Seven year itch: evidence suggests Henry VIII may have been close to taking a seventh wife before his death

Katherine Willoughby, drawing by Hans Holbein the Younger

The Tudor monarch King Henry VIII is perhaps best known for his penchant for marriage, famously taking six wives during his lifetime – and now a recently published book suggests that Henry was about to take a seventh before getting cold feet and calling the whole thing off.

A Jesuit Shakespeare?


Shakespeare’s religious beliefs are the subject of an ongoing scholarly debate.

Forget the jokes – Christmas crackers were once sugary sweet dispensers

christmas crackers - photo by Liz Jones / Flickr

Pull on a Christmas cracker this year and you’ll likely receive a set of mini screwdrivers, a paper-thin party hat and a cheesy joke suggesting that the Father Christmas of the cat world is in fact named ‘Santa Paws’. According to a University of Leicester Professor, if we were to step back in time Christmas […]

How to be a successful jouster in the 16th century

Henry VIII jousting while Catherine of Aragon watches

If you came up against Henry VIII at a jousting tournament, it might just have been advisable to let the king win.

Mass Grave from Durham remains a mystery

The University of Durham will carry out further tests on 28 individuals discovered in a mass grave, after an initial analysis failed to uncover their origins and identity.

DNA evidence reveals identity of Jack the Ripper

In a stunning scientific breakthrough, the identity of the infamous London murderer Jack the Ripper has been revealed: Aaron Kosminski was Jack the Ripper.

'Noythy money': Dealing with counterfeit coins in 16th-century England

The British government will begin circulating a new £1 coin in 2017, and are placing in safeguards to prevent it from being forged. Back in the 16th century, the government of Elizabeth I also had to deal with the problems of counterfeit coins.

Fighting elections with cats and dogs in 18th-century London

london electoral history

Modern politicians may feel they have it tough – but they should thank their lucky stars they weren’t standing for election in the Westminster constituency in 1741. On that occasion, angry voters pelted the candidates and the tellers with dead cats and dogs, dirt, stones and sticks.

Researchers recreate unfinished Tudor tombs

Researchers at the University of Leicester have recreate two Tudor tomb monuments that were never completed. The tombs originally were intended to stand in Thetford Priory and were planned by Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk – one for himself, and another for Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond.

The Guinea Pig as a pet in Tudor England

A little known painting of three Elizabethan children containing what may be the first portrait of a guinea pig has been uncovered by the National Portrait Gallery in London.

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