The kings and queens of the Tudor era, with their constantly changing religious policies and laws, have been much studied by academics and school-children alike. Whereas (hopefully!) the academics generally get their research and information correct, unfortunately it would seem that school-children are sometimes greatly confused by some of the more salient points of history. This confusion has caused many schoolboy and schoolgirl ‘history howlers’ where school-children have misinterpreted or misunderstood historical facts.
Churchman, the pre-World War II manufacturer of cigarettes, seized on these historical howlers, along with other howlers relating to science, geography and nature. They produced two sets of cigarette cards with each card dedicated to one topic prone to school-child misunderstanding. Topics covered were as diverse as Julius Caesar, volcanoes, fish and the zoo. To my delight, three cards cover Tudor monarchs – Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I (perhaps Henry VII and Edward VI weren’t considered noteworthy enough to have produced ‘howlers’!) Each illustration on the cards were drawn by Rene Bull and are a delight.
To my knowledge, it was not recorded where the ‘howlers’ came from, or, indeed, if they were made up or genuine. I wonder how many of today’s school-children would be able to spot the howlers and correct them? Can you spot the errors and correct them?
Below is Henry VIII’s card from the 1936 set of 16 large cards – card number 3. I just love these howlers – especially the one about Titus Oates and the Latin bible – just how many ‘facts’ can you mangle in only one sentence!
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