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Bishop of Worcester's writing on purgatory, with notes by Henry VIII - In the 1530s, debate raged about the efficacy of prayers for the dead and the very existence of purgatory. Around 1537 the reformist Bishop of Worcester, Hugh Latimer (c.1485–1555), prepared for the King a paper in opposition to what he ironically described elsewhere as ‘our old ancient purgatory pick-purse’ and Henry’s sharp disagreement is apparent in his marginal notes.

Elizabethan Propaganda Part 1

A Serpent is embroidered on Elizabeth’s sleeve in the Rainbow Portrait, with a heart-shaped ruby in its mouth. The serpent is thought to represent wisdom and the ruby Elizabeth’s heart, implying that the Queen’s wisdom controls her emotions. Tattoo idea for sure!

"The Museum of the History of Science, Oxford has a polyhedral sundial in the shape of an octagon that has been attributed to Nicolas Kratzer: The sundial made about 1425 for Cardinal Wolsey. The four-sided base has Wolsey's arms, the arms of York Minster, and (on two sides) a cardinal's hat."

Catherine Howard's Letter to Thomas Culpepper-Excerpt: 'For I never longed so muche for [a] thynge as I do to se you and to speke wyth you, the wyche I trust shal be shortely now, the wyche dothe comforthe me verie much whan I thynk of ett and wan I thynke agan that you shall departe from me agayne ytt makes my harte to dye to thynke what fortune I have that I cannot be always yn your company.' READ full letter online...

Sir Thomas More was beheaded on London's Tower Hill for refusing to accept Henry VIII as head of the church, on this day 6th July 1535. He lifted his beard from the axe, on the basis that it had committed no offences against the king.


c.1530: hot water cistern with Henry VIII's coat of arms and motto (probably the only one of its kind to survive)