'We have tidings from Rome that the King is straitly commanded to put away my lady Anne, and take back his first wife, and their young child to be proclaimed base-born, “by the last day of Sept. next coming,” on pain of interdiction of the whole realm. Images are taken from their places, and cast out of the church as stocks and stones of no value. Some will prick them with their bodkins to see whether they will bleed or no. These with many other damnable abusions we have in London. Flesh and fish are cheap, but cheese is dear.’
- Sir John Rose, 18 October 1533. He’s got his priorities sorted. Great Matter, destruction of churches, oh and don’t forget the most important issue - that cheese is getting a bit expensive.
Yes, they had glasses. Henry VIII himself owned quite a few pairs in his later years, as did Charles V.
Of course, opticians and prescription lenses did not exist - science in England was not that advanced. It would have been a kind of ‘one lens suits all’ situation. Glasses were also very expensive and therefore only available to the wealthier ranks of society.
Glasses in Tudor times did not have arms, but were instead balanced on the nose, like early pince-nez. They were not often worn in public, as they were an obvious indication that the wearer had poor eyesight and was, therefore, ‘weak’, which was not really how the social elite wanted to be seen. Due to this, they are almost never seen in portraits from this period.
My personal opinion is that yes, his injury in 1536 changed him. Henry had always been under a lot of pressure - he was only the second monarch in a new House which wasn’t proving particularly strong (Arthur dying young, Henry becoming king at 17). The pressure to provide a son was huge and I think this motivated many of his pre-1536 actions. Yet he never acted in a truly unreasonable or very extreme manner before 1536.
His jousting accident in 1536 was major - he was unconscious for 2 hours which when you think that nowadays 10 minutes is considered a potentially dangerously long time, 2 hours is definitely a cause for concern. Also, it was after this that Henry started to suffer from horrendous headaches which continued throughout his life. To me, these two facts would suggest that some level of damage was caused by that accident. From a documentary I saw, they explained that based on historical records, the area of Henry’s brain that was most likely to have been affected by the accident was the area controlling personality. It was after 1536 that Henry’s personality - and his temper - seem to have become a lot more extreme. I would never call him a psychopath, but I definitely believe that his injury in 1536 changed him and had a significant impact on his mental health. I would actually go as far to suggest that Anne’s fall was partly a result of Henry’s personality change after his accident.
Oooh lucky you. The closest I’ve got so far on mine is Henry VIII’s groom. I’m still hoping though. :)