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Archive for This-n-that

You’d Think They’d at Least Have a Sign

It's that teeny square just to the right of the arrow head.

It’s that teeny square just to the right of the arrow head.

Have you found yourself on Tower Hill, looking round for the spot where Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, the Seymour brothers, and [too] many others were executed? And wondering why you couldn’t find the darn spot? You aren’t alone. When we talk about the Tower Hill executions, many people mention that they haven’t been able to locate this oft-discussed area, although Tower Hill itself is not terribly large.

Last summer, my husband and I returned to London* and stayed right on Tower Hill (at the Doubletree by Hilton, which I highly recommend, by the way). We’d already been there for several days, walking across the Hill and back again to get to and from the Underground and Tower Bridge (which we’d cross to get to the awesome restaurants in Bermondsey, such as Casse Croute, Pizarro, and José ) when I noticed a little square on the ground, lined in antiqued-green plaques.


That was when it hit me: THIS was the spot!

So I created my Tower Hill Execution Spot location guide. Now you, too, can find this famous (though grisly) historical place. Happy hunting!

* Want to read about our day at Hampton Court Palace? Click here!


Judging History and Those Who Made It


(This image is copyrighted The Tudor Tutor)

Just had to post this reminder — one of the most important things to remember, in my opinion!

The BEST Christmas Gift…



I’m happy to say that I can share updated pics of Hampton Court Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, etc after my trip to London next summer!

My husband surprised me big-time on Christmas morning with the info that he planned a trip for us, along with some clever go-along gifts such as thisthis, this, and this. How fun is he??

Picture This

Cecily Heron, a daughter of Thomas More

Centuries from now, no one will have a hard time finding pictures of us: Many 21st-century folk have been immortalised in those online shrines to ourselves which we have created. But to picture Tudor-era individuals, we rely on the works of portrait painters and other artworks, which may or may not be accurate.

Regardless, we can appreciate the works for what they are — What are some of your favorite portraits or other representations of Tudor-era figures? Here are some of mine…

Catherine of Aragon by Michael Sittow – her eyes downcast, she looks humble and so very young (which she was!)

Bishop John Fisher by Hans Holbein the Younger – ironically, it’s the starkness of this sketch which brings the bishop to life

Cecily Heron (daughter of Thomas More) by Hans Holbein the Younger – simple and with an unusual angle; seems like a candid image

Mary I by Anthonis More – looks like a photograph and, while her features are starting to take on a severe appearance, her sumptuous clothes look amazing here

Christina of Denmark (contender for Wife #4) by Hans Holbein the Younger  – another photo-quality painting, with a peaceful appearance

Marie de Guise (mother of Mary Queen of Scots) by Corneille de Lyon – her expression is unusual and quite pensive

Mary Queen of Scots by Francois Clouet – a delicate strength in this sketch, I believe

Sir Walter Raleigh by Nicholas Hilliard – maybe it’s something to do with my affinity for the New Romantic movement back in the 80s? 😉 You’ve gotta love this splendid image!

Elizabeth I by an unknown artist – She’d been dead for about 7 years at the time of this painting. But she decreed that there would be no bad portraits of her when she was alive. And she looks absolutely wiped here, which I imagine she was as her life came to a close.

This Won’t Hurt a Bit … At Least, Not as Much as It Used To

As much as I love the past, there are several reasons (all medical-related) I feel fortunate not to live there. One is antibiotics. Two is pain relief. Three, four, five, and to infinity is dental care.

I don’t need hypnosis or sedatives to get through a dental cleaning, but I come close. I need the iPod, the yoga breathing, the “staring at the ceiling and intently counting all the dots,” the “just imagine all the people going through so much worse, including war.”

I’m often complimented on my naturally straight teeth (never had braces or other correction) but structurally they are awful! It’s genetic, I hear. I could brush, floss, and fluoridate constantly (and I do) but I usually need a filling or two, and have already had a root canal and crown. Ugh.

But it could be worse. My teeth could be in the 16th century, subject to this dental mouth gag. Or, in the unfortunate case of extraction, this dental pelican.

Then again, maybe hundreds of years from now people will give thanks that they no longer have to endure “barbaric” tools such as the dental drill or Hedstrom file. I leave you with Steve Martin’s old “Theodorick of York” skit from Saturday Night Live:

Dr. York, Medieval Barber/Surgeon: “Why just 50 years ago, we would have thought your daughter’s illness was brought on by demonic possession or witchcraft…”

(Much laughing from Dr. York and the patient’s mother at this ridiculous antiquated diagnosis )

“…But nowadays we know that Isabelle is suffering from an imbalance of bodily humours, perhaps caused by a toad or small dwarf living in her stomach.”

* has a nice article on 12th-14th century dentistry here.

* I’m fortunate to have a dentist who not only is great at what he does but who also follows my blog — Hi, Dr. Chang!

A Rose By Any Other Name is Probably the Ship…

I’m in a rumour-slaying mood this week. So let me throw this out there before it gets ugly:

There is a new biography out by David Loades, who is steeped in Tudor history and should not have let this one get by. Its title is Mary Rose: Tudor Princess, Queen of France, The Extraordinary Life of Henry VIII’s Sister. Amazon calls it “the first biography of Princess Mary Rose for 50 years” but I suppose that is the line given them from the publisher.

So what’s the problem? Well, Henry VIII’s sister was just “Mary.” Stop calling her Mary Rose, for the love of Pete. You know who you are. Mary Rose was the ship. Mary Tudor was the sister. The ship wasn’t necessarily named after her. Read this, before I hold my breath and turn blue. And don’t make me say it again!

Popping Out to Say Hello…

Sorry to be away from the blog so much! Lots of things going on at the moment. I’ve been able to hit up FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest, but not as much here.

I wanted to touch base with everyone and mention that my book (which I’d planned to publish this spring) should be coming out in 2013.

Also, speaking of books, Simon & Schuster was kind enough to send me a copy of Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England to read/review, so I am excitedly digging into that now. Don’t get me wrong, I do love our Massive Monarch and all his wives, and our Virgin Queen, but it is refreshing to have a long read about the granddaddy of the dynasty.

As I am in this whirlwind it may take me a while to finish it, but when I do I shall post a review for you!