The Life and Death of Thomas Cranmer

Poor Thomas Cranmer. He thought he’d been doing a good thing, establishing the Anglican church, instituting all sorts of reforms, and clawing his way up to the position of Archbishop of Canterbury. But all you need to screw it up was one slightly crazed Catholic with an axe to grind and suddenly you find yourself strapped to a pyre on a fine spring morning. Cranmer … Continue reading The Life and Death of Thomas Cranmer

Shake, Shake, Shake!

On 6 April 1580 the good people of England, Flanders, and Northern France had their dinners interrupted when the largest earthquake in the recorded history of those three nations struck at around 6 o’clock in the evening. This being the era of some of the greatest writers in the history of the English language, the event was pretty well recorded (including at least one parody … Continue reading Shake, Shake, Shake!

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a-penny, two a-penny
Hot cross buns!

It’s Easter, which means hot cross buns have been everywhere for at least the last month and a half. Traditionally eaten throughout Lent, these sweet, fruit-filled buns are a special tea-time treat, especially if you give them a quick warm in the oven or toast them up and slather them up with butter. Although there are, apparently, good ones you can get in the shops, as is typically the case, homemade is exceptionally delicious.

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Dinner Party Fail

On 9 March 1566, Mary, Queen of Scots, though it’d be nice to have a little dinner party with David Rizzio, a singer and musician whom she’d made secretary for relations with France. Unfortunately, Rizzio’s Catholic religion and close relationship with Mary had made him unpopular with some of the more insane noblemen at court, who decided Rizzio had to go. While Mary and David … Continue reading Dinner Party Fail

Off You Go!

After a fairly disastrous reign, Mary, Queen of Scots abdicated her throne on July 24, 1567 in favor of her infant son, James. Like her son, Mary came to her throne young—she was only six days old when her father died. She was raised mostly in France, where she was engaged and later married to the dauphin, while her mother, the Frenchwoman Marie de Guise, … Continue reading Off You Go!

New Albion

Well, if you’re going to take a break you might as well make it worthwhile. On 17 June 1579, Francis Drake paused in his circumnavigation of the globe to plant a flag on the western coast of North America (probably somewhere in modern-day Northern California) and name it New Albion. New Albion joined Drake’s claims at the tip of South America and Martin Frobisher’s claims … Continue reading New Albion

Top Ten Onscreen Royal Romances

It’s Valentine’s Day, and whether you have plans or expect to stay in, it’s a great opportunity to kick back, pop open some bubbly and a box of chocolates, and indulge in a few good old-fashioned romances. Everyone loves a good love story, and if it comes with tiaras, so much the better, so it’s no wonder royal romances have shown up onscreen in dozens … Continue reading Top Ten Onscreen Royal Romances