"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on March 27, 2016 by Sioux under General
1 Comment

 

The first mention of the Sudeley Estate is as early as the 10th century. At that time it was part of a larger estate where Ethelred’s royal deer park was kept in the oak woods. Remains of the deer park boundaries can be seen today, though nothing of Ethelred’s manor has survived. The stone castle at Sudeley was mainly built in 1441 by Ralph Boteler, who had the castle confiscated by Edward IV. Much of the building work begun by Thomas Boteler can still be appreciated today, including the Tithe Barn, St. Mary’s Church, and the Banqueting Hall. The King gave it to his brother, who later became Richard III. When Henry VII became king, the castle became his property, and he gave it to his uncle, Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford. Henry visited the castle in 1535 with his second queen, Anne Boleyn. When Henry VIII died in 1547, his son, Edward VI gave it to Thomas Seymour, the boy-king’s uncle. Seymour was made Lord of Sudeley and married Henry VIII’s widow, Katherine Parr.

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Some of the treasures on display at Sudeley include paintings by Rubens, Van Dyke, and JMW Turner, Civil War memorabilia, Tudor miniatures, and Jacobean embroidery. William Morris stained glass windows highlight the staircase, and in the Rupert Room is an ornately carved four-poster bed believed to have been made for Charles I. Among the needlework on display is a lovely canopy made by Anne Boleyn for her daughter Elizabeth. There is also a ‘Haunted Staircase’, which Victorian maids refused to descend, claiming they had seen a ghost on the stairs.

 

Photography is not allowed of many of the

above treasures.

In the early 19th century the castle was used as a stable and pub. Finally the house and estate were purchased by the brothers John and William Dent, a pair of wealthy glove-makers. It is to their intervention that we owe the present Sudeley Castle. The Dents called in architect Sir Gilbert Scott to restore the chapel, they strengthened the walls and restored the interior of large sections of the castle. The final restoration was carried out by the remarkable Lady Emma Dent, who, over a span of 45 years at Sudeley managed to fill the interior with fine art and objects associated with the long history

of the estate.

Mementos of Katherine Parr are featured at Sudeley, including a portrait and a love letter written by her to Thomas Seymour where she accepts his offer of marriage. She rests in the church below a 19th century marble tomb designed by Sir Gilbert Scott. Katherine Parr is also the first queen to have her written works published.

During this time, a renewal of Sudeley began. Seymour had a new suite added to the castle for Katherine’s private use, but only one room he had constructed remains today. Katherine personally directed the decorating of the rooms planned for the child she was carrying. A daughter, Mary, was born on August 30, 1548, but Katherine contracted puerperal fever and died on September 5. The exact fate of the child is not known.  Another famous Tudor figure to live at the castle was Lady Jane Grey, whose stewardship had been arranged by Seymour. Lady Grey stayed at Sudeley until her marriage and subsequent 9 days on the throne. Elizabeth I was entertained three times at Sudeley, including a spectacular feast in 1592 to celebrate the anniversary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

Sudeley Castle as seen from the church 

The dungeon tower 

During the Civil War the castle was taken briefly by Parliamentary forces, who plundered the house and wreaked havoc on the estate.  The castle was taken again by Parliament in 1644 after a concerted attack. The Octagon Tower still displays the marks of cannon balls used in the assault. The slighting of Sudeley destroyed much of the old house. The roof was removed and the buildings left at the mercy of the elements. For two hundred years the castle and chapel were left to rot, and local people used stone from Sudeley for their own building projects. King George III visited Sudeley in 1788 to see the

ruins – and

promptly fell

down a flight of

stairs!

The banqueting hall ruins (left); castle (centre) and church (right) seen from The Queens Garden.

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Views of the banqueting hall ruins from inside the castle

The banqueting hall ruins from the castle gardens.

 

One response to “Something not so ordinary….”

  1. Cheryl Wilkinson says:

    I love this history thank you see you at Spionkop soon :o)

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