Friday, January 27, 2012

Photo Friday: The Scaffold Monument

Here is the memorial erected on (or near) the scaffold site within the Tower of London. Because the scaffold was built and taken down numerous times in different areas, there is no "one" scaffold site. However, this monument is meant to remember those who lost their lives (whether justly or unjustly) within the cold walls of the Tower.

The inscriptions reads:

Gentle visitor pause awhile, where you stand death cut away the light of many days. Here jewelled names were broken from the vivid thread of life, may they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage under these restless skies.

What think ye of the monument?
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As of Feb. 1, the Everything Tudor Store will not be accepting orders. This is, hopefully, a temporary closure. I have had trouble getting some of my supplies from my supplier in a timely manner. Once this issue is resolved, I hope to re-open the store. Orders place before Feb. 1 will be processed. However, orders after Feb. 1 will not. I'm sorry to do this, but I want to provide the best service I can in the shortest amount of time possible. Unfortunately, it is out of my hands at the moment, but should hopefully be fixed soon. Thanks for your continued support and patience! Pin It

Friday, January 20, 2012

Photo Friday: Tomb of Francois I and Claude de France

This image was taken during my trip to France in 2008. Here we see a close up of the grave of Francois I (contemporary king...and rival...of Henry VIII). What I found interesting about this tomb was the relief showing Francois and Claude (both naked minus a cloth covering a few "private" bits) lying as if they had just passed away. They lay in very realistic poses, quite unlike other Medieval and Renaissance tombs which show the figures in stiff, formal poses, adorned with jewels. Pin It

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tudor Tart: Anne Bourchier

No known portrait of Anne exists. However,
here is a portrait of an unknown lady.

In 1527, at the age of ten, Anne was married to William Parr, 1st Marques of Northampton. The marriage was not the happiest. In 1541, Parr began an affair with one of Quene Katheryn Howard's Maid of Honor (honor?). Anne, likewise, began her own affair with a man named John Lyngfield, Prior of St. James' Church (prior?). Anne took it a step further by running away with the man! It became an even bigger scandal when Anne bore Lyngfield an illegitimate child. This prompted Parr to seek legal action against his wife. A respectable Lord couldn't have his wife birthing other mens' babies! The request for divorce is dated Jan. 22, 1543. In it, the account states

"Whereas lady Anne, wife of Sir Wm Parre lord Parre continued in adultery notwithstanding admonition, and finally, two years past, left his company and has since had a child begotten in adultery and that said child and all future children she may have shall be held bastards."  
Lord Parr
Things really began to get hairy when Lord Parr demanded the death penalty for his wife for her adulterous behavior. Henry VIII, who one would think would be supportive of such an action, declined. The reason? His new fling, a Lady Catherine Parr (and sister to Lord Parr) begged him to spare Anne. The two were close friends.

Despite Lord Parr's attempt to have his wife executed, she (and sevearl other women...) intervened for him in 1553, saving him from being sent to the block by Mary I for his part in the Lady Jane Grey affair. Despite this, the two never got back together. Anne bore John a few more children, dying in 1556. Lord Parr died not long after.

Now, what think ye? Was Anne an adulterous tart who should have gone to the block? Or was she simply giving her hubby a taste of his own medicine, eventually taking the higher ground and saving his neck? Pin It

Fashion or Flop? Elizabeth Cornwallis

Though we only see half of Lady Cornwallis' ensemble, it appears she is wearing a red overcoat, detailed with black fur, over a white gown, covered in an embroidered sheer fabric. The outfit is finished off with a black cap, adorned with a large white plume, a high white neck frill, and a lovely pair of gloves.

What think ye? Fashion, or flop?
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

King by Conquest, NOT by Marriage

On Jan. 18th, 1486. Henry VII, the newly proclaimed King of England married Elizabeth of York. Henry VII had made sure to wed his new bride after he was proclaimed and crowned King. Why did he do this? Well, perhaps it is because his new bride had a far better claim to the throne than he did. He, actually, was not the best candidate for King. His claim to the throne came from his mother's line. Margaret Beaufort was descended from John of Gaunt, third son of Edward III. Margaret was born to one of the children John and his mistress, Katheryn Swynford, had before their marriage. Though the children were later legitimized, they were barred from the succession. Thus, Henry really had little claim to the crown. His wife, on the other hand, was the only surviving child of King Edward IV. She was the heir to throne after the mysterious disappearance of her brothers, Edward V and Richard, Duke of York (also known as the Princes in the Tower).

Despite all this, Henry was crowned King because he won it, defeating Richard III in battle. Thus, he was "King by Conquest." Marrying Elizabeth of York after he was victorious ensured that he ruled in his own right, not by marriage. Pin It

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fashion or Flop? Edward Fiennes, 1st Earl of Clinton

 Edward Fiennes, 1st Earl of Clinton is shown wearing a black doublet, adorned with gold rope detail, and gold buttons. He dones a large white neck ruff, as well as matching small white ruffs at the wrist. Over his doublet he wears a brown fur cloak. His ensemble is topped off with a tall black cap (with matching buttons), white silk stockings, and an intricate Chain of Estate.

What think ye? Fashion or flop?
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Photo Friday: Hever Castle

This photo was taken during my trip to Hever in Spring 2009. Parts of the castle date back as far as 1270. It has had such famous residents as Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves, and William Waldorf Astor. Pin It

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Roguish Rake: Sir Francis Drake

This week, our Roguish Rake is none other than Sir Francis Drake. He bagn his sailing career early, sailing to the New World in 1563, when he was only 23. In 1568, Drake was nearly captured by the Spanish in the English defeat at San Juan de Ulua. From that moment on, Drake vowed to get even with the Spanish. 

The "Drake Jewel"
In 1573, Drake and his men attacked a Spanish mule train. They quickly discovered they now possessed 20 tons of gold a silver. They buried much of the treasure and, taking as much as they could carry, forged through 18 miles of jungle to the shore. They were quickly disheartened when they discovered their raiding boats were gone. Drake, rallying his men, made a raft and traveled down the coast to his flag ship. Once on board, his remaining men asked how the raid had gone. He looked down, disheartened, then laughed and, pulling a large gold necklace from around his neck, said, "Our voyage is made, lads!"

Elizabeth I sent Drake on many "voyages," resulting in many tons of Spanish gold and silver. When Drake finally returned to England, they carried a treasure trove. Elizabeth' half of the treasure surpassed the crown's annual income! Despite this, Elizabeth regarded Drake's voyage as classified. She did not want the Spanish to know she supported his efforts against them. However, she did knight him on April 4, 1581. Elizabeth also gave Drake a jeweled portrait. It still survives today, known today as the "Drake Jewel." 

He became a hero in Elizabethan England, serving as second in command during the attack by the Spanish Armada. According to tradition, Drake was playing a game of bowls when he was warned of the approaching Spanish felt. He calmly sated that there was plenty of time to finish his game and beat the Spanish. In 1595/6, Drake led several unsuccessful campaigns against the Spanish off the South American coast. At one point, a cannon ball even flew through Drake's cabin. However, he continued. In Jan. 1596, Drake died of dysentery at the age of 55. He was buried at sea, dressed in his full armor, in a lead coffin.

Drake was affectionately known as a hero, knight, and, most cleverly, a privateer to the English. However, he was a rake, villain, and, worst of all, a pirate to the Spanish.

What think ye? Hero, or Pirate?
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pastyme With Good Companye: Jousting and The Tournament

Henry VIII jousting, while Katherine of Aragon and her ladies look on.

Jousting was one of the most popular sport at the Tudor Court. Originating as a way for soldiers to practice their equestrian skills and maintain their military prowess, jousting eventually developed into a sport played at tournaments within the Royal Court during the Middle Ages. By the Renaissance, the sport had grown so much in popularity that specialized armor had been developed especially for it. It was much heavier than combat armor, weighing as much as 100 pounds.

Henry VIII's jousting armor
Jousting, however, was only a part of the "Tournament." The Tournament involved a series of events, beginning with a Vespers Tourney. This was held in the eve of the actual jousting tournament, and involved the younger knights and squires competing with one another before the experienced knights and court. It gave them the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities.

The first day of the Tournament opened with a formal procession called an Invocation. The Tree of Shields was placed at the end of the tournament field. It displayed the shields of all of the competitors. As the competitions  were completed, the shields of the winners were moved up the "tree" until the final two competitors were side by side.

The second day of the Tournament, the helms of the competitors were displayed and inspected by the Ladies of the Court. On the third day of the Tournament, the Chevalier d'honneur was chosen. This position served as a type of umpire for the Tournament. On the last day of the Tournament, the winner was awarded a prize, and all participants embraced as a sign of companionship. Each day, as the Tournament ended, competitors and members of the court were met with feasting and dancing. The biggest celebration followed the last day of competition.

Melee fighting
Other types of sports were also performed during a Tournament, like melee, which involved a group of  knights combating on foot.

Despite the festive mood of the Tournament, it could also be very dangerous. Henry VIII was hurt several times competing in jousting matches. The last injury occurred in 1536. While jousting, Henry fell from his horse, which then fell on him. He was knocked unconscious for two hours. The court thought he would die. However, he pulled through. Soon after his second wife, Anne Boleyn, was arrested, charged with treason, and executed. His reign of tyranny had begun. Some scholars think this accident caused a deep brain injury, which changed his personality and profoundly changed him for the rest of his life, causing him become tyrannical, paranoid, and unpredictable. He also suffered from a leg injury, which chronically plagued him the rest of his life, causing severe pain and horrible mood swings.

Henry VIII wasn't the only King injured in jousting. In 1559, King Henry II of France suffered severe wounds from a jousting accident. He died soon after. This ended jousting as a sport in France. Pin It

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Who Wore it Best? Anne Boleyn or Elizabeth I

This gown, originally made for the 2006 film Elizabeth, was reused in The Tudors. Who do you think wore it best? Mother or daughter?

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Photo Friday: The White Tower

Since I use so many portraits on the site, I thought I would share a weekly photo from my own personal travels (because one really needs a "good" excuse to show off their photos). Hope you enjoy!

The White Tower - Built by William the Conqueror in 1066.
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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pastyme With Good Companye: Games

Playing cards was one of the most popular pastymes at the Tudor Royal Court. One such

"The Cardsharps"
card game was "Pope July" (aka Pope Joan). The game grew in popularity during Henry VIII's nullity suit against Katherine of Aragon. The game involves a staking board, divided into eigh compartments (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Game, Pope - the Nine of Diamonds, Matrimony - the King or Queen of Trumps, and Intrigue - the Queen or Jack of Trumps). Before dealing, the 8 of Diamonds is removed from the Deck to form a "stop" sequence. The cards are then dealt. The first player lays down their lowest card, then as many as they can in order to form an unbroken sequence of their cards (with Ace being the lowest in the sequence and the King being the highest). Once their sequence is finished, their turn is over. The next player repeats the step. The first player to run out of cards wins. For more detailed instructions, see this website on historic card games.

Bowls was another game often played in the warmer months at the Royal Court. It is a lawn game, played on a flat open grassy area. Nine balls are used (four for each opponent, and one which is the target). The target ball (or "jack") is rolled to the opposite end of the field. Each opponent, in turn, rolls their ball in the hopes of landing closest to it. The winner is determined by who has the most balls closest to the "jack." This game, developed in the 13th Century, is still very popular in the UK, USA, and Australia today.

Apparently Anne Boleyn was not very good at the game. After attempting to play and losing, Henry VIII paid her gamble of 12 GBP (about 3,600 GBP) for her.

Henry VIII, much like many of the young men of his court, enjoyed "Real Tennis." Henry VIII had several courts built at his palaces (including one at Hampton Court in 1530), as did

Francois I. Though Henry V was one of the first monarchs to play the game, Henry VIII made it famously known as "the sport of Kings." Legend has it that Anne Boleyn was watching a game of Real Tennis when she was arrested for treason.

In play, it is very similar to lawn tennis (or modern tennis). The ball is served, much like in tennis, and points are calculated similarly. However, balls can be bounced off the walls of the court. Points can even be gained by hitting the ball through a window! 

Board Games were also played at the Tudor Court, some of which, like chess and backgammon, are still played today. One game, called Checkers or "Queck" was also play. It, however, is not related to modern Checkers. Gambling was a very popular pastyme at the Tudor court, and was often incorporated into other games, to make the more interesting, one presumes. Henry VIII had a special allowance for his gambling, as did each of his wives. Anne Boleyn was apparently a brash gambler. Henry VIII would only give her a "small" amount of money at a time to gamble with (about 5 GBP - 1,500 GBP in today's money).

When not at tournaments, masques, or hunting, it seems that the Tudors had plenty of games to keep them entertained. I suppose in a time before tv, they had to be inventive! I find it fascinating that many of the games that were played back then, are still enjoyed today, despite all of our media distractions! Are there any games enjoyed by the Tudors that you play? Pin It

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fashion or Flop? Lady Jane Grey

Here, Lady Jane is shown in a heavy damask gown adorned with silver thread and jewels. Though a heavy fabric, it is made almost "girly" and "fun" with its pink and cream swirls.

Aside: This is a portrait identified as that of Lady Jane Grey, the unfortunate "Nine Days Queen." However, the identity of the sitter is unknown.

I believe that it is Jane. It does bear a resemblance to Mary Tudor/Suffolk, Jane's Grandmother. This is, in fact, my favorite portrait of Jane. Unlike many Tudor portraits, I feel that the artist really captured Jane's features, making her appear "real" rather than romanticized, as many portraits are want to do. 
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pastyme With Good Companye: Masques

No that the holiday season is over (sadly) I will continue my article series "Pastyme with Good Companye." Today I will write about one of the most entertaining pastymes: Masques.

Example of costume designs from a masque.
Masques began as simple performances by masked dancers. Originally, the masked dancers would appear at an event (such as a wedding) or at a Nobleman's home. They would dance and play music, inviting spectators to join in. At the end of the dance, their masks would be removed and the dancers' identities revealed.

Early in his reign, the playful King would participate in smaller masques, such as the time he and a few of his groomsmen "surprised" Queen Katherine of Aragon, dressed as Robin Hood and his band of merry men, inviting the Queen and her ladies to dance. Of course, as any good wife, Katherine was pleasantly shocked to find that the man she had been dancing with was her husband once his mask was removed.

Though these small masques offered quick diversions from the humdrum of court life, most masques were turned into large, and expensive, productions.

Sketch of a masque performance.
One such production was the performance of Chateau Vert, in 1522. During the performance, a large castle is occupied by vices (each vice is represented by a woman of the court). These vices are holding all good virtues prisoner (likewise, played by a woman of the court). A band of men (also representing virtues) attack the castle (symbolically with fruits and rose petals). They take the castle and rescue the lady virtues. In celebration, the victors perform a dance for the spectators. It is thought by some historians that this particular masque introduced Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who performed as Honesty and Perseverance.

Below is a clip of this masque from The Tudors:

By Elizabeth I's reign, the masque often emphasized Elizabeth's relationship with her people. One such masque was performed over the course of two weeks for the Queen! A small masque even appears in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Masques continued on through the Stuart era, performed even through the reign of Charles II. However, the tradition eventually died out and are rarely written or performed today. Probably the closest thing we would have to a masque in our time would be a ballet. Pin It