Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Tudor Year: August

Theme: war

The boar badge of King Richard III flies over the probable site of Bosworth Field, in Leicestershire. (Image, no longer available on the web, originally from

August 1: Lammas Day
August 8: Marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine Howard, 1540
August 9: Elizabeth's "Armada" speech, Tilbury, 1588
August 22: Battle of Bosworth Field, 1485

For farmers, August was the month of the corn harvest. Lammas day, or ancient origin, was a quarterly rent-paying day and also a day for fairs and for re-opening enclosed fields so that sheep could graze freely until the next spring. August was also a month of war. Tudor history begins with Henry Tudor's defeat of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. A century later, Henry's granddaughter Queen Elizabeth would defy the Spanish Armada in her famous speech to the troops at Tilbury on August 9, 1588 -- the fact that the Armada had already been decisively defeated and scattered two weeks earlier was not yet fully appreciated. Tudor soldiers served in France, Ireland, Scotland, and the Netherlands, and helped put down rebellions at home. They were often enough rebellious themselves, especially over late pay.


Emmison, F. G. Tudor Secretary: Sir William Petre at Court and Home. London and Chichester: Phillimore & Co. Ltd., 1970 (first published by Longmans, Green, and Co., Ltd., 1961), p. 145.

Cressy, David. Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989, p. 29.

Ibid., p. 115

Philips, Gervase. "To cry, 'Home! Home!': Mutiny, Morale, and Indiscipline in Tudor Armies," The Journal of Military History, Vol 65, No. 2 (April, 2001), p. 319

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