Sunday Short Takes

Actually, not so short this week since I have quite a few stories with multiple links!

One of the big stories to make the Tudor news rounds this week was the discovery of a mural of Henry VIII on the wall of a house while the owners were doing renovations. The house was once the summer home of the Archdeacons of Taunton, including Thomas Cranmer before he became Archbishop of Canterbury. I noticed that pretty much every article, including the three I linked to below, called it a “medieval” mural. I’m assuming they are referring to the technique or style of the mural, since I’m pretty sure anything produced in the 1530s (as this has been dated to) would stretch the definition of the medieval time period.

* A medieval mural depicting Henry VIII has been uncovered by a couple renovating their home – The Telegraph

* Out with his head! DIY couple uncover medieval mural of King Henry VIII – The Daily Mail (including images)

* Medieval mural of King Henry VIII uncovered in Somerset – Article with video from the BBC

(Quick update – check out the comments thread at The Anne Boleyn Files’ post on this for some info from one of the homeowners! They plan to put up a website at, although it isn’t up yet.)

New archaeological work is beginning at Sheffield Manor Lodge, once owned by the Earls of Shrewsbury and where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned, that will remove the soil above the kitchen quarters of the house. Previous archaeological work on the house was done in 2010 by students from the University of Sheffield, who kept a blog about the project.

* Project set to reveal secrets of ancient manor – The Star

* Fresh light on manor where Mary Queen of Scots held – Yorkshire Post

More articles have come out about research in to the tombs of Henry Fitzroy and Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk that I linked to in a previous Sunday Short Takes

* Research uses space-age technology on 16th-century history – The Guardian

* The truth behind Tudor tombs is out there – PhysOrg

And finally, a new work on Mary Tudor Brandon is due out in April in the US and May in the UK. Unfortunately it looks like it will have academic pricing (hopefully my university’s library will get it, although with the budget crunch we’re facing, who knows), but here are the Amazon links if anyone is looking to pre-order:


  1. The discovery of that mural is simply amazing. I have to giggle, a little. Henry is cross-eyed!!

  2. The author of the new Mary Tudor book wrote an article published in the most recent edition of The Sixteenth Century Journal, which appears to recapitulate some of the themes in her longer work. Specifically, she is interested in how Mary’s letters to her brother and Cardinal Wolsey reveal her as a product of royal Tudor education as advanced and politically skillful as her brother Henry and an adept manipulator of traditional imagery and tropes concerning women — rather than the emotionally incontinent, desire-directed personality who has often turned up in history books and fiction. Sadlack seems particularly interested in dispelling the frequent characterization of Mary as a “weeper.” There is a commenter on this blog, Kathy, who specializes in Mary Tudor Brandon and perhaps she will offer her opinion of the book when it is published.

  3. Hi Foose, I’m very much looking forward to this book. I’ve always thought Mary was every bit the Tudor her brother was and ever bit as adept at getting her way. She got exactly what she went after. The “weeper” characterization comes really from Charles Brandon’s letters to Henry after he and Mary married in secret in France. I don’t think Mary was above using tears if it suited her purpose, but I also think she and Charles planned very carefully how they were going to explain their actions after the fact. So there may be some truth to the characterization, but the tears were tools, not really part of her character. I’ve preordered the book and from amazon and will be eagerly watching the post. By the way, we are long overdue for a new biography of Mary. I hope we get a good one soon. I don’t know if anybody is working on one though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *