Henry VIII manages to infuriate Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn on the same day
Posted By Claire on November 30, 2019
This day in 1529 was not the best of days for King Henry VIII. In fact, it was a very bad day. For on 30th November 1529, he managed to upset his wife and the woman he wanted to marry – oops!
So what did happen on 30th November 1529? What did King Henry VIII do to upset Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn?
You can find out in today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video from yours truly:
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68 thoughts on “Henry VIII manages to infuriate Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn on the same day”
I have no sympathy for this man. Make a choice. Either be with one or the other. He treated both disrespectfully in this circumstance. I believe the reason he was not honest with Katherine about his real reason for wanting a divorce from her is that he didn’t have a leg to stand on and he feared her ability to defend the legality of their marriage. As to Henry declaring he had scholars and/or church men who agreed with his position? Of course they did. Anybody who wanted to keep their livelihoods or even possibly their lives would smartly agree with him.
Hi Claire. Sorry to bother you. I ordered a calendar yesterday. Just curious as to how long it will take for it to go out? No pressure, just wondering.
We do a post office run a couple of times a week so it will be going out tomorrow. Thank you so much for ordering.
Thankful for that information. The photos are always fantastic and the paper quality is high. These are real keepsakes and considering the quality the price seems very low. hope you continue to do these. I look forward to them each year.
Thankful? What on earth is that? Spell check. Should read Thank you.
Remembered to turn over the last page on my calendar and there it was grand old Hampton Court, with her honey coloured brick walls and the lion rampant and unicorn, those symbols of old royalty, on the gateway, they both look forbidding and yet so regal, I do not think really there is any other building in England or day I say it in the British Isles, that is quite so beautiful and majestic looking as Cardinal Wolsey’s former palace, and which later became King Henry V111’s residence, synonymous with this famed monarch and his marital entanglements to me anyway, she embodies England herself, old England that is, in the days before flight and motor cars appeared, before the hectic crazy world we know today of the internet and where everybody seems to be in a rush, long may this beautiful iconic building iconic as Henry V111 himself, stand and bedazzle plenty of visitors who come to visit her from not only Britain. but all over the world as well.
I just received the shipping notification from PayPal regarding the calendar. Thank you Claire.
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy did Henry get it in the neck!
First from his wife who quite rightly wanted to know why he didn’t dine with her and then tells him for every one expert he gets, she will get 1000. O.K
Then he runs back to Anne and no sympathy there either.
No, more nagging. Didn’t I tell you not to argue with the Queen because she will always win and one day you will give in to her reasoning? (My version) I have wasted my youth waiting for years, I could have had a family by now! She is never going to let you go! You might as well give up. Don’t be looking at me, Henry Tudor with those schoolboy eyes: no don’t touch me, don’t now darling me, I have had enough of your excuses. I am out of here.
What? Where am I going? Home to Hever, home to my family and don’t you dare follow me! I am not coming back until you are free.
Exit Anne, door slams.
Henry has a migraine and a toothache and is feeling rather sorry for himself, but nobody else is. I haven’t got any either.
Wow BQ, did you time travel? Your account is almost like you were there. I believe your version is exactly what happened and I second your ‘go ladies’.
Anne declared she’d had enough and was going home to mother ha!
Henry wanted a dream palace a marvel to equal the seven wonders of the world, a building that would rival Fontainebleau and be spoken of for centuries to come, I have seen the design and it did looked wonderful but yes he probably was in a bit of a rush, maybe he feared he would die before it was finished, it’s a very real shame the upkeep of it was not maintained as it would have been a delight to visit, these old buildings do fall victim to the curse of wood rot and damp and it costs hundreds of thousands of pounds to maintain them, the reason why so many owners open their stately homes to the public is because they need the funds in order to do this, Henry V111 was a great builder of palaces as well as the navy in between chopping his wives heads of of course, he was well known for all three, Nonsuch was gifted to Lady Barbara Castlemaine in the 17thc, one of Charles 11’s many mistress but sadly it became unlived in and became an empty shell of what it once was, I think Henry should have been satisfied with Hampton Court, he already had Whitehall and Greenwich his favourite residence, what also exists apart from his wonderful old buildings are the dilapidated ruins of the monasteries he destroyed, sacrilege if you excuse the pun, as these really were beautiful buildings and the livelihood and sanctuary of many.
Thanks, Michael, my version in my head just sounded like Natalie Dormer in the Tudors, so I probably did time travel. Thanks for your kind words.
Both Katherine and Anne really gave it to him, but what did he really expect? He was still living with his wife, although probably not sleeping with her in the Biblical sense, he visited her from time to time and by the suggestion of her rebuke still dined with her from time to time. Henry was actually meant to live with Katherine for public purposes because she could sue him for denying her legal matrimonial rights. Henry obviously had not been around for awhile and she naturally wanted to know why. His remarks about her not being his legitimate wife and that she could do as she pleased in her household as well as about how his scholars were sure his case was just must really have hurt Katherine, but oh what a response! 1000 scholars would fight her cause and she was right. Most of Europe agreed with her, many top church men in England did, but they were forced by Henry to submit to him and even Luther and other reformers agreed with Katherine. They saw marriage as sacred, they correctly interpreted the Hebrew Bible on Deuteronomy v Leviticus and even the correct interpretation of the latter, which refers to ” brothers wife” not his widow. Henry wasn’t childless either and Judaism taught that if parents had no sons to succeed, then the daughters should have the inheritance. Moses was dividing up the land of Canaan for the families and writing inheritance law and the daughters of Zelophehad, whose father, grandfather and others had died en route to the Promised Land came and complained he had only mentioned sons but they had no brothers. Moses had them given the land their father would have received and wrote daughters can inherit instead of sons. When the elders complained he said they could marry whom they wished as long as they married within their tribes so as the land remained in their tribes. History has shown some states during the Middle Ages had favourable views of female rulers and inheritance, such as Sicily and Navarre, the Netherlands and indeed now Spain. A male was preferred but they were not pulling their hair out over a woman ruler. France was very different with laws to effectively ban a female Queen, but women inherited in many provinces around her borders and within her counties. They had a long heritage of female Regents as well, but England was not really known for either. Noble women inherited land but not titles unless granted in their own right. Mythology told that the one female ruler we did have, Matilda was a disaster, which wasn’t exactly the truth as any visits to works on her or the Anarchy will soon reveal. Matilda didn’t get crowned for two reasons, one heavily pregnant she couldn’t rush to make her claim on time, plus she was very arrogant in London and the citizens rejected her. Stephen was on the spot and better placed and his cousin crowned him. The Anarchy is a very old fashioned name for a period which didn’t see continued fighting and where the majority of the country was unaffected. Both Stephen and Matilda were as bad or as good as each other, his wife was a very sympathetic figure and both ruled fairly well in their territory. However, conflict regularly erupted and anyone caught up suffered tremendously. The ordinary people as usual suffered most but Matilda has been painted as some kind of Game of Thrones Dragon Queen going all out to destroy but so did Stephen and Henry would of course have been fed the propaganda that female rule equalled chaos and civil war. It was his greatest fear but his dynasty was young and Mary his only heir. Henry I had looked to Matilda to provide grandchildren who would succeed and she did, three of them, all male, Henry, Geoffrey and William. Henry of Anjou of course would defeat Stephen and force him to disown his own adult children as part of their peace deal in favour of his succession. Matilda was a capable ruler, she had several years experience in Germany of involvement in government. Henry was obsessed, just as his father had been with potential rivals and that is why he didn’t want a woman to rule. There are disadvantages such as not being able to lead troops in battle only tell that to Margaret of Anjou, who commanded her troops, even if she didn’t fight, to Isabella of Castile, to a host of other women, who put on armour and headed an army. Nor was Matilda the first English female ruler as the granddaughter of Alfred the Great was crowned as Queen. Her mother ruled more or less in her own right as well. She was a warrior Queen. Contemporary to Katherine and Henry was Margaret of Austria and Mary of Hungry who were female rulers for a son or nephew but doing a good job. Henry was fixated, but he had a second reason.
Henry Viii was madly in love with Anne Boleyn and his reasons for wanting to remarry had become tied up with her. Yes, he wanted and needed a male heir, that was fixed in his mind, in the general mindset of the day. What the literature said, what the top clerical writers said was that women were inferior, incapable and too emotional. They didn’t have the personality or intelligence so that was it plus they had to go out of public view to have children and she had to submit to him under patriarchal rules because she promised to obey him. Mary I would acknowledge that but ruled jointly with Philip of Spain and limited his political status in the treaty she designed. Henry wanted Anne, his desire for her was very strong, his pursuit was by now three or four years long. He was absolutely frustrated and wanted the entire process over. He wanted Anne as his Queen and he believed she would give him a son. He really didn’t want to wait, but he wasn’t too anxious to ask Katherine to move out either. In fact she will be in her household as Queen for another several months. No wonder Anne was angry.
Anne was still a Tudor woman, despite her sometimes modern thinking. No, she wasn’t a feminist and she was better educated than most, but not the only one and not the best educated either. She was intelligent and understanding of most scholarly ideas but she wasn’t as well educated as Katherine of Aragon or some of the nuns she apparently lectured in a London convent who were far better Latin and Greek and Hebrew scholars than her. However, a good continental and advanced education she did receive and was aware of theological teaching and Biblical translations and interpretation. She was also influenced by the reformation and French scholars. She, like Henry was very forward thinking but not a modern woman. Anne still had the same desires to marry and have children, preferably lots of sons as any other female was taught in the sixteenth century. She was also conscious of the need for female modesty and reputation, but not so guarded that it prevented her from taking part in games of love and the art of courtship. She was very fond of music and dance and very forward in her wit and conversation with others. All of these things Henry found attractive. Anne and Henry had enjoyed one another but now she too was getting rather fed up and wanted Henry to do something about it. When he failed of course she became vert angry and threatened to go home, proclaiming her best years were behind her, her childbearing years were becoming diminished and she longed for children. Anne told Henry that she could have made a good marriage by now, but no, here she was waiting for him, for a marriage and coronation that may never happen and Katherine was as much in charge as she had ever been. He could do something about it or she was going home. She wasn’t coming back until he did. I really can hear the conversation in my head. These ladies were really something.
Henry suffered from headaches at this time, so I can imagine he had one after all that and was like a bear with a sore head. A lot of door slamming that day, one imagines and the poor courtiers looking shocked and alarmed and just wondering what on earth was going on.
Anne’s lack of patience over the delay is said to be proof that she was not as young as has always been assumed by her earlier biographers, once her birth date was said to be around 1505 – 7, but more research has proved she was possibly born around 1500, Amy Licence thinks the date given by an early writer was actually a one and that it was mistaken because of the old print and taken to be a seven, she backs this up with the date she went to France as one of Mary Tudors wedding entourage, no girl would have been a lady in waiting if she was of tender years, the letter she wrote to her father is certainly that of a teenager, and of course when she berated the king years later about she should have been married and had children by now, meant that she was worried her fertile years were passing by, so yes we can safely assume she must have been born around 1500 to 1501, no wonder she would rage at the king and grew overbearing and began to hate Katherine and her daughter, she wanted to have healthy children and because of Henry’s old sow of a wife her time was passing by, when Elizabeth was born she was healthy and Anne recovered well, we have no sources that tell us she had a difficult birth and Anne was lucky, she did not succumb to puerperal fever which many new mothers had, she must have been about thirty two when she had Elizabeth, which in those days was quite a risky age, it is very sad she could not carry another child full term but as we have discussed before, she could have had a biological problem or was it merely down to stress?
Yes, if Anne was born between 1500 and 1502_as modern research believes then she would be about 28 in 1530 but only 23 if born in 1507 which made a difference when it came to bearing children. Most Tudor women married about twenty two or twenty three, rather than 13_to 16 and men about twenty four. They also underwent some form of practical training and how to run a farm for example, household or to learn a trade for seven years. It was the upper crust who married much earlier. Anne would have been ripe for marriage either way in 1522 when she was a candidate to marry James Butler, the Irish family cousin who was heir to the Earldom of Ormonde and when she was in love with Harry Percy. However, she wasn’t the daughter of a great Dynastic house so her marriage was more likely to have been arranged in her early twenties. She was also more likely to have been viewed as a future wife by Henry at this time and her placement in the service of Margaret of Austria and then Claude of France also attest to her age being 28 or 29 in 1530. You are correct, her complaint about running out of time to have a family adds to the evidence to support her being older than once thought.
I love that, the idea of Henry going off to moan to Charles Brandon about his wife and mistress not understanding him. Charles may even have understood because he had a Tudor wife who was difficult to live with, Henry’s sister Mary and he himself had a complex marital history himself. He married Anne Browne without benefit of clergy while a young man and then left her. He was hauled before King Henry Vii in 1507 and forced to return to her. He married his Aunt Margaret Morton and that marriage was declared invalid but he didn’t file the paperwork and he returned to his wife and they were married properly. In 1514_Anne died and Charles was free to marry anyone he wanted. He had two daughters, Anne and Mary and then he became connected to the heir to the de Lisle estates, one Elizabeth Grey, who was his ward and promised to him as his husband in the future. Meanwhile, Brandon fell in love with Princess Mary who was married off to King Louis xii of France and he had to escort her there and see her wed to another man. When she was widowed in January 1515, Henry sent Brandon to bring his sister home and they ended up married without his permission. They were of course forgiven, allowed to pay a huge fine and came home. However, despite having four children, they faced a number of issues, including being on different sides over the annulment, at least until Henry made clear he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn, but the biggest problem arose over the legitimacy of their children. In about 1528 Margaret, his second wife turned up and said she was still his lawful wife. The papers had not been finalised and so technically Charles was indeed her husband. Thomas Wolsey was hired to sort out the mess and he did find an original paper trail and confirmed the marriage of Mary and Charles was legal and he wasn’t married to his Aunt. Margaret actually needed his help to get her financial and property inheritance. Charles went right ahead to help her. Henry’s knowledge of Brandon and his experience had made him more confident that he would get his own annulment but up to now he was bitterly disappointed. Now I can well imagine him having a glass or three and moaning like mad about his misfortune in love. Oh dear, a big sulk coming up.
Hi Bq, I was unaware of Brandon’s tangled love life so thank you for that, I knew he clandestinely married Princess Mary which infuriated the king, and after her death he married Katherine Willoughby Maria De Salinas daughter, she was said to be quite a virago, Brandon was said to be a ladies man but possibly no more than the other men of the court, I imagine him as dashing and carefree a perfect companion for the king, who was his lifelong friend, Princess Mary fell hopelessly in love with him and the portrait of them together shows Mary’s youth and vitality, Brandon however looks serious and is gazing into the distance whereas Mary is facing the other way, to me it appears to be an odd portrait, they are together yet they seem apart, and I don’t find Brandon handsome at all, in fact his face looks large with jowly cheeks, but he could have had a charming personality which was attractive, we cannot read much into portraits they do not show the real person, in fact they add to their mystery.
Anne was just like any other mistress whose lover kept telling he he would leave his wife and marry her, however in Henry’s case it was not that easy, it was not just a case of packing his suitcase and walking out the marital abode, it did not help when you had the weight of the clergy against you, it did not help when you had the pope threatening to excommunicate you and especially, it did not help when you were caught in between two fiery women, Katherine of Aragon a daughter of Spain and Anne Boleyn who was determined to be queen whatever the cost, Henry never won in his battles with Katherine as he knew deep down she had right on her side, not only that there was another more formidable enemy, the Kings own subjects who continued to shout for Katherine and call her the true queen even though her husband was calling her merely Arthur’s widow, whenever he rode out with Anne there were sullen looks and curses and there was Elizabeth Barton in the role of Cassandra with her gloomy prophecies, Katherine berated Henry quite fiercely that day, she told him for one lawyer he procured she could find hundreds, and it was just so, Henry’s men were yes men they dared not disagree with him as Michael said, they wished to live, he was seriously fed up and escaped in the what he hoped to be the loving arms of his mistress, but Anne was fed up to, weary of the struggle the delay, Henry’s excuses, she swiped at him in her usual caustic fashion, the queen she replied always got the upper hand with him, she knew her enemy was no pushover just as tough, as tenacious as she herself was, both women must have recognised the same fight to the death spirit in each other, and in doing so feared each other, neither would give way, Henry Katherine believed was her true husband, and she his rightful queen, to Anne Katherines ship had sailed, she was old barren and selfishly refused to let her younger husband marry again, and have a son which the country and the Tudor dynasty so desperately wanted and needed, the scenario appears comical, Henry must have thrown down his napkin and strode out of the room Katherine bellowing behind him, the guards at the door smirking, he rushed straight to Anne and she nagged him to, he must have sought out his old friend Brandon and poured out his woes to him over a few large goblets of claret, bewailing his emotional state I bet he said to him, why do I bother with women!
Hi Christine. Whenever I see a photo of Hampton Court Palace the first thing I think of is how thankful I am that William and Mary ran out of money to continue rebuilding. What a loss if that had been destroyed to make way for something more ‘modern’.
Oh yes indeed Michael, I always think of Nonsuch Palace that was spectacular in its day, sadly that fell into ruin yet its glory was said to be unrivalled, Blenheim is another wonderful building which took over thirty years to build, I have never been there but my parents and aunt and uncle visited it once, my aunt and uncle saw Churchill’s tomb at Bladon where he lies with his parents, Hampton Court of course is older than Blenheim named after the famous battle at which John Churchill was the victor, and Blenheim was given to him as a mark of gratitude from a grateful monarch, Queen Anne, or rather the money was as he died before the completion of the building, in one of the rooms is a marble monument to the queen, Chatsworth to is another lovely old building, they are nice to visit and wander around, these old places are really treasure troves of antiques and valuable paintings with extensive gardens and sometimes there is a folly in one of them, along with the family chapel, but Hampton Court is my favourite as it is connected with Henry V111 and his luckless wives!
Hampton Court is my favourite palace and if I lived near London I would visit it all the time. I went five times in 2009 the year of 500 years of King Henry Viii coming to the throne as we had two long holidays nearby. I remember going as a child from school as well and wandering off because the guide was rambling and I wanted to spend more time in the old long galleries. I don’t know where they found me but someone said I was having a conversation with a painting. I remember on the day the kitchens had a demonstration as well and that was me hooked. Of course in 2009 it was much better. People wandered around as the various wives, Henry had sessions in his wine cellar and married Katherine Parr. It was very interactive and some extra rooms were open for special displays including the room that Jane gave birth to Prince Edward and the floor of the Council Chamber had been restored. One tapestry had been removed and restored and special light shone onto it to show up the original colours. Henry had three sets of very large ones and they cost £2000 each. They may have faded with time but they are still impressive. The Great Hall just takes your breath away. William iii said that was all he liked about the palace. The ceiling would have been painted blue and the floor green. It was really breathtakingly beautiful. The Chapel is marvellous and quite ornate and the heart and lungs of Jane Seymour are behind the alter somewhere. Panels hide the original painting. Wolsey had corridors invented and put into the Base Court and a fountain stood in the courtyard which has since been reproduced. The cafe is within one of the Jousting Towers of Henry Viii and the garden wall follows his very long bowling alley. He had four Towers for changing and guests to have banqueting as they watched the Jousting. A real tennis court still exists. The Watching Chamber I think it’s called is very elegant and has the arms of Jane Seymour and others in the ceiling. Here one waited for Henry to come out and go to chapel and you might get a word. The Tudor kitchens are amazing. The roundals of Thomas Wolsey outside, showing the Caesars can still be seen as can original stone and decorated work in displays. The Six Wives and Young Henry exhibits were on when we went. The chamber of Thomas Wolsey had also been uncovered. A closed stool was on display. That is the royal loo.
The palace is transformed on the other side with room after room of seventeenth century and Georgian splendour and decorated thrones and beautiful beds. The more intimate rooms of William and Mary, which they didn’t use for very long as Mary died. William then ruled alone. He died there as well. He was hunting in the vast grounds when he fell from his horse and was carried to the spot now where the Great Vine is and died there. Some parts of the grounds remind me of Versailles, others are more intimate and the private gardens are beautiful. Heraldic beasts have been reproduced in the Tudors private knot garden. The cellars are something as well. The work of the curators and staff to bring back to life the palace is really remarkable. Two programmes I would recommend are A Tudor Treasure: A Night at Hampton Court when David Starkey reconstructs the baptism of Edward iv and the documentary on Hampton Court as Henry’s palace.
I have been to Blenheim Palace, which is huge,, which of course is very over the top in classic decorations and had a very odd experience. The last room you come to is the grand staircase, coming from a room called Heaven, this being something from the Greek idea of Heaven, with a lot of grapes and wine and things everywhere to the grand staircase, the entire ceiling and walls in this area are decorated from scenes of Hades and the bottom is called Hell. They have a chairlift for disabled visitors on this grand staircase and I was sat on it and going down looking at these over the top themes and it felt like a decent into Hell. Very odd tastes. These rooms are later decorating.
I would have loved to see Nonsuch before it was destroyed. I have been to the site which is very pleasant. A eighteenth century manner house is on the site but the palace site is laid out in the grounds. There was an exhibition on with photos of the archaeology and what it looked like. It was very imaginative with classical beasts and decorations and much different than others but it didn’t have a great hall but a vast open space, later used as a throne room. It had courtyards and rooms for sporting events and training and it was very beautiful. It must have been something to behold. The first thing which you saw among the giant statues of the gods and goddesses was one of King Henry Viii and his son, Prince Edward. All of the Tudor palaces had golden onion domes on the top. You can see four on top of the White Tower and I think you can see some on top of Hampton Court. What does stand out there is the huge Astronomical Clock. Under the first archway one can find the arms and decorations of Anne Boleyn. There are the odd pomegranate stones as well, with Tudor roses. The red bricks were not just red but painted red as well and the patterns in the stonework is very elaborate. I think I actually want to live there.
That is a very detailed description Bq, yes Hampton Court really is the king of Tudor treasures, I last went about 12 years ago I think but got there too late to have a proper wander round, me and my mother went there about thirty years ago and we had a beautiful time, the first thing I remember was the beautiful arched ceiling with the intricate carvings and the long gallery with the floor length tapestries, I wanted to go in 2009 because of Henry V111’s accession but was unable to, I did however watch David Starkeys reproduction of Edward V1’s christening on tv which was lovely, I recall the huge kitchens and really I was much more interested with the Tudor side than the later centuries, you do need a full day in which to see it all, and its lovely to take a picnic and eat it in the grounds, the gardens are certainly beautiful yes Bq, I love the Italian knot garden I do have a love of gardens and particularly ornamental gardens, I would love to re create the knot garden in my own one but cannot see it somehow!
A book I recommend to both of you if you haven’t read it already is ‘Houses of Power’ by Simon Thurley. It covers the building and archaeology of many key structures built by the Tudor monarchs. Something I found interesting and this should not surprise any of us is that Henry VIII had no patience for for the waiting involved in construction and so oftentimes corners were cut to the detriment of the quality of the building and to the safety of the workers and anyone else. This is one of the main reasons many of Henry’s projects so quickly fell into disrepair.
According to the book sadly Nunsuch was one of those places not built to the highest quality because Henry wanted it finished in a hurry.
Hi, yes, great book but I haven’t really read much of it. I think he is great at showing you how the Court functioned through the buildings as well as how they reflected their owners. He is brilliant. Henry was one of those impatient individuals with A type personality who have enormous amounts of energy and egotism. They can’t sit still for very long and have no patience with anything or anyone. It was something which gets worse with age but Henry was very impatient for another war ship or another palace and it’s no wonder some of them fell apart. He had the best craftsmanship but he was too impatient and especially with Nonsuch because it was designed in a hurry and his latest one near the end of the reign. It was almost a shrine to himself I think, but unfortunately it had flaws. It wasn’t destroyed by falling down, however, it was deliberately destroyed but as you say, Michael, it was let to go to ruin, although Elizabeth seems to have liked it. The Stuarts had little money after the English Civil War and the palaces didn’t receive the same elaborate attention as they did in the Tudor and Jacabean era. Henry was obsessed with building and spending money, it’s a pity it wasn’t on the more practical parts of the structure to finish the job properly. It wasn’t as if he didn’t have the money or the craftsmanship capable of building to a high standard, they most probably warned him about cutting corners but they would have been told to do as the King desired. Nonsuch was built with rapid speed and was one of the reasons Henry ended up having to devalue the coinage twelve months later. It had cost him everything he had stolen from the monasteries. Yet, it was to begin to crumble within a decade or so. His forts at the coast like Deal Castle and the one at Portsmouth are still standing, on them he lavished every technical and structural advancement but on the palace he lived in, his impatience overturned reason. His impatience was catching as proved a few decades ago at Grimsthorpe, the Castle in Lincolnshire taken over by Charles Brandon in 1537. The home of his youngest and last wife, he was ordered to make it ready for the progress Henry had originally planned with Jane Seymour to the North but was planned for four years later. He built a new front to the house and extended it with an entire new build end to end, very elaborate and beautiful, but the foundations and draining system was faulty. It didn’t come to light until later, well after the visitors had gone but the archaeology showed extensive repairs to make good on the foundations. Brandon had obviously been hurried and cut corners. Probably typical of many such building, needing repairs to stop them falling down. I must dust my book off and give it another look.
Hi Christina, yes and he was only 30 when he married Princess Mary as his “third” wife, but yes quite a history. I am not sure his wedding portrait is a good likeness or not but I have seen others, including a sketch by Holbein which looks very different. He is fairly good looking, I guess and maybe it was his sporting prowess which was well-known as was his jousting ability. Two of his jousting spears are held at the armoury in the White Tower at the Tower of London and they are massive, vicious looking things. He was also known to be very chivalrous and charming, although he could be quite rough on royal business and one really can see him as having something the ladies liked. He was a risk taker. He was probably without fluff, you took him as he was, nothing more and nothing less, he was loyal and stayed out of too many ambitions of the factions at Court. Henry was comfortable around Brandon and their friendship was genuine and warm. He was also a survivor. Unlike many others, those credited with more intelligence and experience, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk died in old age, in his own bed, surrounded by his family and was buried at the King’s expense. Despite their age difference, 14 or 15 to his 49 when they married, probably a financial arrangement, the marriage of Katherine Willoughby and Suffolk was successful and produced two bright sons. Sadly they both died within hours of each other in 1551 from the sweat much to Katherine’s grief. We don’t know much about his religious beliefs but they appeared to be very traditional, although he was tolerant, it would seem of Katherine’s later leanings towards reform. One Alexander Seton, a Protestant cleric from Scotland took refuge in his London home and died there in 1542. Whether or not the Duke knew we can only speculate on, but he does seem to have tolerated a lot for a sixteenth century man.
Hi Claire. I received your book in the mail today and will start reading it tonight before I go to bed. I am very honored to be mentioned. Thank you very much.
Hi BQ. A bit of information I found intriguing in the book is just how much building Henry did in his 38year reign. A very large percentage of it is recorded but no physical evidence of it still exists. When you read in other books that Henry VIII was a great builder that doesn’t do justice to the reality of what he actually did.
That’s interesting Michael and I think it’s good to focus sometimes on other aspects of Henry’s reign, his wives take centre stage yet Henry was known for so much more, he is called the father of the navy and spent thousands on expanding his ships, when you are an island it is essential to have a large navy, and a lot of Renaissance visitors scholars and artists were attracted to his court, he was interested in astronomy and was well versed in Latin as well as French and as well as being academically bright, gifts he passed onto all his children, he was a great sportsman to, it is easy to think of Henry V111 as nothing more than an overweight wife changing and chopping monster, but there was so much more to this complex man that, the pictures of him and I’m talking about the modern sketches and caricatures, all portray this king as being huge but he was not always so, fit active and healthy in his youth he was described as the handsomest prince in Christendom, he towered above his courtiers and subjects and was noted for his generosity of spirit, his merry nature and people found they could talk to him easy, he never stood on ceremony, he would put his arms around ones shoulder and make them feel at ease, what he became in later years was a very real tragedy and he died relatively young.
That’s interesting Michael and I think it’s good to focus sometimes on other aspects of Henry’s reign, his wives take centre stage yet Henry was known for so much more, he is called the father of the navy and spent thousands on expanding his ships, when you are an island it is essential to have a large navy, and a lot of Renaissance visitors scholars and artists were attracted to his court, he was interested in astronomy and was well versed in Latin as well as French and as well as being academically bright, he had a flexible mind this is apparent in his later leanings towards reform he was interested in theology, , he was a great sportsman to, it is easy to think of Henry V111 as nothing more than an overweight wife changing and chopping monster, but there was so much more to this complex man that, the pictures of him and I’m talking about the modern sketches and caricatures, all portray this king as being huge and bloated with a red beard but he was not always so, fit active and healthy in his youth he was described as the handsomest prince in Christendom, he towered above his courtiers and subjects and was noted for his generosity of spirit, his merry nature and people found they could talk to him easy, he never stood on ceremony, he would put his arms around ones shoulder and make them feel at ease, what he became in later years was a very real tragedy and he died relatively young, his reign started out with much promise and yet by the time it had ended, this once golden prince had become known to the world as a depraved wife murdering tyrant.
Agreed. Henry’s influence on what was called the Navy Royal then was huge. Not only did he expand the Navy but he also advanced technology with ships like the Mary Rose. Just before her tragic sinking he had gunports cut lower down on her side’s closer to the waterline to add more armaments. This was thought to have possibly contributed to her taking in water but I don’t think they believe that’s the case anymore. I also find his coastal forts interesting. Places like Deal, Walmer, St. Mawes etc. It doesn’t matter that he built them because of a feared invasion from the continent due to his discarding of his first wife and breaking with Rome, the point is he built them and they were well designed. My understanding is he was actually involved in the designing of at least some of them. They were so well built that with occasional updates they were used through WWII. I really hope that organizations like The Mary Rose Trust and their museum are able to impart the importance of this aspect of Tudor rule to a wide audience. Though that dynasty was only in existence for 118 years they certainly had a huge hand in molding the England we know today and Elizabeth’s reign was the first tiny kernel of what later became the United States. James I did more but it started with her.
The two part documentary with Jonathan Foyle is the best on the buildings and achievements of Henry as he looked in detail at the palaces in turn. Also they did a Time Team special on Beaulieu and New Hall in Surrey and you could see how even the early palaces were extensive. His Italian architects had a Book which they wrote down everything about the books and Foyle showed how they really looked. Look, for example at the luxurious palace he put up for two weeks in France to entertain King Francis at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, wood painted to look like stone and white and gold decoration. It had two storeys and was as luxurious as any permanently built structure. It was also at least twice the size it is in the painting. We only have bits left of everything plus Hampton Court but he was exceptional when it came to building and spending money. Henry inherited a vast fortune and it was quickly used up. His treasury was empty and then he also destroyed with the monasteries. They were not completely destroyed, the roof was taken as lead was expensive and the alters removed, the Church was often saved but the structure remained. The ruins have come about through decay and recycling. Local homes were built and farm walls repaired from the stonework. Time was the main enemy until the Victorians fell in love with them and what was left was preserved. However, the money and revenues were transferred to the crown, defences built and of course more palaces and houses or old ones extended. Whitehall was one built by Anne and Henry and was made more and more over the top under the Stuarts, particularly Charles I and James Ii. It burnt down and the Banqueting House is all that we have, alongside the wine cellar of Cardinal Wolsey and Henry Viii and one Tudor wall. It’s now the Government offices in London and Horse Guard Parade was the Tournament centre and no 10 backs onto the old palace wall. If you go on the London Eye you can outline the extensive build of what was more a complex rather than a single palace. Westminster was burned down and rebuilding started in 1838 and here we now have the Houses of Lords and Commons with the famous Westminster Hall being next door, the original palace build which still exists. Underneath is part of the original Chapel and the Parliament Chamber is on the site of Saint Stephens Chapel. Inside it is a pre Raphelite Gothic dream, but nothing like the old palace or Parliament. Across the road there was until the late eighteenth century a remarkable arch with two towers linking the two sides of the palace designed by Holbein. It was too narrow to get the later coaches through so that came down. Of Richmond Palace only the Medieval gate house remains but again experts can see how it looked and we have numerous sketches. Whether Henry actually built all of them or not he certainly did build, extend and make more luxurious a fair number. Foyle estimates he built or extended 60 palaces and several palatial homes. Penthurst Place, Kent, originally belonged to the Duke of Buckingham but Henry got it after the Duke had decorated it a bit too luxuriously and been accused of treason and made it far more palatial. Anne of Cleves later exchanged one of her palaces for Penthurst which is still impressive and she probably didn’t do too badly by the exchange. Henry obviously spent a lot of money on them and what we do have gives us just a glimpse. Of course more drawings probably exist than palaces built but that I would imagine was normal. We are not going to have evidence in many cases if they were fully destroyed. But what about underground? Nothing exists of the palace of Charles V in Brussels on the surface but an eighteenth century palace but go underground and there it is, a very substantial set of ruined rooms, floors and decorations. Greenwich isn’t Tudor either, its from the time of William and Mary but the old kitchens and palace chapel and flooring was found recently, underground. We live on top of our history, literally. At Greenwich is the Queens House, built by Henrietta Maria which was very delicate and much more intimate and refined than the over the top palace. The sixteenth century Saint James with its red brick exterior still exists with later interior and is still used at times. Scotland Yard, the police HQ is on the site of a small palace used by Queen Margaret Tudor, Henry’s sister, from her stays in London in 1517. Her garden is rumoured to still exist at the back, hence the name. In Liverpool the Cunard Building on the Strand at the sea front is an exact replica because they were designed by the sane people. Originally it was the office of the White Star Line, notorious for the Titanic and Britannic, the Empress and the later for the Lusitania and Laconia lost during World War 2, but now is used by the Government criminal records department. It is actually a rather striking red and white rose pink building. It is very odd to think of Henry as a man obsessed with spending money and building but he was far more than a wife disposing maniac which in itself is a myth, although killing two is rather excessive even for the time.
Slight correction:Lusitania was Cunard.
I did see the Time team episode. I have also seen Wolsey’s wine cellar at Whitehall. So interesting to see the brick walls and original stone arches.i would really like to watch that documentary with Jonathon Foyle. He is an excellent host. I am very pleased that such good records were kept.
Henry was a real hands on King once he actually got involved. He was interested in everything and had a great mind. He inspected everything and brought England into a more advanced age with technical and scientific firsts in weaponry, bronze canons and handguns, advanced design in shipping, he used the natural sources of metal to form central production all across England and Wales, he was a humanist and he apparently had a map room under Greenwich. He helped design a very detailed plan of the coastline which experts believe is very accurate and the Mary Rose was updated as technology improved. His real interest was in medicine and here he was genuinely trying to find effective answers to specific conditions. He even made home made remedies. In 1546 he gave a great charter to the doctors he considered the best minds in medicine and he founded the Royal College of Physicians in 1518, when he gave a licence to Dr Thomas Linacre. The College of Surgeons broke away from them in the seventeenth century, forming the separate professional bodies we have ever since. A great portrait commemorated the moment with Henry enthroned, his robes of state on and the doctors arranged kneeling at each side, their charter scrolls in their hands. We know Henry as a man who lost the plot and executed two wives and the numbers of others because he became power crazed, but he was also a real intellectual, a man with genuine interests in religious controversy, theology and scientific advancement, in magnificent things, medicine and who was an athlete before his accidents in 1536. He was also interested in music and composition, although he wasn’t a great composer, but a collector of music. He loved debate and had a wide collection of books and manuscripts. He commissioned many beautiful tapestries, some of which represented his own propaganda and ideas, but are beautiful nonetheless. Henry may have been capricious and unforgivable in his cruelty during his final decade but he was so much more up to that point. Henry knew exactly how to correct the vulnerable spots in his coastal defences and did so during his inspections. He spent his last years and final months correcting books, so we know his own personal ideas and he wore spectacles. He was most likely in a lot of pain during those years, his temper would suffer because of this and yet his mind was always busy. Yes, he was everything bad that we can think off, but he also had so much more about him and remains our most fascinating and original monarch.
I had not heard of Henry’s underground map room. It definitely reminds me of Churchill’s wsr room during the blitz and WWII. I know Henry was a very smart man and his daughters inherited a lot of that, though their mother’s weren’t slackers either. It’s sad that he became the tyrant that we know because he had a lot of positive qualities that would be so much fun to explore without the stain of cruelty.
Yes he was an intelligent man he had what we call today a fertile brain ever exploring, it is easy to forget that side of him because his reign is tainted in the blood of his two tragic wives, but to give credit where it’s due, his achievements and intelligence should also be recognised.
Henry also married two very intelligent women, probably more so than him, one who taught him how to be a King, Katherine of Aragon and one who directed his mind towards reform and how to independently resolve his dilemma over the annulment and he discovered his own destiny in a book she had a hand in giving him, the famous work by William Tyndale, the Obedience of a Christian Man, his beloved Anne Boleyn. Both of them were well educated and were chosen as his Queen because of their experiences and intelligence as well as their hopes of bearing living sons. The problem was, they matched him, they were as determined as Henry and as strong in many ways, capable and as single minded in their own purposes as Henry was in his. Henry was bone headed when it came to wanting sons and ending his marriage to Katherine, but he had married a woman of strong and valiant stock who was more of a partner to him than a mere wife, whom he had adored and worshipped for eighteen years, who had stood by him and helped him as much as possible and had been faithful to him. However, because Katherine could not oblige Henry in one duty, that of blessing him with a living son, which of course was not her fault and Henry, to his credit, never directly blamed her, but he needed an heir and he was obsessed with that desire, Henry’s eyes turned to another to do just that.
Anne Boleyn was his choice, although he had already decided to examine his marriage to Katherine and its legitimate status, to keep a promise she made and give him sons. Henry found her fascinating and fell for her, hook, line and sinker. Henry perused Anne but eventually he fell in love and courted her. Anne was just as ambitious and would only accept him on one condition, marriage. Their relationship was more than that. It was mutually beneficial and they had many shared interests. Henry and Anne were interested in theology and she was bright enough to understand the ins and outs of the complexities of the annulment and the many steps he was to go through to achieve it. Henry was taken by her wit and her active brain, her grace and sense of fun, something he had loved in Katherine, her love of entertainment and masquerade, her book learning and she was constantly involved in everything before their marriage. These are qualities Anne would take with her into her Queenship but she also took one quality which Henry could not live with. Anne failed to transform from an outspoken mistress to a traditional Tudor wife. Katherine had also accepted her role was to obey and to turn a blind eye to his occasional infidelities when she was pregnant and when Henry made a decision she didn’t interfere. Katherine was not a docile woman and Henry had depended at times on her advice and help and she had showed her own greatness when she was his regent. Anne had a class act to follow. Henry was also to underestimate Katherine and her opposition to him on the matter of the annulment came as a shock to him. She proved herself to be a match to him and she never gave in. After eighteen years of marriage, though, just how did Henry miss the fact that Katherine was as stubborn as a mule, exactly as he was? The next woman was just as hard headed.
The difference that Anne found in Henry afterwards was that he was now a man changed by the years of a bitter divorce, the years of opposition to his will, a man changed by the losses of sons and no heir in sight after twenty four years of marriage, a man transformed by the submission of the clergy and a long conflict with Rome, to whom he had been obedient and whom he had defended, a man transformed by new confidence and a new taste of political and religious power and a man who has lost patience with all of it. Anne would have to deliver on her promise and quickly and everyone would have accept his new authority, his marriage to Anne and his coming full break from Rome or perish. Anne would have a big role to play, she would brief Ambassadors, she would make policy or attempt to, she would attempt to stir Henry towards France, she would have a role in advancing the reforms that her family favoured, not Protestant or Lutheran but reforms nonetheless, she favoured pro Anglican bishops, encouraged the English New Testament and was not a woman to be passive and at her needlework. Anne worked on joint ventures with Henry, including building Whitehall at York Place and she was fairly influential in many ways. However, Anne went too far and was not producing the much-needed son and heir. Anne was also critical of Henry and his wandering eyes. Anne was also highly criticised by most people at home and abroad, simply for having married Henry in the first place. She had enemies among his nobles and she was feared by traditional Catholic families of older stock. The legitimacy of the marriage was constantly questioned despite draconian legislation. Anne was under pressure to provide the King with a son and her hand in the banishment and mistreatment of Princess Mary, for whom we must also hold Henry responsible as it carried on in a different form after Anne’s death, didn’t exactly warm people to her. Anne was painfully aware of this and made efforts to help ordinary people but nobody was ever going to be as greatly loved as Queen Katherine. In the end everything conspired against Anne, her loss of a male baby made her vulnerable and the enemies engulfed her. Now due to an accident in January 1536 Henry added brain damage to his other transformative experiences and began to become paranoid and unable to control his emotions. He had violent and sharp mood swings. He turned against faithful servants and family members alike and finally against Anne. The causes of her downfall and her ultimate execution and betrayal on false charges are debated heavily and there are many great articles on here which cover them. Henry’s changed personality and the many years of pursuing a need for a son plus the total power he had grabbed for himself through the Supremacy cannot be discounted.
Two intelligent and strong women had shaped King Henry and it is perhaps no coincidence that he now looked to marry a lady who was much more traditional and who behaved in a manner far more acceptable for a Queen that he just wanted to settle down and provide him with a son. Jane Seymour was not a doormat, nor was she anywhere near as docile as she is often portrayed. She made herself into just what Henry wanted and was blessed with his son. It seems more than a coincidence that he didn’t marry a scholar again until Katherine Parr during the last few years of his life.
Spot on analysis BQ. I always am amazed when I read about Henry using the word ‘obstinate’ when referring to Katherine or Mary. Really? I wonder if they reminded him of anyone he knew?
Another thing about Henry I don’t really unerstand (perhaps you can clarify) is that Henry was a very religeous man but could only see things in one direction i.e. his lack of an heir. He saw himself as cursed with no sons rather than blessed with two daugjters whom the Lord may have had big plans for. Imagine how different history would be if Henry VIII had accepted his lack of sons and groomef his daughters for the throne. I think either of them would have been far more successful than Henry I’s daughter Matilda in being accepted. Was this just Henry’s thinking or was this strongly prevailent throughout Europe and elsewhere?
It’s kinda fun to imagine talking about Henry not as the tyrant who executed two wives but as the first English king to have two daughters successfully rule in their own right though I realize in this scenario Elizabeth would not exist. Just some silly musings
From a modern point of view, Michael, you are right, but it was a more general belief that women didn’t have the capacity to rule, despite some obvious exceptions, mainly as Regents for a son or male relative. Matilda was no worse than Stephen or better, but she came across as arrogant in London, demanding what was her ancient rights the day before her planned coronation. She caused great offence in the City which has particularly sacred customs and privileges by demanding dues and taxation and should have been more gracious, at least until the crown was on her head. The next day she was refused entry and driven off by the citizens. However, the English seem to have had a more ingrained fear of women ruling and their military ability was also questioned. Henry’s position was more precarious again as he was only the second of a new Dynasty and that was likely to cause concerns. Just why Henry in particular could only see one solution we don’t really know as he had one alternative, a grandson could succeed, but Henry was not very good at making long alliances and was played false by both France and Charles V. Their own wars complicated things with England in the middle. However, his father had done it so again what was wrong with Henry? He was a very insecure person I think, despite apparently being confident. I really believe Henry saw the three male boys he lost, going by the chronicles and sources, the losses of two others and the misinterpretation of Leviticus as evidence that he and Katherine had lived in a sinful relationship. Women in power in the sixteenth century was still a very rare thing and much literature existed about them being incapable of ruling and being inferior to men. It wasn’t just something in Henry’s mind, unfortunately, it was believed by most people and those women who did rule had a hard time or came from states who were used to it.
Anne, herself didn’t believe Elizabeth would be Queen one day and expressed depression and doubts because she feared she couldn’t give Henry a living son in his image. Elizabeth was welcomed by Anne and Henry and treated as the new heir but she was always meant as a solution on a temporary basis until a brother was born. Mary had been treated as Henry’s heir and even sent to Ludlow to rule as Princess of Wales, although neither officially had that title, with her own Council and household holding power in her name and Katherine certainly saw Mary as the heir. In the absence of any sons Henry probably accepted that as well. Mary and Elizabeth both had advanced educations and legislation in the case of Elizabeth suggested she was viewed as Henry’s legitimate heir. In the absence of a son he couldn’t do otherwise. Then Anne Boleyn came along and he was more determined than ever to end his marriage. He was obsessed with two thoughts: he loved Anne and must have her and she was going to give him a son. He and Katherine had sinned in his mind by marrying within the forbidden bonds of kinship and affinity and that was why he didn’t have male children.
The deepest religious conviction for Henry was that his first marriage offended God and while having a daughter was a blessing, she was of value as a marriage offering to form an alliance, but not as valuable as a son to secure the Dynasty. The fact that Henry didn’t seem to mind marrying Katherine in the first place and a number of experts believe he saw the verse about his brother’s wife and being childless as early as 1518 but didn’t do anything other than make one inquiry because Katherine could still have children. Henry started to look more seriously after 1524 when it is believed he knew Katherine could no longer have children and when he was in love with Anne. He made tentative enquiries just before he began courting her on the basis of his qualms over the legitimacy of his first marriage. Now that should not have altered the status of his children because he entered into his marriage with Katherine in good faith, with papal blessing and Katherine said her marriage to Arthur wasn’t consummated and there is no reason not to believe her. It changed because the Church didn’t make the decision, Henry’s Parliament did on his orders. The same thing happened to Elizabeth. This was a personal thing and it also cleared up any questions on his very rushed into third marriage. Henry didn’t rejoice in being blessed by two daughters because to him his marriage was cursed and he couldn’t accept them as being capable of ruling, nor was he alone, although his solutions were unique. Having said that Eleanor of Aquitaine only gave Louis vii of France two daughters and their marriage was annulled, but the girls remained legitimate. In France women were banned from the throne. That no King bothered to change that over the centuries shows it was taken for granted and although France has had several female Regents, they were often bad mouthed in the press, the chronicles of the day as being immoral or having some deficiencies, which again shows female rule was not acceptable. Henry’s line didn’t change, either. His only legitimate child, legally for the rest of his life was his son by Jane Seymour. Goodness knows what if anything he would have come up with had Jane been unfortunate enough to only have daughters. By the time he gets round to trying to end his second marriage, it is clear to me it is no longer a religious conviction but an excuse. Henry’s religious conviction was deeply flawed but to him it made perfect sense. He had a gift for making everything sound reasonable. His reasoning was very warped but to Henry it all made sense and he was the instrument of the Lord who was finally pleased with him by 1537. I really don’t believe it can be explained from a modern perspective, even from the point of view of a believer, because the mind of Henry Viii is impossible to work out. Katherine didn’t see their marriage as cursed, she thought Henry had lost his mind and his soul was in danger, but she did believe there was a reason no sons came and was desperate for sons. She became more and more devout. However, to her Mary was the answer to prayer and Henry was acting like a fool. There she was spot on.
I am sorry if I am not fully able to answer this question but I just believe it comes down to insecurity as well as a genuine question over his first marriage. Other Kings found more suitable answers to having female children only. Louis xii married his eldest daughter to his nephew/ cousin, Francis, but then again he hadn’t married his brother’s widow. Having found that this worked out eventually once, however, in a more sinister move Henry used it again, not because his conscience troubled him, but in order to make Elizabeth illegitimate. This time he used his relationship with Mary Boleyn to say his marriage to her sister, Anne, whom he was going to execute, was not lawful. This was after Harry Percy told Cromwell to get lost; he didn’t have a pre contract with Anne Boleyn. Anne’s brutal execution would have left Elizabeth as his heir, so an annulment was only needed to resolve that. Mary and Elizabeth were both, Mary for a second time, confirmed as illegitimate in the next Parliament. Believe it or not, had he lived, Henry Fitzroy would have been declared legitimate and his heir in the same Parliament until Jane had children. This wasn’t a religious conviction but a cold and calculating, if bold and genius mind, working out another solution to fit his own obsessions. If you add a pinch of paranoia, it was not a surprise either.
Just a quick additional note, even our Queens rarely sat as a Regent as they did in France, they had a role to play, as a mother and symbolic role but they usually had a Council or a male Protector. This was the brother of the late King or his cousin. Margaret of Anjou was practically laughed at and ridiculously criticised as trying to usurp the power of those more experienced male counterparts when she put together a plan which would have meant working with the Council and Lords, including York to bring a balanced Government together while her husband, King Henry vi was ill, while her new born baby son was an infant. Richard, Third Duke of York, the most senior Lord and Royal person, a rival for the crown, put himself forward and was granted a full Protectorate. This began the rivalry which would eventually lead to the so called Wars of the Roses, especially as York imprisoned Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, the rival who would lead the Lancastrian party and tried to have him removed from office permanently. Margaret was later maligned as an arrogant and power hungry, even cruel she wolf, but she was a mother defending her son and his rights, those rights being given away by her own husband. Yes, much of what she commanded would today meet with harsh criticism but nobody in the wars to come was exactly innocent of atrocities. York wasn’t a patient man, although his Government to be fair was good and strong. Margaret and he couldn’t work together and his own claim was always the elephant in the room. He would eventually push for the crown and Margaret and her family be driven out and Henry captured and locked up. This mess was blamed on Margaret by the winning House of York but to be fair there was right and wrong on both sides and King Henry wasn’t fit to rule for large periods. Her example most probably wasn’t one which others wanted to follow.
Elizabeth Woodville was prevented from taking control on behalf of Edward V for various reasons and ended up in Sanctuary. To be fair, Richard was what was needed as a proven warrior and experienced political leader and in justice and the law. The French treaty had ran out and there were fears they would invade. The Woodville family were not exactly popular, although they didn’t have the deadly rivalry with Richard, Duke of Gloucester as myth painted. In fact Anthony had worked closely with Richard and trusted some legal business to him before the fallout at Stoney Stafford. The Council also preferred Richard and gave him more than the powers of a Protector: that of a second King. This was how things worked on the Continent, but there, the Queen Mother would have more of a role. England did not operate that way. A male Protector was always preferred. For example, Catherine de Valois, daughter of Charles the Mad and wife of King Henry V, was not Regent for her infant son, but had a more ceremonial role and was involved in his care. She also had some limitations on her own freedoms being unable to marry during his minority. Henry V had his two brothers confirmed as a Regent in France under John, Duke of Bedford and a Protector in England under Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, but both roles were limited by a Council and Parliament. Catherine went ahead and married her lover and steward, Owen Tudor, having been prevented from marriage to Edmund Beaufort and the Tudors arrived on the scene. Afterwards Owen was imprisoned after his wife’s death but Henry vi recognised his two oldest half brothers at the Parliament of Reading by making Edmund, Earl of Richmond and Jasper, Earl of Pembroke. These women probably could have had power but were denied it because of the stereotype that a woman was too weak minded to rule and that prejudice was obviously ingrained by Henry’s time to an even greater extent.
The ironic thing is that both Mary and Elizabeth reigned and had success, although Mary had to fight or at least struggle for her crown because of another prejudicial belief, that as a Catholic she was not welcome. That, however, was her brothers prejudiced view as a confirmed Protestant and in fact England was very much still a Catholic country and she was welcomed. Mary had to flee and return with her own support and rallied them. Mary also established the gender free authority of the crown and made it stronger. It was only because of Mary that Elizabeth was also able to succeed. Both had been placed into the Act of Succession by Henry Viii in 1544 but not made legitimate. That was another problem, but Mary had her own legitimacy re established. She also negotiated a treaty with Spain that meant much of the fears of those who opposed her marriage to King Philip were not realised and which protected her own authority, while granting him limited powers on her behalf. Elizabeth was her natural successor, not her confirmed heir, but as there was no child to follow, on her deathbed Mary wisely named her to succeed, keeping a Tudor on the throne. Mary had her faults, as did Elizabeth but they set in motion the female succession without too much fuss in the future. Henry would have been proud but thanks to his marriage hoping Mary was denied the long reign her sister had and the right to succeed on his death. Even when Victoria came to the throne her mother and John Conroy tried to take over and prevent her from taking full control. They wanted a Recency with her Uncle, the future King of Hanover having a place in ruling. Victoria stood up to them and dismissed Conroy and sent her mother to another palace. Victoria moved out of Kensington which she hated into Buckingham Palace, newly refurbished. Victoria, however, was denied one part of her inheritance: she couldn’t rule Hanover, only a man could. So her Uncle took the crown of Hanover. Some places obviously still had a big problem.
Mary Tudor has been called the first English queen but really it was Matilda daughter of Henry 1st who owns that title, she was left the crown by her father and made all his barons swore fealty to her as his heir apparent, however Stephen her cousin son of Henry’s sister Adela or Adele also swore to recognise Matilda’s right as Henrys heiress, yet like so many renegade on his promise, Matilda was deposed after a fierce battle and that led to her immediately gaining support from her bastard brother Robert of Gloucester, who recognised her right to the crown of England, originally he had supported Stephen but after he let him down he supported his sister, Stephen was thus deposed after another fierce bloody battle and regained her throne, yet the power of being the first female queen ever in her own right went to her head, and she became power mad arrogant and so insufferable the council and barons and all the other powerful men in the realm turned against her, she lost her crown again and tried unsuccessfully to retrieve it, the bloody conflict went on for years and it was so violent that it was said Christ and his saints slept, Matilda though being sovereign should have been aware, according to the medieval mind that a woman should be humble and submissive, queen though she was she dared challenge that very ideal, it was her downfall she failed to consult and take advice from her council who were wise men that her father had trusted, I find Matilda fascinating though there are not many books on her, and I have often wondered why she is not called England’s first female ruler in her own right, her reign has been called a disaster and she was held as an example that women were not suitable for queenship, her half brother Robert of Gloucester was Henry’s favourite bastard son, as well as his eldest and would have made a worthy king but was born on the wrong side of the blanket, Matilda should not have inherited the throne that was intended for her brother, who drowned tragically in the white ship disaster, I think with Matilda she can be given some licence as she was not prepared for the role of monarch, she learnt from her mistakes the hard way, and so we come to Mary Tudor and Elizabeth, they also were not intended to inherit their fathers throne, but when they did soon impressed their subjects with their strong leadership qualities, Mary especially as she had to fight for hers, riding to Framlingham and raising an army to defeat Northumberland’s forces, yes they were both successful monarchs but they made mistakes to, however both were prudent women who tried to rule wisely, Elizabeth’s golden age really was a myth and her refusal to marry did endanger the succession, Mary made the mistake of introducing the heresy laws and so the myth of Bloody Mary evolved but the name was first recorded in the 17th or 18thc, she was not called that in her lifetime, really interesting that out of all our royal family from the earliest times from when they were first recorded, there have only been three Queens of England, we had had several child monarchs the rest have all been adult males, Charles when he does eventually become king will be an old monarch like Edward V11 was when he inherited, the queen is not carrying out so many duties now and it is rumoured that Charles will take over as regent while Elizabeth still remains monarch, I’m actually all for Charles as he plans to whittle down the monarchy to just the sovereigns heir which is himself and his descendants, the others.by name of sleazy Andrew and his freeloading daughters, pompous Edward and his family and Anne will be sidelined but I do like Anne as she is down to earth, a no nonsense type and hardworking to, I think she’s very like her father Philip, I read in the mail the other day that the queen has been advised not to let Andrew attend the annual Christmas Day service at Balmoral in case he gets heckled and jeered at, that would be very embarrassing for the queen and the others, we will have to see what happens at the moment the coming election is dominating the news, I have not had any visits from Tories or Lib Dem’s I had a labour candidate call round a few weeks ago but she soon left, iv heard many Tories are too scared and embarrassed to knock this time around, one needn’t wonder why.
From what I’ve read about Matilda it wasn’t so much that she became arrogant and let it go to her head but that she did not act act like a queen (female) but as a king (male). Acting strong like her father or another king may have acted was perceived in this woman as arrogance. From what I know of her married life before she came back to England she learned a lot about king/queenship and was definitely qualified to rule after the death of her brother but was not accepted because she acted as a man would.
You are right Michael, arrogance in a male ruler would not have been perceived as a problem, but because she was a woman she as I said before, challenged the ideal of femininity, her behaviour irked her council, and her other male subjects, however what I have read about Matilda tells me that she was a very difficult woman, maybe she was a bit of a scold like Anne Boleyn, men cannot stand that in a woman, the conflict that ensued in the years that followed when she tried without success to regain her crown, is described as a very bloody event in English history, I do not know much about Victoria’s early years but I know she loathed Kensington palace as she had spent a very lonely childhood there, and that makes me laugh when she threw her mother out, she had tried to rule through her daughter and Victoria was having none of it, Victoria’s reign has also been called a great age and she was hailed as a great monarch, but it was really like Elizabeth 1st, more to do with her longevity as queen and the fact that she resided over a Britain which was a global empire, there was dreadful poverty in the country, with long working hours and children were sent up chimneys and sent to work in the factories, the workhouse was horrendous with its poor living conditions and tb diphtheria and cholera were rife, England pocketed vast sums of money from her empire but many of her own kind were living in extreme poverty.
Thank you BQ That entirely answers my question.
I have another question. Somewhere quite a while ago I either read or heard on some program that French sallic law really wasn’t anything in the books but was brought up as an excuse/reason to keep women from ruling in their own right. Was that the case or was it actually something that was a concrete written ‘law’?
I have to be honest, Michael, I know very little about Salic Law, just from how it appears to have worked in practice. Yes, there was something recently about it being more custom than actually written Law but it certainly seems to have been how things were. It goes back to the Franks, the Salic Franks and then into the French succession but whether it was actually law or not I couldn’t say. It would not surprise me as many customs and traditions ran alongside law in the Middle Ages and that was Matilda’s problem in London. The citizens were exempted from certain taxation and duties but she demanded they made pledges which they were not bound to and she was angry when they refused. Matilda had ruled with some authority in Germany where a Queen had a part directly in Government for more than ten years and had some autonomy in Normandy. Her father had not helped by making the nobles take pledges to her many times over, without formally naming her as his heir and using the term “Lady” not their “Queen” in his will. Adela had sent her son Stephen to England and as the King’s favourite nephew he was well placed to make a beeline for the throne and have himself crowned quickly. Matilda was too far away in her lands in Anjou and Normandy and several months pregnant. Her slowness cost value time and Geoffrey, her husband made lightening strikes into Normandy which devastated the land and that didn’t help either. Matilda was up against it from the start, but she ended up ruling most of the South West and parts of the Midlands and Stephen most of the rest of the country but the far North, Northumberland, mainly ruled by Stephens brother in law, David of Scotland. His claim was made on the part of his sister, King Stephen’s wife, Margaret of Scotland, who was a more sympathetic figure than the Empress. However, her reputation is probably unfairly mythological as are many of the tales of cruelty. Both Stephen and Matilda had valiant escapes and became the stuff of legend and most certainly things could have been different if she was crowned. The entire period we call The Anarchy because the the chronicles tell us that everything was devastating and constant chaos and really like the end of the world, but the chronicles were written by monks, although some like William of Malmesbury were at the heart of Government, but this was a great exaggeration. The fighting wasn’t constant and limited to certain areas and towns, although no doubt terrible in those places, but the rule of law was maintained in each territory. It is certainly a period that requires new evaluation. A few books have appeared recently… “Matilda, Empress, Queen, Warrior, Mother” by Catherine Hanley, “The Anarchy” by Teresa Cole and ” King Stephen and Empress Matilda ” a twin biography by Matthew Lewis. Theresa Borman did one a few years ago and there are one or two older ones as there are on King Stephen. Ironically it was Matilda’s son, King Henry II who succeeded, the three children of Stephen being disinherited through a peace deal. Considering how chaotic it was meant to be this era saw the first real flowering of monasteries across England from the Continent as well as English foundations by Queen Matilda, the very pious wife of King Stephen and of the first chartered guarantees of Church independence. Yes, I find I have a soft spot for Empress Maud, regardless of her faults because she was denied what should have been hers by right, regardless of her sex and had she been male, her nobles would have waited, not crowned somebody else. Female power has consistently been criticised throughout history and characteristics or actions seen as strong in a man called by all sorts of negative names in a woman. It was certainly a world woven by men.
Sorry the book by Borman is about the other Matilda, Wife of William the Conqueror.
Marjorie Chibnall wrote in 1993_the first real study called Empress Matilda, Queen Consort, Queen Mother and Lady of the English.
Elizabeth Chadwick wrote a novel called Lady of the English, a title that she used for herself.
I also realised I said David of Scotland invaded the North on behalf of his sister, Stephen’s wife, instead of King Henry I wife, the mother of our Matilda, also called Matilda. Stephen was married to Matilda of Boulogne whose mother was the other sister of King David and of our Matilda mother, Mary of Scotland. She was Countess of Boulogne in her own right. So our Matilda was the cousin of both Stephen and his wife. I think that is at least four Matildas, no wonder there is chaotic thinking.
I’ve read Tracy Borman’s book on the conquer’s wife. Very good read. You mention all the ‘Matildas’. I think I remember Elizabeth Norton making a disclaimer in her first volume of ‘England’s Queens’ that she would spell each one differently to delineate them. There certainly were a lot of them early on.
This is a bit off topic but maybe not- Did you know that in the run-up to the 1960 presidential election that one of the fears of John Kennedy being elected was his Catholicism. Some were afraid he would allow the Vatican to rule the United States. He was elected and that never happened but isn’t it interesting that 400 years and an ocean away that that was still seen as a problem.
Thanks for your answer on Salic law BQ.
Hi, Michael, yes I did hear that. It wasn’t that great here for some Catholic communities during the 60s and there was a lot of hostility between Protestants and Catholics until the 1980s when efforts were made to bring the communities together and that has thankfully continued. People were afraid of what they didn’t know, but after 500 years it was ridiculous. Just as if a President would do such a thing. Wasn’t the Vice President, Lyndon B Johnson also a Catholic? Because of the assassination of Kennedy the U.S had two Catholics one after the other. It must have terrified the pants of them. People can be really stupid daft about things they don’t understand. Some people still write books on how the Vatican controls the National Banks in America and Fort Knox and the entire world and are behind just about everything, including the Titanic disaster. Their reasons? A Jesuit priest got off in Ireland. The Titanic made two Irish stops before sailing to America. No, the priest could only afford a ticket that far and he was told by his superiors were to go and others stayed on board, so how did he cause the iceberg to hit the ship? There is an odd group called the Illuminati who are quite influential and whose members, mostly businesses and ordinary individuals do follow odd rules but they don’t rule the world, let alone the Vatican and forget about the Da Vinci Code, but like Freemasons before them a lot of rubbish has been written about them. Its groups like this that some people fear will control our political systems but its rather far fetched. I can just imagine the campaign literature at the time of Kennedy and his election. The country sounds as if it was totally paranoid and living in another century during the 50s and 60s with fear of black people finding equality and access to education and civil rights and any form of religious freedom. It was a terrible time, a time of violent struggle but ultimately they won all of that and it cost Kennedy his life. The PM of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, who worked so hard to make a just peace with Palestine was also assassinated and the President of Egypt who also made peace was killed in mysterious circumstances. Why are these good men of peace always killed? Yes, people are cowardly when they are raised in fear and ignorance, although you would think we would know better these days.
I could never understand why Gandhi was assassinated such a great man, but it is all about religion, an ex Indian work colleague of mine told me it was to do with the hatred he incurred with the Sikhs, (think that’s not spelt correctly), I have heard about the illuminati it sounds rather far fetched to me, incidentally did anyone watch the War Of The Worlds over the past three weeks, I thought it started of very good and found it exciting, but then towards the end the BBC brought political correctness into even that, with the leading man talking about the punishment of the English for taking lands that did not belong to them, therefore the Martian invasion was divine punishment, I really could not believe my ears and one of the Mail’s columnists mentioned it the Monday after, Sunday being the day the series ended, could have been Richard Littlejohn but he blasted the BBC for even daring to bring pc into HG Wells timeless classic, its as if everything we read now or watch is all about lecturing us on what is right or wrong, it really is getting to be a nanny state now.
Having never read the book, although my husband has and I know it ended very differently, I wasn’t too bothered by the introduction of a lead female, because it balanced things out and the lead male does look for his wife so that made sense. However, she wasn’t his wife and he had a superfluous wife who wanted to refuse him a divorce, which was exceptionally hard in Edwardian England, so that annoyed me, but she was excellent. The first episode was great, no real problems, but I have to say with today’s technology, why didn’t they make London less obviously filmed 90% in Saint George’s Hall, here in Liverpool? Yes BBC we could tell you exactly where every single seen was filmed. The house they hid in was the stables in Croxteth Hall and the underground was the catacombs under Saint George’s, the Church and village of Woking where filmed in Great Budsworth in Cheshire and Saint George’s Hall looking nothing like Parliament was in every London shot. It wasn’t even disguised. With CGI they could have done better. However, the effects in the first two episodes was great but the ending was really bizarre and nothing like the book, that I do know. I didn’t like them eating people either. The third episode was a big departure from the story. George going mad and going outside to die was nonsense. His girlfriend was having his child and he abandoned her. The ships were good though. I will probably have to watch them again but it was a departure from what was billed as a faithful rendition of the book, set in the Edwardian era and that was disappointing. The fact the army only had basic pre WW One guns and arms was in stark contrast to the advantage of the Martians. That was good. Oh well, something else filmed in Liverpool.
Hi BQ. I was intrigued by your comment about Lyndon Johnson. He was known as a very profane man so I never thought about his religious affiliation. I just looked him up on wiki and he was not known to be a member of any church but did self identify as Christian, attended Methodist services and occasionally attended Catholic services with his wife Lady Bird. To date John F Kennedy is still our only Roman Catholic president. Johnson’s presidency was not much of a success. Though some good civil rights legislation came out of it it was mostly a continuation of Kennedy’s policies. Where Johnson really lost support was his escalation of the Vietnam War. Most notably the bombing of Cambodia. You may have seen this at some point: Johnson’s televised announcement regarding his re-election. In it he says ‘if nominated I will not run. If elected I will not serve’. This led to Richard Nixon who though not a bad president per se tried to cover-up a break-in of the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate hotel for the purposes of spying on his opponents. He was impeached and resigned. He did however become one of our best senior diplomats opening up trade with China.
I don’t know how things are in your neck of the woods but religion is not pc. If you admit to believing in God or any higher power and run for office you are slammed. Quite different from the past and the effect on society seems quite negative.
I believe it was mentioned in a documentary on the day that Kennedy was assassinated, which is why I asked. It just mentioned him attending Mass but of course he could have done so out of respect, you don’t have to be a Catholic to attend, only if you want to take Communion. I don’t know much about Johnson to be honest, but his not being a success is not a surprise. How do you follow Kennedy, even if his ratings were down. One of the most poignant moments for me in my teens was going to Soweto in South Africa where Kennedy spoke so passionately about civil rights on the steps of the Catholic Cathedral there. I was only eighteen and had tears in my eyes hearing a reconstruction of the speech and looking at the little displays afterwards. That was in 1981 when we went to South Africa, long before the end of apartheid, that is the separation of different races, specifically Black people and White, literally. You were even partly segregated as a woman. The townships had every amenity, not like the highly publicised Crossroads which didn’t because it wasn’t a township but a camp. The townships were actually very well provided with good housing, education, local faculties, nursery care, everything a small town would have, but it was separated from the mixed race and white population and people had to live there. They travelled into the cities, yes, to work and some black people lived there but most lived in the township, completely segregated. If you went into a shop there was a door for white people and one for black people. The signs Americans would have known in the 50s and 60s were everywhere “Whites only” ” Blacks only ” even on the beech, you had to use one part or the other. The buses were the same. One entrance for Blacks, one for White. My mum caused a fuss standing up for an elderly Black woman and had to sit back down. I stood up because I was further back and insisted because it was o.k there. It was really embarrassing seeing someone treated like that and not being able to do anything about it without causing a riot. The hotels were the same except in the Transkei which is an independent state within the country’s borders and driving to Durban you have to go through it. This is more or less a native homeland and apartheid was banned there. It was very different in contrast to everywhere else. My family live in a white middle class district, today it is a gated community as it’s no longer safe, but then it was. They have never approved of apartheid, but most did, it was deeply ingrained going back several generations. That’s why it was so hard to break down and end it in the late 90s. The lifestyle of successful Afrikaans and English South Africans was very stark in contrast to most Black people. It wasn’t that Black people also didn’t have elite jobs, a number did, but very few in comparison to the minority White Populations. In Soweto there was a district gated off from the rest called locally Beverley Hill, like in California. The houses were typical millionaires homes and they were Black millionaires. Mrs Mandela had her home there. Mandela himself was not poor. He was the well educated son of a headsman and was well off but he was a rebel who found the will to stand up for civil rights at University. Part of his movement did become violent and his arrests were connected to those incidents. In jail, however, he converted and became a spokesman for the ending of apartheid. He was the focal point of the long years of struggle by that movement. After well over two or more decades in prison, during which he refused to renounce violence, he was released and a new start made. However, it hasn’t been the paradise everyone wanted and crime is far worse now than under apartheid. However, at least people can be and do whatever they want. Life was very different again in the traditional villages in the interior and even around Cape town and Durban. We met a traditional witch doctor in a Zulu village and saw a graduation ceremony of several young female witch doctors. They are always female in the Zulu culture. It was an amazing experience but it was also disturbing seeing a system in action which treats people as second class citizens just because of their skin colour. Another ethnic group there had no rights at all until the late 1970s. Cape Coloured People are mixed race and mainly lived around Cape town but it was illegal for black people and white to have sexual relations so babies born as a result were not legally recognized. They gained recognition after a community grew up on the Cape to challenge Pretoria. The region is well known also for parts which look like Wales, the meeting point of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, Table Mountain and its vineyards, especially champagne. My mother just had to have some and crystal champagne glasses, two dozen of them!!!! In a mazda with four cases and four adults! I said we would have them shipped but oh no! The champagne had to be shipped, thank goodness. The majority of roads are not beautiful normal roads, although the main roads are, but much of the interior is dirt track, more suitable for a land rover than our hire car. No way could a box of champagne glasses go in the boot so we had to nurse the things in turn. The Golden Coast or Garden Route is magnificent and sea all the way, but the way up to the Drakensburg and Transkei up to Johannesburg is very rough in places and towns can be 800 miles apart. This is the real South Africa.
As for religious beliefs and our political representatives, that seems to depend. Personal faith can be a difficult thing to express but the faithful have a big presence on social media these days. Public expression of faith is not as PC as it used to be no and can be misinterpreted. It can also be misused by our leaders who have an agenda. I don’t know many MPs who have a personal faith but a few do and we had one who is now retired who was a devout Catholic and changed the law on abortion and one or two others. David Cameron had a personal Christian Faith. If you listen to most officers from the Council you would think PC was the be all and end all, but most people ignore them and our city is certainly doing Christmas big time. The decorations are as wonderful as ever and I will be visiting them next week. A local church here is having a thirteen day Christmas Tree Festival with various events such as the concert we went to yesterday and a big number of trees done by local groups and businesses and the children and nativity scenes representing people around the world. One display showed figures from each of the 126 countries who came here as refugees. The African carvings are particularly colourful and the expressions on all of the faces are really cute and lively. It’s a really good festival.
Do you live in Liverpool Bq?
Yeap the capital of football, pop culture and these days film and drama sets. Peaky Blinders, set in Birmingham, filmed in Liverpool, the epic Forsyth Saga, filmed at Croxteth Park and the Victorian and Georgian squares around the University and now War of the Worlds, which couldn’t be more obvious. Victoria, the long running drawn on ITV has been filmed here, the restored Victorian Palm House in Sefton Park being the centre of the CGI Crystal Palace. People don’t realise how much grand architecture there is outside of London and that Liverpool passes for Victorian London. The squares around the University are excellent because it is perfectly quiet and no traffic as its got a park and is University land so very few cars and cobbled streets. Limestreet has a cobbled plateau with huge lions on plinths and the grand setting of Saint George’s Hall and William Brown Street with the grandest station going, the restored fronts of old shops and wide streets can be used for many things and the interior is breathtakingly magnificent, especially if they uncovered the floor. The Georgian buildings around the area we call the Quarter are an artistic dream. If you want theatre, the Empire and Royal Court are like palaces. Then the modern, the Echo Arena, revamped after the fire and twice the size hosts some of the national and international sports and entertainment events from around the world. The most passionate football fans in the world complete the picture.
The only drawback for me is the city was badly damaged during World War ii and didn’t rebuild any of its older lost buildings. The Castle was lost centuries ago, another great shame. The Stanley Tower or Liverpool Tower was demolished in the nineteenth century to make way for the business quarter around Water Street and the docks. So if you want old history, you have to unfortunately fish around and you won’t find anything like Hampton Court lurking just outside the city. You can find the late Tudor house of Speke Hall, two ghosts and two families, the Norris family and Watt family, on the far south edge of the city, Croxteth Hall and Knowsley Hall and Safari Park to the North, the latter the domain of the Stanley Clan. There is Childwall Abbey Church, aptly misnamed as no Abbey stood here, but a bit of local colour will tell you a battle took place and drove of the Kings men in the field beyond. Poppycock. All Saints Childwall was a Saxon Church with no links to a monastery. It has a Stanley Chapel but most now is seventeenth centuries. It is doubtful the Stanley family ever came here but only paid for a chantry for prayers. A Parish Church exists at the water front which originated as the old Parish and the original dock gates came up there. The local park has old Megalithic and Neolithic stones that formed a tomb avenue, not a stone circle as first believed. It also has an old manor house and centre, now restored and stands on several other sites. The Allerton Oak dates back at least 1000 to 1200 years and is the Woodland Trust tree of the Year. The hundred court would meet here in Medieval times. The monasteries of Whalley and Sawley in Lancashire had daughter houses, one somewhere in or near Liverpool, but the problem is nobody seems to really know where. The oldest continuous ferry crossing went from Liverpool to the Wirral, to Birkenhead, ran by the monks of that monastery which does still exist. The designer of the park in New York designed the one in Birkenhead. Another bit of history one might look at is Little Moreton Hall, the Tudor gem in Wirral, Cheshire. The oldest Jewish Synagogue, from the middle of the eighteenth century can be found on Princess Road and you can book a tour or go during Heritage Days in September. You can see some of the best murals in the country at Saint Margarets Church next door or visit the Greek Orthodox Church over the road or the Nowegian and Polish ones a few streets away. Visit the Baptist Tabernacle for some architecture or the beautiful none conformist Ancient Chapel of Toxteth dating back to about 1605. It is very much unchanged. The best Irish Catholic Church is Saint Patrick on Upper Hill Street, near Park Road, which is the oldest in the City. If you want some very beautiful murals Saint Anthony ad Padua in Mossley Hill and the older Church on Scotland Road are a must. If more contemporary history is your thing then any Beetles tour is a must, especially the Cavern Club, the bus takes you around them all, a taxi tour can be booked, the restored Strawberry Fields is worth a visit and lunch and museum and of course don’t miss the World Museum or the art galleries, the original charter of King John and Edward iii in the Picton Libraries, the museum at the water front, all of them or to visit the iconic Liverpool One and Albert Dock to shop til you drop. Do the stadium tours at Liverpool and Everton football clubs within five minutes walk of each other, across another park or to visit on a day in August when the historic Town Hall is open. A heritage tour under Saint George’s Hall or one of the spooky murder or ghost tours are a must as are the Duck submarine and the open top buses.
I was well paid by Christine and Visit Liverpool for this honest rave of Liverpool and Merseyside lol.
Wow a lot of interesting information, I’ve heard Liverpool is a very beautiful city and I would love to visit one day, Croxteth Hall is famous for Most Haunted and of course Liverpool is known as the birthplace of the Beatles, maybe one day I will be able to visit, I can look you up ha!
If you come up, Christine, let me know and perhaps we can meet up. It would be a pleasure to show you something of the city, even if it was just a museum or two. Mind you, you have a number of great ones in London as well. We have a fantastic museum of life in Liverpool and one of the maritime history and the slavery museum, which is the darker side of the city’s past, although most cities in England are tainted by that terrible past. Like London the waterfront is vibrant. One of the most important people in astronomy was born in Liverpool, Jeremiah Horricks who measured the Transit of Venus by the sun. His work can be seen in the museum and his house is at Much Hoole an hour from Liverpool. It’s a private house so you can’t visit it, but the church in the village has a window which commemorates it. I find if you want to know the history of the place and the people, you can’t do better than visit the local church and see their monumental remains or stories. It’s always a good indication of community history and make-up. I have a thing about visiting churches because of that history and links to the local community. The Georgian Quarter is fascinating because of the diversity, all represented by several places of worship close together from so many different communities. We also have several very old public houses, so if you like real ale, they can be fun as well.
That’d be great Bq, I love museums, my favourite one in London is the Natural History museum, it is such a beautiful piece of architecture and i am sure many visitors do not realise the work that went into creating it, they come to see the exhibits but if they were to look at the building itself, they would notice the wonderful carved images in the stonework that really covers the entire building, it was also used in the film Paddington, I also like to visit old pubs!
It was used in Highlander Four as well, it’s a breathtakingly remarkable building, I enjoyed my visit there, but the cafe wasn’t great. It was wonderful and seeing so many huge dinosaurs was fascinating.
I was lucky I have travelled abroad since I was five years old, although we don’t go now as we can’t be bothered with the security and queuing. If I did travel again it would be on the Eurostar again, first class and probably back to Germany or Paris, stopping at Brussels again. We spend our holidays in our own country now because of our own history and it’s easier with Steve’s conditions to load up the car and go, in short bursts. However, I wouldn’t mind taking off on an adventure again. I am quite happy with my own company. I make the driver aware of my condition and needs and have a great adventure but very rarely now. We visited a number of countries and their historic sites, North Africa, Carthage, El Djem, Italy, including Rome, Florence and Ravenna,Assisi, Spain, including Granada and Madrid and Barcelona, South Africa, the Voortreker Monument which commemorates the trek of the Dutch pioneers across the country, Ladysmith and George Town from the Voor Wars and the Battle of Blood River and their heroic trek to a homelands, Greece, including Corinth and the historic canal, Bulgaria, Istanbul, the old Yugoslavia when it was that, Prague and the Karlstein Castle of Charles iv and Anne of Bohemia who married King Richard II of England, Budapest, Switzerland and many other places. However, I am quite content now discovering my own country and we have plenty of castles and museums and ancient monuments, the biggest stone circle in Europe and plenty of ancient tombs. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t love to see quite a bit more of the world, the Pyramids for example, the USA, Japan and China and India but the Arctic would be too cold and although I would love to see the Northern Lights again. I saw them as a child in Scotland. I would find Norway wonderful. The Vikings fascinated me growing up and their long ships coming up the rivers all over Europe, even going to what we know as Russia and Constantinople. Steve went to total eclipse in Russia, or more particularly in Kazakhstan. The party also went to St Petersburg and to Moscow, when Russia was still communist. There are a number of palaces there I could live in. Catherine the Great has always been a great heroine of mine. So many historical places all around us. Off topic, yes, but history all around us and we are all part of it.
Thank you BQ for sharing your adventures.
Wow you really have been a globe trotter haven’t you? It’s wonderful travelling the world I have only been to Italy mainland Spain Majorca Greece ( Rhodes) and Gran Canaria, of course as mentioned I’d love to see more, but I’m happy holidaying in Britain few months ago I stayed in Clacton in a caravan for a few days, but had a great laugh weather was good to, goodnight.
One of my most favourite moments was going to the Light and Sound recreating the Siege of Rhodes and the end of the Knights of Saint John as we had also seen in Malta. Sitting in the shadow of the great citadel with light and voices coming from beyond the battlements was amazing, with the mighty Turks at their gates and the sounds of canon and siege weapons. The conference with the final few Knights left and the Grand Master to decide whether or not to surrender was very poignant as they didn’t want to but the citizens were starving and dying of disease, partly because of the conditions, partly because of the body parts thrown over from dead captives. They reluctantly decided to surrender in the morning. However, they were betrayed and one of the brothers was going to let the Turks in via a small gate. Someone found out and he was put in prison and would most likely have been executed in the morning. There was a bit of a funny scene where the Turks tried to attack the gate and failed and the Sultan calls them “Dogs” and ” Sons of Whores” and had them flogged, while when he entered the town called the Commander “Oh worshipful Christian, my brother in arms” which made us smile. I believe the original Commander and Grand Master was killed during the early stages of the assault and his much younger Second found himself rapidly promoted and it was he who ordered the surrender the next day. It was an honorary surrender but the end of the Military Orders. It was a wonderful experience, very well done both times. I loved Malta both times and the great Cathedral with the two canons is still there, a recent documentary showed them, I remember sitting on one of them for a photo. I was about ten or so I think. I loved the old town in Rhodes and the story of the Kolossis which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, that stood over the harbour. Mind you Corinth had a large fortified brothel on a cliff which had 300 prostitutes, apparently as we were told.
One place I would love to see is Persepolis in modern Iran, the Ancient Persian Capital built by Darius the Great. It was of course burned down on the orders of a drunk Alexander the Great but it was oddly preserved by the weight of the stone columns that collapsed, preserving the beautiful acacia wood tall columns and the roof of the grand hall of offering. Here on the plateau the Archaemenid Kings received visitors from every part of their vast empire. Many of the columns are gone now, but a few are preserved in the Museum, although the stone ones stand still. The great staircase and the walls depict a procession of the many nations the King ruled. The diversity of the Empire is very clear to see, from Medes to Syrians, to Babylon to Israel, hundreds of others inbetween. They came, made their homage, gave their gifts and then they returned home after being his guests. It wasn’t a military installation, it was ceremonial, the treasury alone was guarded, save for an elite to protect the King. Ahura Mazda symbols are everywhere and there is a Fire Temple for Darius to honour Zoroastrian prophets. It was also a wonder of the Ancient World and Alexander set fire to it, days after it surrendered. It is said he regretted it ten years later when he returned as now he was the King of Persia and this should have been a city to enjoy. I would love to go to Iran and see it for myself. I would also visit the Tomb of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Empire and the site of his gardens. He set free the Jewish people from Babylon as well as ordering every people to restore their own culture and Temples and be free to worship as they pleased. The Temple of Marduk was what we base the Tower of Babel on because it goes up and up and up, here Cyrus did honour. Remains of such Temples still exist. For some reason, Saddam Housain thought he was King Nebuchadnezzar and had Babylon rebuilt near Bagdad in Iraq. Mind you he also thought he was Saladin, who was a much more honourable man than him. Cyrus paid for many temples to be restored and his successors bankrolled the second Temple in Jerusalem, part of their Empire. He is recognised in the Bible as a hero, he is recognised in many cultures, including the Greeks as a father, he is called a Messiah by the Jewish people he liberated. His proclamation is in the British Museum in London. That and the famous Rosetta stone, used to translate Egyptian writing are the only two things I saw there. We had one hour to visit and I made a beeline for both. The Cyrus Cylinder is often called the first United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and while that is something of an exaggeration, freedom to worship as well as the same rights throughout the Empire, including some local autonomy, was revolutionary even in the nineteenth century. This was the mid sixth century B.C. Such tolerance wasn’t even known in the sixteenth century so called Tudor era of Christian England.
In case you are a fan of Queen, Freddie Mercury came from a Zoroastrian family. His parents practised the faith. I don’t now how or if he was devout, but he was buried in the faith.
A couple of bits of trivia. We get our word Paradise from the Persian for garden and Zoroastrianism teaches that the prophet who probably lived in the century before Cyrus, will return to earth in a new carnations from time to time. The final visit will be on 25th December, although the year is not known. Although our Christmas is taken from the return of the Victorious Sun after the Winter Solstice, the date is interesting.
One of the wise men was said in legend to be from Persia or India, where the fire temples are in both places and the Magi is a Persian wise man, they were very important in the worship of Ahura Mazda (Lord of Light) at the Persian Court. They were considered important in prophecy and astronomy and astrological signs, magic and healing. The story of them travelling to find Jesus makes perfect sense as they would have sought him out as a King, especially as historical records show they did have such a prophetic expectation in their records after their temples were raided by the Romans. The Medieval Devil may also have more in common with a Zoroastrian boggie man than the Biblical descriptions. They had a demon called Arihman who is anti good and anti creation and will cause chaos. He uses people to deny his own existence and to work against everything good. They believe in Duelism with Ahura Mazda being the Supreme Being who is the Wise Lord who created the world and good and his counterpart having a say in what is not good, the material would and the end times. Our idea of a Devil probably has much older origins in the concept of Evil, but the physical being who is grotesque and has horns has more to do with the ideas brought back from Babylonian territory and Iran by Hebrew people returning home. Today Iran has a very large Jewish population dating back to their time in exile and diaspora around the Persian Empire. Many remained because they were valued. Well educated and high born they served as officials at Court and in government administration. Their descendants are described in a very well researched book called Esther’s children.
Talking of gardens who loved gardens but Elizabeth I. She had many of the private gardens and mounted gardens with banqueting halls as well as the laid out pleasure gardens restored at her palaces, didn’t like Edward vi’s Preaching Place at Richmond which she had removed and received foreign visitors in the gardens. I read that in the Simon Thurley book on the palaces of the Tudors. Richmond was her favourite place and Elizabeth spent a lot of time on its gardens and its rich carpets.
Wow BQ, some amazing experiences while growing up. I haven’t done much traveling. My family didn’t have time for it and I don’t either. I would love to to visit historical places around the world but I would have to do it alone. There is no one I know, family or friends who have any interest in any kind of historical subject of any kind. wheras I love it all. That’s why I love this blog.
The Berlin Wall was put up the year I was born (1961) and I never thought it would come down in my lifetime. When it started to be destroyed in 1989 it was one of the most exciting things I ever witnessed! And then to have apartheid end in South Africa seemed a dream. Nelson Mandela was the perfect person to lead then. If anybody had a reason for hatred and vengeance in his heart…. But he was a beautiful and gracious man and did not want reprisals. You and I and others of our generation have witnessed things we thought were impossible. I consider myself blessed to have those bits of history in my memory. A little off topic but kinda not.
I was the only member of my family growing up who was interested in history as well, as well as Greek mythology the ballet and the theatre, I was a bit of an odd ball, i always wanted to visit Venice and Florence and Rome, Egypt and Mexico, Francisco’s Italy is fantastic I dont know of it was shown in the states? But he takes you all over Italy and shows you the age old sometimes quirky customs they have, the beautiful scenery and the old ruins of ancient times, also I would love to go to the arctic which does sound odd but it is so beautiful, I’m thinking of writing to the BBC to see if I could accompany them when they are filming their wildlife series, I would love to see the polar bears with their little cubs but I can only see them from the comfort of my lounge on my television, I would love to dive and swim with the fishes in the coral reefs around the Indian Ocean and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, however that said I know I will never have the opportunity to indulge in the latter unless I win vast sums of money, still we can all dream can we not?
The most frustrating part of being the only person interested in a subject is when you want to share something about it with someone else their eyes glaze over. We should count ourselves blessed to live when we do. Imagine living anywhere in the world at the height of the era of exploration and one of the expeditions comes home with tales of fantastic beasts, new people, plants etc. Perhaps there were some sketches but maybe not, just the words of those who claimed to see them. If there were drawings you may have asked yourself ‘how accurate are they?’ We now know that many weren’t even close. We don’t have that problem today. We can take still and moving pictures of these things and not only that but in color! You and I are about the same age so you may remember when we were little most people still had B&W televisions and few channels. And, at least here those few channels went off the air at midnight. Now we have channels dedicated to history and nature on 24hrs a day. The point is, us traveling to see these things is now a choice. For those unable or not inclined you can still see all of the wonders the world has to offer while comfortably at home.
As to that program you mentioned I had not heard of it. Most programs like that would air on the local Public Broadcast System channel. It depends on what area you live in as each station has their own programming. It sounds like something that would do well here. I would love to see it. Italy is not only beautiful but has an amazing history. Thank you Christine.
Yes I was born in 1960 and we had an old black and white tv encased in a wooden box on a wooden stand, I believe it had castors too so you could wheel it around, the world was much more simple then, no internet or mobile phones, in fact we never had a home phone as my father always said because he had six sisters in law and my mum would be on it all day! He was worried the housework wouldn’t get done, but yes it’s always nice to meet people with a shared interest, otherwise you just lose yourself in your books, I was always explaining why things were so called and it was because they had their origin and meaning in the Grk myths etc, I too used to see the eyes glaze over ha! but yes you are correct now regarding television, it is wonderful because although half of it can be rubbish, it does take us into these far of worlds which we can only ever dream of visiting, especially interesting was a programme where a submarine with camera crew on board, travelled hundreds of miles down to the sea bed and filmed the most exquisite creatures which until then, had escaped human eyes, they were minuscule in size yet against the darkness glowed with the most loveliest of iridescent colours of blues purples pinks and reds, I could go on and on, it really is another world the sea, I cannot remember where it was but it was stunning, for thousands of years people have not seen that but now, thanks to technology we can, we are blessed!
Hi BQ. To be at such ancient locations and have some of that history brought to life must have been a rather emotional experience for someone who loves history as much as you do. Sounds amazing.
Hi Bq, yes I read in Tracy Bormans book that Elizabeth did especially love the gardens at Nonsuch, which had the most beautiful displays of statues of ancient gods and goddesses and other mystical beasts, topiarys and rose gardens and knot gardens, here she must have wandered alone when her mind was troubled and found solace in it’s beautiful surroundings, if only Nonsuch had survived it would have been an absolute treasure to the nation, and an absolute joy to visit.
Aye the palaces would have been glorious. I have been watching and am still making my way through the recordings a series called The World’s Greatest Palaces, ranging from Hampton Court, through Edinburgh Castle and around the world to Austria, Bulgaria, the wonderful magical playgrounds of Ludwig of Bavaria, India, Russia and so many others, France and Sweden. When you think how many Austria has, with Vienna and Innesbruck, so many more, with thousands of rooms and so much splendour and the same in Saint Petersburg, we really haven’t done a good job of saving ours. Even Blenheim is annoyingly on the site of the Medieval Palace of Woodstock. Hampton Court and the later Georgian and Victorian Palaces of Buckingham Palace and Kensington are really the only ones, plus Windsor Castle. Yes the Queen has dozens of others which are private like Balmoral which really does have to be experienced as over the top and mythical inside. Disneyworld came to mind, you know the make believe fairy palaces in Walt Disney films. This series is good because it tells the story behind each palace, how it was built and its dark secrets as well as innovations. The gardens were magically laid out in many, although they were landscaped in the eighteenth century. The restoration of the private gardens of Henry Viii at Hampton Court give you a flavour of what Elizabeth might have seen and yes I can imagine her wandering around Nonsuch and it was a real loss because of its Italian classical style and all of those statues. You can never see all of these gardens, they are usually extensive but at Hampton Court they had a carriage to take you to different parts or pick you up if you had a long way to go. The grand formal gardens leading to the lakes and fountains remind me of Versailles, if smaller. I can imagine Elizabeth sitting on a cushioned chair with the beautiful flowers around her laid out and orange groves and trees and her courtiers sitting on raised carpets being serenaded by musicians and fancy birds like peacocks roaming around and the foreign Ambassadors coming to visit and admire the beauty. It must have really been a delight to see.
Yes on summer days and evenings having picnics I bet it looked so colourful, there was no pollutants in the air then and the countryside must have been brimful of bees butterflies and other wild insects, if only an artist had captured a scene like that and the days they had water pageants, Holborn could have drafted a rough sketch and painted the rest from memory, Elizabeth had during her reign credible artists to, such as Nicholas Hilliard who was an expert in miniature portraiture, as well as the other two women artists we have mentioned in earlier posts, it would have been wonderful had he captured Elizabeth on one of her picnics or hunting astride her horse. her parents loved hunting and picnicking to, and Henry V111 had orchards, both he and Anne loved cherries and peaches, alas those rustic scenes we can only imagine at, there are no such images captured in oils for us to wonder at.
Thanks for sharing such a very interesting time in English history.