Elizabeth Tilney: Grandmother to Queens and Mistresses

Elizabeth Tilney

Five hundred years ago a woman who was born into the gentry (but not one of the leading noblewomen in the country by any mean) became the founding matriarch of England’s premiere family during the Tudor period. Elizabeth Tilney was the grandmother of two different wives of Henry VIII, as…

Continue reading

Richard III: Knave, Fool or Savior?

The great debate continues – no, not Clinton v Trump, or even Creamy v Crunchy (peanut butter, that is), but Richard III: Knave, Fool, or Savior? The History of England podcast, which I adore, is getting close to wrapping up the Wars of the Roses, the civil war that tore England apart…

Continue reading

Old Music Tuesday: Henry’s Musical Court & The Western Wynde Mass

Western Wind Mass

Yep, you read that right. The musical court of Henry VIII. While many of us think of the monarch with six wives as fat and pretty darn corpulent, he wasn’t always this way. In fact, when he was young, he was quite the hottie, impressing women with his jousting feats,…

Continue reading

The Most Surprising Things I Learned about Catherine of Aragon this month

I’ve been podcasting with Tudor Times again, this month about Catherine of Aragon. I have read countless books about Henry’s six wives, and Catherine always takes up a huge proportion of each book simply because of the large role she played in Henry’s life. She was married to him the…

Continue reading

Summing up Shakespeare in Three Simple Thoughts

My most recent Renaissance English History Podcast was a short intro into the life of Shakespeare, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of his death.  I had been extremely negligent in not talking about Shakespeare before.  It’s simply because my interests – which have driven the sporadic nature of my podcast…

Continue reading

How the Protestant Reformation Made Elizabethan Theater

Elizabethan Theater

Last week I got podcasty with Elizabethan Theater, which is appropriate considering Shakespeare’s birthday is coming up.  I’ll be doing several episodes on the theater – this was a general introduction to this great Elizabethan institution, and then my next episodes will be more focused on Shakespeare, Marlowe, Burbage, and…

Continue reading

Why you should become intimate with Dido & Aeneas

Between 1684 and 1688 English music, opera, and music history was changed when Purcell wrote Dido & Aeneas, one of England’s earliest operas written by the Grandaddy of English Baroque.  Now, 350 years later, it is still alive and well as a new recording by the Armonico Consort demonstrates, and…

Continue reading

Alison Weir on Tudor Feminism, Norah Lofts, and the Cult of Anne Boleyn

About 2o years ago I read Alison Weir’s Six Wives of Henry VIII.  I remember starting it, laying in my bed in my attic bedroom when it was snowing outside.  I was immediately hooked on this saga of drama and the way lives could be forever changed because of the inability…

Continue reading

Music for Impressing a King: Taverner’s Missa Corona Spinea, Wolsey, and Henry VIII

In March 1527 Henry VIII and his wife Catherine of Aragon visited Cardinal Wolsey’s new foundation – Cardinal’s College – in Oxford.  John Taverner, one of the most famous composers of his time, was commissioned to write an appropriately stunning piece of choral music that would wow the King and…

Continue reading

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Mary I (but probably should)

Mary Tudor (aka Mary I, aka Bloody Mary) is the Person of the Month over on the Tudor Times website.  I did a podcast episode on her about a year and a half ago, and I wanted to revisit this much-maligned woman.  So here, for your reading pleasure – some random…

Continue reading