Hello, and welcome to Tudor Cast for August and September 2006. I’m your host, Lara Eakins owner of tudorhistory.org and the TudorTalk email list at YahooGroups.
Let’s get started with a recap of some of the Tudor news since the last podcast.
In archaeology news, the Time Team of the Channel 4 television show in Britain were given permission to excavate at Holyrood House in Edinburgh, Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace in August. Check out their website for info on what they found during the Big Royal Dig. The show’s site is at www.channel4.com/history/timeteam/
There were a couple of interesting stories relating to Mary Queen of Scots in August. The first was about Mary’s death mask, a wax copy of her face at death, which went on display for a short time in Edinburgh. The exhibit is now over, but I have a link on the news blog to an article from the BBC which has a few pictures of the mask. The other bit of news was about a portrait of Mary QOS in storage at the National Portrait Gallery in London that was thought to be an 18th century copy turned out to be from the 16th century after all. Tree ring analysis of the wood the portrait is painted on and a recent cleaning revealed the true age of the image.
As always, the Tudors and their forbears are popular topics for both fiction and non-fiction books. Here are some from the last two months are: first, a non-fiction book on Katherine Swynford, mother of the Beaufort line from which Henry VII gained his slim claim to the throne. The book is titled Katherine Swynford: The History of a Medieval Mistress and the author is Jeannette Lucraft. Another recent book is a novel on Katherine Parr called The Last Wife of Henry VIII and is due out in October. The author is Carolly Erickson, who has written several non-fiction Tudor books. Links to both are on the blog.
The HBO Elizabeth I mini-series starring Helen Mirren won a total of nine Emmy awards, including Best mini-series, Helen Mirren as Best Actress and Jeremy Irons as Best Supporting Actor. The series is also now available on DVD in the US and Canada.
There was an interesting article about Tudor court painter Hans Holbein from the Telegraph a few weeks ago. The article comes as the Tate Britain is gearing up to open its big exhibition on Holbein that starts on September 28th of this year and runs to January 7th of 2007. The exhibition will be reuniting portraits of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and their son Edward which are on loan from museums in Madrid, Vienna and Washington DC respectively.
For links to source articles and other past Tudor news, please see the archives of the news blog at tudorhistory.org/blog
In this segment, we look at websites that explore aspects of Medieval, Tudor, Elizabethan or Renaissance history in depth.
This month I’m going to feature the website of the Mary Rose Trust. The Mary Rose was a ship of Henry VIII that sank off the southern coast of England in 1545. The wreck was rediscovered in 1836 when a fisherman snagged his gear on a timber. The location of the wreck then faded from memory and was rediscovered once more in the 1960s through the efforts of Alexander McKee. In 1982, a large section of the hull was raised from the water and now rests in the conservation facility in Portsmouth.
The website, at maryrose.org, gives a complete account of Mary Rose’s the history from the time she was built to the current efforts to preserve and recover what remains of the ship. The site also goes into what life would have been like aboard the ship, supplemented by photographs of items recovered from the wreck. They also have some nice sections that are geared towards younger students. Don’t miss the online gift shop, which, among other items, sells replicas of objects raised from the ship.
I had the great pleasure of visiting the Mary Rose when I was in the UK in 2000 and I recommend it highly. Many of the items recovered from the wreck, including the ship’s bell and some of the cannons, are on display in their museum. And of course you can visit the wreck itself, which is housed in a large hall. The timbers have been kept wet since they were raised and since 1994 they have been spraying a chemical on the Mary Rose to replace the water with wax. This will allow them to eventually stop having to spray all together and visitors will be able to see the ship without a physical barrier between them and the Mary Rose.
And now for This Month in Tudor History, where I feature some well known and maybe not as well known people and events that took place during this month.
For August, I’m going to look at the event that started the Tudor Dynasty The Battle of Bosworth Field, fought on August 22, 1485. In 1455, with a weak and ailing King Henry VI on the throne, the struggle for who would hold the reigns of power in his stead broke out into open warfare between the Houses of York and Lancaster. Eventually the Yorkist cause won the throne and in 1461, Edward IV was crowned king. Except for a brief Lancastrian restoration in 1470 to 71, Edward held the throne until 1483. When the King died in April 1483, his 12-year-old son was next in line to become King Edward V. However, both Edward and his younger brother were moved to the Tower of London, presumably for their safety, by the new king’s uncle, Richard of Gloucester. Within months, both of the princes were declared illegitimate and Richard had himself crowned as Richard III. Those who were dissatisfied with the new king began to plot rebellions against him, eventually settling their hopes on the last of the Lancastrian heirs, Henry Tudor, who had been in exile in Brittany and France. Henry’s first attempt to land in England and fight for the throne failed, but in August 1485 another attempt was made. Henry and his forces landed at Milford Haven in Wales, near Pembroke where Henry was born 28 years earlier. Henry’s army, mainly made of French mercenaries and reinforcements from Wales, marched through Shrewsbury and reached the town of Sutton Cheney on August 21st. Richard III’s army was about four miles away. The next day the armies met in battle. Richard’s army had greater numbers, but the forces of Thomas Stanley, Henry’s stepfather, and William Stanley, Thomas’ brother joined with Henry’s army at a crucial point in the battle. Richard was killed and Henry was proclaimed king, inaugurating the Tudor Dynasty.
For September, we’re sticking close to the August event and looking at the birth of Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales on September 19th or 20th, 1486, just 13 months after Henry VII won the throne. Arthur’s parents, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York were married in January of 1486, uniting the houses of Lancaster and York, the rivals of the Wars of the Roses. When their first child was born, he became the physical manifestation of the union of the two houses. The prince was born at St. Swithun’s Priory in Winchester, the ancient capital of England and baptized on September 24th in Winchester Cathedral. His name, Arthur, was purposely chosen to evoke memories of the great British king of the same name.
Arthur is most often known in association with Catherine of Aragon, whom he wed formally in November 1501 after earlier proxy betrothals and marriages. After the two were wed at St. Paul’s Cathedral and the festivities ended, the couple moved to Ludlow in the Marches of Wales to set up household. In March of 1502 Arthur fell ill, possibly of tuberculosis, the plague or the dreaded “sweating sickness” and died on April 2nd. Arthur was buried in Worcester Cathedral and the chantry chapel created for him still survives. In 2002, archaeologists used ground-penetrating radar to locate Arthur’s tomb in the cathedral, which is located several feet below the tomb chest that was built several years after his death.
The question of whether or not Arthur and Catherine ever consummated their marriage became crucial when Catherine’s second husband, Henry VIII, sought to have their union annulled.
And now for a page from the Tudor History glossary. This month we’ll be looking at a term that came up in the “This Month in Tudor History” proxy betrothal and proxy marriage.
In the era of dynastic marriages between royal and noble families contracts and treaties were often dependent on the promise of a marriage between heirs of the parties involved. If the intended bride and groom were not able to be in the same place, or were too young, proxies acted on their behalf. Sometimes a proxy betrothal was performed as a formal agreement for the two parties to marry and other times it was an actual proxy marriage.
Several of the Tudors were married or betrothed by proxy, in addition to Arthur and Catherine, mentioned earlier. Just a couple of examples Patrick Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, acted as a proxy for James IV of Scotland for his betrothal to Margaret Tudor at Richmond in January 1502 before the couple were married in Edinburgh that August. Margaret’s sister Mary was married by proxy to Louis XII of France with the duc de Longueville standing in for the king. As an interesting extra step in this ceremony, the Duc put his bare leg in a bed and Mary touched it as a symbolic consummation of the marriage. The Earl of Worcester acted for Mary’s proxy when the ceremony was performed in Paris with Louis, but presumably with out the leg in the bed part.
Now it’s time for a segment where I feature a text from the Tudor period.
This month I thought I would go with a short poem by Henry VIII called Green Groweth the Holly. I’ve also come across this poem as a song, but you really don’t want me to sing it!
Green Groweth the Holly
Green groweth the holly,
So doth the ivy.
Though winter blasts blow never so high,
Green groweth the holly.
As the holly groweth green
And never changeth hue,
So I am, ever hath been,
Unto my lady true.
As the holly groweth green
With ivy all alone
When flowers cannot be seen
And greenwood leaves be gone,
Now unto my lady
Promise to her I make,
From all other only
To her I me betake.
Adieu, mine own lady,
Adieu, my special
Who hath my heart truly
Be sure, and ever shall.
And now for some closing comments…
First, I want to apologize for not getting the August show out, but things were so busy when we got back from vacation that I knew it wasn’t going to get done. But all the information that would have been in that podcast is here with the September one. Vacation was great… Maine was beautiful, as usual, and a nice break from the Texas summer heat. We were in New York City for three days where they hit around 100 degrees, and I learned that 100 in New York is a lot different than 100 in Texas, especially down in the subway system. We had a chance to stop by The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is dedicated to Medieval European art and architecture. It was fabulous and I recommend a visit to any one heading in that direction. We also enjoyed the Philadelphia Museum of Art and seeing the Thomas Eakins paintings. I wrote on my personal blog about the New York and Philly parts of the trip, and I will probably put something up about the rest of the time in Maine, eventually. I’ve also been sorting through the photos and I’ll get them up on Flickr at some point.
Regular listeners might notice that I’ve added a new section to the podcast, a glossary entry that defines a term or phrase that comes up in reading or studying the Tudor period. I’ve been working for ages to revamp the glossaries on my website, so I thought this would be a way to force myself to work on an entry or two each month. I’m a regular listener of the Baseball History Podcast, and the host opens up the Baseball Dictionary in most podcasts and defines a term used in baseball or baseball commentary. I thought this would be a good thing to do with Tudor history too, so I nicked it!
I’d once again like to remind everyone that the Tudor Ghost Story Contest for 2006 is open for submissions. You can find out all the details on the website at tudorhistory.org/storycontest/
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. All the music in this episode is from Mangatune artist Jacob Heringman. Logon to magnatune.com to listen to and purchase music from this and other artists.
Until next month, fare the well!