Book Review – The Lady of the Tower by Elizabeth St John

The Lady of the Tower imagines the life of Lucy St John, a descendant of Margaret Beauchamp (maternal grandmother of Henry VII), from 1603 as she emerges from girlhood to 1630 when she was wife of the Keeper of the Tower of London. With the death of Lucy’s mother five years earlier, the family has been … Continue reading Book Review – The Lady of the Tower by Elizabeth St John

Book Review – The Woman in the Shadows by Carol McGrath

The Woman in the Shadows is a fictional account of the adult life of Elizabeth Wykes, the wife of Thomas Cromwell, a man from relatively humble origins who rose from merchant and lawyer to become chief minister to Henry VIII. For most people, all that is known of Elizabeth is as Cromwell’s wife, a background … Continue reading Book Review – The Woman in the Shadows by Carol McGrath

‘The great daunger of childbyrth’

While not an absolute rarity, portraits of pregnant women were not common in the Renaissance period. Surprisingly, there are  a number of late Elizabethan and early Jacobean portraits of women at an advanced stage of pregnancy, sometimes surrounded by their children, sometimes alone. Many of these were painted by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. When I … Continue reading ‘The great daunger of childbyrth’

Early Modern Women – Margaret, Lady Hoby (1571-1633)

Margaret, Lady Hoby, is best known as the author of  the earliest known diary written by a woman in English. While her diary began as a religious exercise and includes details of her religious practices, prayer and reading, it is also a window through which we can glimpse the busy domestic life of a woman … Continue reading Early Modern Women – Margaret, Lady Hoby (1571-1633)

Early Modern Women – Elizabeth Paston (1429-1488)

I have been fascinated by the 15th and 16th centuries since I studied Early Modern British history in my first year at university. In my reading over the ensuing years I have caught sight of people who had no influence on the grand scheme of things yet they  brought history to life, reminding me vividly that … Continue reading Early Modern Women – Elizabeth Paston (1429-1488)