“Dialogue with Katherine of Aragon”, by Wendy J. Dunn

November 29, 2016 in Guest Writers, News by Beth von Staats

by Wendy J. Dunn

"Mary Magdalene" Artist: Michael Sittow (circa 1469-1525) The teenager in this portrait is believed to be Catalina de Aragon, youngest daughter of Isabella de Castilla and Ferdinand de Aragon.

“Mary Magdalene”
Artist: Michael Sittow (circa 1469-1525)
The teenager in this portrait is believed to be Catalina de Aragon, youngest daughter of Isabella de Castilla and Ferdinand de Aragon.

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Dialogue with Katherine of Aragon

Wendy J. Dunn

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Wendy: Katherine of Aragon, is it true, Your Majesty, that you thought the fates against you from the time you left your mother’s kingdom?

Katherine of Aragon:  That is so. After kneeling for my parents’ blessings, I journeyed long weeks to Santiago de Compostela; there, my father’s ships awaited my arrival. Almost as soon as we set sail, a great, boisterous storm-tossed and tumbled us in swelling seas, forcing all the ships back to my homeland. I feared then God was against my match with Prince Arthur. But what could I do? My life’s course had already been fixed. Indeed, from the time I was a young child, I knew England was my destiny. I had been betrothed to Arthur Tudor before I was three-years-old. I, like my four sisters, had an important role to play for our parents’ two kingdoms.

Wendy:  Queen Katherine, you were your mother’s youngest child?

Katherine of Aragon: Si – born whilst my noble and prudent mother campaigned against the Moors. Only when my mother felt the pangs of childbirth fall upon her did she ride away from her Holy War. I must regard myself as fortunate to ever see life – my mother, while with her army, lost my sister Maria’s twin only two years before my birth.

Praise God, my wise mother prepared me well for queenship. She found the best tutors in the land to educate her daughters, as well as her only son, but she also taught my sisters and I how to be good wives. Humbly I say my embroidery is better than most women’s, and it was my greatest pleasure to make my husband’s shirts.

Wendy: Tell me of your arrival in England…

Katherine of Aragon: The journey took much longer than expected, but I arrived on England’s shores just before my sixteenth birthday. Henry VII, my father-in-law, and Arthur, the kind, intelligent boy I called husband for such a brief time, met me in Hampshire, at the Bishop’s palace in Dangerfield. The King shocked my ladies by going against all Castilian custom: he insisted on lifting my mantle to see my face. I believe he was well content with what he saw. Arthur told me later of his happiness when he saw my sweet face for the first time. In my youth, all said I was pretty. My mother told me I possessed the gray eyes and ‘rose’ complexion of my English grandmother – she who was also called Katherine. Although short of stature, I was well shaped and graceful as a girl. But my greatest beauty then was my hair. I remember dear Arthur told me it shone like red/gold autumn leaves, wind-tossed in the light of a setting sun. Like his brother Henry, Arthur, too, had a gift with words. Being then virgin, my long hair flowed loose and free.

Wendy: Queen Katherine, tell me about you and Arthur…

Queen Katherine: God’s truth, what is there to tell? We only had a brief time together before the English sweat struck us down, and almost killed us both. Our marriage was never a true one. We slept together only a few nights, and he was a boy, young for his years, and I a maid. As God is my witness, nothing happened between us. Even my own father wrote in 1503, ‘It is well known that the princess is still a virgin.’ Even so, when he arranged my betrothal to Arthur’s brother Henry, my father requested of the Pope a dispensation making the matter of my virginity unimportant. The Pope provided that dispensation and by doing so safeguarded my later marriage to my Henry.

Seven bitter years I lived in England after Arthur’s death. My mother’s death in 1504 lessened my importance in the Tudor King’s eyes, and he treated me shabbily. I had no money for my servants, let alone myself. I spent so much of my time in prayer, and despair. Those times taught me to keep faith with God, and I came close to taking the veil. But God had other plans for me, for Henry VII died, and I married my king. I did my duty by him lovingly, and gave him children, although it pleased God to call most of them from the earthly world. But my husband had no cause to rend his kingdom apart for a son. Our daughter Mary was all the heir he needed.

Wendy: My queen, with great regret, I think it is time to bring this interview to an end. . I thank you for answering my questions.

I look forward to scribing more of your story Falling Pomegranate Seeds: All Manner of Things, the sequel of The Duty of Daughters

Queen Katherine: I will always answer your questions, Lady Wendy. If you are willing to listen, I am willing to speak. And I vow to you I will speak the truth.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wendy J. Dunn

Wendy J. Dunn

Wendy J. Dunn has been obsessed by Anne Boleyn and Tudor History since she was ten-years-old. She is the author of three historical novels: Dear Heart, How Like You This?, the winner of the 2003 Glyph Fiction Award and 2004 runner-up in the Eric Hoffer Award for Commercial Fiction, The Light in the Labyrinth, her first young adult novel, and Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters.

While she continues to have a very close and spooky relationship with Sir Thomas Wyatt, the elder, serendipity of life now leaves her no longer wondering if she has been channelling Anne Boleyn and Sir Tom for years in her writing, but considering the possibility of ancestral memory. Her own family tree reveals the intriguing fact that her ancestors – possibly over three generations – had purchased land from both the Boleyn and Wyatt families to build up their own holdings. It seems very likely Wendy’s ancestors knew the Wyatts and Boleyns personally.

Wendy gained her Doctorate of Philosophy (Writing) from Swinburne University in 2014, and is the Co-Editor in Chief of Backstory and Other Terrain, Swinburne University two new peer-reviewed writing journals.

Social Media:

Website: Wendy J. Dunn, Award-Winning Author

Facebook: Wendy J. Dunn

Twitter: @wendyjdunn

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Recent Release!

Recent Release!

Book Description:

Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters

Book 1 in the Katherine of Aragon Story

Do?a Beatriz Galindo.

Respected scholar.

Tutor to royalty.

Friend and advisor to Queen Isabel of Castile.

Beatriz is an uneasy witness to the Holy War of Queen Isabel and her husband, Ferdinand, King of Aragon. A Holy War seeing the Moors pushed out of territories ruled by them for centuries.

The road for women is a hard one. Beatriz must tutor the queen’s youngest child, Catalina, and equip her for a very different future life. She must teach her how to survive exile, an existence outside the protection of her mother. She must prepare Catalina to be England’s queen.

A tale of mothers and daughters, power, intrigue, death, love, and redemption. In the end, Falling Pomegranate Seeds sings a song of friendship and life.

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“Wendy J. Dunn is an exceptional voice for Tudor fiction and has a deep understanding of the era. Her words ring true and touch the heart, plunging the reader into a fascinating, dangerous and emotionally touching new world.” ~ Barbara Gaskell Denvil

“Dunn deftly weaves a heartrending story about the bonds between mothers and daughters, sisters and friends. Each character is beautifully crafted with a compassionate touch to draw the reader into every raw emotion, from triumph to tragedy.” ~ Adrienne Dillard, Author of Cor Rotto

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TO PURCHASE FALLING POMEGRANATE SEEDS,

CLICK ONE OF THE LINKS BELOW!!

Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters: Volume 1 (Katherine of Aragon Story) — AMAZON United Kingdom

Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters (Katherine of Aragon Story) Volume 1 — AMAZON United States

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WIN

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

Wendy J. Dunn and MadeGlobal Publishing are graciously offering a complimentary copy of Falling Pomegranate Seeds, The Duty of Daughters to one lucky QAB member or browser. If you are interested in being included in a drawing for a chance of winning this wonderful book, send the administrator a message via the website’s contact form. To complete the contact form, click here –> CONTACT US! We will draw a random winner on December 4, 2016. Good Luck!!!

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“The English Monarchy and Interesting Deaths”, by Claire Ridgway

November 21, 2016 in Guest Writers, News by Claire Ridgway

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The English Monarchy and Interesting Deaths

Claire Ridgway

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Thank you to Beth and the QAB community for hosting me today on Day 1 of my virtual book tour for Illustrated Kings and Queens of England. I’m so excited to be here!

“A King should die standing,” are said to be the final words of King Louis XVIII of France in 1824, a man who tried to carry on with his royal duties right up to the end even though he was suffering from extensive gangrene. When I was researching the lives of the English monarchy for Illustrated Kings and Queens of England, I found it interesting to read about the deaths of these monarchs. Some had died fighting for their crown, others had been murdered, some had been executed, and others had died as a result of nasty accidents, and still others had died peacefully in their beds – they were the lucky ones!

Today, I’m going to share with you some of the interesting fates of our English monarchs.

Death on the Battlefield

In an age of chivalry, everyone wanted to be a warrior king. Henry VIII certainly wanted to excel on the battlefield like Henry V and Edward I, but for some monarchs, the battlefield brought their lives and reign to a violent end.

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King Harold II

King Harold II

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In 1066, following his victory at the Battle of Stamford Bridge against his brother, Tostig, Earl of Northumbria, and Harald Hardrada of Norway, King Harold II of England (born c.1022) went to battle against William, Duke of Normandy, and his invading forces. The two armies met at Senlac Hill, near Hastings, on 14 October 1066, in a battle known as the Battle of Hastings. This time, fate was not on Harold’s side, and he was defeated and killed. An image on the famous Bayeux Tapestry has led to the story that Harold was killed by an arrow in the eye, but it is not known whether the man depicted is actually Harold.

Another king who was killed in battle by an invading force was King Richard III (born 1452). On 22 August 1485, Richard and his forces met the army of Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, near Market Bosworth in Leicestershire at the Battle of Bosworth. Henry Tudor had returned from exile in Brittany to claim the English crown. Richard was killed during the battle, and Henry was crowned King Henry VII later that day when Richard’s crown was recovered from the battlefield.

On 6 April 1199, King Richard I (born 1157) died from gangrene in a wound sustained from a crossbow bolt to the shoulder, while laying siege to the castle of Châlus, the home of Viscount Aimar V of Limoges who had risen in rebellion. And the famous warrior king, Henry V (1387-1422), died as a result of his warring, succumbing to camp fever (typhus) following the capture of Mieux in summer 1422.

Murder

Then there are the monarchs who were the victims of foul play, or whose deaths are shrouded in mystery. According to the chronicles, King Edmund I (born 921) was attacked and murdered by a robber named Leofa on 26 May 946 while he was attending mass at Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire. In 878, King Edward the Martyr (born c. 962) was murdered at Corfe, while on his way to visit his younger half-brother, Aethelred, at Corfe Castle. It is not known exactly what happened, but theories include that he was murdered by a supporter of Aethelred, that his murder was plotted by Aethelred, that he was murdered by Aelfhere, ealdorman of Mercia, and that his stepmother, Aelfthryth, plotted his death.

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King Edward V

King Edward V

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Kings whose deaths are shrouded in mystery include Harthacnut (born c.1018) who most believe died from a stroke or heart attack but the Morkinskinna, a 13th century Old Norse saga, claims that he was poisoned after drinking from a horn meant for Magnus I of Norway, who was visiting his court. Then there’s King Edward V who has gone down in history as one of the Princes in the Tower, along with his brother Prince Richard. The boys disappeared in the reign of Richard III, and their fate is unknown, although there are many theories. And then, of course, there’s Edward II (born 1284) who died at Berkeley Castle on 21 September 1327. It is not known how he died, but many believe him to have been murdered. According to one chronicle, he was killed by the insertion of a red-hot poker in his nether regions, but this is now thought to be nothing more than propaganda. His death remains a mystery. The fate of Richard II (born 1367) is also unknown. He died on 14 February 1400 while he was imprisoned at Pontefract Castle, but it is unclear whether his death was murder. It’s the same with Henry VI (born 1421) who died while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1471. Although it was claimed that he died of melancholy, following his son’s death, it is now believed that he was stabbed to death on the orders of Edward IV.

Executions

Two English monarchs met their end on the scaffold, being beheaded for high treason. Lady Jane Grey, who has gone down in history as “The Nine Day Queen”, was executed on 12 February 1554 following her alleged usurpation of the throne and her father’s involvement in Wyatt’s Rebellion. Charles I (born 1600) was executed on 30 January 1649 following the defeat of the royalists by the Parliamentarians and his refusal to accept the idea of a constitutional monarchy.

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King William II

King William II

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Accidents

Anyone would think that it’s unlucky to be a “King William” seeing as Kings William I, II and III all died as the result of an accident. William I (born c. 1028) died following a fall from his horse while riding into battle at Mantes, William II (born c. 1056) was accidentally shot with an arrow by one of his own men while hunting in the New Forest, and William III (born 1650) died of pneumonia, following a fall from his horse caused by it stumbling into a molehill. Nasty!

Awful illnesses

If regicide, warfare or accidents didn’t finish you off, then illness did, with some illnesses being worse than others. King Eadred (born c. 923) died in 955 after suffering from digestive problems and problems swallowing food, Henry I (born c. 1068) died in 1135 after eating a dish of lampreys, and King John (born 1167) died in 1216 after eating a meal of peaches and ale.

It is not clear what killed Edward VI (born 1537), the boy-king and son of Henry VIII. He’d suffered from measles and smallpox, but theories regarding his death in July 1553 include tuberculosis, bronchopneumonia and non-classic cystic fibrosis.

Queen Mary II (born 1662) died of smallpox in 1694. Poor George II (born 1683) died in 1760 on his close stool after his heart ruptured due to an aortic aneurysm, and George III (born 1738) was plagued with mental problems, possibly as a result of porphyria, and died in January 1820 after falling into a coma. Perhaps that was the most peaceful of these royal deaths.

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MEET GRAPHIC DESIGNER VERITY RIDGWAY!

Verity Ridgway (Photo Credit: Christian Rdgway)

Verity Ridgway
(Photo Credit: Christian Ridgway)

 

Queenanneboleyn.com had the pleasure of interviewing Verity Ridgway, talented graphic designer and writer, back in November 2014. Verity colorized several of the illustrations in Illustrated Kings and Queens of England. To enjoy our delightful conversation with Verity, click here —>>> QAB INTERVIEW: AUTHOR AND GRAPHIC DESIGNER VERITY RIDGWAY.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR!!

Claire Ridgway

Claire Ridgway

Claire Ridgway is the author of best-selling books including:

Claire was also involved in the English translation and editing of Edmond Bapst’s 19th-century French biography of George Boleyn and Henry Howard, now available as TWO GENTLEMAN POETS AT THE COURT OF HENRY VIII.

Claire worked in education and freelance writing before creating The Anne Boleyn Files history website and becoming a full-time history researcher, blogger, and author. The Anne Boleyn Files is known for its historical accuracy and Claire’s mission to get to the truth behind Anne Boleyn’s story. Her writing is easy-to-read and conversational, and readers often comment on how reading Claire’s books is like having a coffee with her and chatting about history.

Claire loves connecting with Tudor history fans and helping authors and aspiring authors.

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illustrated_kings_and_queens_tour

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

Claire Ridgway and MadeGlobal Publishing are graciously offering a complimentary copy of Illustrated Kings and Queens of England to one lucky QAB member or browser. If you are interested in being included in a drawing for a chance of winning this wonderful book, send the administrator a message via the website’s contact form. To complete the contact form, click here –> CONTACT US! We will draw a random winner on November 25, 2016. Good Luck!!!

“Summer of Discontent”, by Derek Wilson

November 8, 2016 in Guest Writers by Beth von Staats

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Robert Kett ‘holding court’ on Mousehold Heath

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Summer of Discontent
Derek Wilson

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‘Woe to the land whose king is a child and whose princes feast in the morning.’
There must have been many preachers throughout England in 1549 who took those words from Ecclesiastes as their sermon text. England’s king was a child, Edward VI, and the land was in a dire state, seething with social discord, religious conflict and incipient rebellion. The man effectively ruling England as regent was Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset, the king’s uncle. Oral history reminded people of a time, sixty-six years earlier, when another minor – also named Edward – had been titular head, until brusquely elbowed aside by his uncle, Richard III. Foreboding, fear and resentment were felt at all levels of society, from the squabbling rivals on the royal Council to the yeomen and peasants who looked in vain to the government for the redress of their very real grievances. Matters came to a head in the middle months of 1549 – The Summer of Discontent. This is the factual background to The Devil’s Chalice, the latest in my series of Thomas Treviot crime novels.

The backstory: In January 1547 the old tyrant, Henry VIII, died, leaving the throne to his nine-year-old son, Edward VI. That throne rested on uneasy foundations. The Reformation which Henry had begun had sundered England into violently opposed religious camps. There were radicals who wanted to push Reformation further and conservatives who wanted a return to the ‘good old (Catholic) days’. There were also social reformers who called themselves ‘commonwealth men’. They opposed many of the new landlords who had acquired land ‘secularised’ by the Dissolution of the Monasteries and who, it was claimed, were riding roughshod over the traditional rights of the common people. King Henry had left power in the hands of a moderately reformist body of councillors. However, in the back rooms of Whitehall where secret deals were done, it was agreed that the boy king’s uncle, Edward Seymour, should assume the role of Protector while acting in concert with his colleagues. But Seymour gradually took more power into his own hands, consulted the Council less and less and ruled by decree in his nephew’s name. The Protector was determined to push ahead with further social and religious reforms. There can be no doubt that he was impelled by a genuine evangelical idealism, Somerset appointed royal commissions to purify churches of ‘superstitious’ images and to enquire into such agrarian grievances as enclosure of common land.

All this might not have had disastrous consequences had not groups of disgruntled people across much of southern and eastern England taken the law into their own hands. Following the lead of government policy, as they thought, bands of iconoclasts smashed church windows and tore down rood screens. Other malcontents uprooted the hedges and fences built by ‘grasping’ landowners. Unwilling to meet force with force, Somerset issued pardons to offenders and promised new ‘commonwealth’ legislation. This only encouraged further lawlessness. Then, to add to the unrest, a rebellion broke out in the South-West where militant conservatives protested about the government’s religious policy and particularly the attempt to force an English Prayer Book on a region where Cornish was the main language. On 2 July, 2,000 rebels laid siege to Exeter. The Summer of Discontent had begun.

8 July: A commotion at Wymondham, Norfolk, involving the breaking of hedges turns into a movement when Robert Kett, a landowner of moderate means, accepts the leadership of the rebels. He sets off, with a steadily-growing band of followers, for Norwich, the second largest city in England.

9 July: Lord Russell, sent to quell the western rebellion halts at Honiton, waiting for reinforcements.

11 July: Kett sets up camp on Mousehold Heath, outside Norwich, and within days he has 16,000 followers there.

12 July: News reaches London of fresh outbreaks in several counties. The city is placed under martial law. Meanwhile, the Protector, secluded with the king at Hampton Court, issues orders, sometimes contradictory, offering pardons, promising to listen to complaints, dispatching troops, ordering examples to be made of ringleaders. He refuses to summon Council meetings. He is facing, not only rebels, but landowners complaining of his ‘soft’ reaction and councillors resentful of being ignored.

21-22 July: Kett occupies Norwich. He sets up his own court, issuing orders, sitting in judgement on offenders and commandeering provisions. He sends to the government an ultimatum of twenty-nine demands, insisting that they are in line with the Protector’s policy, and directed only against landowners who are enemies of king and commonwealth. Somerset produces no plan of action. Though, himself an accomplished general, he does not dare to forsake the safety of Hampton Court. His security depends on his ‘possession’ of the king’s person.

28 July: The Protector dispatches a force of 1,300 mercenaries and local levies under the command of the woefully inexperienced William Parr, Marquess of Northampton to ‘negotiate’ a peaceful outcome in Norwich. Kett had withdrawn his men to Mousehold Heath but broken down parts of the wall and was poised to retake the city at a moment’s notice.

1 August: A totally incompetent effort by Northampton provokes Kett’s men to make a night assault on Norwich and drive the royal troops out ignominiously. One eye-witness reports.

Lamentable and miserable was the state of the City at this time when nothing was seen or heard but lamentation and weeping … the clashing of weapons, the flames of the burning, the ruin and fall of houses, and many other fearful things which … struck with incredible sorrow the hearts and ears of all that heard it.

2 August: Somerset instructs the Bishop of London to preach at St. Paul’s that ‘those who resist temporal authority resist God’s ordinance, and are utterly damned. The rebels deserve death as traitors and receive eternal damnation with Lucifer’. For most members of the political class, such condemnation from Somerset is too little, too late.At Honiton, Lord Russell’s reinforcements arrive, at last. With 5,000 men he sets off towards Exeter.

At Honiton, Lord Russell’s reinforcements arrive, at last. With 5,000 men he sets off towards Exeter.

3 August: In London, there is widespread fear that Kett will march on the capital. The guard on the city gates is doubled and gibbets set up as a warning to disaffected citizens. Several Council members leave the royal court and meet at Westminster as a ‘rival’ government.

4-6 August: Russell confronts the rebels at Fenny Bridges, Clyst Heath and Clyst St. Mary. Thousands perish, including 900 prisoners butchered by Russell. The king’s enemies are pursued over a wide area and hanged in places as far away as Minehead and Bath. Russell enters Exeter and unleashes gruesome vengeance. Observers used to warfare are appalled at the violence of this campaign.

7 August: Somerset reluctantly authorises John Dudley, Earl of Warwick (seen by many as a potential rival of the Protector) to go to the relief of Norwich.

17 August: Some of the western rebels rally but are finally defeated at Sampford Courtenay. The Prayer Book Rebellion has cost 5,500 lives.

24 August: Warwick, assembling his forces in a businesslike way, is at Wymondham with 10,000 levies drawn from a wide area and waiting for another thousand German mercenaries. He sends a message to Kett demanding surrender.

27 August: After two days of stand-off, the German landsknechts arrive. Warwick takes possession of Norwich and cuts Kett’s supply lines, forcing him to do battle at nearby Dussindale. The result is a massacre in which some 3,500 peasants are slain.

7 September: Dudley returns as a public hero to London. He camps his mercenaries outside the city. He and other councillors now know that the current regime cannot be allowed to continue. The next few weeks are occupied by a number of behind-closed-doors meetings. Meanwhile, pamphlets circulate and sermons are preached pro and anti the Protector. Somerset, feeling increasingly isolated and insecure tries in vain to have all armed levies stood down.

5 October: Panicking now, the Protector sends a flurry of messages to local officials ordering them to come to Hampton Court with as many armed men as possible, ‘to defend the king and the lord protector, against whom a most dangerous conspiracy has been attempted’.

6 October: Being accused of treason galvanises the ‘Lords of the Council’ into action. Astonished Londoners see them processing through the City ‘weaponed and had their servants likewise weaponed, attending upon them in new liveries’. Somerset responds by ordering the Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir John Markham, to hold it against the ‘rebels’ but Markham hands the fortress to the councillors.

7 October: Somerset flees by night with the king to Windsor, calling on all loyal Englishmen to come to his aid.

9 October: London’s Common Council decide in favour of the councillors.

Now the two principal royal strongholds are in rival hands. Messages from London and Windsor fly all over the country to gain the support of the great magnates for one side or the other. For a couple of days, England teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. Will it be the Wars of the Roses all over again? But no-one wants an escalation of the summer’s violence and peace negotiations begin.

13 October: Somerset submits at a full council meeting held at Windsor.

14 October: The Protectorate is over and the ex-holder of that office is taken to the Tower.

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The rebellions failed and, for that reason, they tend not to receive much attention from historians. But we should not readily disregard what was a national crisis of major proportions. Perhaps this is one of those instances when fiction can help our understanding by using imagination to vividly convey past events. I hope so and I commend to you my novel, The Devil’s Chalice, set during the chaotic Summer of Discontent.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Wilson

Derek Wilson

Derek Wilson has been writing historical fiction and non-fiction since the mid 1970s and is the author of 70+ books, as well as work for radio and television and innumerable newspaper and magazine articles. After graduating from Cambridge in History and Theology, he spent some years teaching and travelling abroad before settling to a freelance writing career. He specializes in the Reformation but his large output includes studies of the Rothschild family, the Plantagenets, Peter the Great, Charlemagne and the history of circumnavigation. He lives in Devon and is the patriarch of a family of three children and six grandchildren. His most recent release is The Devil’s Chalice, published by MadeGlobal.

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New Release!

New Release!

The third book in the acclaimed series of Thomas Treviot Tudor crime thrillers – Based on REAL TUDOR CRIME RECORDS.

The Real Crime: In the steaming summer of 1549 two men languish in the Tower of London. William West is accused of attempted murder. Robert Allen is under investigation for dabbling in the Black Arts. Meanwhile, England is in the grip of rebellions against the boy king, Edward VI. The connections between these facts remains a mystery.

Our Story: London goldsmith, Thomas Treviot, is sent by his patron, Archbishop Cranmer, to discover discreetly what connections West has with leading figures at court. But Thomas has problems of his own: his teenage son has gone off to Norwich to join rebels led by Robert Kett. Trying to find his son and please Cranmer, he is plunged into dangers from peasant mobs, London gangsters and political chicanery, not to mention an enemy wielding occult power…

To Purchase The Devil’s Chalice,

Click The Link Below!

THE DEVIL’S CHALICE

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WIN

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

Derek Wilson and MadeGlobal Publishing are graciously offering a complimentary copy of The Devil’s Chalice to one lucky QAB member or browser. If you are interested in being included in a drawing for a chance of winning this wonderful book, send the administrator a message via the website’s contact form. To complete the contact form, click here –> CONTACT US! We will draw a random winner on November 11, 2016. Good Luck!!!

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“Edward VI and Thomas Cranmer”, by Kyra Kramer

November 6, 2016 in Guest Writers by Beth von Staats

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Edward VI and Thomas Cranmer

by Kyra Kramer

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Thomas Cranmer was not only the Archbishop of Canterbury, he was possibly the most influential figure in King Edward VI’s brief life. Cranmer was the young king’s godfather, and the man who taught the boy king to be a staunch — even hard-line — Protestant. Cranmer was also one of the few men the Edward would continue to trust as he grew older. Where most other men sought some form of fiduciary reward or position of power from the king, Cranmer served Edward without the need or apparent desire for more personal gain. Cranmer and Edward give every indication that they were united in a sincere, disinterested quest to spread the reformist gospel throughout England.

Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer

The pinnacle of their joint efforts was the 1552 edition of the Book of Common Prayer.  Although Thomas Cranmer was the author of the work and should receive all the credit for the haunting lyrical style of the writing, the book would have died aborning without the support and defense of his protege and sovereign. As I explain in my book, King Edward VI in a Nutshell:

The new Book of Common Prayer caused an uproar among the Catholic and less-Protestant subjects of Edward’s realm, who thought it was blasphemously Reformist. Among the hardened Reformists, it wasn’t quite Protestant enough. If the definition of a good compromise is indeed a situation in which no one is really happy, the 1552 Prayer prayer Book was a very good compromise. Edward, however, was king and he was determined that his godfather Cranmer’s liturgical compositions would become the bedrock of the Anglican service. In turn, Cranmer could not have been prouder of the young king, who he regarded as a veritable model of a Christian monarch.

Cranmer saw Edward as nothing less than the “English Josiah”, a child monarch in the mold of the Biblical king who devoted his reign to compelling his Hebrew subjects to worship Yahweh as the sole God of Israel. It was, for the devout and devoted Cranmer, the highest praise he could give the young king.

Edward VI

Edward VI

Thomas Cranmer was also one of the few people who had enough integrity to disagree with the king when there were ethical conundrums. For example, Cranmer was deeply concerned about Edward naming Lady Jane Grey his heir, even though he had to have known allowing the ultra-Catholic Mary Tudor to have the throne would have undone all the religious reform he and Edward had fought for. Nonetheless, Cranmer was genuinely troubled by conscience. He had promised to obey Henry VIII’s will and Mary was next in line by the terms of that document. Was it legal or ethical to set the old king’s will aside? First, the privy council talked to Cranmer and assured him that “the king was fully entitled to override his father’s settlement” (Ives, 2012:130). Not quite easy in his mind, the Archbishop of Canterbury wanted to talk to his godson about it personally. The king, who had less than three weeks to live, met with Cranmer and promised him face- to- face that “the judges and his learned council said, that the act of entailing the crown, made by his father, could not be prejudicial to him, but that he, being in possession of the crown, might make his will thereof” (Ives, 2012:131). Still uncertain, Cranmer begged the king to be allowed to talk to the judges and the attorney general, just to make sure. The king consented, and when Cranmer spoke with them they all confirmed “that he might lawfully subscribe to the king’s will by the laws of the realm” (Ives, 2012:131).

Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer

Sadly, Cranmer’s loyalty and honesty were rewarded with a horrific death after Edward VI passed away on 6 July 1553. Mary Tudor and her allies quickly usurped the throne from Queen Jane Grey and in spite of their promises of “tolerance” for Protestantism, soon made it clear that a return to Catholicism was in the offing. Thomas Cranmer, an elderly man and venerable scholar who was 67 years old, was burned alive at the stake at Mary’s insistence on 21 March 1556. From her perspective, she was riding her country of veritable sump of heresy. From the perspective of history, she slaughtered one of the best writers and theologians England has ever produced.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Kyra Kramer

Kyra Kramer

 

Editor’s note: Kyra’s biography is provided by her website, Krya Cornelius Kramer and is provided to us in her own words.

Kyra Cornelius Kramer is an author and freelance medical anthropologist. She holds BS degrees in both biology and anthropology from the University of Kentucky, as well as a MA in medical anthropology from Southern Methodist University. She  and her beloved husband live in Bloomington, Indiana, USA with their three young daughters.

Kyra is diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Kyra is high-functioning, meaning that most of the time Kyra can pass for “quirky” with a dash of “gauche”. As a function of being an “Aspy”, she has a deep and abiding love for facts, which she stuffs into her writings like chestnuts in a Christmas goose. Seriously, you will knee-deep in facts by the time you are three paragraphs into her work. Moreover, she has a sardonic sense of humor that flavors her writings, no matter how academic they are in nature. Her editors appreciate this, but the review board usually makes her take any humor out before publishing in a peer-reviewed journal. Kyra hopes that the academic reviewers were at least amused before they crossed the sentence out with heavy red pencil marks. She suspects not.

Editor’s note: For more information about the remarkable accomplishments of Kyra Cornelius Kramer, do visit her website linked above.

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New Release!!!

New Release!!!

To Purchase Edward VI in a Nutshell,

CLICK THE LINK BELOW!! 

Edward VI in a Nutshell

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Review of the “Je Anne Boleyn” series by Sandra Vasoli

October 23, 2016 in News, QAB Book Reviews, The Anne Boleyn Society by James Peacock

by James Peacock

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VasoliBooks

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The story of Anne Boleyn has admittedly been “done to death” when it comes historical fiction. There are a ton of books out of there featuring Anne in some way or another. I must admit that before I read Struck with the Dart of Love: Je Anne Boleyn, Book One, there was a part of me that was apprehensive. Not long after I started reading the novel, however, I learned my apprehensions were needless.

Both Je Anne Boleyn novels are told from the viewpoint of Anne Boleyn. For me, Sandra Vasoli truly “gets” Anne. She understands the different sides of Anne’s personality: her charm, her intelligence, her wit, her courage, her passion, her ambition — even her jealousy and insecurities. Sandy doesn’t fall into the trap that so many fictional authors do by presenting Anne Boleyn as a “perfect saint”, instead crafting Anne’s true humanity.

The plot begins when Henry VIII first notices Anne (Vol I) and ends with her journey to the scaffold (Vol II). Henry is portrayed a lot more sympathetically than I have read in many other accountings, his relationship with Anne one of equal partners. I personally like how Sandy uniquely portrayed Anne and Henry’s relationship, as most authors portray one or the other as ruling the roost. In many ways, the similarities between Henry and Anne can be viewed as both a strength of their relationship, as well as it’s undoing. All too often, the easy (and in my opinion “lazy”) story is that their relationship cooled after Elizabeth’s birth. This is not the case here! Of course, there are occasional rows throughout (as we know there were), but this is presented as them being a typical married couple.

The story touches upon Anne’s education at the court of Margaret of Austria, her service to Queen Claude of France, and her relationship and admiration for one of the finest figures of the French Renaissance and one of the large players in the Reformation, Marguerite of Navarre.

A wonderful side to Anne’s personality is shown, one that those who have studied her life (such as myself) know about, but all too often gets ignored — namely Anne’s compassion and her charity! This is something that gets a strong focus throughout the books. We see Anne’s devotion to religion, as well as her support of William Tyndale, a man considered a heretic for his challenging of the Roman Catholic Church. Anne  is always portrayed in a caring capacity, such as the kindness she displayed towards one of her servants dying of the sweating sickness epidemic (Vol I). We also gain a glimpse of “the family orientated” Anne. Upset at the rumored whispers that surround her sister Mary, Anne enjoyed a sweet relationship with her mother, as well as a close relationship with her brother — a rapport that was ultimately twisted against them.

That doesn’t mean that the difficult relationship between Anne and her stepdaughter Mary is washed over at all, nor her eventual banishment from court of her sister Mary for marrying a man below her rank. Anne’s pleasure in the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey is also highlighted. We also see many times where Anne tries to guard her tongue and control her temper.

Another special point of both novels is the descriptions throughout of the various locations, such as the palaces, castles, abbeys, and manor homes that Anne and Henry visited. This brings the story to life and will make you feel you are in the story visualising these places. The mention of the “Bayne Tower” at Hampton Court Palace and the bath and sophisticated water system Henry had placed there are a real treat for readers and very informative. Sadly these rooms no longer survive, but you can see the outer building which is now a cafe.

Other highlights include the 1532 trip to Calais and subsequent secret wedding, the coronation, the devotion that Anne has towards her daughter (which admittedly we already know), the personal tragedy of 1534, the 1535 Reformation progress, and of course the tragic end, which shows the great courage that Anne Boleyn possessed.

Sandy clearly understands perfectly the trials and tribulations Anne endured, envisioning her views of how Anne must have felt. As I said previously, Sandy Vasoli truly “gets” Anne Boleyn 100%, presenting her – in what is my own opinion – in the best way Anne has ever been presented in any historical drama, whether that be in movies, television, and other fictional books — even my all time favorite Anne of the Thousand Days. I cannot begin to describe how many times I felt myself going “YES” inside my head while I read it, as I believed parts were just so “spot on”.

These books present Anne as she was: intelligent, charismatic, witty, religious, charitable, passionate, while also occasionally temperamental, hot-headed and sharp-tongued. If you love historical fiction, you will love these as they are easy to read and digest, are beautifully written. You will learn many interesting things about Anne Boleyn, as it is incredibly factual as well.

I long for the day when the Je Anne Boleyn books get turned into a television series or movie.

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ABOUT JAMES PEACOCK

James Peacock

James Peacock

James Peacock is 29 years old and lives in a suburb in Greater London. Originally training and working in Youth and Community, in 2013 he decided to follow in his lifelong passion for history with a particular interest in Anne Boleyn. He currently works at a historical site heavily associated with Anne Boleyn. (See the picture… hint, hint.) In 2014, he set up ‘The Anne Boleyn Society’ which exists to promote and bring awareness to the role that Anne Boleyn contributed to England’s history and her role in the reformation. The Anne Boleyn Society can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@Society_Anne) and Instagram (@society_anne). James also writes articles for queenanneboleyn.com. Visit his blog here at QAB. CLICK HERE!

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“The Lives of Ordinary Tudor Women” by Elizabeth Norton

October 14, 2016 in Guest Writers, News by Beth von Staats

Sketch of a 16th-Century English Woman with Children Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger

Sketch of a 16th-Century English Woman with Children
Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger

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The Lives of Ordinary Tudor Women

by Elizabeth Norton

The Tudor age is often seen as an age of queens, with the six wives of Henry VIII and reigns of Mary and Elizabeth coming to characterise their respective periods. However, the vast majority of women ranked far below royalty. They were far below the nobility even, with their links to court and claims of kinship with the ruling dynasty. Seldom told, their stories can be just as dynamic as those of their social betters.

The early lives of most Tudor women were roughly similar, regardless of rank. All babies were swaddled at birth and all were baptised. They were weaned in the same way, with their mother or nurse carefully chewing food for their toothless mouths. There were toys, too, to suit all parental purses. Even the most destitute children could fashion a plaything from animal bones, scraps of cloth or wood, while children of all social levels played games and mimicked their elders in their play.

Margaret More Roper, daughter of Sir Thomas More, was an example of an intelligent, highly educated Tudor Era woman. Artist: Section of 1593 Copy of Holbein Original

Margaret More Roper, daughter of Sir Thomas More, was an example of an intelligent, highly educated Tudor Era woman.
Artist: Section of 1593 Copy of Holbein Original

With female education becoming fashionable, a surprisingly high number of Tudor girls were able to attend school. It was not, of course, thought necessary to teach them Latin and Greek, or other subjects taught to boys at the new Grammar schools since (as one contemporary educationalist put it) ‘naturally the male is more worthy’. Nonetheless, a little reading, writing and accountancy could not hurt a girl and a great many were sent to local free schools to learn alongside their male peers. Even the very poorest families in Norwich in the 1560s sent their daughters to school, although older girls – from about the age of nine – were pulled out of their lessons to help support the family with spinning and other work.

Childhood for Tudor children ended in the early teens when almost everyone, from the highest and lowest, left home for the first time. While aristocratic and gentle girls could expect to be sent to serve a social superior, for poorer girls this usually meant a term of domestic service. Contracts were verbal and of one year’s duration, with neither the employer nor the employee permitted to end them early. The master would undertake to pay a wage, as well as provide board and lodging, while the servant performed domestic, farm or business tasks.

Occasionally girls were actually formally apprenticed, although in much smaller numbers than boys. In Tudor Bristol, many girls were apprenticed to learn housewifery, although there are examples of girls being apprenticed to male pinmakers or mercers. Women, too, could take over a family business when their husband died, or in some places start up their own business as a ‘femme sole’. Then, they could take their own apprentices, securing their admission to the prestigious livery companies which would not admit even the most successful women traders.

Woodcut of Tudor Era Woman Spinning Wool

Woodcut of Tudor Era Woman Spinning Wool

For most girls, service was brought to an end by marriage. At all social levels it was expected that there should be some love or, at least, a liking between the young couple, with poorer women usually more free to choose than their social superiors. Men were also advised to choose carefully, with contemporaries advising them to meet with their prospective mother-in-law to observe her behaviour, in the expectation that her daughter would follow her conduct. Men were cautioned to seek out meek and demure wives, skilled in sewing, spinning, knitting and keeping bashfully out of the way when strangers came to call. There was less guidance for women, although they were advised to avoid the ‘crocodile tears’ of young men. A woman’s reputation, once lost, could never be repaired and they must ensure that they were safely promised before they consented to consummate their relationships.

In the absence of reliable contraception, most wives soon became mothers, with women expected to do the bulk of the child rearing. At the same time wives were expected to have a good knowledge of cookery and household medicine making, as well as the skills to assist their husband in his business. Given the fact that women lived longer than men on average (in the Tudor period and now), most women could expect to be widowed at least once. Subsequent marriages were not uncommon, although sexual intercourse after the menopause was frowned on by the church – there was, after all, no prospect of a child.

A Rare Tudor Era Portrait of an Aged Elizabeth, Regina Artist: Unknown

A Rare Tudor Era Portrait of an Aged Elizabeth, Regina
Artist: Unknown

Much is made of Elizabeth I’s concerns over her ageing and fading appearance, with sources claiming that mirrors were removed at court to stop the queen seeing herself as she truly was. However, old age was immeasurably harder for the queen’s poorer subjects. With no prospect of retirement, the elderly were usually forced to work until they were physically incapable. At the same time, aged women were viewed with suspicion. The author of the wildly popular Women’s Secrets, for one, believed that all women were toxic and that they could poison babies with one glance.

It was only a small step from this position to view the elderly as potential witches, with such unfortunate women always vulnerable to allegations of witchcraft. Poor Alice Samuel had only to visit her neighbour in Warboys in Huntingdonshire in 1589 to find herself accused of bewitching the household’s daughters. When one girl pointed to her and said ‘Grandmother, look where the old witch sits’, the die was cast. Poor Alice Samuel was later hanged for this supposed crime. Wealthier women were less vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft, but they did occur. Old age must have seemed a poor reward for surviving all the dangers of Tudor life.

Tudor women lived lives as varied as those of Tudor men, with social status and wealth particularly important in defining their daily activities. The idea that life could be divided into seven ages was a popular one in Tudor England, but very few women made it to their seventh age. Infancy, childbirth, accident and disease carried off most women long before they reached old age. It is perhaps no surprise therefore that, when questioned, many of the poor women of Norwich in the 1560s exaggerated their age, claiming to have reached the age of 100. They probably hoped for a place in one of the town’s charitable institutions – comfortable places to see out their final years.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Norton

Elizabeth Norton

Elizabeth Norton is a British historian that researches and writes primarily of the women contributing to English medieval history. With MA degrees in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and a MA degree in European Archaeology from Oxford, Elizabeth certainly is multi-talented and highly gifted. Elizabeth completed her doctoral research at King’s College, London where she researched the Blount family of Shropshire. Elizabeth also researched and released a non-fiction book focusing on the remarkable life of Elfrida, England’s first crowned queen, further broadening her expertise of England’s most remarkable female historical figures. For more information, visit Elizabeth’s website at ELIZABETH NORTON.

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New Release!!

New Release!!

 

To Purchase an Outstanding History Book by Elizabeth Norton,

CLICK THE LINK BELOW!!

Books by Elizabeth Norton

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QAB Interview with Historian Sarah Gristwood

October 6, 2016 in QAB Guest Interviews and Chats by Beth von Staats

New Release!

New Release!

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Editor’s Note: Today is a very exciting day for the English history of women’s studies!! Two major historical works are releasing that explore the lives late 15th through 17th-century women researched and composed by eminent historians Sarah Gristwood and Elizabeth Norton. Over the next few weeks, Queenanneboleyn.com will be highlighting through author interviews, guest articles, book reviews and extracts both Game of Queens: The Women Who Made 16th-Century Europe, by Sarah Gristwood and The Lives of Tudor Women, by Elizabeth Norton. Pull up a chair as together with these two fine historians we explore the “Gaps in English History”, the extraordinarily lives of powerful, as well as common women. We recently caught up with Sarah to discuss her thoughts on the women who yielded power in 16th-century Europe. Enjoy our online interview below. Sarah’s insights are fascinating.

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1. Sarah, your new history book Game of Queens: The Women Who Made 16th century Europe, releases today in the United Kingdom. By any historical era’s standards, women really stepped to center stage during the 16th century. Beyond the obvious choices of Isabella of Castile and Elizabeth Tudor of England, what female queen regents or queen consorts do you believe most profoundly influenced 16th-century historical events? Were there any surprises in this regard that you discovered through your research?
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Jeanne of Navarre (François Clouet, 1570)

Jeanne of Navarre
(François Clouet, 1570)

The sixteenth century was packed with powerful women, and not all of them had to hold a sceptre in order to wield that power. Isabella and Elizabeth were both ‘queens regnant’, ruling queens – like Mary Queen of Scots, or Jeanne of Navarre –  and other women wielded ‘soft power’ as consorts. But several of those consorts (Louise of Savoy, Catherine de Medici, Marie de Guise) then went on to rule as regents on behalf of their offspring . . . and two of the most interesting women of the century were never crowned queen at all. I’m thinking particularly about Margaret of Austria – the so-called ‘Great Mother of Europe’ – who ruled the Netherlands on behalf of her nephew Charles V, and Anne de Beaujeu, controlling France on behalf of her younger brother Charles VIII.

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2. In a 16th-century world laden in pervasive misogyny, how beyond an “accident of birth” did European queens build their power and prestige? Did the example and mentoring of earlier 16-century women of power influence those that followed? 
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Anne de Beajeu (cropped from a triptych by Master of Moulins)

Anne de Beajeu
(cropped from a triptych by Master of Moulins)

What interested me especially was the networks these powerful women formed – quiet alliances stretching across national borders. Margaret of Austria provided lawyers to advise Katherine of Aragon, even while she was engaged in diplomatic negotiation with Katherine’s estranged husband Henry VIII. Katherine, of course, had already learnt important lessons from her own mother Isabella of Castile, and passed her strength and stubbornness on to her own daughter Mary Tudor. Anne de Beaujeu actually wrote an instruction manual for powerful women  – Lessons for my Daughter – which has been compared to Machiavelli’s The Prince.

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3. In looking at our contemporary world, I am struck with the dynamic of female world leaders — Hillary Clinton, for example — often being the spouses of powerful men. Did you notice any major similarities between contemporary women in power and their 16th-century counterparts? If so, can you give us a few examples?
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Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton

I see a huge number of similarities between the women of the sixteenth century and what’s happening today. Powerful women then and now face many of the same challenges – the difficulty of seeming strong without being called strident, the gendered abuse and the focus on their bodies: their looks, or the question of whether they’ve born a child. But Hillary Clinton is a particularly interesting example. Yes, to follow in your husband’s footsteps is a very well-worn path to power. But if she wins on November 8 she’ll be perhaps the world’s most powerful woman ever – and we’ll have to see what kind of a fist Bill makes of being America’s ‘First Laddie’!

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4. Can you provide Queenanneboleyn.com browsers with an example of one of the “lesser known” women highlighted in your book that you found surprisingly intriguing? Why so?
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Margaret of Austria (Jean Hay 1490)

Margaret of Austria
(Jean Hay 1490)

The character who most interested me was Margaret of Austria, and the surprise was just how someone so important could be ‘lesser known’ – or lesser known to English-speaking readers, anyway! To follow the adventures of her youth is like reading a Who’s Who of the sixteenth century, and she then spent more than two decades at the very heart of European diplomacy. A woman who could make poems as well as peace treaties, and who sent out a cohort of girls raised in her care to take their own places on the thrones of Europe.

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5. Mary Tudor — Is “Bloody Mary” a misunderstood monarch? What was her greatest contribution to English History? 
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Well – yes and no! Looking at the European context which formed her helps one understand Mary Tudor’s dilemmas. But I can’t say I really warmed to her. And I think her greatest contribution – whether or not she wanted it to be – was to have shown a woman could sit on England’s throne, and thus pave the way for her half-sister Elizabeth.
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6. Given 16th century female monarchs and queen consorts often reigned over their realms during overlapping timeframes, were they ever a support to one another? Or were they as better rivals as was common to their male contemporaries?
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Margaret Tudor

Margaret Tudor

I know I’ve talked already about women’s alliance, but there is something more to be said. The tragedy for many of these women was the way that – married off to cement a fragile peace made by their menfolk – they then found their responsibilities to that new country at complete odds with their loyalties to their natal family. Margaret Tudor must be the ultimate example – forced to appeal to her brother Henry VIII for help after the death of her husband the Scots king, even though that husband had actually been killed by her brother’s army! Margaret believed if only she and her sister-in-law Katherine of Aragon could only have met, they would have found a way to peace . . .

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7. Sarah, you prolific writing based on exhaustive research most commonly focuses on the lives of remarkable women throughout history. From Arabella Stuart to Perdita to Elizabeth Woodville to Royal Weddings to the Queens of the 16th-century, women take center stage. Do you find Women’s Studies has finally come to the forefront? Do you believe your research and those of other female historians is “rounding out” the stories of world history by finally “filling in the blanks”? 
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It’s firstly personal for me – it is women and women’s stories that most interest me. But it’s also completely true that women’s stories tend to be the forgotten ones, which the writer can have the thrill of telling afresh. Of course there are dangers – of making the women sound more central, more active in public events, than they really were. But I do believe that in trying to show aspects of women’s experience, we are filling in some huge gaps in our history.
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Arabella Stuart (Marcus Gheeraerts, the Younger)

Arabella Stuart
(Marcus Gheeraerts, the Younger)

8. If you could decide what research you’ve completed that you are most proud of, what would it be?

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My first historical biography was about Arbella Stuart, who was expected to inherit the throne of England from Elizabeth I – and she’ll always have a very special place in my heart. And in some ways her story ties in with Game of Queens, which looks at the reasons the country didn’t want another female ruler.

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9. Do you have any new projects in the pipeline that you are able to share with QAB browsers?
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Let’s just say I hope to be writing more on women and power – but in a period rather closer to home than the sixteenth century!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Sarah Gristwoog

Sarah Gristwood

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Sarah Gristwood is a best-selling biographer, novelist, former journalist, and commentator on royal affairs. A prolific historian of the influence of women in Tudor Era England and Europe, she wrote two bestselling Tudor biographies, Arbella: England’s Lost Queen and Elizabeth and Leicester; and the eighteenth-century story Perdita: Royal Mistress, Writer, Romantic which was selected as Radio 4 Book of the Week. Presenting and contributing to several radio and tv documentaries, she also published a book on iconic dresses, Fabulous Frocks (with Jane Eastoe); and a 50th anniversary companion to the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, as well as collaborating with Tracy Borman, Alison Weir and Kate Williams on The Ring and the Crown (Hutchinson), a book on the history of royal weddings. 2011 also saw the publication of her first historical novel, The Girl in the Mirror. In September 2012 she brought out a new non-fiction book – Blood Sisters: the Women Behind the Wars of the Roses. Sarah’s newest history book, Game of Queens, releases today in the United Kingdom and November 29th in the United States.
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Game of Queens (United States Cover)

Game of Queens
(United States Cover)

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To Purchase Game of Queens or Another Brilliant Book by Sarah Gristwood, 

Click The Link Below!

BOOKS BY SARAH GRISTWOOD

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Book Extract: THE LIVES OF TUDOR WOMEN, by Elizabeth Norton

October 6, 2016 in Guest Writers by Beth von Staats

by Elizabeth Norton

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New Release!!

New Release!!

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Editor’s Note: Today is a very exciting day for the English history of women’s studies!! Two major historical works are releasing that explore the lives late 15th through 17th-century women researched and composed by eminent historians Elizabeth Norton and Sarah Gristwood. Over the next few weeks, Queenanneboleyn.com will be highlighting through author interviews, guest articles, book reviews and extracts both The Lives of Tudor Women, by Elizabeth Norton and Game of Queens: The Women Who Made 16th-Century Europe, by Sarah Gristwood. Pull up a chair as together with these two fine historians we explore the “Gaps in English History”, the extraordinarily lives of powerful, as well as common women. Let’s start with an extract from Elizabeth’s new release, which explores the life of one of my favorite Tudor Era historical figures, Elizabeth Barton, Holy Maid of Kent.

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Of Servants and Masters

BOOK EXTRACT: The Lives of Tudor Women

In late 1524, or early 1525, Elizabeth Barton, a young girl from Aldington in Kent, walked over to the house of Thomas Cobb, a gentleman of the parish. Verbally, they agreed their terms, and within a few days she had moved into the servants’ quarters of his house, high in the attic. She was nineteen years old, but she probably had several terms of service behind her already – stretching back to the beginning of her adolescence. It was the way for most of her peers.

She had received little in the way of education; indeed, one contemporary considered her to be ‘a poor wench without learning’. She knew no Latin, although she could probably read and write, and may have attended a village school until she entered service.

Service was far from unusual for both boys and girls of her class: the vast majority of them spent a period of time as agricultural or household servants. In Tudor Salisbury, for example, in the parish list of 1533 one-third of women and half of men were in service. The parents of adolescents usually assisted in finding a suitable first placement from among families in the local area or from connections further afield. A verbal agreement was then made, tying the teenager into work for one year’s service, in return for a wage.

With that agreement, the adolescent was ready to leave home, packing up their belongings and walking over to the house of their new master or mistress. This period of service was looked on as a transitional stage, in the same way that most girls’ social betters were sent to serve in the households of the nobility. Agricultural servants were young and unmarried – it was not a career, and cases of married women staying in service were rare. While they learned skills and saved for their future, they were also looking to marry and start their own households. And with so many young people entering service, it was also possible for them to gain useful social connections that would benefit them later in life. Young Elizabeth Cooper from Norwich, for example, became lifelong friends with Thomas Sutton, who served in the same household. He would serve as a Sheriff of Norwich in the 1550s and show Elizabeth some favour when she found herself in trouble with the law.

Since service was more of a life-stage than either a career or an indicator of social class, it is unsurprising that the dividing line between the servant and the served in houses such as Thomas Cobb’s was not always strictly drawn. Indeed, it was expected that Cobb – and other masters – would stand in loco parentis. They were obliged to maintain their servant for the term of his or her service, regardless of whether there was enough work or whether the servant was fit to do it. Conversely, servants were not free to leave their employment early, and the courts regularly ordered those who absconded back unless they could prove that they had been mistreated.

Runaway servants might have hoped that they could quietly melt away by securing a better offer elsewhere; and it is true that new employers were often less than rigorous in their checks when employing new servants. Mawdlin Gawen, a young servant from Oxfordshire, found this to be the case in 1575, after running away, with her lover, from service in Teddington. In London, they claimed to a prospective employer, Mr Fluett, that they hailed from Collyweston. Evidently suspicious, Fluett questioned them on the distance of Collyweston from Stamford; but took them into his employment even when they failed to answer. The pair would have been constantly aware that their former master might seek them out.

In 1520, John Smith, a servant of a London draper named Thomas Howell, ran away, after which Howell and his wife expended great efforts and sums in chasing him. Mistress Howell ordered men to ride after him – following his trail for over four weeks all the way to Plymouth. When Smith was finally located, he refused to return until forced to by the court. It cost his master more than £6 to secure his return to unwilling service – a sum that Howell intended that Smith should reimburse. Howell was not considered a bad master, as suggested by the fact that one of his maidservants stayed in his household for at least five years and another for six. They were paid 13s and £1 4s a year respectively, which was considered a good wage, and they each received a new gown every year.

More common than absconding, for dissatisfied servants, was simply moving on at the end of their term, and many maidservants often passed through the service of a number of employers. There would usually be plenty of choice, for even quite lowly households could employ servants. For example, one William Blunte, of Richmond in Surrey, worked as a labourer yet was known to have kept an eleven-year-old girl as his servant in 1559.

By far the majority of servants – including Elizabeth Barton – worked on farms. Her master, Thomas Cobb, was a prominent man, charged as bailiff and steward with running the Archbishop of Canterbury’s substantial estates in the parish. As the archbishop’s most senior manorial officer, Cobb held considerable sway in the local community, his daily life centred on both church and the farm.

Life in rural Aldington was dominated by the grand archiepiscopal palace, sitting close beside the parish church. It loomed large over the little town that nestled close to the winding road taking travellers to and from the ancient port of Hythe. The palace – with its five kitchens, nine barns, six stables and many other agricultural buildings, all set within more than a thousand acres of farmland – dwarfed the other buildings in the settlement. The townspeople proudly displayed their ambitions in the great new church steeple, which was slowly rising, stone by stone as donations and bequests trickled in. It was a project that would never be completed, though it was already the tallest local structure in 1525.

Elizabeth Barton was too young to remember the great Erasmus’s brief tenure as Rector of Aldington, which had begun in 1511; but she was certainly familiar with the new priest, Richard Masters, who had arrived in 1514 and would remain for well over fifty years. He was a scholarly, conservative man, who spent most of his time with his head bent over his enormous library of 113 books, stowed carefully in his chamber in the parsonage.

Farming life was a busy, hard life, but, as contemporaries asserted (based on the Book of Job), ‘a man is ordained and born to do labour, as a bird is ordained to fly’. The year was an annual cycle, with ploughing and sowing to be done, alongside animal husbandry. The main crops were always peas and beans, corn, barley and oats, while horses, cattle, sheep and pigs were usually kept on mixed farms.

Women, either wives or servants, were expected to play an active part in farm life, and this would have been no less true for Elizabeth Barton. They had their own specific and vital jobs to do; not for nothing did the old saying maintain that ‘seldom doth the husband thrive, without the leave of his wife’. On waking, the women of the house were enjoined to first say their prayers, before sweeping and tidying. It was then time to milk the cows, feed the calves, and wake up the children of the family before preparing breakfast.

Women carried corn and malt to the mill, as well as attending to brewing and baking, and making butter and cheese. They fed the pigs and dealt with the poultry. It was also the wife’s job, assisted by the female servants, to prepare a kitchen garden in March, sowing the seeds and herbs that would ‘be good for the pot and to eat’. They would need to plant flax and hemp, too, which they would later spin into cloth for towels, sheets, shirts and smocks, while they also prepared the sheep’s wool for clothes and blankets. For servants such as Elizabeth, there was at least variety within the yearly cycle of hard toil. In towns, servants’ work could be even more varied, where a good position could see girls involved in their employer’s trade, either through work in the shop or in manufacture.

Thomas Cobb was by all accounts a diligent master, aware of his contractual obligations and prepared to fulfil them. At Easter 1525, which can only have been weeks, at most, after Elizabeth Barton was hired, she fell dangerously ill – ‘touched with a great infirmity in her body’. Sometimes her throat would swell so much that she writhed in agony, struggling for breath as ‘though she had suffered the pangs of death itself’. There was considerable fear that the swelling ‘was like to stop her breath’. At other times she was quieter, but still very sick, her illness coming in fits and starts. As her sickness progressed, she was carried out of the servants’ attic and down to a room that she shared with one of Cobb’s young children. The baby, which slept in a cradle close to her was also dangerously ill, so it was thought the pair could be nursed together.

Elizabeth was still very ill in November 1525. During all this time her master had been paying for her food and care, in spite of the fact that she could carry out none of her duties. He must surely have been intending to end her employment when her year’s term was set to conclude, at the start of 1526. That was soon set to change.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Norton

Elizabeth Norton

Elizabeth Norton is a British historian that researches and writes primarily of the women contributing to English medieval history. With MA degrees in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and a MA degree in European Archaeology from Oxford, Elizabeth certainly is multi-talented and highly gifted. Elizabeth completed her doctoral research at King’s College, London where she researched the Blount family of Shropshire. Elizabeth also researched and released a non-fiction book focusing on the remarkable life of Elfrida, England’s first crowned queen, further broadening her expertise of England’s most remarkable female historical figures. For more information, visit Elizabeth’s website at ELIZABETH NORTON.

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norton

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QAB Book Review: “The Private Lives of The Tudors” by Tracy Borman

August 26, 2016 in QAB Book Reviews, The Anne Boleyn Society by James Peacock

 

by James Peacock

Editor’s Note: James Peacock is the founder of The Anne Boleyn Society. Visit James on facebook at The Anne Boleyn Society.

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ThePrivateLivesofTheTudors

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The Tudor Dynasty ruled over England for approximately one hundred and eighteen years, a relatively short time when compared to the Plantagenets or the Stuarts rule over Scotland. Still, people with little interest in history are drawn to this period, largely thanks to Showtime’s series The Tudors (2007-2010) and countless Hollywood movies set during the era. Also, this period has something for everyone, including drama, battles, romance, politics — the list is endless. People just can’t get enough of the story of Henry VIII and his six wives or Elizabeth I and her endless suitors, not to mention that inspiring Tilbury speech.

In her latest book The Private Lives of the Tudors, Dr. Tracy Borman takes on a new angle in examining these fascinating people by looking at the private lives of the monarchs and their consorts behind the closed doors of their sumptuous Palaces. Many stereotypes labelled on these people, such as Henry VII being a boring old miser, Edward VI being a puppet King, Mary I being a dried up spinster incapable of fun, and many others are debunked with evidence stating the contrary. Readers will come away from this seeing most – if not all – of these people in a new light.

The book is not intended to be a biography, but more a glimpse into life at the Tudor court, everything from the fashion to diet to hobbies and much more is examined. For example, Henry VII spent excessive amounts of money on rich clothing — a revelation to many. Also enlightening is what we still exists today of items belonging to each of the monarchs and what they can tell us about them as people. My personal favourites were the mementos Elizabeth I kept of her mother Anne Boleyn, as well as the documents and letters Edward VI kept that referenced his mother Jane Seymour.

What is so special about this book is it succeeds in bringing to life the Tudors as real people. It is often not easy to read many history books, and I feel that they often come off as one-dimensional. Instead, Dr. Borman succeeds bringing us as close to the real people that lived so long ago as we possibly can. They come life with real emotions and that is all to Tracy Borman’s credit.

It was also interesting to read more about the set up of meals at court, the number of dishes brought out, and how someone’s status would determine how many courses guests would receive. Other interesting topics include the discussion of clothes and how they would determine someone’s status and wealth, as well as the changing of the fashions over the period. Also of particular interest was the topic of the set up of the Private Apartments, how far people of certain status would get, and what the duties for the vast number of staff attending the monarchs and their consorts consisted off.

Prepare to have the way you view these people challenged, as you learn more about the monarchs behind the glittering crowns and jewels, learn of their struggles to hold onto absolute power through portraiture intended to keep the mystique around the monarchy, whilst also having the personal touch. The only downside is you will definitely wish the book went on for longer.

History lovers and those who find most history books quite dry will easily enjoy this unique look at Tudor History thanks to Dr. Tracy Borman’s easy to read and engaging writing. It truly is a book for everyone — a truly informative and thoroughly enjoyable read.

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Dr. Tracy Borman

Dr. Tracy Borman

Dr. Tracy Borman Tracey Borman is a historian and author from Scothern, United Kingdom. She is most widely known as the author of Elizabeth’s Women.

Borman was born and brought up in the village of Scothern, England near Lincoln. She was educated at Scothern Primary School (now Ellison Boulters School), William Farr School, Welton, and Yarborough School, Lincoln. She taught history at the University of Hull, where she was awarded a Ph.D in 1997.

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To Purchase One of Dr. Tracy Borman’s Outstanding History Books,

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HISTORY BOOKS BY DR. TRACY BORMAN

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The Martyrdom of Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex

July 28, 2016 in News, The Tudor Thomases by Beth von Staats

by Beth von Staats

after Hans Holbein the Younger, line engraving, possibly 18th century © National Portrait Gallery, London

after Hans Holbein the Younger, line engraving, possibly 18th century
© National Portrait Gallery, London

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“Most gracious Prince, I cry for mercy, mercy, mercy!”

– Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex –

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Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, is a study in contrasts. Bearer of a complicated legacy, Cromwell is often demonized for his role in the falls and ultimate executions of Elizabeth Barton, Saint John Fisher, Saint Thomas More, Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry Pole, Henry Courtenay and several others. Vilified for his leadership and efficiency in orchestrating the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Thomas Cromwell with his king’s support and approval ended a way of life going back centuries.

In stark contrast, Thomas Cromwell is also heralded as the architect of the Henrican Reformation. A self-made man who rose from dire poverty, Cromwell brought the English language Bible to England and Wales, stabilized the English economy, patronized the arts, advocated for the poor and down-trodden, and as a “man of laws” changed the very face of Parliament, introducing the notion that governmental laws could and should be established and approved through representation of the people.

It is no surprise then that historian Edward Hall noted, “Many lamented, but more rejoiced,” when Thomas Cromwell was arrested on 10 June 1540.

John Foxe by Martin Droeshout line engraving, 1620s-1630s © National Portrait Gallery, London

John Foxe
by Martin Droeshout
line engraving, 1620s-1630s
© National Portrait Gallery, London

Painted by his detractors as a traitor and “secret sacramentarian”, a sinful heretic who not only denied Roman Catholic transubstantiation but also the Lutheran sacramental union, Thomas Cromwell died via a botched beheading from an inexperienced executioner on Tower Hill, his severed head speared onto a spike placed in exhibition on London Bridge.

Though most view Thomas Cromwell as either a “hero of the common man” or “evil incarnate”, 476 years ago today, 28 July 1540, Cromwell died as neither. Instead, as much as most people rarely consider the possibility, this complex intellectual genius who changed the face of England died a religious martyr for his faith. Martyrist John Foxe honored him alongside other heralded Protestant martyrs in his famous, albeit heavily biased historical accountings — and justifiably so. As Foxe proclaimed in his Book of Martyrs:

In this worthy and noble person, besides divers other eminent virtues, three things especially are to be considered, to wit, flourishing authority, excelling wisdom, and fervent zeal to Christ and to his gospel. First, as touching his fervent zeal in setting forward the sincerity of Christian faith, sufficient is to be seen before by the injunctions, proclamations, and articles… that more cannot almost be wished in a nobleman, and scarce the like hath been seen in any.

How could this be? Thomas Cromwell, a religious martyr?

Foxe’s assessment of Cromwell’s “fervent zeal to Christ and to his gospel” is not overstated. As early as 1524, Cromwell showed plainly his desire to reform the Church in England through his association with merchants such as Thomas Somer, a stock fishmonger who was a known smuggler of evangelical heretical books, including Tyndale’s New Testament.

By 1530, Thomas Cromwell’s faith demonstrated decisively a commitment to fostering of “the new learning” within the realm. Within a year, he was smuggling and organizing the translation and printing of Lutheran works, most notably The Apology of the Augsburg Confession by Philipp Melanchthon. With Sir Thomas More and John Stokesley, Bishop of London, actively chasing heretics, burning six evangelical smugglers at the stake, Thomas Cromwell certainly took dangerous risks to foster his reformist religious agenda – all activities known, and likely far more unknown, accomplished with great secrecy before his service to or any protection from King Henry VIII.

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“My prayer is that God give me no longer life than I shall be glad to use my office in edification and not in destruction.”

– Thomas Cromwell

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To all living in 16th century Tudor England, there was only one true religion, all those disbelieving heretics. The problem became disagreement on what exactly the true religion was. 16th-century religion was serious business. Unfortunately for the subjects of the realm, just what religion one was to adhere to changed with the theological whims of the reigning monarchs and was particularly confusing during the reign of King Henry VIII. Overstep the mark of the king’s ever-changing religious philosophies, and a person would quickly become the victim of judicial murder.

after Unknown artist line engraving, possibly late 18th century © National Portrait Gallery, London

after Unknown artist
line engraving, possibly late 18th century
© National Portrait Gallery, London

As loyal as Thomas Cromwell was to Henry VIII through his ten years of faithful service, eventually he crossed the religious line of the king over an issue the monarch actually never wavered upon. The truth of the matter was that though a sinner by his own admission, Thomas Cromwell, like other evangelicals and Lutherans, believed heart and soul in justification by faith alone. Once King Henry VIII understood what this all meant upon digesting a rousing sermon by Cromwell’s rival Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, at St. Paul’s Cross on the first day of Lent 1540, Thomas Cromwell’s days were numbered.

King Henry VIII, though hateful of the papacy, still held close many Roman Catholic tenants, particularly the notion that abundant good works combined with faith were needed for salvation. This disagreement in religious belief ultimately became a sticking point in the King Henry VIII’s relationship with his most faithful servant, enabling the king to ultimately order Cromwell’s execution after his detractors, most notably Stephen Gardiner and other high ranking conservative clergy, along with Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, orchestrated Cromwell’s arrest and imprisonment upon certainly false charges.

Perhaps most convincing of Thomas Cromwell’s “fervent zeal to Christ and to his gospel” was his speech to those witness to his execution. Though many people, particularly historical fiction writers and arm-chair historians, mistakenly assume Cromwell recanted his Lutheran beliefs by proclaiming, “I die in the Catholic faith, not doubting in any article of my faith…” during his final speech, he, like Martin Luther, Thomas Cranmer, Philipp Melanchthon and other Lutherans and evangelicals, used the term “Catholic” to mean the “Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”. To this day, Lutherans and Anglicans are Catholics. What they are not are papists or “Roman” Catholics, neither term used by Cromwell.

Instead of the recantation many assumed was offered, Thomas Cromwell professed clearly and pointedly to those in witness, to his family, to his king, and to his God his steadfast belief that his salvation could only be justified through his faith and his faith alone. He prayed at the block,

I see and acknowledge that there is in myself no hope of salvation, but all my confidence, hope and trust is in thy most merciful goodness. I have no merits or good works with I may allege before thee… Of sins and evil works, alas, I see a great heap… but through thy mercy, I trust to be in the number of them to whom thou wilt not impute their sins; but will take and accept me for righteous and just…

With Thomas Cromwell’s staunch Lutheran beliefs intact, like Cardinal John Fisher, Sir Thomas More, John Frith, John Lambert, the Carthusian Monks, Father John Forest, and his blessed William Tyndale before him, Thomas Cromwell died a religious martyr to his faith. Though often forgotten, ignored or dispelled, that truth remains undaunted.

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Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury by Pieter Stevens van Gunst line engraving, published 1707 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury
by Pieter Stevens van Gunst
line engraving, published 1707
© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Surviving Partial Letter Composed by

Thomas Cranmer to King Henry VIII

14 June 1540

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…….. I heard yesterday in your Grace’s Council, that he [Crumwell] is a traitor, yet who cannot be sorrowful and amazed that he should be a traitor against your Majesty, he that was so advanced by your Majesty; he whose surety was only by your Majesty; he who loved your Majesty, as I ever thought, no less than God; he who studied always to set forwards whatsoever was your Majesty’s will and pleasure; he that cared for no man’s displeasure to serve your Majesty; he that was such a servant in my judgmentt, in wisdom, diligence, faithfulness, and experience, as no prince in this realm ever had; he that was so vigilant to preserve your Majesty from all treasons, that few could be so secretly conceived, but he detected the same in the beginning? If the noble princes of memory, King John, Henry the Second, and Richard II had had such a counsellor about them, I suppose that they should never have been so traitorously abandoned, and overthrown as those good princes were:

…….. I loved him as my friend, for so I took him to be; but I chiefly loved him for the love which I thought I saw him bear ever towards your Grace, singularly above all other. But now, if he be a traitor, I am sorry that ever I loved him or trusted him, and I am very glad that his treason is discovered in time; but yet again I am very sorrowful; for who shall your Grace trust hereafter, if you might not trust him? Alas! I bewail and lament your Grace’s chance herein, I wot not whom your Grace may trust. But I pray God continually night and day, to send such a counsellor in his place whom your Grace may trust, and who for all his qualities can and will serve your Grace like to him, and that will have so much solicitude and care to preserve your Grace from all dangers as I ever thought he had…….. [14 June 1540.]

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Sir Thomas Wyatt By J. Thurston, engraved by W.H. Worthinton after a drawing by Hans Holbein the younger in the Buckingham Library from Charles Cowden Clarke, The Poetic Works of Sir Thomas Wyatt

Sir Thomas Wyatt
By J. Thurston, engraved by W.H. Worthinton after
a drawing by Hans Holbein the younger in the
Buckingham Library from Charles Cowden Clarke,
The Poetic Works of Sir Thomas Wyatt

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Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Poem Heralding

the Execution of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex

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THE pillar perish’d is whereto I leant,

The strongest stay of my unquiet mind;

The like of it no man again can find,

From east to west still seeking though he went,

To mine unhap, for hap away hath rent

Of all my joy the very bark and rind,

And I, alas, by chance am thus assign’ d

Daily to mourn, till death do it relent.

But since that thus it is by destiny,

What can I more but have a woeful heart;

My pen in plaint, my voice in careful cry,

My mind in woe, my body full of smart;

And I myself, myself always to hate,

Till dreadful death do ease my doleful state.

– Sir Thomas Wyatt

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Coat of Arms Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex

Coat of Arms
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex

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SOURCES:


Cranmer, Thomas, Archbishop, Letter of Thomas Cranmer to King Henry VIII, Regarding Thomas Cromwell, Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature.

Foxe, John, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, 195. Thomas Cromwell.

Loades, David, Thomas Cromwell, Servant to Henry VIII, Amberley Publishing, Gloucestershire, 2013.

Schofield, John, The Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant, The History Press, Gloucestershire, 2008.

Wyatt, Thomas, THE pillar perished is whereto I leant, Luminarium: Renaissance Literature.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beth vo

Beth von Staats

Beth von Staats is a history writer of both fiction and non-fiction short works. A life-long history enthusiast, Beth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She is the owner and administrator of Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers website, QueenAnneBoleyn.com.

Beth’s interest in British History grew through the profound influence of her Welsh grandparents, both of whom desired she learn of her family cultural heritage. Her most pronounced interest lies with the men and women who drove the course of events and/or who were most poignantly impacted by the English Henrician and Protestant Reformations, as well as the Tudor Dynasty of English and Welsh History in general.

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"Thomas Cranmer In a Nutshell" Final Blog Stop

Thomas Cranmer -mini-bio

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