Assess the Effects of the Reformation on the Lives of Women in Sixteenth-Century Europe?


I was very proud of this essay which I wrote as part of my Masters degree. It got me a first. Please don’t use sections from it in your own work without proper referencing.

The issue of women in history has been neglected until relatively recently. Hence the historiography on the effects of the Reformation on the lives of women is quite up-to-date. Cissie Fairchilds and Peter Wallace have two contrasting opinions which will both be explored in this essay. Fairchilds argues that the Reformation brought ‘some losses but more gains’ for women and ultimately improved women’s status in society.[1] Conversely, Wallace argues that the reformation ‘bound women more tightly to men’s authority’ which diminished their status.[2] These two opinions are irreconcilable, so one must triumph over the other. In this author’s opinion, the Reformation allowed women a measure of freedom, more than had been achieved in the Medieval period, but they were still ultimately subject to patriarchal authority. It was not until much later, into the twentieth century, that women managed to completely break away from man’s authority. The Reformation acted as a catalyst for these later changes. In examining the Reformation in relation to women it is politic to look at several fields of interest: education, marriage, witchcraft, religion, scholarship and monarchy. These key areas will demonstrate the effect of the reformation on the lives of European women in the sixteenth century. Continue reading

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Photos from The Tudors Seasons 1-4


 

Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn in 'The Tudors' (2008).
Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn in ‘The Tudors’ (2008).

Photos from The Tudors Seasons 1-4

There is a large selection of photos on my Facebook page today from The Tudors Seasons 1-4.

It stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII, Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon, Maria Doyle Kennedy as Katherine of Aragon, Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn, Annabelle Wallis as Jane Seymour, Joss Stone as Anne of Cleves, Tamzin Merchant as Katherine Howard and Joely Richardson as Katherine Parr along with James Frain as Thomas Cromwell and Sam Neill as Thomas Wolsey.

Interesting Set of Posts By Claire Ridgway


Claire Ridgway, writer and author, runs The Anne Boleyn Files.
Claire Ridgway, writer and author, runs The Anne Boleyn Files.

Interesting Set of Posts By Claire Ridgway

This morning I came across this interesting set of posts written by Claire Ridgway of The Anne Boleyn Files on the stereotypes of the six wives of Henry VIII.

Opinions? Comments?

 

UPDATE: English Monarchs and When They Ruled


This post is an update on a previous post. Instead of just listing the monarchs and consorts and when they ruled I have also listed the legitimate children of each union and their title.

William I (1066 – 1087) … Consort – Matilda of Flanders

Children – Robert, Duke of Normandy d. 1134

Richard d. 1075

William II d. 1100

Henry I d. 1135

Adelaide d. 1113

Cecily d. 1127

Matilda d. 1086

Constance, Duchess of Brittany d. 1090 Continue reading

The Basics of the Tudor Consorts


As promised following my post on basic facts about the Tudors monarchs, a post on the basics of the Tudor consorts, including the six wives of Henry VIII, Elizabeth of York and Phillip II of Spain. Enjoy!

18th century copy of Elizabeth of York as queen; she holds the white rose of the House of York.
18th century copy of Elizabeth of York as queen; she holds the white rose of the House of York.

Elizabeth of York

Nicknames: None
Reigned: 18 January 1486 – 11 February 1503
Coronation: 25 November 1487
Born: 11 February 1466
Died: 11 February 1503
Parents: Edward IV of England d. 1483 & Elizabeth Woodville d. 1492
Married: Henry VII of England d. 1509
Children: Arthur d. 1502, Henry VIII of England d. 1547, Mary d. 1533 & Margaret
Importance of Marriage: Her marriage to Henry VII united the houses of York and Lancaster and ended the Wars of the Roses
Key Events: Marriage of Prince Arthur to Katherine of Aragon, defeat of pretenders like Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel & the end of the Wars of the Roses Continue reading

English Monarchs and When They Ruled over England


This is a post which I compiled last year: it includes the dates and consorts of all English and British monarchs. I was intending to also list children but haven’t yet got around to it. I’ll update the post at a later time.

(Becomes Great Britain under the reign of Queen Anne 1702 – 1714)

(Becomes United Kingdom under the reign of George III 1760 – 1820)

William I (1066 – 1087) … Consort – Matilda of Flanders

William II (1087 – 1100) … Consort – None

Henry I (1100 – 1135) … Consort – Matilda of Scotland / Adeliza of Louvain

Stephen (1135 – 1141) … Consort – Matilda of Boulogne

Empress Matilda (1141) … Consort – Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor / Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou

Henry II (1154 – 1189) … Consort – Eleanor of Aquitaine Continue reading

Possible Tudor-Related Dissertation / Essay Titles


So judging from some of the searches coming up on my stats page, and from personal experience, now is about the time that people begin to choose their dissertation questions, and some essay questions so I thought I’d put up a list of possibles here to help you guys out. I realise these are far from exhaustive, and some of the phrasing could do with improving, but they’re just examples.

Henry VII holding a Tudor Rose, wearing collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, 1505.
Henry VII holding a Tudor Rose, wearing collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, 1505.

Henry VII

  1. What steps did Henry VII take to consolidate his power after Bosworth?
  2. How did Henry VII manipulate Richard III’s image to suit his own purpose?
  3. How serious was the threat to Henry VII by pretenders?
  4. How far was Henry VII’s authority challenged by rebellions and conspiracies during his reign?
  5. How did Henry VII exert control ove his financial policies and why was this control so important?
  6. Henry VII negotiated marriages for his children before his death, but how successful were they politically?
  7. Compare the success of the pretenders Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck?
  8. To what extent did Henry VII contribute to the death of Prince Arthur?
  9. What did Henry VII do to try to win over the English people?
  10. How crucial were the roles of councillors in Henry VII’s reign?

Continue reading

Review of David Loades’s ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’


'The Six Wives of Henry VIII' by David Loades (2010).
‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ by David Loades (2010).

David Loades, ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ (Stroud: Amberley Publishing, 2010) Paperback, ISBN 978-1-4456-0049-9

Title: There seems to be quite a lot of books entitled The Six Wives of Henry VIII or something very similar, including works by David Starkey, Antonia Fraser and Alison Weir. It’s simple and straight to the point, making it clear what the book is about. What is lacking about this and similar titles is that it isn’t very imaginative and suggests that the author will simply be looking at the same things that have been covered before.

Preface: Loades’s introduction adds some contextual information of the world of sixteenth century politics in which these women were key players. What is interesting is his outline of other key political marriages from the fifteenth century, which set a pattern for the sixteenth. However, this section could have been shorter and more concise, allowing more space to look at the actual topic the book is written about. Continue reading

Meaning of Tudor Names


  • Anne

    Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein 1539
    Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein 1539
Anne Boleyn Hever Castle Portrait
Anne Boleyn Hever Castle Portrait

Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves

French form of ‘Anna’. ‘Anna’ is a form of Channah used in Greek and Latin. In Hebrew it means ‘favour’ or ‘grace’. It was a popular name in the Byzantine Empire, and was later used to honour Saint Anna, mother of the Virgin Mary. In Anne Boleyn’s coronation procession, there was a pageant showing her as the mother of the Virgin Mary, but it boded ill, as Mary only gave birth to a girl, and not the son Anne Boleyn desperately wanted and needed to give Henry VIII. In the end, Anne only gave birth to a girl. Anne of Cleves was shown favour after she accepted the end of her marriage to Henry VIII – instead of execution as Anne Boleyn had, Anne of Cleves was accepted as the king’s sister, and outlived him. Partly this was because of her having a standing similar to that of Katherine of Aragon – she had powerful relatives who would probably have avenged her death.   Continue reading

Timeline of the English Reformation


 

Anonymous portrait of Prince Arthur, son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York c.1501.
Anonymous portrait of Prince Arthur, son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York c.1501.

1501 – Katherine of Aragon marries Prince Arthur of England.

1502 – Prince Arthur dies.

1504 – Pope Julius II annuls marriage of Katherine and Arthur.

1509 – Henry VIII succeeds to the throne and marries Katherine of Aragon:-

Katherine testified that her marriage to Arthur was never consummated, and so a dispensation was granted to allow her to marry Henry. The matter of consummation was later a central issue in the divorce.

1516 – Princess Mary (later Mary I) born.

1517 – Luther posts his 95 theses on a church door in Wittenburg in Germany, formally beginning the Protestant Reformation in Europe:- Continue reading