19 August, 2008

What news from the Olympiad, Wolsey?

The scene: The Clock Court, Hampton Court Palace (above).

King Henry and Cardinal Wolsey are in conversation.

H: What news from the Olympic Games, Wolsey?

CW (nervous): I am pleased to say we are in third place behind the Holy Roman Empire and France, Majesty....

H (angry): What are you pleased about? This is an insult to the English crown . Why have you not delivered the crushing victory you promised? (Henry throws the book he is carrying in Wolsey's general direction)

CW: Our contestants toiled mightily, but we were unable to secure the expected victory in a number of key disciplines, Majesty.

H: (slightly calmer) How so?

CW: In the Torture team event, we were ahead of the Spanish after the Thumbscrews, but they have trained hard on the Rack, and extracted their confession several minutes ahead of us.

H: We must practice more; see to it. What of the Joust?

CW: Our man was bribed by the French and fell off his horse.

H: And the Rowing?

CW: The cannon that you specified only served to slow down our craft, Majesty.

H: THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE!. You must raise fresh benevolences from the nobility in order to build the finest training facilities in Europe. Find Thomas More and tell him to provide fresh heretics for Torture practice . Tell the contestants that I will double French bribes, and provide a barrel of ale for any winners. (He smiles) And losers will be drowned in the same barrel, ha ha!

CW: Yes of course, Majesty. Will you be attending the closing ceremony?

H: Are the maidens fair?

CW: Allegedly, Majesty.

H: Good. I must to prayers. But how is the design for the arms for the 1512 Games progressing, Wolsey?

CW: Most fair Majesty, does this design please you? The ladies in waiting finished sewing it this morning.

H: Not bad. But something a little more dynamic perhaps?

CW: I will see to it Majesty.

They leave...

Picture of Clock Court: Wikipedia Commons

18 August, 2008

Carnival time

Two history carnivals well worth checking out:

Sharon Howard at Early Modern Notes hosts an Early Modern edition of Carnivalesque, the 42nd in the series.

Meanwhile over at Osprey Publishing, Mike has put up an Olympics-themed Military History Carnival , and uses some obscure demonstration sports you didn't think were in the Olympics to provide the links (eg Golf...bunker...nuclear bunker). Clever.

16 August, 2008

Pastime with Good Company

Pastime with Good Company is the theme of the daily program presented by the entertaining Tudor re-enactors at Hampton Court Palace during August.

Set in 1544, the program begins with the arrival of Queen Kateryn Parr at 11:00, or will it be Henry himself returing early from the French campaign??

The activities for all the family include the Royal Arrival, Entertaining the Monarch, Bowls, Jousting, Dancing and Courtly Manners, Songs and Stories, and Gambling (Dads only) all included in normal entrance price...bargain.

Also, it's the last chance to see the Costumes from The Other Boleyn Girl (or OBG as fans refer to it) , which ends on 26th August.

06 August, 2008

Remains of the 'Wooden O' found

Archaeologists in London have found what looks like part of Shakespeare's original playhouse, known simply as The Theatre", in Shoreditch. The playhouse opened in 1576 and The Bard acted here with the Chamberlain's Men.

The theatre is mentioned in the prologue to Henry V:

"Can this cock-pit hold the vast fields of France? Or may we cram within this wooden O the very casques That did affright the air at Agincourt?"

The timbers were later moved to the South Bank and used to build The Globe in 1599.

A new theatre is to be built on the site at Shoreditch.

More on the history of The Theatre here.