From the BBC and presented by Professor Diarmaid Macculloch here’s an excellent site complete with images, text, and videos!
This week I have been working hard on studying for the GRE, which has been an adventure in and of itself. Learning more about my weaknesses and strengths as a student and academic is an interesting exercise and has proven to be surprising and difficult. Regardless of my own Sisyphean trials these past couple weeks, I have been working to stay connected, at least marginally, to the community from Kings and Queens 3. One of the best ways to do that has been via Twitter, and from there, I found a fascinating tidbit to share with you today.
In this post, Sarah Greer give a little information about what she studies, female monasteries. Not nunnery? Well, a nunnery and a monastery were two different things! She does a great job of explaining why she uses the term “female monastery.”
Crown of Thistles: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary Queen of Scots (or in the US Tudors vs. Stewarts: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary Queen of Scots)
By Linda Porter
In the course of my hiatus, I had the opportunity to read a few books that’d been on my “want” pile, and at the very top was Crown of Thistles, which I purchased on my trip to England earlier this summer. I’d already read the other “fun” book I purchased at the same time, a biography on Queen Matilda, whose husband was King William I of England. I’d wanted to get one in temporal area of research and one out. I was quite pleased to find one that seemed to be about Mary Queen of Scots, mother-in-law to Anna of Denmark, whom I presented a paper on this summer.
After presenting and having the opportunity to talk shop about history with the other presenters, I’ve become more resolved to look at not just English history, as I’ve done previously, but also Scottish. Scottish history is a rich and vibrant field and I want to continue my study looking at royalty, the construction of feminine identity and authority, and educational history, especially in context of the other monarchy on the island and in relation to those on the continent.
So this book Crown of Thistles, fits in quite well with my geographic focus and my focus on royal studies. Originally, from the title, I thought it was primarily going to be about Mary Queen of Scots, and a focus on her relationship with Elizabeth I of England, but I was mistaken. From the start, I was annoyed that we were reading about Catherine de Valois, Queen Consort to Henry V, and James III, but I was drawn in to Porter’s prose with her flair for bringing these historical characters to life as flesh and blood people and realizing where she was going by starting so far in the past.
By starting in the 15th century, she carefully sets up the tempestuous relationship between the two dynasties, and then carefully gives us background and biography on each of the rulers and other main players in the government and society. I was glad, it was a breath of fresh air, to read about Scottish monarchs James III, James IV, and James V.
Also written in great detail was the Battle of Bosworth Field, as well as the rest of Henry VII’s exile and battles for the throne.
Pulling together these two seemingly disparate threads to put light on Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth was an interesting approach, and although I’d wanted more on Mary, there are other sources which fall under that heading, like Lady Antonia Fraser’s work, or John Guy’s. This put her childhood in France in context with the ambitious nature of her mother and brought to life the Auld Alliance. As a reader, she helped me to understand that while the story can seem simple, it is infinitely more complex than it seems, and to bring an understanding of the people, as living-breathing people, can grant the reader more clarity.
I would whole heartedly recommend this book, with the caveats that it is 1) not just about Mary Queen of Scots, and 2) for a trade paperback, REALLY long. It reads quickly and is not overly difficult.
This BBC programme, all about how the Stewarts led the century that set up England, Scotland and Ireland to become Great Britain, is a highly watchable and accessible piece of work by Dr. Clare Jackson, of Cambridge University.
In it, she starts of telling the story of James VI and his impeccable lineage, descended from not only the Scottish Stewarts, but also the Danish royal family (Through Margaret of Denmark), and, more importantly, the English royal family (through his paternal great-grandmother, Margaret Tudor). He had apparently always felt that he would unite the crowns and kingdoms of England and Scotland under one man, himself. Dr. Jackson then takes us through his efforts to legally unite the two nations, but for James, to no avail.
What was curious for me, and I was glad to see it, was that she had also paid attention to Henry Frederick, James’ eldest son and Prince of Wales. In many texts, his life tends to be glossed over a bit as it wasn’t he, but his younger brother Charles, who succeeded their father as King. This was due to a premature death at the age of 18. From there, Dr. Jackson goes into the story of Charles as Prince of Wales and his incredible journey to Spain. She supposes that much of his style of kingship was influenced by his time there as a guest of King Philip IV. His love of pageantry and his insistence on ceremony may also have been influenced by Philip’s court.
She concludes the episode after explaining how Charles came to be king, married a French princess, the Catholic Henrietta Maria, and the struggles he faced over religion with Scotland.
All in all, this episode is a fabulous bit of history and it was quite enjoyable to watch! The only thing that was frustrating to me, really was the lack of Queen Anna. Her name was mentioned exactly once. That was in reference to the death of Henry. Was Anna’s influence as queen consort not felt more than just the death of her son? Wasn’t she a partner in the creation of the legacy of the Stuart dynasty? She spent 14 years in Scotland with James before they took England by storm in 1603. She then spent 16 years as Queen of England before her death in 1619. It seems as though she was shunted to the side, ignored. Henrietta Maria got her portrait on the screen and the mention about how she was Catholic. There is evidence to support a supposition that Anna converted to Catholicism, so wouldn’t that conflict between her and her strongly Protestant husband make for an interesting bit of monologue?
What seems to be forgotten, at least so far, is the story of the women of the Stewart/Stuart dynasty. Brief mention of Mary, Queen of Scots, Margaret Tudor, Elizabeth Stuart, Henrietta Maria, and even less for Anna. Perhaps this will be discussed in the future two episodes set to air? If not, then I hope there will be material on the programme’s website dedicated to these women. (Anna’s not even mentioned in the “The early Stuarts: marriage is power” page!) I think that focusing on the monarchs makes for good TV, but including the consorts and daughters makes for good history.
In light of the fantastic experience I had at Kings and Queens 3, I come away with an even greater appreciation for the act of research and the necessity of sharing said research with others. I was inspired by the many fantastic papers I heard and would like to work on some more projects of my own in the near future.
First project? I will continue the work I presented at the conference. I still have a few more masques of Anna’s to analyze and I have even more ideas thanks to comments and questions at the panel to inform my current work. I’ll work on adding in ideas from Samuel Daniel’s work, “Tethys Festival or The Queen’s Wake” and then the final Anna-produced masque, “Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly.” I’ll continue to focus on the political use of the masques as well as a literary analysis in terms of how Anna used them to self-fashion her own public image.
I was also particularly inspired by the work presented by Estelle Paranque, “Jezabel d’Angleterre”: Queen Elizabeth I through French eyes” and how she used French sources to chart and analyze the reaction of the royalty and aristocracy to Elizabeth’s rise and reign. I think it may be particularly interesting to analyze the French (or others) reaction to Anne Boleyn’s meteoric rise and catastrophic fall. The French perspective would be, I think, the richest to focus upon because of Anne’s early ties to the French royalty. This will also make me work on learning French, which, after this conference, I’ve learned is a necessity. This site is one that Estelle said she used quite a bit, and I hope it’ll aid me in my research: Gallica.
Another particularly inspirational paper, for my research, was “Scotland’s Royal Children: 1371-1528″ by Amy Hayes. She worked on researching the lives of the children of monarchs who were not expected to inherit the throne. This was difficult research for her as there is scant documentary evidence available. It doesn’t seem to exist. What I would like to do, though, is look for threads on the curriculum taught to these children and to piece together the educational programme established for the royal broods. England will be far easier than either Scotland or Ireland, and I’d also like to add in the Danish royal family. There are not that many (read: basically none) sources in English on the Danish royal family, but with the work I’ve done on Anna of Denmark, I would really like to see what I can do to piece together her early childhood and that of her siblings. One key way to understand the reigns of monarchs is to understand what was taught to them as children. I’d like to do that with Anna and her siblings to start off with and then move on to other royal broods.
This is in addition to studying for the GRE (again… ugh) and getting applications in line for graduate programs!
While exploring the Iron Ore Heritage Trail on a run last week, I found something interesting and quite unexpected! This area I’m currently living in, the around surrounding Marquette, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula, has a lot of ties to mining in its history. Honestly, mining is what provided the boom for enough people to come and settle here to actually give the area its population. One of the major players in the mining industry up here has been the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company, and love them or hate them, the company has provided a lot of jobs over the years here in the U.P. CCI was huge here, and one of the endeavors of the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives has been to collect and preserve the documentary history of the company and the impact it had on the residents, natural landscape, and economic situation of the Upper Peninsula.
Well, on this particular exploration of the Trail, I found that, literally just lying on the trail, was an old book. I looked at the first page (the cloth bound book’s front and back covers were missing), and saw that it was a ledger for processing preferred stocks from CCI dating 1929-1931. I immediately grabbed it and brought it home (as it had begun to violently storm). After letting it dry and letting the bugs run out, I contacted my friends at NMU’s archives and they were thrilled to say the least. I brought it to them the next day and then we went on a field trip so I could show them the building where I was pretty sure it had been stored. There was only one building that was close to that part of the trail, and it is an old hoist house, and according to An Old Finnish Man, it is actually the oldest building left in Ishpeming. A hoist house is something that I’m trying to learn a little more about, but it looks like this was just storage for the mine. Typically, a hoist house literally houses the mining hoist. There are a few examples of remaining hoist houses around the UP – one being the Quincy Mine No. 2 Hoist House in Houghton, Michigan. This one has been preserved, rather than abandoned like the one in Ishpeming. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, which is pretty significant. Regardless, the one here in Ishpeming seems to house previously unknown documents relating to CCI and hopefully this means that there will be more exploration of the building and its possibly historical contents!! I am excited and hope I get to be a part of this adventure into history!
Welcome to the redesign of Temporal Exploits, a virtual museum and archives. With the shift to WordPress and back to a blogging background, this site will feature works and stories that inspire me to continue my sojourn into academia as well as to publicly house my own personal works. We are now called Semper Eadem (always the same), to emphasize the important link between the past and the present, and the present and the future. Thank you for visiting the site today and I hope that you enjoy your stay!