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Henry VIII: A History of his Most Important Places and Events (ePub)

P&S History > British History > Tudors & Stuarts P&S History > By Century > 16th Century P&S History > Royal History

By Andrew Beattie
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 26.8 MB (.epub)
ISBN: 9781399007795
Published: 28th July 2023

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The story of Henry VIII is well known: he is famed throughout the world as the charismatic king of England who married six wives (and executed two of them), who broke with Rome and dissolved England’s monasteries, and who grew from a Renaissance prince into a lustful, egotistical and callous tyrant. He is the subject of scholarly and popular biographies and of numerous fictional works, from John Fletcher and William Shakespeare’s jointly authored play Henry VIII to contemporary novels, films and TV series. But this book tells the story of Henry VIII in a very different way to any of these: through the places where the events of his life unfolded.

From Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London to the site of the Field of the Cloth of Gold near Calais where Henry met the French King Francis I for a week of pageantry in 1520, and from his lavish palaces in London to quieter manor houses in the English countryside which he visited during his annual summer “progress”, a whole new light is thrown on this most compelling of historical figures.

Whilst some sites associated with Henry are now very ruinous – such as Woking Palace in Surrey, which Henry remodelled into a lavish royal residence but which is now little more than a few tumbledown walls, or Greenwich Palace, where he was born, of which only a few remnants from his era remain – others, most famously Hampton Court, are much more substantial; the book looks at Henry’s connections with each site in turn, along with the conditions that today’s visitors to the site can expect, beginning with the Thames-side palaces from Greenwich upstream to Hampton Court, before broadening its scope to include properties and sites outside London, in the West and North of England and in Northern France.

A seminal and ground-breaking study, "Henry VIII: A History of his Most Important Places and Events" is enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of an informative Introduction, a three page Bibliography and Further Reading, a one page listing of Acknowledgements, and a nine page Index. A work of meticulous research and impressive scholarship, "Henry VIII: A History of his Most Important Places and Events" is unreservedly recommended as a core and essential addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library 16th Century British Royal History collections and supplemental Henry VIII curriculum studies lists.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a unique and engaging approach to the well-known story of Henry VIII, the charismatic and controversial king of England. Rather than following the traditional biographical path, this book offers readers a fresh perspective on the life and times of this iconic historical figure by exploring the places where significant events in his reign unfolded.

Beattie's narrative is a captivating journey through the key locations that played a central role in Henry VIII's life, from the opulent Westminster Abbey to the imposing Tower of London. The reader is transported to the site of the Field of the Cloth of Gold near Calais, where the extravagant meeting between Henry and the French King Francis I took place. The book also delves into the sumptuous palaces in London, as well as the more tranquil English countryside manor houses that Henry visited during his annual summer progress.

What sets this book apart is its ability to breathe life into history by highlighting the connections between Henry and each site. It allows readers to appreciate the circumstances and surroundings that shaped the king's actions and decisions. While some locations, like Woking Palace and Greenwich Palace, may be in ruins today, others, such as Hampton Court, still stand as significant historical landmarks.

Beattie offers an insightful and well-researched look at Henry's reign, shedding new light on a historical figure often viewed through the lens of his marriages and political maneuverings. Beattie's approach adds depth and context to Henry VIII's story, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the man behind the legends.

This book is an excellent choice for history enthusiasts and anyone interested in exploring the historical sites associated with one of England's most intriguing monarchs. Beattie's storytelling is both informative and captivating, making it an invaluable addition to the world of Tudor history.

NetGalley, Chelsea Littleton-Harper

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was such a fun book to read. I never would have thought to read a book about the places associated with King Henry but this was such a well written informative book. If you are obsessed with Tudor history like myself you will love to pick this book up and give it a read. You will not be disappointed!

NetGalley, Heather Michael

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A brilliant look into all of the palaces and historic moments which happened at each of them. Sadly most are ruins now however it described them perfectly and the author done an amazing job of allowing the reader to visualise what it would have been like in the 1500s

NetGalley, Aisha Bari

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A bit of a different look at the life of King Henry VIII, this time through the buildings that he lived in & commissioned. From his birthplace of Greenwich Palace to his burial place at Windsor, via Eltham Palace, Hampton Court, the Tower of London, & the near mythical sounding Nonsuch Palace, & further afield. This book gives the reader an idea of what Tudor royal life was like, the endless moving from palace to palace, & the rapacious nature of Henry's greed for property that belonged to other people.

I thought it was a well-researched informative read. I've read quite a lot about the Tudors but there are still things that I learn from each new book. Unfortunately many of the palaces, mansions, & hunting lodges are now long gone, but the photographs of the areas in modern times helps orientate the reader in visualising what they could have looked like. Oh to have a time machine for a quick trip back to check!

NetGalley, Gayle Noble

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a great book for anyone who is interested in Tudor history or just learning about Henry Tudor. I have read many books on the subject, but I loved reading about the places actual events took place. Even though some places have been destroyed, the book made you feel like it was alive. Would definitely recommend for anyone wanting to read about Tudor history or even to highlight places to visit.

NetGalley, Stacy Mawhorter

Exploring the many palaces, manor homes, and castles owned by Henry VIII, Andrew Beattie provides details about the events that occurred in these various locations. Covering his entire life from birth to death, Henry VIII’s many properties witnessed his rise, triumphs, and struggles, from his many marriages, the births of his children, and sites of political success and intrigue. Beattie provides an exhaustive list of key locations, exploring their events, geographic location, and current state in great detail and supplementing his prose with a variety of images. While the book jumps around from region and county as well as year, the chapters are otherwise well-organized and comprehensive in its coverage of the Tudor ruler’s travels in his realm. Beattie’s devotion to the topic and every possible detail he could uncover packs this text full of information and detail about not only the locations themselves but also their inhabitants and constructors who brought these locations to life. An excellent addition to the Tudor lexicon, Beattie’s book adds a new lens to the study of Henry VIII and encourages further scholarship into the homes and properties of other historic individuals.

NetGalley, Lily Amidon

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I’ve read about Henry VIII and his wives, but I’ve never read in detail about where his story unfolded. I didn’t realize they moved around so much. It’s interesting to read what the palaces were like in Henry VIII’s time and the status now. Some are still standing and others were destroyed and were found again through archaeological digs. There are several drawings and photographs.

NetGalley, Jeanne Schutts

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A bit of a different look at the life of King Henry VIII, this time through the buildings that he lived in & commissioned. From his birthplace of Greenwich Palace to his burial place at Windsor, via Eltham Palace, Hampton Court, the Tower of London, & the near mythical sounding Nonsuch Palace, & further afield. This book gives the reader an idea of what Tudor royal life was like, the endless moving from palace to palace, & the rapacious nature of Henry's greed for property that belonged to other people.

I thought it was a well-researched informative read. I've read quite a lot about the Tudors but there are still things that I learn from each new book. Unfortunately many of the palaces, mansions, & hunting lodges are now long gone, but the photographs of the areas in modern times helps orientate the reader in visualising what they could have looked like. Oh to have a time machine for a quick trip back to check! I really enjoyed reading it... Perfect for Tudor history enthusiasts.

NetGalley, Gayle Noble

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In 'Henry VIII: A History of his Most Important Places and Events,' Andrew Beattie unravels the history behind the castles, palaces, and manors owned by Henry VIII.

The first part of the book focuses on Henry’s major palaces in London, the ones everyone's familiar with, Hampton Court, Greenwich, Westminster, etc. For each place, Beattie provides detailed descriptions, an in-depth history of the site, Henry's renovations, the major events of Henry’s reign that took place there, and a brief recounting of what remains of the site.

This would be a large enough undertaking, however, Beattie then moves on and provides as much detail as possible (which is limited in some cases by a lack of source material) about Henry's more minor and regional manors, some of which it isn't even clear whether or not Henry ever actually visited.

This book shows us Henry the architect, revealing just how extensively he modified, renovated, modernised, and extended all of his properties. Each location is brought to life with photographs on the current site, which in some cases are sadly reduced to a plaque or a street name memorialising its former glory. Beattie also frequently refers back to Margaret George’s 'Autobiography of Henry VIII,' which can help anchor some of the more obscure locations for anyone familiar with George’s novel (if you aren’t, I also highly recommend).

Beattie does not deeply analyse the important events that took place at these palaces; instead, he provides a brief summary of the famous events which he contextualises within their physical locations, which isn’t often focused on by narrative historians.

This book was a thoroughly enjoyable and easy read, and I can see myself returning to it frequently in the future as a research resource.

NetGalley, Jessica Carey-Bunning

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As the title suggest the author takes a reader on a journey around the places where Henry VIII spent his life. As the reader, you will visit not only the very well-known sites such as the Tower of London or Hampton Court but also these ruinous sites associated with the King of England.
The book is well-researched and well-written. Highly recommended for those interested in the history of Tudors.

NetGalley, Meg Gajda

This had lots of famous and infamous locations as well as the stories associated with them. I was enchanted and totally engaged even though some places and stories were familiar to me. I disappeared down the vast rabbit hole that is the Tudor world and I couldn't have been happier. I thought it was very well written, researched and organised.

NetGalley, Leslie Hall

This book is very well researched and includes some information that is not simply repeated from book to book. It helps make Henry VIII more than the caricature that history sometimes paints him.

NetGalley, Beth Emmerling

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have read numerous books about Henry VIII. They always mention the places he visited, but nothing like how they were described in this book. This was a fascinating composition. I was blown away with how each place was written and how specific the author went into the ornate details. The pictures used throughout were very much appreciated. I am looking forward to adding this one to my bookshelf.

NetGalley, Stephanie Peterson

About Andrew Beattie

Andrew Beattie is the author of two previous books for Pen & Sword Publishing, Following in the Footsteps of the Princes in the Tower and Following in the Footsteps of King Arthur. He has also written a number of books on travel and the environment, including cultural-historical guides to Cairo, Prague, the Alps, the River Danube and the Scottish Highlands, all published by Signal Books; co-authored three books in the Rough Guides series, on Syria, Switzerland and Germany; and written a work of historical fiction for children, The Secret in the Tower (Sweet Cherry Publishing), which is set during the last days of the reign of King Richard III. You can see photos taken during the research for his books, including the places described in Henry VIII: A History of His Most Important Places and Events, on his website, https://www.andrewbeattie.me.uk. He is a graduate of Oxford University and lives in London where he works as an editor and archivist.

Field of the Cloth of Gold

7th June 1520

Field of the Cloth of Gold; meeting begins between English Henry VIII and King Francis I of France at Balinghem, France


Henry VIII's divorce request is denied by the Pope

7th March 1530

Henry VIII's divorce request is denied by the Pope


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