History in Focus: Elizabeth and James VI and I | about | home | Elizabeth and James I

Web Sites

The sites listed below have been selected to demonstrate some of the high quality resources available for the reigns of Elizabeth I and James VI and I. Meanwhile, History On-Line provides links to evaluated history web sites across a comprehensive range of subjects.

Some history gateways provide links to material relating to Elizabeth I and James VI and I, and to Tudor and Stuart history more generally. An excellent starting point for locating history web sites is by searching on Humbul Humanities Hub. Humbul provides fully evaluated and annotated links to quality history web sites.
The IHR, as part of the History On-Line project, evaluates history web sites for Humbul and it is these descriptions, together with records from other Humbul contributors, that appear below.

English Ships and the Spanish Armada, August 1588
Tudor history  

Elizabeth's pirates

Elizabeth's Pirates is a Channel 4 web site devised to accompany two documentaries covering Elizabethan history, 3BMs Secret History: Armada, and Yorkshire Television's Elizabeth's Pirates. Concentrating on the sea-faring activities directed from England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the site is divided into four sections. The first section, The Rogue State, discusses Elizabethan England and its relations with the European powers, particularly Spain, whilst the second section, The Pirates, looks at the activities of English privateers and pirates. With biographies of the most infamous pirates and privateers of the time, including Martin Frobisher, Humphrey Gilbert, Richard Hawkins, and Richard Grenville, as well as Francis Drake, John Hawkins and Walter Ralegh, this section covers the expeditions, raids and explorations these men undertook in the late sixteenth-century. The third section, The Armada, covers the circumstances surrounding, and the events of, the battle between the English fleet and the Spanish Armada in 1588, and the fourth provides web links and bibliographies for further reading and research.

Print and censorship in Elizabethan society

This web site, Print and Censorship in Elizabethan Society, looks at the controls on the press during the Elizabeth I's rule, and in particular during the years when the Elizabethan Religious Settlement was established. Many facets of the printing trade and the censorship it faced are covered, with chapters on the legislation passed to control the press, the measures taken to ensure that censorship was enforced, and printing and press organisations, and the role played by groups such as the Stationer's Company. Also considered are the illegal Puritan and Catholic printing presses, including the secret press of Edmund Campion and Robert Persons, and the Martin Marprelate tracts. The site also features a chronology of important events and a short list of further resources.

Renaissance, the Elizabethan world

Renaissance, the Elizabethan World is an impressive site, published by an enthusiast of the Renaissance in sixteenth-century Britain, and the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Several resources are available on this site, with articles on Elizabethan heraldry, Elizabethan sumptuary statutes, which laid down rules of dress within society, and transcripts of the trials of the Earls of Essex and Southampton in 1601. The most impressive resource is the online encyclopaedia Life in Elizabethan England - A Compendium of Common Knowledge. This provides brief explanations of various facets of everyday Elizabethan life, covering topics such as food, family, games and pastimes, employment, fashion and education, and is a useful reference source. All of the resources on this site can be collectively searched, and there are also links to other web sites.

Tudor and Elizabethan portraits

This enthusiast's web site makes available online portraits and images of sixteenth century English monarchs, and English and European noblemen. Each of the Tudor monarchs, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Stuart King James I and VI, is represented with a selection of images accompanied by brief information about the artist and the date it was painted. In addition to the royal portraits, there are five other sections with pictures of English, French, German, Spanish and Italian nobles, including a large number of works by Hans Holbein. The images are all of a good quality, and can be viewed as large thumbnails or as full-screen images.

Tudor England 1485 to 1603

Tudor England 1485 to 1603 is an excellent web site covering the Tudor dynasty in England, from the beginning Henry VII's reign in 1485 until the end of Elizabeth I's in 1603. Devised and published by an enthusiast, both the design and content are impressive, and it offers strong reference material along with some good primary sources. The site is comprised of four main parts, biographies of members of the monarchy, primary sources, general resources, and bibliographies and links. The biographies are impressively in-depth, and cover the Tudor monarchs, relatives, and important citizens, such as Charles Brandon, Thomas Cranmer, and Thomas More. All of the primary sources have been transcribed, and include letters, accounts of events, official announcements and documentation and speeches. The general section includes the Tudor family tree, and short encyclopaedic-type entries about life in Tudor England, covering topics such as government, religion, clothing, and rebellions. Additionally the site features a number of quizzes on various individuals and events, and a useful FAQs section.

Tudor Hackney

This excellent web site, developed by the Hackney Archives Department, the National Archives Learning Curve team, and Immediate Theatre with funding from the New Opportunities Fund, delves into the history of Hackney during Elizabethan times. Tudor Hackney is a completely interactive resource, and features a virtual reality reconstruction of Hackney in 1601, and an impressive video drama 'The Dysasters and Misfortunes of John and Jane Daniell', which is based upon records of the couple housed in the Hackney Archives. Both the virtual reality tour and the video require downloads, which are free and can be accessed from the site. In addition to these resources, the site also features an exploration of Hackney during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the surrounding parishes of Shoreditch and Stoke Newington. The topics covered include notable local people, local government and the poor, the law, crime and punishment, transport links and infrastructure, and hospitals and medical care. All the text is accompanied with illustrations, and facsimile images of primary source material, and this digitised material can also be browsed separately in the Picture Gallery.

This is an impressive site offering quality scholarship and resources, and it is relevant and accessible to students and researchers alike.

Tudor history

The Tudor history site, developed by Lara Eakins, contains a variety of information about the Tudor period. The site has biographical information of all the Tudor monarchs, including portraits and relevant art work. There is a very useful who's who in Tudor history which provides brief details about significant Tudors. The site also has details of life in Tudor times, Tudor architecture, maps, topics on Tudor history, chronologies and glossaries. Other features of the site include a mailing list, links, bibliography, extracts from primary sources and a monthly newsletter. The site has got a clear structure to it and there is a search engine to aid navigation. The site is being developed further with future plans available on the site. This site provides a useful starting point for details of Tudor history.


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This web site on Queen Elizabeth I is published in conjunction with the National Maritime Museum exhibition celebrating the 400th anniversary of the last Tudor monarch's death. The site is very easy to navigate, and provides a large amount of information on Elizabeth I's life and reign. The site is split into chapters, dealing with Elizabeth's life chronologically, and there are also additional resources in the form of a glossary and a select bibliography of texts and web sites. The chapters cover the following topics, Young Elizabeth, which looks at her early life and experiences, with events such as the Seymour Scandal, Elizabeth's England, which discusses the changes she made, with measures like the Elizabethan religious settlement, and The Queen's Court, which explores Tudor life, entertainment, and the Sumptuary Laws. Following these there is Elizabeth's Adventurers that looks at sixteenth century English overseas ambitions, Representing the Queen, which discusses the image Elizabeth created, and the importance of imagery and symbolism in her portraiture, and Threats to the Crown, which explores the domestic and foreign hostility she faced from Mary Queen of Scots and Spain. The final chapter Elizabeth's Final Years describes the Queen's relationships with the Earl of Essex and Robert Cecil, and the end of the Tudor line. All of the texts are accompanied by good illustrations, and the web site as a whole provides a comprehensive introduction to Queen Elizabeth I's reign.

Elizabeth I (1553-1603)

This web site on the Tudor monarch Queen Elizabeth I is published by an enthusiast, and offers a number of useful resources on this sixteenth century English queen. The site is divided into a number of chapters, offering a biography, images of Elizabeth, many of them painted by Nicholas Hilliard, scholarly articles, and the full text of Elizabeth I's writing, including poems, speeches, and letters. In addition to these, there is a section of additional sources that links to material on other web sites, and a book list. This last section provides quite an extensive list of titles concerning Elizabeth I, helpfully divided into different categories, with links to the online bookseller Amazon for those wishing to purchase copies.

The Great Seal of Elizabeth I

The Great Seal of Elizabeth I is an online exhibition, and is part of The National Archives Virtual Museum Millennium Exhibitions. Using Queen Elizabeth I's Great Seal as its point of focus, one of the many Elizabethan artefacts held by The National Archives, this site provides a range of resources for those researching the history of this Tudor monarch. The exhibition features a short biography of Elizabeth I's life, portraits of the Queen, a look at her clothing, and descriptions of her appearance and character by contemporaries, as well as the central section about her second Great Seal engraved by Nicholas Hilliard. In addition to this there are extracts from some of her letters and speeches, accompanied by facsimile images of the original documents held at the National Archives. This is by no means a comprehensive site, but it does provide access to some fascinating primary source material and a great deal of interesting information about Queen Elizabeth I.

The life and times of Queen Elizabeth I

This web site has been created by a postgraduate student of Elizabethan history, with the aim of providing educational information on the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The content is aimed at the general public rather than academic scholars and as a result provides a narrative history useful for those wanting to obtain an overview of late sixteenth century England and the life of Elizabeth Tudor. The site is divided into several chapters that deal with various aspects of Elizabeth I's life and reign. The chapters cover topics such as Elizabeth's life as a princess, her wardrobe, offers of marriage, the Elizabethan religious settlement, Mary Queen of Scots, government in the sixteenth century, European relations, and the Spanish Armada. Also included are a timeline, bibliographies, online articles and an interactive educational game.

Modern history sourcebook: Queen Elizabeth I of England

This site is taken from Paul Halsall's excellent web site Internet Modern History Sourcebook, which has been devised to provide free online access to primary source texts. This particular section of the sourcebook provides a selection of Elizabeth I's writing and speeches, spanning the years of her reign, from 1558 until 1603. Seven extracts have been selected, and they include the response to a parliamentary delegation on her marriage, a speech on religion, the response to King Erik of Sweden's marriage proposal, another later response to a parliamentary delegation on her marriage, another later speech on religion, her response to the Polish Ambassador who had criticised her actions in regards to the Spanish monarchy, and her famous 'farewell' Golden Speech to parliament in 1601. This is a useful resource for those studying Tudor and Elizabethan history.


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The Union of the Crowns 1603-2003 (The 400th anniversary of the union of the crowns )

This web site on the uniting of the English and Scottish crowns in 1603 was created using educational resources at SCRAN and RLS. It offers a facility to search for documents and resources in SCRAN's catalogues, and also useful reference resources. Looking primarily at the Stuart dynasty, the site uses a range of resources to tell the story of James VI's accession as James I of England, and the establishment of Great Britain. The backgrounds of both the Tudor and Stuart dynasties are discussed, and the centuries of conflict between Scotland and England, with reference to events such as the Battle of Flodden and the Rough Wooing. There is also a timeline from 1286 to 1625 that highlights the important events and individuals present during the three centuries of animosity between the two nations. The biographies of key individuals, including Henry VII, Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, James VI, John Knox and George Buchanan, are also available. In addition there is a list of Scottish sites with royal associations, such as Dunfermline Palace and Stirling Castle.


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James VI and I (1566-1625)

This web site is about King James VI and I, the Stuart monarch who brought the English and Scottish crowns together in 1603. The site is authored and published by an enthusiast, and provides reference material and primary and secondary resources on this British ruler. The site is split into five sections, Life, Works, Essays, More and Books. Life provides a biography of James, whilst Works offers transcripts of his writings, including A Counterblaste to Tobacco, speeches, edicts and sonnets. Essays provides access to a handful of academic essays concerned with this monarch, and More houses links to further resources, including more biographies, images, analysis of his writings, and additional primary source material. The Books section is a short bibliography of titles concerning James VI and I, with links to Amazon for those who wish to purchase copies.

Gunpowder Plot Society

The Gunpowder Plot Society was founded by a group of historians and genealogists to provide a forum for research into this historical event. The web site is well laid out and provides a large amount of information on the catholic Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James VI/I. The site features a substantial account of the plot, with lengthy biographies about each of the thirteen men involved in the plot, and other relevant individuals such as Lord Monteagle and Robert Cecil. There is also a transcription of The King's Book, the Crown's official, and undeniably biased, account published in November 1605. The site also contains another forty transcribed primary source documents relevant to the case, including letters, acts and proclamations made by Elizabeth I and James VI/I, the much debated Monteagle Letter, and the writings, examinations and confessions of some of the plotters, including material relevant to Guy Fawkes, Thomas Wintour, Robert Wintour, Francis Tremane, Robert Catesby, and Thomas Bates. These texts can be viewed online, or downloaded into an easy print version for offline viewing. In addition to these resources the site also offers a bibliography, a list of links, and general information about the Gunpowder Plot Society.

What if the Gunpowder Plot had succeeded?

This web site on the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 is part of the BBC History web site. The main article by Professor Ronald Hutton raises a counterfactual question about what may have happened in England if Robert Catesby's plot had been successful, suggesting the effects it may have had on the monarchy, government, English society and relations with Europe. In addition to this there are a number of supporting resources, including two essays that look at the events of the Gunpowder Plot. The first considers the context in which the plot developed, namely the treatment of Catholics in Tudor England, and the effect it the failed plot had on the lives of the Catholic minority on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The second article concentrates on the plot itself and its main participants, Robert Catesby, Guy Fawkes, Thomas Wintour and Thomas Percy, and their subsequent arrests and prosecution for high treason. Also available is a good interactive game, a timeline of events, and a biography of James VI and I.

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