by Heather R. Darsie, JD At the beginning of Henry VIII’s reign in 1509, there were three different coins used as currency. The coins and their value were roughly as follows: silver penny, the lowest; a silver groat (worth four pennies/pence); gold angel (worth 120 pence/10 shillings); and gold half-angel (worth 60 pence/10 shillings). The value of these coins remained the same from 1509 to … Continue reading Tudor Currency and the Great Debasement: An Overview
by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. Most people familiar with Tudor history are aware that Henry VIII of England published in 1521 a tract defending the seven sacraments, which was a response to Martin Luther’s ideas being spread on the Continent. As a result, Pope Leo X awarded Henry the title of, “Fidei Defensor,” Defender of the Faith. The controversy between the two men did not … Continue reading Martin Luther, Henry VIII, and the Papacy
by Heather R. Darsie On 4 November 1501, a fifteen-year-old girl made her entrance into England to marry the fifteen-year-old prince of that kingdom. Their parents, especially the boy’s, hoped that the dynastic marriage would secure the future of their family on the throne. Much excitement surrounded the safe arrival of Katharine of Aragon from Spain to England. She and her husband-to-be, Arthur Tudor, were … Continue reading The Meeting of Katharine of Aragon and Arthur Tudor
by Heather R. Darsie In the British Library, there is a collection of pharmaceutical recipes created by Henry VIII and four of his physicians. Henry and his doctors seemed to prefer herbal remedies for a lot of the recipes. It is believed that the manuscript was compiled between late 1540 and 1545. Important to dating the manuscript, there is a recipe for a plaster to … Continue reading Henry VIII Orders Medicine for Anna of Cleves
by Heather R. Darsie On 15 October 1582, the Gregorian calendar was decreed via papal bull. Pope Gregory XIII, under the bull Inter gravissimas or Of Great Importance, corrected calculation of a year from 365.25 days in the Julian calendar to 365.2422 days in Gregorian. Also, the Julian calendar had 100 leap days over 400 years, whereas the proposed Gregorian would have only 97. Most centennial … Continue reading The Gregorian Calendar is Adopted in 1582
by Heather R. Darsie In 1579, when Elizabeth was around forty-five-or forty-six years old, a portrait of her holding a sieve was painted by George Gower. It is believed that Gower was born around 1540, but his early life is obscure. Along with the 1579 portrait of Elizabeth, Gower created a self-portrait. In his self-portrait, Gower emphasizes the importance of his art by having the … Continue reading Elizabeth I and the Plimpton Sieve Portrait
Anna of Cleves’ marriage to Henry VIII ended in July 1540, scarcely six months after their official wedding took place. Swiftly after that, Henry married the very young Katheryn Howard. During Katheryn’s fall from grace, there was strong speculation that Henry would take back Anna. Dignitaries from Cleves actively tried to convince Henry to remarry Anna in early 1542. Henry refused, and Parliament would not … Continue reading Henry VIII Marries Catherine Parr
by Heather R. Darsie On this day of 28 June in 1515, a little baby girl was born in the Holy Roman Empire whose life would be dramatically shaped by international politics. The baby was christened, “Anna,” after her paternal aunt. “Anna” was a family name on her maternal side, as well. Anna of Cleves’ great-grandmother through Maria of Juelich-Berg was Anna of Saxony. Anna … Continue reading Happy Birthday, Anna of Cleves and Henry VIII!
by Heather R. Darsie Henry VIII is generally viewed as a Lothario during his marriages to Katharine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. During his lifetime, he fathered at least six children with Katharine of Aragon, two or possibly three with Anne Boleyn, one with Jane Seymour, and possibly an additional six illegitimate children. All of Henry’s children were born in or before 1537. Henry’s first … Continue reading Henry VIII: How Many Children did He Have?
by Heather R. Darsie After Anne Boleyn had her coronation, she was assigned her own court and officers. Per her chaplain William Latymer, she gave two speeches to her court. The first was to her temporal officers, and the second to her spiritual advisers. The accuracy of these speeches is in no way verifiable, as William Latymer’s work was written during the reign of Elizabeth … Continue reading Anne Boleyn Speaks to Her Court, 1533