Embroidered gloves, leather, 16th century Gift giving has always been an element of courtship, in the Tudor period as much as at any other time, with gifts often marking the progress of a relationship from early courtship, through pre-betrothal to the formal rituals of betrothal and on to marriage. These gifts were given as tokens … Continue reading Courtship Tokens
1549. Edward VI, the eleven-year-old son of Henry VIII has been on the throne two years. The country is effectively run by the Lord Protector, Edward Seymour. The preceding decade has seen war with Scotland, inflation, unemployment, rising rents and declining wages. A sense of grievance is swelling among the common people against the imposition … Continue reading Book Review – Tombland by C.J. Sansom
In the 16th century, marriage was not a purely personal affair but rather a group effort involving acquaintances, friends or family members. When a young man or woman or, more often, their parents decided it was time to marry, the first step was to find a suitable spouse. After determining that there was no one … Continue reading The Elizabethan ‘Suter’
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
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!
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
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
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