Elizabeth Barton was the only woman who ever had her head put on a spike on London Bridge. Which king had her executed?
Barton, known as “The Nun of Kent” and “The Holy Maid of London,” began prophesying that Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn would result in his death. She was eventually arrested and forced to admit she’d made her prophecys up, and she was subsequently hanged.
Henry VIII’s had a specific and gruesome way of crushing people to death. What was it called?
Pressing” involved putting a large plank over a person and slowly adding weight until they were either suffocated or crushed.
What brutal execution tool with a strange name was found in Henry’s possession when he died?
The Scavenger’s Daughter was an A-shaped iron brace where the victim was forced to sit in a crouched position with their head almost touching their knees, and their wrists, ankles, and neck shackled in place. It would eventually crush the victim to death (I guess Henry had a thing for crushing people?)
What did Henry VIII look like in his youth?
Though the most famous images of Henry show him as an older, overweight man, as a youth the 6’2”, auburn-haired Henry was apparently quite a hunk.
What did Henry and all of his wives have in common?
Henry and all of his wives were all descended from King Edward I, meaning they were all cousins to one degree or another.
Who was Henry’s right-hand man?
Thomas Cromwell was by the King’s side for years, but after he arranged Henry’s disastrous marriage to Anne of Cleves, he was arrested and executed for treason.
Why was Henry’s daughter called “Bloody Mary”?
Although Mary’s penchant for burning heretics alive is well-known, her father commonly did the same thing during his reign, though he did so many other terrible things that people tend to overlook that fact.
What do they call the corridor at Hampton Court where Catherine Howard, Henry’s fifth wife, allegedly ran screaming for mercy after she was arrested for treason?
The young queen was beheaded soon after her tragic run through the Haunted Gallery, and many people have claimed her ghost can still be heard screaming in the corridor today.
Henry wasn’t supposed to be king. Who was meant to take the throne instead of him?
Arthur, the Prince of Wales, was Henry’s older brother, but he was a sickly child from the start, and he died of a mysterious sweating sickness at just 15 years old, putting Henry in line for the throne.
Who was Henry’s first child?
Catherine of Aragon gave birth to Mary, the king’s first child, in 1516. Sadly, Henry was in the business of having male heirs, and so Mary’s birth was considered a massive disappointment. Not exactly the ideal father.
Why did Henry declare himself to be the head of the Church of England, sparking the English Reformation?
When the Pope wouldn’t allow Henry to leave his first wife, he broke off from the Catholic Church and had the new Archbishop of Canterbury annul his marriage, forever changing the history of Christianity.
Anne Boleyn was pregnant with Henry’s child when they got married. What was the child named?
Though Henry was disappointed that his second child was also a girl, she would go on to be one of the most powerful monarchs in English history.
What did Henry have Anne Boleyn executed for?
Henry came up with all kinds of reasons for why he ought to have Anne beheaded, but there’s little doubt had she given birth to a son, she’d have lived a much longer life.
How long did it take Henry to marry Jane Seymour after Anne Boleyn was beheaded?
Jane Seymour gave Henry the son he’d wanted for so long, but she died two weeks after giving birth. Henry considered her his first “true wife.”
Who was the only one of Henry’s wives to receive a Queen’s funeral?
Jane Seymour was undoubtedly Henry’s favorite wife, and she was the only one to be honored upon her death.
What was Henry’s cruel response when he first met Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife?
Henry agreed to marry Anne having only seen a portrait of her, and when he met her in person, he was less than impressed. He had their marriage annulled after just six months.
What were the knights who assisted Henry with “bodily functions and washing” in the bathroom called?
The Grooms of the Stool’s intimate relationship with the king actually made them highly influential members of his court.
How much did Henry weigh by the time he died?
As a young man, Henry sported a 32-inch waistline. It had ballooned to 54 inches in his final years.
Which of Henry’s favorite pastimes did he happen to be terrible at?
It’s believed that Henry managed to gamble away the equivalent of one million pounds (in modern currency) between 1529 and 1532.
What nickname did Henry get after he lowered the percentage of silver in British coins until they were basically copper with a thin coat of silver?
The silver on these cheap new coins would would frequently rub off. Since they bore an image of Henry’s face, the silver would tend to rub off his nose first, leading to the nickname.
What scary incident is said to have caused a brain injury that seriously affected Henry’s personality?
Not only did Henry suffer a leg injury that stuck with him for the rest of his life, it’s said that the brutal incident turned him from a young, sporting, and generous young prince into the cruel tyrant he’s remembered as.
Why is Henry called “the father of the Royal Navy”?
Henry’s work building England’s maritime fighting force is one of the most positive aspects of his mostly grim legacy.
How do English school children learn the fates of Henry VIII’s wives?
The rhyme goes “Divorced, Beheaded, Died // Divorced, Beheaded, Survived."
How did Henry VIII execute a cook who tried to poison his master?
Henry must have enjoyed the display, because that became the standard punishment for poisoners for the next five years.
How many executions is it believed Henry ordered during his reign?
He’s known for beheading two of his wives, but Henry had many, many, many more people executed than that.
Henry had six wives, but which of his wives was herself married four different times?
Catherine Parr was Henry’s sixth and final wife, and her four husbands more than gave Henry a run for his money in the failed marriage department.
How old was Catherine Howard when Henry had her beheaded?
It eventually came out that Catherine had had relations with another man before marrying Henry, and that she’d had an affair with one Thomas Culpeper after. Henry had all three of them (Catherine, Culpeper, and the man she’d been with before becoming Queen) executed for treason.
How did Catherine Howard’s past relationships become known?
John Lascelles, who was supposedly Catherine’s friend, reported her earlier relationship to the Archbishop of Canterbury, which sealed her tragic fate.
Which of Anne Boleyn, Mary Boleyn, and their mother Elizabeth Howard, slept with Henry VIII?
Henry’s marriage to Anne was controversial, in part because it was public knowledge that he was already having an affair with her sister Mary. When the public then accused Henry of having slept with their mother Elizabeth as well, Henry put his foot down, stating “never with the mother,” which more-or-less confirmed his affair with Mary.
Who was named “the worst monarch in history” by Historical Writers Association?
After all that the man did in his life, is it any surprise?
You know your Henry VIII, but you’ve got a bit of studying up to do before you can truly say you’re an expert on the worst monarch of all time.
Henry VIII Fanatic
Either you were obsessed with The Tudors when it was on TV or you really paid attention in history class. Regardless of how you got here, congratulations, you really know your Henry VIII!
Off With Your Head!
You’re lucky Henry himself isn’t here to grade these quizzes, because it didn’t take much to get him in a “beheading” mood.
Happy With Your Test Score? This video can help you do better on any quiz... even if you know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the topic.
Henry VIII was the King of England for nearly three decades. Of course, he’s best known for his tumultuous love life—out of his six marriages, he ended up beheading two of his wives. He’s undeniably one of the most infamous monarchs in history, but how much do you really know about him? Heads will roll for those who can’t cut it with our quiz about England’s cruelest, lustiest, and most gluttonous king.