History Masterclass with Dr Miranda Kaufmann - Africans in Tudor and Stuart Westminster

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The first African to set foot in Westminster Abbey may well have been John Blanke, a Black Tudor court trumpeter who played at the funeral of Henry VII and the coronation of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon in 1509.

In this Masterclass, Dr Miranda Kaufmann, author of "Black Tudors: The Untold Story" (2017), will trace the presence of Africans in Tudor and early Stuart Westminster. You will not only hear the story of John Blanke, and other Africans who lived in the royal and aristocratic households, but also those we can piece together from the Westminster parish registers of baptisms and burials, and records of court cases held in the Palace of Westminster.

Their stories illuminate key issues: how did Africans come to England? What were their lives like? How were they treated by the church and the law? Most importantly: were they free?

Links to:
AQA 7041, 7042 Units 1C, 1D
OCR H505 History A Units Y106, Y107, Y108
Edexcel 9HI0 Paper 1, Options 1B, 1C:

Dr Miranda Kaufmann

Dr Miranda Kaufmann

Dr Kaufmann is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, part of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is also an Honorary Fellow of the University of Liverpool and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and has written extensively on the topic of diversity in Early Modern Britain. She has acted as a consultant for TV programmes including David Olusoga’s BAFTA award-winning series "Black and British: A Forgotten History" and critically acclaimed prizewinning, "Black Tudors: The Untold Story" (Oneworld 2017), is now being developed into the drama series, 'Southwark', with BritBox.

Photo credit: Rose Collins

How it works

A link to the YouTube recording of the lecture will be sent to those who have registered on 20th September. Teachers can use this in whatever way they want. Perhaps setting it as homework, or watching it together with students in class. Teachers are asked to submit any questions for Dr Kaufmann by email to the Learning Department.

The day before the live event you will be sent an invitation to join in Microsoft Teams (requires a web browser but it is not necessary to download the app to view). Dr Kaufmann will be interviewed by a member of the Abbey Learning Department, who will put selected questions to her. Viewers are invited to interact via the chat function, asking further questions if they wish. You may use a webcam if you wish, but you do not need to do so.
The live event will also be recorded to sent to all participants in case you are unable to join us live.

Suitable for: KS5
Lecture duration: 45 minutes;
Q&A duration: 45 minutes (This will be recorded in case you are unable to join live.)
Cost: £48 per school

Register now