Q and A


Is Sir Thomas More buried in Chelsea Old church and is his head buried in the same place?

The tomb of sir/Saint Thomas more is situated in St. Peter ad Vincula within the walls of the Tower of London. His tomb is not open to the public and is behind a closed door in the chapel.

According to a Beefeater More was originally buried in the nearby church of All Hallows, but his tomb was moved after that church was bombed during the war.

Photograph of his tomb: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6848/thomas-more

According to the ‘Chelsea Old Church website’ Sir Thomas attended this church rebuilt a chapel on the South in 1528, as his own private Chapel. This is why his statue is outside of the building and the church is associated with him:


According to legend More’s daughter Margaret rescued the severed head from its pike.  (Thomas Edward Bridgett (1891). Life and Writings of Sir Thomas More: Lord Chancellor of England and Martyr Under Henry VIII. Burns & Oates. p. 436.)

The head is believed to rest in the Roper Vault of St Dunstan’s Church, Canterbury, “Journal of the British Archaeological Association”. 1. British Archaeological Association. 1895: 142–144.

Did women have their heads displayed on a spikes on London Bridge?

Yes: Elizabeth Barton: ‘The maid of Kent’s’ head was put on display. She was hanged and decapitated in 1533 for prophesying Henry VIII’s death if he married Anne Boleyn.

Did the Tudors really play football?

The Tudors played a much rougher game than we play today. It was often played on holy days and the goals could be three miles apart. The number of players was unlimited and it sounds like tremendous fun. Some of these large games are still played in villages on bank holidays up and down the country.

What did a lady in waiting actually do?

Ladies in waiting attended on the Queen and were expected to perform mundane duties for her. These were tasks such as passing on messages, helping her to bathe, dress and to keep her company whilst sewing. During the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth  ladies in waiting became far more important because men could not perform these personal roles for a female monarch. These women had direct daily contact with the Queen and knew her intimate secrets. Eg: If she was pregnant or not. Ambassadors would pay a premium for this information from a disloyal women attendant.Other members of the court who wanted to influence the Queen could approach a Lady in waiting and pay her to talk to the Queen about a promotion they might want or something they wished to draw her attention to. To be a lady in waiting was the highest office a 16 century female could hope to achieve.

Were women tortured in the Tower as well as men?

Officially, only one woman was tortured: Anne Askew.

Was Anne Boleyn guilty of adultery?

Even if Anne had slept with a thousand men she was not technically guilty of adultery because three days before her execution Anne’s marriage to Henry was annulled. Therefore Anne had never been officially married to Henry VIII. Some historians believe it’s possible that Anne was guilty and others believe she that she was innocent. Most think she was innocent.

Tower Green
Tower of London ,Brian Catling, 2006,Tower Green. The Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula and, in the foreground the execution site memorial

Were the Tudors Welsh?

Yes, but they were also a French family. The Tudors were certainly extremely proud of their Welsh roots and had a Welsh dragon on their Royal coat of arms. Henry VII was a quarter Welsh through his paternal grandfather Owen Tudor, who signed his name, ‘Owen ap Maredudd’, but his wife, Catherine of Valois was French. Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII’s mother, came from a long bloodline of French families.

Who was the first English King to call himself and his son the Prince of Wales?

When Henry VII issued his first Royal proclamation he began it with the words, “I Henry, by the grace of God, King of England and of France, Prince of Wales and Lord of Ireland.”


The King's Beasts
Hampton Court Palace, James Brittain, The King’s Beasts. The Red Cadwaladr Dragon of Wales, in the garden of Chapel Court.

Who was the first Princess of Wales?

Mary I  or ‘Bloody Mary, was made princess of Wales in 1525. Mary, Henry VIII’s daughter become England’s first queen to rule in her own right and not on behalf of  a son. Her husband, Phillip of Spain, was the first king consort of England, as the Duke of Edinburgh is today. Empress Matilda was never crowned as a Queen of England despite her efforts to do so.

Were Tudors much smaller than we are today?

If you have ever bashed your head on a low cottage door or beam it may make you wonder if our ancestors were smaller than we are. Archaeologists have found that the average Tudor male was 5 foot 5 inches which is the average height of an English woman today.


Was Scotland an independent nation in Tudor times?

Yes and so was England. We became British when the Scots King James VI became King of England too making him James I of England after Elizabeth I died.

Did Henry VIII have syphilis?

All of Henry’s medical notes are archived and he was never treated with mercury which was the standard treatment for syphilis. So no.

Was Mary I of England Queen of Spain after her marriage to the Spanish King Philip?

Yes, ‘Bloody Mary’ was the Queen of Spain when she married.

Was Anne Boleyn really the first Queen consort to be crowned in her own right?

Anne was the only consort male or female ever to be crowned with St. Edward’s crown which is reserved for monarchs only.

If the punishment for a woman committing treason was hanging or burning then why were two of Henry’s wives beheaded instead?

The execution of a queen is shocking. Especially Anne Boleyn who had been crowned with St. Edward’s crown and who Henry had risked so much to marry. No English queen before Anne had ever been executed. It is likely that Henry did not want a spectacle. Beheading had been reserved for Noblemen but after Anne noble women were beheaded too. Henry would not want his wives to be burned as the first thing to burn away is the victim’s clothes leaving them naked.

Why was Mark Smeaton beheaded if he was a commoner?

No one knows for certain…  Did Henry just want the whole Anne Boleyn thing finished quickly or was a promise made to Smeaton in exchange for something? Beheading was certainly more preferable to being hung, drawn and quartered and it could suggest that’s why he pleaded guilty to having committed adultery with his queen. The truth is that we don’t know why!

Why was there a dog on the Mary Rose?

Hatch is the oldest sea dog ever found. She was a ‘ratter’ and spent her whole life on the ship. Tudors were a superstitious bunch and it was considered unlucky to have a cat on a ship.

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