Sunday Short Takes

Yes, really, a Sunday Short Takes!! I finally had a confluence of enough stuff to post and time to actually post it.

First up – a couple of competitions are back this year!

* Tudor Ghost Story Competition at On the Tudor Trail

* Tudor Calendar Competition from The Anne Boleyn Files

Next – a few other things!

* Talking Tudors – Natalie at On the Tudor Trail has started a podcast!

* Tudor shipwreck discovered by local group on Kent beach

* Royal Mail will release stamps featuring Hampton Court Palace

And finally…

The first trailer for the Mary Queen of Scots movie starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie has been released:

(Thankfully I’m pretty good at disconnecting my amateur historian brain when watching historical fiction on TV or the big screen.)

Sunday Short Takes

It seems that I have things *mostly* back to normal, so here’s this week’s news round-up!

* 2015 Anne Boleyn Files Tudor Places Calendar Now Available – The 2015 version of Claire’s excellent calendar, once again filled with gorgeous images from submissions to the photo contest. (And no, I’m not getting anything for endorsing it, I’ve just really liked the past ones!)

* Richard III had lavish diet of swan and wine, new forensic study reveals – This is a summary of the research on the BBC History Extra site, but if you would like to read the original journal article it is available here: Multi-isotope analysis demonstrates significant lifestyle changes in King Richard III (Yay for open access!!)

And yet another entry in the “dream home” category:

This is Thurston End Hall, located in Suffolk about 10 miles away from Bury St. Edmonds. And it can be yours for the low, low price of £2,500,000 (about $4,180,000 as of this posting)!

Sunday Short Takes

* The remains of The Curtain have been found in London – here are several articles about the find:

Shakespeare’s Curtain theatre unearthed in east London

Is this a digger I see before me? ‘Wooden O’ stage of ‘lost’ Curtain theatre where Shakespeare premiered Henry V unearthed near Thames

Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre remains found (with video)

Does the rediscovery of Shakespeare’s Curtain theatre matter? Absolutely

* Mary Rose sailors ate diet of salt beef and biscuits, bone analysis shows

* Thomas Cromwell letter to Henry VIII before Anne of Cleves marriage discovered

* Woking Palace attacked by arsonists for a second timeDuring the Tudor period, Woking Palace was an important residence. Henry VIII spent considerable sums of money on Woking during his reign.

* Fort on St Catherine’s Island, Tenby, could reopen as visitor attractionOnce owned by Henry VII’s uncle Jasper, Earl of Pembroke, the island was sold by Tenby Corporation to the War Office in the 1860s to house a fort.

* Alice Simpson’s artist book The Dancing Chancellor about Sir Christopher Hatton is complete and now for sale. I’ve been exchanging emails with the artist for years and it is wonderful to see the final product. It’s gorgeous!

And finally, a humorous video for your enjoyment:

Sunday Short Takes

* BBC1 to screen War of the Roses epic – I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I’m happy to see some more historical drama on TV (especially that period) but on the other, we’ll have to deal with more distortions, misconceptions, and mistakes that need to be set straight.

* Bloody Tales of the Tower – Presented by Suzannah Lipscomb and Joe Crowley for National Geographic. Now *this* one I am unreservedly looking forward to!

* US publication of sequel to Mantel’s award-winning ‘Wolf Hall’ moved from November to May

* has a calendar out for 2012, with proceeds once again going to Bacton Church, Herefordshire

* Historic Knole House in Sevenoaks may be forced to close to public – More information on the fund raising appeal here

Another neat video from the Historic Royal Palaces You Tube channel:

And a video about symbols in Holbein’s The Ambassadors You Tube channel from the National Gallery (check back through the uploads for more on this painting and others by Holbein, as well as other great art!):

Blanche Parry and Elizabeth I 2012 calendar

In celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, Ruth Richardson, author of Mistress Blanche: Queen Elizabeth I’s Confidante, has put together a limited edition calendar featuring images related to Elizabeth I and Blanche Parry. Proceeds from the calendar will benefit Becton Church in Hertfordshire, which has ties to Blanche and her family.

This calendar commemorates the Diamond Jubilee of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, 2012. Through the generosity of the Queen it includes the gorgeous portrait of Princess Elizabeth, c.1546, in her red and gold dress. The Marquess of Salisbury generously allowed the Rainbow portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, the portrait of Lord Burghley (Blanche’s cousin) and a photograph of Hatfield Old Palace to be used. The other pictures show: Blanche Parry’s St. Margaret’s Church (Westminster) tomb, her Bacton monument, Queen Elizabeth I’s Presence Chamber, the frontispiece of the 1588 Welsh Bible, Llangorse Lake + 1584 map, the site of Newcourt + drawing of the house, Bacton Church and Dore Abbey. We are most grateful to all the picture owners. Each picture has an explanatory paragraph describing the picture’s relevance. The front and back covers of the calendar, plus details of all the pictures, can be seen on

More information and instructions on how to order are available at

Sunday Short Takes

I finally had a nice stockpile of links to post this week… the last few weeks have been a bit dry.

* Mary Rose £2 coin floated on the Solent – A giant, inflatable replica of the coin I mentioned previously here

* Armada wreck discovered off Donegal – The wreckage of a sunken vessel believed to be from the Spanish Armada has been discovered off the Donegal coast.

* Plan to sail Golden Hinde down ThamesThe Golden Hinde could join in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Pageant next year.

* Lanterns! Candles! Shakespeare for Jacobeans – A little past the Tudor/Elizabethan period, but a really neat project. More info here from the Shakespeare’s Globe site, including a video and how you can help make this happen!

The Anne Boleyn Files 2012 Tudor Places Calendar is Launched!

Some of you may recall the calendar photo contest by The Anne Boleyn Files from earlier this year (my brief mention of it was here) and now the winners and calendar have been revealed! The image that won and graces the cover (above) is stunning. I especially love it since it is the polar opposite of all my photos from a rainy, gray day at Leeds Castle.

The calendar includes photos of the places listed below and the births and deaths of the Tudor kings and queens, plus the dates of important battles during the Tudor period.

Lord Leycester’s Hospital, Warwick, Warwickshire
Blickling Hall, Aylsham, Norfolk
Old Palace, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
Ludlow Castle, Ludlow, Shropshire
Hever Castle, Hever, Kent
Hampton Court Palace, Richmond, London
Haughmond Abbey, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire
Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent
Glastonbury Abbey, Glastonbury, Somerset
Coughton Court, Coughton, Warwickshire
Pembroke Castle, Pembroke, Pembrokeshire

Also, $1.50/£1 will be donated from the sale of each calendar to the Mary Rose Trust as part of their on-going effort to raise funds for their new museum.

You can find out more about the calendar here at the Anne Boleyn Files website and see a slideshow of all the winning photographs. You can pre-order it here and it will be shipped out next month.

Sunday Short Takes

* All the King’s Fools: ‘Disability is deep in comedy’s DNA’ – Heritage entertainment develops historical accuracy at Hampton Court this week, as learning-disabled actors play Tudor jesters

* Milestone for work to save Astley Castle – Restoration work at a 13th century former stately home has reached a significant milestone with work ongoing to secure the building. (article with video) Previous story on the Astley Castle preservation here.

* Architect creates model of monarch’s palace after discovering material on banks of Thames

* The Great Hall of Framlingham Castle is on the market for £850 per month – (If anyone reading this site decides to rent it, you’re required to invite me for a visit!)

* The Mary Rose £2 coin that I mentioned last November is now in circulation in the UK. I ordered the coin pack, which is reasonably priced, and there are other collectible versions you can buy from the Royal Mint. More information is available at their website.

New Mary Rose collectible items

Image from The Royal Mint


THE MARY Rose has been chosen to feature on a set of commemorative coins for 2011.

The historic ship, housed at Portsmouth’s dockyard, is one of six coins that will be in circulation from next year and has been produced by the Royal Mint.

The Mary Rose, which was King Henry VIII’s flagship, has been chosen as next year marks the 500th anniversary of the great ship’s maiden voyage.

The image has been done by designer John Bergdahl and around the edge of the coin, a Latin inscription reads ‘your noblest shippe 1511’.

Full article

You can get a collectible version with an information folder from The Royal Mint here. I’ll be getting one to go with my Henry VIII 500th and Elizabeth I 450th accession anniversary special coins. 🙂


Press release image from The Mary Rose 500 Appeal

Unfortunately this particular collectible is a little out of my price range…

Press release from The Mary Rose 500 Appeal:

Alan Titchmarsh Pledges Support to New Mary Rose Museum Campaign

Broadcaster and author Alan Titchmarsh is putting his weight behind the campaign to build a spectacular new £35 million Mary Rose museum, by launching a set of limited edition Mary Rose pens, made from wood found at the Tudor ship’s wreck site.

The Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Hampshire and long term supporter of the Mary Rose Trust, the charity responsible for the conservation and preservation of King Henry VIII’s flagship, today launched the limited edition of 200 pens in time for Christmas.

The Trust hopes to raise £50,000 from the sale of the pens, to help support the work of the Mary Rose and the new museum project.

Only 50 each of four types of hand crafted pen (including a fountain pen, a ballpoint pen, a rollerball pen, and a propelling pencil) have been fashioned from oak, beech, elm, boxwood and poplar timber found on the wreck site of the Mary Rose. However, the wood is not believed to be from the ship or any of her artefacts.

Each limited edition pen is marked with a unique number beginning with “MR”, to signify it was recovered from the Mary Rose wreck site.

Speaking on the pen launch at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Alan Titchmarsh said, “I have always been fascinated by this iconic English wreck. As a resident of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, I often look across the Solent and think of that fateful day in 1545 when The Mary Rose sank in such mysterious circumstances. This is a chance for people to get a little closer to those historic, yet tragic, events.”

Deputy Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust, Robert Lapraik, added, “We are grateful for all the help we have had to date, but financial support from the public must continue in order to ensure this national treasure is preserved for future generations. We hope people will take this opportunity to buy a truly unique Christmas gift for a loved one and help the Mary Rose secure her rightful place in British heritage.”

David Plummer, who was responsible for handcrafting each of the pens, commented, “I am delighted to have had the opportunity to work on such a distinctive project and to lend support to the Mary Rose in this way. When carving the wood, I was amazed by the unique aroma and at the integrity of the ancient wood.”

The limited edition Mary Rose pens can be ordered from the Mary Rose Gift Shop, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, 023 9283 9938, at a price of £250 each. They come in a beautiful presentation box, together with a certificate of authenticity signed by Rear Admiral John Lippiett, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust, and David Plummer.

The New Mary Rose Museum, scheduled to open in Autumn 2012, is a major step towards the final chapter in the conservation of the great ship, which began in 1982. Taking the form of a finely crafted wooden ‘jewellery box’, clad in timber planks, the museum will house the Mary Rose’s fully conserved hull and reunite her with the 19,000 beautifully preserved Tudor artefacts found inside of the wreck.

The existing temporary museum, located 300 metres away from the ship itself, which has space to display only one twentieth of the Tudor items recovered with the wreck, will remain open throughout the construction of the new £35 million museum.

The Trust was awarded one of the largest Heritage Lottery Fund grants ever for the new museum project and has an appeal for £15 million to add to this. They now have a final £3m to raise to complete the appeal. The Trust receives no central funding and is entirely reliant on donations, along with museum entrance fees and profits from its shop, to reach its ambitious final target.

To help secure the future of The Mary Rose visit

Stewarts get stamp of approval

I know, *groan*, but I couldn’t resist.

From the BBC:

First Mary Queen of Scots stamp issued
The first stamp featuring Mary Queen of Scots has been unveiled by Royal Mail.

t is part of a new set celebrating the royal dynasty of the Stewarts, who ruled Scotland until 1603.

TV historian and archaeologist Neil Oliver launched the stamp series at Stirling Castle, the historical home of the Stewarts.

Full article

You can get first day covers and other collectible items at the Royal Mail website.

Catching up!

Sorry for the slow posting on this blog for the last week or so. Things have been busy, as you might have guessed!

* The celebrations that I blogged about back in February took place this weekend. Here is an article with some photos and I’ve embedded a You Tube video of the pageant passing Blackfriars Pier:

* Just a reminder that the Royal Mint has some special commemorative coins out this year for the Henry 500 celebrations. I posted about them back in December, but here is the link to the page on the Royal Mint website. (I have several of their less-expensive collectible coins, including the one for Henry, so if you’re in to those kinds of things I’d recommend them.)

* BBC 4 is showing the program Henry VIII: Patron or Plunderer? with Jonathan Foyle about cultural artifacts from the reign of Henry VIII.

* And finally (thanks to Kathy for sending this one in!) The Forme of Cury, a medieval cookbook, has been digitized and put online by the John Rylands Library in Manchester. Here is the BBC article and here is a link to the Rylands Medieval Collection at the library.

Hampton Court Palace events this year

Hampton Court Palace‘s 500th anniversary events will start this Friday, and there is a lot going on!

Here are some highlights:

Henry VIII: heads and hearts

Special events for 2009

Tudor music festival

The Henry VIII talks at Hampton Court Palace

And of course, I have to link to the shopping. Here’s the web store for the Historic Royal Palaces – I love the “Divorced, Beheaded, Survived” charm bracelet. There is also a neat one with each of the wives’ badges.

More stamps and first day covers

Actually, the stamps themselves are the same, but the cover is different.

First up are some larger images of the two sets from the Royal Mail (click on each thumbnail to see a bigger version):

And here is the press release from Royal Mail (PDF).

And here is another first day cover, this time from Bletchley Park (which some of you might know from the WW2 code-breaking efforts), highlighting Tudor spymasters and code breakers. The first day covers are available from the Bletchley Park post office. Proceeds will go to the Bletchley Park preservation fund. You can get more info from the press release here (PDF).

Stamps honoring the Tudors and the Mary Rose

More neat collectibles for those of you who are trying to keep up! I bought the Elizabeth 450 and Henry VIII 500 coins from the Royal Mint, but I so far have managed to hold off on all the cool stamps (we’ll see how long my resistance lasts).

All of these are from Buckingham First Day Covers and can be ordered at their website. Here is the press release for these covers (PDF).

The images below go to larger versions: