16th July, 1546: The Horrific Death of Anne Askew

16th July marks the anniversary of the death of Anne Askew, the last martyr to be executed under the reign of Henry VIII, one of the first English women to ask for a divorce and the only woman on record to have been tortured in the Tower of London… Oh, and one of history’s biggest bad asses.

(c) National Trust, Tatton Park; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Anne Askew: Gave zero fucks about patriarchy, religion or pain.

Anne was born into a noble family, in Lincolnshire in 1520. Her Dad, William Askew, was a prominent courtier and landowner and pals with Henry VIII, whilst her two brothers were the Sherriff of Lincoln, and Henry’s cup bearer (which sounds like a shit job but was actually considered an honour, mostly because the Tudor courtier were the biggest bunch of brown-nosers in history, and fought to get close to the King, so much so that wiping the Kings fat, shitty arse was considered one of the highest positions a man could hold. Can you imagine telling your friends that is your job nowadays??

Anne was very well read and witty, and a devout protestant. The shit all started when Anne was fifteen and her sister, Martha, died.  So as to ‘save money’, Anne’s father arranged for Anne to marry the man her sister had been betrothed to, a local landowner, a vile scumbag called Thomas Kyme. Kyme was a strict catholic and didn’t approve of Anne’s protestant faith. He obviously though he could change her ways, but soon came to realise that he had bitten off more than he could chew when Anne refused to take his name and refused to refer to him as her husband.

In my opinion, Anne was the ultimate Tudor feminist, giving not one toss about society’s expectations of women of that time. Anne’s marriage was unhappy and abusive, and despite having two children with Kyme, Anne used the introduction of the reformation as a way to seek a divorce from her cock-wiff husband. Kyme grew tired of Anne’s belligerence and, under the advice of the local priest, and much to Anne’s pleasure, he kicked her out. Anne, being the indomitable rebel that she was, saw this as an opportunity to head down to London and spread the word according to the protestant bible.

Because he was a massive scrotum-faced fuckwit, in 1543 Henry VIII ruled that it would be illegal for all women and men of minor gentry and lower to read the bible. This was a bit to take back some control and hopefully forge some sort of relationship with the Holy Roman Empire. It was therefore seen as heresy to be somebody who would stand in towns reciting the bible for the ordinary folks who may not ordinarily have access to such texts, or a gospeller as they were named. For Anne there was no other way. She had been attending bible meetings in London, where groups would get together in secret to study the protestant text, and this was the next step for her. The people of London wanted to hear it and she felt duty bound to deliver it.

Anne was an amazing gospeller. The people flocked to hear her recite the protestant texts, and were enamoured that a noble woman of such high ranking would come to the streets to give the poor, uneducated and bible-less povvers faith and inspiration; plus she was easy on the eye, which I’m sure helped. She soon earned the name the ‘Fair Gospeler’ and became somewhat of a Tudor celebrity. Anne knew she was breaking the law but gave zero fucks about all that noise.

At one point she was arrested and her divorce request rejected, she was sent back Lincolnshire and imprisoned but escaped and returned to London to continue her good work. This is when the shit really hit the fan.

One of Henry VIII’s most trusted politicians, the militant Catholic Bishop of Winchester, was a snidey little gobshite called Stephen Gardiner. Gardiner didn’t take kindly to Anne Askew educating the poor with the protestant text and went out of his way to put an end to it by putting an end to her. At this point in time, Henry VIII was onto his last wife Katherine Parr, a beautiful, well-educated and very tolerant woman who also happened to be a devout protestant and a bit of a free thinker. Gardiner didn’t like the queen and so decided that there may be a way to kill two birds with one stone.



Stephen Gardiner and his massive bollock of a face.


Anne was good pals with a high ranking noble woman called Catherine Brandon, the Duchess of Suffolk. Catherine Brandon was also the queens BFF so Gardiner, seeing a connection decided that was his way in. He had Anne arrested and sent to the Tower, then he had the Queen and her ladies arrested under suspicion of heresy. Katherine Parr, being the brain box that she was, had the foresight to burn all of her protestant literature prior to the arrest when she got a wiff of Gardiners plans.

Whilst Anne was imprisoned in the Tower of London she was asked to name all of the women that she knew who heretics were. Anne said nothing. Ordinarily what would happen next would be that the prisoner would be shown a man undergoing torture on the rack, with the threat of ‘this will be you if you don’t comply’, but because Anne was a woman, and one of high birth at that, it was deemed inappropriate for her to see a naked man, so instead, and with rather questionable moral benchmarks, Gardiner decided that the middle man should just be cut out and Anne would go straight to the rack in an attempt to get her to name her conspirators.

Anne was eventually condemned to be executed by burning, but Gardiner still needed Anne to implicate the Queen. Now, as I hope you are now seeing, Anne was nobody’s mug, and being the heroine that she was decided to write accounts of her time in the tower. According these these accounts Anne was stripped down to her shift, tied to the rack and stretched until she was taught and raised five inches from the table. She passed out from the pain, but was revived and the whole process was repeated twice more. The Tower constable, a man named Anthony Kingston, could not bear to see the torture and ran to the King to demand it be stopped.

The problem was that the two men who ordered the torture were Gardiner’s right hand men. These two utter fucking wankstains were named Tom Wriothesley and Richard Rich (which in hindsight is probably why they were angry men). Rich and Wriothesley ignored the gaolers request to end the torture of Anne and instead took hold of the reigns and decided that if the torturer wouldn’t do it, that they would simply do it themselves. The violence only ended when Anthony Kingston returned from Henry with a royal demand to get Anne off the rack and leave her the fuck alone until her execution. As I have already said, Anne was the only woman ever recorded to have been tortured in the Tower, and still she didn’t name one other person as an accomplice. What an absolutely amazing lady she was. The Queen and her ladies were released due to a lack of evidence, and also because of Anne’s silence.

On 16th July, 1546 Anne was put to death by being burnt at the stake, the standard, yet friggin horrific death reserved for heretics and martyrs. The problem was the Anne had been tortured so much that she couldn’t stand. She had been stretched on the rack until her tendons had snapped, her wrists, ankles, elbows, hips and knees had all dislocated and her muscle fibres stretched to beyond repair. These vile bastards had really gone to town on her to the point where Anne had to be carried to the stake on a chair. She was then tied with chains to a separate chair which was attached to the woodpile, which was then set alight. As if this wasn’t enough, the fire was set to burn slowly, ensuring that Anne endured as much pain in her last moments as the men could cause.


The martyrdom of Anne Askew

It is thought that somebody who took pity on Anne, covered her in gunpowder to ensure a swift end, other accounts suggest that the fire burnt for over an hour and people flocked to see the burning of the Fair Gospeler. One thing is consistent though, and that is that Anne maintained her dignity and courage until the very end.

At the time of Anne’s execution, a motherfucker of a thunderstorm rolled into London. It was believed that this was a display of Gods wrath at the murder of innocents. I like to think of Gardiner, Rich and Wriothesley sat there shitting themselves, cry-wanking into a pulpit begging for forgiveness at the sound of weather, but I doubt they did.

It is unknown whether Anne and the Queen were in the secret protestant club that Gardiner had invented, or if they even ever met at all. One thing is for certain though, Anne Askew’s story is one of the saddest yet most empowering in Tudor history, so much so that in Victorian times interest in her peaked and a special ‘Anne Askew doll’ was created, (which came complete with a rack and stake… real talk). Apparently one can still be seen today in Leeds toy museum… though quite why you would want to make a special trip to see a vintage murder doll is beyond me.

Anne was the last martyr to die under the reign of Henry VIII. She was only 25 when she died.

June 6th, 1520: The Field of Cloth of Gold, (a.k.a. Histories most expensive dick measuring contest).

Back in 1518, when tensions between European countries were high, and each nation was acting like a chief to the next, declaring wars and generally being cunts to their neighbours, Henry VIII’s right hand man, Cardinal Wolsey, hatched a plan.


Wolsey- more than likely hatching a cunning plan.

The idea was to invite all of Europe’s great monarchs to London for a sort of less shit, medieval G8 summit, where they would all sign ‘the Treaty of London’. The treaty was an agreement that stated that all those who signed would maintain peace in Europe, and if a country decided to break the treaty, war would be declared upon them by the others. It all sounded good in principal, but took less than a year to go tits up.

It all kicked off when Francis I of France and The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V of Spain had a spat. Spain and France were the most powerful countries in Europe at the time, so shitting themselves both sought to form an alliance with England, the third most powerful. Whilst Henry must have loved all this attention, he was in a bit of a tricky situation: He was married to a Spanish princess, and the Aunt of Charles V, Katherine of Aragon, meanwhile France lies next door and could cause a potential shit storm for Henry.

Henry decided to meet Francis to talk shit through and try to ‘strengthen relations’. I feel it is important to say at this point that Henry fucking hated Francis, Francis was arty, rich and handsome, and knocked around with the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci , whilst Henry was athletic, spoiled and egocentric. The pair had one thing in common though, they were both competitive as fuck.


The rather dashing Francis I of France, serving the painter come to bed eyes and a little coy smile.


They decided to meet at Balinghem, in the then English owned area of France known as the Pale of Calais. Henry took half the bloody country with him; he had around 5000 noble men and women, 3000 horses and a shit tonne of wine. Some of the noble’s had literally had to re-mortgage to be able to attend, but they wouldn’t have missed it for the world… to be fair would you? it was essentially front row tickets to see two kings make themselves look like right royal pricks (pun intended), in a display of self-provoked public humiliation. So off they all trotted, popcorn and front row tickets at the ready, off to France.

The whole event lasted nearly seventeen days, during which time each king tried to upstage and outshine the other. These cunts were so insistent on making the other look like a chump that they both nearly bankrupted their treasuries. Henry had a mock castle made to house him, which was draped in cloth made from real gold, (hence ‘the Field of the Cloth of Gold’). He had the finest, most expensive tapestries taken across, along with the most monumental feasts. There was dancing, jousting and archery tournaments and the whole thing became geared up to discover which country held the most wealth and power. It was less of a celebration of unity and more of a cock fight, (with Henry and Francis acting like big fucking cocks alright).


‘I’ve got a tent’… ‘well I have a church’…’well I have a castle’… ‘WELL I’VE GOT A FUCKING DRAGON!’

The whole thing ended in tears when Henry challenged Francis to a wrestling match. Henry, who was built like a brick shit house, was no stranger to wrestling and confidently thought he could take the weedy, art loving ‘Renaissance Prince’, Francis. He was wrong, and to put a long story short, Francis owned his arse. Some say that Francis tripped Henry and therefore only won by cheating, but these ‘some’ would be English, and I like to think that Henry got pwned by a nerd.


There is definitely no tripping to be seen in this instant replay still.

Henry, being the utter spoiled sore loser that he was, skulked off, and with that the Field of the Cloth of Gold was over. The whole event, which was designed to strengthen relations between the two nations, failed miserably. On his way home with his freshly bruised ego, Henry popped in to see Charles V and forged an alliance against France. Two years later England and Spain were at war with the French King and the Treaty of London went out of the window.

I love the story of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. It sounds like it should be a majestic and bromantic tale of two men finding peace, when actually its about a massive fucking mard arse with a big wallet having a pop at another massive fucking mard arse with a big wallet. I like to imagine that after the event Henry told Katherine, ‘you know what dear, I think as a way of showing my undying, eternal love to you, we will go and help out Charlie after all…’, and that’s why he decided to become allies with Spain. I’m pretty sure it was not because he was actually seething out pure venom from his sweat glands at the thought of a two stone when wet through, French as fuck hipster, kicking his hoop all over a posh field whilst his subjects look on… and then having to pay for the privilege as well. That would be childish.


Henry VIII and Charles V, The Holy Roman Emperor…probably planning a dish of smack down for Francis. 


If you enjoyed this Tudorial, you may also like the Drunk Histories version of events told by Tiff Stevenson, which can be found here. Enjoy!

2nd June, 1572: Thomas Howard Is In The Shit.

On June 2nd, 1572, the 4th Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard, was executed for treason under the order of Elizabeth I. Thomas was born into one of the noblest families in England. Thomas’ family had been powerful for some time. His Grandfather, (also called Thomas Howard since the Tudors only had about 3 names), was a powerful politician during Henry VIII’s reign. This overambitious prick was the uncle of Anne Boleyn, and one of the main reason she found herself in the mix with the fat, spousicidal twat of a king in the first place.


Thomas Howard,4th Duke of Norfolk…


…who, to my utter amusement, looks like my friend Oisin.

Thomas’s Dad, Henry Howard, was a bit more vanilla than his father. However, he was still executed under Henry VIII’s orders for suspected treason. Thomas Boleyn senior was also due to be beheaded, but as luck would have it Henry VIII died the day before the order was to be carried out, so he managed to dodge his sentence… and still it was only women who were accused of witchcraft!


Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk (the Grandad)


Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (the Dad)

Anyway, after the king’s death, his daughter, Mary Tudor, took the throne with her very catholic and very Spanish, dick of a husband, Phillip of Spain. Mary had Thomas Howard Snr. released from the Tower and reinstated as Duke of Norfolk, a title which passed to his grandson on his death in 1554. Thomas junior was now the 4th Duke of Norfolk and in royal favour, which was still the case when Elizabeth I inherited the throne upon Mary’s death.

Elizabeth thought very highly of Thomas, she referred to him as ‘her cousin’, (Anne Boleyn and Henry Howard were first cousins, and Elizabeth liked to think that she and Thomas were also very close). Thomas might have been close to the queen, but he was still no comparison to Elizabeth’s favorite, Robert Dudley. It was said that Thomas Howard was jealous of Dudley because Dudley could influence the queen’s decisions, whereas he could not, despite being the richest bloke in the country. That aside, she still relied on him to do her bidding, and sort out the unholy shit storm that her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, had caused when she came to England to seek refuge.

The catholic Queen Mary had basically run away from all kinds of mess that she had been tied up in back in Scotland. She was hoping that her cousin would help her, but Elizabeth, quite rightly, saw her as a threat to her throne. Mart was catholic, the country had just reformed, Mary had a family link to the English throne, ergo she was a massive threat, and she now being in England brought about the threat of rebellion against Liz. So off went Thomas Howard to sort it out.


Mary Queen of Scots – doing the ‘shady moon’ face.

Howard was all for laying some smackdown on Mary, until he met her Secretary of State, a slimy dude called Maitland. Maitland not only convinced Howard that Mary was innocent of any ill intent towards Elizabeth, but he also convinced Howard that it would be a good idea if he married Mary and then tried to blag Elizabeth into naming Mary as her successor to the English throne upon her death. Talk about being played like a fiddle, but Howard was stupid enough to go for it. The problem was that he didn’t have the bollockss to actually put the idea to Elizabeth, so, like a deluded fuckwit, he kept it a secret and but carried on making plans to wed the Scottish Queen regardless.

Because Howard suspected Elizabeth wouldn’t go for the idea, and because he shat himself at the prospect of being the one to put it to her, Maitland and Howard decided that Maitland would approach Elizabeth and make the suggestion. After all he had been able to chat shit to Howard and convince him of the shit idea in the first place. In the meantime, the plans for Howard and Mary to wed continued to be hatched.

When Elizabeth found out,  was had none of it. Why the fuck would she hand the throne to her knob head cousin, who had literally THE WORST track record with men in History*, and who would seek to restore England back to Catholicism with the help of that snivelling cunt, and  Elizabeth’s sworn enemy, Prince Philip of Spain? So as you can imagine, Howard’s plans started to look a tat premature, and a lot ridiculous.

For acting like a knob and going behind her back, Elizabeth had Howard was arrested and imprisoned in the tower. Elizabeth didn’t quite have the same blood thirst as her father and didn’t want the PR nightmare that sending Howard to trial would cause, so when shit settled down, he was eventually released from the tower. However, this is not where the story ends, because like an utter fucking spafftool, Howard continued to write to Mary, who wrote back chatting all kinds of love shit, and kissing him up via letters. This eventually lead to Howard getting himself involved in a fucking stupid idea with the shitehawk, Phillip of Spain and his cunt faced, London based banker pal, (yep, they were around being fuckheads in Tudor England too), Roberto Ridolfi.


Phillip of Spain: Elizabeth’s ex bro-in-law and a right cunt.

The ‘Ridolfi Plot’, as it is now known, was basically a plan hatched by the men to free Mary, marry her to Howard, boot Elizabeth off the throne and restore England to its catholic glory with the help of Spain. Can you imagine?! What a misled knobweasle Howard had become.

The perpetrators of the plot had not counted on three things: firstly, Howard’s incompetence, Secondly, the pure badassness of Elizabeth’s spymaster, Walsingham (think Varys from Game of Thrones),  and finally, the fact that Howard’s servant sang like a bunch of shitbirds when put to the rack.


Walsingham the spymaster, like a boss

Howard had also mistrusted one of his servants to convey messages between himself, Phillip and Ridolfi. The servant had then found a merchant to do the dirty work, taking letters and money between the parties. The merchant was found out pretty sharpish as his sacks weighed more than they were supposed to, arousing the suspicion of the port guards, so he was arrested and questioned and he too spilled the beans on Howard.

Meanwhile, back at home, Howard’s servants had been arrested and tortured, during which time they told their captures that Howard had been squirrelling away letters about the plot under one of his roof tiles at one of his many properties.

Elizabeth was beside herself when she found out. How the fuck did Thomas Howard find himself mixed up in all this bullshit? He had always maintained his loyalty to Elizabeth and, to a certain extent, she believed him. She did not want to condemn him to death, signing and retracting his death warrant several times, until eventually parliament stepped in and insisted she should stop fannying about and just get it over and done with.

Thomas Howard’s death warrant was eventually signed and he was sent to his death for being a treasonous prick, just like his father and Grandfather, on June 2nd, 1572. He is now buried in the church of St Peter and Vincula at the Tower of London, a dumping ground for headless Tudor traitors. ‘And what of Mary?’ I hear you cry. Well she continued to plot and scheme once she found out that Elizabeth would not name her as heir to the throne. In 1586, Walsingham uncovered enough evidence to have her sentenced to death, and in 1587 she met a very sticky end.

*If you need proof of Mary’s terrible choice in men, or you want to know more about her rather shitty execution, you may be interested in this plots-execu:https://thetudorials.com/2015/07/17/july-17th-1586-tions-treason-and-the-dick-end-men-in-mary-queen-of-scots-life/


April 21st, 1509. Executions: Start as you mean to go on.

After his father’s death on April 21st 1509, Henry VIII inherited the throne of England and Wales, but wasn’t acknowledged until 2 days later, on the 24th April 1509. His father had brought well needed peace to the country for the past 23 years, ad Henry wasn’t about to let that change. However, his father was extremely unpopular by the people of the country, in particular the rich who he had full raped of their cash. Long gone were the days where nobles were flush and wealth, Henry VII had ensured that. He had inherited a country in debt and so to counter this has decided it pointless to increase taxes on the poor, rather it better to take it from the wealthy who could afford it, and had more than likely been milking the system for years. My kind of man I have to say.


Henry VII: Like butter wouldn’t fucking melt…

Obviously this had rendered him very unpopular with the nobles; if they were seen to be flashing the cash Henry would take it for the royal treasury, if they were seen to be struggling financially, he assumed they were hiding their cash, and tax them harder.

Henry VII would not have been so successful at pissing off the rich nobles if it hadn’t have been for his ‘Council Learned in Law’, a dodgy government body set up by two of his right-hand men, Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. Empson was born around 1450 and Dudley around 1462, both had earned the trust and respect of the king and shot to power quickly. Empson had gained popularity under Yorkist rule, but most of Henry’s council had, keep your enemies close and all that.

Henry VIII basically made the men his chief tax collectors. The two penny pinching Scrooge’s made it their business to go around and collect debt from the rich and give them to the king, (an interesting sort of love child hybrid between Robin Hood and The Sherriff of Nottingham if you will). These men were seriously good at their job. The nobles could not stand the money grabbing little shits, and Empson and Dudley gave NO FUCKS about this whatsoever.

epsom l dudle r henry 7 c

Empson and Dudley acting like a medieval Marley and Marley, taking orders from the King and conspiring to shaft the rich like shady fuckers.

All was going well, the rich were being royally fucked over and the treasury was growing nicely, until Henry VII died on 21st April. On 24th April, 1509 it was announced that the King was dead and the throne would pass to the new King, Henry VIII. The new young King was the polar opposite of his father. He had grown up being ‘the spare to the heir’, so to speak. Prior to his older brother, Arthur’s, death Henry had led the fun filled life expected of a young, rich, carefree prince. He was a complete attention seeking gobshite, and enjoyed nothing more than basking in the lime light and being loved arse licked adoring fans, (to be fair, not much changed after Arthur’s death, he still liked to be the centre of attention then). The problem he now faced however, was that the nobles were so glad to be rid of the Miser, Henry VII, which it was apparent that they didn’t want to risk another king bringing down financial hardship on them, and enforcing the same exploitative taxation laws on their pockets.

Henry basically shat himself: If the people didn’t trust him how could they love him and if the people didn’t love him, what would happen to his massive ego? He had to take action to distinguish himself from his father, and fast. His first order of business was to arrest Dudley and Empson and show his new subjects that the frugal reign of his father was well and truly over. The two men were arrested on Henrys first day at work and sent to the tower on trumped up charges of treason.

The actual charge brought against the men was ‘constructive treason’. Henry had decided that the men had called their pals to rally arms encase the king died, that and they had been dipping their own hands into the kings penny jar. Actually, the real reason they were arrested was to show to the public that Henry VIII was going to be a fun and generous king, who supported the plight of the rich, and would end the totally wank reign of his stingy as balls father. A popularity vote for the new party king if you like.


A young Henry VIII, posing like a ponsy twat end.

The men were sent to the tower and left there. Dudley planned an escape, but it looked like they would be exonerated. They were not. Dudley even wrote an arse kissing book called ‘The Tree of Commonwealth’ in which he yaks on about how great the new monarch is, and how the commonwealth is a massive tree built on godliness, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, it didn’t work. Henry basically was having too much fun in his new job, and when he remembered they were there decided to set an example. On 17th August, 1510, the men were sent to Tower Hill and executed.


Oh, and FYI…

You may recognise the name Dudley. Edmund Dudley was the father of John Dudley, who became the 1st Duke of Northumberland under Edward VI reign. He too was executed at Tower Hill 43 years later after conspiring to usurp Henrys VIII’s daughter, Mary Tudor, and placing Jane Grey and his son Guilford on the throne. John Dudley was also the father of Robert Dudley, Elizabeth I’s ‘favourite’, (and by ‘favourite’ I mean the bloke that made her basement flood, wink, wink). It was all very complex at Tudor court, but one thing is certain, there was no room for grudges against the monarch’s.


21st April, 1509: The king is Dead; Long Live the King!

At 11pm on 21st April 1509, (though some historians believe it was 22nd), King Henry VII died at Richmond Palace. His death wasn’t a surprise to anybody because he’d been ill on and off for the past two years, and had locked himself away at Richmond due to the decline of his condition. Since Henry had been away from the public eye, it was able to be kept secret for the following two days until arrangements for succession had been made.


Henry VII’s death bed. Apparently the 2 men on the right are holding piss pots to collect his urine…and I thought my job was wank.

Henry had had a turbulent life, for starters he was born to a fierce as fuck, 13 year old Lancastrian noble girl and his father had died before his birth. Then, for a long time after that, his life was blighted by The House of York who thought Henry was a threat to their throne, (and to be fair they had a point). Prior to his ascent to the throne his life went like this: He lived in exile because of the Yorkist’s, He rallied against the Yorkist’s, he scrapped with the Yorkist’s, he killed a Yorkist king and then married a Yorkist princess.

His marriage to Elizabeth of York was said to be a happy one, despite the initial circumstances that led to their union. The idea was that when Henry kicked arse at Bosworth, and killed King Richard, the young Lancastrian king would then marry the beautiful York princess in a bid to unite the houses and end the wars…and it worked. I like to think of it like a bit of a Romeo and Juliet story, (and in my head its set to a West Side Story backdrop but with mincing Tudors instead of not very threatening New Yorkers).


Henry VII, the Miser King and his Smokin’ hot wife, Elizabeth of York. Punched above his weight, that one.

His life settled somewhat after he had secured the throne… well I say that but  there were a couple of hiccups, and a couple of kids claiming to be Elizabeth’s long lost brothers / royal heirs to the throne which must have been awkward, but nothing he didn’t handle. He ruled successfully for 23 years, but wasn’t particularly popular with his subjects who saw him as a tight arse and a miser, but to his credit he took the country out of bankruptcy and got shit done so it goes to show you can’t have it all.

His death was announced to the Kings Garter at their annual feast of St. George on 23rd April, then publically on the 24th. The throne was left to his 17 year old son, Henry, who, despite being the polar opposite to his father and a big fat misogynistic tool, also did a pretty good job of keeping the country ticking over*.

Henry is buried next to his wife in Westminster Abbey, in a chapel of his own making. He placed the Tudor’s on the throne and started a dynasty that lasted for 118 years…Good work I’d say.


Elizabeth of York and Henry Tudor’s tomb: they even look good in all gold.

*I had a hard time writing that sentence. I initially wanted to remain unbiased, but that was never going to happen. Then I was going to put ‘also did a pretty good job of upholding the peace’, but then I though about the break from Rome, the reformation and the total annihilation of the monasteries, let alone scrapping in Scotland and France. So I settled with ‘ticking over’…I basically just see all of them as keeping it warm until Elizabeth came to sort shit out.



Hardwick Hall; More Glass Than Wall

Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire is one of my most favorite places on Earth. Growing up around the corner from it, with a mother whose knowledge on all things history makes David Starkey look like a fucking amateur, and a National Trust card that has had more use than a mattress in a knocking shop, meant that there were days in my childhood that I spent more time there than at home. It feels only fitting then, that it is the first place I write about for The Tudorials.

When people talk about Hardwick they tend to mean the new Hall, but there are actually two at the site, (rather annoyingly the old hall is owned by English Heritage and the new one by The National Trust so if you want the full Hardwick experience it costs a fucking fortune). The old hall was purchased by Elizabeth Talbot (or Bess of Hardwick as she is better known), in 1587 and renovations started immediately.

Bess was married George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, at this point. It was her fourth marriage and she had begun to fucking hate him. The pair had been charged with keeping an eye Mary Queen of Scots by Elizabeth 1, it was supposed to be a temporary thing but Elizabeth managed to roll it out for sixteen years, much to Bess’s dismay. This put strain on the couple, and on their bank account, (though to be fair they were ridiculously wealthy). Bess bought Hardwick and decided to move in, estranging herself from her husband who was living down the road at Chatsworth House.

When Talbot died in 1590, Bess became the richest woman in the county next to the Queen. She had been married four times, each time marrying a man richer than the last. I have to be honest, as far as Tudor women go, Bess was a true Beyoncé style independent woman.  A woman of Bess’s social standing needed better digs, so before the old hall was complete, she decided that she would build a new hall that faced the original. The new hall would reflect her wealth and compliment the old hall; so in order to get her shit on lock-down, she enlisted the help of the notorious architect Robert Smythson. Since there was a tax on glass what better way to flash her cash that to make the new hall have the biggest windows about, hence ‘Hardwick Hall; more glass than wall’.

Bess had another agenda with the new hall. She had hoped that if she provided her granddaughter, Arbella Stuart, with a palace fit for a queen, then Elizabeth would name her as a successor upon her death. Bess had decided that because her pal, Elizabeth I, had no heir, if she placed Arbella as a front runner and lavished her in riches then she would be named as next in line to the Queen. Arbella had royal blood in her, but not enough to place her that high on Elizabeth’s list of potential rulers, so the claim was dismissed.

The hall was finished in 1597, and passed to her son William Cavendish, in 1608. The new hall is now owned by the National Trust, and stands facing the ruins of the old hall. The property is definitely worth a visit, though I am biased, and I would recommend that you walk from the hall down the lane to the pub at the bottom. Anyway, here are my favorite Hardwick facts:


  • The house has three floors, each floor has a ceiling higher than the one below. Why? Because why not?
  • Bess also owned Bolsover Castle and Chatsworth House, but Hardwick was her favourite.
  • Hardwick was used to film some of the scenes used as Malfoy Mansion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallowes.
  • There is a bedroom at Hardwick called ‘the Mary Queen of Scots room’ even though she died three years before building work started there, and pissed Bess off no end.
  • The aptly named ‘long gallery’ in the new hall is home to some frigging amazing Tudor portraits, including a painting of Elizabeth I wearing a dress lavished in sea creatures and flowers which was used to illustrate her power at land and sea, as well as her ‘natural beauty. It is believed that Bess came up with this idea herself… I can’t think why.


    Elizabeth I in her fucking ridiculous dress. This shit was meant to be complementary, no wonder she didn’t let Arbella inherit the throne when her Nan imagines her dressed like a fucking fish pond.

  • Although the old hall is in ruins, you can still see some of the original features, including some absolutely gorgeous plaster work which would’ve been above the fireplaces in what you can only imagine would’ve been a spectacular room.

    Temporarily used for contact details: The Engine House, Fire Fly Avenue, Swindon, SN2 2EH, United Kingdom, Tel: 01793 414600, Email: archive@english-heritage.org.uk, Website: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk

    The plaster work in the old hall. image stolen from English Heritage yet again, (they take good photo’s, what can I say).



Address: Hardwick Hall, Doe Lea, Chesterfield S44 5QJ

For visiting information:





February 3rd, 1537: Silken Thomas, Henry’s Irish Problem and the Ironic Death of the Earl of Kildare.

On the 3rd February, 1537 a rather overambitious lad by the nick name ‘Silken Tomas’ was put to death at the hands of His Majesty, Henry VIII. Now you may be thinking ‘Silken Thomas?? What kind of a stupid name is that?! He sounds like a right twat!’, and you would be correct.

Before I tell you about Silken Thomas, let’s look at his family and how he came to be so important. His Dad, Gerald FitzGerald -I shit you not – had been in and out of favor at the court of Henry VII for years. He later married Henry VII’s cousin, Elizabeth Zouch , and the pair had a son called Thomas. Henry made FitzGerald the 9th Earl of Kildare, and sent him to govern his home country of Ireland. It went tits up a few times, but in 1534 he was summoned to England by order of the King, now Henry VIII, to account for several offences; some of which were pissing off Wolsey’s Friend, The Archbishop of Dublin, who just so happened to be English, and plotting with local Irish ‘chiefs’ against the King, among other things.

FitzGerald though ‘fuck it’ and sent his wife to account for his crimes, to be fair his speech had started to go and he had sustained significant injuries from a recent skirmish . Whilst his wife was away, FitzGerald seized the opportunity to stockpile ammunition, gunpowder and weaponry from Dublin Castle and ‘secure it’ in his own personal care.

Henry wasn’t buying any of this horseshit and  summoned the Earl to London as a matter of urgency. FitzGerald now had to go or suffer the consequences. He decided that in his absence, he would leave his now 21 year old son, Thomas, in charge and named him as the Deputy Governor of Ireland, to serve in his absence. FitzGerald was taken to the Tower in June 1534. This is when it all kicked off for Silken Thomas.


Thomas FitzGerald, a.k.a. Silken Thomas. He is supposed to be 24 in this picture…not 54 as the image would suggest.

It wasn’t long after FitzGerald had arrived in the capital that Thomas heard the vicious rumour that his Dad had been sent to the Tower, awaiting execution.Thomas had been having his ego massaged by his fathers peers, who were actually doing nothing more than manipulating the young deputy into starting a rebellion against the English. England had undergone a reformation and the King was finding it difficult to persuade his Irish subjects to ditch the Catholic faith. With Thomas being so ambitious and eager to stamp his own mark on the country, the Irish peers grabbed the opportunity to rebel with both hands.

Thomas marched to St. Mary’s Abbey in Dublin with a small army of men, known as the Gallowglasses. These men were utter bad-asses; Gaelic-Norse mercenaries who literally gave no fucks, none whatsoever. Seriously, you would not mess with these guys. They were from Scottish and  Irish clans, and of Viking descent, but that didn’t stop them embracing their inner haberdashers and donning a silk fringe on their helmet…hence the nickname ‘Silken Thomas’. Nobody was about to take the piss though, these guys would fuck you up.

Anyway, Thomas and the Gallowglasses marched into the Abbey, where Thomas went mental. He threw down his Sword of State in front of the Kings council and openly declared rebellion. He was hoping that he could use the reformations as a way of buying the support of the Irish people, rid the country of British rule, and take charge himself under the pretense that he was ‘freeing Ireland’ or some shit…and definitely not because he was a power hungry, overambitious gobshite. He exiled the English, or executed them if they refused to leave, and seized lands and goods.

The Archbishop of Dublin, who was a sworn enemy to the family, shat himself and ran off. He managed to get his hands on a small boat but didn’t get very far before it ran around in Dublin Bay. Now I’m  no mariner, but I do know that to flee Dublin or England, and end up in Dublin Bay is pretty shit. What a chump, you could swim it and hardly get wet. As predicted, he was caught and taken to Silken Thomas, who had him ‘brained and hacked into gobbets’. Nice.

Back in England, Henry VIII was going BATSHIT. He sent for Thomas, who obviously refused to leave, and so ordered the Mayor of Dublin to arrest him. Thomas was holding the city captive: he cut off the citizens water supply and held the children hostage. The Constable of Dublin Castle was appalled about all of this shit and ordered supplies to be delivered to the castle to see the people through the rebellion. After hearing this, Thomas got his knackers in a twist and instigated a siege on the castle.


The Siege on Dublin Castle

After a bit of of a scrap, it became evident that Thomas had dropped a bollock. Henry had appointed a new Lord Deputy of Ireland to replace the traitor, and had appointed a bloke called Leonard Grey as head of the army, with clear instructions to get the mess sorted out. The rebellion lasted nearly four months, in which time vast parts of the city had been left with large numbers of fatalities, both caused by the fight, and the plague, which was rife at that time.

Silken’s men had had enough and most of them deserted him, bargaining deals for their lives with the English. Silken had no choice, he wrote a letter of submission to Lord Grey, who promised him his life if he would return to England with him to answer to the King. In 1535, he arrived in England and was thrown into the Tower, there he sat for eight months, neglected, starved and abandoned. He was eventually executed, along with his six Uncles who had egged him on,  by ‘hanging and beheading’ on February 3rd 1537.

The rebellion was over but it was a slap in the face for Henry, who quickly came to realise the Irish were not going to play by his rules. The whole ‘Silken Thomas’ affair had cost him £25,000, and Henry had decided that from then on,only Englishmen could be trusted to govern Ireland. Royal’s were no longer allowed to marry an Irish match; he did not want to run the risk of anybody with high status leading a rebellion again, and appointed Leonard Grey as the new Lord-Justice of Ireland, (who was also later executed for treason)

The funny thing was that Gerald FitzGerald was never executed in the Tower. It is said that he died of a broken heart upon hearing the news of his sons rebellion. You have to laugh.




January 31st, 1547: One Out, One In.

It was January 31st, 1547 and the King, Henry VIII, had been dead for 3 days. It was now time to tell the world, and announce the new Sovereign; King Edward VI…What a shit storm this caused.


Henry VIII and his gobshite little son, Edward VI.

Shortly before he died,even when it was obvious he was about to croak it, nobody had dared tell Henry VIII that he was on his way out. To do so would be treason, and nobody really fancied being remembered as the idiot who sent himself to the gallows. Instead, the privy council secretly making preparations – and by this I mean making power grabs for anything and everything they could get their vulture-like talons into, like a shower of cunts.

Henry’s only son and heir was about to inherit the throne, but he was only 9 and therefore vulnerable to manipulation by the Kings ‘finest’ men. Henry was on it though; prevent his one and only son becoming a puppet to the greedy bastards at court, he set up a privy council of 16 of his most trusted pals to act as governors to the young King until he came of age – which was a long way off, lets be honest.


Henry’s deathbed: The young prince is sat next to the dying king whilst a member of the Klan looks on, (not really, its Thomas Cranmer)

It didn’t really work though; the men all had different religious and political views, and all were desperate for power. One of the main problems was that Henry’s will seemed to have been poorly thought out, and titles and lands had been handed out to peers like biscuits at your Nan’s house. This had whipped up the already over-ambitious council members into a state, and it was now apparent they needed some sort of leader. Henry had not foreseen this, and had neglected to name someone to lead of the pack of pricks he had chosen, and so something had to be done.

The council reluctantly agreed that they were incapable of aiding a small child without tearing each others faces off, and decided to appoint a leader. On 4th February the council had a vote and decided the job would be best suited to the new Kings Uncle, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset. I say  “had a vote”  but what more likely happened is that Somerset bought the men’s votes, and brokered deals to buy  power; he had after all just inherited a fuck-tonne of land from Henry’s will so had the cash to gamble with…the sneaky shit.


Edward Seymour, the 1st Duke of Somerset: Protestant, protector, proper prick shaft.

To Somerset, becoming the Lord Protector of the Realm was the ultimate prize.It meant that he could effectively rule England for the next eight or so years, puppeteering the new King until he came of age. On paper, Somerset probably was the best placed to do the job; After all he was the King’s Uncle, a war hero, extremely wealthy AND  a staunch protestant, just like the young King himself. Obviously he accepted the position graciously.


There is much I could write about Somerset, and indeed his brother Tomas, who was also somewhat of a cunt, but this thread is about Henry’s succession, so you will have to take my word when I tell you that he was a massive dick-end. Needless to say met a sticky end. In 1549 he tried to abduct the King, in a fashion, and was removed from power. He was later executed in 1552 for being a massive twat (it did not say this on the execution papers – it said ‘Treason’ – but everyone knew the real reason).

What of the new king? If tales are to be believed, King Edward was a nasty little shit. Wrapped up in cotton wool and spoiled rotten,  he grew to emulate his fathers tyranny. Some even think that had he had survived his adolescence he would’ve been worse – can you fucking imagine that shit?. He apparently once ripped the head off his pet falcon because he had been scolded in the school room. He did keep the protestant faith, but was a sickly little weasel and died young, at only fifteen years old; just over a year after his Uncle’s execution, and the only time TB has ever been welcomed.

Knowing he was dying, and not wanting the country to return to Catholicism (as it would if the throne passed to his eldest surviving sibling, Mary), Edward named his cousin, Jane Grey, his successor – using the excuse that  Mary  had been declared a bastard, therefore removing her and his other sister Elizabeth from the line of succession. This went tits up too, but that too is a story for another time…

If you do fancy reading about Thomas Seymour you can check this snippet out: Tom and the Spaniel. And what of the Lady Jane Grey? Well you can read a bit about that unfortunate business here: Lady Jane marries a proper dick

The (not always so) happy New Years of Henry VIII.

So, it’s New Year’s Day and what could be better than reading a few facts about our favourite Tudors, and some of the New Years events that befell them. 

New Year’s Day, 1511, and Katherine of Aragon gave her hubby, Henry VIII, the son he had long hoped for. Rather originally, they called the boy Henry after his father and Grandfather, and the king, near jizzing with excitement, threw the biggest bloody celebratory even the nation had seen in honour of his wife’s achievement. Sadly, only 52 days later, the young prince died and with his death, the royal couples chances of any future happiness and stability together. 

Henry help a joust in his wife’s honour. This was when He et loved Katherine dearly and now she had given him his so . What could go wrong?

Let’s skip forward a few years and look at a second Tudor New Year. In 1515, New Years Eve saw the death of King Louis XII of France, much to the joy of his new young bride, Mary Tudor. 

Mary was Henry VIII’s sister, who he had decided to marry off to the ageing and amorous King of France. She was understandably fucking livid about the whole thing, but the whole ordeal was short lived, and upon Louis’ death, Henry sent his pal Charles Brandon to bring his sister home. This worked out really well for Mary because she had fancied Charles for a while, and the pair decided to marry upon their return to England, (which was a massive ‘up yours’ to Henry who had not given permission for their union). Henry was fuming. He had been made to look like a dick by his sister and his best friend and was not happy in the slightest…just for a change. 

Louis XII. Not even having a young fit wife could make him smile, the miserable old get.

The final Tudor New Year’s Day I’m going to tell you about happened in 1540 and it’s brilliant. It happened when Henry VIII met his 4th wife to be, Anne of Cleeves, for the first time. This whole even was an absolute fucking disaster and Henry came away looking like a massive chump. 

Henry decided that his initial meeting with his new wife was going to be one of japes and capers, and everyone would find him hilarious and recognise him as the comedic thespian he so obviously thought he was. He was wrong. He decided to dress like an utter twat, mince his way across the room of Rochester Castle where Anne had been staying upon her arrival to England, and proceed to snog the shit out of the rather unfortunate Maid. 

Having never met Henry before, Anne was mortified at the cheek the scruffy looking, cockwomble of a man that had been so bold as to take advantage of her in this way, and much to the dismay of Henry, expressed the nausea brought on by the whole experience very loudly and very publicly. This was the couples first meeting, and Henry was raging. 

When the eventually pair married, Henry had a hard time warming to Anne and the marriage was quickly annulled. 

So there you have it, wether you’re having a really good New Year’s Day or a really bad one, just be thankful that at least your not Henry VIII. 

6th and 7th November 1541: The Queen Gets Sprung

On this day in 1541, The queen and Henry VIII’s 5th wife, Katherine Howard, found herself well and truly in the shit. Henry had discovered that he had not been the only person to have ‘carnal knowledge’ of his wife, in fact he had not even been her first husband as the queen had previously had a marriage of sorts to a man called Dereham, who was now loitering around her again. 
As this wasn’t enough, to add a cherry to this turd flavoured cake, He ru had also learned that the queen was now shagging one of his besties, a man called Thomas Culpepper who was a manger of his privy council. Henry went wild. The 6th November was the last time that Katherine saw her husband before being locked away awaiting her fate. This was the legendary day that she apparently broke free of her guards at Hampton Court and chased Herny down the gallery to protest to her house arrest and convince the king of her innocence. She was dragged back into confinement, never to see the king again. Apparently her ghost can still be heard screaming down the gallery at Hampton Court, (and because it’s totally cool and the Historic Royal Palace people are boss, I have put a link to their take on the ghost at the bottom of the page).

On 7th November, Henry sent the Archbishop Cranmer to question the queen at Winchester Palace, but he found her in such a state of distress that he ordered that anything and everything the queen could use to harm herself to be removed. It did her no good because the following February she would be executed. 

And what of Culpepper and Dereham I hear you ask? Well they too were executed, but the real kick in the teeth here is that Culpepper (Henrys pal and helper who was bending it up the queen behind Henrys back) was given the privilege of a quick death by being beheaded, whilst Dereham who had known and loved the queen before they had even met Henry, (although was more than likely now blackmailing her into getting a position at court) served the traitors death, as he was the one who had ‘spoilt’ the queen for Henry. 

Katherine was only 20 when she died.

You can read more about Katherine’s ghost here: http://www.hrp.org.uk/discover-the-palaces/ghost-stories/catherine-howard/#gs._Lv9Pow

October 24th, 1537: The Particularly Shit Death of Jane Seymour

Queen Jane- not the most attractive of Henry’s wives but his favourite non the less

Today is the anniversary of the death of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s 3rd and fave wife. She died a mere 12 days after giving the king his long awaited, precious son, and like a cruel joke, or a mean twist of fate died as consequence. The man who had rejected the church, and ditched his two previous wives had now, at last, got what he wanted, but lost his beloved wife in return. 
Janes death was caused by a long and painful birth, open wounds and the royal midwives failing to remove bits of placenta from Jane’s body, which became infected causing ‘childbed fever, (or septicaemia if you want to get technical…fanny rot if you don’t). 
The ironic thing is, the richer you are, the more inexperienced midwives you had, as they were reserved for the nobles households, and not out there gaining valuable experience in not killing labouring women. It paid to be a scrubber in Tudor times where childbirth was concerned. 
Henry went into mourning for 3 months after the death of Jane, wearing black, refusing to marry (although more than likely still shagging anything in a kirtle), and skulking about like a child who had its sweets stolen. He refused to marry for 3 years, (and when he did it was a political marriage done under much winging and moaning). I dare say the closest Henry ever got to why is commonly known as ‘feelings’.
Janes funeral was organised by a select few members of Henrys privy council. The country hadn’t buried a ‘proper’ queen for 34 years, (ditching your first wife for another woman only to hack her head off a few years later didn’t enable Henry’s first wives to be called ‘Queen’ at the times of their deaths), so they had to spend a few days looking up how to actually do it. Fucking useless. 
Queen Jane was laid to rest in the chapel at Hampton Court, which was draped in fine black cloth, until early November, when she was taken to Windsor and buried in a tomb designed by Henry. She had 29 mourners, the chief being Mary, Henrys daughter, who rode out in black being not quite as mental as she would be in years to come.
Ten years and three more wives later, Henry croaked it and was buried in the tomb with Jane, and their young son, Edward VI, inherited the crown of England.

Inside Henry and Janes tomb, (which resembles a shit French wine cellar that’s currently out of stock)

5th September 1548: A mini tribute to the awesome Catherine Parr

On this day in 1548, Catherine Parr died after contracting ‘childbed fever’, (scepticemia caused by shit, inexperienced midwives who had been reserved for the wealthy instead of actually delivering babies and working out what the fuck they were meant to be doing). She was Henry VIII’s last wife and pretty cool, so here are my 5 fave Cath facts:
1. Catherine wasn’t a fan of the idea of marrying Henry, (let’s face it by the time he had got to her, he was a vile, bitter old bastard, and she had been shoved into two marriages prior to him; the last being to a proper Grandad). She had the hots for Thomas Seymour, who was Jane Seymour’s (Henry’s 3rd wife), brother. She married Tom in what some called an indecent amount of time after Henry’s death, (Good girl is what I say).

2.Catherine’s mum, Maud, was Katherine of Aragon’s lady in waiting. Maud called her baby after the queen, so Herny’s last wife is named after his first… Which is fucking grim.

3. Catherine was the best step mum in history (probably). Catherine nagged Henry into bringing his kids back to court, and ultimately back into his favour. She took on Elizabeth’s welfare when Herny died and saw the best education. She moved her into her home at Sudley (away from court), and encouraged her to follow the Protestant faith, (she also sent her away from the house to protect her from her rapey, mental as balls husband when she found out he’d been sniffing around young Liz, which must’ve broke her heart). Without Catherine, Elizabeth I wouldn’t have been the fab queen, and strong woman that she was.

4. Katherine was a known follower of the reformed faith, which pissed off loads of the moany old codgers at court. She was known to have a stash of banned books, which she had inevitably read and shared with her ladies. This was a crime punishable by death and some of the members of the privy council, in particular a sly cockweasle called Gardiner, wanted to see her gone, so drew up a warrant for her arrest. 

To cut a long story short, Catherime caught wind of the plan to arrest her. Some people think the warrant was ‘dropped’ and one of her ladies found it and told her about it, others say that she was so well loved that an insider told her, whatever happened it was a bloody good job it did. The queen was so distraught she became ill (or maybe faked it), and the king came to visit her. Not letting on that she knew of the arrest warrant, she let Henry talk to her about religion and listened as he tried to trap her into saying something incriminating. 

Katherine was far too clever for Henry, and simply said that she could not have an opinion about religion without him, because his opinion was the greatest. Like the egomaniac he was, he believed that she actually thought he was the leading authority on religion and went back to being her BFF, but like a complete bell end forgot to tell his guards, so when they came the next day to arrest Catherine, instead of putting them straight, he battered them (yet again another illustration of what a tool he was).

5. Catherine was a bit of a boffin and published her own books about religion, (much to Henry’s dismay). Upon Henry’s death, she published a book called ‘Lamentations of a Sinner’, in which it became obvious she had been a strong believer in the Protestant faith all along. Well played lady.

So there you are, a whistle stop guide to my fave Catherine facts. 

25th may 1553: Lady Jane grey is forced to marry a proper dick

Today is the 463rd wedding anniversary of lady Jane Grey and Guilford Dudley. The pair were palmed off and forced to marry in 1553 by their parents, (as many were back then), in order to seek a strong claim to the throne upon the death of Edward VI. Jane was NOT happy with the arrangement; Guilford and his power hungry family were dickheads and out for their own gain, and Jane didn’t want to be queen at all, she wanted to read and prey and certainly not marry.

Guilford was a massive tosser who did little but drink and whore, whereas Jane was a refined gentle character who would have been happy in a nunnery with her books. Their marriage was a mere political convenience.


The absolute cockweasle that is Guilford Dudley

It came about because Jane’s mother, Francis, was next in line to the throne when Henry VIII’s only son, Edward, was king. Francis was Henry VIII’s niece, and since his two other children, (Elizabeth and Mary), had been declared bastard, she was his next kin by blood. She was a cunt too. She was an utter botch to Jane, and manipulated her through cruelty and neglect. She decided that if she could forfeit her claim to the throne (after all she had no sons so there was very little point of her inheriting the crown), it would pass to Jane and Francis and John Dudley (1st Duke of Northumberland and Guilford’s Dad), could essentially rule through their children.

Since the king was young and sickly, and Northumberland was his chief counsellor, (therefore already the most powerful man in the country), he was in prime place to notice when your Edward was past his sell by. He moved quick to get to work putting his son in the throne and secure his power, and block out Mary and Elizabeth’s claim for good (well that was the plan).

The pair were married on 25th May. The marriage was so rushed that Jane had to borrow a gown from the Royal wardrobe. Edward died in July of the same year, naming Jane as his heir (she was the same religion as him, as was his sister Elizabeth, but Edward knew that by reinstating Elizabeth’s claim to the throne would mean that the crown fell to his catholic sister, Mary. Edward did not like Catholics so left the crown to his cousin Jane). All was falling in line for Jane and Guilford’s parents.

The marriage was short and most likely unhappy, (there is little evidence to suggest otherwise but a stack to suggest there was no love lost between the two). The couple were married in the May and by the November both were dead.


Lady Jane Grey

Mary came after just 9 days of Janes reign and took the throne with an army of supporters. She was after all said and done Henry VIII’s first child, and bastard or not the people would rather have seen the morally correct thing being done, than see some cheeky little bastards steal the throne… even if that ‘morally right’ thing was Mary.

Mary arrested all concerned, and promised to be forgiving to Jane as she knew none of this was her doing. In the end, what actually happened was that Francis was pardoned and Northumberland and Guilford executed at Tower Hill. It looked as though Jane would get her pardon, but since she refused to convert to the catholic faith, Mary had Janes body relived of its head. The night before their execution, Guilford asked to meet his wife for a final time. Jane refused saying it would be too distressing and they should wait to meet in heaven. I like to think she had her final revenge on Guilford, blowing him out in style and leaving him snivelling in the tower like a snot faced idiot with donated pride.

Some historians think that Mary would’ve executed Jane anyway, despite her promise of keeping Jane safe. Marys new soon-to-ben husband, Phillip of Spain, was a strong supported of the Catholic faith and wanted to see jane dead, partly because she was of the reformed faith, partly to send a message not to fuck with the Queen, but mostly because he was an utter bastard. Mary was smitten with this tit faced Pillock and desired nothing more than to marry him, so if doing away with jane was the answer then this is what she would do. Some think Mary wanted her to convert so her soul would be saved in the afterlife. Whatever the reason, Jane was so brave and headstrong that she refused to repent and was executed at the tower.

I love the tragic story of Jane Grey and Guilford Dudley. No matter what you think of Guilford, both children, (because essentially that’s what they were: Guilford was 19 and poor Jane only 17), were horrifically manipulated by their greedy parents, with dire consequences.


Out of all the images that depict Tudor life and events, this is my absolute favorite. It is the execution of Jane grey painted by Paul Delaroche.

May 2nd, 1536: The queen is arrested

480 years ago today, in 1536, Anne Boylen and her brother George were arrested and taken to the Tower of London by barge, to await a trial for incest, high treason and adultery.  

On May 1st he had held the May Day joust when half way through he stropped off with some of his pals to head for Westminster, without a word to anyone, leaving his queen, Anne,  stood there like a right dick in front of their audience.

 En route Henry asked his one of his knights of the garter, (and Henry’s actual arse wiper), Henry Norris, if he had been nobbing Anne. Norris maintained his innocence but was taken to the tower anyway, along with a court musician called Mark Smeaton. Anne and George were sent the next day, and eventually 2 other blokes who had also supposedly shagged the queen joined them. 

Anne had apparently been having a fine old time with these blokes, (even her brother), and the whole thing was a nightmare. All concerned were found guilty and executed. The whole thing had been engineered by the incredibly perceptive Thomas Cromwell, who was trying to sack off Anne because the king had grown fed up of her and wanted to commence his molestation of a young courtier named Jane Seymour. The queen had been accused of witchcraft during the trial because Henry’s lack of sexual competence had been brought into the spotlight. After all, it would be inconceivable to thing that the fat old prick couldn’t get a stiffy. 

Now don’t get me wrong, Anne was no innocent in all of this; she was scheming, manipulative and selfish. But did she shag half the Tudor court and practice witchcraft? Did she fuck. Henry was a spoilt brat and hd grown sick of his new toy. After a seven year chase, a religious reformation, a divorce and a cast aside queen, he now needed to ditch the strummer Anne because he had cock twitches  for a younger, more submissive and far less feisty model. 

Anne was executed at the tower by a French swordsman for a whole catalogue of offences. He only real crime was being greedy and over ambitious. She had bitten off more than she could chew and paid the ultimate price. However, I like to think that Anne had the last laugh, it is her daughter who against all odds and pitfalls, became England’s greatest monarch, Queen Elizabeth I. 

a romanticised image of the execution of Anne Boylen, apparently in some sort of padestrian footpath at court

17th April 1534: Thomas More is sent to the Tower

thomas more

On 17th April 1534, The kings right hand man, Thomas More, was sent to the Tower of London to await a trial for charges of treason. More was one of henry VIII’s best chancellor and lawyers, and at one time the two were super pally, but More had over stepped the mark by refusing to give into the King and go against his own better judgement. More, being a strict catholic man, had refused to acknowledge Henry as the head of the church, and as far as henry was concerned this meant that More was proving to be a right pain in the royal hoop.

The trouble all came about when Henry decided that he wanted to divorce his wife of nearly 24 years, in order to bend his member up his fancy piece, Anne Boylen. The Pope was all like ‘ Hell no boy, that ain’t happening, Us Catholics don’t do divorce, or maybe you missed the scroll’. Henry was not in the slightest bit happy bout this so decided to sack off the Pope and make himself the head of the church in England. As you can imagine, this caused a bit of tension and people were pissed off at the idea that their king, who was previously kept in line only by the Pope, was now taking the liberty to make himself even more important and powerful by moving the moral goal posts and putting himself in charge of that aspect of English law too. So, like a spoilt little shit, Henry sought the council of his closest pals to go about binning off the Pope.

More wasn’t having any of Henry’s bullshit. He was Catholic like everyone else at that time, and like everyone else he too recognised that the Pope was the boss…not Henry. What gave Henry the right to make himself the head of a new church? How could Henry be so arrogant to assume that he is the best person for that job anyway? How did he have the nerve to piss off Rome in such a spectacular way that the whole country would suffer and Catholicism would be shaken to its very core? All because the King could’t keep his dick in his pants. Fuck. That. Noise. More wasn’t buying into that shit at all. So, like the predictable, overindulged twat that Henry was, he had More arrested for treason.

Henry was worried that More’s resistance to the idea of him running his own religion illuminated the fact that the Parliament were sceptical of it too, and if parliament had doubts that they dare to voice, then the public wouldn’t be on board either, putting a spanner in the works for Henry’s knobbing. More had to go. Henry found him guilty or treason and sentenced him to death.


Thomas More’s decapitation at Tower Hill and a rather pleased executioner. Obviously not a fan of the Catholics.

On 6th July, 1535 More was beheaded at Tower Hill. To be fair he got off lightly: the standard form of execution of traitors was to be hung, drawn and quartered, but since Henry and Thomas were once friends, Henry thought he would be kind and lessen the punishment. What a kind ‘friend’ he was. Henry didn’t really want to kill More, he pushed and pushed for more to retract his statement and recognise Henry as the new gaffer, but More wasn’t budging. He was a moral man and knew that there was NO WAY Henry was entitled to  govern the church and break from Rome. More told Henry where to go, he told Henry’s men that he believed  that ‘no temporal man should be the head of spirituality’, (which is a confusing sentence from a man who heavily supported the Pope…another temporal man at one time).

So there we are, another one of Henry’s friends murdered so that the King could get his way. You have to admire Thomas More for committing to his beliefs and having the bravery to tell such a spoilt king to shove his Oath of Supremacy up his arse. The sad thing is that after More’s death Henry soon grew bored of Anne Boylen too, (who suffered the same fate as More).

Thomas more’s head was spiked and placed on London Bridge. It was there for a month or so, rotting away, until it was decided that it would be thrown into the Thames to make space for the heads of other traitors to the crown. Mores daughter, Margaret Roper, decided that she did not want to see her fathers rancid, decaying face sink to the bottom of the murky water so bribed one of the guards to pass it to her and brought it home to save as a relic. It is now presumed to be locked in the Roper family vault at St Dunstan’s church,  Canterbury.


More’s daughter rescuing her Dad’s head from the spikes at London Bridge. There are better things to inherit.




3rd April, 1546: Henry vs the Whores

On 3rd April , 1546, the massive killjoy that was Henry VIII, (with massive being used in both a literal and metaphorical context here), decided that the brothels of Southwark had to go.

Southwark lies south of the city of London and the only way to access London from the south, (or indeed to leave), was by crossing London bridge into the borough. Because Southwark was at arms reach from the city, and a passing point for tourism, it became an almighty shit hole where all walks of life, rich or poor, young or old, went to get their kicks. It was a hovel of entertainment, rife with prostitution, bear and bull baiting and illegal acting houses (yes that was a real thing). Syphilis was fucking everywhere and the stew houses (which is just about the best name ever used to describe brothels), were full of blistered whores with boils in their bits and blokes who were willing to pay a pretty penny to get in on that action. Henry needed to stop the spread of Syphilis, clean up Southwarks image and create the illusion that Tudor London was a place of morals and not whoring and hypocrisy.


‘A good old traditional Southwark brothel, where we have tea with our tits out and everyone looks over the moon to be here…oh and we also collect crockery’

Now there are a few interesting points to be made here: the first being that this was not the first attempt to clean up Soutwark. Henry VIII’s dad, Henry VII, had tried to shut down the stew houses fifty or so years prior to this attempt. He had demanded the women who worked in such establishments were to leave, and if they were foreign that they should take their scabby fannys back to where they came from. The women simply left Southwark for the outskirts of London, spread a bit of love their and moved back into Southwark when Henry VII had forgotten about them. Some people referred to the spread of syphilis out of Southwark as ‘the wind of Winchester’, this was because the brothels in Southwark fell under the protection of the bishop of Winchester, who taxed them and made a mint, subsequently the women who worked there became known as ‘the Winchester geese’.


The remains of Winchester palace, owned by the king of the pimps, The Bishop of Winchester.

The second point to make is that both Henry VII and Henry VIII were both giant whoring cunts, who used women as a commodity and shat all over them once they had finished. Henry VII was a frequent visitor to the ‘geese’, and Henry VIII was the most immoral man in the real, but syphilis wasn’t going away fast so things had to be done.

The closure of the stew houses in 1546 was accompanied by a ban on bear and bull baiting too, which pissed off a lot of people who liked nothing more than a good old family day out seeing animals rip other animals apart. these events gave the poor an opportunity to mingle with the rich (and possibly pick a few pockets and hustle a few punters). It wasn’t even Henry VIII’s first attempt at cleaning the streets. In 1533 he introduced ‘The Buggery Act’, which saw anybody committing any sexually deviant act (not just buggery), would be punished under the charges of treason and sentenced to death (without religious rights or burial). What I love about this is that one of the buggery Acts victims was Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, who was accused of shagging her brother and being somewhat of a flusie. Another victim on record is a noble woman who apparently fucked an ape and had a mutant baby, so was sentenced to death, (which is particularly horrific as this just reflects the Tudor view on deformities and the baby was probably killed too, though there is no record of this). The buggery act wasn’t really aimed at homosexuality, (though this was punishable under the law) , but at anybody partaking in a bit of bum fun or caught shagging their livestock. the act was only revoked by parliament in 1861.


I’m pretty sure the bear in this depiction is only smiling because he appears to have a puppy rubbing his belly. I’m not sure this is a true likeness of bear baiting at all.

Anyway, back to the stew houses… Under the new reforms it was easier for Henry to clamp down on prostitution, the church (now Henry), owned all of the brothels anyway. Of course it continued unlicensed, women had to eat, but now just got a little more dangerous, both for the women and their clients. Upon the death of Henry, the still illegal trade flourished as mentioned, but Edward VI reintroduced bull baiting and bear baiting onto the South Bank,  (it is well documented that his sister, Elizabeth I, was a sucker for seeing a bear ripped to shit by a bunch of dogs also). However, the prostitution never really went away and parliament had to appeal to the king for purges on the illegal brothels. Nothing really worked and the women continued to work,  (as you will know if you have ever been to London and been offered ‘lady pleasure’ down a back alley, or even ‘up’ a back alley  since the buggery act was dropped).