Early Tudor Palaces and Country Houses


Early Tudor Palaces and Country Houses


Compton Wynyates

Public Domain: 19th century print or a watercolour from Nash Mansions of England published in 1870
Public Domain

“The delightful red-brick manor house of Compton Wynyates in Warwickshire, was begun by Edmund Compton in 1481, just prior to the accession of the House of Tudor. Edmund’s sturdy but good-looking country home was given some elegant editions, including porch and some towers by his son, the prominent Tudor courtier, Sir William Compton, between 1493 and 1528.” –The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillips (p.348)

King Henry VIII’s room at Compton Wynyates had stained glass windows featuring the royal arms and throne of Aragon – the royal arms of his future wife, Katharine of Aragon. In 1572, Elizabeth I also stayed in the same room as her father.

In later years Compton Wynyates became uninhabited. This caused the house to decay and nearly fell into complete ruin. In 1768 it was ordered by Lord Northampton to be demolished, but the order was not carried out. In the late 19th century it was restored and in 1884 was once again inhabited by the 5th Marquess of Northampton.

Hampton Court Palace

Photo Credit: Christopher Wren / CC BY-SA 3.0

“One of England’s finest royal building associated with the magnificent court of Henry VIII, although major changes were made in the 17th century during the reign of William and Mary. The palace came into royal hands as a gift from the statesman, Cardinal Wolsey to his royal master, Henry VIII.” -The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillips (p.350)

In an episode of “The Tudors” on Showtime, it shows Henry VIII becoming a little distraught by the grandeur of the palace that Wolsey had built - it was greater than any palace Henry had at the time. Once Wolsey noticed Henry’s reaction to the grand palace he offered it as a gift to His Majesty. At this time Wolsey was starting to fall out of favor of the  king and out of self-preservation offered his splendid palace…I’m sure Hampton Court Palace was hard to part with, but then again, so is your head.

(c) Trinity College, University of Cambridge; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Trinity College, University of Cambridge; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Hever Castle

Public Domain
Photo Credit: The Giant Puffin / Public Domain

“The moated and fortified manor house of Hever Castle, near Edenbridge in Kent, was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, mother of Elizabeth l. Henry VIII was a frequent visitor in the 1520’s when he paid court to Anne.”- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillips (p.352)

After the death of Anne’s father Hever Castle was taken over by the Crown. Henry VIII gave it to Anne of Cleves after their divorce in 1540. When Anne of Cleves died in 1557 the Castle again reverted to the Crown until Queen Mary l gifted it to Sir Edward Waldegrave.  For more on what happened: Hever Castle & Gardens – Owners

© National Portrait Gallery, London
Anne of Cleves
Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein the Younger

Leeds Castle

CC BY-SA 3.0
Photo credit: Sophie Templer / CC BY-SA 3.0

“Henry VIII took a great liking to Leeds Castle in Kent, and carried out lavish improvements, transforming it from castle to fortified palace. The King was often in Kent, where he was entertained at Penhurst Place and visited Anne Boleyn at Hever Castle. Leeds Castle had well-established royal links, and had been favoured by kings and queens since Edward l honeymooned there in 1299.” –The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillips (p.353)

In 1519, Henry VIII transformed Leeds Castle for his wife Katherine of Aragon.

Katherine of Aragon
Katherine of Aragon

Sulgrave Manor

Photo Credit: Cathy Cox / CC BY-SA 2.0

“The sturdy, unpretentious manor house at Sulgrave, in Northamptonshire, was built in the early Tudor years by a direct ancestor of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America. Lawrence Washington, younger son of a prominent Lancashire family, was born c. 1500. He became a wool merchant and bought the Priory of St. Andrew, Northhamptonshire, from the Crown in 1539, following Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries.”The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillips (p.356)

Edinburgh Castle & Holyroodhouse

Photo Credit: Kim Traynor / CC BY-SA 3.0

“Edinburgh Castle was a well-established stronghold and royal dwelling by the latter years of the 14th century when the future Robert ll build David’s Tower, containing royal apartments. In the mid-1430’s, James l built a new Great Chamber, probably alongside the royal accommodations in the Tower. His successor, James ll, brought the great siege gun of Mons Meg to the castle, which assumed an increasingly important role as a royal artillery.”The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillips (p.358)

The increased use of Edinburgh Castle as Scotland’s principal foundry in 1511 left little room for the royal family to stay. In the meantime, the royals began to stay more regularly at the Abbey of Holyrood. King James IV built Holyroodhouse as his principal residence in the late 15th century.

Holyroodhouse – Photo Credit: Kim Traynor / CC BY-SA 3.0
James IV of Scotland

Following her return from France in 1561 Mary, Queen of Scots stayed at Holyroodhouse. In 1565 she married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley there, and in 1566 the brutal murder of David Rizzio catapulted Mary into scandal after Lord Darnley was suspected of orchestrating the murder.

Mary, Queen of Scots
David Rizzio
David Rizzio











Falkland Palace & Stirling Castle

Falkland Palace – Photo Credit: Sam Styles / CC BY-SA 2.0

“Falkland Palace began as a castle built by the Macduffs, earls of Fife, probably in the 13th century. James ll extended the castle and frequently visited it to hunt deer and wild board. After 1458, when he granted a charter, it was known as Falkland Palace.” “James V’s daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, was a frequent visitor to Falkland Palace after her return to Scotland from French exile in 1561.”The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillips (p.359)

King James ll of Scotland
King James II of Scotland

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most historically important sites and was once a favoured residence of the Stewart kings and queens who held grand celebrations at the castle.

Knights, nobles and foreign ambassadors once flocked to Stirling Castle to revel in its grandeur with its superb sculptures and beautiful gardens. It was a favoured residence of the Stewart kings and queens who held grand celebrations from christenings to coronations.” – VisitScotland.com

Stirling Castle http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
Stirling Castle – Photo Credit: Finlay McWalter / CC BY-SA 3.0

Deal Castle

Photo Credit: Lieven Smits / CC BY-SA 3.0

“Henry VIII built the low-lying artillery fort of Deal Castle, in Kent, as one of a string of coastal fortifications built around England’s south coast in the later 1530s and early 1540s. Following his break with the Church of Rome, he feared invasion by the armies of a Franco-Spanish Catholic alliance brokered by the Pope.”The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillips (p.360)

Notice how from above Deal Castle looks like the Tudor Rose. Henry VIII was in his late 40s when he build these forts. Anne of Cleves is said to have stayed at Deals Castle after her long voyage from Europe on her way to London to meet her future husband.

Henry Vlll in 1542
Anne of Cleves - 1540s
Anne of Cleves – 1540s

Syon House

Public Domain
Public Domain

The splendid Syon House, now surrounded by London’s westward sprawl at Brenford in Middlesex, was built during the reign of Edward VI by his uncle Edward, Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector. Somerset built a three-storey building with battlements and angle turrets around a central courtyard. His house stood on the foundations of the abbey church that had belonged to the convent on the side.” –The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillips (p.362)

The land which Syon House was built had originally belonged to a convent. The nuns’ confessor, Richard Reynolds refused to accept Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church of England – he was was executed and his body placed on the gateway of the abbey to be used as an example of what happens to those who refuse to accept the Act of Supremacy.

Henry’s fifth wife, Katherine Howard was detained here prior to her execution in 1542.

Henry’s coffin rested at Syon House on it’s journey to Westminster and had burst open overnight- dogs were said to be seen gnawing on the royal corpse. Many suspected divine retribution since this happened at Syon House and the events that took place years earlier.

Katherine Howard
Katherine Howard

Sudeley Castle

Photo Credit: Wdejager / CC BY-SA 4.0

“The 15th century Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire was rebuilt in the late 1540s by Lord Thomas Seymour. Thomas was the brother of the Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector to Edward VI; their sister, Jane, had been Henry VIII’s third wife, who had died giving birth to Edward in 1537, making the brothers the young king’s uncles.”The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillips (p.363)

After the king’s death, Thomas Seymour married Henry’s widow Katherine Parr. Thomas and Katherine moved into Sudeley Castle where she gave birth to their daughter, Mary on 30 August 1548. Katherine died there from puerperal fever a week later and was buried in St. Mary’s Church near the castle.

Thomas Seymour
Thomas Seymour
Katherine Parr
Katherine Parr

The Troubled Life of Mary I of England

Birth: 18 February 1516, Greenwich Palace
Father: Henry VIII
Mother: Katherine of Aragon
Accession: 19 July 1553
Coronation: 1 October 1553
Husband: Philip II of Spain (m. 25 July 1554)

Preceded by: Edward VI
Succeeded by: Elizabeth I

The Pearl of the Realm

In history, Mary Tudor is best known as “Bloody Mary.” She was so much more than what history painted her to be as a ruler. If we go back to the beginning of her life we’ll be able to get a better understanding of who she was and what shaped her to be the ruler she became later in life.

Born 18 February 1516, at Greenwich Palace, Mary was the only surviving child of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon. By 1516, her  mother had already lost four children, and the arrival of a healthy child was news for celebration. With that being said, let’s be completely honest and talk about the fact that Henry VIII was still greatly disappointed that Mary was not a boy. He was already frustrated that he and his queen had not produced a male heir for the throne of England.  Katherine of Aragon was already thirty years old – not too old to conceive more children but the fact that she had only produced one healthy child over the past seven years was worrisome for Henry.


Mary was raised as Princess of Wales at  Ludlow Castle. She was very much her mother’s daughter. By all accounts Mary was an attractive, fresh-faced girl who excelled at her studies. She was fluent in Latin, Greek, French, Italian and her mother’s language, Spanish. Mary also loved music; She loved to sing and dance and could play the lute and virginals. She would make a great wife and queen consort some day. Queen consort? At the time there were no expectations of a female ruler of England and Mary should’ve been married off at a young age to a new or existing ally to help strengthen her father’s position. But as we know that did not happen.

When Henry VIII grew tired of waiting for Katherine to produce an heir his attentions turned to one of her Ladies in Waiting, Anne Boleyn.  Henry’s favor towards his only surviving child fell along with his marriage to her mother, Katherine the Queen when Anne Boleyn came into the picture. Anne made Henry believe that he could produce a male heir with her, and not Katherine.

Henry fought for an annulment from Katherine of Aragon on the grounds that she had consummated her first marriage with his brother, Arthur Tudor (Prince of Wales) on their wedding night. However, a papal dispensation had been obtained so Henry could marry his brother’s wife (and continue to have Spain as an ally) – so why would he argue the consummation at this point? Henry wanted to be free of Katherine so he could conceive a male heir.  He blamed Katherine for this not happening during their marriage. He claimed that since she consummated her marriage with Arthur (which she always denied) that God did not agree with their marriage or he would have provided them with a son and heir.


The ”King’s Great Matter,” as they called it (his fight for annulment) lasted roughly six years. This says a lot about his personality and his desire and determination for a male heir. Henry was willing to toss away a wife (whom he loved dearly at one time), and a daughter that he adored, for his cause.

When Henry eventually broke from Rome, so did his relationship with his daughter. He married his mistress Anne Boleyn and Mary fell from favor quickly. At the age of 17 she went from being Henry’s “pearl of the realm” to being cast aside like her mother and declared a bastard/illegitimate. She was to be called Lady Mary. I can only imagine what this would have been like for Mary.  How could a father completely abandoned his daughter for something she had no control over? She must have felt abandoned and alone with only her mother to comfort her.

Mary and Katherine’s relationship grew stronger after the estrangement from Henry.  They were both fighters and wanted everyone to know that they were indeed the rightful Queen and Princess of England in God’s eyes- regardless of what Henry declared. This was a thorn in Henry’s side and went against everything he was fighting for.  After he married Anne Boleyn many of his subjects still believed that Katherine was the rightful Queen of England and was treated unjustly by Henry, and the same went for Mary.

During the reign of Anne Boleyn both Katherine and Mary feared for their lives. As long as they were alive they were a threat to Anne’s reign.  They were never sure how it would happen but they believed that Anne would try to have them poisoned. What a fretful time for them both – with the constant fear of attack. Mary fell frequently ill over the years and her doctors stated they believed it was due to the ill-treatment by her father and Anne.

When Princess Elizabeth was born in September of 1533 Lady Mary was sent to her household in Hatfield to be a Lady-in-Waiting to her half-sister. This demotion would have been considered a slap in the face to someone who still considered herself Princess of Wales. She was accustomed to having her own household of ladies and tutors and never had she imagined being part of another’s household, let alone her half-sister, daughter of the woman she despised. Imagine the resentment she had for her Elizabeth at this time.

When Mary refused to accept Henry as the Head of the Church of England he banned her from seeing her mother. When either Katherine or Mary would fall ill they had requested the King allow them to see one another – he would refuse. What an awful thing for someone to do, just because he feared what would happen if they were together. Eventually Katherine died without ever seeing her precious daughter again.  How jaded would one become towards their father if they had been denied by him to see their dying mother?

As any princess would, Mary imagined marrying a prince (or a king), having babies and being happy someday. After seeing what her mother went through I believe she was all the more desperate to start her own family and find happiness again.


After Anne Boleyn’s fall from grace Henry extended an olive branch to Mary. If she would accept him as the Head of the Church of England (and annulment of her parent’s marriage) he would return her to favor once again. Mary refused. It wasn’t until Mary’s cousin, Charles V persuaded her to do so that Mary finally signed the Act of Supremacy. This was something that Mary regretted the rest of her life because it went against everything she truly believed in.

When Henry married Jane Seymour he welcomed his daughter back to court. She was given a household befitting her position as his daughter and was included in court festivities. At the time there were even rumors of a possible marriage in her future. It seemed at this point that Mary’s fortunes had begun to change.

Jane Seymour had been a lady in the household of Katherine of Aragon and had great respect for Lady Mary and her mother.  When Jane gave birth to Prince Edward Lady Mary was by her side. Jane felt so close with Mary that she named her Prince Edward’s godmother.

Mary continued to be by Jane’s side after she passed away in 1537 by being her chief mourner. After Jane’s death Henry could not escape the fragility of life and the uncertainty of the succession. He named his son Edward his successor, then Edward’s sons – if Edward had no sons then it would pass to his sister Mary and then to Elizabeth.  Finally Mary was given the respect she always deserved!

When Henry VIII died in 1547 her Protestant brother Edward became King of England. Mary despised the fact that her brother was a Protestant and left court to live elsewhere to practice her Catholic faith. This was a smart move by Mary. She had learned from her past. Edward and Mary had a good relationship beside the fact that they had opposite religious beliefs.

Before Edward died, after reigning only seven years, he attempted to change the Act of Succession to keep England a Protestant country. He did this by removing his sisters and naming Lady Jane Grey as his heir along with any of her future sons. As we know from history this did not go over well.  The English people regarded Mary very highly and knew she was meant to be Queen of England by Henry VIII’s Act of Succession.  After only nine days, Jane Grey was deposed as queen (though never crowned) and Mary had finally taken her rightful place on the throne of England.  She became England’s first true Queen Regnant.


After Mary’s coronation she understood the importance of marrying and having children. Mary was adamant in returning England to what it was before her father changed everything and broke from Rome. What she considered the true religion. At 37 years old, Mary was nearing the end of her child-bearing years and believed she had to return her country to the true faith – the Catholic religion. If she had children they would indeed continue to carry-on the true religion on her behalf.

When it came to choosing a potential suitor Mary had a short list. Among them was Edward Courteney (one of her favorites) and Reginald Pole – the son of Margaret Pole (Mary’s former governess and niece to Edward IV & Richard III). When Mary sought advice from Charles V, whom she had once agreed could choose a husband for her, he suggested his only son, Philip II of Spain. He would, upon the death of his father, become King of Spain. Spain would prove a strong ally for England.

Mary was attracted to the portrait of Philip and liked the idea of a Catholic husband. Her subjects were not as keen to the match since he was a foreign ruler whom they feared would try to rule England himself, especially if Mary died before him as she was ten years his senior. The only way that the council would approve the marriage is if Philip was only King of England for the duration of their marriage and that he would be unable to make any proclamation or sign any treaty on his own. England would also be under no obligation to support Spain in any acts of war. The benefit for Philip in this deal? Any English subject who did not obey Philip would be guilty of treason.

Mary and Philip were married on 25 July 1554, at Winchester Cathedral, only two days after they first met in person. Philip could not speak any English so Mary would speak Spanish with him.

In September 1554, only a few months after their wedding Mary believed she was pregnant. She had stopped menstruating, had gained weight and suffered from nausea in the mornings – all signs of pregnancy. In July 1555, Mary’s stomach receded and it soon became evident that she was not pregnant.  This was most likely a false pregnancy, perhaps induced by Mary’s overwhelming desire to have a child, or from illness. In August, soon after the disgrace of the false pregnancy, which Mary considered to be “God’s punishment” for her having “tolerated heretics” in her realm, Philip returned to Spain to command his armies against France in Flanders. Mary was heartbroken and depressed by the departure of her new husband who she loved deeply.  It would seem that Mary was not meant to be happy and to have a family.

Philip returned for a visit to England in the spring or summer of 1557 and soon after Mary believed she was pregnant again. This would also result in a  false pregnancy. In May 1558, Mary fell ill and nine months later, on 17 November 1558, she died.  On the very same day Reginald Pole, a man she had considered a potential husband, died from an influenza outbreak.

Mary had been in pain, possibly from ovarian cysts or uterine cancer.  Philip, who was in Brussels at the time wrote to his sister: “I felt a reasonable regret for her death.”


Mary’s attempt to form a happy family of her own would sadly never happen. She loved Philip deeply but it doesn’t seem that he reciprocated those feelings.  I take some solace from the fact that she had some amazing women in her life who showed her love and kindness – if only some of the men in her life had done the same. As the first female ruler of England she did an adequate job – you might say she proved that a woman could rule a country.  With that she was a success.

Further Reading:

John, Judith; A Dark Side to History: Tudors
Doran, Susan; The Tudor Chronicles 1485-1603
Soud, David; Kings and Queens of Great Britain

EnglishHistory.Net (Mary l)
Wikipedia (Queen Mary l)

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Was Anne Boleyn Painted From Elizabeth l?

From what I understand, after her execution, all images and symbols of Anne Boleyn were destroyed.  That is the very reason why I’m opening this discussion.

Was this portrait of Anne Boleyn painted from this portrait of her daughter? They look so similar to me.
                                                      I also see similarities in these two…

Anne Boleyn







The softness of the faces and the eyes…








This one might be a stretch, but I see the similarity in the eyes, nose, mouth and long face.

History of Elizabeth l: 1533-1549

The birth of Elizabeth on 7 September 1533 was a bitter disappointment to Henry Vlll and Anne Boleyn, who had desperately wanted a son. Nonetheless, until she was two and a half years old the baby enjoyed the title of’princes’ and lived in her own household, where she had precedence over her half-sister Mary. In 1536, however, Elizabeth’s bastardization and demotion followed Anne’s execution. The next year, Elizabeth joined the household of her newborn half-brother Edward, where she remained, except for short visits to court, until Henry died. In 1544, she and Mary were restored to the succession although the taint of bastardy was not removed.” – The Tudor Chronicle 1485-1603, by Susan Doran

Henry VIII c.1536
Elizabeth c. 1560
Anne Boleyn c. 1533-36







Elizabeth was well educated. She could speak and write Latin, Greek, Italian and French. She was also musical like her father and could play the keyboard and lute.

The Bridgeman Art Library, London
The Bridgeman Art Library, London

When Henry died in 1547, Katherine Parr (the queen dowager) was named guardian to the young Elizabeth.  This was something Henry agreed to prior to his death. Henry also insisted that Katherine be treated as queen after his death.  This would change when Katherine, only months later married Lord Thomas Seymour of Sudeley. The problem was that Katherine had not mourned the death of the king long enough, plus they married in secret – not getting permission from the council or King Edward VI to marry – many saw this as unseemly. These things caused Katherine to lose favor with the council and the young king. She was never treated the same again.

Katherine Parr, c. 1545
Elizabeth c. age 13 NPG, London
Elizabeth c. age 13
Thomas Seymour c. 1547-49, RMG
Thomas Seymour c. 1547-49
Photo Credit: Wdejager / CC BY-SA 4.0
Sudeley Castle: Photo Credit: Wdejager / CC BY-SA 4.0

I’d like to believe that Katherine Parr had a great love affair with Thomas Seymour and that he loved her as well, but it seems to me that Thomas may have been an opportunist, like his brother Edward, Lord Protector. It is said that Thomas had flirted shamelessly with the young Elizabeth and may have been caught in her bedchamber in an inappropriate situation. While we don’t know what happened exactly, it must have caused concerned with the then pregnant Katherine Parr. Soon after, the young Elizabeth left the household (May 1548) and later moved to Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.

Hatfield House Old Palace; Public Domain
Hatfield House Old Palace; Public Domain

17 February 1549 Thomas Seymour was arrested when his brother, Edward Seymour – Lord Protector, discovered his plan to marry Elizabeth and kidnap Edward Vl. He also believed that Elizabeth knew of this and was involved. This implicated them both in a treasonous act.  Elizabeth’s servants were sent to the Tower and admitted to Sudeley’s inappropriate behavior. They also confessed that he had hoped to marry Elizabeth. Elizabeth was also interviewed (at Hatfield house) but she had nothing to confess nor did she admit any involvement.

This was not the last time Elizabeth was involved in scandal with a man.

Interested in learning more on your own? I’ve included links to some websites for you to explore on your own. I’ve included quotes from some of the sites to give you an idea of what you’ll find – other’s are just links and will take you to that website from here. It will open a new tab so you can easily come back to Tudors Weekly. Enjoy!



Being Bess 

Elizabethan Quote of the Day:

Elizabeth Speaks on Marriage and Children

“And therefore I say again, I will marry as soon as I can conveniently, if God take not him away with whom I mind to marry, or myself, or else some other great let happen. I can say no more, except the party were present. And I hope to have children, otherwise I would never marry.” 

The Virgin Queen

“Succession became an another pressing issue for Elizabeth once she took the throne. She showed her talents as a diplomat, managing a number of suitors and potential royal matches during her reign. Through her father and her sister, Elizabeth had seen the troubles and challenges of royal marriages. Mary had made an unpopular choice in marrying Phillip II of Spain, who shared her devotion to the Roman Catholic faith. In the hopes of reuniting their two countries once more, Phillip even offered to wed Elizabeth at one time.

Other suitors for Elizabeth’s hand included the king of Sweden, Archduke Charles of Austria, and the future King Henry III of France. She used her availability as a means to political ends, but she never agreed to marriage. She herself seemed to have some interest in a member of her court, Robert Dudley, and their relationship was the subject of much gossip and speculation. Both parties came under suspicion after the mysterious death of Dudley’s wife.

Elizabeth, however, seemed to have no interest in sharing power with a spouse. Over time, she cultivated her image as a queen married to her job and her people. For this dedication Elizabeth earned the nickname the “Virgin Queen.



Queen Elizabeth I – Tudor Queen

Elizabeth Tudor is considered by many to be the greatest monarch in English history. When she became queen in 1558, she was twenty-five years old, a survivor of scandal and danger, and considered illegitimate by most Europeans. She inherited a bankrupt nation, torn by religious discord, a weakened pawn between the great powers of France and Spain. She was only the third queen to rule England in her own right; the other two examples, her cousin Lady Jane Grey and half-sister Mary I, were disastrous. Even her supporters believed her position dangerous and uncertain. Her only hope, they counseled, was to marry quickly and lean upon her husband for support. But Elizabeth had other ideas.

The official website of British Royal History:

 “Elizabeth succeeded to the throne on her half-sister’s death in November 1558. She was very well-educated (fluent in six languages), and had inherited intelligence, determination and shrewdness from both parents. 

Her 45-year reign is generally considered one of the most glorious in English history. During it a secure Church of England was established. Its doctrines were laid down in the 39 Articles of 1563, a compromise between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

Elizabeth herself refused to ‘make windows into men’s souls … there is only one Jesus Christ and all the rest is a dispute over trifles’; she asked for outward uniformity.”

Tudor History: 

“When Elizabeth took the throne, she was immediately descended upon by suitors. However, as we all know, she never married. One of the most obvious questions would be “why?”. Some theorize that because of the way her father treated his wives, Elizabeth was disgusted by the idea of marriage. The more romantic feel it was because she couldn’t marry the man that she really loved, Robert Dudley. When Elizabeth became Queen, Dudley was married, and then his wife Amy died under mysterious circumstances a few years later. Although Robert Dudley was cleared of any wrong-doing in the matter, Elizabeth could not marry him because of the scandal that would no doubt arise. Or perhaps she never married because of a combination of reasons. Regardless, Elizabeth never married, but managed to successfully play her suitors off of one another for about 25 years, gaining alliances and wealth from gifts on the possibility of marriage. The one serious contender for her hand was Francis, Duke of Alençon of France, but negotiations eventually failed.”

BBC i Wonder: 

“Elizabeth is 13-years-old when Henry VIII dies. Her nine-year-old half-brother Edward becomes King.

Elizabeth joins the household of her stepmother Catherine Parr. When Elizabeth is caught in an embrace with Parr’s husband Thomas Seymour, she is banished from the house. In 1548 Catherine dies in childbirth and Seymour is subsequently executed for plotting to marry Elizabeth and kidnap Edward VI. When Elizabeth is questioned by the authorities she protests her innocence and escapes prosecution.”

THESE ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: (Click link and you’ll be brought to an Elizabeth specific page)

Royal Family History

Ten Facts About Elizabeth l 

History.com #TDIH

Elizabeth l 



Geni.com/Photos & Documents



Spark Notes

Primary Homework Help

The History Learning Site

British Heritage

The Elizabeth Files

Tudor Chronicles/On This Day-Elizabeth

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Katherine Parr, Queen of England (Guest Article)

Katherine Parr, Queen of England
by Susan Abernethy

Katherine Parr
Katherine Parr

After the disastrous marriage to Catherine Howard, Henry probably just wanted a wife who could nurse him through his various ailments and not cause him any trouble. Henry did not actively seek a wife at this time but he was soon to find the perfect match in Katherine Parr.

Katherine Parr was born in 1512 to a northern nobleman and his wife Thomas and Maud Parr. Her parents were close to Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Katherine Parr may have been named after Queen Catherine. Her father died when she was young so she was very close to her mother. Her mother was a well educated woman and she saw that her children were educated. Katherine had a passion for learning and spoke French, Latin and Italian. She also was an advocate of the New Faith (Church of England). But she never did like embroidery.

In 1529, Katherine married Sir Edward Borough. They were both about the same age but her husband was in poor health. He died in 1533, leaving Katherine a widow at age twenty-one. She went to live with her Neville relatives in Cumbria and this is where she probably met her second husband, John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer whom she married in the summer of 1534. Latimer was forty years old and had two children from a previous marriage so Katherine now had a husband, a home, two step-children and a title. It is said she had affection for her husband.

Latimer was a supporter of the old religion (Catholicism) and during some rebellions in the north of England, Katherine was held hostage in her family home and had to struggle to survive while her husband was off fighting. Her husband was in and out of trouble with Henry’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell until Cromwell’s fall in 1540. Latimer was then elected to Parliament and he and Katherine lived in London where she was in contact with the court and the latest fashions, as well as the new religion.

By 1542, Latimer was ill. Katherine nursed him until his death in 1543. Through her earlier family connections with Catherine of Aragon, Katherine renewed her friendship with the Lady Mary, Henry VIII’s eldest daughter. While in Mary’s household, Katherine began a relationship with Thomas Seymour, the brother of Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour. But by now, Katherine had caught the eye of the King and she felt it was her duty to serve the King and become his wife.

Katherine and Henry were married at Hampton Court on July 12, 1543. Katherine immediately began to reconcile Henry with his….<click here for the rest of the article>

About the author:


Susan Abernethy here. It seems I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love history. At the age of fourteen, I watched “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” on TV and was enthralled. Truth seemed much more strange than fiction. I started reading about Henry VIII and then branched out into many types of history. This even led me to study history in college. Even though I never did anything with the history degree, it’s always been a hobby of mine. I started this blog to write about my thoughts on all kinds of history from Ancient times to mid-20th Century.

Great Houses – The Age of Gloriana

The reign of Elizabeth I (the last Tudor monarch) is often associated with a golden age in English history – The age of Gloriana.

Burghley House

Burghley House - Photo Credit: Anthony Masi
Burghley House – Photo Credit: Anthony Masi
by Unknown artist, oil on panel, after circa 1585 © National Portrait Gallery, London

“Sir William Cecil built his extravagant ‘prodigy house’ on the Burghley estate, which his father, Richard Cecil, had purchased after it had been seized from Peterborough Abbey on the Dissolution of Monasteries under Henry Vlll. Construction too 32 years, from 1555 to 1587. During this period, Cecil proved an indispensable adviser to Elizabeth l, establishing himself as the leading politician of his day. Born in 1520, he had begun his career as secretary to the Protector, Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, during Edward Vl’s reign; on Elizabeth’s accession in 1558 , he was appointed Secretary of State, then made 1st Baron Burghley in 1571 and Lord High Treasurer in 1572.” - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillps (p. 366)

Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle
Kenilworth Castle
by Unknown artist, oil on panel, circa 1575
© National Portrait Gallery, London

“In 1563, Elizabeth l granted Kenliworth Castle, a 12th century Norman stronghold in Warwickshire, to her great favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. He built a gatehouse and elegant residential quarters to make the historic fortifications sufficiently grand for the Queen. She visited him at Kenilworth Castle in 1566, 1568, 1572 and 1575.”  - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillps (p. 368)

“From the 9th to the 27th July 1575 Elizabeth I stayed at Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, home of her great friend Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. She had visited Kenilworth three times before but this was a special visit in that it lasted 19 days and was the longest stay at a courtier’s house in any of her royal progresses. We know a substantial amount about Elizabeth’s visit to Kenilworth because it was recorded in a letter by Robert Langham, a member of Dudley’s household, and in an account by poet and actor George Gascoigne, a man hired by Robert Dudley to provide entertainment during the royal visit” – Claire, The Elizabeth Files (Read More)

Hardwick Hall

Hardwick_Hall_in_Doe_Lea_-_Derbyshire“Famously declared to be ‘more glass than wall’, Hardwick Hall is celebrated above all for its west front, with its glittering array of symmetrically marshalled windows.” -  - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillps (p. 374)

"Bess of Hardwick as Mistress St Lo" by Unknown - http://gouk.about.com/od/englandtravel/ss/visithardwick_2.htm. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons
“Bess of Hardwick as Mistress St Lo” by Unknown – . Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

Hardwick Hall was built by Bess of Hardwick who started from humble beginnings and grew through marriages to a position of great wealth. The architect was Robert Smythson. Bess was Grandmother to Lady Arbella Stuart – niece to Mary Queen of Scots.  Arbella’s uncle was Lord Darnley.

“It was the formidable Bess of Hardwick who first created Hardwick in the 1500’s. In the centuries since then her descendants, farmers, gardeners, builders, decorators, embroiderers and craftsmen of all kinds have contributed and made Hardwick their creation.” – via National Trust, Hardwick Hall