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Authors: Suzannah Lipscomb

A Journey Through Tudor England

BOOK: A Journey Through Tudor England
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A Journey Through



Copyright © 2013 by Suzannah Lipscomb

All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1605984605

Pegasus Books LLC
80 Broad Street, 5
New York, NY 10004

To my husband, Drake, for his long-suffering of my sojourns in the sixteenth century, and for having unwittingly become a Tudor traveller himself



London and Greater London

The Tower of London

National Portrait Gallery

Tudor Portraiture

Westminster Abbey


Lincoln’s Inn


Eltham Palace

Richmond Palace, Surrey

Hampton Court Palace, Surrey

An Heir and a Spare

South East

St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Berkshire

Mary Rose
, Hampshire

Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire

The Vyne, Hampshire

Royal Progesses

Hever Castle, Kent

Leeds Castle, Kent

Food in Tudor England

Penshurst Place, Kent

The Early Tudor Great Hall

Rochester Castle, Kent (with Allington Castle)

Christ Church College, Oxford, Oxfordshire

Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire

Loseley Park, Surrey

Arundel Castle, West Sussex

South West

Pendennis and St Mawes Castles, Cornwall

Buckland Abbey, Devon

The Spanish Armada

Sherborne Castle, Dorset (with Sandford Orcas Manor House)

Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire

Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire

Thornbury Castle, Gloucestershire

Clothing in Tudor England

Glastonbury Tor and Abbey, Somerset

Montacute House, Somerset

West Midlands

Ludlow Castle, Shropshire (with Castle Lodge)

Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire

Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Elizabethan Theatre

Harvington Hall, Worcestershire

East Midlands

Bosworth Battlefield, Leicestershire

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

Social Climbing the Tudor Way

Burghley House, Lincolnshire

Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire (with Holdenby House)

The Elizabethan Prodigy Houses

East of England

St John’s and Trinity Colleges, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Peterborough Cathedral, Cambridgeshire

Hatfield Old Palace, Hertfordshire

Tudor Sports and Pastimes

Kett’s Oak, Wymondham, Norfolk

The Shrine at Walsingham, Norfolk

St Mary’s Church, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

The Church of St Michael, Framlingham, Suffolk (with Framlingham Castle)

North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber

Gawsworth Hall, Cheshire

Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire

The Typical Tudor House

The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, Merseyside

Pontefract Castle, West Yorkshire

Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire (with Whitby Abbey)


Further Reading

Appendix: Opening Times and How to Get There


I have so travelled in your dominions both by the seacoasts and the middle parts … that there is almost neither … cities, burgs, castles, principal manor places, monasteries, and colleges, but I have seen them, and noted in so doing a whole world of things very memorable.’

John Leland’s
, written 1539—45 and dedicated to Henry VIII

grew up very near the site of Nonsuch Palace. Its very name, ‘None-such’, conjured up a mythical, fabled palace without parallel. The streets nearby had names like ‘Anne Boleyn’s Walk’, ‘Aragon Avenue’ and ‘Tudor Close’. Hampton Court, with its profusion of twisted chimneys, was not all that far away. I remember as a child going to fairs, riding and even ice-skating in its shadow. Somewhere along the line, these childhood moments sowed the seeds of a lifelong fascination with the Tudors. I don’t think I’m the only one.

As a nation, we have a continuing obsession with our notorious ‘Bluebeard’ Henry VIII, and our famed ‘Gloriana’ Elizabeth I. Their lives — one much married, the other unmarried — are part of our common currency of ideas. Their age attracts us because it has
all the best stories: the break from Rome and Catholicism, wives beheaded or cast aside, boy-kings, dissolved monasteries, Protestant martyrs, the Spanish Armada, New Worlds, and some of the best characters: Shakespeare, Holbein, Anne Boleyn, Francis Drake and Walter Ralegh.

Somewhere in this mix, the Tudors define what it means to be English. Through the translation of the Bible into English, the establishment of the Church of England, the founding of the navy, the beginnings of empire and the defence against the threat of foreign invasion, the Tudors represent the foundations of much of our corporate culture and historic identity. When the Channel Tunnel opened in 1994, the two figures chosen to represent England and France in great mock-ups were the sixteenth-century rival kings Henry VIII and Francis I. Who else but Henry VIII could capture Englishness so completely?

The sixteenth century is also one of the first periods from which we have an overwhelming amount of surviving material. Our documentary sources are vast: chronicles, letters, ambassadorial accounts, poems, plays, treatises and state papers fill our National Archives. We have portraits of the Tudor monarchs painted from life, unlike those that came before, and sixteenth-century houses are still the ideal cottages in the countryside to
which middle England aspires. Above all, we have extraordinary grand houses, palaces, churches and castles that evoke a time past and a heritage shared. This book is a way into exploring that history.


This book is intended to be both a practical handbook to fifty of the best and most interesting Tudor houses, palaces and castles, and a colourful introduction to the key characters, stories and events of the Tudor age. It is designed to be a companion both to the visitor to these fifty sites, and to the historical visitor to the Tudor period.

Any attempt to draw up a list of fifty Tudor places would find its critics, but there has been reason at work in the choosing, and I thought it might be helpful to explain the criteria by which places have made it into this book.

The first principle was that there must exist something worth seeing.

Not every important Tudor site has been preserved. So many Tudor houses, palaces and buildings did not survive: William Cecil, Lord Burghley’s great house at Theobalds (pronounced ‘Tibbles’); Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk’s mansion at Kenninghall;
Nonsuch Palace; Greenwich Palace; the Old St Paul’s Cathedral; Bedlam Hospital for the mad. In London, only sacred sites like churches and the stone-built Guildhall survived the Great Fire of 1666. The London houses of Sir Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, among many others, have been lost to us. When something does survive of these lost places from the sixteenth century, such as the Gatehouse at Richmond Palace, the panels from Nonsuch Palace at Loseley Park or the arches at Holdenby, I have included them.

This means that some of the sites I have chosen are ruins: Tutbury Castle, Hailes Abbey and Kenilworth, Pontefract and Ludlow castles, but they are evocative, and the places important.

BOOK: A Journey Through Tudor England
7.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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