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Early Modern

Arminius and Calvin
Since the establishment of the Church of England under Elizabeth I, a myth has been built up - and perpetuated by historiography - that showed puritans as a dangerous group, seeking to turn the world upside down, to destroy the sacred position of…
Samuel Pepys
Pepys’s diary is remarkably frank when it comes to his pursuit of love. Between 1660 and 1669 he recorded his daily life, including his interest in over twenty women who weren’t his wife, and much of what he wrote was so explicit that editors before…
Pierre Henri Révoil, Mary Queen of Scots Separated from Her Faithfuls, 1822
Mary Queen of Scots is an enigma. For the last four hundred and fifty years she has been presented as a romantic heroine, a Catholic martyr, a weak and feeble female used as a pawn by scheming men, and a murderer and adulteress. But despite the…
The sentencing of Strafford in parliament, 1641
That by the early 1640s parliament’s relationship with the king had become so oppositional it was unworkable is obvious, but what is less obvious is how it came to be so: had there been a ‘high road to civil war’, evident in the increasingly…
Copy of the Whitehall mural showing Henry VIII, his parents, and Jane Seymour
Henry VIII could be called England’s most memorable king. Everyone has seen his image: tall, imposing, and rotund. Likewise, everyone knows that he had six wives, and that he divorced two of them, and executed a further two. He brought the…
The trial of Charles I
30 January 1649 was bitterly cold. It was enough to make Charles I, King of England, don two shirts: he didn't want the crowd to see him shivering as he was led to his place of execution. Charles' downfall had come about through unsuitable…
The Great Storm of 1703 Goodwin Sands
On the night of 26 November 1703, what has been described as the worst storm in the history of the country hit Britain. Over the next eight hours, it reaped terrible damage across Wales and the south of England, and in its wake were thousands of…
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn was executed on 19 May 1536, just three years after becoming King Henry VIII's second wife. She has gone down in history as an adulteress and as someone who looked somewhat odd: legend says that she had six fingers and a wen, or…
Holbein's portrait of Anne of Cleves, 1539
On 9 July 1540, Henry VIII had his marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, annulled after just six months of marriage. Following the death of his favourite wife Jane Seymour,and under the advice of Thomas Cromwell, Henry had set about finding a…
Paul Delaroche: 'The Execution of Lady Jane Grey'
On 10 July 1553, four days after the death of her cousin Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey became queen of England. It would be short lived: within nine days, she would step down and be placed in the Tower under charges of treason. History has painted Jane…
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