stack of old books Primary sources are important historical documents which allow readers an unparalleled glimpse into the past. They are written from the perspective of a participant or observer and can include letters, speeches, diary / journal entries, and manuscripts.*

The sources at this page represent a unique opportunity to view Tudor England through the eyes of its inhabitants. They are arranged in chronological order.




1502 two accounts of the death of Prince Arthur

1503 the death of Elizabeth of York & betrothal of Princess Margaret to the king of Scots

1509 Henry VII's obituary

1509 Henry VIII & Katharine of Aragon's coronations at Westminster Abbey

1500s the poetry of John Skelton, Henry VII's poet laureate & Henry VIII's tutor

1500s the lyrics of Henry VIII

1505-1547 Letters of the Six Wives of Henry VIII

1515 a contemporary description of Henry VIII

1523 the romance of Anne Boleyn & Henry Percy
Also describes the beginning of Henry VIII's infatuation with Anne.

1524 Henry VIII's jousting accident

1520s/undated poetry about Anne Boleyn

1530 the fall of Cardinal Wolsey

1530s selections from Henry VIII's love letters to Anne Boleyn

1530s contemporary descriptions of Anne Boleyn

1533 the coronation of Anne Boleyn

1535 the last letter of Sir Thomas More

1535 the executions of John Fisher, Thomas More & others

1536 the fall of Anne Boleyn

1536 Anne Boleyn's speech at her execution

1536 a contemporary account of Anne Boleyn's execution

1536 letter of Princess Mary to Henry VIII
Mary acknowledges her illegitimacy and Henry's title as head of the English church.

1536 the Pilgrimage of Grace

1537 Jane Seymour's pregnancy is announced

1539 Anne of Cleves arrives in England & marries Henry VIII
Describes the first meeting between Anne and Henry.

1541 the fall of Catherine Howard

1545 Henry VIII's speech before Parliament

1549-1551 Edward VI's journal

1552 the execution of the Duke of Somerset

1553 the coronation of Queen Jane

1554 Mary I's speech at the Guildhall

1554 letter of Lady Jane Grey to Mary I
Jane explains the circumstances which led to her becoming queen for nine days.

1554 the executions of Lady Jane Grey and Lord Guildford Dudley

1556 the execution of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

1557 a contemporary description of Mary I

1558-1603 letters of Elizabeth I
1558-1603 poetry of Elizabeth I
1558-1603 speeches of Elizabeth I

1586 letter from Elizabeth I to Mary, queen of Scots

1587 letter from Elizabeth I to James VI of Scotland

1587 the last letter of Mary, queen of Scots

1587 the execution of Mary, queen of Scots



Are you quoting a Primary Source in your paper, or research project?
The correct format is based upon both the Turabian/Chicago and MLA styles.
Here is an example:
Hanson, Marilee. "Contemporary Descriptions of Anne Boleyn." EnglishHistory.net. 2004. http://englishhistory.net/tudor/annedesc.html (11 April 2004). Please note: you must use the year and date you read the source here.


*Memoirs / autobiographies are not considered primary sources. They are typically written after the fact and bad memories, bias, or a change in perspective can limit their reliability. Newspapers and magazine articles are considered primary sources if the piece is written directly after the event and does not include any 'analysis' or subjective reporting.

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