Birmingham Stage Company

The Tudors

21 February 2010

Reading THE TUDOR AGE by Jasper Ridley for TWELFTH NIGHT, an excellent book which has some fascinating information about the period. Three facts struck me as suprisingly bizarre:

It's not only Gordon Brown who likes to create unnecessary laws. Four statutes passed by Parliament between 1510 and 1533 dictated that no one except the royal family was to dress in cloth-of-gold or purple, on pain of a fine of £20 (£10,000 in modern money). No one under the rank of a knight or lord's son could wear a silk shirt, unless he owned land worth £20 a year in rents; and if the land was worth less than £5 a year, he could not wear any garment that was scarlet or violet in colour.


Meanwhile 7000 soldiers, who were sent to Spain to help King Ferdinand, mutineed because there was no beer, and came home. So when the campaign against Scotland was being planned in 1542, it was organised around the supply of beer for the troops - and delayed by nine days while the generals waited for the beer to arrive. And even when it did, the shortage of beer forced to Duke of Norfolk to retreat after it ran out.

I also didn't know the notion of "a whipping boy" was invented to solve the problem of discipling Edward VI when he became King at the age of nine. It was decided to punish another boy, whom the King liked very much, whenever the King did something wrong. So his best friend Barnaby Fitzpatrick was whipped to deter the King from being naughty. (Barnaby was made a knight for his pains)

Must get that last fact into our next tour of THE TERRIBLE TUDORS. I think Tim Speyer would make an excellent Barnaby...

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