Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best Tweets of 2011: strange rules and regulations

Here are some more of our favourite tweets of 2011 as found in MEMSO. Remember, access to MEMSO is available (discounted during the Holiday season) at http://www.tannerritchie.com/.

Today's theme: strange rules & regulations.

1611: Act abolishing rude & barbarous customs in Ireland, such as crying or howling at funerals; blowing milch cattle to make them give milk.
The West End of Canterbury Cathedral.
Once England's finest gothic urinal?

1536: Henry VIII orders all inhabitants of Galway to shave their 'over lips called crompeaulis' & grow their hair 'til it covers their ears'

1634: Despite a ban, urination @ west end of Canterbury Cathedral & defiling of churchyard 'with more filthy excrements' is still a problem.

Report from London 1618: Tobacco use widespread but banned from court as James I abhors it. Also a great selection of European wines but very expensive. As a result, hiccups held in high regard. Not rude to discharge them in your neighbour's face provided they be redolent of wine or choice of tobacco.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Best Tweets of 2011: Sports and recreation (sort of)

[Remember, all the information we post is from stories we find while using Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online (MEMSO) and our ebooks available from $7.50 each right now at http://www.tannerritchie.com/]

In 1559 the total value of tennis balls imported into port of London was £1,699. A (rough) calculation of that at today's prices is $423,889.75, or $423,889, 15 shillings, or somewhere in the neighbourhood of 403,704 guineas. Prices in marks, merks and Harry Nobles available on request. Whichever way you calculate it, that seems like enough money to buy a huge number of tennis balls for a population in England and Wales of about 2.5 million.

King James V of Scotland in 1524, perhaps lacking a steady supply of Slazenger tennis balls, instead took part in the popular game of chucking eggs at Stirling castle in mock warfare. Hen-houses raided to supply ammunition.

Quote of the day from Lord Godolphin, 15/9/1704: 'A discreet clergyman is almost as rare as a black swan'. Australia discovered by Dutch in 1606, but apparently news of the large populations of black swans (and complete lack of discreet clergymen) in the antipodes had yet to reach Godolphin. The black swan was first described scientifically by English naturalist John Latham in 1790.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Best Tweets of 2011: Ailments

After yesterday's grizzly deaths, today we recap some of the more unusual ailments we've seen in MEMSO this year.

1677: Archbishop of Canterbury has stranguary (painful and frequent spasms of urination, wrenching out only small drops) PLUS hiccups. Baaaaad combo.

1688: Duchess of Monmouth is 'in great trouble of the shortness of her lame leg ... likely to get shorter & shorter'. Hurt doing dancing tricks.

June 1669: Queen Catherine miscarries after 'being affrighted by an unfortunate accident with one of the King's [Charles II] tame foxes'. The fox followed Charles II into bedchamber at night undetected. In early hours of a.m., fox ran over sleeping Queen's face and into the bed.

29/9/16[42]: Oliver Cromwell's carriage overturns. His belly and thigh so bruised he can't move. The details kept secret due to dishonour of it. [He was driving!]

8/4/1528: Bishop of Lincoln can't perform his duty to Henry VIII this Easter as his limbs are too unwieldy. Shaky hands not ideal Communion

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best Tweets of 2011: Deaths

We're celebrating the Christmas season by re-tweeting some of our best tweets from the last year (and we'll post them here too). To kick it off, here are the most gruesome and bizarre deaths we found in MEMSO this year.

1595: Sultan Murad III dies from epilepsy. On his death bed he ate solid meats, thick soups and other aphrodisiacs 'for he lay immersed in lust'.

18/8/1503: Controversial Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) dies. Ugliest and most monstrous corpse anyone had ever seen. No human form or likeness. His mouth foamed like a boiling kettle. Swollen body was as long as it was wide. His corpse was stuffed into coffin and jumped on in order to close the lid. Borgia's stomach was swollen and liquidized, and his face turned the colour of wine, mulberries and dirty rags, and began to peel off...

1/8/1714: Q Anne dies at 7pm. Suffered stroke on 30th of July, but death due to gout and ultimately erysipelas (skin infection). Her body was so swollen the coffin was extra large and entirely square.

Get all our Twitter updates during 2012 at http://twitter.com/tannerritchie/

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When Royal Grandparents Go Bad: George I

Caroline of Ansbach,
princess of Wales, in 1716
On 14 December 1717, George, prince of Wales and future George II, and his wife Caroline, the future queen, were turned out onto the streets of London without money, guards or coaches. They had been imprisoned for 4 days in St James's palace following an argument with George I at the christening of the prince and princess of Wales' new baby, which almost ended in a duel.

The king had chosen the Lord Chamberlain, the Duke of Newcastle, as one of the godparents, apparently according to the custom that the chamberlain took this role. The Prince of Wales, who disliked Newcastle, then shook his fist at the duke, and said '"You are a rascal, but I shall find you out!" The duke misheard, and thought that the prince had said "I shall fight you", in other words, challenged him to a duel.

The king and the baby's parents disagreed about the name the baby should take, as well as about who should be godparents. The king got his way, of course, with the baby being named 'George William' rather than 'Louis'. Moreover, he took possession of the new baby. The prince and princess were banished from court, Caroline fell sick with worry, and was forced into secret visits to her child.

By January, George I had begun to allow Caroline unrestricted access to her son, but in February the baby fell ill and died. Although a post-mortem showed a congenital heart defect as the cause of death, the prince and princess continued to believe that the forced separation was to blame.

The fallout from the dispute went far beyond just the royal family itself. Royal servants' families, who often had members serving both the king and the prince or princess, had to choose sides and leave their jobs, because it was impossible to have a family member in both households.

[Source: Calendar of the Stuart Papers, volume 5, pp. 277-278 http://tannerritchie.com/books/135/]

Thursday, December 1, 2011

TannerRitchie's Holiday and New Year Sale 2011!

 All downloads are $10 or less.
CD-ROMs 50% off.
Discounts on Short-Term Access to MEMSO!

It's that time of year again for TannerRitchie's biggest and most popular sale.

Nothing says Christmas
like a collection of monastic charters
(mead sold separately)

Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday, at TannerRitchie we give you more than a day to take advantage of the huge savings on every book in our catalogue. Downloads are $10 CAD or less, and CD-ROMs are half price.

Alternatively, take advantage of our sale on Short-Term Subscriptions to MEMSO, and access our entire collection of books and manuscripts in our powerful online database.

Research has never been so easy with MEMSO's powerful search engine.  Conduct limitless searches and work with as many books and manuscripts as you want .... at the same time. You even get ebooks to keep*  So go on.  Try MEMSO for an hour, a couple of days, or longer.

Highlights of 2011

We've added hundreds of new titles and will be adding more during the sale - so be sure to visit tannerritchie.com regularly.

During 2011 we've added books to our most popular series, and also published fantastic collections of under-appreciated and underused sources.

Scottish and Genealogy

Scottish and genealogical titles are a perennial favourite at TannerRitchie. This year we added some important new series, such as Hew Scott's Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae (the biographies of the ministers of the Scottish Church since the Reformation in 1560 to 1900, in English), and built on existing ones, such as William Fraser's Scottish family histories which cover the medieval period to the 19th century, and include those of Colquhoun, Grant, Elphinstone and Wemyss amongst others.

A wide variety of interesting documents and family papers were also published by the Abbotsford and Bannatyne Clubs.  So if you are interested in these, or Mary Queen of Scots, James VI and the Jacobites, be sure to take a look in our History Club Section. Many of these titles are hidden gems, such as Catalogues of Jewels, Dresses, Furniture, Books and Paintings of Mary Queen of Scots (Bannatyne). As always with TannerRitchie, there was a great deal of new and illuminating content for anybody interested in the reign of Mary Queen of Scots or the Jacobites.

Letters and Correspondence

If you're looking for colourful correspondence, few collections are better than Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Marquis of Bath (Historical Manuscripts Commission).  They are a mainstay for our tweets on Twitter, most notably because they include a high proportion of gossipy and personal correspondence for the period 1515-1795, including noteable writers of England's literary Golden Age such as Swift and Pope. The Original Letters of Prominent Literary Men from the Camden Society, provides great reading for the same reason.

Letters and papers from royals (Elizabeth, James VI and I and Charles I) and prominent political men and families also featured prominently this year. 

Savile, Plumpton, Trevelyan, Melros, Egerton, Dudley, and Verney are but a few collections we've added.

Medieval Britain and the Church

The Toronto Maple Leafs workout, circa 1500.
Shortly after they won the Stanley Cup.
The twin subjects of medieval Britain and the pre- and post-Reformation church have always been specialisms of TannerRitchie Publishing. This year we continued to build on core series such as the Exchequer Rolls, Calendar of Close Rolls and Calendar of the Patent Rolls, and published new collections from the Pipe Rolls and Rotuli Hundredorum. For the church, both Abbotsford and Bannatyne provide collections of ecclesiastical records.

Early Modern Britain

As well as many of the titles already mentioned relating to early modern Britain, we've continued to publish new titles to many of our most popular collections. Make sure you take a new look at Calendar of State Papers, Venice, Calendar of State Papers, Domestic and the Acts of the Privy Council of England, if you haven't checked out our titles for a while. We're excited to announce that we are also beginning to publish the  Journals of the House of Commons and the Journals of the House of Lords, with titles to appear over the next few weeks.  Needless to say, these will be a valuable addition to MEMSO, and a natural compliment to our already extensive collection of governmental works such as the House of Lords (HMC), Statutes of the Realm, Foedera, and Register of the Privy Council of Scotland.

There's so much more to say, but we'll leave the rest for you to explore.

So in closing, from all of us here at TannerRitchie Publishing we would like to wish all our clients, supporters and followers a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
* excludes 1 hour MEMSO access


Monday, October 24, 2011


James VI in 1595

On 23 October 1589, the Scottish Privy Council assembled in Edinburgh (From Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, volume 4) and heard several documents read by the Clerk Register from their king, James VI. The first was a Will for the future government of the kingdom, and the second, a Declaration explaining the reasons why such a Will was necessary. James was leaving to embark on a rather uncharacteristic and ostensibly romantic quest. Although James knew that this was not the most prudent thing to do in light of the factional politics and disorder that had undermined the strength and stability of his realm, he needed to go. He needed to rescue his bride, Anne, and bring her to her new home.

The marriage treaty between James VI and Anne, daughter of the late Frederick II of Denmark, was formally concluded in July 1589. For her part, the 15 year old Anne was quite smitten with her future husband – no doubt sheltered from the persistent rumours of James’ sexual orientation(s). The marriage took place by proxy on 29 August at Kronburg Castle, with the Earl Marischal standing in for James VI – even so far as sitting on the marriage bed to consummate the marriage symbolically. Ten days later, Anne embarked for Scotland, where dates had been set, and elaborate arrangements made, for her arrival at the port of Leith, entry into Edinburgh, and formal marriage ceremony with James himself.
Anne of Denmark in 1605

Anne’s voyage from Denmark to Scotland, however, was not clear sailing. Stormy weather and contrary
winds had separated her fleet and drove the Princess’ ship to the Norwegian coast. Although some of her fleet had arrived in Scotland, there was still no sight of Anne. With the day of the appointed marriage come and gone, James’ impatience turned to worry, and on 2 October, he sent out a search party. Colonel Stewart’s delayed return led to a further period of ‘fear of disaster; omens; public fast and prayer’. Finally, messengers arrived from Denmark, informing James that Anne’s fleet had been driven back twice, her ship the Gideon had sprung perilous leaks before and after repairs, and had finally taken refuge on the coast of Norway as it was deemed too dangerous to try again for a third time. The question was now whether Princess Anne should return to Denmark and winter there, attempting the voyage to Scotland again in the spring, or try again now. Indeed, this had become a matter of great contention between the Scots and the Danes. James, however, had other ideas.
And so it was on 23 October, the Privy Council of Scotland learnt of the news that James VI was leaving on a quest, to fetch his bride personally.
Quhairupoun, eftir lang treaty and deliberatioun, contract being endit, the marriage be our ambassador in our name solmpnizat, and the Quene, oure espoused wyffe, accumpanyed with the navy of oure darrest bruthir the King of Denmark and certane of his cheiff officiaris and counsaill appointed to convoy hir towardis us, being on the seyis halding their course hither, have bene divers tymes be stormes and contrarious wyndis sett in Norroway, - quahir deliberatioun being had anent hir returning in Denmark or tarrying still in Norroway upoun mair favourable wind and weddir and sum further provisioun towardis hir transporting, hir awne chois and lykeing best aggreing with the last conditioun, - We, to quhome hir bipast panes and dangeir hes bene no les grievous nor giff we had sufferit thame in our awne persone, finding that nothing can be mair hurtfull to us and oure estate nor giff the consummatioun of oure marriage and the transporting of the Quene oure bedfellow in oure realme salbe differed, and that hir affectioun towardis us, having sa effectuallie kytheit, meritis to be rememberit and acquite with na les goodwill on oure pairt; quhairthrow, thinking to mak the process schoirtair, and to obviate the difficulties objected concerning hir transporting befoir the nixt spring, eftir we had resolvit to send in Norroway a noumer of oure counsaill and officiaris that voluntarlie offerrit to bestow thameselffis and their geir in furtherance of this eirand, we fand yit na contentment of mynd quhill we concludit to interprise the voyage in proper persone [ie himself], thinking, be Godis grace, to performe the same and fra in [ie within] tuenty dayis, wind and wethir serving.
James was going himself, and set out in explicit detail provisions for the future government of the realm in his absence. But what is, perhaps, of greater interest is what followed next – a Declaration, written by James VI himself, explaining the personal reasons behind his decision to fetch his ‘bedfellow’ and consummate his marriage.

In respect I knaw that the motioun of my voyage at this tyme wilbe diverslie skansit upoun, the misinterpreting quhairof may ten alsweill to my grite dishonour as to the wrangous blame of innocentis, I have thairupoun bene moved to sett doun this present Declaratioun with my awne hand, heirby to resolve all gude subjectis first of the causes breiflie that moved me to tak this purpois in heid, and nixt in quhat fassioun I resolved myself thairof.

As to the causes, I doubt nocht it is manifestlie knawne to all how far I wes generallie found fault with be all men for the delaying sa lang of my marriage. The ressonis wer that I wes allane, without fader or moder, bruthir or suster, king of this realme and air apperand of England. This my naikatnes maid me to be waik [weak] and my inemyis stark; ane man wes as na man, and the want of hoip of successioun bread disdayne; yea, my lang delay bred in the breistis of mony a grite jealosie of my inhabilitie, and gif I wer a barrane stok.

While it is true that the primary duty of any sovereign, male or female, is to produce heirs to the throne to secure the line of succession and, consequently, the stability of the realm, James loved the life of a bachelor, the company of men and other such manly pursuits. So, to blame the fact that he took so long to marry on his family (or lack thereof) was a little disingenuous. But, it is reassuring that the pressure to marry and produce heirs wasn’t only a problem associated with queenship. Moreover, it is tempting to read into first, James’s choice of language and second, his reaction to the gossiping and contempt regarding his failure to marry, as sensitivity to rumours of his homosexuality (or as it would have been termed at the time, his preference for male company and apparent disinterest in women). He repeatedly refers to Anne as his ‘bedfellow’, a term that might be interpreted as deliberately emphasizing the heterosexual nature of the relationship. Thus, while one of James’s earliest biographers, Arthur Wilson, saw James’s journey as ‘the one romantic episode of his life’, here he seems to be objecting that he has been pushed into marriage sooner than he had hoped by malicious gossip, and can find no peace until the marriage has been consummated.

Thir ressonis, and innumerable otheris hourly objected, moved me to hasten the treaty of my marriage; for as to my awne nature, God is my witness, I could have abstenit langair nor the weill of my patrie could have permitted. I am knowne, God be prased, not to be very intermperately rashe nor concety [flighty] in my wechtiest effearis [weightiest affairs], nather use I to be sa caryed away with passioun as I refuse to heir ressoun.
In an attempt to convince his Council that he was not influenced by any one, or any particular faction to undertake such an uncharacteristic mission, James took pains to assure his counsellors that he came to this decision alone – ‘not ane of the hail Counsale being present ... And, as I tuke this resolutioun onlie of myself, as I am a trew Prince, sa advised with myself onlie quhat way to follow furth of the same.’
Hence the reason this voyage was kept so secret:
Fra the tyme of the making of this offer, have evir kepit my intentioun of my going asl clois as possiblie I could frome all men, because I thocht ay it we aneuch [enough] for me to putt my fute n the ship quehn all thingis wer redy without spearing of further [ie any further debate or enquiry]. As I kepit it generallie clois fra all men, sa I say, upoun my honour, I kepit is sa from the Chancellair.’ Because if he had informed him, he would be ‘blameit of putting it [in] my heid’.
James sailed from Leith and arrived in Oslo on 19 November, where they were married in a formal ceremony four days later. The newlyweds wintered in Norway and Denmark, before setting sail for Scotland in the spring. They arrived at Leith on 1 May 1590, and Anne made her entry into Edinburgh on 5 May – in a coach of silver brought over from Denmark. Scotland’s new Queen was crowned on 17 May at Holyrood, which was of particular significance because it was Scotland’s first ever Protestant coronation. The ceremony was also controversial, particularly with the kirk ministers. James insisted that rituals dating, he claimed, to the Old Testament be incorporated in the ceremony – namely, the opening of the Queen’s gown so that her breasts and arm could be anointed with oil.

George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, was James VI & I's final favourite. James described him as 'sweet child and wife' and a secret passageway was built between Villiers' bedroom and James' at Apethorpe Hall, which was only discovered in 2004/8. Nevertheless, there is no unambiguous evidence that James' relationships with his favourites was other than platonic.

Unfortunately, James and Anne’s marriage was not characterised by ‘smooth sailing’ any more than the first months of their marriage. Their marriage was fractious and, although they had four children, they spent most of their lives apart, especially after James inherited the throne of England. Moreover, even the ‘romantic’ journey to Norway and apparently genuine initial infatuation of James VI for Anne after her arrival in Scotland did not permanently dispel the gossip regarding James’ preference for male company, especially when it took three years for Anne to become pregnant. The eventual birth of seven live children helped quieten the rumour-mongers again, but the king’s intimate relationships with male favourites, and perhaps the 21st century need to assign people from earlier periods to categories that would have been meaningless at the time, mean that the question of James’s sexuality remains today.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Camden Society Volumes: Colourful diaries, accounts, letters and papers from 'eminent' people

TannerRitchie has today published 6 new volumes from the Camden Society, incorporating an even more than usually colourful collection of letters, diaries, papers and accounts.

Today's publications include:

The Private Diary of Dr John Dee: Renaissance mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist, and subject of Damon Albarn's opera which premiered on July 1st, 2011. A true renaissance man, Dee's seriousness as a mathemetician should not be overshadowed (well, maybe just a bit) by the fact that he spent the last thirty years of his life trying to commune with angels.

Plumpton Correspondence. A series of letters written in the reigns of Edward IV, Richard III, Henry VII & Henry VIII: An edition of the correspondence of a medieval aristocratic family from Northumberland - one of the few collections of letters from that period, covering everything from high politics and war with Scotland, to the weather.

Letters of the Earl of Perth to his Sister: A collection of letters between the earl and his sister that begins with a gripping and detailed account of the earl and his wife's attempt to flee Scotland in disguise, and through deep snow, after the deposition of James VII and II (the last Stuart king) in 1688. The earl's ship was caught in the Firth of Forth, and he was imprisoned until 1693. The letters continue until after the earl was eventually freed on condition that he went into exile, whereupon he joined the Jacobite court at St Germain. The sympathy towards the earl's predicament is somewhat mitigated by the fact that he introduced the thumbscrew to Scotland.

Egerton Papers: Letters from the reigns of Henry VII to James I.

Accounts and Papers Relating to Mary Queen of Scots: Primarily containing the accounts of the expense incurred by the queen's imprisonment in England, the expenses on her funeral, and Queen Elizabeth's 'Justification' for her treatment of Queen Mary.

Letters of Eminent Literary Men (1542-1799): A typical collection of colourful letters, but this time all written by men with some connection to literature or the arts. Two such letters were written by John Stubbs, a pampleteer and political commentator, sent from the Tower of London, where he was imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth for sedition. The letters were written with his left hand, because he had been sentenced to have his right hand cut off with a butcher's knife and mallet. According to Wikipedia: 'Immediately before the public dismemberment, Stubbs delivered a shocking pun: "Pray for me now, my calamity is at hand." His right hand having been cut off, he removed his hat with his left, and cried "God Save the Queen!" before fainting.'

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Bairns' Ploy: How children helped Mary Queen of Scots' escape from Loch Leven Castle

I came across this entry detailing the escape of Mary Queen of Scots from Loch Leven Castle in May 1568. Maybe I was a bad historian, but I never knew how it was actually achieved! Nothing like the Venetians for providing a lot of detail ... best calendar series for gossip and unabridged detail!

A romantic and anachronistic depiction of Mary's escape by Sheriff
The account is noteable, among other things, for the reliance on the bravery and discretion of a numbe rof young boys and girls, mostly under the age of ten, who were employed as pages and maids at the castle, to sneak the queen out of the gate, and then lock her erstwhile captors in while they fled by boat across the loch.

The Escape of Mary Queen of Scots from Loch Leven Castle as written by Giovanni Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, 26 May 1568 (CSP Venice, volume 7 (1558-1580), no. 425, pp. 414-417).

A gentleman came from Scotland with confirmation of the Queen’s flight, which took place thus.

The Queen of Scotland was advised by Lord Seton, her most confidential Catholic friend, and a very brave gentleman, by means of a lad in the house who never returned, that he on an appointed day would be with about fifty horsemen at the lake of Lochleven, where the Queen was held prisoner. Seton remained with forty horsemen in the mountains at a short distance, so as not to be discovered by the occupants of the castle in the lake, and the other ten, approaching nearer, entered a village, pretending to be travellers; and one of these men went to the edge of the lake itself, and prostrating himself on the ground, so as not to be seen waited, according to the order given, until the Queen should come forth, as arranged.

Guard was continually kept at the castle gate day and night, except during supper, and the key was always placed on the table where the Governor took his meals, and before him. The Governor is the uterine brother of the Earl of Murray, Regent of Scotland, the Queen’s illegitimate brother and her mortal enemy. The Queen, having attempted to descend from a window unsuccessfully, contrived that a page of the Governor’s, whom she had persuaded to this effect, when carrying a dish, in the evening of the 2nd of May, to the table of his master with a napkin before him, should place the napkin on the key, and in removing the napkin take up the key with it, and carry it away unperceived by anyone.

Having done so, the page then went directly to the Queen, and told her all was ready; and she, having in the meanwhile been attired by the elder of the two maids who waited upon her, took with her by the hand the younger maid, a girl ten years old, and with the page went quietly to the door, and he having opened it, the Queen went out with him and the younger girl, and locked the gate outside with the same key, without which it could not be opened from within.

They then got into a little boat which was kept for the service of the castle, and displaying a white veil of the Queen’s with a red tassel, she made the concerted signal to those who awaited her, that she was approaching. On seeing this, the person stretched on the ground on the bank of the lake arose, and by another signal summoned the horseman from the village, amongst whom a principal person was he [John Beaton] who is now come to give account of these facts to these Majesties [in France], and who is the brother of the Scottish Ambassador here [James Beaton, Bishop of Glasgow]. The horsemen from the mountains being also informed came immediately to the lake, and received the Queen with infinite joy, and having placed her on horseback with the page and the girl, they conveyed her to the sea coast, at a distance of five miles from thence, because to proceed by land to the place which had been designated appeared manifestly too dangerous.
Looking across to Loch Leven Castle, with the Ochil Hills behind

... With regard to her flight, it is judged here, by those who know the site, and how strictly she was guarded, that her escape was most miraculous, most especially having been contrived by two lads, under ten years of age, who could not be presupposed to have the requisite judgment and secrecy. To the greater satisfaction with the result may be added, that the inmates of Lochleven Castle perceived the flight; but being shut up within it, and thus made prisoners, they had to take patience, and to witness the Queen’s escape, while they remained at the windows of the castle.

All having embarked, the Queen was conducted to Niddry, a place belonging to Lord Seton, and from thence to Hamilton, a castle of the Duke of Chatelherault , where his brother, the Archbishop of St Andrews, with other principal personages of those parts, acknowledged her as Queen.

... All Scotland is in motion, some declaring for the Queen, and some against her for the Earl of Murray.

And so the Marian Civil Wars officially began.
[Public domain images from Wikipedia.]

Monday, May 16, 2011

The best books and the best research tools - now from $10

If you are interested in the medieval or early modern past, the most important research tool for your research is now easier and cheaper than ever to access.

Working with multiple sources.
Not only are we currently providing personal access to Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online (MEMSO) at our cheapest rates during the Spring Sale, but you can now also access MEMSO for just $10, with unlimited searches, the ability to view and print the books contained in MEMSO, and the ability to download from our large collection of images from the British State Papers.

Why do I need access to MEMSO?

MEMSO contains a constantly growing collection of key sources for medieval and early modern history, specializing in the history of Britain and it relations with Europe, Colonial North America and Asia. MEMSO is also widely used across the humanities, and a key resource for English literature, religion and legal history.

But MEMSO is much than a simple collection of sources. MEMSO provides advanced tools to exploit the sources in ways impossible with the original books, or through any other web interface:-
      • Advanced, instantaneous full text searches of the entire resource, or just the sub-sets of sources you use.
      • Detailed bookmark navigation for each and every source in the database to find the material you need quickly - a unique and important difference between MEMSO and other online publications.
      • Consult multiple books and manuscripts, side by side. Researchers rarely have one book open at a time - you need to be able to open and compare many books at once. MEMSO implements an advanced desktop/window interface that lets you consult the sources in a way that dramatically increases the power and accessibility of this research tool.
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      The many different ways to use and view sources in MEMSO on display.

      Thursday, May 5, 2011

      SPRING SALE! Save on Short-Term Personal Access to MEMSO

      Screenshot of MEMSO in action

      Experience the power of MEMSO for yourself:

      • Our virtual desktop and windowing system lets you conduct multiple searches and work with as many books as you like simultaneously
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      Thursday, March 24, 2011

      Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae published

      This week we have begun the process of republishing Hew Scott's monumental Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, one of the most valuable reference works for historians of early modern and modern Scotland. Despite appearances, Fasti is not in Latin, and contains biographies of the Scottish presbyterian clergy between the Reformation in 1560 and 1900.

      "Your faithful &
      obedient servant, Hew Scott",
      editor of Fasti
      As always, TannerRitchie Publishing's editions don't just contain a simple digital scan of the work, but add a detailed navigation and search system that enormously increases the value of the works for researchers. Using the bookmarks, you can quickly get where you want in the books, which the full text search adds another dimension unavailable in the original volumes. Priced at $20, the volumes in Fasti are incredible value for valuable research tools.

      Meanwhile, as part of MEMSO, Fasti can be used side-by-side with the primary sources, or saved to your personal bookshelf for for frequent reference.

      Check out the first volumes of Fasti, available now, and keep on checking back as we complete the series in the weeks ahead.

      Friday, February 18, 2011

      New titles: 18 February 2011

      This week's crop of new titles include charters from the Register of Brechin Cathedral - a collection of rare documents and charters from medieval Scotland until the Reformation - and the continuation of our publication of the Historical Manuscripts Commission Manuscripts of the House of Lords Series.

      1. Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Marquis of Bath, vol. 1 (1643-1795)
      2. Calendar of State Papers, Venice and Northern Italy, vol. 35 (1666-1668)
      3. Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, vol. 2 (1222-1674)
      4. Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, vol. 1 (1165-1553)
      5. Manuscripts of the House of Lords, New Series, vol. 8 (1708-1710)
      6. Manuscripts of the House of Lords, New Series, vol. 7 (1706-1708)

      Monday, February 14, 2011

      The Valentine who stole more than a heart - Early Modern Valentine's Day celebrations in England and Scotland

      Many of us think that, today, holidays have become too commercialized; the focus being on the material rather than the true meaning of the day. Valentine’s Day, it would seem, is no exception. No sooner is Christmas over than the aisles of shops become awash with pink and red plastic crap.

      Over the past couple of years, we’ve been using MEMSO (www.tannerritchie.com/memso.php) to find interesting tweets for Twitter (where, incidentally, you can follow us @tannerritchie). Needless to say, given the extent of our catalogue, we’ve come up with some real gems – quite literally in the case for references to Valentine’s Day.

      There are over 2600 hits to the word ‘Valentine’ in MEMSO. Most references, however, are Christian or surnames (Valentine Minge and Valentine Boyles are the ones that stick in one’s mind), names of ships, or references to the feast day itself, used to date letters, events, or payment terms etc. But hidden in and amongst these are some other references about how Valentine’s Day was celebrated in the Early Modern Period. And they seem to have set the bar pretty high in terms of the ‘bling’!!

      In 1522, at the court of Henry VIII, the Spanish Ambassador reports the following to Charles V:

      The young Mary Tudor, shown wearing her Valentine's badge, reading 'The Emperour' (public domain image)
      "After dinner, at the tournament, we were presented by the cardinal [Wolsey] to the queen [Catherine of Aragon] and the princess Mary ... Catherine asked affectionately after you majesty’s health and the prosperity of your affairs, and said that nothing in the world so rejoiced her as to hear of your health and happiness. Then, after we had saluted the princess, she continued to question me not less sweetly than prudently, about your majesty, and there was much pleasant conversation, especially about the charms of the little princess, who, it should be noticed, wore on her bosom a golden brooch ornamented with jewels forming your majesty’s name, which name she had taken on St. Valentine’s Day for her valentine, which seems a happy augury."
      Princess Mary was just shy of her sixth birthday at the time.

      Anne Dacre, countess of Arundel, failing to look like anyone's idea of a fun Valentine. (Public domain image)
      Giving jewelry seems to be one of the longstanding traditions of celebrating Valentine’s Day at the English Royal Court – and one which is still prevalent today, although in the Early Modern Period gifts of jewelry were given to both women and men. In 1558, for example, following the death of Queen Mary, Philip II compiled an inventory ‘of the jewels that lie in a coffer at Whitehall’. One entry refers to a ‘small necklace with thirteen roses, a garter and thirteen knots, as well as a small St. George, in a black velvet case’. Philip’s elaborated that ‘This was sent to me by the Countess of Arundel as a valentine.’

      Another tradition at Court was the act of picking the name of one’s Valentine.

      In 1618, the Venetian Ambassador wrote at length about how Valentine’s Day was celebrated by the upper echelons of English society, including at Court.

      ‘Any woman soever, however noble, even if she be married, fails not to have her valentine, and the men also have their valentines. They revel changes annually thus. On St. Valentine’s eve they place in two ballot boxes sundry tickets whereon are inscribed the names of the men and women of the company, each of whom draws a ticket in turn. Those thus coupled by chance unite together much more closely than if their love were loyal; they banquet together and exchange presents, each preserving the ticket which for some days the man wears in his hat and the woman in her bosom. They even have their names engraved in gold, the invariable rule being that the Valentine do kiss his lady whenever he meets her. Nor may this appear strange to your lordships, for the like style prevails at the court also without excepting the king [James I], the prince [Charles] and the queen [Anne of Denmark], whose hand alone is generally kissed.’

      The ambassador concludes by writing, ‘Were it lawful for me to consign to paper certain other peculiarities which are usual among the middle and lower classes, I should astound you’. Ah, come on!!!!

      Finally, there were several references to the giving of Valentines in the Register of the Privy Council for Scotland ... but these, however, were decidedly less romantic than their English counterparts. In 1561, for example, heads of the prominent families on the Scottish Border were summoned and appeared before Mary Queen of Scots and her Council. There, they ‘ressavit their valentinis of the names culpable of thift and utheris crymes, and wer chargit to apprehend and tak the samyn personis contenit in the saidis valentinis...’ Later in the 1570s, valentines, as letters containing names of persons to be apprehended, continued to be used in this way.

      Well, whatever rocks your boat. Cheaper than jewelry.

      So, whether it is the giving of expensive pieces of jewelry or the apprehension of criminals, the people of Early Modern England and Scotland certainly are a hard act to follow. The pink and red plastic crap doesn’t look so bad now.

      Suggested reading:
      Register of the Privy Council, Scotland, 3 series
      Calendar of State Papers, Spain
      Calendar of State Papers, Venice and Northern Italy 

      Friday, February 11, 2011

      Henry VIII's Ecclesiastical Valuation (presented in HD)

      In recent weeks, one of TannerRitchie's most popular series has been our recently published edition of the Valor Ecclesiasticus (Ecclesiastical Valuation) of Henry VIII, the huge 'Domesday of the Church' ordered by Henry VIII after his decisive break with Rome in 1534. Put together in six months by untrained commissioners, the Valor has been shown to be a surprisingly accurate summary of the wealth of the church at the Reformation, and an essential source for any historian of the Tudor age.

      A Capital 'V' from the Valor Ecclesiasticus, showing Henry VIII and his council.
      See full size high definition images at the National Archives website
      Coincidentally, today is the 480th anniversary of Henry VIII first demanding that he be recognised as the supreme head of the Church in England. Although the Act of Supremacy, which formally instituted the English Reformation in law did not follow until November 1534, in February 1531 Henry had forced the concession from the Convocation of Canterbury that he was
      "their singular protector, only and supreme lord, and, as far as the law of Christ allows, even Supreme Head".(J.R. Tanner, Tudor Constitutional Documents (CUP) p. 17)
      This was the opening salvo of the Reformation, whereby Henry used an act of Richard II, the Statute of Praemunire, which denied the jurisdiction of any foreign power in England, explicitly to attack the ability of the church of England the exercise any power independently of royal authority.

      While the first motivation for the break with Rome was Henry's wish to annul the 'blighted' marriage to Catherine of Aragon, this early episode also displayed two other elements that were strong motivations: power and money. Across Europe, secular princes had increasingly been demanding unchallenged 'imperial' authority in their lands for many years, while during the fifteenth century the vast accumulation of independent wealth in the hands of the clergy proved an increasingly tempting target for both royalty and nobility, especially in the long period of lower population and lower rents brought about by the Black Death.

      The Valor Ecclesiasticus, then, was quite simply a way for Henry VIII to work out how much tax he could gain from his new acquisition - and the answer was 'a lot'. All the taxes that had previously gone to the papacy now came to the crown, along with a new 10% tax. Finally, the Valor Ecclesiasticus was part of the process that ended with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, which would see a simply gargantuan transfer of property and wealth to the crown away from the church. It is still the greatest enforced land transfer to take place in England since the Norman Conquest.

      Given the bureaucratic importance of the Valor, it therefore seems slightly  quaint that the surviving manuscripts also happen to provide some of the richest illuminated manuscripts of the reign. Why make a financial statement look pretty? The answer is that a special simplified, illustrated version was made for the king's own use, suitably visually enriched for the purposes of the king. While the king may not have wanted the entire minutiae of the Valor, he was certainly keen personally to understand the full extent of what he had taken into his hands.

      Further Reading

      Sunday, February 6, 2011

      TannerRitchie Publishing: Helping you discover the sources you need

      Searching the entire database for keywords and phrases
      TannerRitchie Publishing prides itself on the service it provides to its clients around the world. Today, we are proud to introduce a new feature on our website that is designed to help researchers find the sources they need, and to discover new ones that they didn’t know they needed!

      Our new integrated Search Box brings the power of MEMSO’s search engine to our homepage (http://www.tannerritchie.com/). Available for all to use, free of charge, the Search Box enables visitors to search for specific book titles and for keywords and phrases in the full text of our entire catalogue. This is a truly amazing and powerful research tool that will provide users with a comprehensive list of books that contain their keywords, and the frequency with which they appear in each book. Users can then opt to purchase individual books as downloads, or on CD-ROMs.

      Short Term MEMSO access - the most economical way to access our entire catalogue

      But we guarantee that you will be surprised at the speed and extent of the results! This is why we would also like to feature Short-Term MEMSO – the most economical way to access our entire catalogue through MEMSO in the comfort of your own home. A Short-Term subscription to MEMSO is designed for those who don’t have access to an institutional subscription, or would like to use MEMSO for a very short period of time. You can have access for 1 day, 3 days, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months .... and get ebooks to keep forever. Alternatively, you can choose a personal subscription for one year, with unlimited access and unlimited ebooks for you to keep.

      An Ebook App For Historians and Researchers

      MEMSO is an advanced web application. The search engine is extremely powerful and fast. But perhaps the most useful feature for researchers is our unique window system. MEMSO users have the ability to conduct simultaneous searches, and more importantly, the ability simultaneously to open and to view as many pages of books as you would like, while storing your favourites on your customized bookshelf. MEMSO literally resembles your physical desktop (but without the coffee and phone). Because we are historians and researchers ourselves, we know how people research and cross reference ... and the ability to access and view, easily and quickly, more than one book at a time is critical!

      So try out our new Search Box, play around with it and have fun! And if you are feeling research guilt about all the books you should be consulting, don’t be overwhelmed, check out our Short-Term personal subscription options for MEMSO.

      And, as always, if you have any questions or book suggestions, please feel free to contact us (www.tannerritchie.com/contactus.php)

      MEMSO: Constantly Growing, Constantly Developed

      Wednesday, January 12, 2011

      3 Days Remaining in TannerRitchie Publishing's Winter Sale

      Don't miss out! Our winter sale, where all our titles are available for just $10 each, comes to an end on Saturday 15th January, 2011. Downloads usually cost $20 to $35 each, so this is a great chance to stock up on the hundreds of rare historical titles available on our website.
      All our titles are searchable and have a detailed navigation system to help you quickly navigate find the information you need.
      Our titles expand in scope and quantity all the time. Below are listed just some of the series that have recently been published for the first time or expanded with new volumes. If there are particular titles you are interested in that we have not published yet, reply to this email and let us know. More titles will be published before the sale ends on Saturday.

      Watch this space in 2011 ...

      Keep an eye out for new features and announcements coming very soon, including tools to help you identify exactly which books we publish will help your research the most.
      There are many ways to keep up to date with the latest from TannerRitchie Publishing:
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