Who Was … Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester?


Lettice Knollys was the wife of two great nobles – Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, and Elizabeth I’s favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. It is also possible that she was an illegitimate granddaughter of Henry VIII through her grandmother, Mary Boleyn’s, affair with Henry, possibly resulting in her mother, Catherine Carey. Lettice lived in the reigns of six different monarchs – Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I.

Name: Lettice Knollys (at birth) / Lettice Devereux (married name) / Lettice Dudley (married name)

Title/s: Viscountess Hereford /Countess of Essex /Countess of Leicester

Birth: 8 November 1543 at Rotherfield Greys, Oxfordshire, England

Death: 25 December 1634 at Drayton Bassett, Staffordshire, England

Burial: Beauchamp Chapel of the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick, England

Spouse: Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex 1541-1576 / Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester 1532-1588 / Sir Christopher Blount c.1555 – 1601

Children: (by Walter Devereux) Penelope Blount, Countess of Devonshire c.1563-1607 / Dorothy Percy, Countess of Northumberland c.1564-1619 / Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex 1565-1601 / Walter Devereux 1569-1591 / (by Robert Dudley) Robert Dudley, Baron Denbigh 1579-1584

Parents: Sir Francis Knollys c.1511-1596 & Catherine Carey c.1524-1569

Siblings: Sir Henry Knollys c.1541-1582 / Mary Stalker 1542-1593 / William Knollys, 1st Earl of Banbury c.1544-1632 / Edward Knollys 1546-1580 / Sir Robert Knollys 1547-1626 / Elizabeth Leighton 1549-c.1605 / Richard Knollys 1552-1596 / Sir Thomas Knollys c.1558-c.1596 / Sir Francis Knollys c.1552-1643 / Anne West, Baroness de la Warr 1555-1608 / Katherine Fitzgerald, Baroness Offaley c.1560-1632 / Dudley Knollys 1562-1562

Noble Connections: Lettice was the grand-daughter of Mary Boleyn through her daughter, Catherine Carey, and thus the great-niece of Anne Boleyn, second wife to Henry VIII. Lettice’s mother was a favourite of Elizabeth I and Lettice herself married Elizabeth’s favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, as her second husband, having first been married to Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex.

Continue reading “Who Was … Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester?”

Who Was … Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley?


Thomas Seymour was brother to Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour, and to Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector to Edward VI. He married Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Katherine Parr, after Henry’s death, and supposedly then proposed marriage to Princesses Mary and Elizabeth after her death. He was executed on the orders of his brother and nephew (the two Edwards) for treason in 1549.

Name: Thomas Seymour

Title/s: Baron Seymour of Sudeley

Birth: c.1508, probably at Wolf Hall, Wiltshire, England

Death: 20 March 1549 on Tower Hill, London, England

Buried: Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London, England

Spouse: Katherine Parr 1512-1548

Children: Mary Seymour 1548-?

Parents: Sir John Seymour 1474-1536 and Margery Wentworth 1478-1550

Siblings: John Seymour ?-1510 / Edward Seymour Duke of Somerset c.1500-1552 / Henry Seymour 1503-1578 / Anthony Seymour ?-1528 / Jane Seymour c.1509-1537 / Margery Seymour ?-1528 / Elizabeth Paulet Marchioness of Winchester 1518-1568 / Dorothy Leventhorpe 1515-1552

Noble Connections: His sister, Jane, became Queen of England as the third wife of Henry VIII, and through this marriage he was uncle to Edward VI. His brother, Edward, was Lord Protector during the minority of Edward VI, and he married the dowager queen, Katherine Parr.

Continue reading “Who Was … Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley?”

Who Was … Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury?


Thomas Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury under Henry VIII and Edward VI, and briefly under Mary I, and was seen as a leader of the English Reformation. He was responsible for the Book of Common Prayer in 1549 and supported many reformers from England and abroad. Cranmer was arrested on the orders of Mary I for heresy, and initially recanted before dismissing his recantation and being burned alive in 1556.

Name: Thomas Cranmer

Title/s: Archbishop of Canterbury

Birth: 2 July 1489 in Aslockton, Nottinghamshire, England

Death: 21 March 1556 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

Buried: Martyr’s Memorial, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

Spouse: None (unofficially, Margarete Hetzel 1511-1576)

Children: Margaret Cranmer 1536-1568 / Thomas Cranmer 1538-1598

Parents: Thomas Cranmer 1467-1501 & Agnes Hatfield 1469-1556

Siblings: Agnes Andrews 1491-1556

Noble Connections: Cranmer was patronised by Anne Boleyn, Queen to Henry VIII. He was close to both Henry VIII and Edward VI and was instrumental in allowing Jane Grey to take the throne in 1553.

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Spotlight – Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland


Name: Margaret Tudor

Title/s: Queen of Scotland / Dowager Queen of Scotland / Princess of England / Lady Methven / Countess of Angus

Birth / Death: 28 November 1489 at Westminster Palace – 18 October 1541 at Methven Castle, buried in Perth Charterhouse

Spouse: James IV of Scotland 1473-1513 (m.1503) / Archibald Douglas 6th Earl of Angus 1489-1557 (m.1514, div.1527) / Henry Stewart 1st Lord Methven 1495-1552 (m.1528)

Children: James Stuart, Duke of Rothesay 1507-1508 / Arthur Stuart, Duke of Rothesay 1509-1510 / James V of Scotland 1512-1542 / Alexander Stuart, Duke of Ross 1514-1515 / Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox 1515-1578 Continue reading “Spotlight – Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland”

Spotlight: Anne Boleyn


Name: Anne Boleyn / Anne Bullen.

Title/s: Lady Anne Rochford, Lady Marquess of Pembroke, Queen of England.

Birth / Death: 1501? – 19 May 1536.

Spouse: Henry VIII of England 1592 – 1547.

Children: Elizabeth I of England 1533 – 1603.

Parents: Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde 1477 – 1539 & Elizabeth Howard 1480 – 1538.

Siblings: Mary Stafford c.1499-1543 / Thomas Boleyn c.1500 / Henry Boleyn c.1502 / George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford c.1504-1536

Noble Connections: Her uncle, Thomas Howard, was the Duke of Norfolk; her cousin, Henry Howard, was the Earl of Surrey; her father was the Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde; her brother was Viscount Rochford; her sister-in-law, Jane Parker, was the daughter of Baron Morley.

Continue reading “Spotlight: Anne Boleyn”

Hi Everyone!


Why did I start this blog and what do I want to achieve?

I started this blog because I wanted to share my love of the Tudors with as many people as possible. History is often seen as a boring subject, but I want to engage people with history, and hopefully make others more interested in it. History courses at colleges and universities often don’t have enough pupils on them, considering that history can make you think differently about the present, and hopefully change the future. If I can make just one more person interested in the Tudors, or in history in general then I’ll have achieved something.

What is my particular interest?

I’m particularly interested in the wives of Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn is my speciality, but I’m also really interested in the lives of Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard, though there is a shortage of sources on them. However, I’m also interested in the fiction side of things – TV shows like ‘The Tudors’ and books like ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ by Philippa Gregory and ‘The Tudor Wife’ by Emily Purdy and ‘Murder Most Royal’ by Jean Plaidy. I will blog about these, as well as facts, and how these fiction versions compare to the historical record.

Qualifications and interest?

I have a BA (Hons) degree in History, with my dissertation entitled ‘What do Contemporary Sources Reveal about Anne Boleyn’s Public Image?’ from 2012. I also have an MA in History from 2013, with a thesis entitled ‘The Many Faces of Anne Boleyn: Perceptions in History, Literature and Film’. I am currently applying for PhDs with a working title for my thesis of ‘Female Consorts: an Analysis of Film and Literature in History from Elizabeth Woodville to Katherine Parr 1464-1547’.

If you have any questions, please ask.

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