So High a Blood
The Life of Margaret, Countess of Lennox
The niece of Henry VIII and half-sister of James V of Scotland, Lady Margaret Douglas (1515–1578) held a uniquely influential position in the Tudor Court. As the Protestant Reformation gathered momentum and the royal line of succession remained in doubt, her main objective was to see her descendants rule a united, Catholic Britain. This biography draws on previously unexamined archival sources to tell her complex story.
The Burning Time
Henry VIII, Bloody Mary, and the Protestant Martyrs of London
Between 1529 and 1558, hundreds of the ‘heretics’ who were sentenced to death by burning were burnt at Smithfield, in London, near the Priory of St Bartholomew. This study of the Smithfield martyrs, particularly those who were condemned during the reign of Mary Tudor, also looks at the careers of two men who witnessed the burnings: Richard Rich, the courtier who sent many to their deaths; and John Deane, the priest of St Bartholomew’s chapel, who helped some to survive.
The Reluctant Ambassador
The Life and Times of Sir Thomas Chaloner, Tudor Diplomat
After serving in the household of Thomas Cromwell during the reign of Henry VIII, Thomas Chaloner became a diplomat in France, Scotland, Flanders and finally, in 1559, he was made resident ambassador at the court of Phillip II in Madrid. This biographical study examines Chaloner as a prime example of an educated, but not aristocratic man, a humanist, the translator of Erasmus’ The Praise of Folly, and astute enough to weather the storms of four Tudor monarchs.
Lawson Lies Still in The Thames
The Extraordinary Life of Vice-Admiral Sir John Lawson
On 13 December 1659 Vice-Admiral Sir John Lawson (1615–1665) led 22 warships into the Thames and threatened to blockade London in defence of Parliament; in January 1660 Pepys began his diary, ‘Lawson lies still in the river’. This biography charts Lawson’s central role in the English Civil Wars and the Dutch wars, for which he received a gold chain from Oliver Cromwell, but also his vital contribution to the Restoration, rewarded by a pension from Charles II.
Mary Queen of Scots
A Study in Failure
First published in 1988, when it provoked much controversy, Wormald’s classic study of Mary, Queen of Scots ‘as a queen rather than a woman of great misfortune’ differed sharply from the usual emotive responses to Mary’s story. Focusing on her reign, 1561–1567, and her actions as the ruler of a European kingdom, Wormald argues that the queen’s downfall was because of her way of dealing, or failing to deal, with the problems facing her as a Renaissance monarch. Foreword by Anna Groundwater.
Medieval & Renaissance Interiors
In Illuminated Manuscripts
Illuminated manuscripts are an invaluable resource for understanding medieval and early modern life in castles, palaces and ordinary households, both urban and rural. Reproducing 140 little-known illuminations, mostly from the British Library’s collections, this book shows how these miniatures reflect medieval domestic interiors and how they provide information on topics ranging from the security of dwelling places to creature comforts such as heating and lighting, hygiene, beds and bedrooms, and the display of wealth and treasured possessions.
Plague, Fire, Revolution
Samuel Pepys was born in London in 1633 and died there in 1703, having lived through revolution and Restoration, the Dutch raid, notable scientific advances, plague and fire. All of this he recorded in his diary and letters. The National Maritime Museum exhibition in 2015 presented 158 objects and paintings, and with essays by contributing scholars, this accompanying volume explores Pepys’s career and varied interests while illuminating aspects of 17th-century London life ranging from surgical procedures to Stuart portraiture.
A Rich and Curious History of Pirates, Castaways and Madness
Daniel Defoe's famous castaway has been etched into the popular imagination for three centuries. This account of the real island – Juan Fernández Island in the South Pacific – draws on the voyage journals, maps and illustrations of visiting sailors, scientists, writers and artists to reveal its colourful and often violent history, from the early encounters of the 1500s to the naval battles of the First World War, and the impact of Britain’s seafaring past on the nation’s identity.
How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain
From curses to strategically timed bows that could signal disdain rather than deference, and outright violence exhibited across the social classes, Ruth Goodman explores the language and actions considered rude in the 15th and 16th centuries. Using anecdotes and examples from contemporary manuals, court cases and sermons, she demonstrates how unconventional behaviour can reveal as much about society as its norms, whether a subtle faux pas born of ignorance or a defiant snubbing of etiquette.