Our second stop in the Fear and Loathing in Tudor England series continues our friends at Tudor Times. As with all important relationships anymore, we ‘met’ on Twitter. It’s amazing how many of my favorite publications and writers connect with with their readers. With that in mind, I would like to introduce you to my friend at Tudor Times. They share a plethora of information on Tudor Times as well as Stewart Times. You will want to download their “Who’s Who in Wolf Hall” as you watch Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, which premieres on PBS, Sunday April 5th. Without further ado, let’s find out about Tudor Times in their own words.
Tudor and Stewart history is our passion. Last year, on a fact-finding trip to Edinburgh and the north of England, we were searching for information on this period. Wouldn’t it be great, we thought, if there was one site, a “go to” site for anything and everything related to Tudors and Stewarts? There is a variety of sites that focus on different aspects of the period, and on well-known individuals from the Tudor era in particular, but we couldn’t find a site that covered it all. So we decided to create one – and Tudor Times was born!
A Range of Themes
We broadly group articles into the themes of People, Places, Daily Life, Politics & Economy, Religion and Military & Warfare. However, these themes cover a wide and eclectic range of topics – Anne Boleyn’s Coronation, Foreign Ambassadors, Ludlow Castle, Bread & Oats, the Exeter Conspiracy, Money in Tudor & Stewart Times, the Howard Family, James VI & Witchcraft, Tewkesbury Abbey, Tudor Dining Habits, the Battle of Sauchieburn and much, much more.
We want to provide material on the broader European context which impacted hugely upon religion, politics and the economy in particular in 16th century England and Scotland, and also, at a personal level on the lives of royalty and nobility especially. To this end, there are articles on the Field of the Cloth of Gold and the Pilgrimage of Grace, for example, and we have plans to add more such articles to the site in the coming months.
Person of the Month
People are endlessly fascinating and none more so than those in Tudor and Stewart times. There are short biographies on a range of people – royals, nobility, gentry, clergy, politicians and more. Family trees for many of them can be downloaded from the site and we are happy to look at requests for those that aren’t currently available.
Each month we have an in-depth focus on a person of interest which includes a detailed biography, a summary of places associated with them, a series of articles on different aspects of their life and personality and reviews of books about them. In the few months the site has been live, we’ve featured Katherine Parr, James IV, Margaret Plantagenet and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. Thomas Cromwell is our Person of the Month for April and May will be Marie de Guise.
We are delighted that several well-known and respected historians have already written some great guest articles for Tudor Times. Alison Weir’s article, “A Royal Scandal”, looks at the inappropriate relationship between Sir Thomas Seymour and the Lady Elizabeth, his wife’s step-daughter. In “The Mischief-Maker”, Linda Porter discusses how James IV capitalised on the threat the Perkin Warbeck conspiracy posed to Henry VII and this month Tracy Borman explores the extent of Thomas Cromwell’s involvement in Anne Boleyn’s downfall.
New and Popular Content
We are continually adding content to the site, almost on a daily basis, so there is always something new to read.
One of most popular articles so far is on Tudor church monuments by the historian and author Elizabeth Norton. As Elizabeth notes, such monuments continue to fascinate, allowing an insight into the world-view of their occupants and patrons and they are available to everyone who chooses to visit them.
Another very popular article is our “Who’s Who in Wolf Hall”, a brief guide to some 100 people at Henry VIII’s court, which we published to coincide with the screening of the hugely popular TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novels about Thomas Cromwell. We’ve marked those that died by execution (hanged, beheaded or burnt) – it’s a scarily large number!
Books, Books and More Books
We love books and there’s a whole section of the site devoted to books. We review a variety of books and in, our book club, highlight one each month for discussion and comments. We provide an on-line bookshop dedicated to the Tudors and Stewarts and we feature interviews with authors, such as Chris Skidmore, Jessie Childs and Elizabeth Fremantle.
Excerpt from “James IV: His Wife & Four Mistresses”
James IV was a man of huge energy and drive. He took delight in the physical pleasures of life – music, poetry, rich foods, gambling, tournaments and food. This enjoyment of the physical included a love of women. He was well-known for having a string of mistresses. These women were not, however, just passing fancies (although there were some of those) but were also political statements. A mistress could rise and fall with her family and a change in the King’s companion could signal a change in his policy. It seems that unmarried Scottish ladies of good birth were prepared to enter into relationships with the king, or other nobles – which was rather different from England, where such affairs would be considered disgraceful.
James’ first “official” mistress was Marion Boyd. Marion was the niece-by-marriage of Archibald “Bell-the-cat” Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus. Angus had been involved in the rebellion that overthrew James III, but, suspect for his pro-English stance, had been side-lined by Bothwell and Hume in their initial control of James IV’s government. Angus, one of the richest and most powerful nobles in Scotland found a way around his exclusion by keeping James company at the dice and card tables. It would have been easy for him to introduce Marion to the King. The affair lasted for about three years, from 1492 to 1495, during which period Marion bore two children, Alexander Stewart and Katherine Stewart.
Get in Touch with The Tudor Times Team
It is early days as we’ve only been live for a few months but we’ve been delighted with the response to the site so far – and the discovery that there are so many people out there who share our love of the Tudors and Stewarts. So have a look at our site www.tudortimes.co.uk, comment on our book of the month, sign up for our newsletter, follow us on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/thetudortimes), like us on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/TudorTimes) and get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!