Upcoming Books and Events for January 2016

Happy New Year! I’ll have a proper post later with a wrap-up of last year and some things I want to accomplish in 2016 but for now – on to the round-up for January!


I’ll start out with a couple of books that have already been released in the UK and will be out later in January in the US:

Elizabeth Norton’s The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor: Elizabeth I, Thomas Seymour, and the Making of a Virgin Queen is out January 4 in the US –

Alison Weir’s latest Tudor biography is The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Margaret Douglas Countess of Lennox will be released January 12 in the US –

And in new books this month, Amy Licence’s Edward IV & Elizabeth Woodville: A True Romance will be released January 19 in the US and February 15 in the UK –


Peterborough Cathedral’s annual Katharine of Aragon Festival will be January 28 to 31 this year. I was so happy to finally get a chance to visit Peterborough in 2015 and maybe some year I’ll find myself there at the end of January so I can visit during the festival.

New Exhibitions

Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee opens January 18 and will run through July 29, 2016 at the Royal College of Physicians in London.

From the website:

Our exhibition explores Dee through his personal library. On display for the first time are Dee’s mathematical, astronomical and alchemical texts, many elaborately annotated and illustrated by Dee’s own hand. Now held in the collections of the Royal College of Physicians, they reveal tantalising glimpses into the ‘conjuror’s mind’.

Continuing Exhibitions

The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin launched Shakespeare in Print and Performance on December 21, 2015 and it will run through May 29, 2016.

Sunday Short Takes

Even though I had a bunch of articles last weekend, I didn’t get around to doing a round-up post. So, here’s an extra big one!

Lots of Shakespeare news in the past couple of weeks, which I’m sure is just the beginning of the Bard frenzy we’ll see in the next few months leading up to the 400th anniversary of his death in April 2016.

First up – several articles about the recent discoveries in the dig at New Place in Stratford (I admit, I tried to sneak a peek when I was in the town in May but I couldn’t see much):

* Shakespeare’s “kitchen” discovered during archaeological dig (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)

* Shakespeare’s kitchen discovered in Stratford-upon-Avon dig (BBC)

Want to try your hand at helping to transcribe Shakespearean-era documents?

* Where there’s a quill … help to unpick manuscripts from the days of Shakespeare – article from The Guardian about the project. This is another example of my worlds colliding – this is built on the Zooniverse platform, which started as a citizen science program that I know a lot of scientists who have worked on with everyday people.

* Shakespeare’s World – link to the project itself

And speaking of Shakespearean documents, they will feature in some upcoming exhibitions in 2016:

* William Shakespeare’s last will and testament among key documents going on public show at Somerset House

* Shakespeare was ‘celebrity, matchmaker and theatre thief’, papers reveal

* William Shakespeare’s tryst with a female fanA diary entry, never before seen by the public, will be on display at the British Library next year

And in other news:

* Mary Rose Museum to re-open in 2016 with “best ever”, “unrestricted” views of ship – If you were planning to visit the Mary Rose Museum, you’ll have to wait until the summer of 2016, but it sounds like it will definitely we worth the wait!

* The annual TannerRitchie Publishing Holiday Sale is on, a great opportunity to stock up on digital versions of primary sources.

And finally:

* How to Make a Tudor Christmas Decoration, courtesy of English Heritage and Kenilworth Castle

Upcoming Books and Events for December 2015

Wow, this month’s round-up really managed to sneak up on me! Where did November go??


All of this month’s books have already been released in the UK and are now coming out in the US or books that I missed in last month’s round up:

Jasper: The Tudor Kingmaker by Sarah Elin Roberts, which was released at the end of October in the UK and will be out December 19 in the US.

A collection of essays entitled The Shakespeare Circle edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells was released at the end of October in the UK and will be released at the end of December in the US. This collection focusses on the people that Shakespeare would have interacted with in his life and sounds like an interesting approach to Shakespeare biography.

Claire Ridgway of The Anne Boleyn Files and The Tudor Society released her latest Tudor history book: Tudor Places of Great Britain at the beginning of November.

And finally, Ruth Goodman’s How to Be a Tudor: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Everyday Life was released in early November in the UK and will be out in February 2016 in the US:

New Exhibitions

If you will allow me a little indulgence – I once again have a chance to highlight something that is actually taking place in my hometown! The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin will be launching Shakespeare in Print and Performance on December 21, 2015 and it will run through May 29, 2016. They haven’t published a dedicated page for the exhibition yet, but here’s the description from the Upcoming Exhibitions page:

Explore the legacy of William Shakespeare at the Harry Ransom Center. This exhibition provides insight into the origins of his works, the history of their publication and performance, the manner in which the texts have been studied on the page, and the plays interpreted on the stage. The Elizabethan world of Shakespeare and his contemporaries is presented through early printed books documenting his contemporary reputation, his textual sources, and his plays. Costume and set designs, promptbooks, and other ephemera showcase the variety of ways artists have translated his plays into performance.

I’ll definitely be stopping by (possibly more than once – one of the benefits of working at UT Austin!) and will take photos and do a blog post about the exhibition like I did with the King James Bible exhibit from a few years ago.

Continuing Exhibitions

The National Portrait Gallery, London launched Simon Schama’s Face of Britain exhibition on September 16 and it will run through January 4, 2016. More information on the exhibition here

Sunday Short Takes

Finally, enough stories to do another round-up!

* The Roanoke Island Colony: Lost, and Found? – Some new developments in the search for the Lost Colony (one of my all-time favorite historical mysteries!)

* 12 buildings in use today that were around when King Richard III was on the throne

* The story that has lit up my alerts the most over the past week was about the discovery of a pipe in Shakespeare’s garden that tested positive for cannabis that created a lot of “Shakespeare was a pothead” headlines. Thankfully at least one article I came across took a more skeptical view of directly associating the find with the Bard himself: How the Web Got Suckered into Thinking Shakespeare Was a Stoner

* Wanna spend the night at Hampton Court Palace? You’ll have the chance on the night of September 26!

* Another neat opportunity – apply to be in the studio audience for the next Great History Quiz at the BBC, this time featuring the Tudors, on September 8.

And finally –

* A neat video from Historic Royal Palaces demonstrating how they wash their tapestries

Sunday Short Takes

These links are from last week but since I didn’t have any new ones to add this week I figured I’d go ahead and post these two:

* Shakespeare schoolroom to be restored in £1.4m schemeA building where William Shakespeare went to school and saw theatre performances is to be restored thanks to a £1.4m lottery grant.

* New Bodleian Libraries website makes academic material publicA new website has made thousands of books, maps and manuscripts from the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford available to the public. Direct link to Bodleian website here

Sunday Short Takes

Cowdenknowes Estate

I’m finally getting back into the groove of things after vacation!

* Where’s Wolsey? Hunt is on to find the remains of Cardinal Wolsey in Leicester – This isn’t really much of a new story since the topic has come up a few times since Richard III wad discovered, but it’s interesting that it has stayed in the news. I was originally planning to visit the abbey remains while I was in Leicester but I couldn’t really fit it into the schedule. Hey, if they find Wolsey and further develop the site, it would be a good excuse to visit the city again!

* Help save Shakespeare’s first theatreFunding of £7 million is required to excavate the eastern side and create a visitor centre for the Rose Playhouse.

* Stunning fairytale mansion where Mary Queen of Scots stayed just a year before she was forced off the throne goes on sale for £1.8million – Yes, another property to add to the wish list.

* Shakespeare Or Not Shakespeare, That Is The Question – The big ‘new image of Shakespeare found’ story broke while was on vacation (and, ironically, *in* Stratford-upon-Avon) so I didn’t have a chance to follow it closely. But I’ll say that from the quick glances I had at the stories, I was pretty skeptical. This article seems to be a good analysis of the whole thing.

* Micropasts – Photo Masking Mary Rose Objects – Help the Mary Rose Trust digitize their collection!

And a couple of fun videos to round out the week’s news:

Sunday Short Takes

I’m going to put some of the Richard III stories in a separate post later in the week since I already have several and there will be many, many more as the reinterment week progresses. So here’s the best of the rest!

* Elizabethan tapestry map to be displayed at University of Oxford’s Bodleian libraryMap of Worcestershire from 1590s describes mysterious event in the hills near ‘The Worldesend’

* Before Wolf Hall there was Hardwick Hall – and the woman who would be QueenThis year marks 400 years since the death of Arabella Stuart, granddaughter to the powerful Bess of Hardwick, who was once touted as a successor to Queen Elizabeth.

* How Wolf Hall producers turned to Facebook to find red-haired child to play Elizabeth I – That is a seriously adorable little Elizabeth

* What the English of Shakespeare, Beowulf, and King Arthur actually sounded like – A fun, quick tour of the history of the English language with sound and video examples

* Henry VIII portrait and bed of his parents revealed in new Tudor display at Hever Castle

And finally –

Is it possible to accurately recreate a loaf of medieval bread? – A talk by Richard Fitch, the Historic Kitchen Interpretation Coordinator at Hampton Court Palace, at the 9th Experimental Archaeology Conference held in January 2015. And if you’re at all interesting in historical cooking at Hampton Court Palace, be sure to give Richard at follow on Twitter at @tudorcook.

Happy New Year!

Yeah, I’m a little late getting this posted, but at least it’s still January!

Last year I wrote about the various goals that I had for 2014, both personal and for the site. I did okay on some, terrible on others, but I’m going to set goals for myself again in 2015 and hopefully keep a little better account of them. (You can read more about my personal goals for last year and what I have in store for 2015 over on my personal blog.)

On the Shakespeare Challenge, I only made it through one third of the plays, but I did manage to read all of the sonnets. A little trivia – if you read a sonnet a day starting on January 1 and in a non-leap year, you’ll finish them on June 3. I’m planning to continue this challenge and read another third this year and next, so I’ll have read all by the end of 2016. I originally started the challenge in honor of the Bard’s 450th birthday, but this way I’ll finish them by the 400th anniversary of his death.

On the rest of last year’s goals: I totally failed. I didn’t manage to post one single book review. So, this year I’m going to make another attempt at that. I’m going to aim for six reviews, although they may cover more than one book in each review since I have a few that would work nicely as pairs. I did manage to do a few behind-the-scenes things on my to-do list, but I didn’t get to any of the really big ones I was aiming for. So I’ll keep working on those as well.

One other thing to note for this year – by one way of counting (more on that in a minute) this is the 20th anniversary of this site. The reason I say “by one way of counting” is that the site has gone through several iterations, and this is the 20th anniversary of the first one. I think the first page about my Tudor History interests that I put on my personal website actually dates from late 1994, but I know that it was going strong by mid-1995 since that was when I started thinking about splitting it off into its own thing and when I started my current job full-time (and yes, I’m getting a 20 year plaque for that this year). It didn’t actually end up it’s own site until July 1997 (after the Elizabeth I pages were previously on GeoCities – remember that?? – in 1996, I think). So 2017 would be another 20 years milestone. This year is also the 15th anniversary of the site at TudorHistory.org domain, which I originally bought on July 9, 2000. I’ll probably do a full post on the history of the site later in the year and bore everyone with more details than anyone could possibly want.

Best wishes for 2015 everyone!

Sunday Short Takes

Here’s what caught my eye in the past week or so!

* How Thomas Wolsey made Hampton Court fit for a king

* Lucy Worsley: the fuss over Prince George was nothing compared to the uproar over Henry VIII’s son

* The Dublin King with John Ashdown-Hill – Interview with the author at Nerdalicious

* A Collection of Christmas Cokentryce!@TudorCook did a Storify of the three cokentryce cooked up at the Hampton Court Kitchens over the holidays

* Brave New Worlds: The Shakespearean Moons of Uranus – Podcast from the Folger Shakespeare Library (and includes a mention of McDonald Observatory, part of the department where I work!)

Sunday Short Takes

Wax figures of Henry VIII and his wives up for auction. Photo: BBC.

Sorry for the lack of news round-ups this month, I’ve been trying to cram too much catch-up stuff into the weekends lately! So here’s several weeks’ worth of stories that caught my eye:

* Madame Tussauds figures and five shops to be auctioned – Anyone want to buy wax figures of Henry VIII *and* all the wives? If I had the money (and space to put them) I’d be tempted to buy them just get the costumes. I love that dress on the Anne Boleyn figure!

* Richard III reburial fundraising appeal startsThe diocese of Leicester said it had raised £1.9m of the £2.5m cost and set a £50,000 target for the public appeal.

* Shakespeare Folio found in French libraryLibrarian and Medieval literature expert Rémy Cordonnier has discovered a rare and valuable William Shakespeare First Folio.

* Horrible Histories author reveals 10 ways to die in Elizabethan England

* Catherine of Aragon divorce letter to be auctioned in Paris

* Couple build amazing new Tudor home from scratch – learning Elizabethan carpentry, roofing and plumbing – Be sure to check out the full photo gallery!

And just for fun:

* Super Flemish – I want to make all of those dresses!

Sunday Short Takes

A variety of links this week:

* Clippers and coiners in 16th-century England

* What happened to William Shakespeare’s theatres?In London, no purpose-built theatres survive from his day. Where did they all go?

* BBC History Magazine’s May Issue features a cover article by Jessie Childs on Catholics under Elizabeth I

* Routledge is offering a limited free trial to English Historical Documents online through May 11. Try it here!

And finally:

* Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Stratford’s Guildhall is raising funds for conservation to open to the public for the first time. See Michael Wood’s short film about the schoolroom and guildhall in support of the project, which is embedded below.

Sunday Short Takes

Clearing out a miscellaneous back-log of things that I haven’t gotten around to posting over the past few weekends:

* William Shakespeare at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography – The ODNB is making the Bard’s bio free to read all month in honor of the 450th anniversary of his birth on the 23rd.

* Richard III revamp at Bosworth Battlefield while Cathedral tomb plans get approval

* Hans Holbein – His twisted legacy – Interesting discussion of the new display at the National Portrait Gallery in London

* Podcast: A Hackney Exorcism – History Today talks Elizabethan exorcism with Jessie Childs

And finally…

I’m sure most of you have seen these, but just in case, I thought I would post a link:

* The George Boleyn Interviews – YouTube playlist of all nine parts of the discussion of George Boleyn with Claire Ridgway and Clare Cherry.

Sunday Short Takes

We’re back! There were finally enough stories to put together a round-up this week!

* The Black Death and Tudor adventurers – The final History Extra podcast of 2013 featured James Evans, author of Merchant Adventurers: The Voyage that Launched Modern England

* Susan Bordo, author ofThe Creation of Anne Boleyn, discussed the Tudor queen on BBC Radio 4’s program “Woman’s Hour” and you can listen to that part of the show here (11 minutes).

* Wolf Hall: The changing faces of Thomas Cromwell – Tracy Borman discusses Cromwell for The Telegraph

* Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – The recreated Jacobean indoor theater next to The Globe in London (which I’ve linked to news on before) is now complete and open

And one final link for my follow needleworkers: I was looking through my latest issue of Cross Stitch & Needlework and saw they have a blackwork Tudor rose as one of the designs. And the cool thing is that they have the pattern as a free download on their website!

2014 Shakespeare challenge and other goals

Since news is still slow coming off the holidays, I figured this was a good chance to blog a little about my goals for 2014. I know several people who are ditching the ‘resolutions’ for the new year and instead doing distinct, quantitative goals. So, here are a couple that are relevant to this site that I’m posting about to help keep me accountable. 🙂

The first is to write 10 book reviews. Authors and publishers have been so generous in sending me books over the years and I’ve been terrible about writing reviews for them. I figure that even though some of these books have been out for a while, better late than never!

The second is a Shakespeare challenge, since this April will be the 450th anniversary of his birth. I’m going to read, watch, or listen to all of Shakespeare’s works. I’m doing a sonnet a day and I’ve already watched two different versions of Much Ado About Nothing – the 2011 David Tennant/Catherine Tate stage one via Digital Theatre and the 2012 film version directed by Joss Whedon. Both were delightful! (I’ve seen the 1993 Kenneth Branagh version many times, so I’ll probably watch it again just for the heck of it.) I have a feeling that I’ll do the majority as movies and audiobooks, but I do have them all on my iPad for reading too.

The third goal is to check a few more things off my lengthy to-do list for the site, but that will have to remain a more vague and nebulous goal for now.

I’ll probably do a monthly accounting of the Shakespeare challenge, and of course the book reviews be posted as I get them written (I have to admit that the reviews will probably be the hardest of all my goals to meet, but I’m going to try!). And if you’re curious about all of my goals for the year, I’ve posted about them on my personal website.

And, once again, Happy New Year!

Sunday Short Takes

Leanda de Lisle had a couple of interesting articles out this past week:

* Anne Boleyn’s last secretWhy was the queen executed with a sword, rather than an axe?

* Don’t always blame the mothersWith the kitsch BBC drama The White Queen moving to its conclusion Margaret Beaufort is the villainess viewers love to hate.

And there were a few articles from BBC History Extra website about the Battle of Bosworth:

* Historians identify ‘spot where Richard III was killed in battle’

* How re-enactments could one day help us understand the final moments of Richard III

Also from BBC History Magazine, the September 2013 issue has a cover article on the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden between England and Scotland.

And finally:

* New Shakespearean Prose Found in Old Play – I couldn’t resist posting this since it is from my university!

Sunday Short Takes

The first Sunday Short Takes of 2013!

A few stories showed up last week related to the new National Portrait Gallery’s “Hidden: Unseen Paintings Beneath Tudor Portraits” that I mentioned in the January 2013 upcoming books and exhibitions post.

* X-rays reveal hidden secrets of Tudor portraits

* The Tudor Catholic-catcher and the Popish plot behind his portrait: How subversive artist painted Elizabeth I’s henchman over the Virgin Mary (… how he would have hated that!)

The National Archives Podcast series already has another Tudor-related item out:

* Geography, art and the sinking of the Mary Rose

In closely-related news…

* In pictures: Portsmouth’s new Mary Rose museum nears completion

And a few fun, lighter stories from the past week:

* Scale model Lego Tudor castle to go on display in Winchester

* If this be the food of love then bake on: Inspired Shakespeare fan creates three-tiered cake featuring the bard’s most famous characters

Upcoming books and exhibitions in November


A couple of books already out in the UK will be out later this month in the US:

Tarnya Coopers Citizen Portrait: Portrait Painting and the Urban Elite of Tudor and Jacobean England and Wales is due out on November 27th, although according to the Amazon.com page it is already in stock. Previous entry here.

And The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I by Stephen Alford is due out on November 13 in the US. Previous entry here.

Also out this month –

The Tudors on Film and Television by Sue Parrill and William B. Robison is due November 3rd in the US (although I’m not 100% on that date) and December 31st in the UK. You can learn more about the book at their website.


Just a reminder that the Shakespeare: Staging the World exhibition at the British Museum closes November 25th, so if you were planning to see it, don’t wait. I’ve heard some great things about it!

And finally, The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace will be hosting the exhibit The Northern Renaissance: Dürer to Holbein that was previously on display at The Palace of Holyrooodhouse. It opens November 2, 2012 and runs through April 14, 2013. The website has a nice gallery of the exhibited items, although I know it is not a substitute for seeing them in person!

Upcoming books and events

Just a few books this for this month’s round-up:

* Alison Weir’s latest novel A Dangerous Inheritance about Katherine Grey will be released in the US on October 2. The UK release info and ordering links are back in the June round-up.

* David Loades’ latest Tudor biography, Catherine Howard: The Adultress Wife of Henry VIII is due out on October 28 in both the US and the UK

Events and Exhibitions

Just a reminder that the Katherine Parr Quincentenary Exhibition at Sudeley Castle will be closing on October 28 when the castle’s open season ends. Also continuing are the Tudor Revels events in Southampton which run through November 1 and the Shakespeare: Staging the World exhibit at the British Museum continues to November 25.

Just one new event for this month’s round-up: October 11 will mark the 30th anniversary of the raising of Henry VIII’s ship the Mary Rose and there will be a boat trip and talk in Portsmouth to mark the day. More information is available at the Mary Rose website.

Sunday Short Takes

Since a lot of stuff piled up while I was traveling for work (and then recovering from a cold I brought back with me) there will be a lot of links today!


There were several articles about the discovery of medieval underwear in an Austrian castle last week. The items are of interest since they show that these types of undergarments are older than had been generally thought.

* Discovered in a castle vault, the scraps of lace that show lingerie was all the rage 500 years ago – From The Daily Mail

* Medieval lingerie – From History Extra

* Medieval lingerie from Lengberg Castle, East-Tyrol – From Universität Innsbruck


This next topic brought a few chuckles on Twitter and emails lists last week:

* French city of Angers that was home of Plantagenets demands return of Crown Jewels – From The Telegraph

* French demand Crown Jewels from the Queen to compensate for 1499 murder of Edward Plantagenet


More on the plans for the site of the Rose Theatre, which I’ve mentioned before:

* Bankside’s first Elizabethan theatre to get makeover – From The Telegraph

* Elizabethan Rose theatre set to bloom again – From The Guardian


And a fascinating article by Michael Wood on the Elizabethan black community

* Britain’s first black community in Elizabethan London


And finally… I was going to just put this into the August round-up of upcoming events, but just in case the tickets go fast I wanted to post it now too:

* Funeral Re-enactment with Dr David Starkey – Tickets now on sale! – From Sudeley Castle’s official site

* Funeral of Katherine Parr to take place again – 500 years later – From This Is Gloucestershire

(okay, I have to nitpick on genealogical terminology again… Lady Jane Grey can’t have any “direct descendants” since she didn’t have children. My guess is that the young lady mentioned is a direct descendant of Jane’s sister Katherine, so she would be *related* to Jane, but not descended from her. That always bugs me!)