History Extra logo
The official website for BBC History Magazine and BBC History Revealed

Top 10 Tudor stories

It’s one of the most fascinating periods in British history, popularised by Shakespeare, Henry VIII, the Armada and the Reformation.

It’s also an era full of stories – here, we round up some of our favourites

Published: August 19, 2014 at 9:08 am
Try 6 issues for only £9.99 when you subscribe to BBC History Magazine or BBC History Revealed

1) The Missing Tudors: black people in 16th-century England

They were baptised and buried in parishes across the country, and even attended queens at court. So why, asks Onyeka, do we continue to airbrush black Africans out of Tudor England?


2) Tudors in America: how England's New World colonies came into being

While the Spanish were obsessed by central and southern America, England’s Tudor monarchs paid little attention to the New World. As David Childs reveals, it was by pure chance that England’s American colonies came into being…

3) Henry VIII “had seventh wife”, claims historian

He is one of the best-known kings in British history, famed for his six wives. But it emerged earlier this month that Henry VIII may have wed a seventh woman. In an article published anonymously in the journal Tudor Matrimonial Studies, a historian revealed that the former king married Anne Mourgan in 1538 – less than a year after the death of Jane Seymour.

(OK, you guessed it – this was an April Fools’ Day joke!)

4) Toys and games that killed in Tudor England

Steven Gunn and Tomasz Gromelski – who studied 9,000 coroner’s inquest reports from the 16th century – reveal what perils faced Tudor children at play…

5) Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn: Suzannah Lipscomb dispels myths about the lovers who changed history

They are two of history’s most captivating figures, their romance-turned-tragedy known the world over. But what was the true nature of the relationship between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and how did Anne come to lose her head? Tudor historian Dr Suzannah Lipscomb reveals all...

6) Richard III’s last battle

With the probable exceptions of Hastings and Culloden, Bosworth is the best-known battle to have taken place on British soil. While it wasn’t actually the last battle of the Wars of the Roses, its effects were significant and long lasting. For Bosworth saw the defeat by a rebel army of a royal force nearly twice its size, leaving Richard III dead on the field and establishing Henry Tudor as king and founder of a new dynasty…

Image credit Getty Images

7) Revealed: the tomb of Henry VIII's forgotten son

The original tombs planned for Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, and the Tudor monarch’s father-in-law, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, have been digitally reconstructed by a team at the University of Leicester. The unfinished tombs, which were lost during the Reformation, were last year virtually recreated to enable researchers to see what they might have looked like at their earmarked site in Thetford Priory.

8) Prayer Book Rebellion

The Prayer Book Rebellion, which took place in south-western England during 1549, saw thousands unite against the changes to traditional forms of worship imposed by the government of the boy-king, Edward VI. Charlotte Hodgman talks to Professor Mark Stoyle about nine places connected with the bloody uprisings...

9) Lost 16th-century Tudor shilling could mean the British discovered Canada

The discovery of a rare 435-year-old Edward VI silver shilling buried in clay on the shores of Vancouver Island has rekindled a theory that the British discovered Canada. The coin, discovered in December 2013 by an amateur treasure hunter using a hand-held metal detector, could suggest that Elizabethan explorer Sir Francis Drake landed in Canada two centuries before it was officially discovered by the Spanish.

Photo credit © Pixavril | Dreamstime.com

10) Henry VIII: Three films

Henry VIII’s story has been told innumerable times, in different styles and from many vantage points, and interest in it shows no signs of abating. Mark Glancy takes a closer look at three very different portrayals of one of history's most infamous characters...


If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to the print edition of BBC History Magazine? Alternatively, subscribe to the magazine digitally – on iPad and iPhone, Kindle and Kindle Fire, Google Play and Zinio.


Sponsored content