‘Elizabethan Rebellions’ now available for preorder!


I am delighted to announce that my debut book, ‘Elizabethan Rebellions: Conspiracy, Intrigue, and Treason’ is now available for preorder. It is also available on NetGalley for those hoping to review it. It’s very exciting and quite nerve-racking now that people can purchase it! I just hope that everyone enjoys reading it when they get their hands on a copy (if you want to, of course!) and that you might learn something you didn’t know before.

‘Elizabethan Rebellions: Conspiracy, Intrigue, and Treason’ will be published by Pen and Sword Books on 30th January 2023 and it comes in at 256 pages with 20 black and white images.

It was so interesting to write and it’s such a thrill to now see it heading out into the world. As you may know if you also follow me on social media, I am now working on my second book about Tudor executions. I’ll put my social media links at the end of this post so head on over and give me a follow on your favourite stream if you want to see updates on how my writing is progressing!

PREORDER LINKS

If you want to preorder my book, it is available on the following sites that I’m aware of – Amazon you should be able to purchase it in your own domain and Book Depository offers free worldwide shipping if you’re outside the UK!

Pen and Swordhttps://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Elizabethan-Rebellions-Conspiracy-Intrigue-and-Treason-Hardback/p/22351

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Elizabethan-Rebellions-Conspiracy-Intrigue-Treason/dp/1399081993

Blackwellshttps://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Elizabethan-Rebellions-by-Helene-Harrison/9781399081993

Waterstoneshttps://www.waterstones.com/book/elizabethan-rebellions/helene-harrison/9781399081993

WHSmithhttps://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/elizabethan-rebellions-conspiracy-intrigue-and-treason/helene-harrison/hardback/9781399081993.html

Foyleshttps://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/history-politics/elizabethan-rebellions-conspiracy-intr,helene-harrison-9781399081993

Hivehttps://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Helene-Harrison/Elizabethan-Rebellions–Conspiracy-Intrigue-and-Treason/27619474

Barnes & Noblehttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/elizabethan-rebellions-helene-harrison/1142446644

Book Depository (free worldwide shipping) – https://www.bookdepository.com/Elizabethan-Rebellions-Helene-Harrison/9781399081993

Bookshop.orghttps://uk.bookshop.org/books/elizabethan-rebellions-conspiracy-intrigue-and-treason/9781399081993

NetGalley (for reviewers) – https://www.netgalley.co.uk/catalog/book/272723

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‘Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousins, Rival Queens’ at the British Library


I’ve been so busy recently it’s taken me a while to get round to putting this up on my blog – back in November when I was in London, as well as going to the Tower of London, Natural History Museum, and on a Jack the Ripper walking tour I, of course, had to find time to visit the British Library to see their exhibition on Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. This was just perfect timing, given that I was writing my first book on Elizabethan Rebellions which Mary was a huge part of.

There was so much to see and take in during the exhibition: portraits, books, letters, papal bulls, and jewellery. It was a real insight into the minds of these women and how they were trying to negotiate the murky political waters of the sixteenth century. Here I’m going to talk about just a couple of things in the exhibition which made a huge impact on me.

Letter from the Privy Council to the Earl of Kent giving permission for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots

The first is the letter from the Privy Council agreeing to the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. The original warrant long ago went missing, so this is the closest thing that we have. To see the signatures of William Cecil, Henry Carey Lord Hunsdon, Francis Knollys, and Charles Howard demonstrates just how willing these men were to go over and above their Queen and threaten the very idea of divine right in order to safeguard Elizabeth I’s throne. Mary was just too dangerous to be allowed to live and Elizabeth wouldn’t be safe while she did.

‘Gallows Letter’ from Mary Queen of Scots to Anthony Babington 1586

The second was the Babington ‘gallows’ letter which Mary Queen of Scots sent to Anthony Babington in 1586 during the Babington Plot and which led directly to her own execution the following year. The original was written in code and then burnt by Babington once he’d read it. This is a copy made by Walsingham’s codebreaker, Thomas Phelippes. When Phelippes realised that the letter incriminated Mary Queen of Scots in treason he drew a gallows on his copy before sending it onto Walsingham as evidence, hence the name ‘gallows letter’.

The final two things I’m going to talk about, I’m going to do together as they are related to one of my favourite Tudor people – Anne Boleyn. The exhibition included the written announcement of the birth of Elizabeth I in 1533 which was amazing to see, and the famous Chequers ring, which has portraits of Elizabeth I and, allegedly, Anne Boleyn, though this has never been conclusively proven. It seems likely, however, as Elizabeth wore it and never took it off until her death. It’s a stunning piece, smaller than I had imagined but absolutely beautiful. It links the two women together and helps us to consider what Elizabeth might have thought about her mother, who had been executed by her father when she was just 2 years old.

If you want to catch the exhibition before it closes, it is on at the British Library for another week, until 20th February 2022, or you can do a digital tour online.

https://www.bl.uk/events/elizabeth-and-mary

Who Was … William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley?


William Cecil is best known as Secretary of State to Elizabeth I, as well as Lord High Treasurer and Lord Privy Seal. He also served Edward VI as Secretary of State and then moved to look after Princess Elizabeth’s properties before she became Queen. Cecil’s role in the execution of Mary Queen of Scots is also questionable, and he was blamed in part by Elizabeth for it. He was responsible for the building of Burghley House and Theobalds.

Name: William Cecil

Title/s: 1st Baron Cecil of Burghley

Birth: 13 September 1520 in Bourne, Lincolnshire, England

Death: 4 August 1598 at Cecil House, London, England

Buried: St Martin’s Church, Stamford, Lincolnshire, England

Spouse: Mary Cheke ?-1543 & Mildred Cooke 1526-1589

Children: Thomas Cecil, Earl of Exeter 1542-1623 / Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury 1563-1612 / Anne de Vere, Countess of Oxford 1556-1588 / Francisca Cecil / William Cecil 1559 / William Cecil 1561 / Elizabeth Wentworth 1564-1583

Parents: Richard Cecil c.1495-1553 & Jane Heckington ?-1587

Siblings: Agnes White c.1527-? / Margaret Cave 1523-1553 / Elizabeth Wingfield c.1525-1611

Noble Connections: William Cecil was Secretary of State to both Edward VI and Elizabeth I. He was also Elizabeth I’s closest advisor for most of her reign. He also initially supported the reign of Lady Jane Grey in 1553. He is the founder of the Cecil dynasty which has produced 2 prime ministers including the 3rd Marquis of Salisbury.

Continue reading “Who Was … William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley?”

Potted History of Tudor Homes


Bradgate House = Bradgate House is now a ruin, but it was home to the Grey family, descended from the first son of Elizabeth Woodville by her first husband. Lady Jane Grey and her sisters, Katherine and Mary, grew up here. The Grey family lived here for two hundred year until 1739, but a newer house, also in ruins, now stands nearby to the original ruins. More of the Tudor chapel and tower stand now than of the house itself.

Burghley House was the home of William Cecil, advisor to Elizabeth I
Burghley House was the home of William Cecil, advisor to Elizabeth I

Burghley House = Burghley House was built by William Cecil, Lord Burghley. He was the most trusted councillor of Elizabeth I, and very focused on trying to catch Mary Queen of Scots in conducting treason. Burghley’s changes to the house took from 1555 to 1587, but little of the Tudor inside now remains. Burghley House is the only one of Cecil’s many properties still standing today, though it has been much changed. Continue reading “Potted History of Tudor Homes”

Potted History of Prominent Tudor Families


Katherine Howard miniature by Hans Holbein.
Katherine Howard miniature by Hans Holbein.

Howards

The Howards were one of the oldest families. They were the family who had the Dukedom of Norfolk. Anne of York, the daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, married into the Howard family. Well-known descendents included Anne Boleyn (second wife of Henry VIII) and Katherine Howard (fifth wife of Henry VIII). Mary Howard married Henry Fitzroy, illegitimate son of Henry VIII and Duke of Richmond and Somerset. It was probably their ambitions that brought them down in the end.

Seymours

Jane Seymour by Hans Holbein c.1536.
Jane Seymour by Hans Holbein c.1536.

The Seymour family were pretty obscure until Henry VIII fell in love with Jane Seymour, who later became his third wife after the execution of his second, Anne Boleyn. Their triumph was short-lived. Jane’s only child became Edward VI, but he had no children. Jane’s two brothers, Edward and Thomas, were both executed in the reign of their nephew, Edward VI. Edward Seymour had been Lord Protector, until he was overthrown by John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. Thomas Seymour tried to get control of Edward VI and was killed for it. Continue reading “Potted History of Prominent Tudor Families”

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