Sometimes I wish that I was a timewalker, or that I had a Tardis, or could walk through standing stones…. Oh to be able to go back to my favourite historical events, just for 30 minutes or so! Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

And one of the events near the top of my want-to-see list is the Château Vert pageant of 1522 at York Place. It was one of the Shrovetide celebrations of king Henry VIII’s court that year, and Anne Boleyn and her sister, Mary, were involved, as was the king himself. Its theme was unrequited love, and it featured damsels in distress, lavish costumes, a peal of guns, fruit throwing and dancing… It sounds just incredible.

In last year’s 4th March “on this day in Tudor history” video, I shared a contemporary account of this pageant:

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59 thoughts on “Oh to go back in time to the Château Vert Pageant!”
  1. Dear, dear Claire!
    you would be very uncomfortable there …
    Imagine: no electric power, no PC, no radio, no TV, no clear running water, no central heating, no antibiotics…
    Thank you for your splendid Anne Boleyn’s site.
    Mariella, from Italy

  2. Fruit throwing…now that sounds interesting…hopefully that’s not the same as I observed in the school cafeteria growing up! Seriously, it would be so fun to observe (but not be observed) these pageants ad all the other interesting events!

  3. I would love to go back in time also and see this lavish spectacle which was in honour of the betrothal of the Princess Mary to a son of Spain, Wolsey himself must have been honoured that his home was chosen to host this wonderful pageantry, it is true ‘The Tudors’ did a good re enactment of this and we have Edward Hall to thank for his detailed account of it, the ladies looked beautiful in their ivory white dresses with little gold masks, historians have often noted the droll fact that Anne was cast in the role of perseverance as if the fates were already at work here, maybe Henry V111 did notice his future queen during this wonderful spectacle but we do not know exactly when he first realised he felt more than just a passing fancy for her, it is said that only the most attractive ladies were chosen to take part in pageants and Jane Parker who later became Anne’s sister in law was among those chosen, planning must have taken place for some months before, and although to me at least this form of entertai meant does sound cheesy, ladies having labels and pelting the men with fruits and such, it was considered a great work of chivalric entertainment in its day, the whole spectacle must have gone on for several hours, I have a Tudor dolls house which was made by Robert Stubbs, a master craftsmen of Tudor buildings, i commissioned Henry V111 and Anne Boleyn dolls and they live in my house complete with guests and servants and i re enact certain scenes like pageants and feasts, it’s all great fun as it’s like stepping back in time, I may commission a Cardinal Wolsey doll but not Cromwell I have a grudge against him !

  4. I would have to agree with Christine. I love theater sets and what can be accomplished on a live stage today. I would be so interested in seeing what could be done 500yrs ago with the materials and manufacturing techniques of the day.

  5. Shrove Tuesday 1522 Anne Boleyn made her debut at the Court of Henry Viii and with her sister, Mary Carey, and future sister in law, Jane Parker, appeared at the beautiful pageant of the Chateau Vert at York Place the grand palace belonging to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. It was also all part of ongoing celebrations for the betrothal of Princess Mary, Henry’s daughter to Emperor Charles V and the Emperor’s Ambassadors were all present. The day before their had been a grand tournament for his knights and those of King Henry. We know that this had a theme of unrequited love and some historians like to date the affair between Mary Boleyn and Henry to that tournament but there is no evidence to support this. Everyone had similar banners and costumes with broken or speared hearts. Mary Tudor, Duchess of Suffolk, the former French Queen, Henry’s lovely sister also took part in the pageant. It was a gorgeous and exciting entertainment and the King and his companions, wearing masks also stormed the castle to rescue the ladies. They then selected a partner and danced together. It is highly unlikely that Henry paid any special attention to Anne Boleyn. She really doesn’t feature in his life before 1525.

    This beautiful evening was really well captured in the Tudors. One of the things the series did well was the entertainment, tournaments and pageantry. It must have been a loud, exciting and enjoyable challenge. A night to remember.

    1. It’s nostalgia I know but I find it such a shame that those incredible events once took place and yet they have vanished forever, if only we could capture time in a bottle, and open the lid whenever we wanted gaze inside and recapture those vivid colourful days, alas we can only imagine them in our minds eye.

  6. Imagine how frustrated you’ll be when you wake up dead and realize you have “the answer” and you can’t come back and tell anyone!

    1. Talking about going back in time, what exotic cure do you believe they might claim cured Corni 19? How about one liver of goat, half a toad, mixed with snake blood, washed down with hypocras wine? Or maybe the female knats blood in urine, with one porcepine and one rabbit in dropping from a cow? I would love to see the inside of Henry’s medicine cabinet, he invented his own remedies, anything like this would set off his paranoia and everything was scrubbed, white lime and carbolic and suspected courtiers forced to go home, vinegar used as disinfectant, limited movement, the King and family into the country out of the way, etc, steam everywhere, incense everywhere, so not too much different to the hysteria of today. Public bathing was forbidden, but also clothes were treated as well. Walls were literally scrubbed and travel restricted. Given how most things could kill you then paranoia was probably normal.

      Anyone having buying panicking by them? Anything being cancelled? If the FA cancelled the rest of the football season, which is not actually going to happen, Liverpool fans are probably going to march on Manchester and take the trophy we have earned. Our end of season party is being threatened with cancelling which is ridiculous as its in May! Yes, its serious, but its really over the top, driven by the media. There was none of this during SARS or Swine Flu. Keeping calm, washing hands and normal precautions, that’s more sensible than half of this hysteria. Anti bac would not provide protection anyway, but it will remove from surface and hands, you need ant virus hand wash or a good soap. You don’t need to buy up hand gel and loo rolls. Some people obviously plan going to the loo a lot! Leave stuff for people most at risk, with long-term conditions, leaving it for the elderly and cancer patients, health care professionals, not for healthy students hoarding it. To be perfectly honest, drinking plenty of booze and washing
      well will be more effective.

      Steve is going into hospital next week, his operation has been moved up, his stoma reversal and incisional abdominal hernia and reconstruction are going to be done. Big operations but should be a reasonable recovery and has a top surgical team, the best in the country. Probably 5 to 7 days ICU and accute care and a week on ward, then four to eight weeks at home. Mr Rooney is very confident. There we were, yesterday, having a coffee and he gets a call so at the pre opp clinic today. The problem was the Court hearing which is a week on Tuesday but a letter is being sent to them. Though titty! They have no choice but to move it! He wasn’t saying no and risking waiting any longer. He is having problems so is glad to get rid of the stoma. I am glad we live in a country with a free health service, despite the fact we always moan about it. Its been tough for the NHS over the years but they are wonderful. I hope people with chronic illnesses keep well and this Corona dies out soon, but people really do need to calm down and stop panicking.

      1. I agree. It would not only be interesting to see what was prescribed but all the different remedies Henry concocted for himself. As to the current flu scare I’m taking it in stride. We’ve had these scares in the past for things much more virulent. I’m not panic buying but when I went shopping a couple of days ago many people were clearing the shelves of ready to eat items. The same store has also put a limit of 4 hand sanitizers etc per purchase. I have a friend who’s daughter is going to Scotland as a 60th bday gift to herself. Her mom is a bit concerned. I told her I’m not that concerned about Scotland but I sure would be about contact on the plane.

        1. I am sure your friends daughter will be fine. Tea tree saline spray, wipes and sanitation, should be fine. The flight is always a risky place for infection but most people make it through them. I am sure the airline will have taken precautions and have a protocol in place. Contact them before travelling and voice any concerns, I am sure they will have good advice.

          Scotland like has 4 cases, it’s a big country and its highly unlikely with the right protocol that anything will happen. I am sure she will have a fantastic time. Fresh clean air, unless she’s going to Glasgow. Wonderful breathtakingly beautiful scenery. She will love it.

        2. Yes Henry V111 was very interested in medicine and he liked to concoct his own hideous brews, this is another side of the much married monarch that many do not know about, he had the kind of fertile brain that is forever seeking new ideas new answers to the questions that plagued the universe, he was interested in astronomy to, it is a pity they did not know about the problems his tight garters caused his ulcerated legs as they made the problem far worse, he could have had varicose veins which are caused by poor circulation and along with his ulcers, made his condition far worse, they did not know about the circulation of the blood and so poor Henry really did suffer, one of the remedies for the sweat was to work oneself up into a frenzy of exercise and this they showed the king doing in The Tudors,, when the country was ravaged by it, Tudor medicine was all about treating the humours of the body and a lot of blood letting and purging went on, it made me laugh when the kings doctors tried to cure his constipation by giving him an enema, it did work however and the results of his toilet stool was examined by his physician’s who declared it a goodly siege – yuk! Trouble was the ignorance of the day caused his constipation, he ate large amounts of meat and pies and glasses of sugary wine, although seasonal vegetables were served along with fruits he did not eat enough of these foods to benefit from it, in the end he possibly got diabetes as well it is suggested he did have type 2 diabetes which is generally prevalent in gross old men, and women to.

      2. The NHS is wonderful I agree, I do hope Steve gets on well he should do, and he is very lucky as he has a very loving and supportive wife in you Bq, really though many do not realise how overworked the medical staff are, one of my neighbours only young worked in our local hospital, she worked such long hours that when she had a day of she would literally just stay in bed all day, she was exhausted, they really do deserve much more money than what they get.

        1. That’s so lovely of you, Christine, thanks. I am sure it will go well. I think his consultants do this in their sleep. They are quite confident and he should not be in more than ten days to two weeks, with eight weeks to recover, although he may need a bit longer as he has other conditions. I am going to make sure we have carers for the first few weeks and a shopping service for a few months, at least until he can drive again. Our shopping service can get extra stuff for mum and drop it in, that’s the easiest. We might have to pay but it’s worth it. Thanks again.

          Henry Viii had great legs apparently until he got the problem with those veins and the ulcers were opened up again after his fall in 1536. After that they didn’t heal and were a complete nightmare. They closed once and turned black, causing the King to not only be in agony but delirious for days before someone took over and told his doctors to burst them. It could have cost their life had it gone wrong but then again the King might have died otherwise. A lot of the remedies had lead in them and we all know that’s poisonous. For all we know Henry might even have died from lead or blood poisoning. It would kill him slowly. But yes, he was a genuine patron of medicine and his cabinet had all kinds in it. I thought it was funny when in the Tudors he handed Brandon some obnoxious looking ointment and told him it was good for when his thing was sore. . He had made some kind of liquid which he made Brandon and other courtiers drink against the sweat. He also had some red pills in it. Its weird but fascinating stuff the history of medicine. The King and Queen were constantly scrutinised by the doctors, especially their urine every day.

  7. Thank you BQ. I have no doubt she will enjoy it. From photos I’ve seen and movies and documentaries shot there it certainly looks like a beautiful place.

    1. Scotland has some spectacular scenery Michael in fact May is always a good month in which to visit as they tend to have good weather there, I hope she does go as it is awful when you look forward to a holiday and then something happens and you can’t go.

  8. The trouble is it’s the newspapers that fuel the panic all I see is another coronavirus victim two more cases confirmed airports at a standstill, schools are closed and so on etc, one survivor was saying he had never felt so ill in his life, it’s stories like these that make it worse, they breed fear and hysteria, now all the shops are stripped bare you cannot buy paracetamol and hand gel is out of stock, I read the other day you can make your own bacterial hand wash using aloe vera and some alcohol, the dim advice that is handed out should be known as really, it is just down to common sense, of course you can catch flu and viruses from worktops, handles public transport and the secret is to wash your hands thoroughly, for years I have always washed my hands when coming home from shopping and work, and there is another offender to – money, an old doctor in my neighbourhood told a workmate of mine once it is the worse offender for transmitting diseases, it can fall in the street, people pick it up, it gets transferred whilst shopping and is carried around the length and breadth of the country, it has been lying in the dirty gutters, been sneezed over and people from time to time rub their eyes and touch their mouths without thinking, we all do it, hence virus’s are carried along from human to human, my friend lives in St Albans and they are in panic mode there, Morrisons is nearly empty, well my cupboards are well stocked and my fridge and freezer anyway but then they always are, I like a well stocked larder in case of very bad weather or illness, and if I need any painkillers my other friend supplies them as she has lifelong medication on the NHS, where I am the shops are fully stocked so I dont need to worry, trouble is there’s nasty bugs going around and folk are worrying that they have the coronavirus, what can we do if we get it? Just retire to bed, make sure we eat and drink well, take painkillers keep warm, because that is all we can do, our bodies own natural resistance will fight it, the common flu itself is awful, yet we have got through that, the most worrying thing is now the coronavirus has mutated, there is always a possibility of that happening, I’m of to Clacton in a few weeks for a little weekend break but I’m not worried about coronavirus, it is true what Michael says we have got through worse before, heavens it’s not exactly the Black Death is it? We will have crosses daubed on the doors next, I am sure your friends daughter will be fine Michael, tell her she must not worry just go ahead and enjoy herself life has to go on, I have faith in our wonderful scientists across the globe who are working day and night to find a vaccine, i am very sorry for those that have died and their families it must be devastating for them, in the days of the Black Death they used all sorts of weird things to give them immunity from the disease, charms they would put round their necks noxious medicines they had brewed themselves, and it was also believed that a victim would recover if they were to inhale the breath of a baby as they were innocent and pure, this is akin to a panic we are facing now but nowhere near as worse as those terror struck days of the plague, so much suffering occurred that many turned from god as a result, there was a common consensus that if such a dusty existed he was the devil, the strange bird like masks the doctors wore as they travelled along the streets to tend to their patients I have always found quite spooky, covered head to toe in a cloak and then these beaked masks they remind me somehow of Doctor Who, I am sure they frightened many a poor child.

    1. Hi Christine. Thank you. I sent a cropped screenshot of BQ’s reply to my friend and let her know where it was from to help put her mind at ease. As far as corona virus goes I think the press likes to play it up for worse because it sell copy. If I get it and die I was wrong (just being facetious). As to Henry, regardless of my opinion he was a very intelligent man in many areas. He married highly intelligent women and his kids were also well above average. It’s just too bad he became so twisted. If he had not turned into the tyrant we know I think these other aspects of him would be much better known and studied.

      1. I am sure she will have a wonderful time, I have never visited Scotland but my mum sister and nephew went by fast train to Edinburgh they thoroughly enjoyed it, I am supposed to be going to Spain this year but not sure when, yes Henry really was a very gifted man, he composed music to as well as played several musical instruments and wrote and spoke Latin and French, he was interested in theology, something which Anne Boleyn introduced him to, and as we know he was also interested in astronomy as well as medicine, he was not for nothing called the most learned as well as the most handsomest prince in Christendom, and such parents do often have gifted children, as well as his three children by his first three wives his bastard Henry Fitzroy was known to be studious, Edward V1 was particularly precocious, the young handsome cultured chivalric Henry has so often been lost in the Henry the tyrant of later years, that when people hear the name Henry V111 they immediately think of an overweight red haired wife murdering old man, yet he only became like that as he advanced into middle age, he really was a most complex man and yes I agree other aspects of his life and character have been overlooked.

        1. Just seen a video on Twitter. It’s obviously a small local mini mart with limited stock and four people are fighting over loo rolls, those big package ones and one woman has four or more of them in her trolley, with the poor shop keeper saying one only and two others trying to remove from the trolley. The Government has caused this, talking about lockdown.

          The BBC showed Contagion last weekend which is also the problem. Get the troops out. Seriously people are nuts.

    2. Yes, our shops are not too bad, but no hand gel anywhere. Football clubs have made certain the loos are well stocked and they are around the stadium, I just hope they are glued down. We are well stocked with most things, which reminds me we need to stock mum up before Steve goes into hospital. The shopping lady can help afterwards. Christine, you are right, we will have crosses on the door next. The Public Health guy on the news is actually a bit of an alarmist. I am not saying one should not be cautious, but he was like that when he worked at our University. I had some lectures with him. He always gives the worse case scenario and his views were challenged a number of times. Sensible anti germ personal hygiene and control, that’s best against any illness. It’s probably seasonal as well. Its when people are already vulnerable that one has to be extra careful. What we need is basic information, not media or government hype. That doesn’t help anyone. By the way obsessive cleaning with sterile cleaning can have the opposite effect. It can compromise our immune system. Some people have actually become immune compromised with modern sterilisation and obsessive cleaning. They are allergic to everything in the environment. Everything in their home causes severe reactions. Our immune systems need to learn to adapt and ironically the best way is through mild illnesses. Otherwise keep well by protecting your immune system, Vit C, B, D and E, Fruit and Veg and Echinacea, use tea tree and lemon if you can’t find gels. Washing hands, and Catch It, Kill It, Bin It. We decided this afternoon that would make a catchy pop song. An hour and a half going through the pre op clinics does strange things to the brain. I had one big headache as the temperature in the hospital was ridiculous as usual. You need to be warm, not cooking. His Majesty went to the loo when we went for the ECG, I had just sat down and the nurse came out and called him while he was there. It was a good job I was with him. Whirlwind afternoon. The big laugh was asking the chemist for aspirin or anadine for my headache and the assistant launched into this whole speech, clearly expected, trying to establish if they are suitable for the type of pain. I think she was disappointed when I interjected and said I just had a headache. The poor dear, she was looking forward to that speech. That’s something else they didn’t have in Home and Bargain on Wednesday. Paracetamol is missing because its good against fever. Some places have no loo paper. Well I don’t believe I will starve and we are certainly not short of tea. That’s a plus at least.

      1. Hi BQ. I heard a report on the radio early this morning of a fight that broke out in a Costco in Kansas. Costco sells things in bulk. Everything was going fine. The store set a limit of 2 on things like toilet paper, hand gel etc then some idiot guy trys to buy 4 36 roll to packages and 4 flats of bottled water. It got so bad the police had to be called. What is going on? We have these warnings every few years. This isn’t the plague or sweating sickness. Coronvirus is a bit more virulent than yearly influenza but the death toll from the flu is so much higher. If people act like this when they hear scary words how are they going to react in a real disaster like a meteor strike or tsunami?. I live 50 miles west of a very well known Volcano, Mt. Hood. It’s the only place in the world that some kind of skiing is possible so many Olympians come here to train. It’s visible from my area. Mt. St. Helen’s is 50 miles north and also visible. It’s still active and blows steam occasionally. Hood hasn’t erupted since the mid 17th century but if it did and it was the side facing me I wouldn’t have much time. A pyroclastic flow moves at 100mph. I’m not moving. Stop panicking people, if it wasn’t for the press and politicians you probably wouldn’t even notice! Ok. I’m done venting.

        1. We have a Costco over here, it is a great place to shop I agree, if anyone’s having a party you can bulk buy drink and their celebration cakes are huge, I think you have to have an account over here but it is wonderful, I have seen huge boxes of chocolates and it’s perfect for Christmas and this dratted coronavirus situation.

      2. I have just not long come back from my local Tesco’s, I passed a woman on the way of Eastern origin wearing a mask across her face, she was the only one I noticed however and in the supermarket the shelves were full, I had no trouble buying loo rolls, my sister and I were chuckling about our father as he used crumpled up newspaper all his life instead of loo paper, he said we used it in the old days and what was good enough then is good enough now, we said we may have to follow his example if supplies run out but really it is fuelling hysteria, as Micheal noted about the man in Kansas, I thought wow when you mentioned you live near a volcano and to think you can actually see it from your window, I bet it looks marvellous but as you say if it were suddenly to erupt everyone’s a gonner, but scientists know now when it’s about to so you would have plenty of forewarning, over this side of the pond our situation is reminding me of our winter of discontent when Callaghan was prime minister and everyone was out on strike, I was in my first job then a local supermarket, and we had hardly anything in the shop, there was nothing to do and it was very tedious going into work, we were all so fed up with customers asking us if we had any stork margarine sugar etc, it was dreadful and that scenario reminds me of this one, food and household goods were limited to one or two per customer, which was right as old folk couldn’t get to the shops as easily as the more able bodied and as we know, the internet wasn’t around then where you could not do online shopping, on the way home I called in the co op and thought maybe I will have buy a large pack of loo rolls just in case, most of them were sold out as to be expected! but as Bq says as long as we have plenty of tea I am sure we will manage, that guy you mentioned as knowing him from uni Bq I thought exactly the same when I saw him in the paper, I thought what a very negative thing to say, you do not need to hear words like that, he looked a gloomy so and so as well! Well I hope everyone has a great weekend I’m going out later so will need to start putting on my war paint soon.

        1. The nuttiness is the loo rolls. Bread, milk, tea, meat I can understand, even basic medicine to some degree, but loo rolls?

          What are people planning to do, have an end of the world party with hot curry and the loo paper is just in case?

          Taking some supplies to mum tomorrow. We won’t be able to take her shopping for some time. Tescos won’t run out, they own the world. The nuts are the ones causing the problem. People loo paper will only run out if you stock pile it!
          Imagine if this was the black death? Mind you they had their own nuts. People would flog themselves and encourage others to join them, going in big groups around the towns, flagellating themselves and breaching restrictions on public gatherings and from town to town, spreading the plague as they went against the laws restricting travel. Flagellation was a form of public penance, repentance from sins in order to plead for God’s mercy. Remember they believed this kind of disease was a punishment for sin, private sin and public sin. They were viewed with suspicion by the religious and secular authorities, law and order often broke down, there were not enough people to work in the fields, to conduct services, to bury the dead, to dig graves, markets were forbidden, slaughter houses were closed, rubbish was burnt in special pits, public hygiene measures were enforced but the officials were dying and so eventually no order was in existence. Large gaps in society appeared and were not filled for several generations. The peasants demanded wages for their work, labourers and farm hands left the land and sold their labour to new masters and drove up prices. The Government of King Edward iii had to restrict wages and prices but prices eventually shot up, especially of bread. The infamous Poll Tax was introduced, resulting in refusals to pay and the Peasants Revolt of 1381. A popular movement marched on London from two directions, beheading officials as they went, burning the property of nobles and Church, demanding an end to the infamous tax and freedom and Richard ii Government were terrified. Lollard sympathies had a role to play as well and the Government and King, just fourteen years old locked themselves in the Tower for protection. One group of rebels attacked the Tower, molesting Queen Joan of Kent, Richards mother and brutally beheading the Archbishop of Canterbury, Simon of Sudbury. His mummified head is in his parish church. Another group ran riot through the streets of London for three days with lots of drinking and beheading. Eventually Richard agreed to meet the main body of rebels in a field near modern day Smithfield. They were heavily armed, despite being from village communities, with home made pikes and staves, an assortment of field tools made into weapons and several hundred bows and arrows taken from the Tower. Football was forbidden on Sunday and during Lent and every boy over 12 was meant to train for three hours with long bow and most men were proficient in it. Not everyone was a simple peasant, many were actually yeomen and headsmen in the village, in charge of local justice, plus an assortment of soldiers and knights had joined them. Knives were not scarce amongst both men and women at this time, protection was vital. Besides there were several thousand of them.

          Wat Tyler their leader had written a list of demands and was permitted with John Ball to make his petition. The former was killed in a scuffle and Richard took the initiative. He promised to honour their demands. He rode forward and the gathering knelt to honour him. It was a ruse. He led them into the open area beyond Smithfield marketplace and here 6000 men, knights in armour awaited them. The rebels were forced to surrender and told they would be in bondage even worse than before. The peasants revolt was over. The next few months saw the terrible reprisals at Oyer and Terminer up and down the country. The actual number of executions isn’t really known as acts of brutal revenge were carried out without proper process. In one place a few years ago while planting new trees on the modern village green they found some 300 skulls, many brutally cut with sharp blades. In another contemporary tale 500 were chased into the forest and cut down. Approximately 1500 official and unofficial executions followed. Law and order was restored at a terrible human cost.

          Now obviously the response to this virus isn’t the Peasants Revolt but one can see how things get out of hand when people get out of control and begin to panic and become disorderly. Imagine if they had a real crises to deal with, one which had caused actual shortages, like a war or a sudden disaster, loss of power, a Sunarmi, the floods in parts of the country, they wouldn’t know what to do, so they become selfish and hoard or riot. Totally insane.

  9. Correction: I googled My. Hood. It’s not 50miles away, it’s actually over 90 but at over 11,000 feet it’s visible from this distance on a clear day.

    1. In ‘Katherine’ that marvellous novel by Anya Seton she took us through those bloody days of the peasants revolt, in schooldays we all learnt the name Wat Tyler and he became a bit of a hero, to introduce the poll tax did not work then and as you remember, Margaret Thatcher tried to most unsuccessfully and in the words of one contemporary it became her Waterloo!

      1. I don’t think there’s a place on earth where a poll tax would be accepted willingly by the people.

        1. Edward Iii had two Poll Taxes, one income based and the 1380/1 for everyone over 14 male 12 female at the same rate. This all kicked off when two officials came to a village in Kent and demanded payments. They started looking up the skirts of the girls to prove they were over 12 or women as was the age back then, but the father of one loudly objected and the men were thrown out. The two tax collectors were daft enough to return and this time they faced an angry mob. The two men were unfortunately killed. The following Sunday it was agreed to call a larger meeting at the hundred Court, that would probably be the local oak, to set out their grievances and go to London. As one can imagine the crowd got bigger and more angry as the march advanced on Blackheath to meet the Somerset and Essex lot. A leader emerged in Wat Tyler and John Ball the defroaked priest and everything got out of control. The beheading and violence was targeted. Word spread via Church bells and sermons and popular poems. Apart from Chaucer and the Lollard English Bible of John Wycliffe these poems penned in lyrical form and sung in public meetings are an early glimpse into a more literate society. Studies of the long fourteenth century with its famine, plague and war and social change show the real driving force behind demands for change, English, and that ordinary people were far from ignorant peasants who never washed. Terry Jones Medieval Lives is worth looking at for this. Throughout the latter part of the century you see an increase in wage demands, the cost of labour rising, goods and services are regulated to keep them at affordable prices, but people are unhappy as the Poll Tax and new regulations are not set to allow for income, their are riots and open rebellion in France as well as England, anti clerical feelings, but not anti Catholic are on the rise, popular preaching rises, law cases increased between neighbours, the war with France is expensive and unpopular, people look to the new young King to remove his unpopular officials, a number of whom became the targets for the rebels. Unfortunately, once they had been persuaded by the brave 14 year-old King to surrender, it was over and his promises taken back. There is a good book by Dan Jones, Summer Blood on the Peasants Revolt, revised a few years ago. Its in paperback so should not cost much. I recommend it.

  10. Horrendous behavior by the tax collectors. As to them being killed, like I said…

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I mainly know him from history documentaries. I have read only one book by him ‘The Hollow Crown’. Fun and interesting read.

    1. He is very entertaining, likes a bit of gore, but he is really good. I have seen him in several documentaries and read several books, definitely fun to watch. Hollow Crown and Britain’s Bloody Crown are very interesting series to follow. His book on the Templars is excellent.

        1. I can’t answer to that. I could say the same thing about Suzannah Lipscomb but I would never do that because it just wouldn’t be right. 🙂

    2. He was on a documentary about Henry V111 and his wives paired with Susannah Lipscomb, I have one of his books I believe he was a pupil of Starkey’s at uni or college? I sometimes look on his Facebook page, in fact I often look on my favourite historians Facebook pages. If they have one, I like reading about them on their website to. It’s nice finding out other aspects of them, their likes and dislikes, favourite movies/ books etc.

  11. I’m glad you mentioned his Templar book. I heard him talk about it on a podcast a few months ago and completely forgot. I have been asked to say Thank you to you and Christine. As you know I forwarded your response to my friend’s worry of her daughter going to Scotland. I saw her this morning and also told her of some of the things Christine said. All this really put her mind at ease. Her daughter was never concerned but she was.

    1. Ah that’s nice to know Michael I’m glad it had a positive effect, she’s going to have a wonderful holiday I know.

      1. Glad your friend is feeling o.k. She will love Scotland, so beautiful, fresh clean air, mountains, history, castles, lochs and glens and wildlife. Hope she has a great time. Glad we could help.

        Where in Scotland is she going, Michael?

        I enjoyed the four part documentary with Suzanne Lipscomb and Dan Jones, they actually complimented each other. I enjoyed her Tales of the B Tower with the journalist ( can’t recall his name) excellent. Some interesting prisoners, three Queens, scandalous ladies, famous executions, including Joseph Jakabs the last man executed by firing squad at the Tower in 1941 and Father John Gerrard the priest who escaped in 1597. Steve likes her but says she doesn’t look like a historian. I believe she has a book out on Henry Viii and His Six Queens next year. I just hope she doesn’t make the same error she did in her documentary Anne and Henry the Lovers Who Changed History. After a great two part documentary she made a really obvious error and has never corrected it. When speaking of the fate of the bodies of Anne Boleyn, her brother and the four other men wrongly executed with her, she said that their heads and hers were placed on spikes on Tower Bridge. She did so on the assumption this was correct as this was the fate of most traitors, most male ones but Anne was a Queen. Even in death her entire body, including her head was sacred. Unusually, three contemporary sources at least agree that Anne plus head was wrapped up, placed in an archery box and we are also told the men were also buried with their heads, also unusual. However, it is a mistake a well-known Tudor historian should not make such an obvious and basic error. The heads of Jane Boleyn and Kathryn Howard were not put up there either, but in their case, the men were. I loved it when she went to the hotel which used to be Thornbury Castle, former home of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, and stayed in the room where Henry and Anne stayed in 1535 on their famous progress to establish their new Monarchy and Reformation. It was a triumphant progress and at the end of it Anne was pregnant with the baby boy who should have been her salvation. It’s a magnificent place but at £415 a night I am glad my TV licence fee didn’t pay for it.

        By the way Michael, did you watch the Greatest Knight on PBS a few nights ago, the documentary on William Marshall?

        1. I need to clarify, it’s not my friend who’s going to Scotland. It’s her daughter who is going. Her 60th bday is coming up and it’s her gift to herself.
          I’ve seen quite a few of the programs that Dan Jones and Suzannah Lipscomb have done together and on their own. I enjoy both and you’re right, when together they do complement each other. The one that stands out is the one about the London fire of 1666.
          One that Suzannah did I remember because it made me angry. It wasn’t her and it wasn’t the program. It’s what she was demonstrating. She put on a late 19th/early 20th century corset and proceeded doing different things like sitting, walking upstairs etc and almost passed out. What I was angry about was that women were expected and allowed to wear these dangerous things. I give her credit for even trying it. The only thing of hers I’ve read is The King is Dead on Henry VIII’s will. Excellent book.
          Unfortunately I missed the program on William Marshall. I look and see when it will air again. That’s the great thing about PBS.

  12. Forgot to say I don’t know where she’s going. I very rarely see her. Her mom just mentioned she was going.
    Just heard on the news that a family in Australia ordered 2300 (yes, 2 zeros) rolls of toilet paper and to make it worse dad on his Facebook page had a video bragging about it and taunting people. Wow. I heard the audio. Hope you can find it.

    1. Think those people are rather sad, mind you I did read that this coronavirus is more deadly than the normal flu, I picked up some loo rolls for my friends mums neighbour whose just had an op, feel sorry for the sick and elderly who havnt any family close by or helpful neighbours, we may all be on our own one day and need help, I have an Italian friend iv known since schooldays and we are both on Facebook, I asked her how she’s coping and she said they are in a little village in the south, they don’t travel far and are well stocked, this must be similar to the rationing days of the Second World War, I just hope there’s no shortage of chocolate, I recall my parents saying they were issued sweet tokens, I like to have my chocolate fix every now and then, do not think I could cope with only having several ounces of chocolate a week

      1. The American soldiers were a big hit in Europe in WWII because part of their rations was a chocolate bar!

        1. Yes and over here they provided the ladies with stockings as well, I no my aunt said it was possible to get chocolate and other luxuries on the black market, but those must have been pretty bleak days, and after the war ended there was still austerity as the rationing lasted for some years afterwards, that said towards the end of the 50’s those days were said to be the best Britain has ever experienced in terms of the economy.

  13. There were plenty of instances of American paratroopers saving their silk parachutes to send home for their girlfriends to make wedding dresses from. I’m sure you’ve heard stories of British jumpers doing the same.

  14. 2300 toilet rolls! That sounds like someone trying to make a few bob, buying in bulk and selling at a premium. Its terrible the way people exploit times of crisis and horde and profit by it.

    I loved the Great Fire of London, the way they went through London tracing the track of the fire, following it street by street, household by household and looked at five people affected. The story which fascinated me the most was the lady who did work as a shoe maker for a school and fell foul of the law from time to time. She gave her regular customers tokens, very common at the time and in the Museum of London, which has many personal artefacts from London people over the centuries, a lot being from the fire, there are commercial tokens with her name on them. A very personal story of one ordinary citizen of London emerging from the dust and rubble of centuries. I felt sorry for the bookseller who put his books in storage in Saint Paul’s Cathedral, which was stone but which was also burned down. It had wooden frames and the heat cracked the stone and down it came. It was wonderful when they went down into the depths under the streets and into the basement of the old Cathedral, the vaults I mean, which still survived. It was amazing just how fast it spread with the houses being so close together. What a terrible catastrophe. Many old Churches were destroyed. Probably half or more of Medieval and Tudor London up in flames. It was very interesting listening to the details from the Diary of Samuel Peypes an eye witness and following Dan and Susannah through the old London streets over three nights. Foreigners were attacked because they managed to get carts to flee with their belongings and because Flemish people were seen suddenly as the enemy and rumours went about that they were taking revenge for an attack on a Dutch town by the English navy a few months earlier. There had been predictions of Doom as well so people saw it as the end of the world, just as many large fires were seen, but this one came one year after the Great Plague and a sighting of Hayleys Comet. It was indicative of the panic when innocent people were set upon in the streets. You could only stop it with fire breaks, tearing down homes to prevent further spreading but the Mayor of London refused to set them. In the end the Duke of York took charge and the breaks were set, preventing the fire from hitting the Tower of London and the gunpowder store and blowing everything sky high. It was a really terrible event and the official death toll of five or six people cannot be correct. The figures of many thousands may also be a modern overestimate but certainly hundreds living in the shanty towns around the river could well have perished and been discounted as the unknown poor. The poor Catholic sailor who was hung for it was completely innocent, we know how it began, by accident in the bakery just off the Bridge. Tom Farriner and his family signed the disposition against the man who hung. In the nineteenth century the Guild of Bakers apologised to the Guild of Mariners and the plaque on the Monument was corrected. It really was a terrible event.

    1. Hoarding the TP was bad enough but going online to brag and taunt people was out of line.
      The Great Fire of London program was where I learned about Samuel Pepys hiding his parmesan cheese under the floor boards. When I heard that it struck me how easy we have it. I can go a couple of blocks in any direction from my house and purchase fresh parmesan cheese from any grocery store for an affordable price but in the mid 17th century it must have been not only expensive but hard to come by.

      1. Yes, it was a parmesan cheese or any posh cheese was very expensive, luxury goods. It was the whole cheese as well. I like that he sent a message to his wife to hide it in the garden, when the fire was getting close to his home. Not get out darling but bury my expensive cheese please. I don’t think he liked his wife anyway. So many things we take for granted were affordable only to the rich. Sugar for example was a luxury item. It was also one of the key things in fighting the slave trade. People went on strike, not taking sugar in tea and stopped buying it. Hit the traders really hard. The Tudors loved their sugar of course, making all kinds of things out of it for the banquet, the after meal treat your guests for the evening sugar partying. Sugar castles, hearts, even ordinary food made from sugar, no wonder they had no teeth left.

        1. I think it was in The Men of the Mary Rose by A.J. Stirling where I read that there was a clear demarcation between the remains of those who died previous to sugar being introduced and after. All in the teeth. Those prior had teeth in very good condition. A prime example of Tudor bad teeth is Elizabeth I. We all know she lived her sweets.

        2. Oh yeah, didn’t she have wooden pegs? It’s amazing what they find out from the teeth, where you come from, your diet, changes in the diet, the sugar you ate. I think they have 100 to 150 skeletons which they have looked at the bones. They are fascinating because they can reconstruct an entire story, then make a replica of the person on the three D computer. Clever stuff.

  15. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about her having any kind of replacements, just about the terrible problems with her mouth which may have contributed to her death.

  16. Wasn’t Pepys having an affair with his wife’s maid?, I think he was a bit of a rogue he comes across as likeable but a rogue no less, I laughed about the cheese affair, he was more concerned about saving his precious cheese than the two women in his life, I have seen Jones and Lipscombe‘s documentary on the Great Fire, but there was another documentary years before and they were able to determine the weather situation of the time, the very temperature the speed the wind travelled and it was a very fascinating journey back into the days of that lost forgotten London, the experts believed that the fire started in the buildings where Farringer stored his huge bales of flour, flour is very flammable and caused an explosion which then travelled along the length and breadth of the city, however the popular belief is that there were some smouldering embers in the kitchen stove which Farringer or his servant had left, assuming it would die out, fires do die out but this one certainly did not, wether it was negligence or the flour exploding the havoc it created was intense, and it must have seemed to the civilians, the king and his court which included the wealthy and noble, that god had turned his back on them again, first with the horrors of the plague then this catastrophe, and that summer was long and hot and on the day when the great fire began there was a fair wind to, the divine wind which carried the crackling heat of the flames around the old city reached St Paul’s and destroyed many old and young buildings in its wake, it was said you could see the old Roman walls of the city which had been obscured for centuries, thankfully there was only one fatality but we can imagine the terror and desperation of the Londoners as they hastily gathered their belongings, one I feel very sorry for was the man who had spent the last thirty years writing a biography of Charles 1st only to see his precious volumes go up in flames, there is the oft told tale about the King mucking in with the common folk and helping to extinguish the flames which leaped and roared up and around them, the smoke must have been dreadful which sears the eyes and makes the lungs choke, and really can be more fatal than the flames, after a few days it died out but the aftermath must have been dreadful but life had to go on, old St Paul’s was rebuilt but many tombs had been destroyed along with businesses and people’s homes, gradually the building of the city took shape, a law was passed to have only houses built of brick, I believe I have mentioned this before, but there was a theory that parliament had decreed the old city laid waste to as it was considered a fetid hot bed of disease and maybe immorality to, the Black Death had departed before the Great Fire, but the physicians of the day knew there was little sanitation and the sewers were rife with human excreta, pox riddled rats lived in these sewers and little wonder therefore, that the plague had flourished so easily, cleanliness is next to godliness and so new houses were built and there was proper sewers which meant better sanitation, if this theory is true I can well understand parliament wanting to build a new cleaner city, of course there will always be scapegoats and Thomas Farringer the Baker from Pudding Lane was the right man, but was that how it happened, fire is a wonderful cleanser and it matters not to the men at the top if people die and lose their homes and livelihood, the fact remains Thomas Farringer has taken the stick for causing the fire, he may have not been responsible or it could have been an accident we probably will never know, as Bq mentions foreigners were blamed and there was one instance of someone trying to claim notoriety by admitting he started the fire, you always get those sort, the monument stands today over most of the glass and concrete buildings that surround it, I myself have only seen it once in the flesh,other times just in pictures, I would really like to say to those people who are panicking about the coronavirus, how do you think those poor people felt as they saw their lives fall down in tatters around them, they had to bundle their belongings on wooden carts and run to the country taking only what they had, some flagons of ale and bread and god knows what, what about those poor folk who really did suffer from the Black Death and remember there was no proper medication available to ease their suffering, there were two strains of Bubonic plague, the more fatal strain attacked the lungs and death inevitably followed, the hideous black buboes which covered their bodies usually in the groin area, and the awful intense headaches they suffered accompanied with gastric symptoms, death must have been a welcome release, the first fatality was of an old woman who lived with her young grandson, they were immediately isolated, food and drink was handed to them through an open window via a bucket on a rope, no one was allowed to leave the house, the young lad sadly was condemned to die as he eventually caught the plague, and along with his grandmother died, whole families were wiped out, there was nothing the victims could do but pray and put their faith in god, the nursery rhyme ‘Ring A Ring A Roses’ is a grim reminder of those horrific days, those people really did suffer, today we have the advantage of sophisticated medicine something our distant ancestors did not have, and we should be very grateful we do, the Sweat also was fatal it caused a good deal of pain and suffering, today we take a pill for a headache or something for an upset tummy, there are a wide variety of medicine on offer to ease our discomfort and for anything serious we go into hospital, alright you hear horror stories of hospitals but we have something which our poor ancestors never had, the best medical equipment to help us and wonderful trained staff to.

    1. Flour dust is very volatile. Silos are very susceptible to explosions if not vented correctly. The USS Maine exploded in Havana harbor in 1898, thought to have been sabotaged by the Spanish which sparked off the Spanish American War. If you see pictures of it, it looks like it was turned inside out. Years later it was discovered it was a coal dust explosion because the bunkers were empty. I’m sure you’ve seen the film footage of the Hindenburg explosion in New Jersey. That was caused by the powdered aluminum on the fabric skin. The hydrogen would not have had much effect as it would dissipate too quickly. It amazes me how many innocuous substances are explosive in powdered form.

      1. I have seen the Hindenburg exploding the commentator was crying at the time, it was awful, any disaster is and the rocket exploding with the women on board, was it Christa Mckauliff know iv spelt that wrong, a lot of disasters can be avoided but tragedies do happen, look at the Titanic the most famous liner of all time.

  17. You got the name correct. I’m not sure of the spelling either. That was the space shuttle Challenger. January 28th, 1986. There were seven on board and all were killed. The worst part of Christa McCaulif’s death was that she was a school teacher and her students watched it happen. I remember exactly where I was when I found out. I had gotten home about 4am and went to bed and at 10 I got a call from my friend telling me the Challenger had exploded. I was in a daze. Hit me like 9/11 fifteen years later. NASA, an organization I had idolized since I was a kid I lost all faith in that day. Morton Thiokol, the company that built the solid rocket engines for the shuttles warned NASA that below a certain temperature if the engines were lit the ‘O’ rings, large rubber washers that sealed the segments of the motors could fail causing a catastrophic explosion. NASA went ahead and that is exactly what happened. You may remember also that the shuttle Columbia burned up in the atmosphere 20+ years ago. Tiles had come off of the bottom which meant the craft was not completely protected during reentry. There was no way to save them. Ok, that’s fine, that was a possibility that NASA and the astronauts were aware of from the time the shuttles were designed. What I hold against NASA is they chose NOT to tell the astronauts they were going to die so that they could prepare themselves. To me that is unconscionable.

  18. I remember being at work when news broke about the bus exploding in London in a terrorist attack, think it was in 2005 we had just learnt the previous day that Britain was to host the Olympic Games in five years time, cannot recall the location though the underground station was nearby, it showed the top of the bus had just ripped away, it was carnage, year before in Madrid a suicide bomber had managed to cause destruction to that city, I recall seeing some flowers with the words ‘Madrid is with London’, a well wisher had sent to the city, that was it the space shuttle challenger it was dreadful, as mentioned students were watching, the poor woman and those with her she had been about to embark on an exciting journey, incredibly brave people and yet it all went horribly wrong, I agree with you Michael about NASA withholding that info from the astronauts that was reprehensible.

    1. I remember that bus bombing. I had the radio on in the car when I first heard about it and when I turned the TV on when I got home I saw the carnage. So very horrific.

  19. They really are scum, when I went to my local bank one of the staff had just been to one of the victims funerals, one of his neighbours, an ordinary man he like many others had just been travelling to work then he was just gone, those that survived were seriously wounded, I cannot understand those who have that kind of mindset who think they are doing something wonderful in the name of religion, they really are dangerously primitive people whose belief really is a thousand years in the past, I was reading an article sometime after about this young muslin woman who decided to join the ranks of isis, she was told how to plant this device on her and her reward would be great, Allah would reward her and more garbage, then she was in the park and saw children playing and a young mother with a baby in the prom, she suddenly had a flash of conscience and realised what she was about to do was wrong, in her own words she thought ‘what am I doing here how can I kill children and babies’? She decided she could not go through with it and that just goes to show she was a decent human being, this country welcomes many from across the globe, of many different beliefs some of the terrorists have lived here for years, gone to college and mixed in our society, they have been brought up in a British way of life yet somehow they do a u turn, that old sayin ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ is never more true with relation to these lowly renegades, whose minds are so indoctrinated in the Isis belief of what is pure and what is evil that they are willing to commit atrocities across the world because of it, they will never succeed and in fact security has been alerted across the world because of them.

    1. We had the bombing at the Boston Marathon in April of 2013. Many deaths and people lost limbs. This was supposed to be something fun.

      1. I went grocery shopping at 4am (good time to go. In and out quickly). I have never seen the shelves so empty. Tp, paper towels Kleenex, canned goods, cereal and other packaged items. There is usually stocking going on this time of morning but there were so many boxes of items to shelve that I couldn’t take my cart down some of the aisles. I had to go to 2 stores to get everything (same chain) but 1 thing I could not get: a single bottle of hand sanitizer. It was nuts. I still have about 1/4 bottle left so I’m ok. Have either of you experienced this yet?

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