First round of updates done!

You might notice that things look a little different here on the main blog! When I went to upgrade and migrate to the new server, I discovered that I couldn’t use my previous WordPress theme so it was a good time to search for a new one. I’m still playing around with things so don’t be surprised if things look a little different each time you visit over the next few days/weeks/months. Mostly I’m just happy that I got all of the old posts and comments over to the new blog since that was a little dicey for a while there!

Blog and server upgrades coming

Hello to any readers who stumble upon this before the upgrading starts! My webhost is going to be migrating to new servers over the month of June and I’m really hoping that it will solve some issues I’ve been having for a few years now. I haven’t really had the time to migrate to a new webhost so I just stuck it out. Part of the upgrade process may impact the blog part of the site, so I’m going to do some testing in their ‘sandbox’. BUT, before I can to that, I have to do some upgrades that may also muck things up before I can even get to the testing part. I’m trying to back everything up in every way I have available, but there is still a chance things will break. If something goes awry, check the Q&A blog and/or my personal blog since they are hosted on Blogger and won’t be affected by these issues.

Picture of the Week #602

Portrait of Anne Boleyn at Hampton Court Palace. Photo May 2015.

This portrait came up in a discussion on Twitter this morning, so I thought I would use it today. And tomorrow is the anniversary of Anne’s coronation too! (I would have used a portrait of today’s birthday girl, Margaret Beaufort, but the only photo I have of her portrait at the Palace has a lot of window glare on it. Oh well!).

Picture of the Week #601

Heading towards Henry VIII’s Kitchens at Hampton Court Palace. Photo May 2015.

I was at Hampton Court this day in 2015 and it’s hard to believe it has already been 5 years since my last trip to the UK. In 1998 this was the day I flew back to Texas, in 2000 I was in Wales and visited Chirk Castle and Valles Crucis Abbey, and in 2003 I went to Greenwich and saw the Elizabeth I exhibition. Lots of good memories!

Site updates!

Yes really! It took being in ‘stay at home’ mode for over two months during a worldwide pandemic to get time to do it, but I actually have been updating things on the main site. For several years now, most of the activity on the site has been here on this blog and on the Q&A blog, and even that has fallen from peak levels of a few years ago. A large part of that is that I went through a big job change about 4 years ago and it ate up more time and a LOT more of my energy. But with the pandemic, a lot of the most energy-consuming parts of my job are on hold since they deal with crowds of people and departmental visiting scholars and obviously none of those things are happening right now. Plus I get back all of the time driving to and from the office! (I am looking forward to getting back into the office eventually, but I’ve got to say that I really like the 3-second commute from my bedroom to my dining-room-turned-office!)

I have been wanting to consolidate and re-work some sections of the site for quite a while now and simplify the main page and I am finally making some progress on that. Some of this is to clear out some old and outdated things and to lay groundwork for an eventual whole site rework I want to do. I’m going to list all of the changes below more for my own future reference than anything else since I really doubt most people would find it interesting. 😀

* I’ve removed the “FAQ” section (and the link from the main page) and taken the info from those pages and incorporated them into a new “About This Site” page and the reworked “Contact Information” page. I’ve also incorporated the info on the old “Copyright, image use, and linking information page” into the “Contact Information” page. I’m going to be changing all of the links on the sidebars of pages to the new pages too.

* I removed some old and outdated information on the “Student Help” page, which has left it pretty barebones. I’ll either consolidate it into another page or fill it back out with updated info, but I’m still trying to decide which.

* I’ve gone through and updated the “Links” section and removed dead links. I’ve moved the “Elizabeth and Elizabethan England” links into the “People” links to consolidate stuff. I’ve also removed some links in a few categories that I’m no longer adding new links to (these are usually the ones that drew the most annoying, spammy link requests so good riddance!). I’m also working on the “Image Use Contacts” page and will add it to a few more places. I’ve removed some dead links but I still need to update it with some new contacts. The big problem with updating that page is that the “image use” page (if it exists at all) is one that tends to get moved around so the info on my page can quickly get out of date. So for now I’m just linking to main pages in most cases. I’ve also moved the “Movies and TV” page into the “Links” section and will eventually remove it from the main page.

* Removed some “Secondary Sources” in the “Texts and Documents” and added links to them on Google Books and the Internet Archive. I’ve left one that I couldn’t find on either of those sites, but if it shows up I’ll remove my version.

* Removed my old “Recommended Reading” list that was from a Tudor History class I took in college over 25 years ago.

* Updated the picture on the “Places” index page and removed the places that I have been intending to add but I haven’t yet. Those are still coming soon though! And I have SO MANY new photos to add from my trip in 2015. I also updated the title picture on the “Black and White Tudor Buildings” page to a new one of Palmer’s Farmhouse and updated the caption.

* I’ve finally cleaned up most of the “Topics” section. I’ve moved most of the stuff that’s going to the “Glossary” section and I removed some old, barebones stuff. I’m still working on the pages that need to go over to the “Who’s Who” section so those are still there for the time being.

* I’ve migrated the posts from the TudorCast blog into this blog, which you can access thought the “podcast” category on the sidebar. Even if I ever get around to podcasting again, I’ll just completely relaunch everything since my old stuff got so out of date.

I think that’s it for this round! Once I finish some more of the “housekeeping”, such as finishing the remaining behind the scenes tasks to get the site fully secure, I’ll move on to working on content. In particular, I’m probably going to be working on the “Places” section since I have so many more places to add that I’ve visited and lots of new photos to add for places that I’ve re-visited. Stay tuned for more!

Picture of the Week #600

Courtyard of Oxburgh Hall. Photo May 2015.

All of my trips to the UK have been in the second half of May because that’s one of the easiest times for me to take two or three weeks off work, I thought it would be fun to see where I was on this date during those trips!

1998 – Hatfield House and Old Palace and Windsor Castle
2000 – Travel day from London to Bangor, Wales and resting up
2003 – Canterbury Cathedral and Dover Castle
2015 – Blickling Hall and Blakeney and the Norfolk Coastal Path

Here’s hoping there won’t be another 12 year gap before I’m able to get back!

Picture of the Week #599

Palmer’s Farmhouse at Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, near Stratford-upon-Avon. Photo May 2015.

Today is Mothers Day here in the US so here’s a photo of a place associated with Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden, although it turns out that the building next door to the one above is actually the one the Ardens owned. The whole property is still called “Mary Arden’s Farm” though and is definitely worth a visit when thing open back up!

Picture of the Week #598

Blakeney, Norfolk, England. Photo May 2015.

Not strictly Tudor related, but as I’ve mentioned before, Blakeney was a big seaport from medieval times through to the 20th century, so it would have been a hoppin’ place in the Tudor era! Now it’s a nice seaside village to spend a lazy Sunday in. 🙂

Upcoming Books, Events, and Exhibitions for April 2020

Books

To the best of my knowledge, these release dates are still accurate, but I do know of a few releases that have been delayed due to the coronavirus shutdowns.

The Man Behind the Tudors: Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk by Kirsten Claiden-Yardley came out earlier this year in the UK and will be released on April 21 in the US.

Next up is A Hidden History of the Tower of London by John Paul Davis that came out at the end of February in the UK and will be out at the end of April in the US.

And finally, Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen by Laura Brennan will be out April 30 in the UK and in the summer in the US.

New Exhibitions

I had two new exhibitions on my tracking sheet that were due to open this month, but of course they are both now closed. But I’m going to post them anyway for planning purposes when they do get a chance to open.

The Tudors to Windsors Exhibition that came here to Texas back in 2018 and then travelled to Australia in 2019 is now at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. It was originally scheduled to open April 3, but it is now delayed until the museum can re-open. In the meantime, enjoy it virtually at this page – Look Inside: Tudors to Windsors.

To celebrate the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Field of Cloth of Gold, Hampton Court Palace was due to open a new exhibition on April 10, but is now delayed until at least May 31. In the meantime, enjoy the information about it on the Palace’s website.

Continuing Exhibitions

This exhibition is currently closed but this is still some interesting information about the portraits on the page!

The Royal Museums Greenwich will be uniting the three versions of the Armada Portrait for the first time for the Faces of a Queen exhibition that opens on February 13 and runs through August 31. I would love to see this but it’s quite unlikely that I’ll be getting back across the pond this year (still saving up to buy a new car…) so I’m going to be jealous of anyone who gets to visit!

Picture of the Week #593

Tudor front of Hampton Court Palace. Photo May 2015.

Henry VIII self-isolated before it was cool, although I can’t remember if he ever did it at Hampton Court. Regardless, I’m sure he was doing it in a space much larger than my 700 sq. ft. apartment!

I hope all of you are well and staying safe and that we’ll see crowds like these again in our lives soon (but not before it’s safe to do so!).

Upcoming Books, Events, and Exhibitions for March 2020

Books

I’m pretty sure most people know that the long-awaited third book in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy, The Mirror and the Light will be out in early March! The book will be out March 5 in the UK and March 10 in the US.

Also this month, The Queen’s Sisters: The Lives of the Sisters of Elizabeth Woodville by Sarah J. Hodder will be out March 27 in the UK and April 1 in the US.

Continuing Exhibitions

The Royal Museums Greenwich will be uniting the three versions of the Armada Portrait for the first time for the Faces of a Queen exhibition that opens on February 13 and runs through August 31. I would love to see this but it’s quite unlikely that I’ll be getting back across the pond this year (still saving up to buy a new car…) so I’m going to be jealous of anyone who gets to visit!