Sunday Short Takes

I should have posted some of these last week, but better late than never I guess!

* Remains of real Wolf Hall discovered by archaeologistsThe Tudor home of the Seymour family, setting of Hilary Mantel’s books, has been discovered in the grounds of a later manor in Wiltshire

* New evidence discovered regarding first English voyage to AmericaHistorians from the University of Bristol have uncovered compelling new evidence concerning the first English-led expedition to North America in 1499 hidden deep within huge parchment rolls and only legible by using ultra-violet light.

* Ancient Anglesey church with links to Tudor dynasty needs your helpThe Friends of St Gredifael’s Church, Penmynydd, have started renovating the historic building which houses a medieval alabaster tomb of Goronwy ap Tudor and his wife Myfanwy.

* Is this the real face of Elizabeth I?Artist Mat Collishaw is on a quest to reveal the real woman behind the mask of this famously image-conscious monarch.

And finally –

* History Inspired Makeup Tutorial – Elizabeth I

Sunday Short Takes

Long overdue! Some of these date back over a month, but in my defense, most of February was a blur so it feels like we just went from January straight to March.

* The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries to open on 11th June – A date has been announced for the opening of Westminster Abbey’s new galleries up in the medieval Triforium. I can’t wait to visit this (someday)!

* Blanche Parry’s life at the side of Queen Elizabeth IBlanche Parry is one of history’s most influential Welsh women, yet few know the name and only a handful know her story.

* Victoria Art Gallery’s Henry VIII portrait confirmed as original Tudor paintingA painting of Henry VIII belonging to Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Victoria Art Gallery has been confirmed as an original Tudor work.

* Dedication Is What You NeedSeemingly inconsequential, dedicating books to royalty was a vital part of Tudor publishing.

* How Americans Preserved British EnglishAmericans today pronounce some words more like Shakespeare than Brits do… but it’s in 18th-Century England where they’d really feel at home.

* Tulip Procession held at Bradgate Park to mark anniversary of Lady Jane Grey’s executionBradgate Park hosted the event, which is the first of several happening this year

* X-ray probe to save Mary Rose cannonballsResearchers are using powerful X-rays to look inside cannonballs found on the famous Tudor ship, the Mary Rose. They are trying to find a way of preserving the shot, which will corrode if it is put on display.

And finally –

Here’s another talk by Leanda de Lisle, this time on the Tudor family story. From the video description:

In June 1485, Richard III issued a warning. England faced an invader, ‘one Henry Tudor who usurps the title of this realm as every man knows’. So who was Henry Tudor? Leanda de Lisle tells his family story, and unravels the murder mystery of the lost princes in the Tower.

Sunday Short Takes

Mix of stuff this week!

* Sad news to start with: Robert Hardy, star of Harry Potter and All Creatures Great & Small, dies aged 91 – Although most of the articles I saw focused on his recent work in the Harry Potter films, Tudor history fans will probably also know him from his portrayal of Robert Dudley in the BBC Elizabeth R series.

* And speaking of Harry Potter: Merlin’s beard! Harry Potter’s childhood home in Godric’s Hollow is on the marketThis is one of the most historically significant houses in the area, owned from the 14th to the 17th centuries by the de Veres, the richest family in the country after the monarch. – I really wanted to make it to Lavenham when I was in England in 2015 but I just couldn’t fit it in. Another for the “reasons to go again” list!

* Next up – more digging in Leicester!: Archaeologists are set to carry out a dig at Leicester’s Abbey Park – here’s why – The dig is concentrating on discovering more about medieval life at the abbey, but I’m secretly hoping they find the burial of Cardinal Wolsey, who died there while traveling to London. Abbey Park was another place that I had originally hoped to visit when I was in England two years ago but I ended up spending more time at the cathedral and Richard III visitor center than I originally planned so I skipped the Abbey Park to give more time for my visit that afternoon to the Bosworth Battlefield.

* Big announcement – The Tudor Summit 2017 is coming in just a few weeks! I wish I could participate this year but the timing didn’t work out. Hopefully my schedule will actually allow me to join in on in the future!

Join 16th century historians and bloggers at The Tudor Summit 2017 happening online on September 3 and 4!

The Tudor Summit is a two day online event bringing together Tudor history enthusiasts from all over the world to connect with each other, and listen to interviews and lectures from some of the leading Tudor History historians, bloggers, and podcasters. With lecture topics ranging from Tudor portraiture, fashion, and music; to Henry VIII’s wives, and the Princess Mary’s relationships with them, it will be a jam packed and engaging agenda!

The event will be broadcast live on September 3 and 4, starting at 4pm UK time, and registration is free to attend live!

For more information, please visit:

* The Society of Antiquaries put up a neat video about the volume of the Inventory of Henry VIII from their collections:

* And finally, enjoy a flyover of a digital reconstruction of Edinburgh from 1544

Edinburgh 1544 – Location Compilation from Smart History on Vimeo.

Sunday Short Takes

More entries for the “OMG I want to win the lottery and buy this place!” wishlist!

First up is Otley Hall in Suffolk, which was mostly built in the 16th century. You can see the listing at Savills here.

And next is Flemings Hall, also in Suffolk, which has parts dating back to the 14th century with 16th century additions. You can see the listing at Savills here.

In other news:

The Rex Factor podcast will soon be launching a Kickstarter for an animated show, which you can see a teaser trailer for here:

Rex Factor – The Animated Show Teaser Trailer from Tinmouse Animation Studio on Vimeo.

Sunday Short Takes

Time for another round-up! Finally got a few stories to post.

* Archaeology Week at the Mary Rose MuseumDuring the Festival of Archaeology 2017 the Mary Rose Museum welcome visitors to hear from archaeologists involved in the world’s largest underwater excavation and from the team working hard to preserve and display her in a unique and stunning museum. (Sorry I missed this for the monthly event round-up, but still got it posted before the actual event!)

* Lifting the lid on The Vyne – Conservation continues on the roof of The Vyne, and now you can watch the work with a new walkway and view platform. You can learn more about the project at the National Trust Website.

* We Wear Culture – Fashion through the ages has been added to the Google Culture Project. Right now there is one Elizabethan item featured on the launch page, which you can see here (be sure to zoom in all the way on the picture to see some of the details of the stitching).

And finally…

* TNT’s new series on William Shakespeare, simply entitled Will, debuted on July 10th in the US. Trailer below:

Sunday Short Takes

Short round-up, but at least I won’t get way behind this way… 🙂

* Henry VII Pembroke birthplace statue put in place – I first posted about this seven years ago, so it’s nice to see it finally come to fruition!

* Sheriff Hutton Castle goes up for sale as part of £1.1m sale – Another in the long list of cool places to come up for sale.

* Tudor Calendar Photography Competition – Open Now! – Time for the annual competition to get in the next Tudor Calendar from the Anne Boleyn Files

And finally –

* I was sent this link a while back from the songwriter who is looking to connect with makers of historical documentaries. It’s a lovely song so I thought I would post it in the hopes that it might help get some exposure!

Sunday Short Takes

Yes, finally, another long-overdue news round-up! I thought that I would be able to stay on top of things a lot better after the four major things at work were done, but of course everything that got put off during that time had to be dealt with after. But now I’m in the middle of a two-week stay-at-home vacation to start making a dent in the comp time and vacation hours I have to use before the end of August and I have finally recovered some of my energy.

On to the news!

* ‘Incredibly rare’ William Caxton print discoveredPages printed more than 500 years ago by William Caxton, who brought printing to England, have been discovered by the University of Reading.

* Did Thomas Seymour sexually abuse the teenage Princess Elizabeth?In a new series for Channel Five, Suzannah Lipscomb and Dan Jones examine the allegation that the teenage Princess Elizabeth was sexually abused by her stepfather, Thomas Seymour. Here, Suzannah Lipscomb considers the evidence…

* Anne Boleyn as ‘The Lady of the Garter’: A Rediscovered Image of Henry VIII’s Second Queen – Fascinating work by Roland Hui (be sure to see his follow-up: Debating Anne Boleyn as ‘The Lady of the Garter’)

* In his pursuit of Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cromwell was guided by a prophecy foretelling treason.

* Peter Vannes, Henry VIII and early modern marriagePeter Vannes (c.1488-1563) was a diplomat and collector of papal taxes in England under four successive Tudor monarchs: Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. – from the UK National Archives Blog

* Fettercairn Jewel bought by National Museums ScotlandA 16th Century Scottish jewel has been bought at auction by National Museums Scotland for more than £200,000.

* Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s last wife, wrote the words to this newly discovered piece of music – Includes a clip from a rehearsal of the piece

And finally:

The First State Bed of Henry VII & Elizabeth of York from InHouseFilms on Vimeo.

Sunday Short Takes

More buildings to save your pence for!

* Thornbury Castle, Honeymoon Spot of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, On Sale for $10.3 million – Although since this one is also a hotel, I think I would settle for just staying there instead of buying the whole thing. I know several readers of this site have been there, but it’s still on my ‘to do’ list!

* Barsham Manor House on rightmove – This property in Norfolk intrigues me. Henry VIII apparently stayed there several times and it’s in an area that some of my ancestors are from!

* Knole House has £20 million revamp and unveils the National Trust’s biggest conservation project ever – Not one you can buy or stay overnight at, but you can visit! More about Knole at the National Trust

* King Henry VIII’s sixth wife collaborated with Thomas Tallis to write music to rally her husband for war – The fragmentary manuscript pages were used as stuffing for cracks in the walls (!!!) at Corpus Christi College, Oxford

* Hans Holbein in England – Interesting blog post from The National Archives, including excerpts from primary sources

Sunday Short Takes

I haven’t had some historical dream properties on the Sunday Short Takes for a while and now we have three. Save your pennies!

* This Elizabethan country house is for sale for the first time in 500 yearsPlas Clough in Denbighshire has previously been inherited by subsequent generations

* Grand Tudor mansion near Tamworth could be yours for £4millionHaselour Hall, which has been described as one of ‘the most charming half-timbered house in the county’, is being sold by Sutton Coldfield-based estate agency Aston Knowles.

* Castle fit for an escaping Queen on the market for £1.5 million500-year-old castle where Mary, Queen of Scots, stayed after escaping captivity from a nearby island

And in other news –

* Shakespeare in Italy – Study Shakespeare for two weeks in Italy this summer

* Behind the scenes at … Hampton Court Palace: See Henry VIII’s botch redecoration to impress Jane Seymour and stunning views from Palace roofThe Standard has taken a camera behind the scenes at Hampton Court Palace, inside its archaeological store and Tudor costume room, and to see the glorious views from the roof of the Palace.

* Introducing Open Access at The Met – I’m so happy to see more museums and galleries finally releasing public domain art *into* the public domain. It was established under Bridgeman v Corel (1999) that photographic reproductions of public domain works of art do not create a new copyright so the Met is coming into line with that decision. The question of photographs of 3D public domain objects hasn’t been quite as straightforward, but the Met is also making those copyright-free. Just a few examples: Armor Garniture of George Clifford (1558–1605), Third Earl of Cumberland and Standing salt with cover.

Sunday Short Takes

Welcome to the first round-up of 2017! I admit that I had a couple of things to post last week but I totally and completely forgot about it until about 9:00 p.m. on Sunday. So, here are a couple of weeks’ worth of stories!

* V&A returns Tudor bedroom to original Sizergh Castle settingLondon museum formally transfers grand oak-panelled room, for which it paid £1,000 in 1891, to National Trust site in Cumbria

* A Tudor Childhood – Excerpted from Tracy Borman’s The Private Lives of the Tudors: Uncovering the Secrets of Britain’s Greatest Dynasty

* Queen Elizabeth I’s long-lost skirt to go on display after being found on a church altar in Herefordshire – The altar cloth that I posted about last May will go on display at Hampton Court Palace and will undergo an 18-month restoration.

* How ‘Sherlock of the library’ cracked the case of Shakespeare’s identity – Don’t be put off by the title, this isn’t a “so-and-so actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays” article. In fact, it’s rather the opposite!

* Lucy Worsley’s Secrets of the Six Wives, which has already aired in the UK, will be airing on PBS stations in the US next weekend (check your local listings for times)

And finally – a video to finish off the post this week:

* Tapestry re-hang at Hampton Court Palace – The most surprising thing in the video is the use of Velcro to hang the tapestries. I mean how they hang them now, not how the Tudors did. 😉

Sunday Short Takes – Saturday edition

I wanted to get this final round-up of 2016 actually *in* 2016, hence the Saturday post. A lot of stories piled up in the final weeks of 2016 that I never got around to posting, so this is going to be a long one!

* Pembroke Castle study uncovers possible Henry VII birthplace

* Through foreign eyes: the forgotten ambassadors to the Tudor court

* V&A acquires earliest picture of Henry VIII’s lost palace of Nonsuch – More coverage: Rare painting of Henry VIII’s ‘lost palace’ saved from export and Watercolour of Henry VIII’s famed lost Palace of Nonsuch saved for the nation

* London church to be reunited with stolen 16th-century carvingSt Katharine Cree church delighted at return of decades-lost work, part of a monument to a famous Elizabethan

* The Lost Colony of Roanoke loses its portrait of Queen Elizabeth I – I guess this is the final chapter in a story that I’ve been following since 2008 (more here) since it has been sold in England by the nonprofit organization that runs the Elizabethan Gardens in the Outer Banks of North Carolina (at the site of the famous Lost Colony of Roanoke). I’m sad to see a portrait of Elizabeth leave the US, but I totally understand the motivations since funding is so tight for many nonprofits.

* New tower will reveal hidden world of Westminster Abbey – Plans continue to proceed to open the Triforium of Westminster Abbey into a museum, to be named the “Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries”. This is another story that I’ve been following for a number of years (since around 2009 or 2010, I think) and I’m glad to see this one is becoming real and plans to open in 2018! If you want to contribute to the fund, you can do so here.

* A “lost” Caesar tapestry – I’m linking to Mary Beard’s write-up of events, since so far most of the news stories I’ve seen about this seem to get it wrong.

* Six Wives in the Archives – the UK National Archives had several blog posts while Lucy Worsley’s “Six Wives” series ran on BBC One (coming to the US in early 2017!) with images of some primary source documents:
Six Wives in the archives: a view from Europe
Six Wives in the archives: the trial of Anne Boleyn
Six Wives in the archives: Howard’s end

And finally –

These are links that I’m going to put in the various Links Directory sections, but I thought I would link to them here too since they are all useful resources:

* Documents from Elizabeth I’s life and reign in the UK National Archives (classroom resource)

* The Paston Letters Online

* History Masterclass

* Everyday Life and Fatal Hazard in Sixteenth-Century England

Sunday Short Takes

Good grief, I didn’t expect a month to go by before I got a chance to do one of these again… To say that things have been busy lately would be a wild understatement. The good news is that I’ve earned a fair amount of comp time but the bad news is that I have no idea when I will ever be able to use it!

But enough whinging from me – on to the news round-up!

* The Tudor London Tube Map – This one has already been going around social media for a while now, but it was so clever (and useful for planning a Tudor-themed trip to London) that I had to post it.

* Lost in the Great Fire: which London buildings disappeared in the 1666 blaze? – A look at some of the reasons that many Tudor (and earlier) buildings of London aren’t around to see anymore.

* Bosworth: the dawn of the TudorsFrom childhood imprisonment in Brittany to the violent execution of Richard III in a Leicestershire field, Henry Tudor’s passage to the throne was lengthy and labyrinthine. Chris Skidmore charts the origins of the Tudor dynasty…

* Cleaning This Portrait Could Change the Way Historians See ShakespeareThe only portrait of the Bard made while he was alive might be getting touch-ups

* Revealed: 500-year-old kiln could shed light on the construction of Henry VIII’s Tudor palace in EssexResearchers believe kiln was used when building Palace of Beaulieu

* Virtual Tudors – New website with 3D models of artifacts and more from the wreck of the Mary Rose

Sunday Short Takes

Big story from a couple of weeks ago!

* Elizabeth I Armada portrait saved with help of 8,000 donorsA portrait of Elizabeth I has become public property, after an appeal helped raise £10.3m to buy it.

And a few other articles of interest:

* In Praise of the Go-BetweenArchives are one thing, the public another and connecting the two is one of a historian’s hardest challenges, as Suzannah Lipscomb knows from experience.

* ‘Irreplaceable’ Tudor window ‘stolen to order’ from chapelA stained glass window taken from a Tudor church was “stolen to order”, experts believe.

* Dundee student solves historic mystery of Lord DarnleyEmma Price, 23, has recreated the face of Henry Stuart, a.k.a. Lord Darnley, who was the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, as part of her MSc Forensic Art and Facial Identification course at DJCAD.

* Shakespeare’s New Place to re-open in Stratford-on-AvonA splendid new oak and bronze gateway will open on the original threshold of Shakespeare’s New Place, inviting visitors to walk in the playwright’s footsteps, explore a dramatic new landscape and exhibition, and meet the man behind the famous works this weekend.

Sunday Short Takes

The big story of the week was the re-opening of The Mary Rose Museum, which now gives visitors a full view of the dried remains of the ship. Here is a selection of stories about the event:

* Newly decked out Mary Rose reopens after £5m makeover
* Mary Rose warship: Full view revealed after museum revamp
* The long scientific voyage of Tudor warship the Mary Rose
* The real rose: Mary Rose ship emblem discovered, 500 years on

And a video about the recreation of the rose:

And a couple of other stories from the week:

* On the trail of the Yorks: 8 places associated with Richard III’s family

* York Early Music Festival – Alamire – Listen to Alamire performing Anne Boleyn’s Songbook (stream available for 18 more days so listen soon! – and big thanks to the reader who sent this in!)

Sunday Short Takes

Time for a Sunday Short Takes!

* Dynastic Rivalry and Digital Reconstruction at Bradgate House – Interesting work on the reconstruction of Bradgate House for a new visitors center at Bradgate Park.

* Tudor Calendar Photography CompetitionThe Anne Boleyn Files is hosting a calendar photo competition again this year, so pick out your best Tudor-related photos!

* Tudor women: what was life like? – Elizabeth Norton writes about the life of women in all levels of Tudor society

* Tour Westminster Abbey on Google Street View

Sunday Short Takes

Sorry I’ve gotten so far behind again… Some of this is kind of old news now, but still worthwhile to link to.

* Art Fund and Royal Museums Greenwich launch appeal to save Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I
& Britain has two months to raise £10m to save most famous Armada portrait of Elizabeth IThe portrait, one of the most famous in existence, has been privately held by the Tyrwhitt-Drake family for generations, and is now up for sale

* Sad news – Tudor historian David Loades passed away last month. I first saw it mentioned in the Society of Antiquaries newsletter from May 23.

* Revealed: the monastic treasures Henry VIII’s men missedA new museum at the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire offers glimpses of the life Henry VIII’s commissioners attempted to wipe out: from gold coins, as testament to the Cistercian house’s once great wealth, to religious carvings, monastic drinking vessels and 11th century chess pieces.

* Henry VIII returns home to Hampton Court PalaceThis portrait of Henry, painted during the final years of his reign, is one of the most important in existence, and one of the few surviving painted during the King’s lifetime. It is based on a likeness produced in the workshop of Hans Holbein, Henry’s court artist and one of the greatest of all portrait painters. While several other versions of this portrait survive, this copy – in the collection of Castle Howard for over 300 years – is considered to be among the finest.

* From The Society of Antiquaries – UNLOCKING OUR COLLECTIONS: Portrait of Mary IOur guest curator, Diana Scarisbrick, FSA, is a historian specializing in jewelry and engraved gems, and is the author of several books, including Rings: Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty and Tudor and Jacobean Jewellery, 1508-1625. Below, she explains the significance and symbolism of the jewels in our portrait of Mary I.

* Historic England is looking for the public’s help to Enrich the List99% of people in England live within a mile of a listed building or place. We invite you to share your knowledge and pictures of listed places with us, so we can record important facts, and even unlock the secrets of some places.

And finally –

* FutureLearn Course: A History of Royal Food and Feasting – More information here: A History of Royal Food and Feasting

Sunday Short Takes

There were a bunch of Shakespeare events last weekend for the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death (and 452nd anniversary of his birth), and here are a few related articles:

* William Shakespeare, Playwright and Poet, Is Dead at 52 – The New York Times obituary for Shakespeare

* Shakespeare’s ‘original classroom’ revealedThe original classroom where William Shakespeare is believed to have studied and seen his first plays opens to the public for the first time this weekend.

* BBC Shakespeare Lives – The main page for all of the Shakespeare celebrations of the BBC. It looks like at least some (maybe all?) of the videos on this site are viewable outside the UK – yay!

And in other news…

* Princely pleasures at Kenilworth: Robert Dudley’s three-week marriage proposal to Elizabeth I
Described as Elizabeth I’s great love, Robert Dudley came closer than any other suitor to making the queen his wife. Here, historian Elizabeth Goldring explores Dudley’s three-week marriage proposal at Kenilworth – his last-ditch attempt, after nearly 15 years of trying, to win the queen’s hand…

* The men who changed Henry VIII’s underpantsAs Dr Edward Dutton reveals, the Tudor path to power wasn’t making speeches in the Commons; it was changing Henry VIII’s underpants and wiping his bottom…

And finally, a video of a year in the life of the Hampton Court Gardens

Sunday Short Takes

A terse round-up this week since I think a cold virus has finally managed to catch me… I’m really surprised it took this long given the exhaustion I’ve had over the past 8 months and the fact that I interact with college students, globe-trotting faculty and research scientists, the general public, and school-aged kids on a regular basis! I guess my immune system just didn’t have enough energy left to fight off this one.

* Conservation plan set to preserve Woking Palace’s future

* Shakespeare first folio discovered at stately home on Scottish island

* Shakespeare’s Buildings

* Conserving Shakespeare’s will and Shakespeare’s will: a new interpretation – from the UK National Archives, where the will is on display

* Virtual Historical Festival – Check the Timetable for more information on the authors taking part

* Wythenshawe Hall: Photos reveal damage to fire-hit Tudor mansion – follow-up to a sad story from a few weeks ago

* 360 Tour of the Tower of London with Dan Snow

In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII Blog Tour – May the Force be with You

I’m happy to be the final stop on the blog tour for Natalie Grueninger and Sarah Morris’ newest book: In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, following their previous fantastic title, In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn. In this post, Sarah will share her top five locations that left an imprint on her. I don’t think that Sarah knew I’m a life-long Star Wars fan but I got a little thrill when I saw the title for her guest article. 🙂

May the Force be with You

By Sarah Morris

Over the last three to four years, I have been privileged to travel to around 130 locations associated with each of Henry VIII’s queen consorts. A little like people one meets through life, some pass you by, leaving no more than pleasant memories to accompany you on your journey, and others leave a much more enduring impression. Like Mary I once famously said of her fated relationship to Calais, they remain ‘engraved’ in your heart. But why?

One of the peculiar and indeed unpredictable things that both Natalie and I have noticed during our travels is how some locations have a ‘vibe’ that draws you in – and this is not always associated with the most complete, or obvious, locations. Certainly on more than one occasion, when Nat and I were visiting ruins or simply just earthworks in a field, we would look at each other with that knowing look – ‘the force’ as we came to know it was palpable, seeping out of the bricks and mortar, even the very earth itself.

On day one of this blog tour, Nat touched on this phenomenon; it seems that for some reason certain locations are able to connect with us at a deeply emotional level. Some would argue that this is a figment of an overactive imagination, but others might say that these places hold the energetic imprint of people and events long after they have passed. Could it be that in some subtle way we are able to tap into that? I’d like to think so.

So in this penultimate entry, I thought I would share with you five, short, thumbnail sketches of less well fêted locations that still hold the power to move me in the way I have described, even though our encounter was often all too fleeting. So, here is the countdown in reverse order:

5. Pontefract Castle, Yorkshire

A Model of Pontefract Castle

In its day, Pontefract Castle was a behemoth, renowned as being a key strategic fortress, and one which was virtually impregnable to boot. Images of the castle, captured before its destruction following England’s Civil War, convey its might and austerity. The castle’s sinister history of royal incarceration and aristocratic execution arguably makes Pontefract second only to the Tower of London in terms of its infamy. Today only ruins remain perched high upon a rocky outcrop of land. Pontefract Castle is way off the usual tourist trail. So when I visited, it was all but deserted, leaving me alone with only ghosts for company. The commanding views once enjoyed by the castle are now obscured by trees surrounding its perimeter, but the imprint of the royal apartments remains outlined in the ground.

Inside the ruined bailey of Pontefract Castle

Pontefract was one of the locations specifically cited for Catherine Howard’s indiscretions with Thomas Culpepper during the summer progress of 1541; the queen sending one of her ladies to watch the back door (probably of the Queen’s Tower), so that Culpepper could gain entrance to the queen’s privy chambers unnoticed. Before my visit, I had read eye witness accounts from the interrogations of the queen’s ladies, and through these it is not hard to see Catherine was tense, snapping at her ladies-in-waiting, threatening them with her displeasure. Clearly the queen sensed she was treading very dangerous ground indeed. And yet, as daylight fades, the rugged brutality of the place is replaced by the passion and warmth of a young woman’s desire for her lover. Bathed in flickering candle light, it was at Pontefract that the lovers entwined, Catherine writing to Thomas whilst at Pontefract that she would be his for ‘as long as life endures’.

4. Schloss Burg an der Wupper, Solingen, Germany

Burg Castle as it appeared in the sixteenth century

Burg Castle was once the childhood home of Anne of Cleves. If you wish to understand the secrets of Anne’s heart, there is no better way than to make the pilgrimage sixty miles or so east of Anne’s birthplace of Dusseldorf, into the wooded valleys of the Rhine. The castle has been recreated to reflect its appearance at the zenith of the renaissance, when it served as one of the principal lodgings for the ducal family. Murals painted following the rebuilding of the castle tell the story of the Dukes of Cleve and the key events of the castle’s history, including the betrothal of Anne’s parents when they were just young children of five and six.

The Knight’s Hall (Rittersaal) of Burg Castle

The grand hall in which great public ceremonies took place (including the feast to celebrate the imminent nuptials of Anne’s elder sister, Sibylle), makes it easy to see through the veil of time and recreate Anne’s past. Yet, it was in one single room, the Kemanate that all my research on Anne’s early years became fused with her presence. I am not sure quite what acted as the catalyst. Perhaps it was the stories told by my American guide about life at the ducal court as we wandered around the castle, or perhaps it was simply standing in the room in which Anne would have spent much of her time during daylight hours. However, there is no doubt that for me, it was there that I finally felt I understood the young woman who I would later follow all the way to her grave.

3. Kimbolton Castle, Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire

The Interior of Kimbolton School and the room in which
Katherine of Aragon reputedly died in January 1536

Katherine of Aragon’s struggle with Henry and the English nation was truly a saga of epic proportions – and it changed a nation’s history. It is utterly impossible not to be deeply moved when one stands in the very room in which she died, as well as in the nearby chapel, where it seems likely that her body lay in state for three weeks before her burial at Peterborough Cathedral. Although now a school, with the interiors having been entirely remodelled in the late eighteenth century, the echoes of Katherine’s defiant last stand remain audible – if you have an ear to hear. Nowhere have I felt closer to Henry’s proud, Spanish wife.

2. Wolf Hall, Wiltshire

Watercolour of the current Wolfhall farmhouse, thought to incorporate
elements of the Seymour’s original mansion (copyright Gillian Bathe)

Standing atop a plateau of land in the heart of rural Wiltshire, surrounded by green fields, cow sheds and a rather run down looking farmhouse, it should be nigh on impossible to tap into any sense that you are amidst the remains of a building that has passed into immortality. Yet strangely quite the opposite was true for me.

Popularised in recent literature, Wolf Hall was once the provincial country home of the Seymour family. Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII stayed as guests of Sir John and Lady Seymour for a week during the summer progress of 1535. Although we are deeply sceptical of the long-term legend that it is here that Henry’s eyes first fell on Jane, the Seymour’s eldest daughter, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that something of significance did indeed transpire here, and that as Anne Boleyn strolled through one of its many gardens, her time as Henry’s ‘most beloved wife’ was fast running out. The place continues to haunt me to this day, some three years after my first visit.

1. Charterhouse Square, London

Charterhouse Yard from the Agas Map of 1560. The Latimers’
residence is circled in the top right hand corner of the square

Some of the most fascinating locations for me are those that take you by surprise – and this was certainly the case with Charterhouse Square. Once laying just outside the ancient city walls of London, it was a desirable spot for the Tudor elite. John Latimer, Katherine’s then husband, explains why in a contemporary letter to Cromwell; the Yard (as it was then known), stood ‘in good air, out of press of the city’. It was the Latimers’ favoured London residence.

Here, I was to track down Katherine Parr at one of the most interesting junctures of her life. Sir John and Lady Latimer lived in Charterhouse Yard during the fall of Catherine Howard; the scandalous break up of Katherine’s brother’s marriage to the adulterous Anne Bourchier, and the death of Lord Latimer himself.

The author outside the site of the Latimers’ London home,
currently occupied by No10. Charterhouse Square.

Today, the imprint of the Square is little changed from its medieval origins; an irregular pentagon with its central green looked onto in the north by the remains of The Charterhouse itself, with imposing buildings lining its remaining edges. Although the medieval / Tudor houses are mostly gone, it retains a sense of being a veritable time capsule, little visited by tourists. And yet, you will not be alone during your visit. For as you stroll past No.10 (the site of the Latimer’s residence), you might find yourself nodding your head in silent greeting to Katherine’s neighbour, the Tudor antiquarian, John Leland, as he sets off on one of his many travels; or maybe you might catch a fleeting glimpse of Katherine’s brother, who also lived on the Square; and if that were not enough remember the 50,000 souls whose bodies are buried beneath the green, as a result of perishing during the outbreak of the Black death in 1349.

As I left, I couldn’t help but think about Katherine’s final departure from Charterhouse Yard; was she leaving there to become Henry’s wife? Did she sense that her life was about to change forever and that she was one small step away from immortality?

Natalie and I hope you have enjoyed our blog tour and we wish you many happy hours retracing the footsteps of these six, unforgettable women.


Buy In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
(Released on 19 May 2016)
The Book Depository
(Free worldwide shipping)


About the Authors

Natalie Grueninger is a researcher, writer and educator, who lives in Sydney with her husband and two children.

She graduated from The University of NSW in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts, with majors in English and Spanish and Latin American Studies and received her Bachelor of Teaching from The University of Sydney in 2006.

Natalie has been working in public education since 2006 and is passionate about making learning engaging and accessible for all children.

In 2009 she created On the Tudor Trail, a website dedicated to documenting historic sites and buildings associated with Anne Boleyn and sharing information about the life and times of Henry VIII’s second wife. Natalie is fascinated by all aspects of life in Tudor England and has spent many years researching this period.

Her first non-fiction book, co-authored with Sarah Morris, In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, was published by Amberley Publishing and released in the UK in late 2013. Natalie and Sarah have just finished the second book in the series, In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, due for publication in the UK on 15 March 2016 and on Amazon US on 19 May 2016.

You’ll find Natalie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Dr Sarah A. Morris

Sarah is a creative soul, as well as an eternal optimist who generally prepares for the worst! She is an advocate of following the heart’s deepest desire as a means to finding peace and happiness. To this end, her writing is a creative expression of her joy of both learning and educating.

Drawn by an inexplicable need to write down the story of Anne Boleyn’s innocence, she published the first volume of her debut novel, Le Temps Viendra: a novel of Anne Boleyn in 2012; the second volume followed in 2013. That same year, her first non-fiction book, co-authored with Natalie Grueninger called, In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, was also published. Hopelessly swept away by an enduring passion for Tudor history and its buildings, her latest book, the second of the In the Footsteps series entitled, In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, is due to be published by Amberley Publishing in the UK on 15th March 2016 and in the US on 19th May.

She lives in rural Oxfordshire with her beloved dog and travelling companion, Milly.

You’ll find Sarah at, or via her blog,: This Sceptred Isle.

Sunday Short Takes

Sunday Short Takes Mega Edition! This is what happens when I actually have time to do things. (I took Spring Break off at work – although the fact that I was able to mostly use comp time accrued in the last month to take the *whole week* off tells you something…)

More interesting Shakespeare news:

* Shakespeare’s grave scanned in 400th anniversaryShakespeare’s grave in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford upon Avon has never been excavated, but a scan has been carried out to search below ground. The findings are expected to be revealed in the next few weeks.

* William Shakespeare’s handwritten plea for refugees to go onlineSir Thomas More script is only surviving copy of a play in the bard’s hand and is one of 300 texts being digitised in run-up to British Library exhibition

* Catholic painting covered over by Shakespeare’s dad discovered at Stratford’s GuidhallSt John the Baptist appeared from under a layer of paint and varnish at the Guildhall in Church Street, Stratford, currently being restored as a visitor attraction.

* Site of Shakespeare’s grand Stratford home to open to the publicIn July a grand bronze-studded oak door will swing open on the main street of Stratford-upon-Avon, inviting visitors into a house that was demolished more than 250 years ago – the mansion which Shakespeare bought in his home town when he had made his fortune on the London stage.

And in other news:

* Fire destroys roof of historic Wythenshawe Hall in ManchesterFire has badly damaged a 16th Century hall in Manchester destroying the roof and causing extensive damage to an upper floor.

* Export bar placed on painting of Henry VIII castleThe earliest depiction of Henry VIII’s “lost” palace in Surrey could leave the UK unless a buyer comes forward.

* Channel 5 To Show Major History Series Examining Henry VIII’s Wives – The series will be hosted by Suzannah Lipscomb and Dan Jones

* Secret Notes Hidden in 500-Year-Old BibleRecent analysis of the Latin Bible, which was published in 1535 by Henry VIII’s printer, has revealed fascinating English annotations made during the 16th-century Reformation.

* Digital history: Archbishops’ Registers go online for first timeUsers will be able to research a vast range of topics, from architecture, almsgiving, sin, buildings and transport, to church furnishings, weapons and war. – The site is available here:

And finally…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a dream house or two, so here’s a whole list of Grade I-listed properties for sale! There are several there that I liked, but if I *had* to choose, my love of black and white timbers would make me pick this one:

The Old Rectory, Gawsworth, Cheshire.