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

Yes, it’s finally back! There just haven’t been a ton of stories lately, so I’ve let a few stack up and am finally doing a round-up.

* My favourite painting: Matthew Girling‘This ethereal image of Elizabeth is one of Hilliard’s most enigmatic. But, for me, it’s the depiction of the jewels, rubies and pearls that I find mesmerising.

* Westminster Abbey’s secrets in the attic to go on displayRestoration work will allow unprecedented access to rarely visited triforium – and to the many recondite artefacts it holds – I cannot wait to visit again once this is open!

* Scotland’s first statue of Mary, Queen of Scots, unveiled outside Linlithgow Palace

And for anyone planning a summer vacation in London:

* Your Ultimate Guide to Royal London – You can download a PDF version of the guide at the link

Finally, here’s a really neat video about the project to rebuild the staircase that leads up to the White Tower of the Tower of London, using medieval techniques:

From forest to fortress: the Tower of London White Tower staircase project

Sunday Short Takes

It should be no surprise that there was a lot of news last week coinciding with the premiere of “Wolf Hall”! I’ve just a made a few selections from a bunch of articles that came across my path.

* Adapting Wolf Hall for TV: how I played historical guessing game – Catherine Fletcher writes about being a historical advisor on “Wolf Hall”.

* Seductress or Scholar – The Real Anne Boleyn – Leanda De Lisle writes about Henry VIII’s second Queen for Newsweek

* Where to find the best Tudor sights in EnglandAs the dramatisation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall begins its run on BBC Two, historian Suzannah Lipscomb reveals her favourite Tudor homes and palaces around the country

* Tudor timeline: 10 momentous datesIt was one of the most transformative periods in English history, but which dates in the Tudor calendar had the greatest impact? Historian Lauren Mackay maps out the top 10

* Rare Tudor hat finds new home at Hampton Court PalaceHat linked to Henry VIII acquired by charity Historic Royal Palaces in Hampton Court’s 500th anniversary year

And finally…

A fascinating look into the recreation of a Book of Hours for “Wolf Hall” by professional calligrapher Patricia Lovett:

It makes me want to dig out my old calligraphy supplies and start doing it again! (Like I really have time to start doing another hobby, even if it was one I used to do. Sheeesh.)

Eastbury Manor House

A while back I received an email from Eastbury Manor House about their upcoming events and looked into the property some more since I wasn’t familiar with it. Eastbury was built during the reign of Elizabeth I and is owned by the National Trust and managed by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, where it is located.

This summer they will have a special Tudor tie-in event to the Olympics:

Saturday 7 July Tudor Olympics!
Indulge in some Tudor games. Meet Amy barn Owl, Tink the hawk and have your picture taken for a pound with birds of prey. There will be the opportunity to stroke these birds and find out more but there will not be a flying display. Get ready for some action and meet two Tudor archers in camp. Have a go at archery all day, suitable for 5+ with demonstrations at 11.30 and 1.30 if you are brave enough. There will be Children craft activities.

You can find more information about the property at: National Trust: Eastbury Manor House and London Borough of Barking and Dagenham – Eastbury Manor House: A magnificent Tudor survival

Sunday Short Takes

* Nancy Bilyeau’s debut novel “The Crown” will be out early next year, but US readers can enter to win an advanced copy through Goodreads! Find out more about the drawing here. And allow me a small moment of pride in mentioning that Nancy is a submitter and commenter on my Tudor Q&A blog. I’m always amazed by the knowledgeable and talented people who have stumbled across the site!

* A Tudor Herbal c. 1520 – I think How to Be a Retronaut is embarking on a campaign to get on to this round-up every week by continuing to post cool things like this!

* Market news: Elizabethan costume piece tops Cowdray sale – A portrait once thought to have been of Elizabeth I by Marcus Gheeraerdts, sold above the estimate for £325,250

* The Fallstaff Experience in Stratford-upon-Avon is launching a new tour of the town – NO HOLDS BARD: a tour with William Shakespeare in person!

* English Historical Fiction Authors – a new group blog by authors of, you guessed it, English historical fiction

And finally, two articles from History Today:

* From the newest issue: Learning to be a Tudor – Thomas Penn examines M.J. Tucker’s article on the court of Henry VII, first published in History Today in 1969.

* And from the archives: Who was Henry VIII? – Suzannah Lipscomb looks beyond the stereotypes that surround our most infamous monarch to ask: who was Henry VIII and when did it all go wrong?

Sunday Short Takes

* If you’re in or planning to visit the Portsmouth area, be sure to check these out: Emmy Award-Winning Costumes from ‘The Tudors’ to go on display for Mary Rose 500 Appeal

* And if you are going to be visiting Windsor Castle in August or September, you will have a chance to take a tour of the castle’s iconic round tower: Conquer the Tower at Windsor Castle

* And from slightly before the Tudor period, a fascinating insight into medieval battle and battlefield archaeology: The Battle of Towton – Nasty, brutish and not that short

Tudor Cooking and Escape from the Tower of London

I’m way late in posting these cooking videos, but I wanted to be sure to get them up before Christmas for the two or three of you who haven’t already seen them. I’m going to just post the links to the YouTube versions because I recommend watching them at a higher resolution if you have the bandwidth!

From The Historic Royal Palaces Official YouTube page:

* Ryschewys close and fryez: Tudor cook-along video

* Fylettys en Galentyne: Tudor cook-along video

* Tartes owt of Lente: Tudor cook-along video

And if you have an iPhone and happen to be visiting the Tower of London, you can play “Escape from the Tower of London”, which looks like it could be a lot of fun.

Henry VIII tour at Your London Tours

Your London Tours is offering a Henry VIII Tour that sounds like fun:

This tour starts by visiting Greenwich, birthplace of ‘Our ’Enery’. Then… it’s off with your head, as we away to the Tower of London for a personally-guided tour. Described by Shakespeare as ‘The Slaughterhouse’, the Tower is London’s oldest building and a World Heritage site. This tour features the tragic tale of Henry’s second wife Anne Boleyn as its central theme. Also see the Crown Jewels, king of bling! And the famous Beefeaters, with costumes designed in Henry’s reign.

Next, we take a driving tour of the London places identified with Henry’s great ‘dissolution’ (not on public transport version), including Smithfield, Blackfriars and Westminster Abbey.

In the afternoon the tour heads for the world famous Hampton Court: 500 years of royal history in Britain’s greatest palace: the one that Henry VIII stole! Now it’s two palaces in one. Highlights include the authentic Tudor kitchens, the Great Hall and the Chapel Royal. There’s also an important art collection and the magnificent gardens featuring the world’s oldest maze for you to get lost in!

National Trust Properties in Google Street View

This is very cool! I first saw mention of this collaboration in this Birmingham Post article:

Solihull National Trust property added to Google street view

It was a case of try before you buy but now you can see before going.

Baddesley Clinton, near Solihull, is one of the newest National Trust properties which has been added to Google Street View, available through Google Maps.

The atmospheric house dates from 15th century and visitors can discover the priest’s holes used to hide persecuted Jesuit priests in the 1590s, as well as view the Elizabethan interiors.

Those thinking of spending a Sunday afternoon there can go a specially created online tour or view some of the other 19 locations including Berrington Hall in Herefordshire, Lyme Park in Cheshire and Stonehenge in Wiltshire, which have been added.

The images were taken last summer using the Google Trike, a three wheeled bike fitted with a Street View camera.

Full article (with a link to the maps page for Baddesley Clinton at the bottom)

And here’s the link to the page with links to all the National Trust properties available.

The Anne Boleyn Experience Tour

This looks like so much fun! I wish I could attend, but it’s just not in the cards this time. Here’s the press release for the tour and a link for more information:

Anne Boleyn Tour 2010

The only way to really walk in Anne Boleyn’s footsteps

May 19th,1536 was the day when Anne Boleyn was executed in the Tower of London – a sad day for Anne Boleyn fans. To commemorate this day, has organised a luxury tour, beginning on May 17th and ending May21st, 2010.

Claire from TheAnneBoleynFiles said “I wanted Anne Boleyn Fans to come together and walk in the footsteps Anne Boleyn on this important day, so I have put together a trip-of-a-lifetime”.

Those who attend will be staying in the luxury Tudor “Astor Wing” of Hever Castle, the very childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Claire has arranged exclusive use of this normally private part of the castle for the whole tour. There will be a unique guided tour around Hever, focusing on the Boleyns, a Tudor costumer giving information about what was worn at the time, and the well known author Dr Josephine Wilkinson will be a guest speaker. Of course, there is a day trip to the Tower of London on the 19th, and a trip to Hampton Court on the following day – all with an award winning “Blue Badge” guide.

For more information or to book your place on “The Anne Boleyn Experience 2010” visit and see what Anne Boleyn fans will be doing in May next year.

Acton Court opens to the public

From The Gazette:

A TUDOR house where Henry VIII once stayed has opened to the public for the summer season.

Acton Court, in Iron Acton, is open for 60 days until August 23 for guided tours and a programme of special events.

Lisa Kopper, resident artist and manager of the house, said: “We are open every day except Monday and when special events are planned so people can just turn up for tours or call us to make sure.”

The house offers rare examples of 16th century royal décor as the west wing was added in 1535 to welcome the king and his second wife Anne Boleyn.

It was lavishly decorated to show that the owners of Acton Court, the Poyntz family, were loyal to the king. Henry’s own en suite garderobe is still on public display.

Full article and link to Acton Court’s official site

Private tours of Historic Royal Palaces on eBay

From the BBC:

People are being given the chance to bid for exclusive tours around some of London’s historic palaces.

A look around the hidden areas of the Tower of London or a roof top walk on Hampton Court Palace are being offered.

The money raised from the auction on the website eBay will go to the upkeep and restoration of the palaces.

Full article

More information from the Historic Royal Palaces website

I’m not sure if I should thank Kathy for sending this along or not… I’ll be totally jealous of the people who get to do this! 🙂

Behind the scenes tour at Hardwick Hall in mid-May

To mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Bess of Hardwick, the public is being given the chance to see areas of her famous building. I’d love to be able to see it myself!

From The Yorkshire Post:

As part of the events to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Bess of Hardwick, Hidden Hardwick tours will take place at the hall, near Chesterfield, on May 13 and 19.

They are an opportunity not only to have a tour of the hall with an experienced guide but also to go off the normal visitor route and explore previously hidden areas.

“From the hidden floor which cannot be seen from the outside to the secret door between the High Great Chamber and the Long Gallery, visitors love the fact they are in places that others are not normally allowed into.”

The tour will also include areas of the roof space where visitors will be able to see the timber frame with the wattle and daub lining of the rooms and the secret servants’ floor.

Full article

Harwick Hall’s page at the National Trust

Traveling for Christmas

I’ll be on the road most of the day tomorrow and then visiting with friends and family for a while, so updates may be sparse and slow. So, if I don’t get a chance to post again until the new year, I just wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday season, no matter what you celebrate this time of year! Here’s to a great 2008!

More quick notes

First up, it looks like Showtime will be re-playing the first season of “The Tudors” in January [schedule], possibly as a lead-up to season two. Since the first season started at the first of April last year, I’m guessing the second season will run about the same time. Also, there have been stories floating across my news alerts that CBS is considering running edited versions of Showtime shows on the network, including Dexter, Weeds and The Tudors.

Next up was another thing that I kept seeing on my news alerts but I was dragging my heels about posting it (because I’m going to be green with envy for anyone who gets to do this!). is offering a couple of Private Tours of Hampton Court Palace. You can find out more here (use the pull down menu to select the Hampton Court tour… there are two different date options right now).

It looks like things are gearing up for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s succession to the throne, so there will probably be a lot more announcements of cool Tudor exhibits and things to do over the next couple of years!