Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Tudor Rose

On his marriage, Henry adopted the Tudor Rose badge conjoining the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster. When Henry Tudor took the crown of England from Richard III in battle, he brought about the end of the Wars of the Roses between the House of Lancaster (whose badge was a red rose) and the House of York (whose badge was a white rose). His father was Edmund Tudor from the House of Richmond, and his mother was Margaret Beaufort from the House of Lancaster; he married Elizabeth of Yorkto bring all factions together.

Manners in Tudor Times

In Tudor times people ate in a common dish or in trenchers (=a kind of plate/bowl made of wheat that could be eaten as well together with the meal) and they used their fingers to eat, so it was important to have clean hands.

At this time, there was an important “figure” who was called “Miss Manners”. Miss Manners was a woman who taught people how to be polite during dinners, parties and public events. People were advised by Miss Manners to wash their hands out in the open where everyone could see them, and to keep their hands were clean during the meal, which was very difficult to do! It was considered very “fashionable” to visit Miss Manners and learn about table manners.

In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, manuals for manners gave a list of things people shouldn’t do during a meal, such as:

(Before going):

§ have a complete bath with clean water or put on perfume to avoid bad smells;

§ wash your mouth with salty water or gargle mint herbal tea to avoid bad breath;

§ polish and clean your finger nails properly;

§ dress clean clothes;

(During the dinner)

§ don't put your fingers in your ears/nose;

§ don't put your hands on your head (avoid contact with lice and dandruff, in public);

§ don't blow your nose with your hands;

§ don’t clean your nose with your clothes or with the table cloth;

§ (men) refrain from "scratching";

§ don’t release winds during the meals;

§ don’t fuss around” the dishes/trenchers looking for the best piece of meat;

§ don’t put bones back on the dishes/trenchers, throw them on the floor.

OBS: We say The Tudors (with the -s) to talk about the family. We say The Tudor (without the -s) as an adjective to give quality to “things” related to the period of the Tudors (e.g. The Tudor Rose, Tudor architecture, etc...)

Tudor Medicine

Tudor medicine was not very scientific. Doctors had to train in astrology as well as medicine as people still believed then that some illnesses were caused more by the influence of the stars than by germs and poor hygiene. The word influenza comes from "influence" and malaria means "bad air". People did not understand about germs. During their training few doctors had the chance to study anatomy except from books.

Most people had no access to doctors, as they were very expensive. The best that poor people could hope for was to be treated by a herbalist or a wise woman. This was often better! There were no anaesthetics, antibiotics or painkillers. If anyone needed to have an operation they would probably die from infection. Barbers were also trained as surgeons.

One of the common treatments was bleeding. Sometimes a doctor would open a vein by cutting it to let out "bad blood". Sometimes they would put leeches on the skin. Leeches are blood-sucking creatures that attach themselves to the skin. When they have gorged themselves with blood they drop off.

During the period of the Black Death and the Great Plague of London, plague doctors visited victims of the plague to verify whether they have been afflicted or not. They were mostly unqualified. Most qualified doctors had left the city to avoid being afflicted. Their outfit consisted of a hat to show that the man was a doctor, mask to protect the face, crystal "eyes" to "protect" the eyes, the beak stuffed with spices or herbs to "purify" the air that the doctor breathed, wooden stick to push away victims who would get too close to him, leather gloves to protect the hands, gown waxed from the exterior, and full length boots. It was believed at the time that the plague was spread through the air, not through the fleas living on the black rats. Therefore, they stuffed herbs and spices in their "beaks" or carried them somewhere. The waxed clothing may have helped prevent fleas latching on, and the clothing also prevented getting infection.

Learn by heart...

Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived...

Anne Boleyn song

How about listening to a nice song about Anne Boleyn and learning about her life:

Funny video about Henry VIII and his six wives

If you want to learn about Henry VIII's six wives, take a look at this funny video:

Gleensleeves Video

Here's a lovely video of the song GREENSLEEVES, with images taken from TheTudors serie.

Greensleeves (by Henry VIII)

There is a persistent belief that Greensleeves was composed by Henry VIII for his lover and future queen consort Anne Boleyn. Boleyn allegedly rejected King Henry's attempts to seduce her and this rejection may be referred to in the song when the writer's love "cast me off discourteously". However, Henry more than likely did not compose "Greensleeves", which is probably Elizabethan in origin and is based on an Italian style of composition that did not reach England until after his death. One possible interpretation of the lyrics is that Lady Green Sleeves was a promiscuous young woman and perhaps a prostitute. At the time, the word "green" had sexual connotations, most notably in the phrase "a green gown", a reference to the way that grass stains might be seen on a woman's dress if she had engaged in sexual intercourse out-of-doors. Another interpretation for the colour green is of lightness in love. This is echoed in 'Greensleeves is my delight' and elsewhere."


Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.

Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.

Your vows you've broken, like my heart,
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity.


I have been ready at your hand,
To grant whatever you would crave,
I have both wagered life and land,
Your love and good-will for to have.


If you intend thus to disdain,
It does the more enrapture me,
And even so, I still remain
A lover in captivity.


My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.


Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,
but still thou hadst it readily.
Thy music still to play and sing;
And yet thou wouldst not love me.


Well, I will pray to God on high,
that thou my constancy mayst see,
And that yet once before I die,
Thou wilt vouchsafe to love me.


Ah, Greensleeves, now farewell, adieu,
To God I pray to prosper thee,
For I am still thy lover true,
Come once again and love me.