December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas and Updates!

I want to wish all of my readers a very Happy Christmas! I have been swamped with holiday and graduation stuff this month, but I now have my MA! Yay!


Now on to business:
I have a new review and novel to highlight. Below is the link to a nice review for Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen. Within the review it talks about a new novel I hadn’t heard of, Queen of Misfortune, following the reign of Jane Grey told through the eyes of her tutor. It is due to be released in January.

Here’s the link to the review for Mary Tudor, and here’s a link for Queen of Misfortune which discusses the author and novel.

Now that the holidays are almost over, I promise to update a few times a week from now on!

October 31, 2010

The Tower of London Ghost Stories


The Grounds

While the Tower is composed of many different Towers used to hold prisoners, the grounds themselves are large and used to execute many of these unfortunates. It is therefore home to many spirits.
The most horrible execution and haunting is that of Margaret de la Pole, Countess of Salisbury. She and her sons were the last of the Plantagenets, the ruling family before the Tudors. Despite the Countess’s age of 72 years, she was imprisoned in 1541 due to her son, Cardinal Pole’s denouncement of Henry VIII’s claim as head of the Church in England. However, he was safely hidden in France, so Henry settled for his mother. On 27th May she was taken to be executed as a traitor to the crown. However, upon the scaffold she refused to kneel, saying “So should traitors do and I am none.” The executioner raised his axe, taking a swing at her and she ran in hysterics, pursued by him with his axe. He chased her around the scaffold, hacking at her until she died. Her ghost has been seen re-enecting this shamefully gruesome act. Her screaming phantom continues to be chased throughout the grounds by a ghostly executioner.

Another famously executed lady, Anne Boleyn, is said to haunt several areas of the Tower.
Anne is usually seen near the Queen’s House, close to the site of her execution. She has also been seen leading a ghostly procession of Lords and Ladies down the aisle of the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula, ending at the altar where he body lays below.

Her headless body has also been seen walking the corridors of the Tower. The most famous story of Anne’s ghost ended with a guard almost being court marshaled! One early morning while on guard duty, he saw a figure in a brown velvet gown emerge from the mist and move toward him.  He challenged the figure several times and received no reply.  The guard approached with bayonet fixed, and as he did, he noticed that the figure’s bonnet appeared completely empty.  The figure did not stop advancing, and the soldier ran it through with his bayonet. Later that morning, his superiors found him and accused him of sleeping on duty. Luckily, several other guards said they had seen the mysterious lady and the man was found innocent. The men concluded that it must have been Anne Boleyn’s spirit, as legend has her ghost occasionally appearing outside the little chapel where she spent her last night before execution.
Another ill-fated Queen, Lady Jane Grey, has been seen floating around the grounds. Her ghost was last seen by two Guardsmen on February 12, 1957, the 403rd anniversary of her execution. She was described as a “white shape shaping itself on the battlements.”
The Tower was once home to the Royal Menagerie. Occasional sounds of animals, including lion, monkeys, and bears have been heard but not seen. One guard at the Tower even claimed to have seen a spectral bear who charged at him only to disappear when the man thrust his bayonet at it.
A group of phantom soldiers have also been seen marching about the grounds.


The White Tower


The White Tower is the oldest of all the Tower of London’s buildings, and its winding stone corridors are the spooky haunt of several ghosts. The most famous is the “White Lady” who once stood at a window waving to a group of children. The strong smell of a cheap perfume around the entrance to St John’s Chapel has caused many guards to gag upon inhaling it is also attributed to her.

In the gallery where Henry VIII’s armor is displayed several guards have spoken of a horrible, crushing sensation that suddenly descends on them as they enter, but disappears the moment they stagger from the room. A guard patrolling through here one stormy night got the sudden and unnerving sensation that someone had thrown a heavy cloak over him. Struggling to free himself, the garment was grabbed from behind and pulled tight around his throat by his invisible attacker. Managing to break free from its grasp, he rushed back to the guardroom where the marks upon his neck were still visible.

Another incident occurred when a guard stopped to rest as he made his nightly rounds. Sitting on a window ledge, he slipped off his shoe and began rubbing his foot. A voice behind him whispered, “There’s only you and I here.” The guard responded, “Just let me get this bloody shoe on and there’ll only be you!”

The Salt Tower


The Salt Tower has a very ominous presence about it. According to legend, dogs refuse to enter the Tower. Another legend has one of the Yeoman Warders being nearly strangled by a unseen presence. No one will go in the area after dark, for fear of the evil presence that haunts the Tower.

The Beauchamp Tower


Lady Jane Grey’s husband Guildford Dudley has been seen in Beauchamp Tower, sobbing. He was held here before his execution. Many think that he carved “Jane” into the Tower’s wall. It can still be seen there today.

The Bloody Tower



The Bloody Tower is reputably haunted by the young “Princes of the Tower,” Edward V (12) and Richard, Duke of York (10). They were thought to have been murdered in 1483, possibly on the command of their uncle Richard III.

According to legend, their ghosts have been seen as early as the 15th century, shortly after their deaths. They are generally seen as two small figures gliding down the stairs, still in the white night shirts they had on when they were killed in their sleep.They have also been seen “playing” on the battlements and around the grounds. Sometimes childrens’ laughter can be heard, and has been attributed to the Princes.

In 1674, workmen discovered a chest containing the skeletons of two young children behind the staircase the young boys are seen descending. The bones were given a royal burial.

Sir Walter Raleigh was held in the Bloody Tower by James I, and eventually executed. According to legend, he has been seen looking exactly as he does in his portrait hanging in the Bloody Tower where he was kept. His ghost is also said to wander the Tower as he did when he was imprisoned.


The Wakefield Tower


The Wakefield Tower is reputedly haunted by the weak and ineffectual King Henry VI. After his defeat and imprisonment by Edward IV, he was stabbed to death around 11pm on 21st May 1471, as he knelt at prayer in the Wakefield Tower. On the anniversary of his murder, Henry’s sad specter is said to appear as the clock ticks towards midnight, pacing around the interior of the Wakefield Tower. Upon the last stroke of midnight, he dissolves gradually into the stone.

August 4, 2010

Everything Tudor Store Policies

If you have any other questions other than the issues addressed below, please feel free to contact me at everythingtudor @ yahoo.com (remove spaces).
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All items are hand crafted and made to order. Because of the care and intricacy that goes into each item, we request that you allow up to four weeks for completion of all jewelry and accessory items, then an addition 3-5 business days for standard domestic shipping and 7-14 business day for international shipping. Express shipping is negotiable. For more information, please scroll down the the Express Shipping section, or inquire at everythingtudor @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces).
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All returns must be done within the 30 Day Satisfaction Gaurantee Period (this means you must contact us and ship the item within this time frame).

March 13, 2010

Tudor Book Blog Review: The Virgin and the Crab


This is my first official review for the site, so I am pretty excited!

The Virgin and the Crab by Robert Parry is an intriguing look into the lives of John Dee and the young Elizabeth I during the tumultuous reigns of Edward VI and Mary I.

Synopsis:

The main plot of the story focuses on the relationship between Dee and Elizabeth. Their relationship and, subsequently the story, begins with their first meeting. Dee discovers the young Elizabeth hiding and crying over the death of Henry VIII's fifth wife, Katheryn Howard. This meeting sparks a friendship that lasts throughout both their lives. Throughout the story, which spans from the end of Henry VIII's reign to the beginning of Elizabeth's, John Dee and the Brotherhood of the Rose Lodge work tirelessly to protect Elizabeth and ensure her succession to the throne. Over time the members come and go, either dying of natural causes or, more often, by the executioner's ax.  Throughout the novel, Parry inserts side stories involving many important Tudor figures such as Mary I, Lady Jane Grey, and Robert Dudley. A good example of this is at the end of the story which doesn't focus on Elizabeth or Dee per say. It is set during the banquet after Elizabeth's coronation, and though Dee and Elizabeth are present and meet, this section of the novel is seen from the point of view of a few unimportant courtiers commenting on various people at the banquet, as well as the omnipotent narrator who focuses on the subtle exchanges between Dee and Elizabeth.

The strange title is derived, ingeniously, from the star signs of the two main character: The Virgin (Virgo) for Elizabeth and the Crab (Cancer) for Dee. Since the story delves into Dee's profession of building and reading astrological charts, such as nativities, it makes sense that the title would reflect this. I have never dealt much with astrology, but found it easy (and fun) to follow Dee and Elizabeth as they constructed and read astrological charts. I especially found the nativities (charts made fomr the setting of the stars and planets on the date/time of the birth of a certain person) fascinating.

Review:

I don't want to give away too much about the book, but I must point out these things I absolutely loved:

I really loved this story for its originality. Yes, it takes a popular period with well known characters, but is done in a new way. Parry certainly creates a new spin on things. He uses third person narative, uncommonly used in a lot of fiction today. I personally love this narrative as it allows the reader to see multiple points of view, rather than just one. Though Parry focuses on Dee and Elizabeth, he is able to play with other characters, like John Dudley, Jane Grey, Mary I, and Edward VI to name a few. Though not the main focus of the story, Parry did not skimp on developing these off shoots. For example, Mary I is terrifying, while also completely insecure and stressed. I found myself becoming stressed when reading about her. He also portrays Thomas Wyatt the Younger as confused and unsure when riding through London during his rebellion. The reader is experiencing the same thing as the character, as the descriptions are confusing, adding to the full affect of the scene.

I also like that throughout the story the safety of Elizabeth is paramount, however we see her little. The story mostly focuses on Dee and his adventures in her service. There is a strong bond between these two characters, a bond Parry illustrates well through their symbols of communication. For example, in their first meeting they exchange gifts; a promise of a lock of hair from Elizabeth (which Dee eventually receives to his surprise) and a lovely pearl necklace from him, which she wears throughout the story. These items bring both characters strength through their tribulations, as they rarely see each other. They also send each other encrypted messages, such as a bunch of flowers arranged in a special way, rather than a hand written letter.

I also feel that Parry completely captures Tudor England during this time with his eloquent and visual descriptions. My favorite part of the novel revolved around the banquet scenes which were alive with description. It was east to imagine the smells of the food, the noise of the music and courtiers, and the visually appealing tapestries and costumes with his descriptions.

Though I loved this novel, I must, as a fair reviewer, say something negative about it. It does take some brain power to read this novel because of the constantly changing points of views as the narrative goes from one character to another. However, I don't consider this a negative, really. I think it is the sign of a really good, and original, novel as it takes something out of you to read. This keeps my interest and keeps my mind from wandering and losing focus on the book.

Conclusion:

I give this book 5 out of 5 Tudor Roses.


It was above and beyond what I thought it was going to be. It is a MUST READ for those who enjoy Tudor History, or just a good book! Parry is an excellent author. I cannot wait to read his next work!