Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Henry VII: The First Tudor King (The Battle of Bosworth)

King Henry VII
If you've been a long time Tudor history fan such as myself you've no doubt heard of "The Battle of Bosworth" and pretty familiar with it. I remember when i first really read about the battle (in surprising the book "The Tudors" by G.J. Meyer back in 7th grade) and i thought i was it like your typical TV version of a medieval battle. I didn't quite have a picture of what a young Henry Tudor was like and my view of Richard III was much like Shakespeare's, crying out the famous "my kingdom for a horse!" bit. But since then I've studied much more indepthly (and still am!) on the earlier Tudors and in particular the characters of Henry, Edmund, and Jasper Tudor. And recently i found a books specifically about the battle and it's not what you think it was :)

Prepare to be amazed and to figure out why dedicated a whole post to this one battle!

Since the Norman conquest only two battles have English kings been defeated by "pretenders" Hastings in 1066 (William the Conqueror vs. Alfred the Great) and Bosworth. The two are actually very similar even both the "pretenders" had mostly french armies and were virtually unknown to their subjects. But if want to hear more about the Battle of Hastings, this is not the place. Today we're talking about Bosworth. Thanks to recently research I've read (namely a book entitled "Bosworth 1485: physcology of Battle" if you haven't read it... READ IT NOW!!) I am inclined to believe the site of the battle is actually a few miles WEST of where it was traditionally said to have taken place, never the less, that doesn't change what happened.

On the opposing side we have the challenger with a very flimsy claim to the throne, Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond and the last Lancasterian with even a speck of royal blood in him. (not the last Lancatrian sympathiser however, his uncle Jasper Tudor and the earl of Oxford had always been lancasterians and weren't dead yet!) He was not as confident as some think, his army was mostly French troops mixed with some Scottish and Welsh people. (the Welsh just loved the Tudors) He had never commanded an army or even fought in battle before, the only taste of battle he saw was the battle of Edgecote, where he was protected while he watched. He was still uncertain of the loyalty of the Stanleys but still, he decided to risk it.

On the defending side we had King Richard III (who's remains were recently discovered, conveniently located under a car park! :) how splendid!) He had many nobles support and was an experienced solider (he often fought alongside his brother Edward IV) He also had the larger army and was pretty sure he was gonna win. However or sources do tell us the night before the battle he probably had some bad dreams about losing (thought, not like Shakespeare describes)

Richard III
The battle started on August 22nd 1485, for awhile it was you typical battle, one side fighting the other. Until of course, the earl of Oxford and the part of the army he was leading capture and executed the duke of Norfolk (John Howard) one of Richard III's greatest supports. Since Norfolk's troops were really just fighting for Norfolk they all just gave up and left. Now that lots of his supporters were leaving Richard made the fateful decision to charge after Henry Tudor, who had been protected over by his standard bearer (William Brandon, father of the famous Charles Brandon)

What prompted King Richard to make such a bold move? It was the very thing his father, Richard Duke of York (Yorkie, i like to call him!) would've done in battle and his tactics were very similar to those displayed by his youngest son at Bosworth. (since we're on the topic Richard III was very similar, even in looks, to his father the duke of York so there is no doubt in his legitimacy as there is at least for me, with Edward IV see my post on Edward IV really being of the house of york)

Of course, Henry saw Richard advancing towards him and quickly dismounted his horse (so as not to be so visible) and William Stanley decided to send in his army to fight against the king. They distracted the forces Richard brought with him and left him fighting alone. Some of Henry's welsh troops (or french) then saw the king and took the opportunity to kill him, which the succeeded in. As soon as people realized the king was dead Henry was proclaimed the new King. Thomas Stanley found the crown under a thorn bush and crowned Henry with it, he was now official Henry VII and a new chapter of English history was about to begin.

As for the body of the dead king, sources say it was stripped naked, slung over a horse and paraded through town and humiliated before being buried in the Greyfriar's church (which we now know was were that now famous car park is!)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Histories Forgotten Countesses: Margaret Neville

You've probably heard of Warwick "The Kingmaker" right? Well, he was just one of the many Nevilles during the Wars of the Roses. Did you know the "Kingmaker" had a sister? Yup, he had many sisters actually (and just a side note, Cecily Neville was his aunt) well one of those sisters was named Margaret and she was a most unusual Neville. What do i mean by unusual? She was married to a Lancasterian and pretty much WAS lancasterian and this post will about her, the countess of Oxford

Margaret was one of the younger children of her parents, Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury and his wife Alice and was born somewhere between the later 1440's and 1450. She was also sister to the kingmaker so that meant that she received a education fit for a future wealthy housewife. We honestly don't know that much about her early life so there's not much i can say here. But once her brother, the "Kingmaker" brought Edward IV to the throne she was welcomed at the Yorkist court and had probably been brought up with Yorkist sympathies, though weak ones.

Edward IV was eager to show that York had triumphed over Lancaster so he took this in account when Margaret's marriage was arranged. Oddly enough he (or someone else of importance) chose one of the world's strongest lancasterains, John de Vere, the earl of Oxford.

Though, if you think about it, it's not that odd...
At this time Edward IV was unmarried and seeking for Lancastrian support and was getting Oxford to convert. (he even pardoned him and released him from the Tower!) and perhaps marriage to the Kingmaker's sister was a means of turning Oxford Yorkist. Anyway, Margaret probably was nonchalant in her attitude towards getting married to Oxford, who similarly had even set eyes upon his future bride. But nevertheless, the two were married and learned to work with each and eventually had a sort of love match.

But Oxford didn't turn Yorkist and Edward gave up on his attempts. The (assumably) happy couple was then split up when Oxford had to turn to exile and then imprisonment in Calais. Margaret was deeply troubled by the exile of her husband and now that she had Lancastrian sympathies, she sought sanctuary in an abbey, where she stayed until Oxford returned in 1485. (he had joined with the Tudors in France in 1481 after escaping from his Calais prison, fought at Bosworth, and was deeply rewarded) When Henry VII came to the throne in 1485 he was indebted to Oxford, for helping win at Bosworth so Margaret could come out of hiding and join her husband at the new king's court.

No one cared now that Margaret's brother had been the famous "Kingmaker" and she lived happily with her husband in the new Tudor court. Sadly though, she didn't survive her husband and died in the 1490's. I think it's safe to assume that Oxford missed wife very much but could've married again (i don't think he did but to be honest, I'm not quite sure.) And just a side note, Oxford even lived on into the early reign of King Henry VIII. Upon his death, Oxford's title passed onto his nephew (also named John de Vere) because he and Margaret had no surviving children.

Margaret Neville was not your typical Neville and since I've been studying the earl of Oxford lately, i thought i would take a break from my Henry VII series and share her story.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Henry VII: The First Tudor King Part V!

King Henry VII
There's one area of research in the life of Henry VII I hope that some day we have more information on and that's his life while in exile in Brittany. As I mentioned in the last part we know a few things but have to leave the rest to our imagination. For example, we know that for the most part Henry didn't get to stay with his uncle (Jasper Tudor) and that his position as either more of prisoner or guest depended on how relations between England and Brittany were going.

Somewhere or other I came across a theory that Henry had an illegitimate son by an unknown Breton lady... And clearly that NEVER happened. (Like the Taylor Swift "We are never ever getting back together" kinda Never.)  Based off all my research into the life and character of Henry VII that to me seemed like a futile attempt to make Henry seem like his second son! There is also the theory that Jasper Tudor had two illegitimate daughters which is also utter nonsense! So what did Henry do for 14 years in exile?

Well, probably worry a lot and do some reading... There was definitely a lot of boredom. And he got news from England and though no letter survives there is a chance that his mother wrote to him. But it couldn't last forever. Meanwhile in England, King Edward IV died and his son Edward V succeed him. Now it seemed Henry would never get to be king.

 Oh, If only there was some way for Edward V to no longer be king and rather some else who who not everyone liked was on the throne so Henry could defeat him in battle...! ... Well, that's exactly what happened!

King Edward V and his brother were murdered by their uncle who took the throne as King Richard III. (Yes, I know this is a controversial topic so check out my post "What really happened to the Princes in the Tower for clarification)

And Richard III was on good relations with Brittany, he was willing to offer English archers for their fight with France if they would hand over the Tudors. (Why getting JASPER Tudor back in England was so important is still a bit of a mystery to me, I mean, he didn't have any English royal blood... Oh well) So with Brittany turning on him Henry was forced to flee to France. The King of France welcomed them because Richard III was hostile to France. They supplied the Tudors with an army and in Summer 1485 Henry, Jasper, and their little foreign army set sail for Wales. (Heading straight into England was too dangerous)

The Welsh we're more than happy to see their favourite Hero back again and they had high hopes for Henry Tudor. (Even though they thought his name was Owen). Margaret Beaufort was also more than happy to hear that her only son was back in England. (Giving birth at 13 left Margaret unable to have anymore kids) There was only one person who wasn't happy to hear about Henry Tudor's landing, and that was Richard III.

However, Richard was pretty confident that he could win against some unknown Welshman. And Henry wasn't too confident that he would win either. The whole North of England adored King Richard and supported him. He had the larger, better trained army. Henry was so unprepared for winning that he had his uncle Jasper stay behind in Wales to secure a safe escape route. (Seems more like he's be the on to say the 'My Kingdom for a horse!" Bit)

So what happened Next? As every Tudor fan will tell you, The Battle of Bosworth!!! Which will coming up soon as the next part in the series!

Happy Birthday Queen Mary I!

Today in Tudor History (that's February 18th) was the birth of Mary Tudor, only surviving child of Catherine of Aragon and King Henry VIII. It's pretty needless to say but her birth was a bit of a disappointment to her parents... Though as a young girl Mary was adored by the entire court. But in the end she become the famous "Bloody Mary" which I guess is kinda deserved... Though she only really appears "Bloody" once she's queen. 

Also, isn't it ironic that the common people loved Catherine of Aragon and went on to hate her daughter but they hated Anne Boleyn and loved her daughter? I've always thought so...

You read more about Mary I in these posts of mine:

  • "Who was it that Made Jane Grey Queen?"
  • "Who Was The Real First Queen of England?"
  • "All Hail Queen Mary I!"

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Most Irritating Mistakes Tudor Historians Make

Yes, haven't we all had those moments where you're reading a book about some historical subject, and the author seems very believable and everything is just fine until... The make a mistake. Usually a mistake that everyone seems to get right. Oh, I can't tell you how many tiny little errors I've found and I simply can't stand it! It's like... "Really...? How could you really miss that..!?" Here some of the ones I've found (But I won't name names in case the author is reading this!

(Oh, and just a side note the next part in my Henry VII series is coming tomorrow.)

  • One book I was reading about King Edward V, was relating something to the affair between Henry VIII and Mary Boleyn and the author said that Mary Boleyn was the mother of Henry Fitzroy.
  • In one of the novels I read about Katherine of Valois the author claims that she and Owen Tudor had a daughter named Jacina.
  • In MANY books I've come across, author will write "Woodville" acknowledge that they KNOW "Wydeville" is the correct spelling, and keep using Wydeville anyway!!
  • I was reading a book about the Tudor Queens of England and the author said that Lord Darnley was the son of Margaret Clifford and got his claim from Henry VIII's sister Mary. (Twice!)
  • In a novel about Margaret of Anjou the author said that Edmund Tudor was younger than Jasper. A large number of historians I've come across over the years say that Jane Grey ruled for 9 days (when she really ruled for 13.)
  • With all the news about Richard III lately lots of news web sites have been talking about the "War of the Roses"... When it's clearly supposed to be the "WarS of the Roses"
  • I was reading this really good book about the Wars of the Roses and all of sudden the author claimed that, in fact, Edmund Tudor was the illegitimate son of Katherine of Valois and Edmund Beaufort, duke of Somerset.
  • I was reading the same novel about Katherine of Valois as mentioned above and then the author said "Jacqueline of Luxembourg" instead of "Jacquetta of Luxembourg"
  • In one book about the Princes in the Tower, I noticed the author spelled Lambert Simnell with one l instead of two, every single time. (how does that even happen?)
  • There was this one novel about Elizabeth of York I was reading and the author constantly referred to her sister as "Cecilia" and not "Cecily"
  • I had gotten a book that was an overview of the Tudor dynasty and in the family tree on like the first page I found at least 3 errors. (One that said Katherine Swynford was John of Gaunt's second wife and not his mistress!) then I start the read it and found like 5 more errors and after flipping through the rest of the pages I gave up cuz there was too many things wrong with it.
  • One book I have read about Elizabeth I claimed that lord Darnley died the day AFTER the explosion at kirk-I-field. (So yeah... According to that author Darnley lived for an extra day!)
It's these little things that really bug me... But not enough to stop reading the book. Doesn't it irate you to? It's like "How do some of these things go unnoticed by the publishers?"

If you've found any irritating little errors let me know!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Henry VII: The First Tudor King Part IV!

King Henry VII
So today I'm back on my series on King Henry VII. Sorry for the interruptions, I've been busy with school work (that what 10th grade does to ya!) and so without further delay, let's begin. At 13 years old Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond was reunited with his guardian and uncle, Jasper Tudor. The two of them were welcomed at the court of the restored King Henry VI (and who Richmond was named after) This success and happiness wasn't to last however, Edward IV came back and destroyed the Lancasterian cause.

And at the Yorkist court there was no place for Jasper Tudor and his nephew. So Henry was taken into exile. He and Jasper had planned to go to France but, winds blew them to Brittany instead. (Just as a side note, During the redemption Henry got to meet his mother again, though shortly) Duke Francis II of Brittany was more than happy to let the Tudors stay at his court, i mean, two powerful pawns in the game of European politics show up on your shores, why not let them stay?

However, exile wasn't a bed a roses (no pun intended :) i really mean it) the Tudors weren't prisoners per say, but they certainly weren't honoured guests.

Henry was set up in a different household from his uncle, sadly. And his living conditions depended on how politics were going. At this point in time he was pretty much a penniless exile. He was allowed to visit his uncle often but again, it depended on how things were going on the political scene. I liked how one author (i forget exactly which one) said that it was at this point that Henry kinda had to watch the events in his life happen and not have any say in them.

One city in Brittany he visited often was Vannes, there he was housed in a Breton earl's household. This Breton earl had two sons who Henry probably spent time with and that probably made things a little better. It was certainly boring during these years, especially during the times when Henry was away from his uncle.

One other aspect of Henry's character developed while he was in Brittany and that was his finical skills. As an exile Henry had to watch the finances very carefully, a skill that he employed once he became king, you see (as i said in my opening) King Henry VII was one of few English kings (if not the only) who didn't have a pampered childhood as prince, he had to work for the throne.

It seemed now like Lancaster would never be restored, King Edward IV had two sons and a whole bunch of daughters. King Henry VI had been murdered and his son Prince Edward was killed in battle. Would Lancaster ever triumph over the seemly invincible house of York? To be continued in Part V!

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11th: Happy Birthday Elizabeth of York!

Elizabeth of York

Today in Tudor history our very first Tudor Queen consort was born. She was the eldest daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Wydeville. To me she's always seemed a most unusual Yorkist in that, she didn't really do much for the house of York. After her marriage to Henry VII, Elizabeth was entirely Lancasterian. If you would like some more information on Queen Elizabeth "The Good" as the people called her, check out these posts on my blog:

  • Queen Consort: Elizabeth of York (series)
  • Elizabeth of York, Plantagenet or Wydeville?
  • The Tudor claim to the Throne
  • (for her claim) Was Edward IV Really of the House of York?
  • The Siblings and Relatives of Elizabeth of York

Saturday, February 9, 2013

February 9th: The 446th Anniversary of the Darnely Murder

a drawing of Kirk-o-Field after the explosion
446 years ago today, all was not quiet in Edinburgh, Scotland. Mary Queen of Scots' husband, lord Darnley was being murdered in a little neighbourhood known as Kirk-o-Field. After the house he was residing in exploded, Darnley's body was found, dead but without a single scratch on it, not too far from the house under a pear tree. It's a subject that has puzzled historians throughout the ages though, unlike with the princes in tower, we can arrive at a pretty probable thesis.

Yet, that thesis is full of holes and still raising questions as to what exactly happened that February night. Some blame Mary herself, this conspiracy did contribute to her downfall. Who murdered Darnley? Was Mary to Blame? How exactly did Darnley die if his body was found unscratched? You can find out more by reading these posts:
  • Emily's Guide to the Darnley murder (series)
  • The Abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots
  • Emily's Guide to the Casket Letters (series)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Henry VII: The First Tudor King Part III

So, to continue where I left off yesterday, the young earl of Richmond had been living in the Yorkist household of William Herbert upon the Yorkist take over of the throne. Luckily Herbert had a kindly wife named Anne Devereaux who took care of Henry. However, for living amongst Yorkists, Henry never switched his alligence, he stayed Lancasterian. Nevertheless, William Herbert took an interest in Henry's welfare since he was planning of marrying him to his eldest daughter. (And possibly seizing the throne...?)

So what did that mean for our future Tudor king? When it came name for the battle of Edgecote guess who got to go to the battle? Yup, 12 year old Henry Tudor. It was 1469 and the dawn of the Lancasterian Redemption (see my post on the same topic). William Herbert was fighting on the Yorkist side (what a traitor! :P) and so Henry was kept in the Yorkist camp and had to watch the entire thing pretty much. Sounds like a pretty traumatising experience for a 12 huh? One other problem happened though, William Herbert was killed.

What now?

No one else was there with Henry, but luckily one servant or nobleman or someone who was on good terms with his uncle Jasper Tudor found him. It is now important to note that Jasper had been in exile in France and Scotland and basically just hiding from the Yorkists, so now that Lancasterian support was once again being created, he felt it safe to return. Well, at least long enough to get his nephew back from Herbert. The Welsh also adored Jasper and wrote about he and Henry were going to like "save Wales" but that's just a side note.

After the battle Henry was returned to the household of, the now widowed, Anne Devereaux. He didn't stay long and then his uncle Jasper returned to Wales and took him back into his custody. Now it was about 1470-1, and both Jasper and Henry met the now restored to the throne King Henry VI. Some say that Henry VI had predicted that the earl of Richmond would succeed him as king but, there are no facts to support this.

With Edward  IV over sulking in Burgundy and probably whining to his sister about how his own ally pretty much kicked his butt, the Lancasterians were feeling pretty safe. And they certainly had a reason too, they now had the powerful earl of Warwick on their side and Warwick's pretty much invincible right? Wrong! Warwick is killed at the battle of Barnet. Prince Edward of Lancaster is killed shortly after at Tewkesbury and poor 'ol Henry VI is murdered in the Tower on the now restored Edward IV's orders. Looks like our Henry Tudor is the last (male) representative for the house of Lancaster and he's only 13! Find out what happens next in part IV!

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Skeleton of Richard III has been found! :D

A drawing I made of Richard III and Anne Neville
If you haven't already heard the news you must've been living under a rock!! Richard III has been found!!!!! As big a Tudor fan as i am, I am sooooooooo incredibly Happy at this moment and have been all day!! It's all i could think about at school, honestly. I even wrote a cartoon for the occasion! (which will be posted either later today or tomorrow!) I actually got the news kind of late 'cuz i live in the good 'ol USA and NOT England (and on the West coast as that.)

So if you haven't you like, NEED and i mean, NEED to read the bbc news report on it! And then come back to my site for some more info on Richard III
You can check out these posts of mine:

  • Richard III: The Great Controversy (Series)
  • Anne Neville:The Kingmaker's Daughter
  • Richard III and Anne Neville Anime Style!
  • What Really happened to the Princes in the Tower
  • Emily's Guide to the Princes in the Tower
  • The Life of Edward IV (series)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Henry VII: The First Tudor King Part II

To continue where i left off a few days ago, at the start of 1461, The Lancasterian cause was on it's last legs. Earlier in the battle of Northampton the Lancasterian King Henry VI was taken prisoner by the duke of York and his cohorts but, that didn't last long for the Lancasterian army killed York and his son the earl of Rutland at the battle of Wakefield. Now, it seemed the Lancasterians had the upper hand but, York's son Edward, earl of March had just been welcomed to London as King of England.

Margaret of Anjou, the lancasterian queen and her son Prince Edward of Lancaster sought out help from Jasper Tudor, a loyal Lancasterian and Henry VII's uncle. So Henry may or may not have meet his Lancasterian relations (for Henry VI, Margaret's husband was Jasper's half-brother) But none of them could stay in England with Edward IV on the throne, so they all (including the king) went to Scotland. Where was Henry Tudor in all this? He had to stay behind in Pembroke and he was only 4. Up until this point Henry had been having it pretty good. Now now only his uncle but also the cause of Lancaster which, he no doubt had been taught to support.

William Herbert and his wife Anne Devereaux
kneeling before King Edward IV

That must've been a pretty traumatizing experience for a 4 year old and when he was king Henry VII was recorded as saying that he thought himself a prisoner every since he was about 4 or 5.
Some of the servants that were with him in Pembroke probably got to stay when Edward IV appointed a new, (and what i consider, illegal) earl of Pembroke, William Herbert. Herbert (the same one that captured Henry's father earlier on) took the young earl of Richmond into his household with the hopes of marrying him of to one of his daugthers (specifically, Maud, the eldest and closest in age to Henry). And then using him to start a Herbert dynasty.

Of course, Henry had no idea about Herbert's real intentions. To him it was probably more upsetting that his uncle Jasper was no longer here and he had no idea when he would return expect that for now he was stuck living with a strange family he didn't know. Herbert's wife luckily was a kind, sweet lady. She took care of Henry and he remembered her kindness to him once he became king and granted her some money so she could live in a quiet, comfortable retirement. (for more info see "Histories Forgotten Countesses: Anne Devereaux)

As for Maude, she and Henry quickly became friends. William Herbert had a whole heap of daughter but only one son who had a big age gap with Henry so they didn't catch on. I'm not exactly sure why but I at least, haven't heard of any specific interactions between Henry and Herbert's son but, anyway... So Life was at least comfortable in the Herbert household, though Yorkist as it may be. In fact, Edward IV probably had hopes of converting the young Tudor to favour the Yorkists but, it didnt' work.

As far as contact with his family goes Margaret Beaufort might have been able to visit Henry at Pembroke and Raglan (the Herbert Stronghold) but don't quote me on it. And we also don't know if he wrote letters to his uncle, Jasper. But, one would imagine that he at least didn't forget him. It certainly seemed at point that the Yorkists would be ruling a long time and there was nothing in future for Henry Tudor but life as Maud's husband. But as i said before anything can happen in the Wars of the Roses