of you: that you will not be corrupted with any manner of gift, and that you will be faithful to the state, and that without respect of my private will, you will give me that counsel that you think best, and if you shall know anything necessary to be declared to me of secrecy, you shall show it to myself only. And assure yourself I will not fail to keep taciturnity therein, and therefore herewith I charge you.”

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And now for some closing comments…

This month’s featured website is the site of the British Library at www.bl.uk . You search through their extensive collections at the site, but I would like to highlight a few sections in particular. One is “Treasures in Full”, which allows you to examine every page of some rare historic texts, including Shakespeare in Quarto, where you can look at all 93 editions held by the library and compare them against each other. They also have two editions of William Caxton’s printings of Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” and 253 Renaissance Festival books, that is, books that describe European festivals and ceremonies from 1475 to 1700. All the texts have supporting materials of historical background and notes from experts.

Another section, which I think is relatively new, actually goes to it’s own website at www.collectbritain.co.uk. The site has 90,000 images and sounds relating to history. The first section that I began exploring was a series of about 800 maps of London made from the 16th to 19th centuries. There is plenty to explore throughout the British Library’s site, I just recommend a broadband connection and a few hours to spare!

In case some of you haven’t seen the round-up of the results from the survey I ran for the past few months, I thought I would go over them quickly here. There were a total of 213 votes cast.

The first question was “Who is your favorite Tudor monarch” and Elizabeth I won with 61% and her father Henry VIII came in with 29%. Poor Edward VI didn’t receive any votes!

The next question was “If you could go back in time and witness one of the following events, which would it be?”. The options were – The Battle of Bosworth Field, The wedding of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII, The Field of Cloth of Gold, The coronation of Elizabeth I and The defeat of the Spanish Armada. Elizabeth won again, with the coronation getting 36%. The Field of Cloth of Gold came in second with 25% and the wedding of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon got 20%.

Next up was “Did you study the Tudors at school?” and any education level counted. The results were 60% yes and 40% no.

The next was a little of a surprise to me… it was “Have you ever attended a Renaissance Festival or historical re-enactment activity?” and it was 53.5% yes and 46.5% no. I thought the yes response would have been a lot higher on this one!

And last but not least, “Do you have a Tudor-related tattoo?”. Only 7 people responded “yes” to this one which I guess isn’t surprising. I guess I’ll have to ask for photographic evidence next time since I’m curious to know that the tattoos are (and not so curious about where!).

The survey was fun and I’ll do another one eventually whether I have goodies to give away or not.

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!