england-in-history

Jane Seymour - Bound to Obey and Serve

Henry VIII’s third wife Jane Seymour has often been overlooked by history and generally thought of as an ordinary little English woman who did as she was told- hence her personal motto of “Bound to Obey and Serve”- and bore the King his son and heir.It is true that Jane was from a background typical of many young women at court. She grew up in the countryside of Wiltshire and led a quiet domestic life before she came to court as a lady-in-waiting.Jane was not exceptionally educated like the two queens who came before her, but that does not mean she was any less devoted to the causes dear to her or that she was not capable of ambition.

What struck many people about Queen Jane was the fact that in both appearance and personality she was the polar opposite of Anne Boleyn. Jane was delicately fair-skinned and blonde where Anne was olive skinned with dark hair. Jane was a buxom country girl where Anne was slender and elegant. Anne had been an avid reformer while Jane was a conservative Catholic who was intent on saving the old monasteries and relics. 

The thing that most needs to be acknowledged about Jane Seymour is not tied to her appearance,but to her character. While she was meek and demure by nature, Jane possessed a strong will and deep convictions. Almost immediately after she became Queen, Jane began working to restore Princess Mary to Henry’s favor. She was so fiercely loyal to Mary and her late mother Katherine of Aragon that she risked being accused of treason in order to reunite the King and his daughter. As a staunch Catholic, Jane pleaded on behalf of the religious institutions affected by the Restoration, a brave move to make with a man like Henry VIII and with the eyes of rival factions upon her. She even begged Henry to be merciful to the leaders of the Catholic uprising in York. Henry had married Jane because her modesty, piety, and demureness had attracted him to her. But Henry would have been wrong if he had expected a doormat. If Jane had not died of childbed fever after the birth of her son Edward she may have gone on to be remembered as one of the most industrious and devoted of Henry’s queens.

The Face of Anne Boleyn

In 1532 a Venetian ambassador to the court of Henry VIII described Anne Boleyn as  “not one of the handsomest women in the world. She is of middling stature, with a swarthy complexion, long neck, wide mouth, bosom not much raised, and in fact has nothing but the King’s great appetite, and her eyes, which are black and beautiful.”

It is true that Anne was never praised as a great beauty, but it was not so much her outward appearance which made the King fall for her. Anne had a remarkable wit. She was well educated and had honed her skills of flirtation and charm during her time at the French court.In the generations following her death, Anne was romantically portrayed as a raven haired vixen with smoldering black eyes. While her eyes were dark and quite striking, Anne’s hair was more likely a lighter shade of brown (some theorize that she may even have been a redhead) and, although only one contemporary image of her survives, her face was probably not considered the most beautiful in England. 

Personally, I am of the opinion that Anne was not altogether what we would call “ugly” but rather that she did not fit with the beauty standards of Tudor England. She had olive skin, dark eyes, and was very slender with a small bosom. The Tudors preferred women to be of fair complexion and buxom of figure. Regardless of whether or not she met the criteria for the ideal Tudor lady, it was still ultimately Anne Boleyn’s mind and not her face that made her so extraordinary.

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THE ROMAN HOXNE HOARD: 

THE Hoxne Hoard is the largest cache of late Roman gold found anywhere in the Roman Empire. Discovered by a metal detectorist in Suffolk, in the east of England in 1992 CE, the incredible collection contains 14,865 late-4th  and early-5th century CE Roman gold, silver and bronze coins, and 200 items of silver tableware and gold jewelery. 

The hoard amounts to a total of 7.7lb of gold and 52.4 lb of silver, and its current value is estimated at around $4.3 million. As the finder reported his discovery immediately, the cache was professionally excavated by archaeologists and conserved soon afterward so the vital context of the objects and their condition were preserved. 

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Article by Brian Haughton on AHE

Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) was an English aristocrat who, as the wife of the British ambassador to Turkey, became the author of the first secular writings by a woman about the Muslim Orient. Her letters during her time there recorded many aspects of daily life, and also cleared misconceptions about the treatment of women and their status in society.

 Her writings about Turkey helped to show a part of Eastern culture previously unknown to Western society, since she was able to access exclusively female spaces and therefore become acquainted with the Turkish women’s way of life. Upon her return to England, she promoted variolation, a procedure to immunize the population against smallpox, therefore saving countless lives.

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The Charlotte News, North Carolina, May 14, 1922

He is stage struck and makes the lounge lizards seem hard working business men by comparison.

The he-flapper runs to:

Sandals.
Long sometimes jeweled cigarette holders.
Sports shirts with string ties.
Purple velour hats.
Absinthe and vermouth at Regent-street cafes.
White colored scarves about the waist instead of “braces” or a belt.

The pest is most prevalent in London’s West End, but out in the suburbs the police unearthed a sort of training school for he-flappers. Headquarters of a band of boys, sword to secrecy, and pledged to perform one “exotic” deed a day was raided and some sound spankings administered.