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  1. #1
    Knowledgeable and helpful MythicalMarian's Avatar
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    Default A public thank you

    To get this forum underway, I just wanted to post a thank you to our Bo Peep for creating a place where we lovers of Tudor and early Stuart England may post our ruminations.

    And this is a call out to Vance, who started the ball rolling. Here is the Tudor forum - so we expect lots of posts from you, Vance

    As for me - I only have one proven family line traced back to these glorious - erm..turbulent - times, but I have spent many an hour peering at the very early (Tudor) registers of Stockport, Northenden and Cheadle, all of which begin in Elizabethan times. Cheshire is rich in Tudor PRs - few of which are incorporated in the IGI, and those of Cheadle in particular are beautifully preserved, I've found, and not too difficult to read. Another wonderful parish is Malpas in south Cheshire, whose registers are extant from 1562ish and are somewhat clearer in those days than the later 18th century ones - at least on the microfilm at Manchester Library. Just crack the secretary script and you're away...

    We also have the wonderful Chethams Society publications of old documents from the 16th century, and the publications of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society (LCAS). Tudor and Jacobean England is pretty well represented in our neck of the woods in our local libraries, so that those of us who have been fortunate to trace a line back, have a lot of background material with which to clothe our trees.

    So - any thoughts or discussions on general topics for this forum, folks? Remember that it was that rapscallion Thomas Cromwell who made the ruling that Anglican churches were to keep registers of all baptisms, burials and marriages in 1538 - so we have him to thank for the preservation of our ancestors' records in this regard at least. However, according to Colin Rodgers in his Family Tree Detective, the local clergy were still somewhat lax about record-keeping until the start of Elizabeth's reign in 1558. But there is no doubt about it - those registers that we use so often were first kept during Tudor times, and it is therefore not only an important period of England's history in terms of politics, religion and literature, but may be said to be a breakthrough time for this hobby of ours - at least in retrospect. Think of it this way - if we are very lucky, many of us will be able to trace our ancestry back to Tudor England purely through the preservation of parish registers. How successful we will be depends of course on many factors, but at least the source is there for us.
    Gail

    Happy Hunting

  2. #2

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    A brand new forum!

    O, my America, my Newfoundland! To quote John Donne, as is appropriate for a Tudor-Stuart forum.

    I have been quite fortunate that the parish records for my main place of interest - Watford, Herts - go back to the beginning. My earliest known direct male ancestor, Richard Mead, was married there in 1545.

    He also left a will and inventory in 1559/60. Transcribing wills is something of a hobby within a hobby for me. They weren't a Tudor invention, of course, but they became much more widespread starting in the 1530s, even for husbandman and labourers. Tracking them down is not always easy. Wills for people who lived in Hertfordshire are located in six different places (maybe more): Hertford, Chelmsford, Lincoln, London Metropolitan Archives, Guildhall, and the National Archives. Two archdeaconry courts, two consistory courts, the prerogative court, and the London commissary court for some peculiars.

    There have been some very positive developments recently. The British Record Society published Wills at Hertford a year or so ago, and Buckinghamshire Probate Records about 6 or 7 years ago. Also many wills are now available online. Essex and Wiltshire have quite a lot online, I'm not sure about other counties.

    Another recent development for which I have high hopes is the Manorial Documents Register. About a dozen counties are now completed. Bucks is there now, and Herts is underway.

    Some other sources that have been very useful for me are lay subsidy rolls and muster rolls. The Bucks musters of 1522 and the Bucks lay subsidies of 1524-25 have been published by the Bucks Record Society, as have some Elizabethan muster books for northeastern Hertfordshire by the HRS. Otherwise these require a trip to the National Archives.

    Anyway, these have been the most important sources for me. Tudor history is also something of a hobby of mine. Someone said they didn't much like the Tudors. I admit Henry VIII was a bit of a pig (I always felt a bit sorry for Anne of Cleves, I think she got a bad press. There she was, an innocent girl of 20, married off to fat, gouty, 50-year-old Henry. He was unable to fulfill his marital obligations so of course he blamed it on her.) But who could fail to love Good Queen Bess? "I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king." And a king of England, too, not one of your pantywaist French kings.

  3. #3
    Knowledgeable and helpful MythicalMarian's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance Mead View Post
    But who could fail to love Good Queen Bess? "I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king." And a king of England, too, not one of your pantywaist French kings.
    It was me, Vance! I was the one who said I hated the Tudors, ironically enough - but of course I was referring to the monarchs, not the history of England during that period. And yes - for clarification here, let me say that good old Liz was a fine queen, especially when she rid herself of some of her more dubious ministers. However, as much as I hate some of the Tudor monarchs, they are like old friends to me compared to those vile, usurping, German pillocks who came over in the early 18th century!


    I look forward to posting with you here on several topics.
    Gail

    Happy Hunting

  4. #4

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    Marian
    Henry the seventh was a mean old skinflint, and don't get me started on his son. But I do have a soft spot for Gloriana. Can't say I see the attraction in King James, though, the wisest fool in Christendom. He did have a tendency to bore for England. Scotland, too, but he got worse as he got older. We should be grateful for the King James Version, of course.

    With regard to something you said in another thread. I think beasts often referred to kine. I've often seen the phrase milch beasts in wills.
    Vance

  5. #5
    Valued member of Brit-Gen. Jan65's Avatar
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    I'm very envious of anyone who has managed to trace a line back to these times! My interest in the Tudors started a few years ago when I was reading a book about Henry VIII and there was a photo of a letter that Catherine of Aragon had written to him while he was away fighting in France, and she wrote to tell him of the English victory at Flodden.

    I was fascinated to see the handwriting of this great lady - even more so because I could hardly make out a word, it looked like a foreign language (which of course it was to Catherine!). It became my quest to transcribe it, and I spent a couple of very happy but intense weeks trying to decipher it. Then I found a book in our reference library which had transcriptions of correspondence between Henry and his wives, and found to my absolute astonishment and delight that I'd got almost all of it right!

    And so my love of palaeography was born and although I'm completely an amateur, I get such a thrill out of deciphering the written word. After all, what could be more personal than the written thoughts of someone?

    I long to be able to transcribe quickly like Geoffers seems to do! It can take me an age, but such a sense of achievement when I figure it out!

    I'm looking forward to reading all the future posts that I'm sure will appear on this forum and am so glad that someone asked for a Tudor forum.

    Best wishes.

    Janice

  6. #6
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    Default

    I look forward to posting on this Tudor forum at a later date, as I will have a few questions that I will need help with on the family tree. It was by pure chance I came across evidence (which I need to look into more) that I found a line back to Tudor times, but havent dare go into it as I am unsure where I need to look to confirm my findings.

    Have to admit, I have started reading alot on Tudor times over the pass 6 months, and it was a intersting time for all who lived then.

    Nai

  7. #7

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    Janice
    I'd say that if you can transcribe a letter, transcribing wills is a lot easier. Registered copies and PCC wills have fairly regular spelling and handwriting, and wills are usually a collection of stock phrases. I think they often used copy books and just copied stock phrases and sentences, inserting the names and details as necessary. So, after having transcribed a few wills, you should find it quite simple, unless the will is damaged. Having the OED helps (not necessarily the unabridged version), since a lot of words having to do with clothing, farming and household items may be archaic.

    It's a pity there aren't any large collections of personal letters for Tudor times, at least none that I know of. For the 15th century there are some great collections of family letters, for the Paston, Cely and Stonor families. (I'm not related to any of them, but they are fascinating to read.) The Pastons were a family from Norfolk, several of whom were lawyers, so they were often at the Inns of Court. This was during the Wars of the Roses, so Margaret Paston would describe how she had been in battle at Caister Castle against the Duke of Suffolk. Then, a few sentences later, she would continue: "On your way home would you buy some almonds and raisins. And go to Mrs Thing in the Strand and buy four yards of broadcloth, for the children need new clothes."

    The Stonors were from Stonor, Oxfordshire, and the Celys were wool merchants in London and Calais. Reading their wills really gives an idea about them as individuals.
    Vance

  8. #8
    Valued member of Brit-Gen. Jan65's Avatar
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    Hi Vance - going off topic really here but had to reply to say that I have indeed transcribed several wills now, and find them no less satisfying than Catherine of Aragon's letter, except for one very long one that was full of repetitive legal jargon. I've done a couple from the Tudor times and a few from the 1700 and 1800s. I find the palaeography tutorial on TNA Documents online really interesting and helpful.

    The letters from Margaret Paston sound fascinating - and I'd be more interested in the lines where she was asking for her shopping than in the ones about the war! Personal stuff is so rare and therefore much more interesting I feel.

    Janice

  9. #9
    Knowledgeable and helpful Titanicfan's Avatar
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    Default

    I am personally chuffed to bits that there is a Tudor/early Stuart forum!!!

    I have always been interested in Tudor history and I am a massive fan of Gloriana herself - good queen Bess. What a fabulous queen and my personal idol! What an amazing and interesting period in the history of England!

    I can only dream of transcribing one of my ancestor's Tudor wills or seeing my ancestors in parish registers from the Tudor period. I can't wait until I hopefully trace my line back to the Tudor period.

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