After a filling breakfast (Full English for me!), our lovely coach driver, Alan, took us to Sudeley Castle, in Winchcombe, in the Cotswolds.
As well as being the home and place of death of Catherine Parr, sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII, Sudeley also served as home to Lady Jane Grey, one of our executed queens, in 1548. Jane was the ward of Catherine's fourth husband, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, who owned the castle, and so joined Catherine there when she retired to Sudeley as she prepared for the birth of her first and only child. Jane was at Sudeley when Catherine died in September 1548 and acted as chief mourner at Catherine's funeral at the church within the grounds.
We were given a wonderful Tudor-focused guided tour before being given free time to enjoy lunch (a cream tea for me!) and to go back around the house, church and gardens. It is such a beautiful place and I love the roses that climb the ruins - the castle having been damaged and then "slighted" in the English Civil War.
Favourite bits for me today:
- Seeing Catherine Parr's tomb in the church
- The Knot Garden - based on the pattern on Elizabeth I's skirt in "An Allegory of the Tudor Succession" painting, which is on display in the castle
- The haunting ruins - They are just stunning
- Morbidly, the lock of hair, tooth and other artefacts taken from Catherine's tomb before she was reinterred
- Copies of Catherine's published works
Here are some photos I took. Apologies for not labelling them!
In the church:
Things taken from Catherine's tomb:
Then it was time to get back to Brockencote Hall to freshen up before dinner. After some delicious canapés, we had a scrumptious three-course meal, with coffee and petit-fours, and then it was time for my lovely co-leader and friend, Philippa Lacey Brewell to give us a talk in Mary, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I. The talk was excellent, as were the questions afterwards. We then retired to the patio to talk more Tudor and to put the world to rights. A wonderful evening after a fabulous day.
If you fancy joining us on a tour next year, you can find out more or register at https://www.britishhistorytours.com