Easter in Early Modern England

The Lenten and Easter season in pre-Reformation England was rich in sights and sounds and smells. Shrove Tuesday was celebrated with pancakes and football games, plays and masquerades. Ash Wednesday brought the blessing of ashes and their application by the priest to the foreheads of the faithful with the injunction ‘Remember O man that thou are … Continue reading Easter in Early Modern England

It’s My Book’s Birthday!

A year ago today I published Forsaking All Other, an Elizabethan love story set against the war in the Netherlands abroad and Catholic plots at home. Forsaking All Other has been almost continuously in the top 50 bestsellers in Amazon’s Tudor Historical Romance Category for the last eight months – and for a brief shining … Continue reading It’s My Book’s Birthday!

‘It is an action like a stratagem in war where man can err but once’ – Choosing a spouse in 16th century England

During the 16th century, as in the centuries both before and after, marriage was a state that most aspired to - it gave both men and women status not only as full adults but, in the case of men, that of householder. Without marriage, women had few opportunities to independently support themselves. Except for those … Continue reading ‘It is an action like a stratagem in war where man can err but once’ – Choosing a spouse in 16th century England

Early Modern Children

We are fortunate that a number of portraits survive of children from the upper levels of society in the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean period. These give us a glimpse of childhood in that period and hint at the ways childhood, the raising of children, and even life itself differ from today. Infants were swaddled … Continue reading Early Modern Children

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