Category Archives: History

Dante, Fayrfax, Catherine of Aragon, and ‘Abbot Wheaty’

“Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita…” So begins the first canto of Dante Alighieri’s Divina Commedia. It’s perhaps one of the most famous opening lines in all Western literature – strange, perhaps, since it’s in medieval Italian. What’s also strange is that I’ve … Continue reading

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The lost prince of Tudor England

I was very excited to hear that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have had a new baby girl – Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. It’s amazing to think that such a tiny little person has the opportunity to make her mark on history in such … Continue reading

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Tallis learns to compose

Since my last posts over a month ago I’m afraid I’ve rather neglected my blogging duties! I have very little excuse I’m afraid, except that I was doing rather a lot of writing up (literature reviews – oh rapture unrestrained…) … Continue reading

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A song to die for?

A little while ago I discovered how in Elizabethan England, a musical performance – in that case of a piece by Sheppard in 1569 – could be politically explosive. But in the England of Henry VIII your choice of song and the … Continue reading

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A castle, a cathedral, and two rebellious earls

The year is 1569, and in the hallowed surroundings of Durham Cathedral, something earth-shattering is taking place: they are singing Mass. Perhaps this is not especially significant in itself – after all, Mass was sung every day in that cathedral for … Continue reading

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On graffiti in books

So I was in Oxford all of last week, in the (rather wonderful) new Weston Library in the Bodleian, and indulging my nerdiness to the full. In particular I was looking at two very important Elizabethan manuscripts, Tenbury 1464 and … Continue reading

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In the footsteps of Margaret Tudor

We tend to think of history as all to do with time: it’s all about things that happened in the past. True, some events always have a place attached to them – the Battle of Hastings, Bosworth, Edge Hill, Culloden – but how … Continue reading

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