January 03, 2012

{International Giveaway!} Guest Post: Tudor Superstition by Kate Emerson

Read  Reviews of At The King's Pleasure at Burton Book Review or historical-fiction.com

International Giveaway details at the end of this post.

Please welcome the author of the Secrets of the Tudor Courts Series, Kate Emerson, with her following article:
Tudor Superstitions


Kate Emerson

What would make an otherwise rational person risk his life on the basis of a prophecy? People in Tudor times believed in many supernatural things—witches, ghosts, fairies, and the ability of some people to predict the future. Those who claimed to have the gift of prophecy always had followers, although they tended to be so outspoken that they quickly brought disaster down on their own heads. If their predictions were treasonous, for example predicting the death of the king, then they were likely to end up in prison, if not on the scaffold. Casting horoscopes could also be dangerous for the astrologer, even though horoscopes were believed to be useful in the practice of medicine. All the Tudor monarchs employed astrologers at one time or another. If their predictions came true, they were rewarded. If not, not so much. In one famous instance in 1503, a court astrologer to Henry VII predicted that Henry’s queen, Elizabeth of York, would have a long life and that the child she carried would be a healthy boy. Instead, Elizabeth died shortly after giving birth to a girl who also died within days of her birth.

In AT THE KING’S PLEASURE, the 3rd Duke of Buckingham truly believes in the predictions of a prophet. His sister, Lady Anne Stafford, is more skeptical, but she, too, accepts astrology as a legitimate science. The mind set of sixteenth-century people was simply not the same as ours today. Lacking a scientific explanation, Tudor men and women accepted that an unexpected and unexplained death could have been brought about by enchantment, that a comet was a bad omen, and that someone who had been bewitched could go to a local cunning woman to buy a charm that would protect him from the evil spell.

Since people in Tudor times had little idea what caused illness, they were also clueless when it came to ways to prevent disease from spreading. That did not stop them from trying. They came up with all kinds of “preventives” and “cures.” “The stuff” was a traditional Fenland cure for the ague—opium poppy juice coagulated into pellets and swallowed. Hanging three spiders around your neck was also believed to alleviate the ague. What was ague? Possibly it was a form of malaria. It consisted of intermittent fevers and was sometimes confused with typhoid and with pneumonia. The cure that eventually worked was Peruvian bark, first brought to Spain from the New World in 1639.

I have collected far more material on folk remedies than I will ever be able to use in my novels. Many contain ingredients that even the experts cannot identify with any certainty. Some of my favorites are unicorn’s horn, dried mummy, and dragon water. There are treatments for minor ailments as well as deadly diseases. A sixteenth-century Englishman wouldn’t hesitate to apply fried horse dung to a bruise. Or, for a bruised knee, he’d apply green poultice of hot boiled cabbage or leek overlaid with sheep’s wool. Yum! Makes you kind of glad you live in the twenty-first century, doesn’t it?

Kate Emerson is a cat lover, the author of the Secrets of the Tudor Court Series, and also writes mysteries as Kathy Lynn Emerson. Visit her website for more information, as well as a fascinating Who's Who in Tudor Women!

Thanks so much to the author for offering a giveaway of her newest release, At The King's Pleasure to one lucky follower of HF-Connection anywhere in the world!! Better yet, she is going to autograph it for you!
Interested? Please leave your email address in the comments as well as sharing this post with your twitter or facebook friends!
Please leave the link to your shared link (required!). Good luck!
Giveaway ends on January 14, 2012.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I always wonder about the blood letting for healing. I would have dreaded it. And they bled some not so fun places, like the soles of feet. Ouch!

    What a prize!! I'd love to win! I shared on my blog sidebar! http://themusingsofabookjunkie.blogspot.com/


  3. Tudor secrets sounds good! Thank you for the giveaway!


  4. I would love to win.
    I posted to facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pattyleonardwoodland/posts/3019697530866
    Thank you and Happy New Year
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

  5. soooo added to my Wish List!!

    shared on my FB page: www.facebook.com/cyn209

    thank you for giveaway!!


  6. Ooohhh, I SO want to read this! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

    tiger_fan_1997 AT yahoo DOT com

  7. Very interesting post, and this book sounds like a new and different approach to the Tudor era. Thanks for the giveaway.

  8. This sounds great- thanks for the giveaway!


  9. I would like to read this book. Thank you for the giveaway, hope I win.......:)

  10. I have read all of the other books in the series and would love to add this one to my collection. I eagerly anticipate the release of your books!


  11. I would like to learn about the medicine and ideas of "science" in the Tudor times, this book sounds fascinating.

    I tweeted:
    hf-connection./2012/01/intern...? Enter to win 'For the King's Pleasure as Carolee888


  12. I just found your page! It is wonderful!I am currently writing a fictional book about George Boleyn. This will be my first book in the Historical Fiction genre. My first published book was in 2006 and it was in the humorous non-fiction genre. However I am currently back in college for a second degree this time in Elementary and Special Education with a double concentration in History and English, then on for my master's in History. The Tudors shall be the subject of my thesis. I have been studying them for approximately 5 years.
    My e-mail address is ...

  13. I have yet to read a book from this series, and it does sound lovely :) I have posted a link on my fb page. Hope your New Year is filled with many blessings!


  14. How can someone put 3 spiders around the neck ??Crazy..or scary :))

    rallu.93 (@) gmail.com


  15. Would love to read this book. Lomazowr@mail. Com

  16. Would love to read this book. Lomazowr@mail. Com

  17. Your newest book sounds exciting. Isn't 16th century medicine and superstitions fascinating? Even todays horoscopes are apalling to me so relying so heavily on astrology as a science is weird, in the least. I would love to possess this book!


  18. Daydreamer has been emailed as our winner!

  19. i'd like to win this book, because i'm fond of history and becos, i'm studying currently tudor and stuart era at univeristy



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