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TudorCast #23
April 2009

Welcome to Tudor Cast, a podcast dedicated to Tudor History.

Hello, and welcome to Tudor Cast for April 2009. I’m your host, Lara Eakins owner of and the TudorTalk email list at YahooGroups.

Let’s get started with an abridged recap of the news since the last podcast! Since it ended up being a whole year between episodes, I’m just going to highlight a few things. If you haven’t already been following the blog at, that is something that I have been keeping up with even while the podcast was on hold, so there has been a lot of activity there. Links to all of these stories are there, although it is possible that some of the news sites’ links won’t work anymore.

As always, there has been a lot of portrait news over the past year. About this time last year, the portrait of Elizabeth I hanging in the gift shop of the Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island may actually date to the Queen’s lifetime. It was long thought to be a later copy. I haven’t seen an update on this portrait since I first blogged about it, but I’m guessing that research is continuing. In a similar story, a man who bought what he thought was a Holbein copy for £2000, was delighted to find that experts now think it is genuine after research and cleaning of the painting. In May of last year, a 17th century painting of Henry VIII, his jester Wil Somers and his children Mary, Elizabeth and Edward was discovered in a private collection in Northamptonshire. Last October a portrait of Elizabeth I from early in her reign was discovered in a country house in East Sussex. And probably the most controversial portrait “discovery” of this year (so far) was a claim of a new painting of Shakespeare, dating to his lifetime. Experts weighing in on the subject are doubtful it is actually a painting of the Bard.

In archaeology-related news - the cannons recovered from an Elizabethan shipwreck off Alderney (which I’ve mentioned in past podcasts) were studied last year and a replica was test-fired a few months ago. There has also been a lot of news about Henry VIII’s ship the Mary Rose, including new ideas of why it sank and the designs for the new museum. There has also been excavation in Shorditch that uncovered what might have been the theater where Shakespeare’s first plays were performed. Last fall, excavations at Hampton Court Palace uncovered some 13th century building remains during a project to reconstruct the Base Court to what it would have looked like in the 16th century. Also during this time, the astronomical clock at Hampton Court was replaced after undergoing restoration work.

The biggest news of this year so far has been all of the events in celebration of the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne. I have been attempting to keep a page going with all of the special exhibitions and events. You can see it at I’ll also include the link in the show notes. Last November also saw the 450th anniversary of Elizabeth I’s accession to the throne and of course that meant this January was also the 450th anniversary of her coronation.

And finally, there has been a whole bunch of new Tudor history books, as well as TV shows, so I’m not going to recap all of them here other than to mention that Showtime officially picked up a fourth and final season of “The Tudors”, which will feature wives #5 and 6.

And once again, you can find links to these stories and other news and a new “Picture of the Week” feature at


And now for This Month in Tudor History, where I feature some well-known and maybe not as well-known Tudor History events that took place during this month. It will probably not come as any surprise to you all what this month’s event is!

500 years ago, on April 21, 1509, Henry VII died at Richmond Palace, making his 17-year-old son King Henry VIII.

Henry VII’s health had been failing, with several serious illnesses coming in the two years before his death. His final illness began in late March 1509 and he was reported to be “utterly without hope of recovery”.

An excerpt from Hall’s Chronicle says:

This year 1509, The King began to be diseased of a certain infirmity which thrice a year, but especially in the spring time sore vexed him. The sickness which held the king daily more and more increasing he well perceived that his end drew near. He was so wasted with his long malady that nature could no longer sustain his life…”.

Before his death, Henry VII made some of the customary pardons and paying of debts.

More from Hall’s Chronicle:

Therefore, like a good prince, desiring to show some generosity to his people so that he might be remembered after his death, he granted of his great liberality a general pardon to all men, for all offences done and perpetrated against his laws and statutes. But because murderers and thieves did not only offend against him but against others, he excepted them and some others from his pardon.

He also paid the fees of all prisoners in gaols in and about London who ere there only for those debts. He also paid the debts of all such persons as lay in the prisons of London or Ludgate for 40s. or less, and some he relieved who were condemned for £10. Because of his goodness and pity shown to his people, who were sore vexed with inquisitors, taxers and informers, general processions were held daily in every city and parish to pray to almighty God to restore his health, with long continuance of the same.

But Henry VII was not able to survive the final case of his recurring illness, speculated by some to be tuberculosis. Henry VII made his mother Margaret Beaufort the executor of his will and she oversaw the arrangements for his funeral.

Meanwhile, the new young king Henry VIII was celebrated.

From Hall:

Henry’s accession was proclaimed by the blast of a trumpet in the City of London on 23 April and there was much rejoicing amongst the people.

The same day, he left his manor at Richmond and went to the Tower of London where he remained, alone with his advisors, until the funeral arrangements for his father had been concluded. Also that day, Sir Richard Empson, knight, and Edmund Dudley esquire, close advisors to the late king, were arrested and brought to the Tower, to the great pleasure of many who had suffered under them. Indeed, their arrest was rumoured to have been an act of malice by those who had been made to suffer under their authority in the days of the late king and who now wished to punish their oppressors to satisfy public opinion.

On April 25th, the new king honored the pardons promised by his father that I mentioned above.

I was originally planning to go into the details of Henry VII’s funeral, but since those events took place in May, we’ll save it for next month’s podcast. Also, the executions of Empson and Dudley occurred over a year later. I covered their story in the August 2007 podcast, which I’ll put a link to in the show notes.

The main sources I used for this section were Chrimes’ biography of Henry VII and “The Chronicles of the Tudor Kings” (ed. David Loades) which uses Hall’s chronicle for these events.


And now some closing notes…

If you were a listener before the break, you probably noticed that I have changed the format from what it was last year. I decided that I would shorten the music breaks and add a featured piece of music at the end of the podcast. That way anyone who isn’t interested in listening to the music can just stop listening to the podcast after I stop talking. This also allows me to feature some longer songs and not take up a huge chunk of the middle of the podcast. I’ve also combined the “This Month in Tudor History” with the “featured document” and any glossary definitions into one big segment. Since I was already incorporating primary source material into the “This Month” segment, it seemed to be getting kind of redundant to add more. Plus this way I can ration out some of my good stuff. And I’m sorry that this month’s podcast ended up fairly short but as usual time sort of got away from me.

I want to thank everyone for their patience and persistence. I know I originally said that I would like to have the podcast back in the fall, but I just couldn’t make it happen. I ended up moving twice in the late summer to early fall because of an unavoidable gap between the sale of the house I was living in and when my new place was ready. So I stored all my stuff at a friend’s house for a while and stayed with family. Then once I got settled into my new place things got insanely busy at work with a bunch of science meetings and our board meeting (which also included me getting a bad cold) and some additional duties with the university staff council, where I represent my department. The rest of this year is going to be pretty busy as well, but at least I won’t have all that moving to deal with! So thanks again to everyone who hung in there during my year away.

As some of you have heard me mention before, I work in Astronomy education and outreach, so I feel it is my duty to mention that this is the International Year of Astronomy, which celebrates the 400th anniversary of the first astronomical observations with a telescope, most famously by Galileo. I was thinking that I might do an astronomical-themed podcast episode in the future. Although the first telescopic observations came after the Tudor period, there were lots of exciting developments in the 16th century, such as Copernicus’ book on the heliocentric theory De Revolutionibus, which was published in 1543 near the end of Henry VIII’s reign.

This month’s featured piece of music is the full version of “Greensleeves” that I have used as the opening music for the podcast almost since its inception. It is performed by La Primavera on their album “English Renaissance Music”. Logon to to listen to and purchase music from the artist that you heard featured in this podcast. I’ll have a link in the show notes.

If you want to comment on this podcast, you can do so at or send me an email at A transcript of this and previous podcasts are also available at the website as well as links to mp3s of all the episodes.

Until next month, fare the well!