Sandra Spruce

SS

I am retired after a career in management in ICI. I am full time carer looking after my sick and disabled husband. I love history, keeping my knowledge of the French language up to date + FL courses!

Location Sutton Weaver, Near Frodsham Cheshire

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Activity

  • Thank you. I have really enjoyed this course. I also appreciated the views put forward by all the academics involved. I am sorry that it has come to an end. I like the way we looked at the real Mary and considered the facts rather than what has been put out there in popular fiction and the movie industry with money behind their actions. I have learned a great...

  • I agree with you entirely. Of course, yet again we will never know, but Mary's formative years were spent in France. To all intents and purposes she became French. I feel they were the best years of her life. It seems to me when she returned to Scotland she returned to a place that was foreign to her, not to her homeland, the place of her birth. She was a...

  • I dont either. I recently watched Spencer at the cinema. If it had been on the television I would have changed channels. I just feel that today historical fiction and films are often knowingly removed from truth and facts to attract sales of books and audiences. I had to read the above script slowly as I am not used to "Scottish spelling"". I just do not like it.

  • I was completely unaware of Mary comics. The problem with regard to 'novels' and films is that they are produced for an audience and are often far from the truth..

  • Hardwick is on my "to do" list. I think Bess of Hardwick was an indomitable person who achieved so much in her life time. I do believe that she and Mary worked on embroideries and tapestries when Mary was living at Chatsworth. Thinking about it all I feel that Mary would have been happiest in France but if you think of her years of captivity in England then I...

  • Coins depicting the monarch are I suppose what we have become accustomed to. It is a means also of making the general public aware of the likeness of the person. Ordinary people did not travel much then (unless they were going to fight in a war) and they would not have access to books nor could they read. I am not surprised at the remembrance of Mary occurs in...

  • I agree Marianne. I was familiar with the Sheffield portrait but had never given any thought to how she was portrayed. Very interesting

  • I felt it was a heart felt letter written with great clarity of mind in that she was condemned to death and did not have long to live. It saddens me to hear that she was denied a priest. Yet she still thought of payment to her servants. She gave her brother in law gemstones. The tone of the letter to me (written by a devout catholic) did not make me feel that...

  • I agree and unless more new evidence is found, the discussions will continue. What I like about this course is that we can listen to the views of historians who are studying her and are trying to form opinions based on evidence. Sometimes I think historical novels are expanded to make stories that readers might want to hear.

  • I am enjoying this course immensely. I guess I knew more about the plotting in England and her early life in France than I did about her reign in Scotland. Her downfall really I think can be attributed to two bad husbands. I guess it was difficult for women to exert authority in those days and I can see better than ever why Elizabeth chose to remain the Virgin...

  • Cecil had eyes everywhere. His loyalty to Elizabeth was solid. Mary's involvement in the plots was foolish. There was no way in which she would win. In a way in the early days she was lucky that she was able to remain alive. However she kept doing the wrong thing. I wonder if she had been imprisoned for so long that reality escaped her. As we move from plot to...

  • I do not think that Mary would have engaged in such correspondence with Bothwell. She would know it would be dynamite. I do agree with the theory that the letters were in the style of French courtly poetry of piety. As the originals are not available we may never know. It is all so tragic. You think of how she must have felt when she returned "home" from...

  • I can better understand why Elizabeth decided to remain the Virgin Queen.
    I feel Mary was outmaneuvered by Bothwell, who had his eyes on the throne all along. Consanguinity in the Middle Ages has always surprised me. Close relationships were known and accepted prior to marriage but then became a good reason to divorce. It was apparent with Eleanor of...

  • Yes, I guess I was surprised to learn that Mary and Bothwell had a longer term political relationship. The main reason for me is that I know so little about Scottish history. In some ways if you look outside the box, perhaps that is not surprising as monarchs of the day were served by powerful aristocrats. The Lords and Earls of the Day would want more power...

  • I think one of the biggest problems Mary had to deal with was lack of structure. Many years had passed since the death of her father. The Scottish Lords were powerful - but ambitious, each wanting more power. Even when Mary was still in France this would have been the case. John Knox and his obvious dislike of women did not help her case. She did not come out...

  • Yes I agree. Lets throw in a third person - Bess of Hardwick - a very ambitious and successful person in her own right at that time. I would like to be a fly on the wall

  • As I see things at the moment - she wasnt really in with much of a chance. She returned from France to what must have seen a foreign land. There was probably little formal structure with powerful Earls vying for power and authority. She was a woman whom they probably thought unfit to rule for that reason and a catholic when the country had adopted...

  • Brilliant. Have enjoyed week 1 immensely

  • This has really been my first introduction to Scottish history. It was never part of the syllabus! I feel that this week has shown us the happiest part of her life. Although she will give birth to a son and heir next week, I feel that her personal life will have declined. Two bad marriages is what I am expecting to be followed by Mary the Prisoner.

  • A political pawn!

  • I guess these were by far the happiest days of Mary's life. She ended up, to all extent and purpose, French. It is such a shame her husband died when he did otherwise things could have been so different. For her ultimately to return "home" to Scotland will have been so difficult. Language, culture and everything else would have been so foreign to her.

  • I really enjoyed Dr Blakeway's explanation of those times. I confess to knowing very, very little about Scottish history. I agree with her also that the phrase "Burning Times" is a better description.. I can see that Mary was valuable in the marriage market and appreciate the background behind walking away from the idea of marriage to Edward. With her mother...

  • Sandra Spruce made a comment

    It just seems so sad. She probably didnt help herself time and time again. She had been brought up in France - a Catholic country. There was the rivalry between her and Elizabeth. I like the sentence above - Mary's story is tragic and fascinating.

  • @AliciaHughes I tend to agree with Stephen J's comments and am grateful for your response. However I will watch this video again later when I can look at it in a more informed way. Right now it was interesting to listen to the different opinions.

  • I think of a young Queen of France who returned as a young widow to Scotland. Two disastrous marriages, a troubled and probably extremely unhappy life and a cousin who just so happened to be Queen of England. I really feel that, given Elizabeth's confidence and court structure, she could have held out a helping hand rather than having her killed.

    Today she...

  • Looking forward to this course. Intend to go to the British Library in January to see their exhibition. That will mean more to me as a result of what I am going to learn over the next 3 weeks

  • I am retired and live in England i guess my favourite period of history would begin with the Egyptians and finish at the end of the reign of Queen Elizbeth I (1603)

  • Thank you for all the effort that has been put in to make this course so interesting. It covered so many different parts of the world, different customs, different thinking which I feel gave it the depth. Thank you also for the extra reading which we can plough through at our own pace.

  • Yes I did too. I have still not quite got used to the use of "actors" though.

  • Not that I am aware of but you can never say never. You have to keep abreast of current thinking

  • You are right. The concrete buildings of the 50's -70's were monstrous. Runcorn and Winsford were extended and called New Towns to take population from Liverpool. A lot of the horrible buildings erected then have since been demolished. Responsible thinking and forward planning helps. Temple Bar is brilliant as you say

  • @JohnS. I can remember travelling through part of Naples on a coach in the early 1970's en route to Capri. At the time it certainly did nothing at all to attract tourists. Now of course cruise ships visit regularly and apart from visiting Naples in its own right, it is the stepping stone for so many "must go to" places in the area. This change will inevitably...

  • You are right David. We are yet to see what will be the future of cities post Pandemic. Some companies have said they intend to allow employees to work from home at least part of the time. Offices will then have hot desks to be used by whoever is in on the day. During and post lockdown it was strange knowing that so many large office buildings in London were...

  • Chester is blessed with Roman ruins which are recognised as being a key part of its heritage. In addition there is the cathedral, the rows and Tudor buildings. Sadly many shops are now empty which detracts. I personally think it is important to preserve buildings which represent part of our history. I confess that whilst I think some of the concrete...

  • Probably a lot of industrialisation started in the North West of England. Sadly for a variety of reasons so many of those businesses have gone now. But they are not dead. The Catalyst Museum in Widnes, once the home of the newly born chemical industry, is there to attract and educate children and adults. The work of the early scientists like Ferdinand Hurter,...

  • A cultural heritage site brings so many opportunities and by working together and involving all concerned it has to be a win win. The site can be preserved, employment obtained for the locals and the interest a site has to offer brings in the tourists with all that entails.

    For me I think of the pleasures I have experienced visiting well run sites in France...

  • Even in the UK you find that locals do not always show much interest in historical sights nearby and yet they are happy to travel a long way to see things in other parts of the country/other countries. I guess you could discuss the matter with examination boards and see if projects/visits could be incorporated for school children. Carthage is famous throughout...

  • It is difficult really. For me personally the thing that I have taken from this course is that history has not represented facts as well as it could have, basically because learned scholars really could just read Greek and Latin scripts. I also did not realise that the Qu 'ran referred to Mary more than the New Testament. Having said all that, I feel that...

  • I learned for the first time that so many of the early Christians and Muslims lived in peace and harmony. I can understand that if scholars only read Greek and Latin then only one slant on the situation was put forward. If only the world had grown up with a more balanced view, it makes you wonder if the two religions could live more harmoniously today....

  • Me too. It puts a whole different emphasis on things. It would be good to get more harmony. Brilliant video. It shows how merely reading Latin and Greek only gives part of the picture. A few documentaries on TV would not go amiss