Some Sunday Tudor history fun!

We’ve just reached 50,000 subscribers on the Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society YouTube channel and we celebrated this with two special videos, one which was a complete surprise to me (thanks, Tim!).

They’re a bit of fun at our expense and are Tudor history related too, so the best kind of fun. I do hope you enjoy them, and, yes, my mind went so blank! After we’d stopped recording I could do fill in the blanks easily!

In this fun video, Tim gets me to think of the surnames of famous Tudor people – only one per letter of the alphabet allowed – in one minute. It turned out to be more difficult than anyone would have guessed!

Challenge for you – can you come up with surnames to complete the alphabet? The letters left over were: A, I, J, L, M, N, O, Q, R, T, U, X, Y and Z.

The topic for this Tudor History Challenge is Tudor myths, legends and inaccuracies. Can you do better than Tim?

Here are the questions and you can scroll down for the answers (no cheating!).

  1. It was once thought that Henry VIII suffered from syphilis, but which standard Tudor treatment for the infection is missing from his accounts and medical records?
  2. Some historical novels give Anne Boleyn a stepmother – which Victorian historian misread a document and is responsible for this myth?
  3. Bram Stoker popularised a legend regarding Princess Elizabeth dying and being replaced by a boy. What is the name of the legend?
  4. Some people do not believe that William Shakespeare wrote the plays and sonnets attributed to him. Name any two people put forward as candidates.
  5. This Catholic recusant and author of The Rise and Growth of Anglican Schism wrote of Anne Boleyn having an extra finger on her right hand, a projecting tooth, and a large wen under her chin.
  6. Catherine Parr is often thought of a Henry VIII’s nursemaid and a boring older woman, yet she had been married twice before Henry and went on to publish two books. Who did she marry and have a child by after Henry VIII?
  7. We now know that Lady Jane Grey wasn’t a feeble pawn just doing what she was told and that she was issuing orders as queen right to the end, but as well as her parents, which Tudor man gets blamed for helping put her on the throne and using her for his own ambitions?
  8. True or false: Catherine Howard was attainted for treason for committing adultery?
  9. It is often thought that Mary was the only live baby that Catherine of Aragon have birth to, but in 1511 she gave birth to a baby boy, Henry, who lived for 52 days. Which dukedom was he granted?
  10. Which myth regarding the birth of King Edward VI was promoted by the likes of Catholic recusant Nicholas Sander and Catholic apologist Nicholas Harpsfield?
  11. True or false: Henry VIII referred to his 4th wife, Anne of Cleves, as a Flanders Mare?
  12. Some modern historians challenge the idea that Queen Elizabeth I’s reign was a golden age – why?
  13. True or false: Anne of Cleves was rumoured to have given birth to a child by Henry VIII in late 1541?
  14. True or false: Elizabeth I never drew attention to the fact that Anne Boleyn was her mother?
  15. Contrary to myth, Edward VI was not a sickly child, but which illnesses is he recorded as suffering with at the same time in 1552, which may well have weakened his immunity and ultimately led to his death in 1553?


  1. Mercury
  2. Agnes Strickland
  3. Bisley Boy
  4. The main ones are Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, William Stanley, Earl of Derby, and Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.
  5. Nicholas Sander
  6. Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Sudeley
  7. John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland
  8. She was attainted for her “dissolute life previous to her marriage” and this bill of attainder also made it treason for “an unchaste woman” to marry the King. The emphasis was on her previous relationship with Culpeper and her intention to carry on with this lifestyle with Culpeper.
  9. Cornwall
  10. That during Jane Seymour’s labour, physicians asked Henry VIII to choose between mother and son, and after he’d chosen son (because he could easily find more wives) they used their surgical skills to free the baby, i.e. that she had a c-section.
  11. False – There is no contemporary evidence for Henry VIII calling Anne of Cleves a “Flanders Mare”. Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, wrote in his 1679 book that Henry “swore they had brought over a Flanders mare to him”, but that is him saying that Henry VIII uttered those words and it is not backed up by evidence. Anne was not from Flanders anyway, something that Henry VIII was well aware of.
  12. Due to her persecution of Roman Catholic priests and those who supported them.
  13. It’s true. Investigations had to be launched into the rumour and those responsible for the rumours and for spreading them were imprisoned.
  14. False – she used an image of her parents at her coronation procession, made use of her mother’s falcon badge, supported the writing of treatises and biographies of her mother, and may even have kept an image of her mother in a locket ring. The famous portraits we have of Anne Boleyn today date to Elizabeth’s reign too.
  15. Smallpox and measles.

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5 thoughts on “Some Sunday Tudor history fun!”
  1. Zwingle Ratcliffe, Amyes, Underhill, Jemmings, Irvine, Marlowe, Nesbit, Lisle, Tudor, Neville, Lindsey, no can’t think on O, Q or X Y.

    Good fun.

    1. O’Neill as in Hugh O’Neill. Unless its a foreign name, really can’t think. Took a lot longer than a minute. Raleigh instead of Ratcliffe, although the first one would do. Nesbitt in case anyone is wondering was really called Ramsey Nesbitt and he was the man who published the Bible in Scots in the 1570s. He also had a real nickname of Nobby. Honestly, I didn’t make him up. Came across him ten years ago on a course on Biblical translations.

  2. I thought of Zouche and Latimer and Neville. I hope Claire won’t mind but I like watching Tim because he’s cute!

  3. Also just thought of Lord Audley, I recall he was the one who set up the commissions of oyer and terminor in the investigations against Anne Boleyn.

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