Welcome to Tudor Cast, a podcast dedicated to Tudor History.
Hello, and welcome to Tudor Cast for February 2007. I’m your host, Lara Eakins owner of tudorhistory.org and the TudorTalk email list at YahooGroups.
I would normally start out with a recap of news since the last podcast, but there wasn’t much this month, so we’re going to skip this section this time around.
So, now on the Website of the Month where I look at websites that explore aspects of Medieval, Tudor, Elizabethan or Renaissance history in depth.
This month we’re going to look at the François Velde’s heraldica.org, a great compendium of information on heraldry that has been on the web for over 10 years. The site presents a general guide to heraldry, including history and origins, colors and charges used in heraldry and the rules of granting arms. There is a specific section on British heraldry, including explanation of the Royal Styles, the Royal Arms, and the proclamations of accession to the throne from Edward VI to the present Queen. Besides the British-specific heraldry, there is information for many other countries including an extensive discussion of French heraldry.
In addition the articles written by the site’s creator, there are links to other resources. The site is also the host for the Frequently Asked Questions list for the rec.heraldry and the alt.talk.royalty newsgroups. If you have a question about heraldry, this is definitely the place to start.
And now for This Month in Tudor History, where I feature some well known and maybe not as well known events that took place during this month.
When I was originally putting together the lists of dates for my website many years ago, I was struck by how several famous executions took place in February. There were almost certainly more than the few I’m going to mention this month, but I figure that I have enough heads rolling for one podcast! Instead of going in calendar order, I’m going to discuss each in chronological order.
On the 13th of February 1542, Kathryn Howard, the fifth queen of Henry VIII was executed privately within the precincts of the Tower of London along with Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford. Kathryn was arrested on November 12th, 1541 and charged with adultery, which was high treason for a Queen and unlike her cousin Anne Boleyn, there is reason to believe that Kathryn was in fact guilty of the crime. Kathryn’s main accomplice was Lady Rochford, Jane Boleyn. Jane was the widow of George Boleyn, who was executed in his sister Anne’s downfall after being accused of having an incestuous relationship with her. Neither Kathryn or Lady Rochford stood trial, but rather had bills of attainder passed against them. After their executions Kathryn and Jane were buried in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London, where Kathryn’s cousin Anne Boleyn - her predecessor in marriage and downfall - was also laid to rest.
Twelve years later on Feburary 12th, 1554 Lady Jane Grey and her husband Guildford Dudley were executed after a rebellion was raised against Mary I’s marriage to Philip of Spain. Both had been arrested and found guilty of treason in 1553, but were not executed until after Wyatt’s rebellion early in 1554. Guildford Dudley was executed publicly out on Tower Hill, but Jane’s beheading was private within the walls of the Tower, like most of the executions of noblewomen in the Tudor era. The two were also buried in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula.
Two more notable executions took place in February in the reign of Elizabeth I.
Probably the most famous execution of Elizabeth’s reign was on February 8th, 1587 when Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire. The castle no longer stands but some of the earthworks remain. Mary’s relationship with the Scottish lords had always been a tumultuous one and it eventually reached the point where she was held captive and forced to abdicate the crown to her young son James. Mary eventually escaped to England where she ended up imprisoned for nearly 20 years. Mary was tried and sentenced to death for plotting Elizabeth’s assassination. After much hesitation and stalling Elizabeth eventually signed Mary’s death warrant. I’ll feature the eyewitness account of Mary’s execution in the primary source section of the podcast. Mary was originally laid to rest at Peterborough Cathedral, where Catherine of Aragon was buried, but when Mary’s son James became King of England, he had a tomb constructed for her at Westminster Abbey, where she was re-interred in 1612. Mary’s tomb is in the Henry VII chapel in the Abbey, alongside many other famous Tudors, including her great-great-grandmother Margaret Beaufort, her great-grandparents Henry VII and Elizabeth of York and of course, her cousin and rival, Elizabeth I.
The final execution for this podcast is of Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. Essex was the step-son of Robert Dudley, Elizabeth I’s favorite and after Dudley’s death Essex followed him into Elizabeth’s favor. After his troublesome posting as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and his fall from favor, Essex gathered a group of supporters and marched to London to force an audience with the Queen. These actions were taken as treason against the Queen and Essex was arrested and put on trial. He was found guilty and given the death sentence. Most noble male executions were public events out on Tower Hill, but Essex was beheaded privately on February 25th 1601 within the Tower grounds.
And now for a page from the Tudor History glossary.
This month’s term is bull, or more often referred to as a Papal bull. The name ‘bull’ comes from the Latin ‘bulla’ which refers to the seal that was attached at the bottom of a papal edict. The basic definition of a papal bull according to the Catholic encyclopedia is "an Apostolic letter with a leaden seal". In the 16th century the bulls could be marriage dispensations, excommunications and in the case of Gregory XIII in 1582, a calendar reform. Some examples from Tudor History: The bull of Pope Innocent VIII approving the marriage of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, the two issued by Julius II that granted the dispensation allowing Henry VIII to marry his brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon, and the bull by Pius V against Elizabeth I. The bull against Elizabeth declared her a heretic and released her Catholic subjects from their duty to be loyal to their Queen. In 1588 Sixtus V issued another bull against Elizabeth upholding her excommunication and that supported the Spanish Armada’s actions against England.
Now it’s time for a segment where I feature a text from the Tudor period. We’re going to continue with the grisly theme of executions this month and feature the account of the Execution of Mary Queen of Scots as recorded by Robert Wynkfield.
Well that’s it for this month! I want to again thank all the folks who have been emailing and leaving comments saying how much they have been enjoying the podcast. It really means a lot to me. A lot of people have mentioned that they are enjoying the music between sections, so I thought I would plug Magnatune again and encourage folks to support the artists whose music I use. I’ll put links to the individual albums in the show notes.
If you want to comment on this podcast, you can do so at tudorhistory.org/podcast or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org A transcript of this and previous podcasts are also available at the website.
Until next month, fare the well!