Parish registers (of baptism, marriage and funeral)

These date back to 1538 in England and Wales, finally being replaced in 1837 by general registration. It is generally thought that Henry VIII (and Thomas Cromwell) introduced them to know who was attending these Anglican services and who was not. Alternatively, Henry may just have wanted to keep track of the 72,000 people whose… Continue reading Parish registers (of baptism, marriage and funeral)

Quite an unfortunate family

Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, cannot be called unlucky. The story of his revolt against Richard III, ending in Salisbury at the start of November 1483 is so well known that even Shakespeare has the right end of this particular stick. However, his family suffered fates that they didn’t always deserve so obviously: 1)… Continue reading Quite an unfortunate family

History and cultural history (I)

As we have observed before, Shakespeare’s plays tend to be historically inaccurate but they make good cultural history for his own lifetime. As an example, we took King Lear (probably written 1605-6), in which Cordelia was executed for political reasons, something that almost never happened to women before 1536, in England or Scotland. Similarly, the… Continue reading History and cultural history (I)

Henry VII’s tax-raising friends….

If there is one thing a lot of people know about Henry VII—apart from his dastardly defeat of Richard III at Bosworth in August 1485—it is that the latter part of his reign was a dreadful time for England. His avarice became almost oxygen to him, and he allowed his ministers to inflict truly dreadful… Continue reading Henry VII’s tax-raising friends….

New ‘Historians’…New Myths

Historians, historians. It seems we have a new generation writing about the Wars of the Roses and Richard, but still plying the same old, same old. Only with a new and disturbing twist. The current crop of books seem aimed at the ‘yoof’ market, targeted especially towards those whose knowledge of the Wars of the… Continue reading New ‘Historians’…New Myths

A dramatic change

Something happened to the British kingdoms just half a century after Bosworth. From 1536, the second “Tudor” (and his like-minded nephew James V) began to execute women for political offences, a practice unknown hitherto. There had been exceptions such as the St. Brice’s Day Massacre in 1002, although Ethelred had neither judged nor attainted his… Continue reading A dramatic change

Those misunderstood “Tudors”?

According to Holinshed, the cuddly Henry VIII ordered the executions of some 72,000 people. Adding in the effects of his father’s reign and those of his children might well take the total to about 100,000 although that may exaggerate their rate somewhat. What a good thing this wasn’t a recognised separate dynasty until Hume’s time,… Continue reading Those misunderstood “Tudors”?

Arthur Capell, Baron Hadham – the accidental traitor

IntroductionThe middle of the seventeenth century was a turbulent time and it would be very surprising were not some remnants of the House of York involved. Indeed, Ashby de la Zouch Castle, property of Ferdinando, Earl of Huntingdon, was slighted during this time as a result of his participation. Another Royalist partisan was Arthur Capell,… Continue reading Arthur Capell, Baron Hadham – the accidental traitor

Whatever happened to Henry Pole the Younger? (2011)

I am not sure that every Ricardian will have survived watching the first two series of BBC2’s “The Tudors”, as first mentioned here, with its historical anachronisms, miscasting in some roles, confused chronology and obsession with bedroom scenes. Nevertheless, the third series is showing signs of improvement, particularly with its focus on the Pole family.… Continue reading Whatever happened to Henry Pole the Younger? (2011)