Letters to the Past

Ok everyone I have come up with a brilliant new idea for this site. I think it will be really interesting and lot of fun.

I already started a section called Letters for the King (Henry VIII) where I am posting letters that people send me of what they would love to say or tell Henry VIII in a letter as if her were to actually be able to receive them. I also  going to be adding sections for his wifes so people can write to them as well and also a section for Marie Antoinette and other wonderful people of her time as well. And well just ANYONE in history that someone would like to write too. If you would like to advertize this somehow on your site, facebook, twitter, or anywhere else. Or if you personally would like to participate or know of anyone who would like to just send me a comment to this post or email me at loveofhistorysite@gmail.c​om
So far the only way I can get peoples letters added is by you sending your letters in as an email and then I post them giving you complete and full credit. (I’m working on trying to find an easier way but till then this is how it will be done)
I’m really excited to see how this turns out. I’m sure we all have things we wish we could say to people from history and this is a great way to at least put it in words for others to see and enjoy

What You Need To Do:

  • First pick someone or many people you would like to write a letter too.
  • Write your letter or letters (say whatever you wish to say to them as if the letter is coming from now or if you are writting in the past)
  • Send it to me at  loveofhistorysite@gmail.com  and tell me the name you would like me to give credit to for the letter.
  • I will then add your letter or letters to the site asap
**If you have any ideas or suggestions please feel free to let me know**
Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 9:09 pm  Comments (1)  

Anne Boleyn History Tour

Hey all Anne Boleyn lovers this is a must to check out. The wonderful Natalie who runs onthetudortrail.com told me about this wonder tour that she is leading. If only I had the money to go this year I would jump on the opertinuty in a heart but maybe another year I will get the chance to. But please check out the link and see if it is something you are interested in. Chances like this don’t always happen.

An eight day luxury tour following in the footsteps of Anne Boleyn aimed at people with a love of Tudor history and an interest in the paranormal.

via Anne Boleyn History Tour.

Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bastille Day

Bastille Day, the French national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which took place on 14 July 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The Bastille was a prison and a symbol of the absolute and arbitrary power of Louis the 16th’s Ancient Regime. By capturing this symbol, the people signaled that the king’s power was no longer absolute: power should be based on the Nation and be limited by a separation of powers.

Although the Bastille only held seven prisoners at the time of its capture, the storming of the prison was a symbol of liberty and the fight against oppression for all French citizens; like the Tricolore flag, it symbolized the Republic’s three ideals: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity for all French citizens. It marked the end of absolute monarchy, the birth of the sovereign Nation, and, eventually, the creation of the (First) Republic, in 1792.

Bastille Day was declared the French national holiday on 6 July 1880, on Benjamin Raspail’s recommendation, when the new Republic was firmly entrenched. Bastille Day has such a strong signification for the French because the holiday symbolizes the birth of the Republic.

As in the US, where the signing of the Declaration of Independence signaled the start of the American Revolution, in France the storming of the Bastille began the Great Revolution. In both countries, the national holiday thus symbolizes the beginning of a new form of government. On the one-year anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, delegates from every region of France proclaimed their allegiance to a single national community during the Fête de la Fédération in Paris – the first time in history that a people had claimed their right to self-determination.

The French Revolution

The French Revolution had numerous causes which are greatly simplified and summarized here:

  1. Parliament wanted the king to share his absolute powers with an oligarchic parliament.
  2. Priests and other low-level religious figures wanted more money.
  3. Nobles also wanted to share some of the king’s power.
  4. The middle class wanted the right to own land and to vote.
  5. The lower class were quite hostile in general and farmers were angry about tithes and feodal rights.
  6. Some historians claim that the revolutionaries were opposed to Catholicism more than to the king or the upper classes.


Published in: on July 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

What the Romans Used for Toilet Paper

The ancient Romans were sophisticated in surprising ways. Take going to the bathroom, for example. In first century Rome, there were over one hundred public latrines, many of them with marble seats, scenes from Greek mythology on the walls, running water and ancient Roman toilet paper provided.

But what DID they use for toilet paper? Well, you could use a leaf, a handful of moss or your left hand! But what most Romans used was something called a spongia, a sea-sponge on a long stick. The stick was long because of the design of Roman toilets. Public facilities had a long marble bench with holes on top – for the obvious thing – and holes at the front: for the sponge-sticks. There were no doors or dividing walls. You sat right next to your friend and did what you had to do.

Most Romans wore tunics (a garment like a long tee-shirt) and probably nothing underneath. So you could just hike it up in back and sit on the cool marble seat, leaving the front of the tunic to cover your knees and your modesty. You would sit there, chatting with your friends, and when you finished your ‘task’ you would rinse the sponge in the channel of running water at your feet and – without standing up or revealing anything – you would push the spongia through the hole at the front, give  your bottom a wipe, rinse off the spongia… and leave it in a basin for the next person to use!

Gotta love those ancient Romans.

By Caroline Lawrence


Published in: on July 10, 2011 at 8:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Something in the Heir

Please check out this link about the death about Edward VI. I thought it was truly amazing.


Published in: on July 7, 2011 at 12:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Medieval disease to return to Stony Stratford

The Black Death may have been eliminated 500 years ago, but it’s coming back to Stony Stratford this weekend.

On Sunday July 10, villagers from the South Northamptonshire village of Grafton Regis will be enacting King Henry VIII’s failed 1528 attempt to visit his Grafton royal palace.

King Henry VIII regularly travelled with his Court through Stony Stratford on his way from London to his royal palace in Grafton Regis. An outbreak of bubonic plague (more commonly known as the Black Death) in 1528 prevented Henry from visiting the palace that year.

The enactment will start at 1.30pm outside the Cock Hotel on the High Street. King Henry VIII and his entourage will come face to face with ragged villagers, their skins covered in the sores of the plague. It will also involve a number of other historical figures, who have travelled through the town over the years, including Queen Elizabeth Woodville, the mother of the Princes in the Tower.

Organiser and Grafton Regis resident Kathy Harry said: “Throughout his reign Henry VIII was a regular visitor to his palace at Grafton Regis. He brought a number of his wives, including Anne Boleyn.

“This area has a very rich history, due largely to the importance of the ancient thoroughfare of which Stony Stratford is part.”

Later in the month the village of Grafton Regis will be hosting a two-day History Fayre on Saturday July 30 and Sunday July 31 from 11am to 4pm.

The Fayre will include two re-enacted battles each day, organised by the local Viking war band, Utlagi Svartulfr (Outlaw Companions of the Black Wolves) and by the British Plate Armour Society.

The Fayre will have a full programme of entertainment including historical traders’ stalls, have-a-go archery and other history-related events. Entrance for adults £5.00, children under 12 £3.00, and children under 5 go free.


Published in: on July 7, 2011 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Online Class (Henry VIII)

Henry VIII by Wendy J. Dunn (suite 101)

This is a course written by author, Wendy J. Dunn on Henry VIII. The course is available on Suite 101 and sounds fabulous!

Here is the course description:


Henry VIII and his Wives have fascinated people down the centuries. An extraordinary royal soap opera – full of love, passion, lust, grief, and joy – it is indeed a subject that runs across the full gamut of human emotions – where figures seemingly larger than life strode upon the stage of English history.

In this course, students will explore the very ‘human’ lives of Henry and his wives by not only using the specified resource materials but also by putting their stories against the context of the times through the examination of primary material – when we listen to the voices from the period recount their hopes, bewilderments and despairs.

The course begins with a teenage king ‘coming into his own’ after his father’s death, and seeking to address a perceived wrong by marrying his brother’s widow. We follow this ‘royal’ youth into manhood – when he discovers grief, disappointment and disillusionment along the way. We see him fall out of love, and into love – not once, but at least three times, the first time of which he turns his kingdom down to achieve his heart’s desire.

Henry VIII came to the throne as a popular King – and he died a popular King. But, in the closing years of his reign, the sleeping lion that Sir Thomas More had perceived at the beginning of Henry’s reign, treading carefully not to awake it, had been long roused, and its jaws dripped blood – not only with More’s own blood, but also with blood coming from at least three of the six women Henry VIII had professed to love, and made his Queens. These women Henry wedded have gone down in history as ‘Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded and Survived.’ Indeed, achieving the status of wife to Henry meant obtaining very little promise of any marital bliss.

The course will be divided into eight segments.

(1) Setting the Tudor stage.

General introduction to the Tudors and the resources we will use during the course.

(2) Loyal Heart


Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. A Spanish princess, brought up in one of the most powerful kingdoms in Christendom, Catherine had been readied almost from birth to be England’s Queen. Intelligent, pious, in love with Henry – who she never stopped thinking of as her husband – Catherine did her very best to provide Henry Tudor with a royal heir.

(3) Without Male Heir


Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Sexy, talented, quick witted, Anne Boleyn was no doubt the grand passion of Henry’s life, and Henry VIII turned his kingdom upside down to have her as his bedmate, and wife. But his bright passion soon flickered out after the birth of another daughter, with such tragic consequences for her mother.

(4)Entirely Beloved


Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. Plain Jane, and quiet like a mouse – or was she really? Who was this woman like that gave to Henry the only ‘royal’ son to live to succeed him – and the woman Henry wished to be buried next to after death.

(5) My Wife, My Sister


Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves. Bad body smell, long nose, flabby breasts – Henry’s soon divorced Flander’s mare. But did Henry and Anne just simply get off on the wrong foot? (Or is that hoof?)

(6) The Rose Without a Thorn


Henry VIII and Katheryn Howard. From the light relief of Henry and Anne of Cleves, we go to more Tudor tragedy – when an ‘old before his time’ King becomes besotted with a teenage girl with a shady past she wanted to forget.

(7) Surviving Henry


Henry VIII and Katherine Parr. Married for the third time, Katherine was wise enough to survive her marriage to this royal spouse – but that doesn’t mean all went smoothly in time as Queen, and before she could marry the man she really loved.

(8) The Legacy of Henry and his Wives.


Final conclusions about Henry and his six queens, and additional resources for further research.

Here are just a few of the questions we shall explore during this course:

  • How and why did Henry VIII become the ‘absolute tyrant’ King England so well remembers?
  • Was it the King’s belief that his marriage was ‘unclean’ through Catherine’s prior marriage to Henry’s own brother, and thus accursed in the eyes of God, the only reason the King sought to divorce Catherine of Aragon?
  • Or was the true reason this: Henry had fallen in love with another woman and now wished for a new wife?
  • Was Anne Boleyn indeed the main reason for English reformation?
  • What were the personalities of the women who became wives?
  • What was life like in Tudor times?

It is not necessary for students to possess previous knowledge of this subject; during the course detailed background information will be supplied.

Start Wendy’s free course now!

Published in: on July 1, 2011 at 7:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

David Starkey’s lecture at Peterborough Cathedral

David Starkey’s lecture at Peterborough Cathedral by Keeleigh Hodgson

Peterborough Cathedral

The following is an account of my observations of the lecture given by Dr David Starkey at Peterborough Cathedral on 25th June 2011. As with all observations it may not be an exact replication of what took place. As the great man said himself, “it’s all subjective and even the police do not always trust eye witnesses.”

David Starkey limped on to the stage in a foot brace, asking his audience not to feel sorry for him as it was his own fault. He then sat down and rested his foot on a stool and proceeded to tell the audience of how he was planning originally to give a talk about all of Henry’s wives but decided to concentrate on Catherine of Aragon, as Peterborough Cathedral was her final resting place.

Catherine of Aragon’s tomb at Peterborough Cathedral

Starkey went on to say that female historians, in his mind, haven’t helped the image of Henry, as the majority see Catherine as the good, honest and loyal wife who ultimately suffered because of Henry’s selfishness. Starkey commented that this was not dissimilar to Shakespeare’s rendition of Catherine in ‘Henry VIII’, where Shakespeare has used the Blackfriars speech.  As with all great literature, it was probably taken verbatim to which he joked, “Shakespeare knows a good prose when he sees one”.

Catherine of Aragon by Michel Sittow

David Starkey admitted that he believed Catherine of Aragon was a good and honest woman and then turned to Archdeacon of Peterborough and asked, “We can all be good and honest but it is to a certain degree isn’t it?” To reinstate his beliefs Starkey spoke of the findings in the Spanish State Archives and of the letters written to her father Ferdinand of Aragon, those dealing with Catherine of Aragon’s first miscarriage and of how she and her physician chose to lie to her father about the dates of the miscarriage. Although there are reports of Henry being furious about these lies, Starkey implied that Henry possibly knew.

Starkey seemed to show compassion for the Queens, whose children were born and almost instantly separated from them. Not dissimilar from a Queen Bee, allowing the Queen to be ready for the next birth in 10 months time. And went on to say, “Yes, Catherine did lie, but, it was a noble lie.”

Wedding portrait of Ferdinand and Isabella, Catherine’s parents.

Catherine was more of a warrior princess, being brought up in the camps and witnessing the military triumphs of her mother Isabella of Castile and father Ferdinand of Aragon. Catherine and her siblings were educated and prepared to unite their Kingdoms, as if to surround France via the Netherlands, Portugal and with Catherine, England. Henry, on the other hand, was brought up surrounded by women, growing up around his sisters and mother, and in jest Starkey called Henry a “mummy’s boy”.

Henry wasn’t taught the ways of a King but was known as the ‘spare’ in complete contrast to his older brother, Arthur, who resided at Ludlow to learn how to become a King. With this, Starkey brought up a modern day relation to how some parents still send their sons to boarding schools and how it is proven that boys who attend boarding schools become better leaders.

David Starkey summed up Henry as the ‘perfect boy’, tall at 6ft 2, strong, handsome, poetic, scholarly, intelligent, sporting and creative, “A strong, strapping, rugby playing type”.

Starkey spoke of Henry and Catherine’s wedding day and mentioned how many today assume the weddings of history weren’t as elaborate, something that is incorrect. Starkey, with enthusiasm, spoke of the rich tapestries, the choirs and how a walkway was constructed at head height, purely for the public to see the royal couple and plinths for them to pledge their vows. The clergy were moved out of the way to allow the public to see this special occasion and it was in a very similar standard to what Royal weddings are now, “minus the stupid trees” joked Starkey. He then, ‘raised concerns’ of how the only two times monarchs have married in St Pauls it has ended badly (Henry to Catherine of Aragon, and Charles to Diana).

Starkey explained how in the past people didn’t marry for ‘love’ (or ‘lurve’ as he often referred to it) but more for power/convenience and of how kingdoms would be willing to make ties regardless of human emotion. A good example is Catherine’s sister, Isabella, who married Prince Alfonso of Portugal in Seville, and when he passed away, Isabella wed Manual I of Portugal, Alfonso’s uncle. Starkey stated, “if at first you don’t succeed…try and try again” which was soon to be the case with Catherine, sent to England to marry Arthur Prince of Wales, whom sadly passed away of suspected tuberculosis and in 14 months time, was betrothed to Henry.

He then made reference to Henry walking Catherine down the aisle to marry his brother Arthur.

He spoke of how the King and Queen had separate apartments and made reference to the layout of Hampton Court and how the courting rituals of the monarchy were reduced to the Groom of the Stool knocking on the Queen’s chamber asking, “How dothe the lady feel?” David Starkey then paraphrased in his own dry wit as to ascertain if the queen had a ‘headache’.

Anne Boleyn by Unknown artist, National Portrait Gallery

Starkey spoke of how everything in history is intrinsic, it just wasn’t a case of Henry marrying Anne Boleyn, it was all the small things that led up to the break with Rome and he said how the ‘problem’ was Henry couldn’t help falling in and out of love. This was the crux of the most influential time of English, and indeed world history. It was this simple matter that has transformed the world. In an aside, Starkey spoke of his time at Cambridge, where his tutor was shocked/negative towards him writing an autobiographical account, instead of concentrating on the ‘big events’.

Catherine being of the ‘old way’, was maybe what Henry wasn’t after, cue Anne Boleyn, essentially French in her manner and charms and highly intelligent to boot. David Starkey spoke of how Henry was, “like a school boy writing love letters, with a big heart and the initials A B, H R forever.”

Starkey told the crowd that Anne was amazing, intelligent and full of charm, more a French lady than she was a British one and Anne was a part of not only British history but also world history. Starkey made an amusing remark about how Anne, even by the French was seen as a “fine French lady” and not British at all, which Starkey said was a very high compliment indeed. As was the time, the French were designed for seduction, unlike the British. Anne, naturally different to Catherine, set out to be the complete polar opposite of Catherine, hence the different stance in religion – if Catherine was Roman Catholic, then Anne had to be Evangelical.

He painted the picture of how Anne was not conventionally pretty for her time; he even brought up the alleged sixth finger! He spoke of how her black eyes, sallow skin and small breasts were not considered beautiful by Tudor standards. Conventional beauty of the time was similar to what we now perceive to be attractive i.e. blonde, big busted and blue eyes.

It was more Anne’s charm and education that attracted Henry, in contrast to the old noble, dutiful and less attractive, Catherine of Aragon, who had endured years of multiple pregnancies and a lack of post-natal exercise regimes.

David highlighted the juxtaposition of Henry’s reign from being the defender of the faith and disagreeing with France about them breaking with Rome and their King of the time being granted a divorce, to being the head of his own church. Starkey supposed it was down to what side of the bed Henry got out of that would help make his mind up and ultimately, decide which side he would be on. Starkey compared Henry to Tony Blair in “believing himself to be right!”

Starkey spoke of how Henry saw himself as immediately under God and how the word of God was given to him, which he then disseminated to the people. This is depicted in the title page of the Great Bible where Henry takes centre stage and most of the picture, while God is simply tucked away in the clouds in the corner, which amused Starkey.

Starkey explained that Henry gave way for women to rule as monarch, and jested that Henry was the ultimate in equal opportunities; he gave them the power to rule, and didn’t think twice about beheading them. He quipped that the British never murder anyone – they execute them!

During an aside he bluntly asked the Archdeacon of Peterborough if he was allowed to use the term ‘gay’ as he remarked how he couldn’t understand Henry having so many wives, as it was either one of two reasons; you either love women a lot to want to have six wives, or you despise women enough to want to divorce 5 times.

Question and Answer Session: 

A member of the audience asked, “If Catherine had of bore Henry a son, do you think Henry would have still annulled the marriage?” Starkey answered that he believed that Henry would have been the loving and loyal husband he was previously. Starkey interestingly brought up new research of modern medicine that suggests that Henry may have had a certain blood group (Kell), which would explain the lack of children and high rate of miscarriage and stillborns. People of this blood group are more likely to have a child from the first conception, a “hole in one” Starkey bantered.

A comment from a teacher about how she feels upset because of the popular TV series “The Tudors” and how children in her class believe Henry was a “skinny, dark haired Welsh-man”. Starkey showed his disdain for the series, and suggested with regards to children believing it is real, to use it as more of an opportunity to turn it around for a tool to look at evidence i.e. “Is it an accurate depiction?” and “How do we know what is real?”

A steward asked Starkey about the Catherine of Aragon Cathedral myth – which is that Henry changed it from an Abbey to a Cathedral because he felt remorse for how he had treated Catherine of Aragon – to which David replied we have to remember we weren’t as sentimental back then and Henry certainly wasn’t. Also, he brought up the fact that it is because of Elizabeth that we still have cathedrals and ceremonial religious procedures.


Published in: on July 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm  Comments (1)  

New Books


While still unable to go back to my home (staying 2 hours away at my grandmas house) I was able to go to a book store and found two new books that seemed like they would be pretty good. I’m very excited but can’t decide which to read first. Anyone read either of these or both??

Published in: on June 29, 2011 at 10:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sorry Everyone.








I wanted to get on here real quick and let u guys know why nothing has been added or updated for a little while. My town has been evacuated because of a fire (I live in Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA). I’m not sure when we will be able to go back because the fire is growing so fast. This also happened 11 years ago. And where I am staying right now don’t have internet (using my cell phone right now) but ill keep u posted and try to get back to adding stuff as soon as I have internet.  Here are a few pictures of the fire and smoke.

Published in: on June 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment