‘House of Tudor: A Grisly History’ Interview with Mickey Mayhew.

Dr Mickey Mayhew is the author of several history books including, ‘I Love the Tudors (400 Fantastic Facts’) and ‘The Little Book of Mary Queen of Scots.

His latest book, ‘House of Tudor: A Grisly Mystery’ was published in February by Pen and Sword History.

Buy ‘House of Tudor: A Grisly History’:


Pen and Sword Books

(c) Pen & Sword History

Follow Mickey on Social Media

Twitter: @Mickey_Mayhew
Website: Mickey Mayhew

Many thanks to Mickey for answering my questions.

Why did you choose this subject for your book?

I chose it together with my editor; we agreed that too many Tudor books gloss over the bad stuff and try to paint a portrait of the time as something easily digestible for a 20th century audience. I think most people like to think they could survive quite well in Tudor times but I imagine they’d be in for rather a rude awakening…

What does your book add to previous works covering this subject?

See the above answer! I felt it was time to strip away the sable wraps and the jewels and remind people what a terrible place it could be to live in.

Apart from ‘grisly’ did you have any other criteria for the events included in this book?

Oh, things like escapes featured heavily; Mary Queen of Scots was an expert on that score; assassinations plots…

What surprised you most researching this book?

That people in Tudor times just accepted this grim reality as their lot, whereas now we’d be quite horrified by things they didn’t so much as bat an eye at!

Why did you include Lady Jane Grey?

How could I not?! Her execution was one of those pivotal moments in what makes Tudor history so grim and grisly!

What is your favourite chapter?

Perhaps the one about the Babington Plot to free Mary Queen of Scots; secret messages in beer kegs, secret codes, an imprisoned queen – it’s like something from a novel!

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‘Exploring The Lives of Women 1558-1837’ added to the website…

(c) Pen & Sword History

‘Exploring the Lives of Women 1558-1837’ by Louise Duckling, Sara Read et al, to the General Works section of the bibliography.

Entries added to the following:

Primary Accounts – Ascham and Feckenham.

Art – Other Representations – Unknown Artists.

Writings of Lady Jane Grey – Letters – Farewell Letters – Letter to Katherine Grey.

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HistFest 2022 – The House of Dudley – 9th April 2022

As part of HistFest 2022, Dr Joanne Paul took part in a Q&A about ‘The House of Dudley’ with Dr Wanda Wyporska.

In a fascinating discussion about the Dudley family and their dealings with the Tudor monarchs, in which Edward VI was compared to King Joffrey, Lady Jane got a few mentions.

One topic discussed was the importance of women’s relationships with their natal families and the families they married into.

Mary Dudley, married Henry Sidney and became Mary Sidney, but she remained a Dudley.

Jane Guildford becomes a Dudley and saves the family after her husband’s execution.

We know Jane as Jane Grey, even though by the time in question she was Jane Dudley and was referred as such in the texts of the time.

Dr Paul thinks that Jane should be counted in the list of Kings and Queens as she was declared Queen by the Privy Council. If that is the case then, Guildford Dudley should be named as King Consort or Prince Consort of England.

The characterisation of Jane Dudley does her an injustice, Jane had a lot more agency. Jane writes this fantastic account about how none of it is her fault. When she found out she was Queen she weeps, hates her in-laws and was forced to do it all. Maybe Jane hated her in-laws but maybe she was more involved? The only document that backs this up is written by Jane, when she was no longer Queen.

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Another book that features Lady Jane to look forward to….

29th September 2022 – Mortal Monarchs: 1000 Years of Royal Deaths by Suzie Edge

(c) Wildfire

‘How the monarchs of England and Scotland met their deaths has been a wonderful mixture of violence, infections, overindulgence and occasional regicide. In Mortal Monarchs, medical historian Dr Suzie Edge examines 1,000 years of royal deaths to uncover the plots, accusations, rivalries, and ever-present threat of poison that the kings and queens of old faced.

From the “bloody” fascinating story behind Oliver Cromwell’s demise and the subsequent treatment of his corpse and whether the arrow William II caught in the chest was an accident or murder, to Henry IV’s remarkable skin condition and the red-hot poker up Edward II’s rear end, Mortal Monarchs captivates, grosses-out and informs.

In school many of us learned the dates they died and who followed them, but sadly never heard the varied – and oft-gruesome – way our monarchs met their maker. Featuring original medical research, this history forms a rich record not just of how these people died, but how we thought about and treated the human body, in life and in death.

From Amazon.co.uk

From Amazon.co.uk

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Not Just the Tudors Podcast visits the Holburne Museum

In her latest ‘Not Just the Tudors’ podcast, Suzannah Lipscomb visits the ‘The Tudors: Portraits, Power and Politics’ exhibition at The Holburne Museum in Bath.

‘Professor Suzannah Lipscomb walks round the exhibition with curator Monserrat Pis Marcos to discuss the paintings and the turbulent lives of those portrayed.’

The ‘Lady Jayne’ Streatham portrait is part of the exhibition and features in the podcast.

Professor Suzannah Lipscomb – ‘And we’ve got Jane. This was only relatively recently identified as Jane, if I remember correctly but she has this gorgeous red embroidery on her shift, lovely detail of the jewels. Funnily enough she looks older than her years and we all know she died as a teenager but she looks like she has the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Monserrat Pis Marcos – Hardly surprising I would say. We don’t know for sure whether this is a good or a bad likeness of her because there are no surviving portraits of her time as Queen. It is possible that this was painted for a series of Protestant martyrs, so it could have been produced with not necessarily an idea of her likeness in mind but rather just having this gallery of people who had been martyred for their faith.

Professor Suzannah Lipscomb – That makes a lot of sense. She is holding a prayer book which gives that image of her being both regal and pious.’

You can listen at Not Just the Tudors / The Tudors: Portraits, Power and Politics

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