Ask Henry. Questions 501 onwards. Questions just keep on coming to the website. Many are answered just by email, only the ones much different to previous questions are posted up on the website.

Q.501. Hi Henry. Whilst walking in the Cotswolds near Eavesham I noticed that the old stone walls had sharp topped coping stones and each side had stones inclined towards the centre. Is that just a Cotswold design?

I wish I hadn’t mentioned dry stone walling now, I’ve had about 50 emails about the design of walls. Basically I have answered all the emails with the same starter:
“....Different areas of Britain have different types of stone, ranging from the mighty Granite to the soft Limestones. But all weather differently from each other and in the soft stone areas susceptibility to water and frost make for changes to wall design.”
Now the Cotswolds are well known for the mellow yellow stone which are always dusty, easy to break and crack with frost. So not very good then eh!
Always at the mercy of what lies nearby, the stone-waller tries to design a structure that will last the longest, so he would place the stones at an angle to allow water to run off easily, place the stones along the wall not across it to stop the shearing action of each leaf of stones moving independently of each other. Instead of fitting stones with small ones to fill gaps, the Cotswold builder will use his hammer more to shape the stone to a much better snug fit, this again reduced the risk of creating a stress point which will determine the lifespan of the finished wall.
The sharp coping stones were designed to stop animals jumping over as well as being the strengthening bridges across the two leafs of stones. In the Cotswold’s they were called the Combers after the Comb which one fashions the hair on one’s head.
Please can we move on from walls, Boring!

Q.502. Hi Henry. When did you start to learn to play the Lute? Did you learn it yourself or have a tutor?
My father gave me my first Lute when I was seven years of age, in 1498, I watched lute players in the small bands of players and tried my best to learn myself. I think I was a proficient musician but my father eventually obtained the services of a Frenchman called Giles Duwes from Normandy who from when I was 12 years old, taught me French and polished my Lute playing. Duwes previously taught my brother Arthur and so stayed in my household where I gave him the job of tutor to Mary my eldest daughter. I was very sad when I heard he had died in 1535, he was a great teacher who could transpose the technical into easy to understand stories and exercises. A really great teacher.

Q.503. Hi Henry. Is your Palace of Westminster the same one as the Houses of Parliament today?
No sorry, My palace was burnt down in 1698 from a fire started by a scullery maid who put washing over a fire to dry. Only Holbein’s gate survived above ground and the cellars below. The gate was finally dismantled to make the Westminster road wider. The Tudor cellars are still under the houses of Parliament.

Q.504. Hi Henry. Do any of your many hunting lodges still survive today, 2009? I have been trying to find one to visit but have failed so far.
I like a person who never gives up. Alas there is only one of my hunting lodges left, built of timber it was completed in 1543 in Epping Forest. Find a park called Fairmead and the house there called “Queen Elizabeth’s hunting lodge” is my old house which I called the Great Standing. By road it is two miles Northeast of Chingford. Hope you find it.

Q.505. Hi Henry. Did you own Hyde Park in London?
Manor of Hyde. In true Godfather style, I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, the reformation and dissolution of monastery lands. I used the land as a Royal deer park and now it is Hyde Park.

Q.506. Hi Henry. Is it true that you actually had a house called Camelot?
You obviously know the answer and I smell a test from the pen of an historian.
Yes I did own a total of 87 hunting parks most with lodges. One of them was a deer park which was at Enfield Chase where I had built a hunting lodge called “Camelot” nearby was Enfield manor house in which I had apartments for my family.

Q.507. Hi Henry. Will Somers was your famous court jester. When did Royals stop having court jesters?
Will went on to be jester and court actor to all my children, in the courts of King Edward VI , Queen Mary I and finally in Queen Elizabeth I, then he retired. No more court jesters were ever used again, so he was in fact the last one.

Q.508. Hi Henry. I have studied the Mary Rose and other of your ships. No book mentions the heraldic emblems on the bow of each ship, they all seem to be the same. Who painted them?
Quite a difficult question this, but I had a painter who worked for my court for 20 years, he was an Italian called Vincenzo Vulpe from Naples. He painted all my heraldic images on my ships and barges. He was also famous for painting a three dimensional representation of the port of Dover to be given to me from the people of Dover as a gift.

Q.509. Hi Henry. How much wine did your court drink each year?
300 barrels per year. Most wine of the day was not for keeping long as it turned into vinegar easily. Stronger wines lasted longer if they had high alcohol contents of about 16%, Osney, Hippocras and Alsace were types of fortified wines.

Q.510. Hi Henry. In December 1528 the Venetian ambassador was recalled, why was that so and how long did he stay away?
He never came back, in fact Venice had no ambassador in England for another 60 years. He had insulted me by voicing his opinion when I install Anne Boleyn in Greenwich Palace whilst I was still married to Katherine.

Q.511. Hi Henry. Knowing that Norfolk is quite flat, yet there is mention of a Mount Surrey there. Can you explain what it all means as I live in Norfolk, and it is very flat!
The son of the Duke of Norfolk had the title of Earl of Surrey, he built a large manor house for himself in 1545 and called it Mount Sussex. In 1549 it was burnt to the ground during the rebellion led by Robert Kett. Not sure just where it was situated but will try and find out. Just as a matter of interest now we are talking about the flatness of Norfolk, lots of people have asked why are the roads higher that the fields which they run through. This is because they were the same height when built but over-use of the land has reduced the topsoil thus leaving the road higher. Every time you take out a vegetable from the ground, soil goes with it, so reducing the level slightly, now multiply this erosion over the centuries and the filed sinks down.

Q.512. Hi Henry. What is a dry stamp?
When I am indisposed, say ill or away on business, I had a stamp with my signature engraved on it. It would be pressed onto paper to leave an impression without any ink. Approved forgers would then ink in the impressions to keep royal business going. Only very close and trusted council were allowed to use the dry stamp.

Q.513. Hi Henry. Where did your Mother, Elizabeth of York live before she married your father King Henry VII?
Sheriff Hutton Castle in Yorkshire a robust double moat structure. Ironically her grandson, my illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy was granted this castle for his own household and Thomas Wolsey paid for the chapel to be refined. This gave Fitzroy the approval of the church in the eyes of the court. It still exists in the middle of a private farm. I have some picture of it today.

Q.514. Hi Henry. I know you are tired of stone wall questions, but I do have a real passion for such walls and wondered why Wales seems to have the most.
Mmmmm. Dry stone walls are boring to everyone but wallers.
Wales however isn’t boring and the reason for so many walls is their historical method of dividing up inheritance between all sons equally whilst in England we have Primo-genital where only the eldest son receives all the land and inheritance. Now work the Welsh system into land division and three sons get one third of their father’s farms each thus making smaller fields and producing more walls. If one farm is owned by more than one person, maybe brothers, then common walls are divided by means of a small gap to show where one persons ends and the other persons begins. This makes sure one pays for maintenance and money is not needed from all parties in the ownership.
See this picture of one such dividing line.

Oh! And remember that old saying “splitting heirs” not hairs!

Q.515. Hi Henry. What breeds of hunting dog did you use?
I would hunt in the morning and after dinner and have packs of dogs waiting for me. Greyhounds, Buckhounds, Harthounds, Harriers. Most were bred for my palaces by the Royal Kennels on the Isle of Dogs in the Thames just a short way past Greenwich Palace.

Q.516. Hi Henry. How did the rich tapestries hanging on your Palace walls get cleaned?
It is a fact that the tapestries were the most valuable items to hang upon walls, but they attracted dust and soot from the fires. They must not be washed or some of the colour dyes could run out so we cleaned them with dry bread. By rubbing the surface the dry bread naturally scours, absorbs and starches the woven fabric, when finished the crumbs would be brushed off. Ever wondered how a wine ring is removed from polished furniture? There was a Tudor method of setting fire to the discoloured ring with lit wax drips from a candle and then lifting the solidified wax off with the wine stain absorbed.

Q.517. Hi Henry. Did your servants have any perks of the job?
All servants had an established right to share downwards the left-over’s, discarded objects from their masters. This right was called Perquisite which became the slang Perk.

Q.518. Hi Henry. What happened to Mary Howard after she was widowed at the death of her husband your illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy?
Mary remained a widow for 21 years and never remarried. She actually loved my son the Duke of Richmond and continued as Duchess in her own right from his mysterious death in 1536. Henry was at first buried in secrecy and then reburied at Thetford Priory until the reformation then he was reburied for the final time and laid to rest at the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Framlingham where he still lies next to Mary his beloved wife. Nearby are the tombs of the Howards.

Q.519. Hi Henry. This is a hard question. I know that King Richard III was killed in battle at Bosworth Field by your Father’s army, but do you actually know the name of the man who actually killed Richard in the hand to hand fight?

The man was a Welsh Knight who helped my Father from the minute he landed on the Welsh coast. His name was Sir Rhys ap Thomas.

Plain Rhys ap Thomas became Sir Rhys ap Thomas just three days after this battle and under the patronage of both Henry VII and myself, he became the most powerful man in South Wales. The modern Dynevor peerage can trace its ancestry directly back to this warrior knight, the most influential native Welshman in south Wales.
But the great estates, wealth and prestige that Rhys had built up in his lifetime weren't to last very long after his passing; just six years, in fact, was all it took for his grandson Rhys ap Gruffudd (1509-1531), to lose the lot.
In 1531 Rhys ap Gruffudd, was beheaded by my court for treason and with his head went all the family's lands and estates, confiscated by the crown.
My crown.

Below is a picture showing the tomb of Rhys ap Thomas and the view from his now near ruined Weobley castle over the salt flats of Southwest Wales, a few miles Northwest of Swansea.

By the way, ap means “son of” in old Welsh.

Q.520. Hi Henry: I hear the phrase “to be at a person’s beck and call” what does this mean? Also what’s a beeline?
Beck comes from to Beckon meaning to use a hand signal, Call it to speak or shout. So “Beck and call” means to be subservient and to do whatever they tell you or indicate with their hands.
When a Bee finds nectar it performs a dance back in the hive. It points to where the nectar is situated and buzzes a tune, the time it takes for the dance means how far away the nectar is. Now the foraging bees fly straight for the nectar, they make a beeline for it.

Q.521. Hi Henry: How were women treated who nagged their men folk?
Are you trying to tell me something?
In my time, women who were considered to be nags and scolds, users of abusive or strong language, especially against their husbands, were in danger of being punished in an apparatus called a 'branks' - also known as a 'scold's bridle' or 'gossip's bridle'. The device was an iron cage with a tongue that projected into the mouth of the victim to prevent speech. Their nose went through the slit and the metal tongue went into their mouth, this prevented them from speaking.

Q.522. Hi Henry: To 'cock a snook' at someone was to make a sniggering hand jesture. Where does the term come from?
When two cocks are about to fight for hen territory, they spread out their feathers at the back, stick out their necks and circle each other before diving in to fight. This gesture is to show how powerful they are and that no other Cock can beat them. The Cock is the fanned feathers and the snook is the sticking out of the neck. A snook was a stretch of land sticking out to sea.

Q.523. HI Henry. I’ve noticed whilst visiting old houses, that some basic carving is not in proportion. Is that normal?
Well you are thinking in modern terms where one side of your car is an exact mirror image of the other. In Tudor days we only worked to the line of sight, in other words “by eye” and some people had better sight than others. The Tudors were also notorious functional designers, they liked it if it worked, they accepted irregularities as a secondary specification.
Here are some “irregularities” I have found for you.

Q.524. Hi Henry. What is a Sea-girt tower?
Well it really is simple really, a girt is a girth which is a horizontal length of masonery, and a tower is at the end. So a Sea-girt tower is a stone pier sticking out to sea with a tower on the end of it. Possibly the forerunner of the lighthouse.

Q.525. Hi Henry. Why is it widely reported that you had gout whilst you say you didn’t?
Ah! Modern gout is blood vessel blockage due to lack of exercise and too rich a food. Gout in the 1500’s was any skeletal aches and pains, such as arthritis, rheumatism etc. So I did not have your 21st century gout, but more like old age aches and pains.

Q.526. Hi Henry. Was there really a family called Blackadder as in the comedy show by Rowan Atkinson?
Yes, up in Scotland near the border with England. They got their name from the peat-stained river, the black Awedur which is medieval for running water. The original family was Blackadder of that ilk in Berwickshire, who distinguished themselves in the Border feuds so early as the minority of James the Second, towards the middle of the fifteenth century.

Q.527. Hi Henry: What was “the great spoil”?
Rather delicate this question. First of all the appalling death rate of babies born was about 1:2 births, but also 1:5 women died giving birth ,now let us not forget the surviving women who were badly hurt and disfigured in the process, they were left sterile and not capable of further children. This was called “The Great Spoil”, my Grandmother the Lady Margaret Beaufort was one of these as she only aver had one child, my father King Henry VII.

Q.528. Hi. Henry: How long had the Parr’s been in the royal circles before you married Katherine?
Many years before the 6th marriage, Thomas Parr her father was Katherine of Aragon’s Equerry.

Q.529. Hi Henry: How did Scotland Yard get its name?
It is said the location had been the site of a Palace owned by the Kings of Scotland and used by visiting Scottish monarchs as their embassy before the union, the land was “foreign” to England and known as '"Scotland". The courtyard was later used by Sir Christopher Wren and known as "Scotland Yard".

Q.530. Hi Henry: When and what was “Evil May day”?
1st May 1517, many apprentices were starving because the fashion for foreign designed and built houses hit the English skilled working population. They rioted in the streets and attacked Italian, Dutch, Spanish and Portugese houses. One of the foreign workers was that highly skilled stained glass window builder, Galyon Hone who was shunned by English craftsmen.

Q.531. Hi Henry: Did Tudor times have tourists?
We have always had tourists, people to go to see a spectacle as part of a holiday. When Francis and I held the Field of the cloth of gold at Balinghem near Calais it attracted many rich tourists from as far as West Flanders, mainly because we gave away free wine and food to all onlookers.
Tourists can be morbid too, when Thomas Wolsey was under house arrest in London, a rumour got out that he was on his way to the Tower of London for trial. A great many, 1,000’s lined the river Thames all the way from Westminster to the Tower to no avail as he had left for Yorkshire.

Q.532. Hi Henry: Where did “having two strings to your bow” come from?
A back up string in case of an emergency, simple.

Q.534. Hi Henry: It is quite strange that you called your magnificent Palace on the fields of Ewell, Nonsuch Palace. So were was Nonshere?

Hehehe. Well done to notice that one, not many have in the literary world. The naming of Nonsuch was with stylish French influence, no such palace is as fine as this one. But when the Duke of Worcester was in the French court they could not pronounce it. Many cannot today! Some tourists nowadays call it Worchester but we say “wuster”. The French actually gavce up trying to say it correctly by giving it a nickname “Nons Here” or Not here.

Q.535. Hi Henry: I read in many books different amounts for the fine you imposed on the Brandons for marrying without your permission, what was the actual amount?
Alison Weir gets it right to the nearest half a million pounds, but Maria Perry gets it right exactly. The amount was £25,234 6 shillings and 9 pence which at the historical exchange rate of 300:1 equals £7,570,299. Now you should ask how the figure was calculated.
Thank Thomas Wolsey for his mathematical brain, he reckoned that the (dowry lost + the interest gained over a nominal lifetime) – ( the money saved in providing the wedding and loss of interest from this amount) would equal this £7.5M. Beats me, personally I think it was the amount to save the head of Charles Brandon which brought calm to the rage of the sovereign. The debt was paid in annual installments which impoverished the Brandon’s until Mary Brandon received again her pension as Dowager Queen of France from Francis I trying to get friends again.
Oh! and the related issue of why did the Brandon’s daughter marry into the lower class Greys? Well they were rejected by the Howards because of their debt to me. And so poor Young Lady Jane was born a Grey.

Q.536. I read with interest your account of the sinking of the ship Mary Rose, the term clinker as an old design of timbering of ships confuses me. Where did the system originate and can you explain it deeper.

The system of making a hull out of wood without a main frame came to us from the Vikings. The overlapping was strong and flexible so the ship could twist with the rough seas. This also made them incredibly lightweight though the steps around the sides caused by the overlapping also increased the resistance surface area and slowed the ships down from their potential top speed. These steps however added a resistance to sideways rocking as the water hit the horizontal element of each step.
They were assembled one as a time using wrought-iron nails with barbs on them, a slightly domed washer was placed over the end as it came through the two pieces and then riveted over to form a strong joint. I find it most intriguing when a Viking ship remains are found under the ground, only rotten wood is found but the nails and washers are intact and in the correct places around the ships perimeter. Most interesting.
Here is a picture I have made to show the construction.

The Mary Rose still had a frame though her stability relied upon the rolling resistance and when her timbers were changed for Carvel with smooth sides she became unstable.

Q.537. Hi Henry. Your magnificent Navy saved us many times from invasion, but what was your Army like?

Never had one. A military force of land based men would have been called a “Standing Army” which means just what it says, it stands a long time waiting for work and the coffers of the English Monarchy are only so deep. I could not afford to keep an army. What we did however went against our own philosophy of reducing the power of the Nobles to encourage them to reduce their retainers (small army of thugs), what we did was to use a system of “Indenture”. Indenture is a contractual promise that I will pay towards their men but they must become my army when I need them. The problem of the conflict between reduction and supply was to employ rough, tough and usually mercenary thugs are their retainers. They were not to be trusted, working solely for money cause many to be treacherous, lacking in loyalty and vicious when overrunning the enemy, which they saw as a way of supplementing their income.

Q.538. Hi Henry. From England as a Nation, who benefitted and who were badly affected by the Reformation?

This is a huge question worthy of a book for the answer. But I will try with just a couple of paragraphs. Take these answers forward to research more deeply.
The Roman Catholic Church was in trouble before I came on the scene caused by loss of good men in the great plague, replaced by many scoundrels of high birth with no income. They bled their congregations of their hard to come by income, only to deliver religious doctrine in a language nobody understood, not even the new priest. All across Europe this happened not just England and the effect was to promote questioning of the faith by such men as Martin Luther. The poor followed him to a new Church Protesting about the old ways. He poor however lost their only source of good medicine and help in times of real need, the Monasteries were seen as a place for help, when they disappeared in England the poor lost their help. The middle class with their slow promotional life saw the newly freed up monastery land and buildings as a way to accelerate their position. They quickly signed up in belief to the new Church of England and soon benefitted from the gain in ownership. However to stop land devaluing the law was relaxed about rent increases and we became a notation of a dual system. Old ownerships had their rents fixed, new ownerships had their rents reviewed every year. This promoted the older nobles to be richer because the land and the food grown on it became cheaper whilst their wealth was not devalued, whereas the new rich had to increased their costs and buy at inflated prices. He land also became a tug of war between arable land and animal husbandry usually sheep. We lost many a forest to the larger field for sheep, neighbours fought each other for land control and what they used it for.
The main people whom benefitted from the reformation were the shopkeepers, traders, yeomen, tradesmen and farmers. The filed worker saw only religion at a lower cost and the freedom of go to any church, Godding about. They also understood the services and even had a book of common prayer lying next to the English Bible, produced by Thomas Cranmer.

Q.539. Hi Henry. What is a “franklin”

Before the reformation the Monks had to a large extent handed over the running of the monastery estates to a manager who collected rents and kept the peace, they reported back to the monastery much like a manager today. After the reformation the Franklins joined the ranks of the nobles, the gentlemen who came into possession of the lands. So a Franklin is a land owning manager of large lands divided into smaller sublet plots. The small plot holder saw sheep as a larger profit margin and so they tilled the land from vegetable growth into pasture.
Here is a verse of the day, author unknown.
“How have the abbeys their payment?
A new way they do invent
Letting a dozen farms under one,
Which one or two rich frankins
Occupying a dozen men’s livings
Take all in their own hands alone.........”

Q.540. Hi Henry. Did the reformation change the style of houses in any way?

Wow! Where are these difficult questions coming from? I suspect a project brief to some eager history student. But alas I will always answer a question if I know the solution.
The previous question brought up the deforestation of England caused by reallocation of land from the Monasteries, so there was a shortage of timber for the usual timber framed house design. Loss of wood also created a need for coal to burn which in turn created a dirtier smoke in a house without a chimney. Not all districts are bountiful with stone so the development of near-mass production of bricks came about. Houses changed gradually from central fires of timber burning with no chimney where the smoke filtered through a thatched roof, to a timber framed building clad with bricks and a latched on brick chimney for a fireplace on the side of a room fed by coal. The filtering thatch had to change to dry it out without having the escaping hot smoke, they either fitted a wooden liner or tiled the roof. The brick makers became a very profitable business as they made both the bricks and the roofing tiles. Soon the old timber frame disappeared as the movement of the timber damaged the rigid brickwork. The changes did indeed have a national progress, as the deforestation was on the flatter lands the house design changes followed in slow progression. The Eastern counties of Norfolk, Lincolnshire East Yorkshire leading the way meeting in the middle where the Western flatlands were approaching with their designs. This natural splitting thanks to the Pennine hills and Derbyshire hills caused a “difference” in the construction. Go and see what the houses look like today it is a wonderful sight to see. Not much deforestation in the South as this was the land of the Royal courts, they loved their hunting in and around the trees, so the houses stayed much the same except for end walls with chimneys.
I can see why your tutor asked this question, such a major change in social history caused by what seems an unlikely influence.
Now go and do that project!

Q.541. Hi Henry. Did you go Fox hunting?

No. Anybody could go hunting foxes as they were seen as the “red thief” robbing the poor of their chickens and ducks. They were hunted by whole villages on foot with maybe the lord of the manor or his foreman on horseback. The Gentlemen of England hunted for pleasure the Red Deer on the northern Pennines and the Fallow deer in the south. Enclosures of trees were kept to give the deer a sanctuary, the open fields now being fenced off for pasture. The poor old hare was the sport of the hunter from the poor to the rich, using packs of greyhounds because of their great speed to increase the challenge. Hunting with birds of prey was the pastime of the higher nobles as the running costs were very high. The hunting of birds “fowling” with the aid of the hawk was the focus of the bow and crossbow and a device called the “birding piece” a trap-like system with a net.
The shortage of prey for the sporting hunter caused the poor old fox to gradually become the sport of the middle class and rich, about the middle of Elizabeth’s reign this transition was complete.

Q.541. Hi Henry. What was tennis like in your palaces?

Tennis originally came here from France, the game being in a courtyard with walls all around. No rackets were used and a glove from the Knights armour was used to propel the leather ball. It was not called Tennis! It was called “Palme-play” and was seen as a fast knight vs knight conflict play. The use of the glove hampered the development of skill and relied upon luck of the straight return. The use of a strung sieve from the bread flour kitchen became the major change in the game. I had courts built for “Tennis” at most of my larger palaces, still with walls around the court but with spectator levels.

Q.542. Hi Henry. What kind of deep sea fish did the people of England eat?

Salted, dried or smoked. No freezers in my day so any fish caught some distance from the middle of England would be opened and hung to dry or salted for the long tedious journey to their customers. The villagers eat local river fish much the same as we have today but more in abundance due to lack of pollution and lower population. There was a mini ice-age during my reign and the cold air matched the coldest seas we have ever seen, this had a strange effect on Mother nature, it brought Herring down from the ice of the Baltic and northern Norway, into our own sea territory. This gave out fishermen a fantastic living and produced that well known smoked fish the Kipper. I had a liking for pure white fish, Haddock and Cod.

Q.543. Hi Henry. Did you help to start the slave trade in Africa?
How dare you!
No I did not. You obviously are blinded by the reputation I have gathered by the route of poor history writers. In 1528 William Hawkins actually opened up trading with the natives of west Africa and was very friendly with them, cloth, nuts, spices and ivory from Guinea coastal natural ports. However in the Reign of my daughter Queen Elizabeth I, William’s son John Hawkins made the inhabitants of this coast the article to export to the America’s in the newly founded Triangle of slaves for cotton, tobacco etc then back to Liverpool to start off again. Elizabeth turned a blind eye to the trade as she was receiving lots of taxes from the traders.

Q.544, Hi Henry. Wool, how much did we use?

With the increase in arable land for sheep we were the largest/capita for the rearing of sheep for wool. Thus our industrial output was huge, most being in the cottage industry system of collecting preparing and weaving in the same household, new ideas of larger manufacturing were beginning to take place where there was fast flowing water. Water mills became the power of the new mini-factories on the Western side of the Pennine chain of hills. The most famous factory owner was called John Winchcombe whom died in 1520 a very rich man indeed. I actually dined with him at his house in Newbury. John Winchcombe had hundreds of workers and backed me against the Pilgrim of Grace, he acquired Abbey lands and sat in the House of Parliament.

Q.545. Hi Henry. How many mistresses did you have?
“Mmmm donuts!”

Don’t think I am swerving away from your deep question, but remember I married two of them! Here they are in chronological order.
1. Elizabeth Denton
2. Anne Hastings
3. Etionette de la Baume
4. Jane Poppincourt
5. Elizabeth Blount
6. Mary Boleyn
7. Jane Pollard
8. Anne Boleyn
9. Joanna Dingley
10. Margaret Shelton
11. Jane Seymour
12. Anne Bassett
13. Elizabeth Cobham
14. Katherine d’Eresby
Now the rumours:
15. Elizabeth Bryan
16. Elizabeth Brook
17. Lady Wyatt
18. Lady Eleanor Luke
19. Mistress Parker
20. Elizabeth Amadas
So you see, I had enjoyed my mistresses much like Homer Simpson like his donuts.

Q.546. Hi Henry
What did the houses of the poor look like inside? Why are there no examples left?
Here’s a picture of the inside of a Tudor house.
Tudor houses were originally made of wooden frames with wattle and daub panels between. However, the wood cost the most so the panels of poor houses were larger and so weaker, The wood also warped so it had to be built opposite the same tree or copse source and this was very expensive. Therefore the poor houses were built with weak walls and unstable frames so they were not long lasting. The rich had halved timber, small panels or even bricks, thick thatches or even tiled roofs, chimneys and windows. They still exist in many English towns.

Q.547. Hi Henry. How old a family were the Seymour’s, were they high ranking?
Noble people but until Jane married me, they were in the lower orders of the nobility. Must say though that they came from a long line of lower order nobles, they landed with William the Conqueror in 1066 and originally came from France, St. Maurus which became the town of Saumur, eventually the name became Seymour. Land on the Isle of Wight was their original home, still called St. Maur today, eventually moving onto the mainland to Wiltshire for the marriage of Roger Seymour to the heiress Maud Esturmy of Wolfhall, Wiltshire which became their home for many generations. They were related by marriage to the Howards of Norfolk and so Jane was actually second cousin to Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard.

Q. 548. Hi Henry Indie here.
Several Hackney streets are named after Tudors, how many are there and what are their names?
Ah Hackney! I enjoyed hunting over Hackney Green with dearest Anne.
The Hackney area was only minute in my day compared to today and because it was an up and coming place to live we named many streets after family and friends.
King Henry's Walk
King Henry St
Boleyn rd
Queen Margaret grove
Howard rd
Woodville rd
Wolsey rd
Beresford rd
Kingsbury rd/terrace
Buckingham rd
"Old Henry's"
Montague rd
Balfour rd
Richmond rd
Darnley rd

There you go.

Hi Henry, one of the biggest roads in hackney where in the Tudor times, but had a different name . What is its name now, and what was its name then?


Reformation changed more than the churches!

Q.549 Hi Henry,
When Wolsey fell from favour, why did you change the name of his “Cardinal’s College” Oxford?
I'm not having a University College with a Papist name!

Actually I changed the name twice!
The first time was to “King Henry VIII College” Oxford because I appropriated all the wealth and trappings from Wolsey whom I believed was plotting with the Pope. When the Pope excommunicated me and my new wife Anne Boleyn, I took the College in my name. Then in 1546 in my latter years, I allowed the University to reorganise the Colleges and change the name to “Christ Church College”, Oxford. I realised that I took the college name as I was the King and head of the new reformed church, others who follow me could do the same. So I changed it to a name to be without a monarch’s title and thought that nobody would dare change the Son of God’s name.
Q.550 Hi Henry,
What was a Hanaper? I believe it to be a legal item.
Quite right sir, a Hanaper is a wickerwork box with lid in which all legal documents are kept by the Clerk of the Hanaper. It also became the box in which a picnic was carried, Hanaper became Hamper!

Talking about strange names. I was watching a man re-thatching an old cottage, on his van his name was Thomas Thatcher which I thought a clever advertising ruse. Not so, for after asking the man about his name he also told me his wife was called Ruth and they had a son called Tyler.
Now that's a clever answer from the comedian/thatcher.

Q.551 Hi Henry,
Were you actually related to Thomas Cromwell?

I sense you already are aware of the answer, as I suspect a trick question.
Well, my third wife Jane Seymour has a sister called Elizabeth Seymour. She married Sir Anthony Ughtred who later died and she became a rich widow. Thomas Cromwell, sick of paying out money to get his easily led son Gregory out of trouble, organised a marriage between his son and the widow. For this he had to get my permission as it would make his son my brother-in-law. Because Cromwell was in high favour at the time this permission was granted.
So in answer to your question, yes I was related by marriage to Thomas Cromwell being the brother-in-law of his son.

Q.552 Hi Henry
Why are poor people referred to as “scratching a living”?

It’s all about Hens and Cocks, which are naturally forest dwelling birds and are always foraging in the undergrowth for food, insects and seeds for instance.

Yes! I do have a picture!

Q.553 Hi Henry
I read that suspected witches were put on trial by the ducking stood, how would that be sufficient evidence to convict them of sinister undertakings?

It is a combination of superstition, fear, suspicion and someone to blame for a village problem. But, you must consider the times before you judge. People lived short hard lives, women had a life expectance of about 35 years if they were married with children, whilst single women could expect to life up to about 70 years as the effects of dangerous childbirth did not count for them. A single woman in a village would be very poor, would have to rely upon foraging for food and begging, or she could make brews for people to help cure illnesses or even become a Brewster and make an Ale of her own concoction.
Living twice as long as most women would bring the eye of contempt and suspicion upon her and if her brew was seen as a possible cause of death or sickness she could be accused of witchcraft. Her house would have a large pot for cooking, an open fire under her thatched roof, she would dress in drab dark clothing and hide her age and facial problems under a hood. Walla! She’s a witch. Nobody wanted to be the one who declares her guilty so the law would be to tie her to a wooden contraption, the ducking stool, and duck her under water with the whole village looking on.
If she survived the ducking she was deemed to be guilty and then would be burnt as a witch. If she drowned, she was seen as innocent but because she had lived twice as long as normal women nobody felt bad about her ordeal and passing.

Q.554 Hi Henry,
How could a food taster get instant results so you could eat your food in confidence?

A very valid point. Poison had a smell or taste or it showed up in crystals and texture in the food. A Royal food taster was not just some lay person daft enough to want to take the risk, he was trained to find the poisons and detact their trace in food, hence the saying “suck it and see”. He would also inspect the kitchens and be around when my food was being prepared, after all he would die with me if he missed any toxic poisons. So my food tasters would be well paid, well trained and well looked after, with a degree of power over the preparation of my food.

Q.555. Hi Henry. You were brought up a strong Roman Catholic in faith, how could you so quickly dump such beliefs for the reformation of the church?

Only control of the church was my ulterior motive. I am high in rank and so see that only men ran things. The Emperor Charles, the Pope are only men in reality. I am but a man too, so I saw that these two men were stopping me producing a legitimate heir to the throne of Tudor by not allowing a divorce or annulment of my illegal marriage to Katherine, by Brothers widow. Charles was her nephew and so family was involved in their decision. I decided to rid England of Papal control, the reformation of the Catholic church was just what it says, “a reformed Catholic Church” no thoughts of being Protestant ever crossed my mind. Remember that we were not alone in religious turmoil, the rest of Europe was in a deeper crisis than England with their fighting against Martin Luther’s new church of Protestors of Papal doctrines. Yes we had the same enemy, but we were world apart in delivery. I gave the task of reforming the church into the Catholic church of England to my councillor Thomas Cromwell who maybe went a little too far with some of the things he did, but mainly he kept in the spirit of the reforming process. Until that is he leant a bit too far towards Protestant values with his executions of various bishops and the support he had for clerical marriages, of which I had no liking whatsoever.
In 1539, May I believe I brought in “The Six Articles” legislation to stop the flow towards Protestantism, the main article was the reintroduction of the Holy Sacrament from the old Romanised version. Cromwell had to back off his thrust towards the European growth of the Lutherans and England’s new Catholic Church settled down into a cohesive religion. The Duke of Norfolk. Cromwell’s deadliest enemy, took Cromwell’s position to be traitorous and even his organising of the marriage to Anne of Kleves was deemed in the Lutheran camp. Cromwell lost the battle and died.
So a quick answer to your question, I never backed away from my beliefs, I took away foreign control and foreign effigies, as the new church developed it moved too close to Lutheranism and I pulled in the reigns.
Here’s a little ditty about a group of revellers who accidently became Traitors due to the effect of drink, but who were forgiven by my generous intervention.

Drunken Traitors We
By Henry Tudor
A Coventry trick when night covers thick
Was to crawl from Tavern to Inn.
We four friends so true can drink and then spew
With the world about us in spin.
But new to us now was the Church of the King
With laws designed to stay true.
Never destroy, disrespect, mess or employ
A holier than thou attitude.
I’m John Robbins a maker of clothes
My friends Harry, William and Rob.
We drink ‘til we are sick, we dance and act thick
From ale house to ale house we lob.
But one drunken spree, turned dangerous for thee
Roger’s tavern then Pannier’s toll.
We ended up sprawled at the town’s old cross and did fall
Needing desperate toilet and washing facility.
No paper on hand, no wash bowl on stand
So we used the King’s posters to wipe up the grime.
This was a traitorous act, our freedom was sacked
Even though we could not remember our crime.
The village then spoke, “without them we’re broke”
So the King shook his finger and drew a new line.
A wry smile behind his tough face. He said “watch this space”
You four must repent, no ale money spent will be fine.
Become pure and never do drink.
Keep away from the cross, my paper to floss
Keep an eye on each other, don’t blink.
Of course we still drink, what does the King think?
No water is clean to drink neat.
But now we carry a roll, when out on a stroll
And look for a hidden privy seat.

Q.556. Hi Henry. I am fed up of looking for facts about your illegitimate daughter Audrey Tudor, there is no exact details as if trying to hide her! Can you give me a true account of her life and whereabouts?

I loved that little girl, blue eyes and always smiling in my world of corruption and intrigue she gave honesty and innocence to the meaning of my life.
First of all Audrey is her nickname, she was called Etheldreda and only for a few days did she have the right of the surname Tudor. Her Mother was Joanna or Jane Dingley, daughter of a Sir John Moore and widow of James Dingley of Dunkelyn county Worchester. She was a lower noble and was in and around the Palaces when I first saw her in 1534. She was low enough in status to not be a political problem when she became pregnant with Audrey, only if the baby would have been a boy would it matter. At the time the two tailors who made my incredible suits were constantly in my rooms and we became friendly. John Malte was my principle cutter and botcher and we worked closely together to produce never seen before designs. A botcher is a tailor who sews cut pieces together to make the shapes, so you could say my clothes were “botched together” hehehe. Anyhow I digress, John Malte was asked to take in the baby Audrey and to bring her up as his own daughter, thus being now called Audrey Malte, or Etheldreda Malte. Named after the daughter of King Anna of East Anglia, Princess Etheldreda went on to found a monastery and nunnery in Ely.
I made a lifetime pension allowance for the girl and Malte and his wife, lived well because if it. As you know I died in 1547 and lands were left to the tailor and Audrey as a sale by the Crown to “....John Malte and his base daughter Awdrye.....” Only ten days later, I died knowing I had settled my daughter for life. The land! The Manor of Kelveston, Somerset.
Audrey married by my guidance to the Knight Sir John Harington who was one of my confidential servants. Audrey also inherited lands from her now wealthy step-father, the manors of Watchenfield and Offynton in Berkshire. Queen Elizabeth I became their son’s godmother when she was only 20 years of age.

As you will be aware from your previous research Kelveston in Somerset is just north of the Abbey of Glastonbury of pop festival fame today. The Manor grew into a small village called Kelston situated 4 miles northwest of Bath, and 8 miles east of Bristol, on the A431 road. It is situated just north of the River Avon, close to the Kelston and Saltford locks.

It is the site of the Elizabethan Kelston Manor House, built by the Harington family with wealth created from the rich dowry Audrey inherited, the house was demolished in the 18th century.

The village of Kelston, courtesy of Flickr.
Cannot stop here as this story crosses over a famous happening!
Nearby and interested in the welfare of Audrey was a certain John Horner of Clofford Somerset. Horner was married to another of John Malte’s daughters, Meriola (Audrey’s step sister). John Horner obtained his land from the pie containing the deeds of the Abbey at Glastonbury, he kept the best property for himself as payment for the delivery, Mells in Somerset. Little Jack Horner!
Have to finish now, could talk about dear Audrey all night.

Q.557 Hi Henry. Who was your earliest best friend?

From the age of 2 yrs I had a pageboy who was a ward of my Father, King Henry VII. The pageboy was 11 years old at the time and was called William Compton. His father had died and left Williams future in the hands of the King. We were inseparable as companions in arms in the French battle at Tournai (1512), he was my emissary and a constant partner in hunting expeditions. I was broken hearted when William died in 1528. I went to stay at his family home of Compton Wynyates in Warwickshire many times and I gave him the privilege of displaying the Royal Lion of England in his coat of arms. There is a bedroom called Henry VIII room and my daughter Queen Elizabeth I, King James I and King Charles I stayed there too.
Compton Wynyates got its name from the family of Compton and a windmill overlooking the house. Known early on as the Compton’s windgate.

Q.558. Hi Henry. On a windmill why are there no solid panels on the sails?

Mmm. That's because it is in neutral, the sails need to be pulled over the frames to create the surface area. The rear fan powers a bevel gear to rotate the main fan into the wind. The mainshaft then turnes another bevel gear to direct the rotation vertically and drive the stones. Quite complicated really.

Q.559. Hi Henry. Quite a difficult question for you. Did the Tudors have Orchids?
Orchids are millions of years old and there are 35,000 species so it would have been their place of growth that would be the problem of accessibility. A hot and humid climate such as South America or closer to England, Madagascar would have been the source. It was about 1518 that the vanilla orchid was discovered from the invasion of the Aztec Empire by the Spaniard Hernando Cortes. Remember that I was still married to a Spaniard at that date so I could easily have had the seed pods as flavouring or made into a widely accepted potion for health. Chocolate from the Cocoa plant was mixed with vanilla to make a soothing drink to calm the nerves. It was not until about 1602 when vanilla pods became a sweet flavouring in its own right and not just for a medicine, this was started by Queen Elizabeth's apothecary, Hugh Morgan.
The biggest user of the Vanilla Orchid today is the Coca Cola drink company! Oops have I given away the secret their most guarded ingredient?
The name Orchid comes from the old Greek “testes”, so it was viewed as an aphrodisiac as well as the old favoured Globe Artichoke. I did use a lot of such plants whilst trying to father a boy.

Here's a picture of my favourite one.

Q.560. Hi Henry. Why were Tudor Bricks so small in thickness?
It is a misconception that Tudor bricks were thinner to allow a more intricate pattern to be built. It was because we rushed them into manufacture and set up many small brickworks who had poor drying and oven facilities.
Tudor bricks are poor quality and had a huge scrap rate thanks to the cores being wet and firing before they were completely dry. The expansion in the wet centres would crack and distort the brick causing a low acceptance rate for Royal building stock. Walls around properties ended up with the worst acceptable brickwork, even at Hampton Court around the Tiltyards where today you can see poor examples of brick.
The thickness was small because they air dried quicker and hopefully lowered the scrap rate. The fashion for brick in-fills to timber framed walls which superseded the old Wattle and Daub system created a huge demand for kiln produced bricks. The London borough of Willesden was expanded from a small river dwelling to a bustling, brick making town on the River Brent, the way over being Brentford. Nearby a house had two ways over the River and was named two-fords, Twyfords! About 80 workers were involved with the brickworks and much of the production went into Hampton Court on Royal purchases. These 80 workers brought in a further 200 dependents and thus the town grew.
The pre-Henry Hampton Court built by Cardinal Wolsey used common brick and painted the different patterns instead of arranging coloured bricks in a built pattern. I rebuilt over these Wolsey walls to bring them up to my standard. I also discarded the Timber framing for full brick walls with structural stanchions and bowed timber roofing spans which was quite a step forward in building design, again though increasing the need for brick production to be increased.
Here’s a few pictures of poor Tudor bricks taken in Hampton Court’s Tiltyard, though it must be said, they are nearly 500 years old and still there! In 500 years time how may modern buildings would have survived?

Q.561. Hi Henry. Without proper maintenance what would a Tudor house look like after many years of neglect?

Nature takes all back eventually. Windows would break, stone would layer and fall apart, bricks would fall under their own weight as the mortar breaks down, wood would rot and fall off leaving roof's on the floor and that dreaded Ivy would take over.
I had to ride a few miles to find this picture, it is Bank Hall in Bretherton, Lancashire.

Q.562. Hi Henry. The Knights rode big strong horses as the rider was dressed in heavy armour, what protected the horses?
Mmm. They wore armour too!

Q.563. Hi Henry. Just what does a wild boar look like, is it big?

Very big and very dangerous.

Q.564. Hi Henry. Why do some stone stairways in round towers go clockwise up and some anticlockwise up? Is it to stop the running soldiers getting dizzy?

Thank you for the laugh, it cheered up my boring day.

Never think that the leader of any castle gives a hoot about the dizziness in a soldier, the soldier is a tool to the boss.
The fact is though that 5/6 people are right-handed and the other 1/6 left-handers were forced to be awkward right-handers. Now put your sword in your best hand, your right hand, run up a spiralled staircase with that sword in your hand, which direction makes it impossible to attack the soldiers up stairs? Clockwise upwards. Now if the defending soldiers are downstairs the worst rotation for the attacker is clockwise downwards. So this the reason for the two uses of the spirals. The defender are at the top the stairs spiral clockwise up to them, this allows the defenders to have their swords in their right hands and all the space needed to swipe at the incoming attackers. But is the defenders are under the entrance, in a cellar or dungeon, the staircase would need to go the other way to keep this advantage.
This is true not a wind-up, or wind-down!
Now I’m on the subject of tower stairways! Did you know that they werew designed to be as narrow as two people passing even though the castles is large enough to very wide towers? Why? Because an archer cannot fire an arrow around a corner but is the corner is wide enough he can kill people on the tangent of the circle. Clever eh! AND he would have to be a left-handed archer too!
Now I’m feeling dizzy.

By Henry Tudor

With sword in their hand
With fear in their heart.
The foe enter this land
To kill from the start.

But a castle so high
With towers so great.
Spiral up to the sky
A hard task they make.
The hunted defend
From top floor they wait
The foe cannot sword bend
This becomes their end fate.

A genius it was that found
When towers spiralled round.
To make it clockwise quite sound
To the top from the ground.

Keep staircase quite narrow
To stop a stray bows arrow
Make it awkward to fight on
The battle now won.

Q.565. Hi Henry. Fellow follower of Tudor History from Cornwall.
Love the website, view it all the time.

I was hoping you could clear up the mystery of measurements for me. I have always been confused why the Imperial system is so complicated yet the Romans always worked in multiples of 10. Please have a go at this mystery for me.

Well, I won’t insult you by mentioning Cornish miles.
The potential Roman Empire had no real measurements before they invaded and they had a very clever way of measuring lengths. It was the norm of the Romans to build a stopover infrastructure every 15 Roman miles which was a day of marching. Miles came from 1,000 Roman paces, mille. Now I can hear you say “that’s a big pace” but a pace was actually 2 steps, so the right foot started again from the same position. A Roman Pace was 58” or 1.62 yards. So a Roman step was 29” or 0.81 yards. This shows just how short Romans were! I think I have mentioned it before that too big a pace rubbed the legs on the ends of their leather thonged kilts.
Now if you multiply 1.62 yards by 1,000 paces then a Roman mile is 1,620 yards long. When the Romans left and the Brit’s were left behind they multiplied their pace of 1.760 yards to get our mile of 1,760 yards.
In medieval days fractions were used instead of decimals, so ½ mile, ¼ mile and then 1/8th which is 220 yards and became the length of a furrow for serfdom land working. The furrow length became the Furlong which is still in use today in the horse racing world. Now into the equation comes the Roman Catholic Church, they built churches with a sanctuary end under the cross, called the Rood end. A barrier was fixed for the hunted to enter the Rood whilst the hunter could not be allowed in with weapons. The depth of the Rood was two lengths of the sword tip to the halfway of the swordsman! Confused eh! This meant nobody could in theory fight in the rood. This length was 16.5 feet long and became known as the Rood length which became the Rod Length.
Now because all churches had a rood length it became the standard way to measure land area, four rood lengths X one furrow length was the old way of measuring land, the archaic way, the acre!
Now let us calculate the actual acre.
1 rood length X 4 X 220 yards = 16.5 feet/3 yards X 4 X 220 = 4,840 sq.yds or 43,560 sq.ft
Now in comes the guy who builds dry stone walls around fields with the rood in his hand, he measures the perimeter in rood lengths and multiplies the basic height of the wall at 4 feet tall. This measurement is called perches.
Of course things go wrong, we sent over with our intrepid explorers lots of casks of liquids. Measured in gallons at the filling stage, the liquid soaked into the wood and evaporated and so after many weeks at sea it had lost some volume. The other end let the liquid out in gallons which are now called US Gallons, which are smaller than imperial gallons. Still confused? Me too.
Wait before you go, the Roman roads were built to accommodate the width of a chariot wheel tracking. Our present railway system is the same as well as any country we or the Romans have been to building infrastructure, so the track are the same in America too. To transport the rocket boosters for the space shuttle, NASA had to make sure they fit on their railway system so the diameter of the booster rockets were dictated by the Romans. Now that’s progress!
Where did the Yard come from? The dimension from the centre of a body to the finger tips, this was the way sellers of cloth measured it off the roll in the yard outside the houses. Big sellers gave more which is a tall order.
Well, maybe I will mention Cornish miles. How come the road signs in Cornwall show distances which are not true? Example: “Newquay 3 miles.” Three miles later, “Newquay 1.5 miles”!

Q.566. Hi Henry. If you loved riding your 200 horses, did you suffer from horse fly bites a lot?

Not the regular type of question I receive, but quite a good one all the same. it was well known in my day that darker horses attracted more flies. I rode on white horses and rarely got bitten. If you explore this answer on the internet, you will find that the eyes of horse flies define movement of swishing tails and dark bodies stand out whilst white bodies are nearly invisible. We also cut the tails shorter.

Q.567. Hi Henry. A young student called Taylor asks "How did Tudors clean their teeth" for a school project.

In Tudor times there was no real product for cleaning your teeth. But as the poor ate less meat, sweets and more vegetables so they had healthier teeth that the rich though they still had big problems with their teeth. Hairdressers used to also pull out teeth and also let blood out as a medication, they had a red and white pole outside their shops to let people know their skills. Using cloth and twigs as tooth picks was the general theme. The view of a farmer walking across a field with a sprig of corn in his mouth comes to mind.

We all knew that bad teeth hurt and also dirty teeth made your breath smell, so I have my teeth cleaned by my barber who uses his own concoction of soot and honey. I know that soot is black but it is a good abrasive and leaves my teeth smooth, the blackness dissapears when I it swill out. The honey makes the soot into a paste and makes it taste bearable. During a long banquet I sometimes chew on liquorice sticks which also clean between my teeth like flossing. Trouble is we loved sugared sweets, and we believed that eating such things solved the problem of bad breath; we also chewed mint leaves and aniseed to keep bad breath away. Hey! Nobody can smell their own breath and if I ask a privy councillor his opinion of my breath smell, he's going to lie and say it is good whatever it smells like, wouldn't you?

In reality, sugar and honey does rot your teeth but is easily cleaned off with a cloth or a frayed liquorice stick. The biggest culprit was starch which formed an acid between teeth and rotted the roots. Starch is present in root vegetables and sauces. The poor eat them as well as us so we were all not aware of the real cause of the bad teeth.
My daughter Elizabeth lost a lot of her teeth in later life due to bad hygiene.

I hope this is enough for your project.

Now make sure you clean your teeth after EVERY meal, use floss and go to the dentist regularly, do not copy the Tudors.


Q.568. Not a question, but included as it raises many questions.

Running Water and Cowboy Builders.
by Henry Tudor

Sometime ago I visited Dove Cottage and became intrigued by the running water to create a cooling room called the Buttery for the Butts of wine. I have now been searching for good examples of running water for Medieval/Tudor times. For this I turned to Tony, my brother for his deep knowledge of where to look. He came up with Haughmond Abbey in Shropshire. This is 80 miles from my base and so I planned the visit with bro’ Tony well in advance to be snuggled between Henry gigs. About 4 miles to the East of Shrewsbury, the Abbey is in ruins but looked after by English Heritage. He took me straight over to a row of post-stumps and told me about underground rooms called the Undercoft where food, ale and dishes were kept to be brought up to the floor above, the dining hall. He showed me the remains of a gulley where well-water ran through the store. Now intrigued I wanted to see the origin of the water, he knew where to go. We followed the line of the gulley, bits of it popping out now and then to show we were on the right trail until went came to the boundary wall of the Abbey. New we left the Abbey itself, walked up the main road to another track, along which he paced out the distance equal to the position where we were stopped by the wall. Turning East we climbed the hill through the woods, at this point I was rather worried, and only about 100 yards into the woods we came across a small roofed, stone building. “Here’s the turning point” he said.
This is how his brain works, he knew the water had a head of pressure, it cannot directly dive down from a lake as it would erode the hill, so it must gently flow down the hill parallel to the Abbey. Therefore he was looking for the turning point where the Abbey had dug a new waterway towards their dining room. The building was a stone, roofed, locked construction to protect the water, it has a saint to guard it and so it was deemed to be a Holy Well.
Now in top gear, Tony knew there would be more than one as the Abbey had a fish farm next to it and water would be needed to feed it. Only 10 minutes later he found the foundations of the second Holy Well. See the pictures of this days research. Thanks Tony, genius tracker.

It didn’t end there, as we had solved the story of running water he now threw the question at me “wanna see how the builders used old Roman roof tiles in their walls?” This was music to my ears, get him whilst he’s on a roll.
It seems that stone not always fits together well, cutting them exact takes time and skill and each stone needs “fettling”. But if a slice of material is fit between ill fitting stones then the job is speeded up with less skill needed. Hence, finding a pile of Roman roof tiles becomes the fettling materials. The wall was not an obvious viewpoint, he knew that hiding things in the open needs obscurity, but he knew where to go. Find the wall without features, where strength and structure is more important than looks. This wall will have the tiles in it. He looked at the plan, hummed and ah’d a while then pointed to a wall of double thickness with little feature, “they’ll be there” and off he ran with me trying to get my camera out at the same time. Lo and behold he walked right up to the wall with red tiles embedded in to level off unlevel stones. I was overcome with emotion. “They covered this with lots with plasterwork to hide the tiles, a sort of cowboy building really”, what! Unskilled cowboy builders of Abbeys! This was mind blowing.
We had to leave Shrewsbury without visiting the obvious in the Town itself, but then I learnt more in the forest about buildings and water than I could have from a tour around a Cathedral which was built without cowboys. On the way home, he beamed at the day’s events and began to plan further trips to hidden forts, sewers, wells he knew about. Can’t wait.

Q.569. Hi Henry. How did they make your wonderful hats?

Mad Hatters
By Henry Tudor
Wearing a hat will enhance your features, protect your head for the sun and weather and also indicate your skills by way of hunting hats, riding hats etc.
But have you ever sat back and wondered how did they make that hat? How did they get the cloth to be such a complicated shape and even keep the shape when wet?
First of all not many hats are cloth, they are felted strands of either hair or wool. Felting is to separate strands then arrange randomly to allow the barbs to lock together then pressed to the desired shape and thickness. Very basic is this explanation that I must expand the various details for you.
Rabbits were the preferred hair for hats in Tudor rich circles. Not easy to extract from the rabbit by chasing it around the pen with a pair of scissors! But easy after you have eaten the rabbit and have the skin left over, then you can flay the skin off to leave behind the fur. Not you need to wash it to remove the grease, this is the Lanolin, then dry it and fluff up the fur to expose all the hairs. Shearing off the best bits was the job of the trimmer with a very sharp blade, he was very skilled and so became known as the “cut above all others”. The hairs were then pressed into a rough mat so triangles can be cut from it. Why triangles I hear you say! Have you ever made a shape in paper mache? Then you’ll know that a triangle can be pasted into any known complicated shape. Not get a wooden former than looks like a bell, wet it and then paste the triangles onto the former up to two layers press to get the shape of the bell. This is very weak and needs shrinking and locking by immersing it into a tank of special liquid.
Special liquid, now I’ll stop messing with you and speak bluntly, a liquid made of a mixture of Water + Urine + Mercury. Now this liquid was highly poisonous and lead to harmful conditions of the human brain of the hat-maker, hence “Mad as a Hatter”. The urine acted as a mordent and with some alum flour (Aluminium Sulphate) would seal in any colour dye.
The wet hat was then pressed into the final shape and left to dry. This process is nowadays automated and a lot safer to work with, but in Tudor times a hatter did not live very long because of the chemicals used in this trade.

Q.570. Hi Henry
Hey, I found your website, and I’m not sure how old it is, or even if you’re still answering questions, but I was wondering if you could help me out. I have a question of my own.
What were your motivations and actions behind bringing out religious changes during the reformation?
Thanks for even considering my question.
Josh D.

Hi, my website is current and ever growing in size.

The reforming of the old Roman Catholic Church in England into a state run Catholic Church of England came about for many reasons. Not just the obvious of getting an annulment from my first wife it was a time ready for change.
Here are the factors in list format:
1. I wanted a divorce from my first wife who was 6 years older than me and beyond her childbearing years.
2. We had 6 babies born in our marriage but 5 died and only a girl was left, Mary.
3. Her nephew was the boss of the Pope, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles and he would not allow a divorce after pleading from his Aunt.
4. The Royal coffers were running out of funds and the church was seen as a strong source of revenue.
5. I wanted to marry Anne Boleyn, this would destroy any allied pretentions with the Roman Catholic world.
6. The monasteries were a supply of stones for the building of fortresses along the south coast of England on the estuary of every invade-able river.
7. The people of England were held down by the old Roman Catholic church with “pay to pray” policies and “tied to their church” restrictions.
8. The church needed to be overhauled to be more accessible to the people, by introducing an English version of the bible, by allowing people to moved to any church.
9. The selling off of old monastery lands and property brought the nobility into the new reformation and brought in £175M to the coffers (today’s values).
10. I could change the church rules to suit my own ends.
11. The Lutheran’s were growing in strength in Europe and I could see the old ways will lose in the end, so I took sides early on.
This is my candid view of the reformation and the creation of the new order where the Head of state is also the head of the Church, this is still true today in 2010. The actual change from Catholic beliefs to Protestantism was by the Council led by Edward Seymour and in the name of my son King Edward VI. My daughter Queen Mary I, tried to reverse the reformation back to Roman catholic, but still kept the reigns, with her death my other surviving daughter Elizabeth I changed it back to Protestant England where it has remained.


Hi Henry. What kind of toothbrushes did you use?

1498 the worlds first toothbrush was invented in China being made from cattle bone and Siberian pig hair.
It was the late 1600's when England got their's, then in 1780 William addis produced mass made brushes.
In Tudor tines we cleaned teeth with cloth or chewed stick ends to fray them and use concoctions of abrasives such as pumis stone, cuttlefish, alabaster and eggshells. Many caused damage to the enamel of teeth and would seem clean until we ate a dark stained food, then the teeth would soak in the stain.
Cloves herbs and later on tobacco was chewed to clean and lower the pain of tooth Ache.
We believed that sweet food made our breath smell sweet but nobody was brave enough to tell me my breath was bad. You cannot smell your own breath except taste a bad taste.
We had tooth picks made of porcupine quills. Feather ends and long Wooden thorns
Rubbing with White wine vinegar mixed with honey cleaned the enamel and we believed that clean teeth squeaked when rubbed which is true as the surface left is the polished enamel.
Hence "squeaky clean".


Q.572. Hi Henry. You look so angry in your portraits, are always like that?
Of course I’m not. I can be fun, loving and kind but who wants a King seen as a push-over?
How many adults out there, remember their school days where you joined a group just to be cool. Sitting on the wooden chair are the back of the classroom, “....hard backed chair leaning ‘gainst the wall”... Dolly Parton”.
No matter how fierce a person has got to be seen as, a heart still lingers underneath.
“.....A man may weep upon his wedding day.” William Shakespeare
We all try to be someone else, only you know the real persona, most people around you know your outer-self with your inner-self let out in modified format. Then there are the people you do not know, for them you transform your outer self to what you really want to be, you wear fashions, apply makeup and even act out the personality to make people believe it to be really you. Some people try to convince themselves that they are this made up person by changing their personality permanently with tattoo’s, piercing and hair dye.
Just think about how you pose for a photograph, is it you, is it as people know you, or is it how you want to be seen? Trouble is that you rarely see yourself as others do because you see yourself in a mirror and they don’t, so when you see your own picture or video you are shocked and ask “is that how I really look. Now mix the sound into the equation, you hear your voice from inside, your ears pick up your voice from outside and inside, mix them up and that’s your sound. But how do others hear you? They only hear the outside sound which can be distorted by distance and their own hearing system. Now for a shock, watch a video of yourself talking and you will shrink into your inner-self, not believing that you have been portraying yourself differently all these years.
Now back to the question, “...why do I look so angry in all my portraits?”
I must venture into the world of psychology and the three persona theory.
A photograph is taken instantly and nowadays costs nothing to produce, you can afford to be whatever you want, all three persona. But in my day photography did not exist except for the Camera Obscurer. A portrait had to be painted and took over a month to produce. It would have cost about £6,000 in 2011 money and only one would be seen and any time.
Now consider you are a King and you want to present yourself to the country in your portrait, which persona do you want to use? What type of clothing should you wear? What about the display of wealth, how much should you wear and of what quality and cost?
Here’s my answer to your questions:
1. I will never wear the clothing again as they are only for the portrait, so I will spend a lot of money on them.
2. Jewels will be the best in the world, only one piece will be seen again to show I have respect for some event in my past.
3. I will wear my hat on an angle to emphasise my eyes and portray a feeling or mood.
4. I will stand with my legs apart to create a stable rectangular look, not a top heavy look.
5. I must look tall so my clothes will not be too long, balance to my height is very important.
6. Never smile on a portrait as it make you look to easy to overpower. I will show my evil eye and portray a man not to be messed with.
7. Colours are important, I will not pick my favourite colours, I will pick expensive colours that portray danger, Red, Purple. Then I will choose gold as an accessory colour to display wealth.
8. Warm, width and trim will be accommodated in my choice of fur trim, I will pick short hair, dark fur from a bear, which symbolises the danger of the bear and the wealth to afford it.
9. My face is an important feature to my persona, so I will trim my beard in a square look to hide my neck, double chin and sagging cheeks. This square-cut look will be easy to recognise and will become my iconic feature.
10. I will wear hose on my legs to hide bruises and old age, they will be as white as we can make them to be seen as “porcelain-like” as possible, a gold garter on my stirrup leg and my dagger on the same side. My shoes to be silk, not for wearing outside but meant to be anti-slip for my private quarters. This will allow the viewer a little glimpse of my private life.

All of this portrayal is how I want people to see me, the other two Henry’s are only for my close friends, my wife and myself.

Q.573. Hi Henry
I found your article about boulder rocks forming lakes in Cheshire so interesting that I went to Beeston castle myself just to see one of them. Everybody should know about this.
I have been trying to find one of the boulders on the surface, but not been lucky yet. Could you tell me where to go to find one and stand on it?

Hi. They are all around us, they make the countryside what we see today, it may be a small hill, a rocky outcrop on a hill or even a small dome sticking out of the ground. There are literally thousands of them as the glacier moved slowly it ground them into near spherical forms and virtually rode on them down the valleys before the great melt. If the land was high enough the melting glacier would run away to lower ground and form lakes and rivers, the boulder on high ground would then be exposed and become part of the seen countryside. Probably near a water source as the boulders cut into the land to form rivers and valleys. Here I have a picture for you taken at a famous boulder in Cumbria, the place is called Grange Bridge at the southern end of Derwent Water. I have superimposed the probable shape at it stopped before sinking into the bedrock and the shale being heaped on it by the moving ice-flow.
You can stand on this one.

Cool eh!

Q. 574. Hi Henry. How can a flag wear out? David aged 12 years.
Sometimes it takes a young mind to see such a phenomena as a waving flag wearing out in the wind. So here’s the process explained.
A long length of flag will whip fiercely with the force expanding like a wave until it gets to the loose end and whips violently to release the energy. This whipping unties the sewing and the weaving weft gets pulled out leaving strands flapping loosely in the air. There seems to be no flag that is resistant to this slow acting process creeping along the flag.
Here is a flag picture taken from the Tower of Harlech Castle, where it is very windy. I am told they need a new flag every year!

Look at the loose end to see the fraying process.

Q. 575. Hi Henry. How did they build boats on a river bed?

I thought I would make it pictorial, to explain the process of former making with Wych Elm poles.

A wide, flat river bed was used where there was a regular spring tide twice per year. A boat would be built between these spring tides to float it off the pole formers.
This process went on until about 1800 when dry-docks became the method generally and these small builders moved to towns.

Q. 576. Hi Henry. What is a Mattock?
Basically it is a multifunctional tool for Stone masons or Ore Miners.
It is like a large Pick with a wedge shape at the other end for prising out rocks or splitting stone.
Here is a picture of a Mattock and a Castle being built by masons.

Q. 577. Hi Henry. In one of your answers you mentioned the black stone/fossil found on Norfolk beaches and how it was used to make permanent ink. What is this process called.

The stone like substance is timber from dead trees, soaked in Iron salts and pressed under the weight of the Earth to create a new material. Further up north to East Yorkshire the stone is called Jet, as it was made from Monkey-puzzle trees, the stone in Norfolk was made from Pine and is called “Cuprus”. The process of iron salts in the water is called “Chalybeate”.

Q. 578. Hi Henry. Why was Silver used so much in the Royal Court when you could afford Gold to show off with.
There’s more to life than showing off, Gold was used as Plate but it is intrinsically a soft metal and wear badly. Silver when polished is the brightest of metals and hard enough to withstand wear and tear. Silver also has a medical property, in very small amounts (10 parts per Billion) it helps to sterilise water with anti-bacterial properties. But too much Silver Oxide in the water is a poison called Argyria which causes blue skin. Just using the vessel to drink out of produces enough silver to help clean the contents.

Q. 579. Hi Henry. What did Katherine of Aragon think of England when compared to her native Spain?
She left the most sophisticated city of Alhambra in Granada for a London festering in muck and sewage. She left a marbled palace for a brick house, running water for buckets, clean open space for smelly crowded bustling streets.
I think she thought England was Hell.

Q. 580. Hi Henry When and why was the Rood End sanctuary system abolished in England?
My Father King Henry VII asked the Pope to allow him to abolish the sanctuary in churches because of his fear of uprisings against the new royal family of the Tudors. It was never restored.

Q. 581. Hi Henry. How did the palaces clean the kitchens to remove all the bacteria?
A mixture of Vinegar + Rosemary + Salt was used every night. But nobody realised about the mixing of blood and vegetable during preparation, so my large kitchens always had separate workplaces. Hampton Court Palace had 200 workers (mainly men) in 55 rooms, and 19 departments and we used 6 tons of wood per day, to fire up the ovens and open cooking fires. There was many people about, lots of food all over the place and smoke. So not that clean.
The vinegar was a solvent and cut through the grease, with some disinfecting properties.
The Rosemary was an insect repellent.
The salt was a mild abrasive and took away and moisture left behind.

Q.582. This is before anybody jumps in with the obvious question from the last one! Why mostly men in the Kitchen?
Because we were showing off. Women were cheaper to employ. So the very rich had men run their kitchen.

Q.583. Hi Henry. Making bread is a precarious skill and timing is crucial to a successful batch of bread from the ovens. Without clocks, timers how did the baker know when the bread was ready?
Simple really, the dough was loaded into the oven and sealed behind a wet wooden door which would expand and tighten up in the loading hole. A bead of dough was used to “putty” seal the door and when this was hard and baked they knew that the bread inside was also baked. Usually black on the bottom and cracking on the top, the Baker would tap the loaf and see if it had a hollow sound. The blackened base was for the poor, whilst the “upper-crust” got the rest.

Q. 584. Hi Henry. When did the rich start having food courses?
In the 1830’s, not just for fashion but mainly to save food. We always had all the courses out at the same time in a Buffet and we sent our servants to collect our food orders.
Oh by the way, the day had the following meals:
1. Break-the-fast a meal of bread and water with some fruit (breakfast).
2. Dinner, a buffet for up to 500 people in two sittings. This could last up to 3 hours.
3. Supra (A broth made from left over’s with bread), we called it Supper. The poor had very thin Supra which is now Soup.
We did not have lunch, this was a light meal in the mid 1800’s when Dinner went to the evening. Lunch was made of pressed meat from left-overs which was called Luncheon Meat.

Q.585. Hi Henry. Did the Tudors recycle?

Much more than you do today. Everything had a value, even paper that wrapped food, boxes and even bones. Skin was used by the leather trade, bones made soup then fed the dogs and extra bones used to make glue. Even ash was a valuable commodity, it was used to make Alum flour which softened leather and fixed colours in cloth. Clothes were handed down the chain of children then cut up eventually and made into something new or mulched into paper making. All metals had value and would be sold. Men would travel around buying the rich’s old metals, pots , cloth and bones. The Rag and Bone men.

I have a little poem about Royal Tudor Kitchens.

The Kitchen
By Henry Tudor
Two years in the rafters over wood smoke from iron hook
The salt beef took its good time to soften, to rot and to cook.
A slice for the Master, the Mistress, the Children, no more
The rest got the leftovers, they’re just the poor.

Clean the tops of the grease, dust and flies
Vinegar with Rosemary and salt, now have sore eyes.
Show off with no women, use male children to clean
hide all the workers behind huge Oak screen.

Black base, crunchy cob brown, fired in oven of bricks and ground clay
Early morning rise, prepare for the day.
Heated by tied faggots of twigs dried near main fire
Break out the embers, the heat flash will inspire.

Dough now to fill chamber, sealed with wet wood and dough
When hardened and browning, remove bread from the glow.
Serve black to the workers, white to the lord
Crust to his family, soup to the hoard.

End of the day just the ashes, filter for cinder and dust
Clean down the worktops, being ready a must.
Prepare the new meat on blocks of thick beech
Hang out over main fire, to seal and to bleach.

Many were fed by these men of the fire
No women amongst then, the rich will not hire.
Dusk falls over the kitchens, smells linger amid smoke
Next day will come before daylight, hard work to invoke.

Q.586. Hi Henry. What was the range of one of your best cannon?

It must be Cast Iron then as the older Bronze ones were very innaccurate as the bore was cast whilst the newer cast iron ones were machined bores. Bored!
I have the most accurate method of calculating the actual firing range of a cannon as used in my defensive forts on the South coastal river estuaries.
The best place to do this calculation/geometry is at the River Fal in Cornwall where I have two castles facing each other because of the great width of the river.
Here are my logical thoughts about the parameters for the calculation.
1. Each castle has got to be high above sea level and difficult to hit from a war ship.
2. Each castle has got to be a certain distance apart to allow full coverage of the estuary width.
3. Each castle has got to be strategically placed to allow more than one shot at the passing enemy, so a semi bow shot + a full on side shot + a semi stern shot.
4. The enemy is expected to enter at the safest place, the middle as the opposing castle can inflict most damage up close and the ship has difficulty with the castles height above the sea level.
5. At low tide, the central passageway must still be reachable by cannon with a medium angle of entry for greater damage.
6. Bigger cannons to face outwards on each side of the weakest cannon to extend the range sweep.
7. The cannon must be capable of tilting low enough to hit any ship edging up to the cliffs below the castles.
With all these ideas well in the mind of anybody about to build the most expensive defensive system England has ever seen, I have plotted the outcome.
Pendennis castle has a problem of a blind spot below the fort, so a smaller fort called Little Dennis was constructed. The two castles are 2.5 km apart so I calculate the range to be 1.8km or just over one mile!

Q.587. Hi Henry. I enjoyed your story about the Cumbrian boulder rock. I have just visited Grassington in Yorkshire and was bewildered to find a house which is supposed to have been an old Corn Mill, but I couldn’t understand how it worked. Can you please help?

Sounds like a trip on the Triumph to investigate your problem.
Ah! It takes a keen eye to spot the placement of the waterwheel, I found a circular mark on the outside of the supporting wall on the riverside. The waterwheel was on the other side trapped between the mill and the wall, water was diverted via a sluice to under-run the wheel so it would have been rotating clockwise into the mill workings.
Here are some evidential pictures and a sketch of how the wheel would have been supported.
Now you’ll have to go back and re-look at the mill just to satisfy your curiosity, mind you they do have a great bakers shop.

Q.588. Hi Henry. Are there any stained glass windows with you in them.

Cheeky! Must say not many, they would have had to be installed after the Reformation but not in the reign of Mary I. I would say the best examples would be in a purpose built Protestant Cathedral and much after the Tudor reign. My favourite is Truro Cathedral. This Cathedral has a unique shape of a bent cross in the plan view because they did not want to build too close to existing properties, so they tilted the cross axis, hehehehe. Make it fit eh!
I have made a collage of the stained glass windows.
See if you can find Sir Thomas More, Erasmus, Archbishop Cranmer and then myself.

Q.589. Hi Henry.Who's Arthur named after? How come King Arthur is more famous than you are and he was only a fable?

What! Arthur was a real person, maybe not the glorified, Hollywoodised, glamourised and romanticised King, but he did exist. He was a Roman Briton soldier employed as a leader at captain level for the defence of the Roman metal working centres. He was originally from cornwall, supposedly Tintagel where the Iron and Tin came from, he would have had great knowledge too of the Pembroke coast where the copper came from as both would have been shipped as ore to the refining process centres. One of these centres was Walton Le Dale on the River Ribble in Lancashire, which became known as Pendragon after the Romans left, leaving the powerful Arthur to be the leader. He is said to have battled over the reeds of the River Douglas near the present day town of Chorley, and then made his way home to command the source of the metal ores. He knew that the one in charge of the metals would be the most powerful leader. He passed by Pembroke and met the old teacher, Merlin from Merlin's bridge before embarkation back to Corwall's safe Haven of Tintagel. Were Camelot was built is not easy to prove, but the River Camel enters the sea next to Tintagel so it would be a good guess that it was somewhere inland up the river towards the lode bearing rocks. (A lode is the gap between two layers containing a rich seam of metal bearing ore).

Now about my brother Arthur Tudor. He was named politically by my Father and Grandmother to be assumed a related birth to the real Arthur, this to give the Tudors credence now on the throne. My Father was born in Pembroke Castle and so the Welsh flag was created with green/white background of the Tudors and the red Dragon of Pendragon.

Not really a myth, more a huge Chinese Whisper.

Go see the castle, but also call in on "Arthurs Stone" visitors centre just outside Tintagel.

Q.590. Hi Henry. I have read about villagers sharing a Duckett. What is a Duckett?
Pigeons were bred for their meat and their droppings in a communal bullet shaped building called a Duckett. Not joking!
You see the Romans invaded many countries and took their best ideas back to their Empire satellites such as Britain. From North Africa came the treatment of leather and cloth with an enzyme from the droppings of pigeons with softened the leather and fixed colours. We had to use what we had around us and pigeon poo can only be collected if their nesting place had easy access. The Duckett was so designed to allow the droppings to be collected from under the bird shelving. Bird would be fattened and eventually eaten
I do have a picture of an original Duckett from the 16th century, if you want to see it for yourself then it is in a field facing Bamburgh Castle.

Q.591. Hi Henry. Why are Tudor beds so short, were people so short in Tudor times?

It is true that people were shorter in the 1500’s than today but the ones who could afford a real bed were also afraid of sleeping flat. They would sleep with lots of pillows under their top half nearly sitting up. It was believed that the devil would be watching a sleeper who is flat in case they die in their sleep, they would snatch them before angels can take them up to heaven. So a bed would be made that was not possible to lie flat down. A storage cabinet would be made to hold the pillows, they would also tie up their lower jaw to stop the mouth opening in sleep and look like death.

Q.592. Hi Henry. What were the toilets like for the poor?

Basically a wooden pail and a plank with a hole in it, the soil was taken to the midden and eventually spread on the fields.

Q.593. Hi Henry. What is a Laying lure?

It is a way of making the hens lay more eggs by putting them in the mood! We called it Clucky.


Q.594. Hi Henry. I already know that the term "broadcasting" came from the way seeds were sown, but do you have any pictures of the broadcasting basket?

Sure do.

Q.595. Hi Henry. Steve from Ohio. From the Star Wars series of movies, where did the term “The Dark Side” originate?
I must say I loved those films too.
The medieval churches of Britain were built with their front doorway facing south to be in the light, then a back door facing north thus being in the dark. When a mass was to start the Northern door was opened first to let the Devil out before the parishioners entered through the Southern door, “Let there be light”.

Q.596. Hi Henry. Taking on a “persona” is your act, where did that saying come from?

Do you mean I’m not real!
Seriously, before the Norman conquest of England in 1066, we had a system of rule where the King was top, then Dukes and Earls, then Thegn’s who were to become Lords of the Manor (the man in charge of the Larder!). These Thegn’s were in charge of their villages and were instructed to build churches. They would then put in a relative male to be the Rector, but because of their lack of experience and religious knowledge they in turn appointed an assistant called the Parson. As you know, people took on their job title as their surname, so the appointment as Parson would also change your name to Parson, you took on a new Persona!
The Rector funded his living by imposing a Thythe, 10% tax on the congregation, the Thegn received 25% of this money the remainder paid for wages of the Parson, bell ringer, grave diggers etc. Basically, the church was a place to push unproductive relatives of the rich, who in turn used their position to live well without the hindrance of working. It was a period when unrest in the communities began and alternative views were being born.

Q.597. Hi Henry. You must have seen many historical buildings in your time, but can I ask a most difficult question about pre-Christian places of worship? Why did these old civilisations always build their religious places away from their communities?
That is a good point, I do know why but never thought of writing it down until your query.
Let’s call all the pre-Christian people, Heathens, not a derogatory description but a real historical title. The heathens were scared of their gods, deities. Their priests would threaten the crowd with untold hardships and retributions for not following their ruling. So the place of worship was built away from the living place and built where it would be safe from attack or natural disasters. Usually on a hill top, an Island or the inside curve of a fast flowing river (the outside curve would be the side that erodes in a flood). There is a great church in the Yorkshire dales which has many dates of build and rebuild but is placed in a Pre-historical safe position, go see St. Michael’s Church at Linton. There you will see the river Wharfe bending around the Church with stepping stones for farmers to attend mass.

Q.598. Hi Henry. Where were early schools situated?
The Church was the main provider of schools, to make sure one view of religion was taught to the children of the manor. It was usually in the Southern entrance porch of the church and only boys in the class. Girls were taught at home by their parents. The Southern entrance because of the light and the Northern door was an exit for the Devil.

Q.599. Hi Henry. Why are there not many, if any, Saxon buildings left in Britain?
There are more than one answer to this point. The Saxons were foresters and so they built in wood and filled in the gaps with daub, moving house would have been “upping sticks”. Wood rots, daub disintegrates and then Normans invade. Normans would have destroyed the wooden structures and build stone buildings in their place. If you want to find Saxon structures the best places are old churches with other era’s built over them, they can still be seen but are incorporated into the design of the latter builder.

Q.600. Hi Henry. I know that the rich would show off their wealth by the size of their houses, but did they also “rub in” their wealth towards the poor?
Rubbing ones noses is an old saying, meaning continual reminding of ones position. A great way of doing this was making the poor line up to enter a rich domain, a sort of toll gate without money. Stemming from the design of a stile which kept animals from roaming but allowed people to pass, a people gate could be added that forced them to line up and squeeze past a wall into the grounds of the rich or rich funded churches. Here is a picture of one such “stile” which purposely makes the peasant feel low down in stature as they pass into their lord of the manors church land.