History Jar Challenge 3 – burial places of English monarchs and their consorts

Illustration of Edward the Confessor taken from the Bayeux Tapestry

Having been out for my hour’s walk yesterday with History Jar challenges on my mind – and no I do not feel the urge to take up jogging, thank you all the same -I now have a long list of challenges for the blog.

This week’s challenge is a two part challenge. Firstly, where have English monarchs and their consorts been buried since 1066? And secondly, the obvious answer is Westminster Abbey. There have been thirty kings and queens buried there according to the Westminster Abbey website. Without looking them up, how many of the 30 can you name?

Edward the Confessor was buried in the newly completed Westminster Abbey on 6th January 1066. He was placed before the high altar but on 13th October 1163 he was moved to a shrine which Henry III improved upon with the addition of mosaics but of course in 1540 the shrine was destroyed by Henry VIII’s vandals.

History Jar History Challenge 2 – royal beasts

Royal Arms. Royal Naval College, Greenwich

At the time of the coronation in 1953 there were a number of decorations set up in London composed of royal devices in their various forms. Amongst them, in Westminster Abbey, stood ten six foot tall royal heraldic beasts. Their inspiration was taken from the heraldic beasts at Hampton Court Palace originally placed there by Henry VIII, gaining them the name “the King’s Beasts.”

These beasts, and others like them may be found on coats of arms, heraldic badges used on the liveries and standards of various families and the two heraldic supports of a shield of arms.

The royal arms and their beasts have changed across the centuries – the Tudors added a royal beast, as did the Stuarts for example.

Royal arms can be seen in churches across the country. It became usual for churches to do this following the Reformation – and was a very visual way of the population being reminded exactly who was in charge. Royal arms can also be found in various stately stacks around the country as assorted nobility and gentry used their building projects to demonstrate their loyalty to their monarch.

So, your challenge this week, is to name as many royal beasts as you can that have been linked with the royal family since 1066. And just to get you started here is a link to an old post about the lion and the unicorn https://thehistoryjar.com/2016/05/14/the-lion-and-the-unicorn-2/

By all means add the royal beast into the comments box – and if you wish the person who introduced it into the royal family.

Pinches, J.H. &R.V. (1974) The Royal Heraldry of England. London: Heraldry Today

Stanford London, H. (1953) The Queen’s Beasts. London: Newman Name

Consorts of English monarchs since 1066

Last week I set the first History Jar Challenge which was to name as many English royal consorts as you could since 1066. There are, I think, 38 of them. Not all royal spouses became kings or queens alongside the monarch in question. How did you do? There will be another challenge on Saturday!

The Normans

William the Conqueror = (1) Matilda of Flanders. Following the conquest she was crowned as William’s consort in 1068.

William Rufus = unmarried.

Henry I =

  1. (2) Edith of Scotland who became Matilda of Scotland upon her marriage to Henry. Henry I’s mother Matilda of Flanders was Edith’s godmother and it is said that at her christening she pulled at Matilda’s head dress signifying that one day she would rise to her godmother’s rank. She died on 1st May 1118 and is buried in Westminster Abbey.
  2. (3) Adeliza (there are alternative spellings and pronunciations) of Louvain.

Stephen = (4) Matilda of Boulogne who was the niece of Edith/Matilda of Scotland.

The Empress Matilda was never crowned queen of England. And you will be delighted to hear that there aren’t any more Matildas!

The Plantagenets

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Henry II = (5) Eleanor of Aquitaine

Richard the Lionheart = (6) Berengaria of Navarre

John =

  1. Isabella of Gloucester but she was never queen of England due to an annulment on the grounds of consanguinity.
  2. (7) Isabella of Angoulême. She was crowned in Westminster in 1200 when she was 12.

Henry III = (8) Eleanor of Province

Eleanor of Castile

Edward I =

  1. (9) Eleanor of Castile (after who the Eleanor crosses are named.)
  2. (10) Margaret of France

Edward II = (11) Isabella of France – one of English history’s she-wolves.

Edward III = (12) Philippa of Hainhault. They married in 1328 in York Minster during a snow storm – which was unfortunate as the minster was without a roof at the time.

Richard II =

  1. (13) Anne of Bohemia. She died of plague in 1394 at Sheen Palace. Richard was so devastated that he ordered that the palace be demolished.
  2. (14) Isabella of France who was a child at the time of her marriage. Following Richard II’s usurpation by his cousin Henry Bolingbroke she returned to France.

Henry IV =

  1. Mary de Bohun who died before Henry became king.
  2. (15) Joan of Navarre became queen upon her marriage to Henry in 1402 but she wasn’t crowned until the following year.

Henry V = (16) Katherine of Valois who would marry Owain Tudor following Henry’s death.

Henry VI = (17) Margaret of Anjou (another she-wolf)

Edward IV = (18) Elizabeth Woodville (and this is not the time to discuss whether or not Edward was a bigamist)

Richard III = (19) Anne Neville

The Tudors

Elizabeth of York

Henry VII = (20) Elizabeth of York

Henry VIII = famously married six times. He believed that he had only ever been legitimately married to Jane Seymour and Katherine Parr – one because she produced a son and the other because he died before she could be toppled from the rather tenuous position as Henry’s spouse.

  1. (21) Catherine of Aragon
  2. (22) Anne Boleyn
  3. (23) Jane Seymour
  4. Anne of Cleves – not crowned because Henry took against her.
  5. (24) Katherine Howard
  6. (25) Katherine Parr

Edward VI = unmarried

Lady Jane Grey was never crowned although she was proclaimed queen.

Mary Tudor and Philip II of Spain part of the Woburn Abbey Collection

Mary I = (26) Philip II of Spain. The Spanish Match as it was known was deeply unpopular. Although Philip became king he had very little power.

Elizabeth I = unmarried

The Stuarts

Anne of Denmark by Gheeraerts

James I = (27) Anne of Denmark

Charles I = (28) Henrietta Maria

Charles II = (29) Katherine of Braganza

James II =

  1. Anne Hyde who died before James became king.
  2. (30) Mary of Modena

William III and Mary II who were married to one another.

Anne = George of Denmark – was raised to the English peerage prior to Anne becoming queen but was never crowned as prince consort.

The Hanoverians

George I = Sophia Dorothea who never became queen of England because George divorced her for adultery before he became king of England. She spent the remainder of her life locked up in Ahlden Castle in Germany.

George II = (31) Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach

George III = (32) Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. There is a possibility that he married bigamously.

George IV =

  1. Maria Fitzherbert – who was Catholic and therefore the marriage was against the 1701 Act of Settlement and the Royal Marriages Act of 1772. This marriage was deemed to be invalid.
  2. Caroline of Brunswick. It wasn’t a happy marriage. She was forcibly barred from attending George’s coronation so was never crowned.

William IV = (33) Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen

Victoria = (34) Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Edward VII =(35) Alexandra of Denmark

The Windsors

George V = (36) Mary of Teck

Edward VIII was proclaimed king but never crowned, preferring to abdicate in order to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson.

George VI = (37) Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

Elizabeth II = (38) Philip of Greece

History Jar history challenge & a store cupboard of quotes

Sir Walter Scott’s library at Abbotsford

With self-isolation and social distancing becoming a way of life some of you have said that it would be good if I could become a bit more interactive. I admit that this isn’t particularly interactive but it’s a start! Others of you have said that you need something to think about and someone suggested a quoting activity.

Your history challenge this week– should you choose to accept it- is to name as many of England’s royal consorts as you can (no cheating). According to my ruler that lists all the monarchs- not including the Empress Matilda or Lady Jane Grey there have been 41 kings and queens of England. But who were they married to? Answers next Saturday.

Store cupboard of quotes – Add your favourite quote about history in the comments. Let’s see what you come up with! Ideally add the quote and who said it. By all means say why you like it. There are no prizes I’m afraid, just the satisfaction of doing it. My favourite quote about history is actually from Winston Churchill, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

In future I will add a quote challenge on a Sunday but I thought it would be good to make a start. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Home entertainment….

And finally https://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/category/history has lots of History podcasts if you’re looking to top up your history over the coming weeks.