Q and A

  • Did women traitors have their heads displayed on a spike London Bridge too?

Yes: Elizabeth Barton: ‘The maid of Kent’s’ head was put on display. She was hanged and decapitated in 1533 for prophesying Henry VIII’s death if he married Anne Boleyn.

  • Did the Tudors really play football?

The Tudors played a much rougher game than we play today. It was often played on holy days and the goals could be three miles apart. The number of players was unlimited and it sounds like tremendous fun. Some of these large games are still played in villages on bank holidays up and down the country just don’t tell FIFA!

  • Were women tortured in the Tower?

Officially only one was tortured: Anne Askew.

  • Was Anne Boleyn guilty of adultery?

Even if Anne had slept with a thousand men she was not technically guilty of adultery because three days before her execution Anne’s marriage to Henry was annulled. Thus Anne was not guilty of adultery because she had never in fact been officially married to Henry VIII.

  • Were the Tudors Welsh?

Yes, but mainly they were mainly a French family. The Tudors were certainly extremely proud of their Welsh roots and have a Welsh dragon on their Royal coat of arms. Tudor retainers and Beef eaters wore green and white which were the Welsh national colours.  Henry VII was a quarter Welsh through his paternal grandfather Owen Tudor, who signed his name, ‘Owen ap Maredudd’, but his wife, Catherine of Valois was French. Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII’s mother, came from a long bloodline of French families.

  • Who was the first English King to call himself and his son the Prince of Wales?

When Henry VII issued his first Royal proclamation he began it with the words, “I Henry, by the grace of God, King of England and of France, Prince of Wales and Lord of Ireland.” His first born son Arthur was the second prince of Wales. He died and the Duke of York took his place in the succession.

  • Who was the first Princess of Wales?

Mary I was made princess of Wales in 1525 which is fitting because she was England’s first queen to rule in her own right and not as a king’s consort or on behalf of a son. Her husband was the first king consort much as the Duke of Edinburgh is today. Empress Matilda was never Queen of England despite her best efforts. Many historians argue that Mary’s burnings were working and England would have returned to Catholicism has the Queen lived.

  • Were Tudors much smaller than we are today?

If you have ever bashed your head on a low cottage door or beam it may make you wonder if our ancestors were smaller than we are. Archaeologists have found that the average Tudor male was 5 foot 5 which is the average height of an English woman today.

  • Was Scotland an independent nation in Tudor times?

Yes and so was England. We became British when the Scots King James VII became King of England too making him James I of England after Elizabeth I died.

  • Did Henry VIII have syphilis?

All of Henry’s medical notes are archived and he was never treated with mercury which was the standard treatment for syphilis.

  • Was Mary I of England Queen of Spain after her marriage to the Spanish King Philip? Yes!
  • Was Anne Boleyn really the first Queen consort to be crowned in her own right?

Anne was the only consort male or female ever to be crowned with St. Edward’s crown which is reserved for monarchs only. Henry never crowned another queen.

  • If the punishment for a woman committing treason was hanging or burning then why were two of Henry’s wives beheaded instead?

The execution of a queen is shocking. Especially Anne Boleyn who had been crowned with St. Edward’s crown and who Henry had risked so much to marry. No English queen before Anne had ever been executed. It is likely that Henry did not want a spectacle. Beheading had been reserved for Noblemen but after Anne noble women were beheaded too. Henry would not want his wives to be burned as the first thing to burn away is the victim’s clothes leaving them naked.

  • Why was Mark Smeaton beheaded if he was a commoner?

No one knows but it certainly makes us think! Did Henry just want the whole Anne Boleyn thing finished quickly or was a promise made to Smeaton in exchange for something? Beheading was certainly more preferable to being hung, drawn and quartered.

  • Why was there a dog on the Mary Rose?

Hatch is the oldest sea dog ever found. She was a ‘ratter’ and spent her whole life on the ship. Tudors were a superstitious bunch and it was considered unlucky to have a cat on a ship.