Phew! Now topping 500. How many more?
Q.400. Hi Henry. What were the toilets like in a Palace for the courtiers?
The higher ranking the courtier achieved the better their accommodation so the top ranking one’s hade their own guardrobes for their toilet. The rest of the court who needed to relieve themselves during a banquet would have to go to the common toilet called the Jakes which was just outside the entrance. This is the origin of the Americanised name for a toilet the “John". The Jakes was for all courtiers and senior servants who lodge outside the Palace, it was a building of two levels each level having about fourteen toilet seats which were just holes in planks of wood over a big hole which went into the moat or river. Yuk!
I must continue this answer into the realms of ridiculous happenings. People who could not be bothered to walk the distance to relieve themselves would use a wall or the nearest convenient space which annoyed me greatly as I cannot stand such crudity and behaviour. I actually had signs mounted for the court and servant to adhere to: “Beware of emptying of piss-pots” and “No pissing in the chimneys”. Now that conjures up horrible visions. There were many toilet devices about in my day, the funniest of all was the wooden chair with a drawer at the bottom full of soil. The cushion would be removed and the rope “springs” moved to make a round hole in the centre, the box would make a high volume noise as the wood reverberated, thus giving this device the name “Thunder Box”, others called them Lambing chairs.
Q.401. Hi Henry. What was an Acatry?
The word catering comes from the term Acatry so it is the “below-stairs” servants, who bought, stored and cooked the food for the Palace.
Q.402. Hi Henry. How does the food of today compare with your food?
You must sit back and think, put all factors into the equation before any possible understanding of our food can be compared. Here are the 10 factors:
1. We had no long term storage of food except for salting, pickling or smoking.
2. We had no mass transportation systems.
3. We had no long reach purchasing to foreign countries.
4. We had no mass production of foodstuffs and any form of refining.
5. We had no health and safety watchdogs.
6. We had no airtight reseal-able packaging.
7. We had fears of dirty food.
8. We had status of certain types of food. I would not eat a vegetable grown under the soil, so goodbye carrots!
9. We had Epothacaries who advised about the healthy effect of certain foodstuffs.
10. We at the Palace fed hundreds of people every day.
BUT the biggest factor of all was the seasonal food growing problem. Strawberries cannot be eaten fresh all the year round in Tudor days, unlike today 2008 thanks to international haulage movement.
Your food is super pure and clean, packed in airtight containers to keep germs at bay, this has increased your lifespan but I believe it beginning to reduce your body resistance to illness.
In my day, the poor eat better balance food than the rich; they had much less meat and more fibrous vegetables. Bread was fresh every day because of storage problems, meat was killed fresh on the day of cooking, fish was farmed for Fridays in Manor ponds. The poor ate quite well and we were the best fed country in Europe as we were self sufficient. Salt lay at the heart of our well being, food flavouring, storage and bodily well being it was the main element of life. We had our own salt in the Cheshire plains, we even exported it. Cooking was mainly by roasting and large simmering pots though we did have a crude form of Steamer powered by hot stones which cooked the suet, sweets and replenished the dry bread. Seasoning and spices were very expensive and we treasured them to the extent of housing them in their own room under lock and key.
I would say that 2008 has much better food than we ever had, you are spoilt for choice, you get fresh every day and all can afford to eat well if chosen. I must say that with all the knowledge and advice about good food, I fail to understand why a large number of people still go down the Rich Tudor route of eating fatty, sweet, cholesterol foods when so much better food are readily available, but then who am I to criticise.?
Just saw your web site
Can you help me please?
I am trying to find data concerning how young children were treated during the reign of Henry VIII-- were they apprenticed and at what age?
How were poor widows treated and aided financially?
I know there were hated beggars and vagabonds but poor ill men- how did they treat them? Who was responsible??
UNDER ELIZABETH I:
Local parishes vs. the church took care of ill, poor and children UNDER HENRY VIII: who was responsible?
Any resources I can go to also please??
Loved your web site but these questions could not be answered on your site.
There has been a question answered on the website about the poor, Q36. But, that was a long time ago and I now have much more in the way of explaining the attitude of people in the 1500/1600’s.
First of all you must consider the way people viewed their very existence. They only lived for about 40 years and the death rate of babies was at the chronic level of 50% before the age of 8yrs. To see one’s own grand children and maybe even great grand children, the “adults” would get married at about 11/12 yrs of age which seems, and is very young if not criminal these days. The normal length of time of any engagement for marriage was about 3 years, so parents would organise a marriage for their child and the engagement, would take place at the earliest age of 8yrs. Now notice the significance of the age 8yrs. The children would not be considered to have come of age until they had passed the death rate barrier and achieved 8 years, then they get promised in marriage and start their working life, a rich child would begin their studies. Girls slept on wooden planks tied between two stanchions and they would be tied to it to stop falling off, sleep tight! The Boys would sleep on a pad of hay on the floor, come back to my pad!
Treatment of the poor was the responsibility of the manors, they would be expected to feed the very poor who could not help themselves, they must off work for food to the poor who only needed some help to get going and they would punish malingerers.
I have found a Tudor Steamer cabinet; it has “poverty rails” in the top of the cabinet. The rails have balls and cutters to press a line in the top of stale bread to show it is re-softened second hand bread for the poor; “The bread Line” is not a queue! Poor people would try to grow their own food, work for food and take hand-outs.
Official reports back to their masters, foreign ambassadors have written that “England feeds its poor better than all the rest of Europe”.
Young children left alone after their parents die could be taken into house to work for their food, duties such as looking after the fire, Black guards which became blaggards, they could also do the cleaning and washing eventually working up to the fields as a proper worker.
No apprenticeships for skills in Tudor days, the sons of skilled men would carry it on or the6 would take in a helper to learn the skill. An apprenticeship was a structured system for replacing skills and keeping the skill alive. Towards the Industrial revolution the apprenticeship system came into being for all young boys to apply for, though the age of 8yrs was still the starting age.
Resources for more facts are mainly by the author Alison Weir who makes a point to write about the common person.
The poor were actually better off after the Reformation of the Church, no more Pay to pray and the 10% levy from the Monasteries dissapeared too. Some could argue that it was a ploy to bring the people into the crime and keep any resistance to a minimum, Always expect a kick back eh!
Just a little quip about paying your bills. King Henry’s suppliers of animal stock would be picked from over 20 miles away so that the farmer had to walk for over a day to get his payment, he would then wait all day for the money, then have to walk all the way home. Many suppliers could not be bothered, so they just displayed the Royal order on their sign to show they feed the King. One way of not paying your bills!
Q.404. Hi Henry my name is Georgina
Why did Tudor ships have cannons?
At one time, fighting ships would sail alongside each other and fighting men would swing across to try and capture the ship. To capture a ship was a real prize as it was a very expensive piece of weaponry. Then ships had cannons mounted upon their deck aiming upwards, the cannon ball would fly to the enemy and hopefully break the rigging and bring a mast down. Then we started firing with cast iron cannon barrels which were very accurate and so we aimed the cannon balls directly at the ships hulls to try and sink the vessel. This was because we had built up a good size navy and capturing whole ships was not as important. Cannons were also use to bombard the ports and forts of the enemy on land. We did overdo the number of cannons as the poor old Mary Rose found out when she turned over in the Solent, the problem too was that we also had men in armour ready to board French ships and they weighed too much for the ship to be stable. The wood around the hull was smooth (carvel) and not stepped (clinker) like our older designs and this reduced the resistance to tip over.
Q.405. Hi Henry. What did the Spanish think of England as a power?
I’ve been trying to answer this question for ages and it took a trip to Spain, 20 miles North of Madrid to the Castle of Manzanares to find evidence of one of the factors influencing the Spanish attitude towards England.
They considered England to be just an annex to their Empire, but a really strategically placed one with great access to the sea and the new America’s. The change to my Catholic version of their Church was Tolerated until my Son’s reign, when he and the Seymour’s threw it out completely in favour of the Protestant new church. With the death of Edward without children, it became apparent that the English did not want the Holy Roman influence again and tried to usurp the throne with poor Lady Jane Grey. After only nine days, she had lost power to the rightful heir Mary, daughter of a Spanish Princess and an English King. She wanted to marry well and reinforce the Roman Catholic Faith and it took blackmail and threats to force her to execute her own cousin Jane, evidence kept surfacing too about the antics of Elizabeth, she being a staunch Protestant. Mary’s marriage to Prince Phillip of Spain was a sham, he had mistresses and she was too old and ill to bear children. Spain always considered that Phillip was King of England and so their aim to retake their lands culminated in the Armada and their old enemy Elizabeth beating them.
You see from the picture that the Spanish had poor maps of our coastline, so when the weather pushed the Armada up the channel and around the Scottish and Irish Northern coasts, they foundered on the rocks and sandbanks. So rather than laugh at such a ridiculously poor atlas of our land, marvel at how this helped to save us.
Q.406.Hi Henry. I read with interest about how your designs of Fort down the south coast could be classified as “Stealth Castles”, by the way the walls were shaped to deflect incoming cannon balls. Did any other castle design exist before your “Stealth” shapes were introduced, which also deflected the Cannon balls away?
I must not claim lone ownership of the idea that a design can deflect a speeding cannon ball away from the wall. The Spanish were doing it for over 100 years before me, except they had not quite got the idea of actual redirecting the cannon balls flight, more the case that they skimmed it off at a random angle which was away from harm.
Here is a Castle in 1400’s Spain showing their ideas for diverting the Cannon Balls using Hemispherical shapes instead of flat. I thought this design to be rather crude, so I went back to the flat surface but angled it to give a more accurate redirection.
This next picture is from the same Castle but mid 1500's changes. See how prisms have replaced Spheres!
Q.407. Hi Henry: How did they cross huge spaces to make floors in Castles?
Thanks to the arch and the keystones which were clad above with intermittent beams of wood. See this Picture to explain it and it also explains why the holes are the only thing left today after the wood rotted.
Q.408. Hi Henry. Who told your daughter Elizabeth about how and when Anne Boleyn, her mother, had died?
Not a subject I care to talk about, but I must clear the air and explain the situation for you.
Elizabeth was 3 years old, staying with her guardian the Lady Bryan, Anne was executed on the 19th May, actually the anniversary soon. I sent a special messenger, Lady Mary Tudor, her sister to tell her. Mary always loved Elizabeth even though she hated Anne Boleyn for causing the rift between Katherine and me, or so she thought. I had actually stopped loving Katherine before I even met Anne Boleyn. Mary was kind and told her gently in her garden at Hatfield, Lady Bryan stood there to comfort Elizabeth but she broke down and cried. When my son Edward was born I asked Lady Bryan to be his guardian and gave Elizabeth a new lady to look after her, Kat Cambernowne who became Kat Astley when she married. This decision was to give Elizabeth a second mother figure to love and Kat was wonderful becoming Elizabeth’s best friend for life. Kat Astley was also Anne Boleyn’s second cousin so she knew about Elizabeth’s mother and could tell her about Anne s Elizabeth grew up. I even allowed Elizabeth to stay for a short while with Princess Anna Kleve in Hever Castle where she lived and also where Anne Boleyn was brought up. All this was to give Elizabeth some memories of her mother back to her, though she must not mention her name in court as it brings back bad memories and pricks many consciences.
Anne Boleyn had made a beautiful tangerine dress for Elizabeth’s coming of age and she turned up in it for party at Greenwich which upset me and Mary, Elizabeth was sent to her room to take it off.
Q.409. Hi Henry. Where did you die?
Enfield. Short question and so short answer.
Q.410. Hi Henry: Why did you order the coffin which held your dead son Henry Fitzroy, to be lead lined?
I suspected he was poisoned by the way his skin had turned black, he would have bloated and smelt of the poison, so I had him sealed airtight in his coffin. I instructed Howard to have him buried secretly for a while, then after a few weeks I instructed them to raise the coffin to be buried properly. I always suspected foul play, and the Howard’s were on the top of my list of those with much to gain from Fitzroy disappearing. There was also rumours that Fitzroy was plotting to overthrow me but I never believed he would do such a thing.
Q.411. Hi Henry. Thomas More was made a Saint in the Roman Catholic faith, just how Saintly was he?
He stood up for his beliefs and defied me, so the Roman Catholic faith rewarded his memory. Mind you, so did Lady Jane Grey who died because she would not renounce her Protestant Faith but then the Protestants don’t put memories up as sainthoods.
Thomas More wrote a famous book “Utopia”, the most anti-female book ever written, he tortured men and women to find out their secrets, jailed hundreds of poor people for not paying taxes, physically hit his own family as punishments. So being a saintly person, I think not. Being a high profile denouncer of the reformation, now that’s it in a nutshell. Propaganda. Remember you asked Henry for his opinion and got it.
Q.412. Hi Henry: A difficult question for you. What age could one expect to live for in Tudor times, and are there any figures to show the death rates for each age?
Correct, it is a difficult question to answer and I don’t think even living in Tudor times one could work it out because of poor communications, word of mouth and who cares anyhow. But being a man of great wisdom, I have produced a graph in a spreadsheet using figures written by many Historians of the number of deaths at certain ages including the survival rate of the birth itself. Nobody can say it is right or wrong, but the overall picture does tell a true story of fear of dying before one achieves their aim in life.
It also answers another question, Was King Henry VIII old or middle aged when he died at the seemingly early age of 55? Actually quite old really.
The graph is below, just click the file and download it.
Click here to download this file
I deny any knowledge of population statistics, historical records of England’s population death rates, so don’t bother me with trifles such as “where did you get the numbers from”, just read it as picture of survival in Tudor times.
Q.413. Hi, I just wanted to know; who did you send to the pope to ask for a divorce between you and Catherine?
I could easily answer this in two names, but the melodrama of the occasion needs outlining so you can understand the whole scenario.
During May and June of 1527 the Pope, Clement VII, was imprisoned by the Emperor of The Holy Roman Empire, Charles who just happened to be Catherine’s nephew. Whoever was sent on the mission for the marriage to be officially annulled was going to fail, as Catherine had sent previously another messenger to make sure her nephew would not allow his Aunt to be slighted in such a move. Wolsey thought up the plan of getting the imprisoned Pope to delegate powers to the English cardinal, himself, who could then annul the marriage and let the king marry again. Sounds good!
Trouble was the whole plot needed to be very secret or Emperor Charles would find out and scupper it, Wolsey told the only person who could be in the loop, the King himself who brazenly went to Catherine to tell her about their marriage being null and void. So Henry actually gave the secret away.
Catherine sent her trusted aid Felipez who had to lie to the King about a sick relative in Spain to get travel permission, Henry suspected he was a spy on a mission for his wife, and tried to waylay him in France but Felipez got away and eventually reached Charles. Charles wrote back secretly to his Aunt Catherine promising full support of the Holy Roman Empire and of course the Pope, who was still his prisoner. Eventually Henry succeeded with some sort of allowance from the Pope when he sent his own emissaries from Embassies, but the wording was technically wrong on purpose and Catherine making sure would still be Queen. Now desperate, Henry demanded that Wolsey send his secretary Stephen Gardiner and Edward Fox to extract an agreement from the Pope which turned out only to be an agreement for the hearing to be held in England instead of Rome.
The Pope sent a sick and ageing Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio who took his time to get to England which infuriated Henry but also consoled Emperor Charles who was watching the proceedings on behalf of Catherine. He arrived in London on 9th October a full six months of travel causing a long anxious wait for Henry. When Campeggio announced he had come to heal the love rift between Henry and Catherine, an order from Charles, Henry erupted, threatening that if it did not go his way he would cut all ties to Rome in favour of the new teachings of the Lutherans.
As secrets go this was hopeless, the people of England had worked it all out and when the Pope’s emissary suggested that Catherine might keep her titles and enter a Nunnery, giving Henry the opportunity of an accepted mistress, the people chanted against the poor man as he went through the streets. “We want the Queen, no Nan Bullen for us!” You could say this was the beginning of the hatred Anne Boleyn endured from the People who loved Catherine. Wolsey never recovered his position of trust with the King.
Q.414. Hi Henry. I'm totally intrigued by the making of window glass by spinning it on the end of a rod. Do you have a greater explanation?
Sure do, I even have a picture and a poem about the famous Galyon Hone, "to hone" now means to fine tune a fit.
By Henry Tudor
Punty rod ready, wet the grooved wood steady
Heat the end bright, large wheel make tonight
Blow a great ball, cut the end open small
Spin and spin ‘til opening
Now heat and treat the glass in neat.
Spin out the shape, wheel will imitate
Thickness fatter in the middle, impossible to fiddle
Wrinkles and rings formed within
Let the wheel congeal, greater feel.
Cut the quarries at the edge, richest there to pledge
Middle class get the middle
Cut above higher shove
Colour and paint, etch in faint
Place together in leaded came, tight in frame
Create your art, that’s my part
Create your light, air and water tight
From Holland all alone, except for flowers near my home
We work so hard to please the King, jubilant we sing
Were are masters of our ware, nobody can compare
I now stand here alone, master of glass, Galyon Hone.
Imagine a great bubble of glass, spinning at the end of a rod called the punty. The glass maker then punctures the end, the spin then opens the hole and the ball slowly becomes a flat disc spinning. As the disc opens it causes wrinkles or waves to form, getting more pronounced towards the centre. So middle class had middle glass, upper class had upper glass who thought they were a cut above the others.
Cannot find a picture of Galyon Hone, so I made one up.
Q.415. Hi Henry. How many were executed in the Tudor era?
I hate having to cobble up an answer from a range of books with such a wide range of facts and figures given to either wow the reader or blind them with statistics. Not as many died as traitors as you might think, more died at the hands of Dukes, landowners punishing thiefs etc. Anyhow here we go.
Not an easy question to answer because executions could have been ordered by as low as a the Head of the Manor for the stealing of a loaf of bread and all in the Monarch’s name. No newspapers, recordings of nationwide deaths unknown, so it is about educated guesses! About 200,000 in all out of an average population of 5 million.
Here is a rough estimate of the death by tragic circumstance on each reign:
King Henry VII, the first Tudor King, not recorded but estimate of 50,000
King Henry VIII reigned for 38 years and 72,000 died.
King Edward VI along with the Seymour’s and the Dudley’s as protectors, 7,000 died.
Queen Jane Grey, only nine days on her unwilling throne, but still about 500 died trying to stop her reaching the throne.
Queen Mary I, Bloody Mary, trying to reverse the reformation, killed 2500. I cannot find greater numbers in Mary's reign, so maybe not as Bloody as we all thought.
Queen Elizabeth I, our favourite but still about 50,000 died. Remeber she reigned for half a century and thieves still got themslves hung.
Elizabeth I is not commonly considered a tyrant like her Father, but she was in a delicate position. The Pope in Rome had declared her essentially a “pretender” to the throne and she was considered illegitimate. To be loyal to the Pope was to be opposed to her rule. After it became a capital offence to be a Roman Catholic priest in England, the stage was set to root out the papal supporters of England. Almost 50 Catholic priests were executed during Elizabeth’s reign and over 20 people were executed for either helping priests, having or printing Roman Latin Catholic books or practicing the Roman Catholicism Mass. There were those executed in relation to the “Irish troubles” and those for political treason in the Babington plot including its pretender waiting in the wings, Mary Queen of Scots, and those who supported Robert Devereaux the 2nd Earl of Essex in the seemingly naïve plot to overthrow the Queen.
Q.416. Thanks Henry for the estimate of deaths. What was Europe like pre Tudor for death from unnatural causes?
This is very difficult to answer, because how do we know? Who can prove otherwise? Who counted?
Here is a graph which averages all the claims.
Must add, because of my own astonishment, the biggest death toll in actual genocide committed in the history of our world, was 50 million. It was the wiping out of the resistance to the Peoples Revolution in China, then what about the 21 million Jews in WW2 and 18 million Native American Indians and ........and ......... These figures makes a mockery about being Human.
I understand that cleanliness was not high on the agenda in Tudor times. Who were the best environmentalists?
I was very clean; I washed three times per day and burnt my clothing every three days after only wearing each piece for about 12 hours. The people however were rather dirty. The best environmentalists were the farmers and the priests. Farmers would recycle waste as a form of natural fertiliser; the priests in the monasteries had to find a method of removing their waste away from their stone built buildings. I have compiled a picture showing a 1,000 year old plumbing system for taking away rain water, notice the following things:
A. There is a catchment pool carved on every step to stop the running water splashing over where you walk!
B. The channel is turned so the running water comes out of the wall at 90 degrees and so misses the wall.
C. The end of the water system has a long reach stone nozzle to make sure the water misses their own wall. They obviously didn’t bother about the village below.
Q.418. Hi Henry
Thomas Culpeper the boy friend of Katherine Howard, what was he really like?
Yes he was a young handsome man in his early twenties when he formally met Katherine gain, her cousin. In fact Katherine’s mother was a Culpeper. Now you must consider his actual personality before you consider him to be ill treated in the treason that befell his fate and left his head on the spike of London bridge for four years whilst his body was laid to rest in the cemetery of St. Sepulchre’s church in Newgate.
He was a cad, a nasty schemer who would use people to get ahead. He saw the working classes as animals, raping a gamekeeper’s wife and murdering the hero who tried to stop the rape. He had an illegal affair with the Queen behind my back and then when caught he tried to blame Katherine, he kept a private letter from Katherine for future blackmail but it was used as evidence against him. So he was not Katherine’s boyfriend, he was her tormentor with his power over vulnerable women.
Q.419. Hi Henry
Did you ever regret having Thomas Cromwell executed?
Ah! You are considering the comment I made in the hear-shot of my court when I was angry at their feeble attempts to do an efficient job in the gathering of evidence against the traitor Katherine Howard. They heard me shout “…on light pretexts, by false accusations, the made me put to death the most faithful servant I ever had!”
Don’t read too much into this, I was only trying to scare the court into working harder. Thomas Cromwell was a schemer and he made too many errors of great magnitude, he deserved his end.
Q.420. Hi Henry
Talking about Thomas Culpeper, I have read somewhere that there was in fact two Thomas Culpepers, is that true?
There were two brothers, both called Thomas Culpeper. It was a practice in ambitious families to name two sons after their father, or a courtly name, just in case one died thus leaving the surviving son to carry it on. Half the children died before adulthood so you see is was hedging their bets. “Hedging was to put a protective barrier around a vulnerable prize”, so creating another Thomas mad it a better gamble to make sure one used the name to further the family. The notorious Thomas Culpeper was the younger of the two brothers.
Q.421. Hi Henry
What are “clodhoppers”? My Mother says that they are clumsy people who wear less than fashionable shoes.
I’ve heard that one too, but it is a derivation of the actual intended meaning.
A “clodhopper” was someone who would rather read, and learn than hunt and do skilful sports. Nowadays we call them Nerds who are seen as weaklings and clumsy with the opposite sex by six packers.
Q.422. Hi Henry
Who invented the Rack?
John Holland, Duke of Exeter who was the constable in the Tower of London in the reign of Henry VI. It was nicknamed “The Duke of Exeter’s Daughter” sometimes called the Brake. Other countries had similar torture instruments to the rack; Spain had the escalera, Germany had the folter and France had the chevalet.
Being racked with pain became a saying for chronic back and joint ailments.
Q.423. Hi Henry
What kind of table manners were children expected to learn?
The children of the nobles were taught not to take too much wine, limit their choices of food dishes from the normal buffet to one or two selections and not to pick their noses, belch, cough, scratch or fart whilst at the table.
Q.424. Hi Henry
Most of the monasteries I have seen are quite tall, which is the tallest and how did they get the supplies up to the entrance?
I don't know which is the tallest, although there are a few on the top of mountains and I've just been to see quite a tall one this week, Mount St. Michel on the Brittany/Normandy border. Luckily your question was on my RV browser so I went back and took these pictures for you. I would have just walked past without a second glance, so thanks for focussing my attentions.
Q.425. Hi Henry . How did Britain become such good farmers?
Hey! We were really only hunter gatherers before the Romans turned up, OK we had bread and wheat and we kept our families alive by breeding the pigs and sheep, but to feed a whole army, well that’s different. The Roman’s arrived in the first century to a country opposed to their presence, though divided into tribes and haphazard communities. We held out a strong resistance and Britannia was the one country which needed the most Roman control structure, hence more mouths to feed. They were experts at crop growing and land drainage; they would build huge farms manned by Roman, Romanesque mercenaries and Briton collaborators. We in the Northern apart of Britain had to endure an invading army of mainly Spanish tribesmen from Astures in Spain. So the type of farming varied according to the type of Roman in charge. The Governor of Britannia was put to the task of feeding the troops and getting local agreement to work alongside the invaders, he was very successful. He reduced the flooded plains by planting forests, mainly by the use of Wychelms and also by diverting rivers. He created farmland for selected types of crops within a catchment area connected by the new Roman road system he was building. So this man should be acclaimed to be the godfather of the British farming science. Oh, have I mentioned his name yet? Sorry.
The governor at the time was called Julius Agricola. Guess what they called his farming methods? Agriculture.
A silly fact to be added to this. His boss, the Emperor of Rome at the time was a well known bully, always overriding other people’s ideas or even stealing them as his own. His name! Emperor Domitian! Quite a dominating character!
Q.426. Hi Henry. Where did ancients get the stone from to build their castles?
I hope you mean those who are older than me when you call them ancients!
Only idiots would build a castle at the bottom of a hill, open to attack and cannot see too far either. Luckily a hill that will carry the weight of a castle is itself made of rock with possibly a covering of soil and trees. So the “ancients” built their early castles out of the rock it sat on, quarrying around the part of the hill they will not use as access to the castle thus making the sides of the hill much steeper and safer. So castles are made from local stone. Now when I came along, I took the stone4s from the bottom third of the monasteries which have the largest stones. I needed to build lots of castles along the south coast to protect us from invasion and the largest stones were considered to be cannon ball proof. The smaller stones built the insides of the castles and some went to loyal subjects. Now the stone circles were a different thing. They were a religious symbol for the whole community and the sighting was very important, so stones were man-handled many miles to the site from quarries of the hardest of stones.
Here is a small castle sat on a rocky hill and I walked around it to find the medieval quarry from where the castle walls were built. If you look closely at the castle walls you will see a shale fill between large stone outer walls, also look at the quarry, it is also large rock covered with the same shale. Great history isn’t it!
Q.427. Hi Henry. Where does the term “take him down a peg or two” come from and what does it really mean?
It means to lower the reputation of a man in the eyes of a leader and came from the passing of a drinking vessel around the inner circle of a manor lordship. He inside of the tankard had round pegs in a vertical column from the top to the bottom. As many pegs as drinkers around the lords table. As it was passed around drinkers would drink the ale down from one peg to another as an equal sharing. Now by drinking less on purpose, the next one would drink more than one peg depth thus being seen as greedy and not a team player. Sneaky eh!
Q.428. Hi Henry. Sire, did you ever acknowledge Henry Carey as your illegitimate son with Mary Boleyn, publicly?
Yes. Not by a proclamation but by the way I organise his care after his adopted father William Carey died at the youngish age of 32. I publicly asked my wife, Anne Boleyn, Mary’s sister and so Henry’s aunt to be his Ward with the widowed Mary being taken in by Lord Rochford, Annes brother. Henry Carey was a successful courtier even up to and including his half sister Elizabeth.
Q.429. Hi Henry. I read a lot about “the sweating sickness” and that it killed more than the plague. Just what was it?
Simply the flu.
But! You live in a western world of large communities who travel widely. You have built up body resistances to germs such as the flu germ, it makes you ill once a year and you feel bad for up to ten days. In Tudor days communities were much more smaller and the population one tenth of today, so people seldom travelled too far from home. Local community flu was resisted and made people ill, though some died because of the lack of medicine and the need to work to eat. Now along comes a traveller, caught the flu from a community a long way away and he spreads this new variation which nobody has any resistance for. The majority of victims die because of the strength, trying to work through it, no medicine and lack of comfort. The Duke of Norfolk caught the flu and passed it on to three of my close privy councillors, they died. “death caused by the neglect of letting them sleep in the early stages of the sickness.”
Flu from foreign lands were the most virulent and killed off many a sailor, ran riot in ports and moved around the country with merchants who had been in the ports buying from the ships. Move on a hundred years and see how many died in New England with the early pioneers, more to the point how many native Americans did the pioneers infect!
Here's a poem about the sweating sickness.
By Henry Tudor
A merchant I from land afar, enter this England with cloth and jar
Many a tale I’ve heard of power and wealth, not so good the tales of health
The sweat from the city swell, the crowded streets, the discarded smell
The flooded paths with wooden ways, the beggars, the dogs, the strays
Never will I stay in such a place, I need to move to open space, and retrace
I cross the Thames on nineteen posts, avenue of filth indifferent hosts
Head up north to find retreat, carry my goods on back and feet
Soon the darkness brightens up, people greet me offer food and cup
They buy my wares of spice and thread, they offer comfort, drink and bed
All are working from child to man, seem to accept the best they can
They eat their food grown by their hand, not burying heads in ignorant sand
I move on again with new intent, stay away from the city, stay content
But now there’s worry up ahead, some lay sick in their death bed
The sweat of flu has caught them out, stranger coming they fearfully shout
No resistance to foreign germs, no conscience in their blinkered terms
Move me on and bar my way, not welcome here, go away, today
So it seems this England fair, full of fear, rely on prayer
Cannot stay in fearsome land, need to feel my sea and silver sand
Goodbye old England wet and cold, fearful of demons, legends old
I’ll stay in my warm and pleasant home, no more up north will I ever roam
Blame me for spreading bugs and fear, but more will follow when clouds are clear
I’ve made much in money for my wealth, and spread havoc to your nation’s health.
Q.429. Hi Henry. Just how beautiful was your younger sister Mary Tudor?
She was entrancing, long red to golden hair, tall with a perfect complexion. She was very intelligent and spoke many languages and played musical instruments a perfect bride for any King.
A two feet long lock of her hair is preserved in Moyse’s Hall museum, Bury St. Edmunds it is the same colour of my hair when I was younger.
Q.430. Hi Henry. How many medical staff did you have?
I had six Physicians who were of the church and only ever dealt with symptoms and diagnosis, under them were Barber surgeons who cut hair, pulled bad teeth, let blood and performed minor surgery. I had about five of these surgeons but only their sergeant I allowed to work on me, he was called Thomas Vicary. Now then there were my apothecaries whom I entrusted to watch over my body on a day to day basis, tasting my defecations to analyse my body salt, they would keep my chef’s informed so that my food was a correct balance, I had five apothecaries and it was a sought after position!
Q.431. Hi Henry. As popular books were dedicated to the Royals, were there ever any books dedicated to your fifth wife Katherine Howard?
Stop asking hard questions, ones which show me to be a cruel and spiteful person. Remember she had an affair with Thomas Culpepper and so deserved to lose her head. So the answer is yes. A popular book about midwifery and entitled “The Birth of Mankind”. But! I had the dedication removed for the second edition in 1545 because of her treachery.
Now all you book collectors out there, how much would the first edition of this book be worth today with the dedication intact? Millions! So if you find an old book about childbirth dated about 1543/44 then buy it quietly, show no emotion. When you get out of the shop shout it out aloud, “I’m rich!”. Trouble is finding one.
Q.432. Hi Henry. Was Anne of Cleves nose so big as to warrant the name “Flanders Mare?”
This name was not of my making, Bishop Burnet made it up in the 17th century. Anne did have a long nose however and Holbein painted her away from his usual angled view to make sure it was not as pronounced. Subsequent portraits of Anne by Barthel Bruyn show her from a side perspective and her nose was seen as very long. It was changed to be a shorter nose before ending up in St.John’s College Oxford which to she gave money. The portrait has been examined by Xray and shows the original long nose under the alterations. So Yes she had a very long nose and No I did not call her a Flanders Mare amongst the ill chosen names I did call her. Staying with Anne, I actually recall saying that she should never have come to our shores for marriage. This had nothing at all to do with her looks, the marriage was an alliance against the French and Francis I of France actually sent a message for a truce and a new alliance with England. So you see the arranged marriage was in fact out of date by the time it occurred.
Q.433. Hi Henry. I know this sound like a daft question, but did you once own Brooklands race-track?
You are correct on both accounts, Yes it is a daft question and yes the land on which Brooklands was built I did own. It was a deer park within the grounds of Oatlands in Weybridge, Surrey. I obtained the property by trading a Priory with the owner, a William Reed, I think the priory was called Tandridge. I spent a lot of money to rebuild the manor to my taste, it had ten acres and was one of my favourite greater houses.
Q.434. Hi Henry. I read that you all carvings of Anne Boleyn’s name removed just before your marriage to Jane Seymour. Are there any surviving?
Mmmm! There would have been three reasons for not changing the initials.
1. Too many so they would be hidden behind great tapestry’s as in the great Hall of Hampton Court, so they still exist in the very same room as Jane’s. Some would say the masons could not be bothered to change them all on such a short schedule, but would you cheat me?
2. Too hard to change as in the entwined carving in the ceiling of Anne Boleyn’s gateway also at Hampton Court.
3. Against the church. The Rood screen of a church is God’s gateway to sanctuary and must not be tampered with. So if Anne Boleyn had any emblem in the actual rood screen then it cannot be changed. Go to King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, there you will find her Falcon emblem still intact.
Q.435. Hi Henry. Has a Royal Tudor ever resided in Yorkshire?
Ah! A trick question, I like them . You cannot count my Mother who was the Yorkshire Princess, she was not a Tudor until she married my father. But, yes there was a Tudor in residence in Yorkshire during my reign and actually one of my children at that! It was 1525, the worst year for the plague and so I sent my son, Henry Fitzroy, heir to the throne at the time and Duke of Richmond, up to Yorkshire to avoid contact with the plague. He was sent to Sheriff Hutton Castle of which only the ruins remain today on a farm.
Q.436. Hi Henry.
I love reading history books at school, but they always name past people without explaining where they got their names from.
Names of past people were given by modern people. Past civilisations have been divided into technology era’s such as Stone age, Bronze age and Iron age. You could say we are in the Communication age today.
The word Meso means Middle, Neo means New and Lithic means Stone Age, so
Mesolithic man just means they lived in the middle of the Stone age and Neolithic man means they lived at the end of the Stone age so newer compared to us. Remember that numbers in dates BC are younger when the number is smaller which is opposite to dates AD which get bigger as they get closer to us.
I always smile when I listen to how Copper was found and first used as a metal. The copper would have been greenish in the rocks, possible curio’s to foraging hunters, but definitely less boring that plain rock. They could have been taken into their caves and places around fires to provide a barrier. Heat from the fire hot enough to melt copper from its oxide ore would have relived the rock of the metal. Imagine the first cave dwellers finding the metal, burning hands as they lift it up, wondering where it came from, see why I smile. They soon found the green rocks to be full of this new material and began making cooking pans and weapons, though soft in nature, not very good but better than a stick. Now go looking for another metal in the rocks and soon tin was found, mixing the copper with the tin and now Bronze is made, a new change in man’s development, this metal alloy was much harder than Copper and made great weapons. Finding iron was another major change, maybe you could say we are still reliant of iron and steel for our present day worlds. Iron oxide is brown, Iron pyrites look like gold and maybe they dug it up for decoration. Smelting the iron out of the ore is now much more complicated, great amounts of heat, production of fuel for the furnace a speciality so this spells how humans had moved on greatly. Lead was found early on in Egyptian and Chinese cultures and used to seal stone together, make pipes and early utensils, not realising of course the poisonous effects of Lead. Adding tin again to Lead this time, it was hardened again like Bronze and made it also easier to mould, this is still done today in the battery trade.
I have to stop now, but as you can see our History is easy if you put our simpler words into it and not be put off by professional wording. Here’s a near miss! The Roman’s had a substance they called Alum Flour, made from the red shale on their hillsides, it was used to soften leather and seal colours into cloth. We call it today, Aluminium Sulphate and if you reheat it for a prolonged period it makes Aluminium. Now if the Romans had re-melted their Alum flour they could have had cast alloyed wheels on their chariots!” Wow, that would have been a new historical era! Just joking.
Hi Henry. Can you explain why the arranged marriages of your two sisters, Margaret Tudor and Mary Tudor were in anyway beneficial to England and the countries concerned?
Complicated politics. It all started when King Ferdinand of Spain wanted England as an ally against the French and offered his daughter Katherine (Katalina) of Aragon to my father for by elder Brother Arthur’s bride and future Queen. However he also promised Scotland’s new King, James IV a wife too making sure France was virtually surrounded, but failed. It now came back to England for my Father to offer my elder sister Margaret Tudor as the new Queen alongside King James IV. But, with the death of my father Henry VII and of course Arthur, things changed on the ally front and I married Arthur’s widow against the Roman Catholic rules of marriage. I also held back the last part of the dowry for Margaret which enraged Scotland. Further into my marriage with Katherine we became less a loving couple after many miscarriages and we were heading for the rocks, at the same time Spain was showing a more aggressive view to England and so I decided to negotiate with our neighbours, France. Their King was old and sick, King Louis XII agreed to marry my younger sister Mary Tudor, though she was totally against it. I agreed with her, that when her husband died she could pick her own second husband, she agreed. When old Louis died his nephew Francis took over as King Francis I, I went over the France to forge a strong alliance, much to annoyance of Spain and Scotland. Margaret was so mad at me over the dowry, that she encouraged King James to try and invade England whilst I was in France, but under the control of my wife Katherine and the old Duke of Norfolk the English army beat the Scots at Flodden. This started many battles and began long grudges well into our history. My sister Mary stayed in France for a while and I decided to change my mind about our promise, and so I began to look for a political ally for Mary to marry. I sent over to France my best friend Charles Brandon to bring the reluctant Mary back. Under the influence of King Francis I, the couple were coaxed into a marriage to stop me forming allies around France’s borders, this annoyed me so much that I fined the couple 6 million pounds in today’s money. They became the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk and grandparents of Lady Jane Grey! Just goes to show how political marriages do not work. Remember also that my Brother in law, King James IV was killed by my troops and that Margaret and James were the grandparents of Mary Stuart who as Mary Queen of Scots believed she was the true catholic Queen of England much to my daughter Elizabeth’s annoyance.
James IV son James V married King Francis’ daughter, Madeleine to forge an alliance, then a second marriage to Mary of Guise, their daughter was Mary Stuart.
At one time it was thought that my son, Edward should marry Mary Stuart to bring Scotland back into being a friendly ally, but he died. My eldest daughter Mary set the country on fire politically by marrying into the Spanish Royal family thus trying to reverse the reformation, this would have eventually caused a war with Scotland if not a civil war in England itself. No wonder Elizabeth refused to marry!
Hi Henry. Which passage in the Bible did you use to justify your divorce with your first wife Katherine?
I was betrothed to the widowed Princess Katherine in June 1503, in December Pope Julius issued a bull providing a dispensation for the betrothal. This was necessary because it would have meant i was betrothed to my brother’s widow, a union prohibited by Leviticus 20:21, which stipulates that if a man marries his brother’s widow she will be cursed with childlessness. The loss of five babies in the subsequent marriage gave me the evidence to pronounce the marriage illegal and so it was annulled.
Whilst on this subject may I throw an academic spanner in the works. The next marriage to Anne Boleyn as you know ended with her sticky end from evidence conjured up using adultery and incest with her brother. Now can you see a similarity? Both wives failed to provide a son, lost babies and have a connection to brothers, this would have been political propaganda on the greatest level.
Hi Henry. What was the cause of the death of your father King Henry VII?
Malicious authors state rudely that my father died mysteriously and suddenly, pointing a literal finger in my direction. I’d have their heads for such flagrant lies. Here is the evidence of my father’s natural causes. First of all we were seldom together, that old fear of Tudor rebellion still looming. Two years before his death he was taken ill with gout and bad lungs, coughing a lot and short of breath. He was diagnosed to have contracted a downward flow of the humors causing a disease called defluxion. In his last year he had three fits and labours of the tissick (lungs). I was seventeen and the people were looking to me as their next King. Father though made a great mistake during his last year, he increased taxes to make sure my reign would have funds. This turned the population against father and they were actually pleased when he died, this gave credence to rumours of foul deeds and fuelled the storylines for traitors.
Q.440. Hi Henry
Meat seems to be the most prominent part of a Tudor diet, how did this compare with Europe?
When the Spanish came over to England in force and lodged with the English, we made them all sick by the amount of meat we had them eat. They were in fact used to a small amount of meat and made up their home meals with vegetables and pastry, their diet was much more healthier than ours. The smell of cooking meat drenched the streets of London and many a visitor was astounded at our use of the food. In 2008 the average meat eater has up to 30% of the meal as meat the rest being vegetables or pasta/noodles/rice etc. But in Tudor days, the ratio was 70% meat the rest being pastry, soup and maybe artichokes, fruit and nuts. As you know this is a high cholesterol diet and so we only lived a short lifespan. Probably you could say that the peasants had a much better diet than the rich as they had more root vegetables than us, in fact the richer you became the less root vegetables you ate. Visiting ambassadors were noted as saying that the English eat well above their station, the poor are not thin and have food without much in the way of begging.
I know I planted a rash statement into your head.... “When the Spanish came over to England in force....” This was true, when my daughter Mary became Queen of England and married her nephew the Prince from Spain. Did I say nephew? Boy am I antagonistic tonight! The Spanish came over in their thousands and were employed as servants, courtiers of the Spanish Prince and of course his personal guards. Clock makers, stone masons, cooks and carpenters came too to make gifts and commemorations of the new liaison between Spain and England. They were given accommodation in and around the palaces and the lower ranks were placed in boarding houses near the palaces.
What is a “Leaning place”
Great lines of servants carrying platters of food would wait in a wide corridor for their entrance to be announced, they would find the platters very heavy after a while so they leaned on the sides of the walls. The column of platters would enter the great hall to a fanfare of great effect, so Tudor!
What’s the difference between a Nook and a Crannie?
Ah! You must be that demon red head, Anne Robinson, a real Tudor that one trying to live for ever.
Basically used by dry stone wallers to describe a hidden space below or between which is a Nook, and a hidden space on top or above which is the Crannie. But as you know I cannot leave it there.
The word Crannie is 25000 years old and is Gaelic in origin, originally “crannag” and meant a pulpit or perch. Remember the dry stone wallers called a rood length of wall a perch too. The settlers in 400 BC would build an artificial island in a lake and use a narrow causeway for safety. They built their home high off the floor on wooden stilts thus giving them visual warning of attack, a house on the ground on a lake has little distance on the horizon to see. The islands were made from huge boulders heaped up from the lake bed, then logs on top in a criss-cross fashion for a platform, mortared together with turf and brushwood. Then wooden piles were driven downwards to hold it all together. Clever stuff eh! This is the origins of building a moat around a strong castle. Most of the wooden structure would have long rotted away by now, but the taletale stone and boulders and the mound itself will still be there. I have seen many a small artificial island in the end of a lake, so why don’t you keep your eye out for one too, send in the picture for the website. Here is a compilation of one such island nowadays called “Crannog”, why do we not put up a sign next to it so the public can find out how their ancestors lived? Beats me! Oh forgot about the Nook.
A nook is a hollow stone structure for shelter built at the beginning of a job by the waller. His family would live in it whilst he built the wall around his customer’s farm. His nook design, much like an oval igloo would have had a hole in the top for smoke to depart from, it was always the same shape and size and constituted the amount of stone required to build the final part of the job, the farm gate posts. Now when wandering in the hills amongst the old dry stone walled farms, look at the bottom of the farm gate posts for blackened burnt stones from their nook, real anoraks do this.
Why was salt so prized when it is so easy to buy today and cheap?
Way back in Roman days when they prized salt so much they paid wages with it, a “salary collected with a salute from a soldier who was worth his salt!” It was also a different climate then, sea levels were lower and Mediterranean tides quite shallow. So natural salt pans, where the sea would evaporate and leave the salt behind were easy to manage. But wait a minute, how much sea is needed? First of all 50,000 cubic metres of sea spread thinly over an area of 100,000 square miles of evaporation area makes 1,000 tons of salt per year. This is poor when you think that the top layer of brine is only about 0.25 inches thick. During the Roman Empire period the climate changed and the sea level rose wiping out their salt deposits, so off they went looking for ground salt to mine, following the sandstone trail as it led to the salt deposits. 250 million years ago salt was laid down in Britain when we were a shallow inland sea near the equator, the salt lay under the earth, Cheshire, until about 2,000 years ago when our ancestors found brine lakes from sunken glazier boulders and started to evaporate their own salt. And the story begins.
The prize of salt was that it was a much needed commodity, because it kept food fresh, made it taste better, kept the human body more healthy. By having salt on your table you were considered rich and to be place to sit near the salt was a great honour. Panning for salt with lead pans made the process slow as the fire could melt the pans which had to had a lot of brine ion them to cool the lead down. Times were reduced when Steel pans were used instead, they could work at a much higher temperature and thus make more salt. This led to a law preventing too much salt being made to keep its value high, it also led to the salt slightly changing colour with the rust from the steel pans, though better than the lead oxide from previous pans. In the country people would use protein in the form of blood, egg white and gone off ale to pour into a brine lake. This would cause the salt to foam up and the solids to be extracted easily by re-boiling the mixture down to the solids. However this form of salt was with poor flavour and colour. The foamed salt mixture was put in hazel woven bags called barrows until they had been washed, people carried the barrows back to their villages until they thought of putting a wheel on the front, a wheelbarrow!
How could paper be made out of wood in your day without huge great rolling mills?
Quite right, we did not have your technology. We would cut the wood down to small pieces and then soak it is water until it was a pulp. Pulp naturally floats on water so now we float a thin layer on still water in a tub with a sieve underneath. By slowly raising the sieve the levelled pulp on the top was taken off and placed in a warm oven to dry. Now we have a layer of soft dry wood pulp but which is quite easy to break, so we press it and leave it for a while, still on the sieve. After a while we now have a good layer of fairly strong paper which is, sandy coloured and quite thick. Skilled workers now hammer the paper to the thickness required, this makes the paper more dense and strong and more expensive. Paper/parchment was considered expensive and rolled up and tied with ribbon and sealed with wax. A whole hand written Bible with such hand made pages would have cost huge amounts of money today. Now you can buy 500 sheets of perfectly white, thin paper for a few pounds, but at one time one ream of your computer paper would have made you super rich. You can still buy “hammered” paper but it is now made on dimpled rollers for effect.
Q.445. Hi Henry.
Did you have tarmac?
No, tarmac is a name derived from the Scottish family of MacAdam who decided to pour tar over cobbled roads to smooth them out. We did however have tar which was found naturally from certain places in England, warmer climes had more tar pits but the strangest one of all to this day was the dead sea which pukes out tar from under the sea bed in sizes bigger than cars. Why? Maybe the weight of all that water on a natural tar pit. We used tar to seal containers and cloth it was too hard to get to use it for roads. If only we had a chemical industry then, tar contains so many substances such as the ingredients for plastic and even soap.
Q.446. Hi Henry.
Did Tudor men ever wear the colour pink?
Pink was a mixture of red and white, both expensive colours or it was washed down before fixing with alum flour again still an expensive colour. Pink would not be worn on body clothes as it would make the wearer look as if the red was washing out and reduce his standing in the noble community however to wear a cap on his head in pink meant he was a “lover” on the look out! There is a miniature portrait of Sir Thomas Seymour by Holbein who was wearing a lover’s pink cap. It was reputedly painted for his betrothed Catherine Parr in 1543. It is a modern thing that pink is only for girls.
Q.447. Hi Henry.
Sometimes I read your last wife’s name to be spelt Katherine, whilst mostly it is Catherine. What was the correct spelling?
Neither. Her name changed early on in her life from Katheryn to become her own choice of Kateryn Parr with her initial always KP. Here is a rare sample of her signature. Catherine became a convenient spelling for all to use. See the date 1534 which may not be the date for the signature but not far in the past.
Q.448. Hi Henry
I know you were nicknamed “The Great Harry”, but I read somewhere the nickname “Henry, the magnificent”, was that a truism or just made up by writers?
Both are wrong, I never did like my name to be used in such a close related manner, so only my greatest of friends would dare to use the name Harry, maybe Charles Brandon or even Will Somers in one of his quips. The Great Harry was the name for the masses of my largest battle ship The Grace Adieu. There was indeed a man nicknamed “Henry, the Magnificent” but he was a mere Earl of Northumberland and he was called Henry Algernon, but most important of all, this was before I was ever born in 1489. He got his nickname for the lavish things he collected and wore but he would never have had such a nickname nor copied me if he was in my reign. He wouldn’t dare.
Q.449. Hi Henry
Did you have regular tennis opponents and did they always let you win because you were the King?
I could take offence at the suggestion that my rank made me a great sportsman, but I shall refrain this time. Yes I had regular opponents who were not scared of my rank and whom played to win, usually money. Of course you all know about Charles Brandon but remember he was a lot older than I and could not play as hard as I wished. The brothers Richard and George Cotton were my regular opponents and Charles played alongside me as partner. They won regularly as we did and money changed hands. They went on to serve my son Edward in his court. Now it all comes back as clear as day, it was then the month of June 1531, they won by three sets at the courts in Greenwich, a princely sum of £7 2s changed hands which is about £2130 today. Great match, great match. They used the fact for many a year, “The Cotton’s who beat the King”. I regularly had wagers and lost what I call small change which as about £30,000 of your money per year, about 100 Tudor pounds.
Q.450. Hi Henry
Is there such a word or nickname as “janeolotry”? If so what does it mean?
A modern day made up word by clever authors to describe the jealousy and doctrine of putting the deceased Queen Jane Seymour on a pedestal whilst present Queens were still alive. I had Holbein paint the Tudor succession. My father King Henry VII, my mother Queen Elizabeth, my dear departed wife Jane Seymour and Edward my son, and me of course. Jane cold never have posed for the picture as Edwards was only 12 days old when she died, but the grouping was politically formed as the Tudor succession. Of course my wives, especially Catherine Parr did not like to be left out, but then she did not give me a son did she! Modern writers call this pedestal fixation Janeolotry and so good luck to them.
Q.451. Hi Henry
I am a player of chess. Have the Royals ever altered the rules of chess to suit their own status?
This sounds like a devious chess player who already knows the answer but wants to see my next move.
In 1490’s Spain, Queen Isabella, my mother in law, had so much power she actually out ranked her husband Ferdinand. She had taken the land back from the Moors before her marriage and was acknowledged as being the driving force that gave Spain back to its people. The game of chess was altered in her reign as an emblem of her power, the Queen on the board was given unparalleled powers which also speeded up the game. This new chess game reached England by 1530. The cousin of Catherine Parr’s parents, Cuthbert Tunstall, wrote a book in 1522 about mathematics, arithmetic and the logical thought of chess. Catherine only about 10 at that time was taught its contents and she listened to her cousin about his love of collecting rare coinage. Catherine also became a keen coin collector and expert chess player and my private partner. So yes is the answer, Queen Isabella influenced the chess Queen to have much greater powers in the renewed game. Your move.
Q.452. Hi Henry
Was your first wife, Catherine of Aragon a dutiful, loving wife?
Of course we were very much in love during the first ten years of our marriage, it was the fear of lost babies that caused major differences in our relationship later on. There is a lovely letter from Catherine, which is now in the Royal archives, which depicts a worried wife enquiring about the well being of her darling husband. It was 1513 and I was in France alongside the Emperor of Rome to fight the French. My wife Catherine was left in England as Regent General. She wrote to me showing her concern about my health and whether I had enough clean underwear! The good old days.
Q.453. Hi Henry
Was it true that there was a missing legitimate Royal baby?
After my time my friend.
My widow Queen Catherine Parr married her previous suitor Thomas Seymour, an ambitious scoundrel whom I quite liked, and the brother of my dearly departed Jane. They conceived a child but as happens a lot in Tudor days, poor Catherine died in the giving of life to their daughter, Mary Seymour. Then the scoundrel Thomas Seymour tried to woo my own daughters for a prominent position. His own brother and Edwards protector likened it to a traitorous act but let his off with a caution. Thomas however then tried to kidnap my son and heir, King Edward VI, still an infant, this finally took Thomas to the block on Tower Hill, though it lost Edward Seymour his reputation as he killed his own brother with the law. The baby Mary Seymour then was in fact born of the dowager Queen of England and was fostered out to the Suffolks where I believe their daughter Lady Jane Grey watched over her. Alas the baby disappeared from public view and her pension was stopped when she was merely two years old, another victim of the Tudor curse. I believe she is buried with the Suffolks in the parish Church at Edenham. Her grave has never been found, and should remain that way to give her peace from a cruel world.
Q.454. Hi Henry
What were the smells like in your palaces?
Damp stone in Winter, the kitchens below my bedchamber cooking the days food, unwashed servants, smoke from the fires and the rush lighting, the scalding of chickens to remove their plumage, dogs lazing about, the stables aroma, the River, ale and sickness. All these are the smells of a Tudor palace.
This is without the latrines and the gong towers. Yuk!
I am a retired Police officer with the met’ and heard a few times that you used the old Scotland Yard as your meeting place when you were courting Anne Boleyn whilst still married to Katherine of Aragon. Is that true or a force rumour?
Scotland Yard got its name for being the place Kings of Scotland resided when visiting England, it was attached to York Place the residence of the Roman Catholic leadership. For instance before the reformation of the church, my sister Queen Margaret stayed there during 1516 even though she had been driven out of Scotland by her cousin the little John Stewart, Duke of Albany. I gave her the status still of Queen of Scotland. Now move on to 1529, much had happened as my wife and I were having marital problems, my love now being Anne Boleyn, of whom I courted for six years. I had taken York Place from Cardinal Wolsey’s possession as he had been stripped of his position as Lord Chancellor and fled up to York. I liked York place as it was on the Thames for easy access, smallish and had no place for my wife to stay in, she refusing to stay in York Place due to the lack of large enough chambers. Anne Boleyn along with her mother and family would stay there waiting my presence, again accessing by River for secrecy. So yes Scotland Yard as part of York Place was a clandestine meeting place for myself and Anne Boleyn, though I suspect your grapevine had exaggerated the details for more colour.
Q.456. Hi Henry
Why did Mary Tudor, your sister, hate Anne Boleyn so much?
There was much bad feeling between these two warring women. I started in France, when Mary the dowager Queen had the freedom of the French court. The Boleyn sisters, Anne and Mary were in the court as daughters of my ambassador to Paris. Mary a party person was the belle of the King’s court where Mary Tudor also frolicked, Anne was stationed with the French Queen Claude and they became great friends with reading, sewing and music. Mary Tudor did not like Anne because she believed she knew and would use stories about her behaviour against her one day, which was probably true. Upon my courtship of Anne Boleyn their antagonism was so strong and negative that Mary Tudor now married to Charles Brandon would not go in court if Anne was there. Later on as my wife, Anne banned the Suffolk’s from court, actually only Charles, because of his betrayal of his own son by having an affair with his daughter-in-law. I persuaded her to forgive Charles and so let him into court again, but Mary never came if Anne was there, too many skeletons in her cupboard. It of course became Anne’s undoing, as my sister Mary Brandon saw her own son becoming less prevalent to sit on the throne if I did not produce a son and heir. Mary Brandon the Duchess of Suffolk was the instigator of much bad feeling against Anne Boleyn without which I believe she would have survived as a divorced Queen and not an executed traitor. The Brandon’s were always over ambitious and unscrupulous with a keen eye on the throne, their granddaughter Jane Grey was a fine example of Suffolk scheming.
Q.457. Hi Henry
Which of your wives was your favourite?
I must have answered this before, it is the most asked question in my travels around England so I will have to produce the most accurate all encompassing answer to cover all possibilities. Anyhow, who says it was one of my wives?
I liked all my wives at one time or another.
For the first 6 years of my marriage to Katherine Of Aragon we were very close and affectionate. I wanted to marry her, although arranged by my Father and her Father when Arthur died, I could have said no as I was already King by the time we married. The loss of our children was the main reason we fell out of love.
Anne Boleyn was my target of affection, she really did not want to be my wife. She was very alluring to men, not exactly model-type beautiful, but attention grabbing to the male species. Eventually after 6 years of coaxing she agree to marry me. But the hunt was won and she became mine, not as exciting now. She also took a more political role as my Queen, setting herself up as the second power in the country, senior councillors would have to go through her before me, this created many enemies against her. Eventually she wanted money from the monastery share but \i wanted it to build castles along the south coast for protection against Papal invasion. We fell out of love and she became a thorn in my side.
Jane Seymour was a simple woman, not very clever and could not hold a debate with me at my political level. She was the puppet of her family who saw her as a way to raise the rank of the Seymour’s, of course it worked. Jane gave me what I had been searching for, a son and heir to keep the Tudors name on the throne. Of course I loved her, but don’t think for one moment that if a son was not forthcoming she would have been divorced from me, if she had survived past the 12 days from the birth of our son, she would have been safe. Mother of the next King is the safest position, yet I would probably have found a girlfriend.
Anna von Kleve was Germanic in style and not very attractive, but she was good humoured and after our divorce we became good friends, she was even made my “sister” in the divorce deal and she received lots of money and property to keep her in England. Well we didn’t want her to return to Germany spreading gossip did we?
Katherine Howard was the key element in a plot by Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk and his cronies, to get a Howard onto the throne. A Catholic and a Plantagenent Queen was the goal and it nearly succeeded except he picked the wrong Howard to dangle in front of me. Katherine was only young but from the Dukes impoverished brother. She had been sent to her Aunt to be schooled and brought up for the Royal court. Before we ever met she had a boyfriend. This was never mentioned in the plot. I married this young girl because she was pretty and full of energy, she made me feel young at heart again after the past debacle of unlucky marriages. However, during our Honeymoon Progress up the East of England to show her to the Yorkists, Katherine fell into the arms of Thomas Culpeper and they had an affair. Katherine had taken many of her past acquaintances as lady’s in Waiting, many by blackmail because they knew her sordid past, she however missed one out and this lady told Thomas Cranmer, my chancellor, all about her past. Thomas Cranmer wrote a letter detailing the girls alleged misconduct before we had married, he left it on my pew in church. It broke my heart. In the end Katherine, Thomas Culpeper and the woman whom organised the meetings, Lady Rochford were all executed as traitors. After this I never trusted close councillors and women.
The last of my wives was Catherine Parr, she was really my nurse and companion and yet she made great efforts to bring my children together again, she had her own court and was very faithful, she was clever and we could discuss politics together. Problems of power hungry councillors became nearly her undoing, she escaped arrest by the skin of her teeth and got my blessing just before the councillor turned up with her arrest warrant, she beat them with better cunning.
So, the wife who was my favourite is not an easy question to answer. Politically it would be Jane Seymour as she gave us all a boy for the throne. Exciting would be Anne Boleyn, equal in status would be Katherine of Aragon, a great companion would be Anna von Kleve, uplifting would be Katherine Howard and intellectual would be Catherine Parr.
The one partner missing here could have come from my mistresses, they were never Queens and they would never be acknowledged unless something drastic happened.
Mary Boleyn, too many past boyfriends, so not her. Bessie Blount, now there’s a woman of substance and she gave me a son whom I acknowledged, Henry Fitzroy. If Edward had not been born, Fitzroy was destined to be the next King, this would have elevated his mother into near Queen status. However her died early in his life and I have always suspected foul play in the ranks of the Howards.
My final word then. Officially my favourite wife was Jane Seymour, that is why she is buried with me and the baby boy Anne Boleyn and I lost. Now that seems strange!
Q.458. Hi Henry
I have a few questions about village life in your time.
In a Tudor village, which skill made the richest villager?
A very good question. Obviously the Smithy was a skill much needed for metalwork and he sold his goods to the manors and even the local gentry. But he was not always the richest of the skilled villagers. The Miller, now he had a great building, his mill with very expensive stones and gearing mechanism, he would also be situated on the river or the top of the hill, waterwheel or wind! His produce was much needed for the basic food of the village, his flour would be the staple diet. But there was resentment amongst the villagers, his wealth and his powers of “starve or eat” were often used against the village and backed up my the local manor and the church as he also supplied them too. People would secretly grind their own flour on small stones called Quern Stones and these were deemed illegal as the miller would complain to the gentry. The villagers would often hate the miller.
Q.459. Hi Henry
How did they make ale to be acceptable to a village?
Hey! Is this a homework?
Well many made ale, the locals would try to produce their own drink to save money or even to sell it, they would be called “brewsters” and the good ones kept the name as their own identification. The standardisation of ale and beer was caused by so many different qualities and makers that drinkers were unsure of what they were drinking. The seasons of the harvest would make alcohol differ greatly, freshly cut crops would make a mild, low strength drink whilst a stored, fermented crop in which the sugars have enriched would make a strong drink. Therefore the standard for a community was a paid ale tester who would go around for the local manor and taste the ale and beer and pass it or reject it. He would also determine its strength just by his own opinion. When Brewster had a new batch for testing they would stick a brush upside down in the ground outside their door, this informed the tester to come and do his job. Having ale or beer without being certified by the tester was called “over the brush” which was also living with a woman when not married to her.
Q.460. Hi Henry
I understand the old marriage law of “…what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine too” for the men, but when did women actually get the right to own property and keep it after getting married?
1882 when parliament passed the law called “The married woman’s property act”.
Q.461. Hi Henry
How quick did the great plague of the 14th century spread?
No wonder it scared everybody in its path as it travelled at about 1Km per day! It killed nearly half the population and 60% of priests who lived in a walled community so it spread easier. This was the turning point in England, with a shortage of labour in the fields the workers who were also serfs’, they revolted against their shackles and demanded wages not chains. So the end of serfdom in 1381 was thanks to the plague, it also created bad priests who were recruited in an emergency period from the nobles second and third sons who would not inherit from their father. This brought in greedy men who used the church for their own gain and resentment set in against the faith. These two events were the seeds to the Protestant church.
Q.462. Hi Henry Tudor Drama Company What was the most common first name in a village?
Probably Jack, this became “Jack of all trades” as a peasant would need to have lots of average skills to keep his family alive, from farming to house making.
Q.463. Hi Henry Tudor Drama Company What was the most valuable farm animal?
The cow. Because it increases in value as it grows older. It provides calves, milk and eventually meat, it can also pull the plough. The picture of a horse in the fields is not a true one, it was considered an animal which reduced in value and for the rich. Driving the horses and making them turn corners was with the straps called the Goads, therefore they were goaded around the corner, becoming the word Guide.
Q.464. Hi Henry
How did the villagers deal with villains?
Wrong name! All villagers were called villains which meant Village people. We use the name wrongly today. When someone broke a law, the manor would judge them, usually the village stocks or pillory for them to be targeted with over ripe food and slops. Blaggard is also a name wrongly used today, it actually means Black guard, a boy who watched over the manor fire to stop it burning the house down.
Q.465. Hi Henry
I read that the town crier would broadcast the news to the people, where did the word broadcast come from?
When sowing seeds by hand the worker would carry a bag on their belly with two pockets, taking the seeds and throwing them one side then the other, this was a wide sowing area called the broadcast. Nowadays it means to send out a message to a wide audience.
Q.466. Hi Henry
Love the website.
Why are dances and songs so different the further you travel from London?
Chinese whispers! No videos, TV’s nor written descriptions, so players would watch and listen in the Courts and then travel on foot to the provinces to show the people the new steps and songs. They only travelled about 15 miles per day and would stop for a couple of days at each venue so it could take 12 weeks to get to the outer counties. Changing the words and steps to suit the dialect and size of venue building would create the local versions. It’s really that simple.
Q.467. Hi Henry.
Why was Tin an important metal, it seems very soft to me and useless for building things with.
Yes it is a very soft metal but it mixes well with many other metals and changes their properties. With copper it makes Bronze which is twice as strong. With lead it allows it to flow much better when moulding and it makes it harder. As a small additive to iron it helped it to flow in a mould and cut better which the structure being tougher. So Tin (Sn) was an important additive and covering for iron to stop it rusting. Romans used it mixed with lead to pout in between large stone blocks to seal and make watertight, without it the lead would set too early. Car batteries have plates made of lead and tin in 2008! Tin is very easy to mine, just smash up the rocks containing t6he metal, then wash the dust in water and pan the heavy metal out by swirling the mixture.
Q.468. Hi Henry
Did England flood easily in your time?
Yes. The lowlands were always flooding, we had removed many trees to build ships and houses and the old Romano forests used to drink up the water-table. This caused top soil to be eroded and rivers to silt up which in turn flooded back. We didn’t know about land management then, so why do you still flood in 2008? Have you not learnt from history? To stop your flooding you need more forests and don’t build houses in flood plains. Simple!
Q.469. Hi Henry
Where should I look to find a signature of a carpenter in a big wooden house?
Simple really, where they would finish their work. Usually at the back of the room and at the bottom of the wall on the last piece of carving. Look for letters embossed outwards not cut into the surface, this was to prove their skills.
Q.470. Hi Henry,
I am doing a project on Henry VIII and it would be interesting in doing Henry going to the toilet .
I would just like to ask:
How did Henry VIII go to the toilet?
How many toilets are there in Hampton Court Palace?
What were most of the toilets made of?
Where would the waste go afterwards?
How big were the toilets?
Everybody goes to the toilet, the poor use the ground and bury their waste which is by far the most hygienic as the microbes destroy harmful bacteria quickly and the waste becomes Nitrogen rich soil. As people get richer they tend to improve their own comfort rather than think of the environment, middle class use a seat which looks like a commode but has soil or sand in it rather than water, they call it a lambing chair or a thunderbox. The soldiers have a row of toilets on the castle walls, they have no privacy and would sit on the holes in a row, their waste fell done the walls of the castle towards the moat or township. Inside some towers of castles were toilets, these towers were called Gong towers and would let the waste fall directly into the moat.
I have private chambers for my toilet, called the guardrobe and I was looked after by three servants called Courtiers of the stool. The stool was in fact a low wooden stool covered in velvet and it had a hole in the middle with a chamber pot underneath. The three men would wipe the royal bottom, wash the royal body and check the waste for excess salt to inform the chef to reduce the use of the salt if necessary. You work it our how they checked for salt!
My daughter Elizabeth had a flushing toilet installed, though it only washed the waste away from the palace and into the moat or river Thames.
The use of the word Loo came from the lee side of a ship where the wind would not blow the waste back into your face when you emptied a chamber pot over the side.
From my email intray.
What have been the actual durations of all our monarch on the throne of England.
I always like to throw questions back, especially if they seem easy but are actually quite difficult.
Here’s a very difficult question to you all out there:
“Who was the very first ruler of all the British Isles?”
Not a King or a Queen, the first man in charge was the governor in charge of the invading Romans. He was well known as a leader who could feed his troops and use the land for supplying food. His very name gave us a farming word!
Julius Agricola, hence Agriculture.
There have been 42 monarchs from King William I, the Conqueror to our present Queen Elizabeth II of the House of Windsor.
Here are the 42 and their duration of reign.
1. King William I 21 years
2. King Willian II 13 years
3. King Henry I 35 years
4. King Stephen I 19 years
5. Empress Matilda 13 years
6. King Henry II 35 years
7. King Richard I 10 years
8. King John I 17 years
9. King Henry III 56 years The longest reign
10. King Edward I 20
11. King Edward II/III 50
12. King Richard II 22
13. King Henry IV 14
14. King Henry V 9
15. King Henry 6 40
16. King Edward IV 21
17. King Edward V 2 months
18. King Richard III 2
19. King Henry VII 24 years
20. King Henry VIII 38 years Me!
21. King Edward VI 6 years
22. Queen Jane Grey 9 days
23. Queen Mary I 5 years
24. Queen Elizabeth I 45 years
25. King James I 22 years
26. King Charles I 24 years
27. Republic 11 years
28. King Charles II 25 years
29. King James II 3
30. William and Mary 14 + 6
31. Queen Anne 12
32. King George I 13 years
33. King George II 33 years
34. King George III 50 years
35. King George IV 10 years
36. King William IV 7 years
37. Queen Victoria 70 years
38. King Edward VII 9 years
39. King George V 26 years
40. King Edward VIII 5 months
41. King George VI 16 years
42. Queen Elizabeth II 1952 to present
Q.472 Hi Henry
What was your most famous publication?
Just remember who controlled the press, and who could read. I published a treatise about the Papal control of the Church and the blasphemy of the teachings of Martin Luther. Basically to keep in with the Roman Catholic Church as they were the ones still in power throughout Europe whilst Lutherans were seen as upstarts, two faced you may call me, but politics does have more than one view.
The most famous of my publications was in 1521 when I published my treatise. "Assertio Septem Sacramentorum" in Latin.
It translates into "The Defence of the Seven Sacraments" and was in defence of the centralisation of the Roman Catholic faith in Rome, against the heretic words of Martin Luther.
To clarify my position regarding the Catholic faith, I was always a Catholic, never a Protestant. The reformation was to remove the Roman control from the Catholic Church in England to create the new English Catholic Church.
Go to this webpage for all the works published with their dates
Q.473. Just what were your inner most personal views about the people of England?
Who would speak out against the very people who keep me on the throne? It is a very difficult position for me to be the first inherited Tudor King of England after many years of cruel Plantagenet rule and a country split by the Wars of the Roses. We Tudors were seen by many as upstarts and also as a possible replacement of the harsh rule by past monarchy. I craved the cheer of the crowds and would notice changes in tone from spontaneous cheer to forced cheer. My first wife was well thought of by the people and I had to fight off rebellious crowd jeers when I annulled our marriage, they also hated Anne Boleyn and this lowered my standing with the people. So you see the peoples acceptance of my rule was the most important thing in my life, trying to keep the Tudors in power, building foundations of respect for future generations.
We are at the top of a triangle, the huge base are the people who keep us up there.
Q.474. Were you a Fashion Icon?
By Henry Tudor
Spend your wealth, rob your kin
Dress for court, powder skin.
Gold and silk, braid and fur
Any less would seem a slur.
Counter claims of Tudor hate
Enter dressed with Royal gate.
The King will guide the court ahead
Different styles from morn’ to bed.
No Royal Red and blue the purple hue
Stay within your accepted few.
Spend to stay in Royal way
But beware to load you all must pay.
Your costs are great, a debt create
So get your workers to donate.
Tax them more to add the score
Then Royal eyes don’t see the bore.
This way you’ll stay ‘till next day
And may become in higher pay.
Then all will turn no Royal spurn
Inner court you may return.
Hopefully before your money’s gone
You get up close to number one,
The Royal throne of Fashion Icon.
Q.475. Hi Henry
It has taken me a long time to read all these questions just to see if the one I send has not been done before!
I understand from you that The Mary Rose ship has a sister ship called “Peter Pomegranate”. If is was a sister ship why did it have a male name?
No need to wade through the pages, just send in questions, my memory is vast, I can tell straight away if it had been asked before.
The two ship’s hulls were laid when I as married fairly happily to Katherine of Aragon. The Mary Rose I named after my sister Mary Tudor and our emblem of Tudor, the rose. The other ship was built three quarters the size of the Mary Rose as it was for a woman, my wife. She named it after her brother Peter, and her family emblem the Pomegranate. Simple really.
I wrote a poem some time ago about the ship.
By Henry Tudor
Please don’t laugh at such a name
It’s his sister ship who had the fame.
Mary Rose so tall and proud
Emblem and Princess shouting loud.
But Spanish wife wanted her own same craft
So it was built with three-quarter draft.
Both just alike, until berthed beside
Both the ships identical, even inside.
Her brother and clan gave it a name
We Royal’s launched two boats the same.
Away you go my Mary Rose
Followed by Peter, on tip-toes.
Peter Pomegranate he stayed unknown
For this Queen’s crown was soon gone.
I’d found another wife’s hair lock
So Peter was towed to his dry dock.
Gone forever out of my sight
I decide what is wrong or right.
Banished just like his mistress past
Taken apart, hull to mast.
Used again to build for war
Peter Pomegranate evens the score.
Q.476. Hi Henry. I live near Preston and went to see one of your shows at Samlesbury Hall. You explained Histrory to me better than anyone has ever done, and now I must find the Belisama in Walton le Dale just to feel the Romanic Presence. Can you give me directions to the old fort?
The fort is not there now, but the place is and there is a great feeling of the old structure.
The path of the Roman explorers was planned before the main body of invaders ever reached the Northwest of what is now called England. They had followed a rough map and the geological outcrops of sandstone to build their road from Londinium to the North where the great sand resource lay waiting to be exploited. The expectation of finding salt too in Cheshire was also documented by the previous scouting party. Now reaching the flat lands of the forests of Red Ash trees they built a large settlement for industrial manufacturing of glass and metals. They cut down the forest and built a fort called Coccium, now Wigan, in a place now called Ashton in Makerfield. Not long then from this fort they found a glorious site for another industrial place of fortune, under the hill on Priest town, Preston, on the junction of two fast flowing rivers, the Darwen and the Ribble. The builders only needed two walls as the rivers were their protection on the other two sides, it now is called Wall town in the dale, Walton le dale. This fort would become a major industrial concern, being fed by gold and silver from the Welsh mountains and copper, lead and tin from Wales, Cumbrian hills and the Pennines right on their doorstep.
It was bound to get a special name and the use of a Goddess was just what was needed to bring the locals into the fold. They brought the goddess of fire and water, Belisama and even had a marriage ceremony to marry the goddess to the local god. Of course this gave rise to the next invaders using part of the name when they tagged the valley as Samlesbury, Sam-in-the-Borough.
If you want to go and walk into the fort, not there sorry it has been long gone, but definitely feels like it is still there. Just follow this guide.
Park in the car park in front of the bowling alley in Walton le Dale near Preston, Don’t bother riding into the park and ride behind it as this is a charged car park whilst the other one is free. Now walk around the right hand side of the alley and find a small lane at the rear, turn left and walk towards a small bridge which spans the River Darwen. At the bridge turn right and do not cross it. A small path and turnstile will take you onto the mound around the car park, you will see at first hand what the Romans saw, two great rivers joining at the corner. The fort is now the park and ride car park. Welcome to Belisama.
Q.477. Hi Henry, admirer from Gloucester
Love the olde word meanings of some of our sayings, do you have any connected to hawking?
Not really, except for the way Owl’s talk to each other! Everyone knows that an Owl’s call is Toowit Toowoo. BUT! This is wrong, because the male is calling for a female with Toowit and the female reply’s Toowoo. Or in our language the male is calling “hey wanna go out tonight missy?” and she replies “Sure do handsome!”
Now for the sayings. If you want to ask a girl out you Woo her!
If she does not want to go out with you she “doesn’t give a hoot”
And this make you look like a “Twit”.
I will of course research other birds now that you have sparked another line of enquiry for me. Larking about, A cuckoo in the nest. Arhgg! this will be never ending!
Q.478. Bird sayings should be fun and I look forward to your review though another question came to my head, which came first though when larking about?
Chicken or the egg?
Good thinking my friend. To lark about is to play around; to frolic.
Watch larks near their nesting holes in the sand walls of river banks, they seem to be playing in the air, yet they are protecting their eggs from predators. I saw a flock of larks attack a hawk one day, the hawk was much bigger but the speed of the larks and the place on its body they attacked made it fly away injured. The name originated as Middle English 'laik', to play, and the Old English 'lac', a contest. The scurrying of the Lac beetle is another connotation.
Q.479. Hey Henry! Do you have any more sayings and their origins?
Of course I do, but I have to be in the mood. As I am in the mood here are a few:
Hunting boar can be very dangerous, we would send in beaters to scared them out of the bushes so we could chase them on horseback in our hunt. Trouble is many beaters were injured because the ferocious animals would fight back. So a person who avoids direct action and beats about the bush.
We only had calendars from the monasteries, as they were made by hand and the new printing presses were still in their infancy, especially coloured and large sizes. The monks would mark all special days in Ochre ink which would show up from a distance due to its red colour. These became known as Red Letter days.
Illiterate people would sign their name with a cross, if they put another cross over the top of the original it would void the first one, this became known as a double cross, meaning changing one’s allegiance.
The flat back of an old ship would be prone to damage from ferocious seas and storms. Only curved rear ends could divert the force of a large wave. The rear of the ship was called the Poop, Poopdeck. When the old ship was tired and damaged in the rear it was called to be pooped, just like the feeling when you get home after a hard day at work, you are pooped-out.
Holy Communion had been derived from Latin Hocus, which means “here is the body”. Travelling players would juggle and shout out “Here is the object, pay close attention to it” . To pay close attention is to focus and they derived pocus. So Hocus pocus means a magical fast movement and it will beat your eyes.
Prisoners could be tied around a barrel for a whipping. Got you over a barrel means you cannot escape.
Anything on the left was considered in a bad way, evil or sinister. Single beds were always pushed up to their left sides against the walls so the sleeper would always get up on the right side. Getting up on the wrong side meant you started your day in a bad way.
Travelling players would turnh up in special carts tocarry their stages and props, these carts were called pageants, the name of a show which used scenery outdoors became the pageant.
Jean Nicot obtained some seeds from some sailors from the America’s. He planted them in France and they grew into tobacco. The oily sap became known as Nicotine.
Dogs were welcomed into large houses and palaces, they kept the vermin down. Hence to smell a rat.
Tying a horse with grass within its reach was the way of feeding them and not letting them run free. When they had eaten all the grass they had exhausted their larder. To be at the end of your rope.
The Rack used for torture, gave us Racked with pain, to rack ones brain.
The ribbon used to denote a Knight of the Garter was coloured blue as the colour was a royal choice. The Blue ribbon now denote the best.
A window opening in a castle which was larger on the inside than the outside was called a loophole. Nowadays a way of having an advantage over the norm is called a loophole.
A long expensive rope would break in its long hard life, so to mend them the sailor would tie tow ropes together thus making ends meet.
A casual informal business deal or purchase with simple credit was recorded on the sellers shirt end of his sleeve, the cuff. So an impromptu and informal casual interaction is now “off the cuff”.
Salted pork was stored in ships and eaten over long voyages. The fatty food gave off lots of fat as a waste product. This was used to protect the ships timbers and also sold off when they got back to port. The fat was called Slush, and the money raised from selling it was called the slush fund, usually the money used to go drinking in port.
I see you wear slippers and that you say the word gave us slip. How did the word come about first of all? People wore more comfortable shoes indoors as outdoor shoes scratched the floors and were dangerous to wear on wet surfaces. The comfortable shoes were sometimes worn outdoors and people would say your shoes were slipshod, too badly made to wear outside. Hence Slippers actually means, shoes for indoors.
What was a left-handed compliment? Remember that being left handed was considered below the average. If a nobleman married a lady below his status he would hold her with his left hand at the wedding. This meant that she would not get any inheritance form the husband as it meant”not a real wedding”.
To sign allegiance to the King the system was called the Ragman’s Roll, which became known as a system dictated by one who runs the business. Nowadays it is called rigmarole.
That's it now my brain won't cooperate.
Q.480. Here are some Bird names and sayings
Birds names and sayings derived from such have been occupying my spare time between gigs this past few days. It all started from the “larking about” question I answered last week and this struck a new chord in my usual anorak manner.
Being called an old coot is quite a funny way of saying you walk like a coot. But coot meant bad on the feet so the name was in fact the other way in comparison, Greek in origin from Phalarope which means “coot-foot”. Greek phasianos, bird of the then river Phasis in present-day Armenia.
Ravens having a large body and beak gave rise to one breed being called the “Sea-Raven” which in Latin is corvus marinus, sea-raven hence the breed Cormorant.
Pratincole is derived from the Latin prati incola, meadow-dweller. The Cola being the meadow. Hey! Coca the plant lives in the meadow hence Coca Cola. As if!
per agrum’ – through the fields, a foreign bird that has wandered into our territory which has been put together into one word to become Peregrine.
Old French plouvier from the Latin pluvia, rain, so it is the rain bird now the Plover; linnet from Old French linette, referring to lin, or flax, and the linseed enjoyed by the bird; lapwing, from hléapan, to leap – “with reference to manner of flight; redstart – staart is Dutch for tail; dotterel, related to dote and dotage; the bird’s trusting nature apparently made it easy to catch;
Canaries come from the Canary Islands but the name Canary comes from the breeding of large dogs and the islands were named in Latin, canis and canine. Turkeys came from the Turks and introduced to England and America!
Jay birds would wander out of the forest and get confused with the open spaces, now we have Jaywalkers; Chickens hatched in the spring would bring higher prices as they were very tender and Winter preserves were being replaced. So if you are not so tender you are no spring chicken.
Q.481. Hi Henry. Who was “The King of the Bene?”
There was a King of the bean and a Queen of the pea!
Christmas celebrations started on December 25th but this day was also advent and a Fast so no big banquets. We celebrated the Christmas period for twelve days and so the New year’s day and the Twelth night were the most important in the banquet calendar.
We baked a cake called “the twelth cake, a strong fruit cake which had a silver coin in it for the rich families or a Bean and Pea for the lower orders. Whomever found the bean became the king and the Pea signified being the Queen, a cake for both men and women then. Each lucky “royal” would then sit at the centre position and oversee the evening celebrations.
Q.482. Hi Henry, From a Soldier on leave. I read that your soldiers had Mess Tents, how did that term come about because we still have Officers mess in the Army.
Ah! So observant of you sir, yes indeed we had a Messe in our dining halls. It was actually the layout where a messe was a placing for four people with a potage dish of their own. Lower orders had a huge communal dish or pot, so to had one for only four people was seen as upper ranks. A dining room with four seats at a table instead of a large bench is still seen as posher.
Q.483. Hi Henry. What happened to left-over’s at a large meal?
In poor houses they went straight back into the communal pot. The higher ranking you became the less this happened until right at the top of the court the diner would left leftovers on a plate next to their plate, this waste plate had deeper sides and was called the Voider. Royal waste was burnt and not used in any other way.
Q.484. Hi Henry. What kind of vegetables were introduced into England in your reign?
Don’t forget fruit too, we loved our fruit! Apricots were seen as the peach variety of the Cox’s Apple because they came to fruit earlier that the other types. “Malum Precox” and then Abricock and eventually Apricot. We imported Oranges and Lemons from the closest continent with the best weather to grow them, usually Portugal or Spain. Apart from the common English fruits of today some have also disappeared, barberries, bullices, filiberts, medlars, whortleberries, quinces and crab apples. Crab apples being very acidic were mainly used for preserving food or cooking. Whilst we ate 80% meat, we still decorated our plates with vegetation, we ate salads with fish, called Sallets and Sauce. Our choice was wide for vegetables:
Sea Holly, skirrets, endives, cucumbers, rocket, citrons, gourds, navewes, pumpkins, parsnips, runcivall peas, rape turnip, turneps, artichokes, lettuce and cabbage of differing colour and texture. Most common root vegetables except for the potato.
The Spanish ate more vegetables that we English and my first wife tried her best to introduce the vegetable to our banqueting as being of high order food, but we English had viewed the poor vegetable as poor mans food alongside the salmon and oyster!
Q.485. Hi Henry. What kind of foundations were used for old Norman Castles?
Obviously they had no strong concrete technology, nor did they have mechanical diggers, mechanical removal of soils and stones was by human endeavour. So realistically the only way to carry such heavy loads as a stone castle would be to dig down to the stone itself, the rock mantle under the soil. The castles would have been on the tops of hills or at the edges of river estuaries so finding the stone edge was fairly easy. I have searched through my vast collection of pictures to find the join line and here is a very good one.
See how the builders have managed to straighten out the walls from the natural flow of the rocks, magnificent.
Q.486. Hi Henry. Was your fifth wife, Catherine Howard related in some way to Thomas Culpepper her lover? How close in relations was Anne Boleyn to her as well?
Yes. Catherine’s Mother’s maiden name was Culpepper! Joyce Culpepper.
Catherine’s Mother’s sister in law was Anne Boleyn’s Mother! Elizabeth Boleyn (nee Howard).
Q.487. Hi Henry. Did you place a ring on the same finger for marriage as we do today, that is the one next to the little finger on the left hand.
Yes. We believed it had a vein which went directly into your heart, romantic eh!
Q.488. Hi Henry. You mentioned that Anne Boleyn played “Perseverance” in the play for the King’s emissaries. Who were the other characters and do you know who played them?
Don’t ask me a hard one! Ok here’s the answer.
First of all there were 8 women playing roles before Myself and the emissaries for the Holy Roman Emperor Charles, the same play was performed for King Francis at the end of the Filed of the Cloth of Gold. Emperor Charles was concerned that we were getting too friendly with France so he sent over a delegation to check it out.
The cast was as follows:
1. The main part was Beauty played by my sister the Dowager Queen of France Mary now married to Charles Brandon.
2. Honour was played by the Countess of Devonshire.
3. Bounty by Mistress Browne.
4. Mercy by Mistress Dannet.
5. Kindness was played by Mary Boleyn now married to William Carey.
6. Perseverance was as you know played by Anne Boleyn.
7. Constancy was played by Jane Parker whom married George Boleyn to become Lady Rochford.
8. Pity, I don’t know who played this character, Pity eh!
Q.489. Hi Henry. I know that you had Oranges because I read about the marmalade the Tudors made, but where did you get them from.
Yes we had Oranges but they originally came from Spain who had got the plants from Africa. No where’s where the English changed the name by translation and metanalysis.
Originally called Naranj by the Africans, then changed to naranja by the Spanish it clashed with our language use of the word an. We would say “an naranja” and it soon became “an aranja” which soon became “an Orange”!
Q.490. Hi Henry. Well what about chocolate then?
Yes we had chocolate, not in a block but as a drink which reduced our body temperature when ill, the name was derived from the Mexican origin.
Mexican word for bitter was Choco, by crushing the choco bean then adding water changed the word to Choco-atd which then meant bitter water. We added sugar and changed the Spanish name of chocolato into the present day chocolate. The content of caffeine in the drink was the chemical which made is more a medicine than a sweet.
Q.491. Hi Henry. Checkmate in chess is a very old word, where does that come form?
Am I a dictionary?
Iran or Persia is the origins. The Spanish also had a hand in the word.
Shah is a King. A Matador is a killer. Put them together and the final saying for the winning of a game of chess is “The King is dead”, Shar-K-Mate, Checkmate!
Now where’s my dinner?
Q.492. Hi Henry. I read with a wry smile the term “to be buxom in marriage”. Why on earth would such a vulgar expression be used for wedding vows in Tudor times?
Buxom did not mean what it does today, although it actual Tudor meaning of “Obedient” would also raise a few eyebrows today too.
Q.493. Hi Henry. Nicknames were used for friends, but where did the name nick- name come from.
An extra name. From “an eke-name” Now say it fast and the “n” starts it off. Another of those metanalysis effects.
Now go and find a dictionary and look up "metanalysis".
Q.494. Hi Henry. Why did Katherine Parr vow to be bonair and buxom in her wedding vows?
What does it mean?
You must remember that the Tudor era was definitely a man's world.
The wedding vow was the same throughout England
"I Katherine, take thee, Henry to my wedded husband to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to be bonny and buxom in bed and at board, 'till death us do part."
The new Queen would then be reminded of her duties towards her new husband the King.
"...faithful and chaste....amiable to her husband...wise...bashful and grave. reverential and modest...and fruitful."
To be bonny meant always try to be attractive.
Buxom was not what is seems today, then it meant to be warm and understanding.
Hope this answers all your questions
Q.495. Hi Henry. I know this is not a Tudor question. But how did the Romans make lead pipes without all the modern-day machinery?
It still counts as a Tudor question because the pipes were made the same way but maybe with better quality tools.
A crucible of molten lead would be pored over a cold flat surface and the flowing lead would set into a thin-ish open casting. I say thin-ish because the casting would not be consistent and change in thickness throughout the area. The metal workers would then hammer it to the desired thickness, warming it up now and then to stop it work hardening and cracking. I think they had also found out that to mix a little Tin with the lead helped to make it pour more easily and so give a finer thickness overall. Now with the sheet of lead, they would cut it into strips which were the circumference of the desired pipe, plus a little overlap. By folding the edges opposite ways before making the pipe shape it would produce two edges parallel to each other, these edges were then folded together like a seam. A pipe of any length only needs to be watertight around the sides and bottom if lamina flow is to be engineered into the design. The pipes would rely solely upon gravity fed water and no real high, full pipe pressures were encountered. The top seam would be left unwelded.
The chemical symbol for Lead is Pb, this came from the Roman name for the metal of Plumbum, this in turn gave the Plumber their name and we used Lead for pipes until the last century. Lead was discontinued when it was discovered the damage to the human body of Lead poisoning, where Lead is absorbed by Calcium thus softening bones and also damaging nerve ends whereby brain power is diminished. Lead was used in petrol to raise the ignition temperature and help lubricate the valve seatings, the exhaust would spew out Lead into the atmosphere this is why we now use Lead-free petrol. Plates made out of Pewter should not be used to eat off as Pewter is mainly Lead plus Tin. Tomato’s cut raw onto a pewter plate can poison the diner as the acidic juices attack the surface and produce Lead-Oxides which if eaten are most damaging to your vital organs. So you can see that the lack of knowledge by past generations has lowered their life-spans. Drinking alcoholic liquors from a Pewter tankard is most damaging to one’s well being.
Q.496. Hi Henry. Is parchment paper weak and easily damaged?
All paper is easy to rip in a shearing motion, sideways. But paper is quite strong in a tensile direction, try pulling apart axially. Parchment is one of the strongest papers in existence as it was made by layering the mulch before drying and hammering to the desired thickness.
Q.497. Hi Henry. How did skilled people get their employed work without advertising?
Great question. No point in writing an advertisement as most people could not read nor write. The skilled person would produce a wooden post with samples of their work carved in it. The post would be fitted in a non-structural place where it can be seen easily by the visiting public. This gave us the word “poster”. I have taken a picture of one such Poster.
Q.498. Hi Henry. I know there is no evidence for the answer to my question, so just can you give me your opinion. Why did mankind find Copper and make Bronze before Iron?
I think it is a simple answer. They put stones around their fires, the stones contained Copper and maybe Tin. The fires released the ore and left them with a dried up pools of metal. They mixed the metals and got Bronze. Iron takes much more ore and temperatures to release the metal, but they had learnt that metals are smelted this way so they worked up the temperatures.
I consulted with my two mates, F. Flintstone and B. Rubble for their reasoning.
The biggest missed opportunity in my opinion was that the Romans had Alum Flour, Aluminium Sulphate for softening leather and fixing colours into cloth. If only they had re-smelted the powder to a high temperature they would have discovered Aluminium. Can you imagine Roman Chariots with Alloy wheels!
Q.499. Hi Henry. Were you more sympathetic to the house of Lancaster or York?
My father was definitely in the footsteps of his Mother, Margaret Beaufort in that they were staunch Lancaster and suspected all the motives of the Yorkists, including my Mother, Elizabeth. I hated my Father and was scared of my Grandmother, but my Mother was lovely, she raise me and cared for me so I was more inclined to the White Rose in my sympathies. I suppose the unrest between the two factions came to a near end when I became King, both sides saw their rose at the top.
Q.500. Hi Henry. Why did farmers use stone for their walls instead of fences or hedges?
Basically cost. A dry stone wall will outlive the builder and many are still standing after 200 years of use. Minimal maintenance is required whilst a wooden fence will need constant maintenance. A hedge takes up a lot of land and eventually a ditch forms under it. A stone wall will outlive 5 fences over the years. The stone is generally taken from the land itself or nearby outcrops and was seen as a re-use of unwanted materials. The cost of building the wall was much greater than a fence, the hedges had to planted and would need time to mature and fill in the gaps around small plants. The dry stone wall also protected sheep and shepherds from gale force winds as well as providing a fire break as the stone was non-combustible. The dry-stone waller would be a wandering family selling their skills. They would get a length of pole from the church’s rood end and use it to calculate the cost of a new wall, this to be paid for at the start of build as it would take weeks to build. The cost would be charges for one rood length X one and a half yards tall X 15 inches wide at the top and 30 inches wide at the bottom. The unit length was called a perch, this is where birds sit! The height was seen as the height to stop a sheep from jumping over it. The buy it before it is made was called to “perchase it” ie Purchase! Basically a wall was two strong walls slanted towards each other with small stone infill called the hearting. The sectional shape of a wall was by eye or the use of a wooden pattern called the Batter, cord was tied between batters to create a line of build, the term batten as a straight piece between ends came from this. There is provision for sheep to pass from one field to another whilst cattle are kept back, the wall would have holes built into it with lintels over the top so only small animals or hunched humans could pass through. The name of such holes varied across the country but the most common was creep-holes which became cripples which was a term for people who were hunchbacked! Other names were hogg-holes, lunkies and smoots which were mainly for crossing streams like a bridge.
The family of the Dry-stone-waller would move and "live" next to the farm in a stone structure much like a pointed igloo. A hole at the top to let smoke from the fire out and a small doorway at the bottom. When the job was completed the gate posts would be made out of the igloo, now go and look for smoke stained stones at the base of the posts. The structure was dismantled from the top to build the posts so the chimney would be at the bottom of the post.
Will start a new section "Questions 501 on"